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Title: History of the Reign of Philip the Second, King of Spain, Vols. 1 and 2
Author: Prescott, William Hickling, 1796-1859
Language: English
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[Illustration: PHILIP THE SECOND.

_From the Original by Titian in the Royal Museum at Madrid._

London, George Routledge & Sons, Broadway, Ludgate Hill.]







The reign of Philip the Second has occupied the pen of the historian
more frequently--if we except that of Charles the Fifth--than any other
portion of the Spanish annals. It has become familiar to the English
reader through the pages of Watson, who has deservedly found favor with
the public for the perspicuity of his style,--a virtue, however, not
uncommon in his day,--for the sobriety of his judgments, and for the
skill he has shown in arranging his complicated story, so as to maintain
the reader's interest unbroken to the end. But the public, in Watson's
day, were not very fastidious in regard to the sources of the
information on which a narrative was founded. Nor was it easy to obtain
access to those unpublished documents which constitute the best sources
of information. Neither can it be denied that Watson himself was not so
solicitous as he should have been to profit by opportunities which a
little pains might have put within his reach,--presenting, in this
respect, a contrast to his more celebrated predecessor, Robertson; that
he contented himself too easily with such cheap and commonplace
materials as lay directly in his path; and that, consequently, the
foundations of his history are much too slight for the superstructure.
For these reasons, the reign of Philip the Second must still be regarded
as open ground for English and American writers.

And at no time could the history of this reign have been undertaken with
the same advantages as at present, when the more enlightened policy of
the European governments has opened their national archives to the
inspection of the scholar; when he is allowed access, in particular, to
the Archives of Simancas, which have held the secrets of the Spanish
monarchy hermetically sealed for ages.

The history of Philip the Second is the history of Europe during the
latter half of the sixteenth century. It covers the period when the
doctrines of the Reformation were agitating the minds of men in so
fearful a manner as to shake the very foundations of the Romish
hierarchy in the fierce contest which divided Christendom. Philip, both
from his personal character, and from his position as sovereign of the
most potent monarchy in Europe, was placed at the head of the party
which strove to uphold the fortunes of the ancient Church; and thus his
policy led him perpetually to interfere in the internal affairs of the
other European states,--making it necessary to look for the materials
for his history quite as much without the Peninsula as within it. In
this respect the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella presents a strong
contrast to that of Philip the Second; and it was the consideration of
this, when I had completed my history of the former, and proposed at
some future day to enter upon that of the latter, that led me to set
about a collection of authentic materials from the public archives in
the great European capitals. It was a work of difficulty; and, although
I had made some progress in it, I did not feel assured of success until
I had the good fortune to obtain the coöperation of my friend, Don
Pascual de Gayangos, Professor of Arabic in the University of Madrid.
This eminent scholar was admirably qualified for the task which he so
kindly undertook; since, with a remarkable facility--such as long
practice only can give--in deciphering the mysterious handwriting of the
sixteenth century, he combined such a thorough acquaintance with the
history of his country as enabled him to detect, amidst the ocean of
manuscripts which he inspected, such portions as were essential to my

With unwearied assiduity he devoted himself to the examination of many
of the principal collections, both in England and on the Continent.
Among these may be mentioned the British Museum and the State-Paper
Office, in London; the Library of the Dukes of Burgundy, in Brussels;
that of the University of Leyden; the Royal Library, at the Hague; the
Royal Library of Paris, and the Archives of the Kingdom, in the Hôtel
Soubise; the Library of the Academy of History, the National Library at
Madrid, and, more important than either, the ancient Archives of
Simancas, within whose hallowed precincts Señor Gayangos was one of the
first scholars permitted to enter.

Besides these public repositories, there are several private collections
to the owners of which I am largely indebted for the liberal manner in
which they have opened them for my benefit. I may mention, in
particular, the late Lady Holland, who kindly permitted copies to be
made by Señor Gayangos from the manuscripts preserved in Holland House;
Sir Thomas Phillips, Bart., who freely extended the same courtesy in
respect to the present work which he had shown to me on a former
occasion; and Patrick Fraser Tytler, Esq., the late excellent historian
of Scotland, who generously placed at my disposal sundry documents
copied by him in the public offices with his own hand, for the
illustration of the reign of Mary Tudor.

In Spain the collection made by Señor Gayangos was enriched by materials
drawn from the family archives of the marquis of Santa Cruz, whose
illustrious ancestor first had charge of the Spanish armada; from the
archives of Medina Sidonia, containing papers of the duke who succeeded
to the command of that ill-starred expedition; and from the archives of
the house of Alva,--a name associated with the most memorable acts of
the government of Philip.

The manuscripts, thus drawn from various quarters, were fortified by
such printed works as, having made their appearance in the time of
Philip the Second, could throw any light on his government. Where such
works were not to be purchased, Señor Gayangos caused copies to be made
of them, or of those portions which were important to my purpose. The
result of his kind, untiring labors has been to put me in possession of
such a collection of authentic materials for the illustration of the
reign of Philip as no one before had probably attempted to make. Nor
until now had the time come for making the attempt with success.

There still remained, however, some places to be examined where I might
expect to find documents that would be of use to me. Indeed, it is in
the nature of such a collection, covering so wide an extent of ground,
that it can never be complete. The historian may be satisfied, if he has
such authentic materials at his command, as, while they solve much that
has hitherto been enigmatical in the accounts of the time, will enable
him to present, in their true light, the character of Philip and the
policy of his government. I must acknowledge my obligations to more than
one person, who has given me important aid in prosecuting my further

One of the first of them is my friend, Mr. Edward Everett, who, in his
long and brilliant career as a statesman, has lost nothing of that love
of letters which formed his first claim to distinction. The year before
his appointment to the English mission he passed on the Continent,
where, with the kindness that belongs to his nature, he spent much time
in examining for me the great libraries, first in Paris, and afterwards
more effectually in Florence. From the _Archivio Mediceo_, in which he
was permitted by the grand duke to conduct his researches, he obtained
copies of sundry valuable documents, and among them the letters of the
Tuscan ministers, which have helped to guide me in some of the most
intricate parts of my narrative. A still larger amount of materials he
derived from the private library of Count Guicciardini, the descendant
of the illustrious historian of that name. I am happy to express my
lively sense of the courtesy shown by this nobleman; also my gratitude
for kind offices rendered me by Prince Corsini; and no less by the
Marquis Gino Capponi, whose name will be always held in honor for the
enlightened patronage which he has extended to learning, while
suffering, himself, under the severest privation that can befall the

There was still an important deficiency in my collection,--that of the
_Relazioni Venete_, as the reports are called which were made by
ambassadors of Venice on their return from their foreign missions. The
value of these reports, for the information they give of the countries
visited by the envoys, is well known to historians. The deficiency was
amply supplied by the unwearied kindness of my friend, Mr. Fay, who now
so ably fills the post of minister from the United States to
Switzerland. When connected with the American legation at Berlin, he, in
the most obliging manner, assisted me in making arrangements for
obtaining the documents I desired, which, with other papers of
importance, were copied for me from the manuscripts in the Royal Library
of Berlin, and the Ducal Library of Gotha. I have also, in connection
with this, to express my obligations to the distinguished librarian of
the former institution, Mr. Pertz, for the good-will which he showed in
promoting my views.

Through Mr. Fay, I also obtained the authority of Prince Metternich to
inspect the Archives of the Empire in Vienna, which I inferred, from the
intimate relations subsisting between the courts of Madrid and Vienna in
that day, must contain much valuable matter relevant to my subject. The
result did not correspond to my expectations. I am happy, however, to
have the opportunity of publicly offering my acknowledgments to that
eminent scholar, Dr. Ferdinand Wolf, for the obliging manner in which he
conducted the investigation for me, as well in the archives above
mentioned, as, with better results, in the Imperial Library, with which
he is officially connected.

In concluding the list of those to whose good offices I have been
indebted, I must not omit the names of M. de Salvandy, minister of
public instruction in France at the time I was engaged in making my
collection; Mr. Rush, then the minister of the United States at the
French court; Mr. Rives, of Virginia, his successor in that office; and
last, not least, my friend, Count de Circourt, a scholar whose noble
contributions to the periodical literature of his country, on the
greatest variety of topics, have given him a prominent place among the
writers of our time.

I am happy, also, to tender my acknowledgments for the favors I have
received from Mr. Van de Weyer, minister from Belgium to the court of
St. James; from Mr. B. Homer Dixon, consul for the Netherlands at
Boston; and from my friend and kinsman, Mr. Thomas Hickling, consul for
the United States at St. Michael's, who kindly furnished me with sundry
manuscripts exhibiting the condition of the Azores at the period when
those islands passed, with Portugal, under the sceptre of Philip the

Having thus acquainted the reader with the sources whence I have derived
my materials, I must now say a few words in regard to the conduct of my
narrative. An obvious difficulty in the path of the historian of this
period arises from the nature of the subject, embracing, as it does,
such a variety of independent, not to say incongruous topics, that it is
no easy matter to preserve anything like unity of interest in the story.
Thus the Revolution of the Netherlands, although, strictly speaking,
only an episode to the main body of the narrative, from its importance,
well deserves to be treated in a separate and independent narrative by
itself.[1] Running along through the whole extent of Philip's reign, it
is continually distracting the attention of the historian, creating an
embarrassment something like that which arises from what is termed a
double plot in the drama. The best way of obviating this is to keep in
view the dominant principle which controlled all the movements of the
complicated machinery, so to speak, and impressed on them a unity of
action. This principle is to be found in the policy of Philip, the great
aim of which was to uphold the supremacy of the Church, and, as a
consequence, that of the crown. "Peace and public order," he writes on
one occasion, "are to be maintained in my dominions only by maintaining
the authority of the Holy See." It was this policy, almost as sure and
steady in its operation as the laws of Nature herself, that may be said
to have directed the march of events through the whole of his long
reign; and it is only by keeping this constantly in view that the
student will be enabled to obtain a clew to guide him through the
intricate passages in the history of Philip, and the best means of
solving what would otherwise remain enigmatical in his conduct.

In the composition of the work, I have, for the most part, conformed to
the plan which I had before adopted. Far from confining myself to a
record of political events, I have endeavored to present a picture of
the intellectual culture and the manners of the people. I have not even
refused such aid as could be obtained from the display of pageants, and
court ceremonies, which, although exhibiting little more than the
costume of the time, may serve to bring the outward form of a
picturesque age more vividly before the eye of the reader. In the
arrangement of the narrative, I have not confined myself altogether to
the chronological order of events, but have thrown them into masses,
according to the subjects to which they relate, so as to produce, as far
as possible, a distinct impression on the reader. And in this way I have
postponed more than one matter of importance to a later portion of the
work, which a strict regard to time would assign more properly to an
earlier division of the subject. Finally, I have been careful to fortify
the text with citations from the original authorities on which it
depends, especially where these are rare and difficult of access.

In the part relating to the Netherlands I have pursued a course somewhat
different from what I have done in other parts of the work. The scholars
of that country, in a truly patriotic spirit, have devoted themselves of
late years to exploring their own archives, as well as those of
Simancas, for the purpose of illustrating their national annals. The
results they have given to the world in a series of publications, which
are still in progress. The historian has reason to be deeply grateful to
those pioneers, whose labors have put him in possession of materials
which afford the most substantial basis for his narrative. For what
basis can compare with that afforded by the written correspondence of
the parties themselves? It is on this sure ground that I have mainly
relied in this part of my story; and I have adopted the practice of
incorporating extracts from the letters in the body of the text, which,
if it may sometimes give an air of prolixity to the narrative, will have
the advantage of bringing the reader into a sort of personal
acquaintance with the actors, as he listens to the words spoken by

In the earlier part of this Preface, I have made the acknowledgments due
for assistance I have received in the collection of my materials; and I
must not now conclude without recording my obligations, of another kind,
to two of my personal friends,--Mr. Charles Folsom, the learned
librarian of the Boston Athenæum, who has repeated the good offices he
had before rendered me in revising my manuscript for the press; and Mr.
John Foster Kirk, whose familiarity with the history and languages of
Modern Europe has greatly aided me in the prosecution of my researches,
while his sagacious criticism has done me no less service in the
preparation of these volumes.

Notwithstanding the advantages I have enjoyed for the composition of
this work, and especially those derived from the possession of new and
original materials, I am fully sensible that I am far from having done
justice to a subject so vast in its extent and so complicated in its
relations. It is not necessary to urge in my defence any physical
embarrassments under which I labor; since that will hardly be an excuse
for not doing well what it was not necessary to do at all. But I may be
permitted to say, that what I have done has been the result of careful
preparation; that I have endeavored to write in a spirit of candor and
good faith; and that, whatever may be the deficiencies of my work, it
can hardly fail--considering the advantages I have enjoyed over my
predecessors--to present the reader with such new and authentic
statements of facts as may afford him a better point of view than that
which he has hitherto possessed for surveying the history of Philip the

BOSTON, _July, 1855_


Book I.




Introductory Remarks--Spain under Charles the Fifth--He prepares to
resign the Crown--His Abdication--His Return to Spain--His Journey to
Yuste                                                                  1



Birth of Philip the Second--His Education--Intrusted with the
Regency--Marries Mary of Portugal--Visit to Flanders--Public
Festivities--Ambitious Schemes--Returns to Spain                      11



Condition of England--Character of Mary--Philip's Proposals of
Marriage--Marriage Articles--Insurrection in England                  30



Mary's Betrothal--Joanna Regent of Castile--Philip embarks for
England--His splendid Reception--Marriage of Philip and Mary--Royal
Entertainments--Philip's Influence--The Catholic Church
restored--Philip's Departure                                          43



Empire of Philip--Paul the Fourth--Court of France--League against
Spain--The Duke of Alva--Preparations for War--Victorious Campaign    59



Guise enters Italy--Operations in the Abruzz--Siege of Civitella--Alva
drives out the French--Rome menaced by the Spaniards--Paul consents to
Peace--Paul's Subsequent Career                                       73



England joins in the War--Philip's Preparations--Siege of St.
Quentin--French Army routed--Storming of St. Quentin--Successes of the
Spaniards                                                             85



Extraordinary Efforts of France--Calais surprised by Guise--The French
invade Flanders--Bloody Battle of Gravelines--Negotiations for
Peace--Mary's Death--Accession of Elizabeth--Treaty of
Cateau-Cambresis                                                     102



Charles at Yuste--His Mode of Life--Interest in Public
Affairs--Celebrates his Obsequies--Last Illness--Death and
Character                                                            120

Book II.



Civil Institutions--Commercial Prosperity--Character of the
People--Protestant Doctrines--Persecution by Charles the Fifth       146



Unpopular Manners of Philip--He enforces the Edicts--Increase of the
Bishoprics--Margaret of Parma Regent--Meeting of the
States-General--Their spirited Conduct--Organization of the
Councils--Rise and Character of Granvelle--Philip's Departure        157



Philip's Arrival in Spain--The Reformed Doctrines--Their
Suppression--Autos da Fé--Prosecution of Carranza--Extinction of
Heresy--Fanaticism of the Spaniards                                  170



Reception of Isabella--Marriage Festivities--The Queen's Mode of
Life--The Court removed to Madrid                                    183



The Reformation--Its Progress in the Netherlands--General
Discontent--William of Orange                                        192



Grounds of Complaint--The Spanish Troops--The New Bishoprics--Influence
of Granvelle--Opposed by the Nobles--His Unpopularity                201



League against Granvelle--Margaret desires his Removal--Philip
deliberates--Granvelle dismissed--Leaves the Netherlands             213



Policy of Philip--Ascendancy of the Nobles--The Regent's
Embarrassments--Egmont sent to Spain                                 226



Philip's Duplicity--His Procrastination--Despatches from Segovia--Effect
on the Country--The Compromise--Orange and Egmont                    238



Design of the Confederates--They enter Brussels--The
Petition--The Gueux                                                  253



The Edicts suspended--The Sectaries--The Public Preachings--Attempt to
suppress them--Meeting at St. Trond--Philip's Concessions            260



Cathedral of Antwerp sacked--Sacrilegious Outrages--Alarm at
Brussels--Churches granted to Reformers--Margaret repents her
Concessions--Feeling at Madrid--Sagacity of Orange--His Religious
Opinions                                                             273



Reaction--Appeal to Arms--Tumult in Antwerp--Siege of Valenciennes--The
Government triumphant                                                290



Oath imposed by Margaret--Refused by Orange--He leaves the
Netherlands--Submission of the Country--New Edict--Order restored    299

Book III.



Alva's Appointment--His remarkable March--He arrives at
Brussels--Margaret disgusted--Policy of the Duke--Arrest of Egmont and
Hoorne                                                               310



The Council of Blood--Its Organization--General Prosecutions--Civil War
in France--Departure of Margaret--Her administration reviewed        327



Numerous Arrests--Trials and Executions--Confiscations--Orange assembles
an Army--Battle of Heyligerlee--Alva's Proceedings                   340



The Examination--Efforts in their Behalf--Specification of
Charges--Sentence of Death--The Processes reviewed                   355



The Counts removed to Brussels--Informed of the Sentence--Procession to
the Scaffold--The Execution--Character of Egmont--Fate of his
Family--Sentiment of the People                                      364



Bergen and Montigny--Their Situation in Spain--Death of Bergen--Arrest
of Montigny--Plot for his Escape--His Process--Removal to
Simancas--Closer Confinement--Midnight Execution                     378

Book IV.



Condition of Turkey--African Corsairs--Expedition against Tripoli--War
on the Barbary Coast                                                 393



Masters of Rhodes--Driven from Rhodes--Established at Malta--Menaced by
Solyman--La Valette--His Preparations for Defence                    409



Condition of Malta--Arrival of the Turks--They reconnoitre the
Island--Siege of St. Elmo--Its Heroic Defence--Its Fall              414



Il Borgo invested--Storming of St. Michael--Slaughter of the
Turks--Incessant Cannonade--General Assault--The Turks
Repulsed--Perilous Condition of Il Borgo--Constancy of La Valette    432



The Turks dispirited--Reinforcement from Sicily--Siege raised--Mustapha
defeated--Rejoicings of the Christians--Mortification of Solyman--Review
of the Siege--Subsequent History of La Valette                       445



His Education and Character--Dangerous Illness--Extravagant
Behavior--Opinions respecting him--His Connection with the
Flemings--Project of Flight--Insane Conduct--Arrest                  456



Causes of his Imprisonment--His Rigorous Confinement--His Excesses--His
Death--Llorente's Account--Various Accounts--Suspicious
Circumstances--Quarrel in the Palace--Obsequies of Carlos            471



Queen Isabella--Her Relations with Carlos--Her Illness and Death--Her
Character                                                            490






Introductory Remarks.--Spain under Charles the Fifth.--He prepares to
resign the Crown.--His Abdication.--His Return to Spain.--His Journey to


In a former work, I have endeavored to portray the period when the
different provinces of Spain were consolidated into one empire under the
rule of Ferdinand and Isabella; when, by their wise and beneficent
policy, the nation emerged from the obscurity in which it had so long
remained behind the Pyrenees, and took its place as one of the great
members of the European commonwealth. I now propose to examine a later
period in the history of the same nation,--the reign of Philip the
Second; when, with resources greatly enlarged, and territory extended by
a brilliant career of discovery and conquest, it had risen to the zenith
of its power; but when, under the mischievous policy of the
administration, it had excited the jealousy of its neighbors, and
already disclosed those germs of domestic corruption which gradually led
to its dismemberment and decay.

By the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella, most of the states of the
Peninsula became united under one common rule; and in 1516, the sceptre
of Spain, with its dependencies both in the Old and the New World,
passed into the hands of their grandson, Charles the Fifth, who, though
he shared the throne nominally with his mother, Joanna, became, in
consequence of her incapacity, the real sovereign of this vast empire.
He had before inherited, through his father, Philip the Handsome, that
fair portion of the ducal realm of Burgundy which comprehended Franche
Comté and the Netherlands. In 1519, he was elected to the imperial crown
of Germany. Not many years elapsed before his domain was still further
enlarged by the barbaric empires of Mexico and Peru; and Spain then
first realized the magnificent vaunt, since so often repeated, that the
sun never set within the borders of her dominions.

Yet the importance of Spain did not rise with the importance of her
acquisitions. She was, in a manner, lost in the magnitude of these
acquisitions. Some of the rival nations which owned the sway of Charles,
in Europe, were of much greater importance than Spain, and attracted
much more attention from their contemporaries. In the earlier period of
that monarch's reign, there was a moment when a contest was going
forward in Castile, of the deepest interest to mankind. Unfortunately,
the "War of the _Comunidades_," as it was termed, was soon closed by
the ruin of the patriots; and, on the memorable field of Villalar, the
liberties of Spain received a blow from which they were destined not to
recover for centuries. From that fatal hour,--the bitter fruit of the
jealousy of castes and the passions of the populace,--an unbroken
tranquillity reigned throughout the country; such a tranquillity as
naturally flows not from a free and well-conducted government, but from
a despotic one. In this political tranquillity, however, the intellect
of Spain did not slumber. Sheltered from invasion by the barrier of the
Pyrenees, her people were allowed to cultivate the arts of peace, so
long as they did not meddle with politics or religion,--in other words,
with the great interests of humanity; while the more adventurous found a
scope for their prowess in European wars, or in exploring the boundless
regions of the Western world.

While there was so little passing in Spain to attract the eye of the
historian, Germany became the theatre of one of those momentous
struggles which have had a permanent influence on the destinies of
mankind. It was in this reign that the great battle of religious liberty
was begun; and the attention and personal presence of Charles were
necessarily demanded most in the country where that battle was to be
fought. But a small part of his life was passed in Spain, in comparison
with what he spent in other parts of his dominions. His early
attachments, his lasting sympathies, were with the people of the
Netherlands; for Flanders was the place of his birth. He spoke the
language of that country more fluently than the Castilian; although he
knew the various languages of his dominions so well, that he could
address his subjects from every quarter in their native dialect. In the
same manner, he could accommodate himself to their peculiar national
manners and tastes. But this flexibility was foreign to the genius of
the Spaniard. Charles brought nothing from Spain but a religious zeal,
amounting to bigotry, which took deep root in a melancholy temperament
inherited from his mother. His tastes were all Flemish. He introduced
the gorgeous ceremonial of the Burgundian court into his own palace, and
into the household of his son. He drew his most trusted and familiar
counsellors from Flanders; and this was one great cause of the troubles
which, at the beginning of his reign, distracted Castile. There was
little to gratify the pride of the Spaniard in the position which he
occupied at the imperial court. Charles regarded Spain chiefly for the
resources she afforded for carrying on his ambitious enterprises. When
he visited her, it was usually to draw supplies from the cortes. The
Spaniards understood this, and bore less affection to his person than to
many of their monarchs far inferior to him in the qualities for exciting
it. They hardly regarded him as one of the nation. There was, indeed,
nothing national in the reign of Charles. His most intimate relations
were with Germany; and as the Emperor Charles the Fifth of Germany, not
as King Charles the First of Spain, he was known in his own time, and
stands recorded on the pages of history.


When Charles ascended the throne, at the beginning of the sixteenth
century, Europe may be said to have been much in the same condition, in
one respect, as she was at the beginning of the eighth. The Turk menaced
her on the east, in the same manner as the Arab had before menaced her
on the west. The hour seemed to be fast approaching which was to decide
whether Christianity or Mahometanism should hold the ascendant. The
Ottoman tide of conquest rolled up to the very walls of Vienna; and
Charles, who, as head of the empire, was placed on the frontier of
Christendom, was called on to repel it. When thirty-two years of age, he
marched against the formidable Solyman, drove him to an ignominious
retreat, and, at less cost of life than is often expended in a skirmish,
saved Europe from invasion. He afterwards crossed the sea to Tunis,
then occupied by a horde of pirates, the scourge of the Mediterranean.
He beat them in a bloody battle, slew their chief, and liberated ten
thousand captives from their dungeons. All Europe rang with the praises
of the young hero, who thus consecrated his arms to the service of the
Cross, and stood forward as the true champion of Christendom.

But from this high position Charles was repeatedly summoned to other
contests, of a more personal and far less honorable character. Such was
his long and bloody quarrel with Francis the First. It was hardly
possible that two princes, so well matched in years, power, pretensions,
and, above all, love of military glory, with dominions touching on one
another through their whole extent, could long remain without cause of
rivalry and collision. Such rivalry did exist from the moment that the
great prize of the empire was adjudged to Charles; and through the whole
of their long struggle, with the exception of a few reverses, the
superior genius of the emperor triumphed over his bold, but less politic

There was still a third contest, on which the strength of the Spanish
monarch was freely expended through the greater part of his reign,--his
contest with the Lutheran princes of Germany. Here, too, for a long
time, fortune favored him. But it is easier to contend against man than
against a great moral principle. The principle of reform had struck too
deep into the mind of Germany to be eradicated by force or by fraud.
Charles, for a long time, by a course of crafty policy, succeeded in
baffling the Protestant league; and, by the decisive victory at
Muhlberg, seemed, at last, to have broken it altogether. But his success
only ministered to his ruin. The very man on whom he bestowed the spoils
of victory turned them against his benefactor. Charles, ill in body and
mind, and glad to escape from his enemies under cover of the night and a
driving tempest, was at length compelled to sign the treaty of Passau,
which secured to the Protestants those religious immunities against
which he had contended through his whole reign.

Not long after, he experienced another humiliating reverse from France,
then ruled by a younger rival, Henry the Second, the son of Francis. The
good star of Charles--the star of Austria--seemed to have set; and as he
reluctantly raised the siege of Metz, he was heard bitterly to exclaim,
"Fortune is a strumpet, who reserves her favors for the young!"

With spirits greatly depressed by his reverses, and still more by the
state of his health, which precluded him from taking part in the manly
and martial exercises to which he had been accustomed, he felt that he
had no longer the same strength as formerly to bear up under the toils
of empire. When but little more than thirty years of age, he had been
attacked by the gout, and of late had been so sorely afflicted with that
disorder, that he had nearly lost the use of his limbs. The man who,
cased in steel, had passed whole days and nights in the saddle,
indifferent to the weather and the season, could now hardly drag himself
along with the aid of his staff. For days he was confined to his bed;
and he did not leave his room for weeks together. His mind became
oppressed with melancholy, which was, to some extent, a constitutional
infirmity. His chief pleasure was in listening to books, especially of a
religious character. He denied himself to all except his most intimate
and trusted counsellors. He lost his interest in affairs; and for whole
months, according to one of his biographers, who had access to his
person, he refused to receive any public communication, or to subscribe
any document, or even letter.[2] One cannot understand how the business
of the nation could have been conducted in such a state of things.
After the death of his mother, Joanna, his mind became more deeply
tinctured with those gloomy fancies which in her amounted to downright
insanity. He imagined he heard her voice calling on him to follow her.
His thoughts were now turned from secular concerns to those of his own
soul; and he resolved to put in execution a plan for resigning his crown
and withdrawing to some religious retreat, where he might prepare for
his latter end. This plan he had conceived many years before, in the
full tide of successful ambition. So opposite were the elements at work
in the character of this extraordinary man!

Although he had chosen the place of his retreat, he had been deterred
from immediately executing his purpose by the forlorn condition of his
mother, and the tender age of his son. The first obstacle was now
removed by the death of Joanna, after a reign--a nominal reign--of half
a century, in which the cloud that had settled on her intellect at her
husband's death was never dispelled.

The age of Philip, his son and heir, was also no longer an objection.
From early boyhood he had been trained to the duties of his station,
and, when very young, had been intrusted with the government of Castile.
His father had surrounded him with able and experienced counsellors, and
their pupil, who showed a discretion far beyond his years, had largely
profited by their lessons. He had now entered his twenty-ninth year, an
age when the character is formed, and when, if ever, he might be
supposed qualified to assume the duties of government. His father had
already ceded to him the sovereignty of Naples and Milan, on occasion of
the prince's marriage with Mary of England. He was on a visit to that
country, when Charles, having decided on the act of abdication, sent to
require his son's attendance at Brussels, where the ceremony was to be
performed. The different provinces of the Netherlands were also summoned
to send their deputies, with authority to receive the emperor's
resignation, and to transfer their allegiance to his successor. As a
preliminary step, on the twenty-second of October, 1555, he conferred on
Philip the grand-mastership--which, as Lord of Flanders, was vested in
himself--of the _toison d'or_, the order of the Golden Fleece, of
Burgundy; the proudest and most coveted, at that day, of all the
military orders of knighthood.

Preparations were then made for conducting the ceremony of abdication
with all the pomp and solemnity suited to so august an occasion. The
great hall of the royal palace of Brussels was selected for the scene of
it. The walls of the spacious apartment were hung with tapestry, and the
floor was covered with rich carpeting. A scaffold was erected, at one
end of the room, to the height of six or seven steps. On it was placed a
throne, or chair of state, for the emperor, with other seats for Philip,
and for the great Flemish lords who were to attend the person of their
sovereign. Above the throne was suspended a gorgeous canopy, on which
were emblazoned the arms of the ducal house of Burgundy. In front of the
scaffolding, accommodations were provided for the deputies of the
provinces, who were to be seated on benches arranged according to their
respective rights of precedence.[3]


On the twenty-fifth of October, the day fixed for the ceremony, Charles
the Fifth executed an instrument by which he ceded to his son the
sovereignty of Flanders.[4] Mass was then performed; and the emperor,
accompanied by Philip and a numerous retinue, proceeded in state to the
great hall, where the deputies were already assembled.[5]

Charles was, at this time, in the fifty-sixth year of his age. His form
was slightly bent,--but it was by disease more than by time,--and on his
countenance might be traced the marks of anxiety and rough exposure. Yet
it still wore that majesty of expression so conspicuous in his portraits
by the inimitable pencil of Titian. His hair, once of a light color,
approaching to yellow, had begun to turn before he was forty, and, as
well as his beard, was now gray. His forehead was broad and expansive;
his nose aquiline. His blue eyes and fair complexion intimated his
Teutonic descent. The only feature in his countenance decidedly bad was
his lower jaw, protruding with its thick, heavy lip, so characteristic
of the physiognomies of the Austrian dynasty.[6]

In stature he was about the middle height. His limbs were strongly knit,
and once well formed, though now the extremities were sadly distorted by
disease. The emperor leaned for support on a staff with one hand, while
with the other he rested on the arm of William of Orange, who, then
young, was destined at a later day to become the most formidable enemy
of his house. The grave demeanor of Charles was rendered still more
impressive by his dress; for he was in mourning for his mother; and the
sable hue of his attire was relieved only by a single ornament, the
superb collar of the Golden Fleece, which hung from his neck.

Behind the emperor came Philip, the heir of his vast dominions. He was
of a middle height, of much the same proportions as his father, whom he
resembled also in his lineaments,--except that those of the son wore a
more sombre, and perhaps a sinister expression; while there was a
reserve in his manner, in spite of his efforts to the contrary, as if he
would shroud his thoughts from observation. The magnificence of his
dress corresponded with his royal station, and formed a contrast to that
of his father, who was quitting the pomp and grandeur of the world, on
which the son was about to enter.

Next to Philip came Mary, the emperor's sister, formerly queen of
Hungary. She had filled the post of regent of the Low Countries for
nearly twenty years, and now welcomed the hour when she was to resign
the burden of sovereignty to her nephew, and withdraw, like her imperial
brother, into private life. Another sister of Charles, Eleanor, widow of
the French king, Francis the First, also took part in these ceremonies,
previous to her departure for Spain, whither she was to accompany the

After these members of the imperial family came the nobility of the
Netherlands, the knights of the Golden Fleece, the royal counsellors,
and the great officers of the household, all splendidly attired in their
robes of state, and proudly displaying the insignia of their orders.
When the emperor had mounted his throne, with Philip on his right hand,
the Regent Mary on his left, and the rest of his retinue disposed along
the seats prepared for them on the platform, the president of the
council of Flanders addressed the assembly. He briefly explained the
object for which they had been summoned, and the motives which had
induced their master to abdicate the throne; and he concluded by
requiring them, in their sovereign's name, to transfer their allegiance
from himself to Philip, his son and rightful heir.

After a pause, Charles rose to address a few parting words to his
subjects. He stood with apparent difficulty, and rested his right hand
on the shoulder of the Prince of Orange, intimating, by this preference
on so distinguished an occasion, the high favour in which he held the
young nobleman. In the other hand he held a paper, containing some hints
for his discourse, and occasionally cast his eyes on it, to refresh his
memory. He spoke in the French language.

He was unwilling, he said, to part from his people without a few words
from his own lips. It was now forty years since he had been intrusted
with the sceptre of the Netherlands. He was soon after called to take
charge of a still more extensive empire, both in Spain and in Germany,
involving a heavy responsibility for one so young. He had, however,
endeavored earnestly to do his duty to the best of his abilities. He had
been ever mindful of the interests of the dear land of his birth, but,
above all, of the great interests of Christianity. His first object had
been to maintain these inviolate against the infidel. In this he had
been thwarted, partly by the jealousy of neighboring powers, and partly
by the factions of the heretical princes of Germany.

In the performance of his great work, he had never consulted his ease.
His expeditions, in war and in peace, to France, England, Germany,
Italy, Spain, and Flanders, had amounted to no less than forty. Four
times he had crossed the Spanish seas, and eight times the
Mediterranean. He had shrunk from no toil, while he had the strength to
endure it. But a cruel malady had deprived him of that strength.
Conscious of his inability to discharge the duties of his station, he
had long since come to the resolution to relinquish it. From this he had
been diverted only by the situation of his unfortunate parent, and by
the inexperience of his son. These objections no longer existed; and he
should not stand excused, in the eye of Heaven or of the world, if he
should insist on still holding the reins of government when he was
incapable of managing them,--when every year his incapacity must become
more obvious.


He begged them to believe that this, and no other motive, induced him to
resign the sceptre which he had so long swayed. They had been to him
dutiful and loving subjects; and such, he doubted not, they would prove
to his successor. Above all things, he besought them to maintain the
purity of the faith. If any one, in these licentious times, had admitted
doubts into his bosom, let such doubts be extirpated at once. "I know
well," he concluded, "that, in my long administration, I have fallen
into many errors, and committed some wrongs, but it was from ignorance;
and, if there be any here whom I have wronged, they will believe that it
was not intended, and grant me their forgiveness."[7]

While the emperor was speaking, a breathless silence pervaded the whole
audience. Charles had ever been dear to the people of the
Netherlands,--the land of his birth. They took a national pride in his
achievements, and felt that his glory reflected a peculiar lustre on
themselves. As they now gazed for the last time on that revered form,
and listened to the parting admonitions from his lips, they were deeply
affected, and not a dry eye was to be seen in the assembly.

After a short interval, Charles, turning to Philip, who, in an attitude
of deep respect, stood awaiting his commands, he thus addressed
him:--"If the vast possessions which are now bestowed on you had come by
inheritance, there would be abundant cause for gratitude. How much more,
when they come as a free gift in the lifetime of your father! But,
however large the debt, I shall consider it all repaid, if you only
discharge your duty to your subjects. So rule over them, that men shall
commend, and not censure me for the part I am now acting. Go on as you
have begun. Fear God; live justly; respect the laws; above all, cherish
the interests of religion; and may the Almighty bless you with a son, to
whom, when old and stricken with disease, you may be able to resign your
kingdom with the same good-will with which I now resign mine to you."

As he ceased, Philip, much affected, would have thrown himself at his
father's feet, assuring him of his intention to do all in his power to
merit such goodness; but Charles, raising his son, tenderly embraced
him, while the tears flowed fast down his cheeks. Every one, even the
most stoical, was touched by this affecting scene; "and nothing," says
one who was present, "was to be heard, throughout the hall, but sobs and
ill-suppressed moans." Charles, exhausted by his efforts, and deadly
pale, sank back upon his seat; while, with feeble accents, he exclaimed,
as he gazed on his people, "God bless you! God bless you!"[8]

After these emotions had somewhat subsided, Philip arose, and,
delivering himself in French, briefly told the deputies of the regret
which he felt at not being able to address them in their native
language, and to assure them of the favor and high regard in which he
held them. This would be done for him by the bishop of Arras.

This was Antony Perennot, better known as Cardinal Granvelle, son of the
famous minister of Charles the Fifth, and destined himself to a still
higher celebrity as the minister of Philip the Second. In clear and
fluent language, he gave the deputies the promise of their new sovereign
to respect the laws and liberties of the nation; invoking them, on his
behalf, to aid him with their counsels, and, like royal vassals, to
maintain the authority of the law in his dominions. After a suitable
response from the deputies, filled with sentiments of regret for the
loss of their late monarch, and with those of loyalty to their new one,
the Regent Mary formally abdicated her authority, and the session
closed. So ended a ceremony, which, considering the importance of its
consequences, the character of the actors, and the solemnity of the
proceedings, is one of the most remarkable in history. That the crown of
the monarch is lined with thorns, is a trite maxim; and it requires no
philosophy to teach us that happiness does not depend on station. Yet,
numerous as are the instances of those who have waded to a throne
through seas of blood, there are but few who, when they have once tasted
the sweets of sovereignty, have been content to resign them; still fewer
who, when they have done so, have had the philosophy to conform to their
change of condition, and not to repent it. Charles, as the event proved,
was one of these few.

On the sixteenth day of January, 1556, in the presence of such of the
Spanish nobility as were at the court, he executed the deeds by which he
ceded the sovereignty of Castile and Aragon, with their dependencies, to

The last act that remained for him to perform was to resign the crown of
Germany in favor of his brother Ferdinand. But this he consented to
defer some time longer, at the request of Ferdinand himself, who wished
to prepare the minds of the electoral college for this unexpected
transfer of the imperial sceptre. But, while Charles consented to retain
for the present the title of Emperor, the real power and the burden of
sovereignty would remain with Ferdinand.[10]

At the time of abdicating the throne of the Netherlands, Charles was
still at war with France. He had endeavored to negotiate a permanent
peace with that country; and, although he failed in this, he had the
satisfaction, on the fifth of February, 1556, to arrange a truce for
five years, which left both powers in the possession of their respective
conquests. In the existing state of these conquests, the truce was by no
means favorable to Spain. But Charles would have made even larger
concessions, rather than leave the legacy of a war to his less
experienced successor.


Having thus completed all his arrangements, by which the most powerful
prince of Europe descended to the rank of a private gentleman, Charles
had no longer reason to defer his departure, and he proceeded to the
place of embarkation. He was accompanied by a train of Flemish
courtiers, and by the foreign ambassadors, to the latter of whom he
warmly commended the interests of his son. A fleet of fifty-six sail was
riding at anchor in the port of Flushing, ready to transport him and his
retinue to Spain. From the imperial household, consisting of seven
hundred and sixty-two persons, he selected a hundred and fifty as his
escort; and accompanied by his sisters, after taking an affectionate
farewell of Philip, whose affairs detained him in Flanders, on the
thirteenth of September he sailed from the harbor of Flushing.

The passage was a boisterous one; and Charles, who suffered greatly from
his old enemy, the gout, landed, in a feeble state, at Laredo, in
Biscay, on the twenty-eighth of the month. Scarcely had he left the
vessel, when a storm fell with fury on the fleet, and did some mischief
to the shipping in the harbor. The pious Spaniard saw in this the finger
of Providence, which had allowed no harm to the squadron till its royal
freight had been brought safely to the shore.[11]

On landing, Charles complained, and with some reason, of the scanty
preparations that had been made for him. Philip had written several
times to his sister, the regent, ordering her to have everything ready
for the emperor on his arrival.[12] Joanna had accordingly issued her
orders to that effect. But promptness and punctuality are not virtues of
the Spaniard. Some apology may be found for their deficiency in the
present instance; as Charles himself had so often postponed his
departure from the Low Countries, that, when he did come, the people
were, in a manner, taken by surprise. That the neglect was not
intentional is evident from their subsequent conduct.[13]

Charles, whose infirmities compelled him to be borne in a litter, was
greeted, everywhere on the road, like a sovereign returning to his
dominions. It was evening when he reached the ancient city of Burgos;
and, as he passed through its illuminated streets the bells rang
merrily, to give him welcome. He remained there three days, experiencing
the hospitalities of the great constable, and receiving the homage of
the northern lords, as well as of the people, who thronged the route by
which he was to pass. At Torquemada, among those who came to pay their
respects to their former master was Gasca, the good president of Peru.
He had been sent to America to suppress the insurrection of Gonzalo
Pizarro, and restore tranquillity to the country. In the execution of
this delicate mission, he succeeded so well, that the emperor, on his
return, had raised him to the see of Plasencia; and the excellent man
now lived in his diocese, where, in the peaceful discharge of his
episcopal functions, he probably enjoyed far greater contentment than
he could have derived from the dazzling, but difficult post of an
American viceroy.

From Torquemada, Charles slowly proceeded to Valladolid, where his
daughter, the Regent Joanna, was then holding her court. Preparations
were made for receiving him in a manner suited to his former rank. But
Charles positively declined these honours, reserving them for his two
sisters, the dowager queens of France and Hungary, who accordingly made
their entrance into the capital in great state, on the day following
that on which their royal brother had entered it with the simplicity of
a private citizen.

He remained here some time, in order to recover from the fatigue of his
journey; and, although he took little part in the festivities of the
court, he gave audience to his ancient ministers, and to such of the
Castilian grandees as were eager to render him their obeisance. At the
court he had also the opportunity of seeing his grandson Carlos, the
heir of the monarchy; and his quick eye, it is said, in this short time,
saw enough in the prince's deportment to fill him with ominous

Charles prolonged his stay fourteen days in Valladolid, during which
time his health was much benefited by the purity and the dryness of the
atmosphere. On his departure, his royal sisters would have borne him
company, and even have fixed their permanent residence near his own. But
to this he would not consent; and, taking a tender farewell of every
member of his family,--as one who was never to behold them again,--he
resumed his journey.

The place he had chosen for his retreat was the monastery of Yuste, in
the province of Estremadura, not many miles from Plasencia. On his way
thither he halted near three months at Jarandilla, the residence of the
count of Oropesa, waiting there for the completion of some repairs that
were going on in the monastery, as well as for the remittance of a
considerable sum of money, which he was daily expecting. This he
required chiefly to discharge the arrears due to some of his old
retainers; and the failure of the remittance has brought some obloquy on
Philip, who could so soon show himself unmindful of his obligations to
his father. But the blame should rather be charged on Philip's ministers
than on Philip, absent as he was at that time from the country, and
incapable of taking personal cognizance of the matter. Punctuality in
his pecuniary engagements was a virtue to which neither Charles nor
Philip--the masters of the Indies--could at any time lay claim. But the
imputation of parsimony, or even indifference, on the part of the
latter, in his relations with his father, is fully disproved by the
subsequent history of that monarch at the convent of Yuste.[14]

[Sidenote: BIRTH OF PHILIP.]

This place, it is said, had attracted his eye many years before, when on
a visit to that part of the country, and he marked it for his future
residence. The convent was tenanted by monks of the strictest order of
Saint Jerome. But, however strict in their monastic rule, the good
fathers showed much taste in the selection of their ground, as well as
in the embellishment of it. It lay in a wild, romantic country,
embosomed among hills that stretch along the northern confines of
Estremadura. The building, which was of great antiquity, had been
surrounded by its inmates with cultivated gardens, and with groves of
orange, lemon, and myrtle, whose fragrance was tempered by the
refreshing coolness of the waters that gushed forth in abundance from
the rocky sides of the hills. It was a delicious retreat, and, by its
calm seclusion and the character of its scenery, was well suited to
withdraw the mind from the turmoil of the world, and dispose it to
serious meditation. Here the monarch, after a life of restless ambition,
proposed to spend the brief remainder of his days, and dedicate it to
the salvation of his soul. He could not, however, as the event proved,
close his heart against all sympathy with mankind, nor refuse to take
some part in the great questions which then agitated the world. Charles
was not master of that ignoble philosophy which enabled Diocletian to
turn with contentment from the cares of an empire to those of a
cabbage-garden.--In this retirement we must now leave the royal recluse,
while we follow the opening career of the prince whose reign is the
subject of the present history.



Birth of Philip the Second.--His Education.--Intrusted with the
Regency.--Marries Mary of Portugal.--Visit to Flanders.--Public
Festivities.--Ambitious Schemes.--Returns to Spain.


Philip the Second was born at Valladolid, on the twenty-first of May,
1527. His mother was the Empress Isabella, daughter of Emanuel the Great
of Portugal. By his father he was descended from the ducal houses of
Burgundy and Austria. By both father and mother he claimed a descent
from Ferdinand and Isabella the Catholic of Spain. As by blood he was
half a Spaniard, so by temperament and character he proved to be wholly

The ceremony of his baptism was performed with all due solemnity, by
Tavera, archbishop of Toledo, on the twenty-fifth of June, when the
royal infant received the name of Philip, after his paternal
grandfather, Philip the Handsome, whose brief reign--for which he was
indebted to his union with Joanna, queen-proprietor of Castile--has
hardly secured him a place in the line of Castilian sovereigns.

The birth of a son--the heir of so magnificent an empire--was hailed
with delight both by Charles and by the whole nation, who prepared to
celebrate it in a style worthy of the event, when tidings reached them
of the capture of Pope Clement the Seventh and the sack of Rome by the
Spanish troops under the constable de Bourbon. The news of this event,
and the cruelties inflicted by the conquerors, filled all Europe with
consternation. Even the Protestants, who had no superfluous sympathy to
spare for the sufferings of the pope, were shocked by the perpetration
of atrocities compared with which the conduct of Attila and Alaric might
almost be deemed merciful. Whatever responsibility may attach to Charles
on the score of the expedition, it would be injustice to him to suppose
that he did not share in the general indignation at the manner in which
it was conducted. At all events, he could hardly venture to outrage the
feelings of Christendom so far as to take the present moment for one of
public rejoicing. Orders were instantly issued to abandon the intended
festivities, greatly to the discontent of the people, whose sympathy for
the pope did not by any means incline them to put this restraint on the
expression of their loyalty; and they drew from the disappointment an
uncomfortable augury that the reign of the young prince boded no good to
the Catholic religion.[15]

It was not long, however, before the people of Castile had an
opportunity for the full display of their enthusiasm, on the occasion of
Philip's recognition as rightful heir to the crown. The ceremony was
conducted with great pomp and splendor in the cortes at Madrid, on the
nineteenth of April, 1528, when he was but eleven months old. The prince
was borne in the arms of his mother, who, with the emperor, was present
on the occasion; while the nobles, the clergy, and the commons took the
oath of allegiance to the royal infant, as successor to the crown of
Castile. The act of homage was no sooner published, than the nation, as
if by way of compensation for the past, abandoned itself to a general
jubilee. Illuminations and bonfires were lighted up in all the towns and
villages; while everywhere were to be seen dancing, bull-fights, tilts
of reeds, and the other national games of that chivalrous and romantic

Soon after this, Charles was called by his affairs to other parts of his
far-extended empire, and he left his infant son to the care of a
Portuguese lady, Doña Leonor Mascareñas, or rather to that of the
Empress Isabella, in whose prudence and maternal watchfulness he could
safely confide. On the emperor's return to Spain, when his son was
hardly seven years old, he formed for him a separate establishment, and
selected two persons for the responsible office of superintending his

One of these personages was Juan Martinez Siliceo, at that time
professor in the College of Salamanca. He was a man of piety and
learning, of an accommodating temper,--too accommodating, it appears
from some of Charles's letters, for the good of his pupil, though not,
as it would seem, for his own good, since he found such favor with the
prince, that, from an humble ecclesiastic, he was subsequently preferred
to the highest dignities of the Church.

[Sidenote: HIS EDUCATION.]

Under him Philip was instructed in the ancient classics, and made such
progress in Latin, that he could write it, and did write it frequently
in after life, with ease and correctness. He studied, also, Italian and
French. He seems to have had little knowledge of the former, but French
he could speak indifferently well, though he was rarely inclined to
venture beyond his own tongue. He showed a more decided taste for
science, especially the mathematics. He made a careful study of the
principles of architecture; and the fruits of this study are to be seen
in some of the noblest monuments erected in that flourishing period of
the arts. In sculpture and painting he also made some proficiency, and
became, in later life, no contemptible critic,--at least for a

The other functionary charged with Philip's education was Don Juan de
Zuñiga, commendador mayor of Castile. He taught his pupil to fence, to
ride, to take his part at the tilts and tourneys, and, in short, to
excel in the chivalrous exercises familiar to cavaliers of his time. He
encouraged Philip to invigorate his constitution by the hardy pleasures
of the chase, to which, however, he was but little addicted as he
advanced in years.

But, besides these personal accomplishments, no one was better qualified
than Zuñiga to instruct his people in the duties belonging to his royal
station. He was a man of ancient family, and had passed much of his life
in courts. But he had none of the duplicity or of the suppleness which
often marks the character of the courtier. He possessed too high a
sentiment of honor to allow him to trifle with truth. He spoke his mind
plainly, too plainly sometimes for the taste of his pupil. Charles, who
understood the character of Zuñiga, wrote to his son to honor and to
cherish him. "If he deals plainly with you," he said, "it is for the
love he bears you. If he were to flatter you, and be only solicitous of
ministering to your wishes, he would be like all the rest of the world,
and you would have no one near to tell you the truth;--and a worse thing
cannot happen to any man, old or young; but most of all to the young,
from their want of experience to discern truth from error." The wise
emperor, who knew how rarely it is that truth is permitted to find its
way to royal ears, set a just value on the man who had the courage to
speak it.[17]

Under the influence of these teachers, and, still more, of the
circumstances in which he was placed,--the most potent teachers of
all,--Philip grew in years, and slowly unfolded the peculiar qualities
of his disposition. He seemed cautious and reserved in his demeanor, and
slow of speech; yet what he said had a character of thought beyond his
age. At no time did he discover that buoyancy of spirit, or was he
betrayed into those sallies of temper, which belong to a bold and
adventurous, and often to a generous nature. His deportment was marked
by a seriousness that to some might seem to savor of melancholy. He was
self-possessed, so that even as a boy he was rarely off his guard.[18]

The emperor, whose affairs called him away from Spain much the greater
part of his time, had not the power of personally superintending the
education of his son. Unfortunately for the latter, his excellent mother
died when he was but twelve years old. Charles, who loved his wife as
much as a man is capable of loving whose soul is filled with schemes of
boundless ambition, was at Madrid when he received tidings of her
illness. He posted in all haste to Toledo, where the queen then was, but
arrived there only in time to embrace her cold remains before they were
consigned to the sepulchre. The desolate monarch abandoned himself to an
agony of grief, and was with difficulty withdrawn from the apartment by
his attendants, to indulge his solitary regrets in the neighboring
monastery of La Sisla.

Isabella well deserved to be mourned by her husband. She was a woman
from all accounts, possessed of many high and generous qualities. Such
was her fortitude, that, at the time of her confinement, she was never
heard to utter a groan. She seemed to think any demonstration of
suffering a weakness, and had the chamber darkened that her attendants
might not see the distress painted on her countenance.[19] With this
constancy of spirit, she united many feminine virtues. The palace, under
her rule, became a school of industry. Instead of wasting her leisure
hours in frivolous pleasures, she might be seen busily occupied, with
her maidens, in the elegant labors of the loom; and, like her ancestor,
the good Queen Isabella the Catholic, she sent more than one piece of
tapestry, worked by her own hands, to adorn the altars of Jerusalem.
These excellent qualities were enhanced by manners so attractive, that
her effigy was struck on a medal, with a device of the three Graces on
the reverse side, bearing the motto, _Has Habet et superat_.[20]

Isabella was but thirty-six years old at the time of her death. Charles
was not forty. He never married again. Yet the bereavement seems to have
had little power to soften his nature, or incline him to charity for the
misconduct, or compassion for the misfortunes of others. It was but a
few months after the death of his wife, that, on occasion of the
insurrection of Ghent, he sought a passage through the territory of his
ancient enemy of France, descended on the offending city, and took such
vengeance on its wretched inhabitants as made all Europe ring with his

Philip was too young at this time to take part in the administration of
the kingdom during his father's absence. But he was surrounded by able
statesmen, who familiarized him with ideas of government, by admitting
him to see the workings of the machinery which he was one day to direct.
Charles was desirous that the attention of his son, even in boyhood,
should be turned to those affairs which were to form the great business
of his future life. It seems even thus early--at this period of mental
depression--the emperor cherished the plan of anticipating the natural
consequence of his decease, by resigning his dominions into the hands of
Philip so soon as he should be qualified to rule them.

No event occurred to disturb the tranquillity of Spain during the
emperor's absence from that country, to which he returned in the winter
of 1541. It was after his disastrous expedition against Algiers,--the
most disastrous of any that he had yet undertaken. He there saw his navy
sunk or scattered by the tempest, and was fortunate in finding a
shelter, with its shattered remnants, in the port of Carthagena. Soon
after landing, he received a letter from Philip, condoling with him on
his losses, and striving to cheer him with the reflection, that they had
been caused by the elements, not by his enemies. With this tone of
philosophy were mingled expressions of sympathy; and Charles may have
been gratified with the epistle,--if he could believe it the
composition of his son.[22] Philip soon after this made a journey to
the south; and, in the society of one who was now the chief object of
his affections, the emperor may have found the best consolation in his


The French had availed themselves of the troubled state of Charles's
affairs to make a descent upon Roussillon; and the Dauphin now lay in
some strength before the gates of Perpignan. The emperor considered this
a favorable moment for Philip to take his first lesson in war. The
prince accordingly posted to Valladolid. A considerable force was
quickly mustered; and Philip, taking the command, and supported by some
of the most experienced of his father's generals, descended rapidly
towards the coast. But the Dauphin did not care to wait for his
approach; and, breaking up his camp, he retreated, without striking a
blow, in all haste, across the mountains. Philip entered the town in
triumph, and soon after returned, with the unstained laurels of victory,
to receive his father's congratulations. The promptness of his movements
on this occasion gained him credit with the Spaniards; and the fortunate
result seemed to furnish a favorable augury for the future.

On his return, the prince was called to preside over the cortes at
Monzon,--a central town, where the deputies of Aragon, Catalonia, and
Valencia continued to assemble separately, long after those provinces
had been united to Castile. Philip, with all the forms prescribed by the
constitution, received the homage of the representatives assembled, as
successor to the crown of Aragon.

The war with France, which, after a temporary suspension, had broken out
with greater violence than ever, did not permit the emperor long to
protract his stay in the Peninsula. Indeed, it seemed to his Spanish
subjects that he rarely visited them, except when his exchequer required
to be replenished for carrying on his restless enterprises, and that he
stayed no longer than was necessary to effect this object. On leaving
the country, he intrusted the regency to Philip, under the general
direction of a council consisting of the duke of Alva, Cardinal Tavera,
and the Commendador Cobos. Some time after this, while still lingering
in Catalonia, previous to his embarkation, Charles addressed a letter to
his son, advising him as to his political course, and freely criticising
the characters of the great lords associated with him in the government.
The letter, which is altogether a remarkable document, contains, also,
some wholesome admonitions on Philip's private conduct. "The duke of
Alva," the emperor emphatically wrote, "is the ablest statesman and the
best soldier I have in my dominions. Consult him, above all, in military
affairs; but do not depend upon him entirely in these or in any other
matters. Depend on no one but yourself. The grandees will be too happy
to secure your favor, and through you to govern the land. But, if you
are thus governed, it will be your ruin. The mere suspicion of it will
do you infinite prejudice. Make use of all; but lean exclusively on
none. In your perplexities, ever trust in your Maker. Have no care but
for him." The emperor then passes some strictures on the Commendador
Cobos, as too much inclined to pleasure, at the same time admonishing
Philip of the consequences of a libertine career, fatal alike, he tells
him, to both soul and body. There seems to have been some ground for
this admonition, as the young prince had shown a disposition to
gallantry, which did not desert him in later life. "Yet, on the whole,"
says the monarch, "I will admit I have much reason to be satisfied with
your behavior. But I would have you perfect; and, to speak frankly,
whatever other persons may tell you, you have some things to mend yet.
Your confessor," he continues, "is now your old preceptor, the bishop
of Carthagena,"--to which see the worthy professor had been recently
raised. "He is a good man, as all the world knows; but I hope he will
take better care of your conscience than he did of your studies, and
that he will not show quite so accommodating a temper in regard to the
former as he did with the latter."[23]

On the cover of this curious epistle the emperor indorsed a direction to
his son, to show it to no living person; but if he found himself ill at
any time, to destroy the letter, or seal it up under cover to him. It
would, indeed, have edified those courtiers, who fancied they stood
highest in the royal favor, to see how, to their very depths, their
characters were sounded, and how clearly their schemes of ambition were
revealed to the eye of their master. It was this admirable perception of
character which enabled Charles, so generally, to select the right agent
for the execution of his plans, and thus to insure their success.

The letter from Palamos is one among many similar proofs of the care
with which, even from a distance, Charles watched over his son's course,
and endeavored to form his character. The experienced navigator would
furnish a chart to the youthful pilot, by which, without other aid, he
might securely steer through seas strange and unknown to him. Yet there
was little danger in the navigation, at this period; for Spain lay in a
profound tranquillity, unruffled by a breath from the rude tempest,
that, in other parts of Europe, was unsettling princes on their thrones.

A change was now to take place in Philip's domestic relations. His
magnificent expectations made him, in the opinion of the world, the best
match in Europe. His father had long contemplated the event of his son's
marrying. He had first meditated an alliance for him with Margaret,
daughter of Francis the First, by which means the feud with his ancient
rival might be permanently healed. But Philip's inclination was turned
to an alliance with Portugal. This latter was finally adopted by
Charles; and, in December, 1542, Philip was betrothed to the Infanta
Mary, daughter of John the Third and of Catharine, the emperor's sister.
She was, consequently, cousin-german to Philip. At the same time,
Joanna, Charles's youngest daughter, was affianced to the eldest son of
John the Third, and heir to his crown. The intermarriages of the royal
houses of Castile and Portugal were so frequent, that the several
members stood in multiplied and most perplexing degrees of affinity with
one another.

Joanna was eight years younger than her brother. Charles had one other
child, Mary, born the year after Philip. She was destined to a more
splendid fortune than her sister, as bride of the future emperor of
Germany. Since Philip and the Portuguese princess were now both more
than sixteen years old, being nearly of the same age, it was resolved
that their marriage should no longer be deferred. The place appointed
for the ceremony was the ancient city of Salamanca.


In October, 1543, the Portuguese infanta quitted her father's palace in
Lisbon, and set out for Castile. She was attended by a numerous train of
nobles, with the archbishop of Lisbon at their head. A splendid embassy
was sent to meet her on the borders, and conduct her to Salamanca. At
its head was the duke of Medina Sidonia, chief of the Guzmans, the
wealthiest and most powerful lord in Andalusia. He had fitted up his
palace at Badajoz in the most costly and sumptuous style, for the
accommodation of the princess. The hangings were of cloth of gold; the
couches, the sideboards, and some of the other furniture, of burnished
silver. The duke himself rode in a superb litter, and the mules which
carried it were shod with gold. The members of his household and his
retainers swelled to the number of three thousand, well mounted, wearing
the liveries and cognizance of their master. Among them was the duke's
private band, including several natives of the Indies,--then not a
familiar sight in Spain,--displaying on their breasts broad silver
escutcheons, on which were emblazoned the arms of the Guzmans. The
chronicler is diffuse in his account of the infanta's reception, from
which a few particulars may be selected for such as take an interest in
the Spanish costume and manners of the sixteenth century.

The infanta was five months younger than Philip. She was of the middle
size, with a good figure, though somewhat inclined to _embonpoint_, and
was distinguished by a graceful carriage and a pleasing expression of
countenance. Her dress was of cloth of silver, embroidered with flowers
of gold. She wore a _capa_, or Castilian mantle, of violet-colored
velvet, figured with gold, and a hat of the same materials, surmounted
by a white and azure plume. The housings of the mule were of rich
brocade, and Mary rode on a silver saddle.

As she approached Salamanca, she was met by the rector and professors of
the university, in their academic gowns. Next followed the judges and
_regidores_ of the city, in their robes of office, of crimson velvet,
with hose and shoes of spotless white. After these came the
military,--horse and foot,--in their several companies, making a
brilliant show with their gay uniforms; and, after going through their
various evolutions, they formed into an escort for the princess. In this
way, amidst the sound of music and the shouts of the multitude, the
glittering pageant entered the gates of the capital.

The infanta was there received under a superb canopy, supported by the
magistrates of the city. The late ambassador to Portugal, Don Luis
Sarmiento, who had negotiated the marriage treaty, held the bridle of
her mule; and in this state she arrived at the palace of the duke of
Alva, destined for her reception in Salamanca. Here she was received
with all honour by the duchess, in the presence of a brilliant company
of cavaliers and noble ladies. Each of the ladies was graciously
permitted by the infanta to kiss her hand; but the duchess, the
chronicler is careful to inform us, she distinguished by the honor of an

All the while, Philip had been in the presence of the infanta, unknown
to herself. Impatient to see his destined bride, the young prince had
sallied out, with a few attendants, to the distance of five or six miles
from the city, all in the disguise of huntsmen. He wore a slouched
velvet hat on his head, and his face was effectually concealed under a
gauze mask, so that he could mingle in the crowd by the side of the
infanta, and make his own scrutiny, unmarked by any one. In this way he
accompanied the procession during the five hours which it lasted, until
the darkness had set in; "if darkness could be spoken of," says the
chronicler, "where the blaze of ten thousand torches shed a light
stronger than day."

The following evening, November the twelfth, was appointed for the
marriage. The duke and duchess of Alva stood as sponsors, and the
nuptial ceremony was performed by Tavera, archbishop of Toledo. The
festivities were prolonged through another week. The saloons were filled
with the beauty of Castile. The proudest aristocracy in Europe vied with
each other in the display of magnificence at the banquet and the
tourney: and sounds of merriment succeeded to the tranquillity which had
so long reigned in the cloistered shades of Salamanca.

On the nineteenth of the month the new-married pair transferred their
residence to Valladolid,--a city at once fortunate and fatal to the
princess. Well might the chronicler call it "fatal;" for, in less than
two years, July 8th, 1545, she there gave birth to a son, the
celebrated Don Carlos, whose mysterious fate has furnished so fruitful a
theme for speculation. Mary survived the birth of her child but a few
days. Had her life been spared, a mother's care might perhaps have given
a different direction to his character, and, through this, to his
fortunes. The remains of the infanta, first deposited in the cathedral
of Granada, were afterwards removed to the Escorial, that magnificent
mausoleum prepared by her husband for the royalty of Spain.[24]

In the following year died Tavera, archbishop of Toledo. He was an
excellent man, and greatly valued by the emperor; who may be thought to
have passed a sufficient encomium on his worth when he declared, that
"by his death Philip had suffered a greater loss than by that of Mary;
for he could get another wife, but not another Tavera." His place was
filled by Siliceo, Philip's early preceptor, who, after having been
raised to the archiepiscopal see of Toledo, received a cardinal's hat
from Rome. The accommodating spirit of the good ecclesiastic had
doubtless some influence in his rapid advancement from the condition of
a poor teacher in Salamanca to the highest post,--as the see of Toledo,
with its immense revenues and authority, might be considered,--next to
the papacy, in the Christian Church.

For some years, no event of importance occurred to disturb the repose of
the Peninsula. But the emperor was engaged in a stormy career abroad, in
which his arms were at length crowned with success by the decisive
battle of Muhlberg.

This victory, which secured him the person of his greatest enemy, placed
him in a position for dictating terms to the Protestant princes of
Germany. He had subsequently withdrawn to Brussels, where he received an
embassy from Philip, congratulating him on the success of his arms.
Charles was desirous to see his son, from whom he had now been separated
nearly six years. He wished, moreover, to introduce him to the
Netherlands, and make him personally acquainted with the people over
whom he was one day to rule. He sent instructions, accordingly, to
Philip, to repair to Flanders, so soon as the person appointed to
relieve him in the government should arrive in Castile.

The individual selected by the emperor for this office was Maximilian,
the son of his brother Ferdinand. He was a young man of good parts,
correct judgment, and popular manners,--well qualified, notwithstanding
his youth, for the post assigned to him. He was betrothed, as already
mentioned, to the emperor's eldest daughter, his cousin Mary; and the
regency was to be delivered into his hands on the marriage of the

Philip received his father's commands while presiding at the cortes of
Monzon. He found the Aragonese legislature by no means so tractable as
the Castilian. The deputies from the mountains of Aragon and from the
sea-coast of Catalonia were alike sturdy in their refusal to furnish
further supplies for those ambitious enterprises, which, whatever glory
they might bring to their sovereign, were of little benefit to them. The
independent people of these provinces urged their own claims with a
pertinacity, and criticized the conduct of their rulers with a
bluntness, that was little grateful to the ear of majesty. The
convocation of the Aragonese cortes was, in the view of the king of
Spain, what the convocation of a general council was in that of the
pope,--a measure not to be resorted to but from absolute necessity.

On the arrival of Maximilian in Castile, his marriage with the Infanta
Mary was immediately celebrated. The ceremony took place, with all the
customary pomp, in the courtly city of Valladolid. Among the festivities
that followed may be noticed the performance of a comedy of Ariosto,--a
proof that the beautiful Italian literature, which had exercised a
visible influence on the compositions of the great Castilian poets of
the time, had now commended itself, in some degree, to the popular

Before leaving the country, Philip, by his father's orders, made a
change in his domestic establishment, which he formed on the Burgundian
model. This was more ceremonious, and far more costly, than the
primitive usage of Castile. A multitude of new offices was created, and
the most important were filled by grandees of the highest class. The
duke of Alva was made _mayor-domo mayor_; Antonio de Toledo, his
kinsman, master of the horse; Figueroa, count of Feria, captain of the
body-guard. Among the chamberlains was Ruy Gomez de Silva, prince of
Eboli, one of the most important members of the cabinet under Philip.
Even the menial offices connected with the person and table of the
prince were held by men of rank. A guard was lodged in the palace.
Philip dined in public in great state, attended by his kings-at-arms,
and by a host of minstrels and musicians. One is reminded of the pompous
etiquette of the court of Louis the Fourteenth. All this, however, was
distasteful to the Spaniards, who did not comprehend why the prince
should relinquish the simple usages of his own land for the fashions of
Burgundy. Neither was it to the taste of Philip himself; but it suited
that of his father, who was desirous that his son should flatter the
Flemings by the assumption of a state to which they had been accustomed
in their Burgundian princes.[25]

Philip, having now completed his arrangements, and surrendered the
regency into the hands of his brother-in-law, had no reason longer to
postpone his journey. He was accompanied by the duke of Alva, Enriquez,
high-admiral of Castile, Ruy Gomez, prince of Eboli, and a long train of
persons of the highest rank. There was, besides, a multitude of younger
cavaliers of family. The proudest nobles of the land contended for the
honor of having their sons take part in the expedition. The number was
still further augmented by a body of artists and men of science. The
emperor was desirous that Philip should make an appearance that would
dazzle the imaginations of the people among whom he passed.

With this brilliant company, Philip began his journey in the autumn of
1548. He took the road to Saragossa, made an excursion to inspect the
fortifications of Perpignan, offered up his prayers at the shrine of Our
Lady of Montserrat, passed a day or two at Barcelona, enjoying the fête
prepared for him in the pleasant citron-gardens of the cardinal of
Trent, and thence proceeded to the port of Rosas, where a Genoese fleet,
over which proudly waved the imperial banner, was riding at anchor, and
awaiting his arrival. It consisted of fifty-eight vessels, furnished by
Genoa, Sicily, and Naples, and commanded by the veteran of a hundred
battles, the famous Andrew Doria.

Philip encountered some rough weather on his passage to Genoa. The doge
and the principal senators came out of port in a magnificent galley to
receive him. The prince landed, amidst the roar of cannon from the walls
and the adjacent fortifications, and was forthwith conducted to the
mansion of the Dorias, preëminent, even in this city of palaces, for
its architectural splendor.

During his stay in Genoa, Philip received all the attentions which an
elegant hospitality could devise. But his hours were not wholly resigned
to pleasure. He received, every day, embassies from the different
Italian states, one of which came from the pope, Paul the Third, with
his nephew, Ottavio Farnese, at its head. Its especial object was to
solicit the prince's interest with his father, for the restitution of
Parma and Placentia to the Holy See. Philip answered in terms
complimentary, indeed, says the historian, "but sufficiently ambiguous
as to the essential."[26] He had already learned his first lesson in
kingcraft. Not long after, the pope sent him a consecrated sword, and
the hat worn by his holiness on Christmas eve, accompanied by an
autograph letter, in which, after expatiating on the mystic import of
his gift, he expressed his confidence that in Philip he was one day to
find the true champion of the Church.

At the end of a fortnight, the royal traveller resumed his journey. He
crossed the famous battle-field of Pavia, and was shown the place where
Francis the First surrendered himself a prisoner, and where the Spanish
ambuscade sallied out and decided the fortune of the day. His bosom
swelled with exultation, as he rode over the ground made memorable by
the most brilliant victory achieved by his father,--a victory which
opened the way to the implacable hatred of his vanquished rival, and to
oceans of blood.

From Pavia he passed on to Milan, the flourishing capital of
Lombardy,--the fairest portion of the Spanish dominions in Italy. Milan
was, at that time, second only to Naples in population. It was second to
no city in the elegance of its buildings, the splendor of its
aristocracy, the opulence and mechanical ingenuity of its burghers. It
was renowned, at the same time, for its delicate fabrics of silk, and
its armor, curiously wrought and inlaid with gold and silver. In all the
arts of luxury and material civilization, it was unsurpassed by any of
the capitals of Christendom.

As the prince approached the suburbs, a countless throng of people came
forth to greet him. For fifteen miles before he entered the city, the
road was spanned by triumphal arches, garlanded with flowers and fruits,
and bearing inscriptions, both in Latin and Italian, filled with praises
of the father and prognostics of the future glory of the son. Amidst the
concourse were to be seen the noble ladies of Milan, in gay, fantastic
cars, shining in silk brocade, and with sumptuous caparisons for their
horses. As he drew near the town, two hundred mounted gentlemen came out
to escort him into the place. They were clothed in complete mail of the
fine Milanese workmanship, and were succeeded by fifty pages in gaudy
livery, devoted to especial attendance on the prince's person, during
his residence in Milan.

Philip entered the gates under a canopy of state, with the cardinal of
Trent on his right hand, and Philibert, prince of Piedmont, on his left.
He was received, at the entrance, by the governor of the place, attended
by the members of the senate, in their robes of office. The houses which
lined the long street through which the procession passed were hung with
tapestries, and with paintings of the great Italian masters. The
balconies and verandahs were crowded with spectators, eager to behold
their future sovereign, and rending the air with their acclamations. The
ceremony of reception was closed, in the evening, by a brilliant display
of fireworks,--in which the Milanese excelled,--and by a general
illumination of the city.


Philip's time glided away, during his residence at Milan, in a
succession of banquets, _fêtes_, and spectacles of every description
which the taste and ingenuity of the people could devise for the
amusement of their illustrious guest. With none was he more pleased than
with the theatrical entertainments, conducted with greater elegance and
refinement in Italy than in any of the countries beyond the Alps. Nor
was he always a passive spectator at these festivities. He was
especially fond of dancing, in which his light and agile figure fitted
him to excel. In the society of ladies he lost much of his habitual
reserve; and the dignified courtesy of his manners seems to have made a
favorable impression on the fair dames of Italy, who were probably not
less pleased by the display of his munificence. To the governor's wife,
who had entertained him at a splendid ball, he presented a diamond ring
worth five thousand ducats; and to her daughter he gave a necklace of
rubies worth three thousand. Similar presents, of less value, he
bestowed on others of the court, extending his liberality even to the
musicians and inferior persons who had contributed to his entertainment.
To the churches he gave still more substantial proofs of his generosity.
In short, he showed, on all occasions, a munificent spirit worthy of his
royal station.

He took some pains, moreover, to reciprocate the civilities he had
received, by entertaining his hosts in return. He was particularly
fortunate in exhibiting to them a curious spectacle, which, even with
this pleasure-loving people, had the rare merit of novelty. This was the
graceful tourney introduced into Castile from the Spanish Arabs. The
highest nobles in his suite took the lead in it. The cavaliers were
arranged in six quadrilles, or factions, each wearing its distinctive
livery and badges, with their heads protected by shawls, or turbans,
wreathed around them in the Moorish fashion. They were mounted _à la
gineta_, that is, on the light jennet of Andalusia,--a cross of the
Arabian. In their hands they brandished their slender lances, with long
streamers attached to them, of some gay color, that denoted the
particular faction of the cavalier. Thus lightly equipped and mounted,
the Spanish knights went through the delicate manœuvres of the Moorish
tilt of reeds, showing an easy horsemanship, and performing feats of
agility and grace, which delighted the Italians, keenly alive to the
beautiful, but hitherto accustomed only to the more ponderous and clumsy
exercises of the European tourney.[27]

After some weeks, Prince Philip quitted the hospitable walls of Milan,
and set out for the north. Before leaving the place, he was joined by a
body of two hundred mounted arquebusiers, wearing his own yellow
uniform, and commanded by the duke of Arschot. They had been sent to him
as an escort by his father. He crossed the Tyrol, then took the road by
the way of Munich, Trent, and Heidelberg, and so on towards Flanders. On
all the route, the royal party was beset by multitudes of both sexes,
pressing to catch a glimpse of the young prince who was one day to sway
the mightiest sceptre in Europe. The magistrates of the cities through
which he passed welcomed him with complimentary addresses, and with
presents, frequently in the form of silver urns, or goblets, filled with
golden ducats. Philip received the donatives with a gracious
condescension; and, in truth, they did not come amiss in this season of
lavish expenditure. To the addresses, the duke of Alva, who rode by the
prince's side, usually responded. The whole of the long journey was
performed on horseback,--the only sure mode of conveyance in a country
where the roads were seldom practicable for carriages.

At length, after a journey of four months, the royal cavalcade drew
near the city of Brussels. Their approach to a great town was intimated
by the crowds who came to welcome them; and Philip was greeted with a
tumultuous enthusiasm, which made him feel that he was now indeed in the
midst of his own people. The throng was soon swelled by bodies of the
military; and with this loyal escort, amidst the roar of artillery and
the ringing of bells, which sent forth a merry peal from every tower and
steeple, Philip made his first entrance into the capital of Belgium.

The Regent Mary held her court there, and her brother, the emperor, was
occupying the palace with her. It was not long before the father had
again the satisfaction of embracing his son, from whom he had been
separated so many years. He must have been pleased with the alteration
which time had wrought in Philip's appearance. He was now twenty-one
years of age, and was distinguished by a comeliness of person, remarked
upon by more than one who had access to his presence. Their report is
confirmed by the portraits of him from the pencil of Titian,--taken
before the freshness of youth had faded into the sallow hue of disease,
and when care and anxiety had not yet given a sombre, perhaps sullen,
expression, to his features.

He had a fair, and even delicate complexion. His hair and beard were of
a light yellow. His eyes were blue, with the eyebrows somewhat too
closely knit together. His nose was thin and aquiline. The principal
blemish in his countenance was his thick Austrian lip. His lower jaw
protruded even more than that of his father. To his father, indeed, he
bore a great resemblance in his lineaments, though those of Philip were
of a less intellectual cast. In stature he was somewhat below the middle
height, with a slight, symmetrical figure and well-made limbs. He was
attentive to his dress, which was rich and elegant, but without any
affectation of ornament. His demeanor was grave with that ceremonious
observance which marked the old Castilian, and which may be thought the
natural expression of Philip's slow and phlegmatic temperament.[28]

During his long residence in Brussels, Charles had the opportunity of
superintending his son's education in one department in which it was
deficient,--the science of government. And, surely, no instructor could
have been found with larger experience than the man who had been at the
head of all the great political movements in Europe for the last quarter
of a century. Philip passed some time, every day, in his father's
cabinet, conversing with him on public affairs, or attending the
sessions of the council of state. It can hardly be doubted that Charles,
in his private instruction, inculcated on his son two principles so
prominent throughout Philip's administration,--to maintain the royal
authority in its full extent, and to enforce a strict conformity to the
Roman Catholic Communion. It is probable that he found his son an apt
and docile scholar. Philip acquired, at least, such habits of patient
application, and of watching over the execution of his own plans, as
have been possessed by few princes.[29]


The great object of Philip's visit to the Low Countries had been, to
present himself to the people of the different provinces, to study their
peculiar characters on their own soil, and obtain their recognition as
their future sovereign. After a long residence at Brussels, he set out
on a tour through the provinces. He was accompanied by the queen-regent,
and by the same splendid retinue as on his entrance into the country,
with the addition of a large number of the nobles.

The Netherlands had ever been treated by Charles with particular favor,
and, under his royal patronage, although the country did not develop its
resources as under its own free institutions of a later period, it had
greatly prospered. It was more thickly studded with trading towns than
any country of similar extent in Europe; and its flourishing communities
held the first rank in wealth, industry, and commercial enterprise, as
well as in the splendid way of living maintained by the aristocracy. On
the present occasion, these communities vied with one another in their
loyal demonstrations towards the prince, and in the splendor of the
reception which they gave him. A work was compiled by one of the royal
suite, setting forth the manifold honors paid to Philip through the
whole of the tour, which, even more than his former journey, had the
aspect of a triumphal progress. The book grew, under the hands of its
patriotic author, to the size of a bulky folio, which, however
interesting to his contemporaries, would have but slender attraction for
the present generation.[30] The mere inscriptions emblazoned on the
triumphal arches, and on the public buildings, spread over a multitude
of pages. They were both in Latin and in the language of the country,
and they augured the happy days in store for the nation, when, under the
benignant sceptre of Philip, it should enjoy the sweets of tranquillity
and freedom. Happy auguries! which showed that the prophet was not
gifted with the spirit of prophecy.[31]

In these solemnities, Antwerp alone expended fifty thousand pistoles.
But no place compared with Brussels in the costliness and splendor of
its festivities, the most remarkable of which was a tournament. Under
their Burgundian princes the Flemings had been familiar with these
chivalrous pageants. The age of chivalry was, indeed, fast fading away
before the use of gunpowder and other improvements in military science.
But it was admitted that no tourney had been maintained with so much
magnificence and knightly prowess since the days of Charles the Bold.
The old chronicler's narrative of the event, like the pages of
Froissart, seems instinct with the spirit of a feudal age. I will give a
few details, at the hazard of appearing trivial to those who may think
we have dwelt long enough on the pageants of the courts of Castile and
Burgundy. But such pageants form part of the natural accompaniment of a
picturesque age, and the illustrations they afford of the manners of the
time may have an interest for the student of history.

The tourney was held in a spacious square, inclosed for the purpose, in
front of the great palace of Brussels. Four knights were prepared to
maintain the field against all comers, and jewels of price were to be
awarded as the prize of the victors. The four challengers were Count
Mansfeldt, Count Hoorne, Count Aremberg, and the Sieur de Hubermont;
among the judges was the duke of Alva; and in the list of the successful
antagonists we find the names of Prince Philip of Spain, Emanuel
Philibert, duke of Savoy, and Count Egmont. These are names famous in
history. It is curious to observe how the men who were soon to be at a
deadly feud with one another were thus sportively met to celebrate the
pastimes of chivalry.

The day was an auspicious one, and the lists were crowded with the
burghers of Brussels, and the people of the surrounding country. The
galleries which encompassed the area were graced with the rank and
beauty of the capital. A canopy, embroidered with the imperial arms in
crimson and gold, indicated the place occupied by Charles the Fifth and
his sisters, the regent of the Netherlands, and the dowager queen of

For several hours the field was gallantly maintained by the four
challengers against every knight who was ambitious to prove his prowess
in the presence of so illustrious an assembly. At length the trumpets
sounded, and announced the entrance of four cavaliers, whose brilliant
train of followers intimated them to be persons of high degree. The four
knights were Prince Philip, the duke of Savoy, Count Egmont, and Juan
Manriquez de Lara, major-domo of the emperor. They were clothed in
complete mail, over which they wore surcoats of violet-colored velvet,
while the caparisons of their horses were of cloth of gold.

Philip ran the first course. His antagonist was the Count Mansfeldt, a
Flemish captain of great renown. At the appointed signal, the two
knights spurred against each other, and met in the centre of the lists
with a shock that shivered their lances to the very grasp. Both knights
reeled in their saddles, but neither lost his seat. The arena resounded
with the plaudits of the spectators, not the less hearty that one of the
combatants was the heir apparent.

The other cavaliers then tilted, with various success. A general
tournament followed, in which every knight eager to break a lance on
this fair occasion took part; and many a feat of arms was performed,
doubtless long remembered by the citizens of Brussels. At the end of the
seventh hour a flourish of trumpets announced the conclusion of the
contest, and the assembly broke up in admirable order, the knights
retiring to change their heavy panoplies for the lighter vestments of
the ball-room. A banquet was prepared by the municipality, in a style of
magnificence worthy of their royal guests. The emperor and his sisters
honored it with their presence, and witnessed the distribution of the
prizes. Among these, a brilliant ruby, the prize awarded for the _lança
de las damas_,--the "ladies' lance," in the language of chivalry,--was
assigned by the loyal judges to Prince Philip of Spain.

Dancing succeeded to the banquet; and the high-bred courtesy of the
prince was as much commended in the ball-room as his prowess had been in
the lists. Maskers mingled with the dancers in Oriental costume, some in
the Turkish, others in the Albanian fashion. The merry revels were not
prolonged beyond the hour of midnight, when the company broke up, loudly
commending, as they withdrew, the good cheer afforded them by the
hospitable burghers of Brussels.[32]


Philip won the prize on another occasion, when he tilted against a
valiant knight, named Quiñones. He was not so fortunate in an encounter
with the son of his old preceptor, Zuñiga, in which he was struck with
such force on the head, that, after being carried some distance by his
horse, he fell senseless from the saddle. The alarm was great, but the
accident passed away without serious consequences.[33]

There were those who denied him skill in the management of his lance.
Marillac, the French ambassador at the imperial court, speaking of a
tourney given by Philip in honor of the princess of Lorraine, at
Augsburg, says he never saw worse lance-playing in his life. At another
time he remarks, that the Spanish prince could not even hit his
antagonist.[34] It must have been a very palpable hit to be noticed by a
Frenchman. The French regarded the Spaniards of that day in much the
same manner as they regarded the English at an earlier period, or as
they have continued to regard them at a later. The long rivalry of the
French and Spanish monarchs had infused into the breasts of their
subjects such feelings of mutual aversion, that the opinions of either
nation in reference to the other, in the sixteenth century, must be
received with the greatest distrust.

But, whatever may have been Philip's success in these chivalrous
displays, it is quite certain they were not to his taste. He took part
in them only to conform to his father's wishes, and to the humor of the
age. Though in his youth he sometimes hunted, he was neither fond of
field-sports nor of the athletic exercises of chivalry. His constitution
was far from robust. He sought to invigorate it less by exercise than by
diet. He confined himself almost wholly to meat, as the most nutritious
food, abstaining even from fish; as well as from fruit.[35] Besides his
indisposition to active exercises, he had no relish for the gaudy
spectacles so fashionable in that romantic age. The part he had played
in the pageants, during his long tour, had not been of his own seeking.
Though ceremonious, and exacting deference from all who approached him,
he was not fond of the pomp and parade of a court life. He preferred to
pass his hours in the privacy of his own apartment, where he took
pleasure in the conversation of a few whom he honored with his regard.
It was with difficulty that the emperor could induce him to leave his
retirement and present himself in the audience-chamber, or accompany him
on visits of ceremony.[36]

These reserved and quiet tastes of Philip by no means recommended him to
the Flemings, accustomed as they were to the pomp and profuse
magnificence of the Burgundian court. Their free and social tempers were
chilled by his austere demeanor. They contrasted it with the affable
deportment of his father, who could so well conform to the customs of
the different nations under his sceptre, and who seemed perfectly to
comprehend their characters,--the astute policy of the Italian, the
home-bred simplicity of the German, and the Castilian propriety and
point of honor.[37] With the latter only of these had Philip anything in
common. He was in everything a Spaniard. He talked of nothing, seemed to
think of nothing, but Spain.[38] The Netherlands were to him a foreign
land, with which he had little sympathy. His counsellors and companions
were wholly Spanish. The people of Flanders felt, that, under his sway,
little favor was to be shown to them; and they looked forward to the
time when all the offices of trust in their own country would be given
to Castilians, in the same manner as those of Castile, in the early days
of Charles the Fifth, had been given to Flemings.[39]

Yet the emperor seemed so little aware of his son's unpopularity, that
he was at this very time making arrangements for securing to him the
imperial crown. He had summoned a meeting of the electors and great
lords of the empire, to be held at Augsburg, in August, 1550. There he
proposed to secure Philip's election as king of the Romans, so soon as
he had obtained his brother Ferdinand's surrender of that dignity. But
Charles did not show, in all this, his usual knowledge of human nature.
The lust of power on his son's account--ineffectual for happiness as he
had found the possession of it in his own case--seems to have entirely
blinded him.

He repaired with Philip to Augsburg, where they were met by Ferdinand
and the members of the German diet. But it was in vain that Charles
solicited his brother to waive his claim to the imperial succession in
favor of his nephew. Neither solicitations nor arguments, backed by the
entreaties, even the tears, it is said, of their common sister, the
Regent Mary, could move Ferdinand to forego the splendid inheritance.
Charles was not more successful when he changed his ground, and urged
his brother to acquiesce in Philip's election as his successor in the
dignity of king of the Romans; or, at least, in his being associated in
that dignity--a thing unprecedented--with his cousin Maximilian,
Ferdinand's son, who, it was understood, was destined by the electors to
succeed his father.

This young prince, who meanwhile had been summoned to Augsburg, was as
little disposed as Ferdinand had been to accede to the proposals of his
too grasping father-in-law; though he courteously alleged, as the ground
of his refusal, that he had no right to interfere with the decision of
the electors. He might safely rest his cause on their decision. They had
no desire to perpetuate the imperial sceptre in the line of Castilian
monarchs. They had suffered enough from the despotic temper of Charles
the Fifth; and this temper they had no reason to think would be
mitigated in the person of Philip.


They desired a German to rule over them,--one who would understand the
German character, and enter heartily into the feelings of the people.
Maximilian's directness of purpose and kindly nature had won largely on
the affections of his countrymen, and proved him, in their judgment,
worthy of the throne.[40]

Philip, on the other hand, was even more distasteful to the Germans than
he was to the Flemings. It was in vain that, at their banquets, he drank
twice or thrice as much as he was accustomed to do, until the cardinal
of Trent assured him that he was fast gaining in the good graces of the
people.[41] The natural haughtiness of his temper showed itself on too
many occasions to be mistaken. When Charles returned to his palace,
escorted, as he usually was, by a train of nobles and princes of the
empire, he would courteously take them by the hand, and raise his hat,
as he parted from them. But Philip, it was observed, on like occasions,
walked directly into the palace, without so much as turning round, or
condescending in any way to notice the courtiers who had accompanied
him. This was taking higher ground even than his father had done. In
fact, it was said of him, that he considered himself greater than his
father, inasmuch as the son of an emperor was greater than the son of a
king![42]--a foolish vaunt, not the less indicative of his character,
that it was made for him, probably, by the Germans. In short, Philip's
manners, which, in the language of a contemporary, had been little
pleasing to the Italians, and positively displeasing to the Flemings,
were altogether odious to the Germans.[43]

Nor was the idea of Philip's election at all more acceptable to the
Spaniards themselves. That nation had been long enough regarded as an
appendage to the empire. Their pride had been wounded by the light in
which they were held by Charles, who seemed to look on Spain as a royal
domain, valuable chiefly for the means it afforded him for playing his
part on the great theatre of Europe. The haughty Castilian of the
sixteenth century, conscious of his superior pretensions, could ill
brook this abasement. He sighed for a prince born and bred in Spain, who
would be content to pass his life in Spain, and would have no ambition
unconnected with her prosperity and glory. The Spaniards were even more
tenacious on this head than the Germans. Their remote situation made
them more exclusive, mere strictly national, and less tolerant of
foreign influence. They required a Spaniard to rule over them. Such was
Philip; and they anticipated the hour when Spain should be divorced from
the empire, and, under the sway of a patriotic prince, rise to her just
preëminence among the nations.

Yet Charles, far from yielding, continued to press the point with such
pertinacity, that it seemed likely to lead to an open rupture between
the different branches of his family. For a time Ferdinand kept his
apartment, and had no intercourse with Charles or his sister.[44] Yet in
the end the genius or the obstinacy of Charles so far prevailed over
his brother, that he acquiesced in a private compact, by which, while he
was to retain possession of the imperial crown, it was agreed that
Philip should succeed him as king of the Romans, and that Maximilian
should succeed Philip.[45] Ferdinand hazarded little by concessions
which could never be sanctioned by the electoral college. The reverses
which befell the emperor's arms in the course of the following year
destroyed whatever influence he might have possessed in that body; and
he seems never to have revived his schemes for aggrandizing his son by
securing to him the succession to the empire.

Philip had now accomplished the great object of his visit. He had
presented himself to the people of the Netherlands, and had received
their homage as heir to the realm. His tour had been, in some respects,
a profitable one. It was scarcely possible that a young man, whose days
had hitherto been passed within the narrow limits of his own country,
for ever under the same local influences, should not have his ideas
greatly enlarged by going abroad and mingling with different nations. It
was especially important to Philip to make himself familiar, as none but
a resident can be, with the character and institutions of those nations
over whom he was one day to preside. Yet his visit to the Netherlands
had not been attended with the happiest results. He evidently did not
make a favorable impression on the people. The more they saw of him, the
less they appeared to like him. Such impressions are usually reciprocal;
and Philip seems to have parted from the country with little regret.
Thus, in the first interview between the future sovereign and his
subjects, the symptoms might already be discerned of that alienation
which was afterwards to widen into a permanent and irreparable breach.

Philip, anxious to reach Castile, pushed forward his journey, without
halting to receive the civilities that were everywhere tendered to him
on his route. He made one exception at Trent, where the ecclesiastical
council was holding the memorable session that occupies so large a share
in Church annals. On his approach to the city, the cardinal legate,
attended by the mitred prelates and other dignitaries of the council,
came out in a body to receive him. During his stay there, he was
entertained with masks, dancing, theatrical exhibitions, and jousts,
contrived to represent scenes in Ariosto.[46] These diversions of the
reverend fathers formed a whimsical contrast, perhaps a welcome relief,
to their solemn occupation of digesting a creed for the Christian world.


From Trent Philip pursued his way, with all expedition, to Genoa, where
he embarked, under the flag of the veteran Doria, who had brought him
from Spain. He landed at Barcelona, on the twelfth day of July, 1551,
and proceeded at once to Valladolid, where he resumed the government of
the kingdom. He was fortified by a letter from his father, dated at
Augsburg, which contained ample instructions as to the policy he was to
pursue, and freely discussed both the foreign and domestic relations of
the country. The letter, which is very long, shows that the capacious
mind of Charles, however little time he could personally give to the
affairs of the monarchy, fully comprehended its internal condition and
the extent of its resources.[47]

The following years were years of humiliation to Charles; years marked
by the flight from Innsbruck, and the disastrous siege of Metz,--when,
beaten by the Protestants, foiled by the French, the reverses of the
emperor pressed heavily on his proud heart, and did more, probably, than
all the homilies of his ghostly teachers, to disgust him with the world
and its vanities.

Yet these reverses made little impression on Spain. The sounds of war
died away before they reached the foot of the Pyrenees. Spain, it is
true, sent forth her sons, from time to time, to serve under the banners
of Charles; and it was in that school that was perfected the admirable
system of discipline and tactics which, begun by the Great Captain, made
the Spanish infantry the most redoubtable in Europe. But the great body
of the people felt little interest in the success of these distant
enterprises, where success brought them no good. Not that the mind of
Spain was inactive, or oppressed with the lethargy which stole over it
in a later age. There was, on the contrary, great intellectual activity.
She was excluded, by an arbitrary government, from pushing her
speculations in the regions of theological or political science. But
this, to a considerable extent, was the case with most of the
neighboring nations; and she indemnified herself for this exclusion by a
more diligent cultivation of elegant literature. The constellation of
genius had already begun to show itself above the horizon, which was to
shed a glory over the meridian and the close of Philip's reign. The
courtly poets in the reign of his father had confessed the influence of
Italian models, derived through the recent territorial acquisitions in
Italy. But the national taste was again asserting its supremacy; and the
fashionable tone of composition was becoming more and more accommodated
to the old Castilian standard.

It would be impossible that any departure from a national standard
should be long tolerated in Spain, where the language, the manners, the
dress, the usages of the country, were much the same as they had been
for generations,--as they continued to be for generations, long after
Cervantes held up the mirror of fiction, to reflect the traits of the
national existence more vividly than is permitted to the page of the
chronicler. In the rude _romances_ of the fourteenth and the fifteenth
century, the Castilian of the sixteenth might see his way of life
depicted with tolerable accuracy. The amorous cavalier still thrummed
his guitar, by moonlight, under the balcony of his mistress, or wore her
favors at the Moorish tilt of reeds. The common people still sung their
lively _seguidillas_, or crowded to the _fiestas de toros_,--the cruel
bull-fights,--or to the more cruel _autos da fé_. This last spectacle,
of comparatively recent origin,--in the time of Ferdinand and
Isabella,--was the legitimate consequence of the long wars with the
Moslems, which made the Spaniard intolerant of religious infidelity.
Atrocious as it seems in a more humane and enlightened age, it was
regarded by the ancient Spaniard as a sacrifice grateful to Heaven, at
which he was to rekindle the dormant embers of his own religious

The cessation of the long Moorish wars by the fall of Granada, made the
most important change in the condition of the Spaniards. They, however,
found a vent for their chivalrous fanaticism, in a crusade against the
heathen of the New World. Those who returned from their wanderings
brought back to Spain little of foreign usages and manners; for the
Spaniard was the only civilized man whom they found in the wilds of

Thus passed the domestic life of the Spaniard, in the same unvaried
circle of habits, opinions, and prejudices, to the exclusion, and
probably contempt of everything foreign. Not that these habits did not
differ in the different provinces, where their distinctive peculiarities
were handed down, with traditional precision, from father to son. But,
beneath these, there was one common basis of the national character.
Never was there a people, probably, with the exception of the Jews,
distinguished by so intense a nationality. It was among such a people,
and under such influences, that Philip was born and educated. His
temperament and his constitution of mind peculiarly fitted him for the
reception of these influences; and the Spaniards, as he grew in years,
beheld, with pride and satisfaction, in their future sovereign, the most
perfect type of the national character.



Condition of England.--Character of Mary.--Philip's Proposals of
Marriage.--Marriage Articles.--Insurrection in England.

1553, 1554.

In the summer of 1553, three years after Philip's return to Spain,
occurred an event which was to exercise a considerable influence on his
fortunes. This was the death of Edward the Sixth of England,--after a
brief but important reign. He was succeeded by his sister Mary, that
unfortunate princess, whose _sobriquet_ of "Bloody" gives her a
melancholy distinction among the sovereigns of the house of Tudor.

The reign of her father, Henry the Eighth, had opened the way to the
great revolution in religion, the effects of which were destined to be
permanent. Yet Henry himself showed his strength rather in unsettling
ancient institutions than in establishing new ones. By the abolition of
the monasteries, he broke up that spiritual militia which was a most
efficacious instrument for maintaining the authority of Rome; and he
completed the work of independence by seating himself boldly in the
chair of St. Peter, and assuming the authority of head of the Church.
Thus, while the supremacy of the pope was rejected, the Roman Catholic
religion was maintained in its essential principles unimpaired. In other
words, the nation remained Catholics, but not Papists.


The impulse thus given under Henry was followed up to more important
consequences under his son, Edward the Sixth. The opinions of the German
Reformers, considerably modified, especially in regard to the exterior
forms and discipline of worship, met with a cordial welcome from the
ministers of the young monarch. Protestantism became the religion of the
land; and the Church of England received, to a great extent, the
peculiar organization which it has preserved to the present day. But
Edward's reign was too brief to allow the new opinions to take deep root
in the hearts of the people. The greater part of the aristocracy soon
showed that, whatever religious zeal they had affected, they were not
prepared to make any sacrifice of their temporal interests. On the
accession of a Catholic queen to the throne, a reaction soon became
visible. Some embarrassment to a return to the former faith was found in
the restitution which it might naturally involve of the confiscated
property of the monastic orders. But the politic concessions of Rome
dispensed with this severe trial of the sincerity of its new proselytes;
and England, after repudiating her heresies, was received into the fold
of the Roman Catholic Church, and placed once more under the
jurisdiction of its pontiff.

After the specimens given of the ready ductility with which the English
of that day accommodated their religious creeds to the creed of their
sovereign, we shall hardly wonder at the caustic criticism of the
Venetian ambassador, resident at the court of London, in Queen Mary's
time. "The example and authority of the sovereign," he says, "are
everything with the people of this country in matters of faith. As he
believes, they believe; Judaism or Mahometanism,--it is all one to them.
They conform themselves easily to his will, at least so far as the
outward show is concerned; and most easily of all where it concurs with
their own pleasure and profit."[48]

The ambassador, Giovanni Micheli, was one of that order of
merchant-princes employed by Venice in her foreign missions; men whose
acquaintance with affairs enabled them to comprehend the resources of
the country to which they were sent, as well as the intrigues of its
court. Their observations were digested into elaborate reports, which,
on their return to Venice, were publicly read before the doge and the
senate. The documents thus prepared form some of the most valuable and
authentic materials for the history of Europe in the sixteenth century.
Micheli's report is diffuse on the condition of England under the reign
of Queen Mary; and some of his remarks will have interest for the reader
of the present day, as affording a standard of comparison with the

London he eulogizes, as one of the noblest capitals in Europe,
containing, with its suburbs, about a hundred and eighty thousand
souls.[50] The great lords, as in France and Germany, passed most of
their time on their estates in the country.

The kingdom was strong enough, if united, to defy any invasion from
abroad. Yet its navy was small, having dwindled, from neglect and an
ill-judged economy, to not more than forty vessels of war. But the
mercantile marine could furnish two thousand more, which, at a short
notice, could be well equipped and got ready for sea. The army was
particularly strong in artillery, and provided with all the munitions of
war. The weapon chiefly in repute was the bow, to which the English
people were trained from early youth. In their cavalry they were most
defective. Horses were abundant, but wanted bottom. They were, for the
most part, light, weak, and grass-fed.[51] The nation was, above all, to
be envied for the lightness of the public burdens. There were no taxes
on wine, beer, salt, cloth, nor, indeed, on any of the articles that in
other countries furnished the greatest sources of revenue.[52] The whole
revenue did not usually exceed two hundred thousand pounds. Parliaments
were rarely summoned, except to save the king trouble or to afford a
cloak to his designs. No one ventured to resist the royal will; servile
the members came there, and servile they remained.[53]--An Englishman of
the nineteenth century may smile at the contrast presented by some of
these remarks to the condition of the nation at the present day; though
in the item of taxation the contrast may be rather fitted to provoke a

The portrait of Queen Mary is given by the Venetian minister, with a
coloring somewhat different from that in which she is commonly depicted
by English historians. She was about thirty-six years of age at the time
of her accession. In stature, she was of rather less than the middle
size,--not large, as was the case with both her father and mother,--and
exceedingly well made. "The portraits of her," says Micheli, "show that
in her youth she must have been not only good-looking, but even
handsome;--though her countenance, when he saw her, exhibited traces of
early trouble and disease."[54] But whatever she had lost in personal
attractions was fully made up by those of the mind. She was quick of
apprehension, and, like her younger sister, Elizabeth, was mistress of
several languages, three of which, the French, Spanish, and Latin, she
could speak; the last with fluency.[55] But in these accomplishments she
was surpassed by her sister, who knew the Greek well, and could speak
Italian with ease and elegance. Mary, however, both spoke and wrote her
own language in a plain, straightforward manner, that forms a contrast
to the ambiguous phrase and cold conceits in which Elizabeth usually
conveyed, or rather concealed, her sentiments.


Mary had the misfortune to labour under a chronic infirmity, which
confined her for weeks, and indeed months, of every year to her chamber,
and which, with her domestic troubles, gave her an air of melancholy,
that in later years settled into a repulsive austerity. The tones of her
voice were masculine, says the Venetian, and her eyes inspired a
feeling, not merely of reverence, but of fear, wherever she turned them.
Her spirit he adds, was lofty and magnanimous, never discomposed by
danger, showing in all things a blood truly royal.[56]

Her piety, he continues, and her patience under affliction, cannot be
too greatly admired. Sustained, as she was, by a lively faith and
conscious innocence, he compares her to a light which the fierce winds
have no power to extinguish, but which still shines on with increasing
lustre.[57] She waited her time, and was plainly reserved by Providence
for a great destiny.--We are reading the language of the loyal Catholic,
grateful for the services which Mary had rendered to the faith.

Yet it would be uncharitable not to believe that Mary was devout, and
most earnest in her devotion. The daughter of Katharine of Aragon, the
granddaughter of Isabella of Castile, could hardly have been otherwise.
The women of that royal line were uniformly conspicuous for their piety,
though this was too often tinctured with bigotry. In Mary, bigotry
degenerated into fanaticism, and fanaticism into the spirit of
persecution. The worst evils are probably those that have flowed from
fanaticism. Yet the amount of the mischief does not necessarily furnish
us with the measure of guilt in the author of it. The introduction of
the Inquisition into Spain must be mainly charged on Isabella. Yet the
student of her reign will not refuse to this great queen the praise of
tenderness of conscience and a sincere desire to do the right.
Unhappily, the faith in which she, as well as her royal granddaughter,
was nurtured, taught her to place her conscience in the keeping of
ministers less scrupulous than herself; and on those ministers may
fairly rest much of the responsibility of measures on which they only
were deemed competent to determine.

Mary's sincerity in her religious professions was placed beyond a doubt
by the readiness with which she submitted to the sacrifice of her
personal interests whenever the interests of religion seemed to demand
it. She burned her translation of a portion of Erasmus, prepared with
great labor, at the suggestion of her confessor. An author will readily
estimate the value of such a sacrifice. One more important, and
intelligible to all, was the resolute manner in which she persisted in
restoring the Church property which had been confiscated to the use of
the crown. "The crown is too much impoverished to admit of it,"
remonstrated her ministers. "I would rather lose ten crowns," replied
the high-minded queen, "than place my soul in peril."[58]

Yet it cannot be denied, that Mary had inherited, in full measure, some
of the sterner qualities of her father, and that she was wanting in that
sympathy for human suffering which is so graceful in a woman. After a
rebellion, the reprisals were terrible. London was converted into a
charnel-house; and the squares and principal streets were garnished with
the unsightly trophies of the heads and limbs of numerous victims who
had fallen by the hand of the executioner.[59] This was in accordance
with the spirit of the age. But the execution of the unfortunate Lady
Jane Grey--the young, the beautiful, and the good--leaves a blot on the
fame of Mary, which finds no parallel but in the treatment of the
ill-fated queen of Scots by Elizabeth.

Mary's treatment of Elizabeth has formed another subject of reproach,
though the grounds of it are not sufficiently made out; and, at all
events, many circumstances may be alleged in extenuation of her conduct.
She had seen her mother, the noble-minded Katharine, exposed to the most
cruel indignities, and compelled to surrender her bed and her throne to
an artful rival, the mother of Elizabeth. She had heard herself declared
illegitimate, and her right to the succession set aside in favor of her
younger sister. Even after her intrepid conduct had secured to her the
crown, she was still haunted by the same gloomy apparition. Elizabeth's
pretensions were constantly brought before the public; and Mary might
well be alarmed by the disclosure of conspiracy after conspiracy, the
object of which, it was rumored, was to seat her sister on the throne.
As she advanced in years, Mary had the further mortification of seeing
her rival gain on those affections of the people which had grown cool to
her. Was it wonderful that she should regard her sister, under these
circumstances, with feelings of distrust and aversion? That she did so
regard her is asserted by the Venetian minister; and it is plain that,
during the first years of Mary's reign, Elizabeth's life hung upon a
thread. Yet Mary had strength of principle sufficient to resist the
importunities of Charles the Fifth and his ambassador, to take the life
of Elizabeth, as a thing indispensable to her own safety and that of
Philip. Although her sister was shown to be privy, though not openly
accessory, to the grand rebellion under Wyatt, Mary would not constrain
the law from its course to do her violence. This was something, under
the existing circumstances, in an age so unscrupulous. After this storm
had passed over, Mary, whatever restraint she imposed on her real
feelings, treated Elizabeth, for the most part, with a show of kindness,
though her name still continued to be mingled, whether with or without
cause, with more than one treasonable plot.[60] Mary's last act--perhaps
the only one in which she openly resisted the will of her husband--was
to refuse to compel her sister to accept the hand of Philibert of Savoy.
Yet this act would have relieved her of the presence of her rival; and
by it Elizabeth would have forfeited her independent possession of the
crown,--perhaps the possession of it altogether. It may be doubted
whether Elizabeth, under similar circumstances, would have shown the
like tenderness to the interests of her successor.


But, however we may be disposed to extenuate the conduct of Mary, and in
spiritual matters, more especially, to transfer the responsibility of
her acts from herself to her advisers, it is not possible to dwell on
this reign of religious persecution without feelings of profound
sadness. Not that the number of victims compares with what is recorded
of many similar periods of persecution. The whole amount, falling
probably short of three hundred who perished at the stake, was less than
the number who fell by the hand of the executioner, or by violence,
during the same length of time under Henry the Eighth. It was not much
greater than might sometimes be found at a single Spanish _auto da fé_.
But Spain was the land in which this might be regarded as the national
spectacle,--as much so as the _fiesta de toros_, or any other of the
popular exhibitions of the country. In England, a few examples had not
sufficed to steel the hearts of men against these horrors. The heroic
company of martyrs, condemned to the most agonizing of deaths for
asserting the rights of conscience, was a sight strange and shocking to
Englishmen. The feelings of that day have been perpetuated to the
present. The reign of religious persecution stands out by itself, as
something distinct from the natural course of events; and the fires of
Smithfield shed a melancholy radiance over this page of the national
history, from which the eye of humanity turns away in pity and
disgust.--But it is time to take up the narrative of events which
connected for a brief space the political interests of Spain with those
of England.

Charles the Fifth had always taken a lively interest in the fortunes of
his royal kinswoman. When a young man he had paid a visit to England,
and while there had been induced by his aunt, Queen Katharine, to
contract a marriage with the Princess Mary,--then only six years
old,--to be solemnized on her arriving at the suitable age. But the term
was too remote for the constancy of Charles, or, as it is said, for the
patience of his subjects, who earnestly wished to see their sovereign
wedded to a princess who might present him with an heir to the monarchy.
The English match was, accordingly, broken off, and the young emperor
gave his hand to Isabella of Portugal.[61]

Mary, who, since her betrothal, had been taught to consider herself as
the future bride of the emperor, was at the time but eleven years old.
She was old enough, however, to feel something like jealousy, it is
said, and to show some pique at this desertion by her imperial lover.
Yet this circumstance did not prevent the most friendly relations from
subsisting between the parties in after years; and Charles continued to
watch over the interests of his kinswoman, and interposed, with good
effect, in her behalf, on more than one occasion, both during the reign
of Henry the Eighth and of his son, Edward the Sixth. On the death of
the latter monarch, he declared himself ready to assist Mary in
maintaining her right to the succession;[62] and, when this was finally
established, the wary emperor took the necessary measures for turning it
to his own account.[63]

He formed a scheme for uniting Philip with Mary, and thus securing to
his son the possession of the English crown, in the same manner as that
of Scotland had been secured by marriage to the son of his rival, Henry
the Second of France. It was, doubtless, a great error to attempt to
bring under one rule nations so dissimilar in every particular, and
having interests so incompatible as the Spaniards and the English.
Historians have regarded it as passing strange, that a prince, who had
had such large experience of the difficulties attending the government
of kingdoms remote from each other, should seek so to multiply these
difficulties on the head of his inexperienced son. But the love of
acquisition is a universal principle; nor is it often found that the
appetite for more is abated by the consideration that the party is
already possessed of more then he can manage.

It was a common opinion, that Mary intended to bestow her hand on her
young and handsome kinsman, Courtenay, earl of Devonshire, whom she had
withdrawn from the prison in which he had languished for many years, and
afterwards treated with distinguished favor. Charles, aware of this,
instructed Renard, his minister at the court of London, a crafty,
intriguing politician,[64] to sound the queen's inclinations on the
subject, but so as not to alarm her. He was to dwell, particularly, on
the advantages Mary would derive from a connection with some powerful
foreign prince, and to offer his master's counsel, in this or any other
matter in which she might desire it. The minister was to approach the
subject of the earl of Devonshire with the greatest caution; remembering
that, if the queen had a fancy for her cousin, and was like other women,
she would not be turned from it by anything that he might say, nor would
she readily forgive any reflection upon it.[65] Charles seems to have
been as well read in the characters of women as of men; and, as a
natural consequence, it may be added, had formed a high estimate of the
capacity of the sex. In proof of which, he not only repeatedly
committed the government of his states to women, but intrusted them
with some of his most delicate political negotiations.


Mary, if she had ever entertained the views imputed to her in respect to
Courtenay, must have soon been convinced that his frivolous disposition
would ill suit the seriousness of hers. However this may be, she was
greatly pleased when Renard hinted at her marriage,--"laughing," says
the envoy, "not once, but several times, and giving me a significant
look, which showed that the idea was very agreeable to her, plainly
intimating at the same time that she had no desire to marry an
Englishman."[66] In a subsequent conversation, when Renard ventured to
suggest that the prince of Spain was a suitable match, Mary broke in
upon him, saying that "she had never felt the smart of what people
called love, nor had ever so much as thought of being married, until
Providence had raised her to the throne; and that, if she now consented
to it, it would be in opposition to her own feelings, from a regard to
the public good;" but she begged the envoy to assure the emperor of her
wish to obey and to please him in everything, as she would her own
father; intimating, however, that she could not broach the subject of
her marriage to her council; the question could only be opened by a
communication from him.[67]

Charles, who readily saw through Mary's coquetry, no longer hesitated to
prefer the suit of Philip. After commending the queen's course in regard
to Courtenay, he presented to her the advantages that must arise from
such a foreign alliance as would strengthen her on the throne. He
declared, in a tone of gallantry rather amusing, that, if it were not
for his age and increasing infirmities, he should not hesitate to
propose himself as her suitor.[68] The next best thing was to offer her
the person dearest to his heart,--his son, the prince of Asturias. He
concluded by deprecating the idea that any recommendation of his should
interfere, in the least degree, with the exercise of her better

Renard was further to intimate to the queen the importance of secrecy in
regard to this negotiation. If she were disinclined to the proposed
match, it would be obviously of no advantage to give it publicity. If,
on the other hand, as the emperor had little doubt, she looked on it
favorably, but desired to advise with her council before deciding,
Renard was to dissuade her from the latter step, and advise her to
confide in him.[70] The wary emperor had a twofold motive for these
instructions. There was a negotiation on foot at this very time for a
marriage of Philip to the infanta of Portugal, and Charles wished to be
entirely assured of Mary's acquiescence, before giving such publicity to
the affair as might defeat the Portuguese match, which would still
remain for Philip, should he not succeed with the English queen.[71] In
case Mary proved favorable to his son's suit, Charles, who knew the
abhorrence in which foreigners were held by the English beyond all other
nations,[72] wished to gain time before communicating with Mary's
council. With some delay, he had no doubt that he had the means of
winning over a sufficient number of that body to support Philip's


These communications could not be carried on so secretly but that some
rumor of them reached the ears of Mary's ministers, and of Noailles, the
French ambassador at the court of London.[74] This person was a busy
and unscrupulous politician, who saw with alarm the prospect of Spain
strengthening herself by this alliance with England, and determined,
accordingly, in obedience to instructions from home, to use every effort
to defeat it. The queen's ministers, with the chancellor, Gardiner,
bishop of Winchester, at their head, felt a similar repugnance to the
Spanish match. The name of the Spaniards had become terrible from the
remorseless manner in which their wars had been conducted during the
present reign, especially in the New World. The ambition and the
widely-extended dominions of Charles the Fifth made him the most
formidable sovereign in Europe. The English looked with apprehension on
so close an alliance with a prince who had shown too little regard for
the liberties of his own land to make it probable that he or his son
would respect those of another. Above all, they dreaded the fanaticism
of the Spaniards; and the gloomy spectre of the Inquisition moving in
their train made even the good Catholic shudder at the thought of the
miseries that might ensue from this ill-omened union.

It was not difficult for Noailles and the chancellor to communicate
their own distrust to the members of the parliament, then in session. A
petition to the queen was voted in the lower house, in which the commons
preferred an humble request that she would marry for the good of the
realm, but besought her, at the same time, not to go abroad for her
husband, but to select him among her own subjects.[75]

Mary's ministers did not understand her character so well as Charles the
Fifth did, when he cautioned his agent not openly to thwart her.
Opposition only fixed her more strongly in her original purpose. In a
private interview with Renard, she told him that she was apprised of
Gardiner's intrigues, and that Noailles, too, was _doing the impossible_
to prevent her union with Philip. "But I will be a match for them," she
added. Soon after, taking the ambassador, at midnight, into her oratory,
she knelt before the host, and, having repeated the hymn _Veni Creator_,
solemnly pledged herself to take no other man for her husband than the
prince of Spain.[76]

This proceeding took place on the thirtieth of October. On the
seventeenth of the month following, the commons waited on the queen at
her palace of Whitehall, to which she was confined by indisposition, and
presented their address. Mary, instead of replying by her chancellor, as
was usual, answered them in person. She told them, that from God she
held her crown, and that to him alone should she turn for counsel in a
matter so important;[77] she had not yet made up her mind to marry; but
since they considered it so necessary for the weal of the kingdom, she
would take it into consideration. It was a matter in which no one was so
much interested as herself. But they might be assured that, in her
choice, she would have regard to the happiness of her people, full as
much as to her own. The commons, who had rarely the courage to withstand
the frown of their Tudor princes, professed themselves contented with
this assurance; and, from this moment, opposition ceased from that

Mary's arguments were reinforced by more conciliatory, but not less
efficacious persuasives, in the form of gold crowns, gold chains, and
other compliments of the like nature, which were distributed pretty
liberally by the Spanish ambassador among the members of her

In the following December, a solemn embassy left Brussels, to wait on
Mary and tender her the hand of Philip. It was headed by Lamoral, Count
Egmont, the Flemish noble so distinguished in later years by his
military achievements, and still more by his misfortunes. He was
attended by a number of Flemish lords and a splendid body of retainers.
He landed in Kent, where the rumor went abroad that it was Philip
himself; and so general was the detestation of the Spanish match among
the people, that it might have gone hard with the envoy, had the mistake
not been discovered. Egmont sailed up the Thames, and went ashore at
Tower Wharf, on the second of January, 1554. He was received with all
honor by Lord William Howard and several of the great English nobles,
and escorted in much state to Westminster, where his table was supplied
at the charge of the city. Gardiner entertained the embassy at a
sumptuous banquet; and the next day Egmont and his retinue proceeded to
Hampton Court, "where they had great cheer," says an old chronicler,
"and hunted the deer, and were so greedy of their destruction, that they
gave them not fair play for their lives; for," as he peevishly
complains, "they killed rag and tag, with hands and swords."[79]

On the twelfth, the Flemish count was presented to the queen, and
tendered her proposals of marriage in behalf of Prince Philip. Mary, who
probably thought she had made advances enough, now assumed a more
reserved air. "It was not for a maiden queen," she said, "thus publicly
to enter on so delicate a subject as her own marriage. This would be
better done by her ministers, to whom she would refer him. But this she
would have him understand," she added, as she cast her eyes on the ring
on her finger, "her realm was her first husband, and none other should
induce her to violate the oath which she had pledged at her coronation."


Notwithstanding this prudery of Mary, she had already manifested such a
prepossession for her intended lord as to attract the notice of her
courtiers, one of whom refers it to the influence of a portrait of
Philip, of which she had become "greatly enamored."[80] That such a
picture was sent to her appears from a letter of Philip's aunt, the
regent of the Netherlands, in which she tells the English queen that she
has sent her a portrait of the prince, from the pencil of Titian, which
she was to return so soon as she was in possession of the living
original. It had been taken some three years before, she said, and was
esteemed a good likeness, though it would be necessary, as in the case
of other portraits by this master, to look at it from a distance in
order to see the resemblance.[81]

The marriage treaty was drawn up with great circumspection, under the
chancellor's direction. It will be necessary to notice only the most
important provisions. It was stipulated that Philip should respect the
laws of England, and leave every man in the full enjoyment of his rights
and immunities. The power of conferring titles, honors, emoluments, and
offices of every description, was to be reserved to the queen.
Foreigners were to be excluded from office. The issue of the marriage,
if a son, was to succeed to the English crown and to the Spanish
possessions in Burgundy and the Low Countries. But in case of the death
of Don Carlos, Philip's son, the issue of the present marriage was to
receive, in addition to the former inheritance, Spain and her
dependencies. The queen was never to leave her own kingdom without her
express desire. Her children were not to be taken out of it without the
consent of the nobles. In case of Mary's death, Philip was not to claim
the right of taking part in the government of the country. Further it
was provided that Philip should not entangle the nation in his wars with
France, but should strive to maintain the same amicable relations that
now subsisted between the two countries.[82]

Such were the cautious stipulations of this treaty, which had more the
aspect of a treaty for defence against an enemy than a marriage
contract. The instrument was worded with a care that reflected credit on
the sagacity of its framers. All was done that parchment could do to
secure the independence of the crown, as well as the liberties of the
people. "But if the bond be violated," asked one of the parliamentary
speakers on the occasion, "who is there to sue the bond?" Every
reflecting Englishman must have felt the inefficacy of any guaranty that
could be extorted from Philip, who, once united to Mary, would find
little difficulty in persuading a fond and obedient wife to sanction his
own policy, prejudicial though it might be to the true interests of the

No sooner was the marriage treaty made public, than the popular
discontent, before partially disclosed, showed itself openly throughout
the country. Placards were put up, lampoons were written, reviling the
queen's ministers and ridiculing the Spaniards; ominous voices were
heard from old, dilapidated buildings, boding the ruin of the monarchy.
Even the children became infected with the passions of their fathers.
Games were played in which the English were represented contending with
the Spaniards; and in one of these an unlucky urchin, who played the
part of Philip, narrowly escaped with his life from the hands of his
exasperated comrades.[83]

But something more serious than child's play showed itself, in three
several insurrections which broke out in different quarters of the
kingdom. The most formidable of them was the one led by Sir Thomas
Wyatt, son of the celebrated poet of that name. It soon gathered head,
and the number of the insurgents was greatly augmented by the accession
of a considerable body of the royal forces, who deserted their colours,
and joined the very men against whom they had been sent. Thus
strengthened, Wyatt marched on London. All there were filled with
consternation,--all but their intrepid queen, who showed as much
self-possession and indifference to danger as if it were only an
ordinary riot.

Proceeding at once into the city, she met the people at Guildhall, and
made them a spirited address, which has been preserved in the pages of
Holinshed. It concludes in the following bold strain, containing an
allusion to the cause of the difficulties:--"And certainly, if I did
either know or think that this marriage should either turn to the danger
or loss of any of you, my loving subjects, or to the detriment or
impairing of any part or parcel of the royal estate of this realm of
England, I would never consent thereunto, neither would I ever marry
while I lived. And on the word of a queen, I promise and assure you,
that, if it shall not probably appear before the nobility and commons,
in the high court of parliament, that this marriage shall be for the
singular benefit and commodity of all the whole realm, that then I will
abstain, not only from this marriage, but also from any other whereof
peril may ensue to this most noble realm. Wherefore now as good and
faithful subjects pluck up your hearts, and like true men stand fast
with your lawful prince against these rebels, both our enemies and
yours, and fear them not; for I assure you that I fear them nothing at
all!"[84] The courageous spirit of their queen communicated itself to
her audience, and in a few hours twenty thousand citizens enrolled
themselves under the royal banner.

Meanwhile, the rebel force continued its march, and reports soon came
that Wyatt was on the opposite bank of the Thames; then, that he had
crossed the river. Soon his presence was announced by the flight of a
good number of the royalists, among whom was Courtenay, who rode off
before the enemy at a speed that did little credit to his valor. All was
now confusion again. The lords and ladies in attendance gathered round
the queen in Whitehall, as if to seek support from her more masculine
nature. Her ministers went down on their knees, to implore her to seek
refuge in the Tower, as the only place of safety. Mary smiled with
contempt at the pusillanimous proposal, and resolved to remain where she
was, and abide the issue.

It was not long in coming. Wyatt penetrated as far as Ludgate, with
desperate courage, but was not well seconded by his followers. The few
who proved faithful were surrounded and overwhelmed by numbers. Wyatt
was made prisoner, and the whole rebel rout discomfited and dispersed.
By this triumph over her enemies, Mary was seated more strongly than
ever on the throne. Henceforward the Spanish match did not meet with
opposition from the people, any more than from the parliament.

Still the emperor, after this serious demonstration of hostility to his
son, felt a natural disquietude in regard to his personal safety, which
made him desirous of obtaining some positive guaranty before trusting
him among the turbulent islanders. He wrote to his ambassador to require
such security from the government. But no better could be given than the
royal promise that everything should be done to insure the prince's
safety. Renard was much perplexed. He felt the responsibility of his own
position. He declined to pledge himself for the quiet deportment of the
English; but he thought matters had already gone too far to leave it in
the power of Spain to recede.


He wrote, moreover, both to Charles and to Philip, recommending that the
prince should not bring over with him a larger retinue of Spaniards than
was necessary, and that the wives of his nobles--for he seems to have
regarded the sex as the source of evil--should not accompany them.[85]
Above all, he urged Philip and his followers to lay aside the Castilian
_hauteur_, and to substitute the conciliatory manners which might disarm
the jealousy of the English.[86]



Mary's Betrothal.--Joanna Regent of Castile.--Philip embarks for
England.--His splendid Reception.--Marriage of Philip and Mary.--Royal
Entertainments.--Philip's Influence.--The Catholic Church
restored.--Philip's Departure.

1554, 1555.

In the month of March, 1554, Count Egmont arrived in England, on a
second embassy, for the purpose of exchanging the ratifications of the
marriage treaty. He came in the same state as before, and was received
by the queen in the presence of her council. The ceremony was conducted
with great solemnity. Mary, kneeling down, called God to witness, that,
in contracting this marriage, she had been influenced by no motive of a
carnal or worldly nature, but by the desire of securing the welfare and
tranquillity of the kingdom. To her kingdom her faith had first been
plighted; and she hoped that Heaven would give her strength to maintain
inviolate the oath she had taken at her coronation.

This she said with so much grace, that the bystanders, says Renard,--who
was one of them,--were all moved to tears. The ratifications were then
exchanged, and the oaths taken, in presence of the host, by the
representatives of Spain and England; when Mary, again kneeling, called
on those present to unite with her in prayer to the Almighty, that he
would enable her faithfully to keep the articles of the treaty, and
would make her marriage a happy one.

Count Egmont then presented to the queen a diamond ring which the
emperor had sent her. Mary, putting it on her finger, showed it to the
company; "and assuredly," exclaims the Spanish minister, "the jewel was
a precious one, and well worthy of admiration." Egmont, before departing
for Spain, inquired of Mary whether she would intrust him with any
message to Prince Philip. The queen replied, that "he might tender to
the prince her most affectionate regards, and assure him that she should
be always ready to vie with him in such offices of kindness as became a
loving and obedient wife." When asked if she would write to him, she
answered, "Not till he had begun the correspondence."[87]

This lets us into the knowledge of a little fact, very significant. Up
to this time Philip had neither written, nor so much as sent a single
token of regard to his mistress. All this had been left to his father.
Charles had arranged the marriage, had wooed the bride, had won over her
principal advisers,--in short, had done all the courtship. Indeed, the
inclinations of Philip, it is said, had taken another direction, and he
would have preferred the hand of his royal kinswoman, Mary of
Portugal.[88] However this may be, it is not probable that he felt any
great satisfaction in the prospect of being united to a woman who was
eleven years older than himself, and whose personal charms, whatever
they might once have been, had long since faded, under the effects of
disease and a constitutional melancholy. But he loved power; and
whatever scruples he might have entertained on his own account were
silenced before the wishes of his father.[89] "Like another Isaac,"
exclaims Sandoval, in admiration of his conduct, "he sacrificed himself
on the altar of filial duty."[90] The same implicit deference which
Philip showed his father in this delicate matter, he afterwards, under
similar circumstances, received from his own son.


After the marriage articles had been ratified, Philip sent a present of
a magnificent jewel to the English queen, by a Spanish noble of high
rank, the Marquis de las Nayas.[91] The marquis, who crossed from Biscay
with a squadron of four ships, landed at Plymouth, and, as he journeyed
towards London, was met by the young Lord Herbert, son of the earl of
Pembroke, who conducted him, with an escort of four hundred mounted
gentlemen, to his family seat in Wiltshire. "And as they rode together
to Wilton," says Lord Edmund Dudley, one of the party, "there were
certain courses at the hare, which was so pleasant that the marquis much
delighted in finding the course so readily appointed. As for the
marquis's great cheer, as well that night at supper as otherwise at his
breakfast the next day, surely it was so abundant, that it was not a
little marvel to consider that so great a preparation could be made in
so small a warning.... Surely it was not a little comfort to my heart
to see all things so honorably used for the honor and service of the
queen's majesty."[92]

Meanwhile, Philip was making his arrangements for leaving Spain, and
providing a government for the country during his absence. It was
decided by the emperor to intrust the regency to his daughter, the
Princess Joanna. She was eight years younger than Philip. About eighteen
months before, she had gone to Portugal as the bride of the heir of that
kingdom. But the fair promise afforded by this union was blasted by the
untimely death of her consort, which took place on the second of
January, 1554. Three weeks afterwards, the unhappy widow gave birth to a
son, the famous Don Sebastian, whose Quixotic adventures have given him
a wider celebrity than is enjoyed by many a wiser sovereign. After the
cruel calamity which had befallen her, it was not without an effort that
Joanna resigned herself to her father's wishes, and consented to enter
on the duties of public life. In July, she quitted Lisbon,--the scene of
early joys, and of hopes for ever blighted,--and, amidst the regrets of
the whole court, returned, under a princely escort, to Castile. She was
received on the borders by the king, her brother, who conducted her to
Valladolid. Here she was installed, with due solemnity, in her office of
regent. A council of state was associated with her in the government. It
consisted of persons of the highest consideration, with the archbishop
of Seville at their head. By this body Joanna was to be advised, and
indeed to be guided in all matters of moment. Philip, on his departure,
left his sister an ample letter of instructions as to the policy to be
pursued by the administration, especially in affairs of religion.[93]

Joanna seems to have been a woman of discretion and virtue,--qualities
which belonged to the females of her line. She was liberal in her
benefactions to convents and colleges; and their cloistered inmates
showed their gratitude by the most lavish testimony to her deserts. She
had one rather singular practice. She was in the habit of dropping her
veil, when giving audience to foreign ambassadors. To prevent all doubts
as to her personal identity, she began the audience by raising her veil,
saying, "Am I not the princess?" She then again covered her face, and
the conference was continued without her further exposing her features.
"It was not necessary," says her biographer, in an accommodating spirit,
"to have the face uncovered in order to hear."[94] Perhaps Joanna
considered this reserve as suited to the season of her mourning,
intending it as a mark of respect to the memory of her deceased lord. In
any other view, we might suspect that there entered into her
constitution a vein of the same madness which darkened so large a part
of the life of her grandmother and namesake, Joanna of Castile.

Before leaving Valladolid, Philip formed a separate establishment for
his son, Don Carlos, and placed his education under the care of a
preceptor, Luis de Vives, a scholar not to be confounded with his
namesake, the learned tutor of Mary of England. Having completed his
arrangements, Philip set out for the place of his embarkation in the
north. At Compostella he passed some days, offering up his devotions to
the tutelar saint of Spain, whose shrine, throughout the Middle Ages,
had been the most popular resort of pilgrims from the western parts of

While at Compostella, Philip subscribed the marriage treaty, which had
been brought over from England by the earl of Bedford. He then proceeded
to Corunna, where a fleet of more than a hundred sail was riding at
anchor, in readiness to receive him. It was commanded by the admiral of
Castile, and had on board, besides its complement of seamen, four
thousand of the best troops of Spain. On the eleventh of July, Philip
embarked, with his numerous retinue, in which, together with the Flemish
Counts Egmont and Hoorne, were to be seen the dukes of Alva and Medina
Cœli, the prince of Eboli,--in short, the flower of the Castilian
nobility. They came attended by their wives and vassals, minstrels and
mummers, and a host of idle followers, to add to the splendor of the
pageant and do honor to their royal master. Yet the Spanish ambassador
at London had expressly recommended to Philip that his courtiers should
leave their ladies at home, and should come in as simple guise as
possible, so as not to arouse the jealousy of the English.[95]

After a pleasant run of a few days, the Spanish squadron came in sight
of the combined fleets of England and Flanders, under the command of the
Lord Admiral Howard, who was cruising in the channel in order to meet
the prince and convoy him to the English shore. The admiral seems to
have been a blunt sort of man, who spoke his mind with more candor than
courtesy. He greatly offended the Flemings by comparing their ships to
muscle-shells.[96] He is even said to have fired a gun as he approached
Philip's squadron, in order to compel it to lower its topsails in
acknowledgment of the supremacy of the English in the "narrow seas." But
this is probably the patriotic vaunt of an English writer, since it is
scarcely possible that the haughty Spaniard of that day would have made
such a concession, and still less so that the British commander would
have been so discourteous as to exact it on this occasion.

On the nineteenth of July, the fleets came to anchor in the port of
Southampton. A number of barges were soon seen pushing off from the
shore; one of which, protected by a rich awning and superbly lined with
cloth of gold, was manned by sailors, whose dress of white and green
intimated the royal livery. It was the queen's barge, intended for
Philip; while the other boats, all gaily ornamented, received his nobles
and their retinues.


The Spanish prince was welcomed, on landing, by a goodly company of
English lords, assembled to pay him their obeisance. The earl of Arundel
presented him, in the queen's name, with the splendid insignia of the
order of the Garter.[97] Philip's dress, as usual, was of plain black
velvet, with a berret cap, ornamented, after the fashion of the time,
with gold chains. By Mary's orders, a spirited Andalusian jennet had
been provided for him, which the prince instantly mounted. He was a good
rider, and pleased the people by his courteous bearing, and the graceful
manner in which he managed his horse.

The royal procession then moved forward to the ancient church of the
Holy Rood, where mass was said, and thanks were offered up for their
prosperous voyage. Philip, after this, repaired to the quarters assigned
to him during his stay in the town. They were sumptuously fitted up, and
the walls of the principal apartment hung with arras, commemorating the
doings of that royal polemic, Henry the Eighth. Among other inscriptions
in honor of him might be seen one proclaiming him "Head of the Church,"
and "Defender of the Faith;"--words which, as they were probably in
Latin, could not have been lost on the Spaniards.[98]

The news of Philip's landing was received in London with every
demonstration of joy. Guns were fired, bells were rung, processions were
made to the churches, bonfires were lighted in all the principal
streets, tables were spread in the squares laden with good cheer, and
wine and ale flowed freely as water for all comers.[99] In short, the
city gave itself up to a general jubilee, as if it were celebrating some
victorious monarch returned to his dominions, and not the man whose name
had lately been the object of such general execration. Mary gave instant
orders that the nobles of her court should hold themselves in readiness
to accompany her to Winchester, where she was to receive the prince; and
on the twenty-first of July she made her entry, in great state, into
that capital, and established her residence in the episcopal palace.

During the few days that Philip stayed at Southampton, he rode
constantly abroad, and showed himself frequently to the people. The
information he had received, before his voyage, of the state of public
feeling, had suggested to him some natural apprehensions for his safety.
He seems to have resolved, from the first, therefore, to adopt such a
condescending, and indeed affable demeanor, as would disarm the jealousy
of the English, and if possible conciliate their good-will. In this he
appears to have been very successful, although some of the more haughty
of the aristocracy did take exception at his neglecting to raise his cap
to them. That he should have imposed the degree of restraint which he
seems to have done on the indulgence of his natural disposition, is good
proof of the strength of his apprehensions.[100]

The favor which Philip showed the English gave umbrage to his own
nobles. They were still more disgusted by the rigid interpretation of
one of the marriage articles, by which some hundreds of their attendants
were prohibited, as foreigners, from landing, or, after landing, were
compelled to reembark, and return to Spain.[101] Whenever Philip went
abroad he was accompanied by Englishmen. He was served by Englishmen at
his meals. He breakfasted and dined in public, a thing but little to his
taste. He drank healths, after the manner of the English, and encouraged
his Spanish followers to imitate his example, as he quaffed the strong
ale of the country.[102]

On the twenty-third of the month, the earl of Pembroke arrived, with a
brilliant company of two hundred mounted gentlemen, to escort the prince
to Winchester. He was attended, moreover, by a body of English archers,
whose tunics of yellow cloth, striped with bars of red velvet, displayed
the gaudy-colored livery of the house of Aragon. The day was
unpropitious. The rain fell heavily, in such torrents as might have
cooled the enthusiasm of a more ardent lover than Philip. But he was too
gallant a cavalier to be daunted by the elements. The distance, not
great in itself, was to be travelled on horseback,--the usual mode of
conveyance at a time when roads were scarcely practicable for carriages.

Philip and his retinue had not proceeded far, when they were encountered
by a cavalier, riding at full speed, and bringing with him a ring which
Mary had sent her lover, with the request that he would not expose
himself to the weather, but postpone his departure to the following day.
The prince, not understanding the messenger, who spoke in English, and
suspecting that it was intended by Mary to warn him of some danger in
his path, instantly drew up by the road-side, and took counsel with Alva
and Egmont as to what was to be done. One of the courtiers, who
perceived his embarrassment, rode up and acquainted the prince with the
real purport of the message. Relieved of his alarm, Philip no longer
hesitated, but, with his red felt cloak wrapped closely about him and a
broad beaver slouched over his eyes, manfully pushed forward, in spite
of the tempest.

As he advanced, his retinue received continual accessions from the
neighboring gentry and yeomanry, until it amounted to some thousands
before he reached Winchester. It was late in the afternoon when the
cavalcade, soiled with travel and thoroughly drenched with rain, arrived
before the gates of the city. The mayor and aldermen, dressed in their
robes of scarlet, came to welcome the prince, and, presenting the keys
of the city, conducted him to his quarters.

That evening Philip had his first interview with Mary. It was private,
and he was taken to her residence by the chancellor, Gardiner, bishop of
Winchester. The royal pair passed an hour or more together; and, as Mary
spoke the Castilian fluently, the interview must have been spared much
of the embarrassment that would otherwise have attended it.[103]


On the following day the parties met in public. Philip was attended by
the principal persons of his suite, of both sexes; and as the
procession, making a goodly show, passed through the streets on foot,
the minstrelsy played before them till they reached the royal residence.
The reception-room was the great hall of the palace. Mary, stepping
forward to receive her betrothed, saluted him with a loving kiss before
all the company. She then conducted him to a sort of throne, where she
took her seat by his side, under a stately canopy. They remained there
for an hour or more, conversing together, while their courtiers had
leisure to become acquainted with one another, and to find ample food,
doubtless, for future criticism, in the peculiarities of national
costume and manners. Notwithstanding the Spanish blood in Mary's veins,
the higher circles of Spain and England had personally almost as little
intercourse with one another at that period, as England and Japan have
at the present.

The ensuing day, the festival of St. James, the patron saint of Spain,
was the one appointed for the marriage. Philip exchanged his usual
simple dress for the bridal vestments provided for him by his mistress.
They were of spotless white, as the reporter is careful to inform us,
satin and cloth of gold, thickly powdered with pearls and precious
stones. Round his neck he wore the superb collar of the Golden Fleece,
the famous Burgundian order; while the brilliant riband below his knee
served as the badge of the no less illustrious order of the Garter. He
went on foot to the cathedral, attended by all his nobles, vying with
one another in the ostentatious splendor of their retinues.

Half an hour elapsed before Philip was joined by the queen at the
entrance of the cathedral. Mary was surrounded by the lords and ladies
of her court. Her dress, of white satin and cloth of gold, like his own,
was studded and fringed with diamonds of inestimable price, some of
them, doubtless, the gift of Philip, which he had sent to her by the
hands of the prince of Eboli, soon after his landing. Her bright-red
slippers, and her mantle of black velvet, formed a contrast to the rest
of her apparel, and, for a bridal costume, would hardly suit the taste
of the present day. The royal party then moved up the nave of the
cathedral, and were received in the choir by the bishop of Winchester,
supported by the great prelates of the English Church. The greatest of
all, Cranmer, the primate of all England, who should have performed the
ceremony, was absent,--in disgrace and a prisoner.

Philip and Mary took their seats under a royal canopy, with an altar
between them. The queen was surrounded by the ladies of her court; whose
beauty, says an Italian writer, acquired additional lustre by contrast
with the shadowy complexions of the south.[104] The aisles and spacious
galleries were crowded with spectators of every degree, drawn together
from the most distant quarters to witness the ceremony.

The silence was broken by Figueroa, one of the imperial council, who
read aloud an instrument of the emperor, Charles the Fifth. It stated
that this marriage had been of his own seeking; and he was desirous that
his beloved son should enter into it in a manner suitable to his own
expectations and the dignity of his illustrious consort. He therefore
resigned to him his entire right and sovereignty over the kingdom of
Naples and the duchy of Milan. The rank of the parties would thus be
equal, and Mary, instead of giving her hand to a subject, would wed a
sovereign like herself.

Some embarrassment occurred as to the person who should give the queen
away,--a part of the ceremony not provided for. After a brief
conference, it was removed by the marquis of Winchester and the earls of
Pembroke and Derby, who took it on themselves to give her away in the
name of the whole realm; at which the multitude raised a shout that made
the old walls of the cathedral ring again. The marriage service was then
concluded by the bishop of Winchester. Philip and Mary resumed their
seats, and mass was performed, when the bridegroom, rising, gave his
consort the "kiss of peace," according to the custom of the time. The
whole ceremony occupied nearly four hours. At the close of it Philip,
taking Mary by the hand, led her from the church. The royal couple were
followed by the long train of prelates and nobles, and were preceded by
the earls of Pembroke and Derby, each bearing aloft a naked sword, the
symbol of sovereignty. The effect of the spectacle was heightened by the
various costumes of the two nations,--the richly-tinted and picturesque
dresses of the Spaniards, and the solid magnificence of the English and
Flemings, mingling together in gay confusion. The glittering procession
moved slowly on, to the blithe sounds of festal music, while the air was
rent with the loyal acclamations of the populace, delighted, as usual,
with the splendor of the pageant.

In the great hall of the episcopal palace, a sumptuous banquet was
prepared for the whole company. At one end of the apartment was a dais,
on which, under a superb canopy, a table was set for the king and queen;
and a third seat was added for Bishop Gardiner, the only one of the
great lords who was admitted to the distinction of dining with royalty.

Below the dais, the tables were set on either side through the whole
length of the hall, for the English and Spanish nobles, all arranged--a
perilous point of etiquette--with due regard to their relative rank. The
royal table was covered with dishes of gold. A spacious beaufet, rising
to the height of eight stages, or shelves, and filled with a profusion
of gold and silver vessels, somewhat ostentatiously displayed the
magnificence of the prelate, or of his sovereign. Yet this ostentation
was rather Spanish than English; and was one of the forms in which the
Castilian grandee loved to display his opulence.[105]

At the bottom of the hall was an orchestra, occupied by a band of
excellent performers, who enlivened the repast by their music. But the
most interesting part of the show was that of the Winchester boys, some
of whom were permitted to enter the presence, and recite in Latin their
epithalamiums in honor of the royal nuptials, for which they received a
handsome guerdon from the queen.


After the banquet came the ball, at which, if we are to take an old
English authority, "the Spaniards were greatly out of countenance when
they saw the English so far excel them."[106] This seems somewhat
strange, considering that dancing is, and always has been, the national
pastime of Spain. Dancing is to the Spaniard what music is to the
Italian,--the very condition of his social existence.[107] It did not
continue late on the present occasion, and, at the temperate hour of
nine, the bridal festivities closed for the evening.[108]

Philip and Mary passed a few days in this merry way of life, at
Winchester, whence they removed, with their court, to Windsor. Here a
chapter of the order of the Garter was held, for the purpose of
installing King Philip. The herald, on this occasion, ventured to take
down the arms of England, and substitute those of Spain, in honor of the
new sovereign,--an act of deference which roused the indignation of the
English lords, who straightway compelled the functionary to restore the
national escutcheon to its proper place.[109]

On the twenty-eighth of August, Philip and Mary made their public entry
into London. They rode in on horseback, passing through the borough of
Southwark, across London Bridge. Every preparation was made by the loyal
citizens to give them a suitable reception. The columns of the buildings
were festooned with flowers, triumphal arches spanned the streets, the
walls were hung with pictures or emblazoned with legends in
commemoration of the illustrious pair, and a genealogy was traced for
Philip, setting forth his descent from John of Gaunt,--making him out,
in short, as much of an Englishman as possible.

Among the paintings was one in which Henry the Eighth was seen holding
in his hand a Bible. This device gave great scandal to the chancellor,
Gardiner, who called the painter sundry hard names, rating him roundly
for putting into King Harry's hand the sacred volume, which should
rather have been given to his daughter, Queen Mary, for her zeal to
restore the primitive worship of the Church. The unlucky artist lost no
time in repairing his error by brushing out the offending volume, and
did it so effectually, that he brushed out the royal fingers with it,
leaving the old monarch's mutilated stump held up, like some poor
mendicant's, to excite the compassion of the spectators.[110]

But the sight which, more than all these pageants, gave joy to the
hearts of the Londoners, was an immense quantity of bullion, which
Philip caused to be paraded through the city on its way to the Tower,
where it was deposited in the royal treasury. The quantity was said to
be so great, that, on one occasion, the chests containing it filled
twenty carts. On another, two wagons were so heavily laden with the
precious metal as to require to be drawn by nearly a hundred
horses.[111] The good people, who had looked to the coming of the
Spaniards as that of a swarm of locusts which was to consume their
substance, were greatly pleased to see their exhausted coffers so well
replenished from the American mines.

From London the royal pair proceeded to the shady solitudes of Hampton
Court, and Philip, weary of the mummeries in which he had been compelled
to take part, availed himself of the indisposition of his wife to
indulge in that retirement and repose which were more congenial to his
taste. This way of life in his pleasant retreat, however, does not
appear to have been so well suited to the taste of his English subjects.
At least, an old chronicler peevishly complains that "the hall-door
within the court was continually shut, so that no man might enter unless
his errand were first known; which seemed strange to Englishmen that had
not been used thereto."[112]

Yet Philip, although his apprehensions for his safety had doubtless
subsided, was wise enough to affect the same conciliatory manners as on
his first landing,--and not altogether in vain. "He discovered," says
the Venetian ambassador, in his report to the senate, "none of that
_sosiego_--the haughty indifference of the Spaniards--which
distinguished him when he first left home for Italy and Flanders.[113]
He was, indeed, as accessible as any one could desire, and gave patient
audience to all who asked it. He was solicitous," continues Micheli, "to
instruct himself in affairs, and showed a taste for application to
business,"--which, it may be added, grew stronger with years. "He spoke
little. But his remarks, though brief, were pertinent. In short," he
concludes, "he is a prince of an excellent genius, a lively
apprehension, and a judgment ripe beyond his age."

Philip's love of business, however, was not such as to lead him to take
part prematurely in the management of affairs. He discreetly left this
to the queen and her ministers, to whose judgment he affected to pay the
greatest deference. He particularly avoided all appearance of an attempt
to interfere with the administration of justice, unless it were to
obtain some act of grace. Such interference only served to gain him the
more credit with the people.[114]


That he gained largely on their good-will may be inferred from the
casual remarks of more than one contemporary writer. They bear emphatic
testimony to the affability of his manners, so little to have been
expected from the popular reports of his character. "Among other
things," writes Wotton, the English minister at the French court, "one I
have been right glad to hear of is, that the king's highness useth
himself so gently and lovingly to all men. For, to tell you the truth, I
have heard some say, that, when he came out of Spain into Italy, it was
by some men wished that he had showed a somewhat more benign countenance
to the people than it was said he then did."[115] Another contemporary,
in a private letter, written soon after the king's entrance into London,
after describing his person as "so well proportioned that Nature cannot
work a more perfect pattern," concludes with commending him for his
"pregnant wit and most gentle nature."[116]

Philip, from the hour of his landing, had been constant in all his
religious observances. "He was as punctual," says Micheli, "in his
attendance at mass, and his observance of all the forms of devotion, as
any monk;--more so, as some people thought, than became his age and
station. The ecclesiastics," he adds, "with whom Philip had constant
intercourse, talked loudly of his piety."[117]

Yet there was no hypocrisy in this. However willing Philip may have been
that his concern for the interests of religion might be seen of men, it
is no less true that, as far as he understood these interests, his
concern was perfectly sincere. The actual state of England may have even
operated as an inducement with him to overcome his scruples as to the
connection with Mary. "Better not reign at all," he often remarked,
"than reign over heretics." But what triumph more glorious than that of
converting these heretics, and bringing them back again into the bosom
of the Church? He was most anxious to prepare the minds of his new
subjects for an honorable reception of the papal legate, Cardinal Pole,
who was armed with full authority to receive the submission of England
to the Holy See. He employed his personal influence with the great
nobles, and enforced it occasionally by liberal drafts on those Peruvian
ingots which he had sent to the Tower. At least, it is asserted that he
gave away yearly pensions, to the large amount of between fifty and
sixty thousand gold crowns, to sundry of the queen's ministers. It was
done on the general plea of recompensing their loyalty to their

Early in November, tidings arrived of the landing of Pole. He had been
detained some weeks in Germany, by the emperor, who felt some
distrust--not ill-founded, as it seems--of the cardinal's disposition in
regard to the Spanish match. Now that this difficulty was obviated, he
was allowed to resume his journey. He came up the Thames in a
magnificent barge, with a large silver cross, the emblem of his legatine
authority, displayed on the prow. The legate, on landing, was received
by the king, the queen, and the whole court, with a reverential
deference which argued well for the success of his mission.

He was the man, of all others, best qualified to execute it. To a
natural kindness of temper he united an urbanity and a refinement of
manners, derived from familiar intercourse with the most polished
society of Europe, his royal descent entitled him to mix on terms of
equality with persons of the highest rank, and made him feel as much at
ease in the court as in the cloister. His long exile had opened to him
an acquaintance with man as he is found in various climes, while, as a
native-born Englishman, he perfectly understood the prejudices and
peculiar temper of his own countrymen. "Cardinal Pole," says the
Venetian minister, "is a man of unblemished nobility, and so strict in
his integrity, that he grants nothing to the importunity of friends. He
is so much beloved, both by prince and people, that he may well be
styled the king where all is done by his authority."[119] An English
cardinal was not of too frequent occurrence in the sacred college. That
one should have been found at the present juncture, with personal
qualities, moreover, so well suited to the delicate mission to England,
was a coincidence so remarkable, that Philip and Mary might well be
excused for discerning in it the finger of Providence.

On the seventeenth of the month, parliament, owing to the queen's
indisposition, met at Whitehall; and Pole made that celebrated speech in
which he recapitulated some of the leading events of his own life, and
the persecutions he had endured for conscience' sake. He reviewed the
changes in religion which had taken place in England, and implored his
audience to abjure their spiritual errors, and to seek a reconciliation
with the Catholic Church. He assured them of his plenary power to grant
absolution for the past; and--what was no less important--to authorize
the present proprietors to retain possession of the abbey lands which
had been confiscated under King Henry. This last concession, which had
been extorted with difficulty from the pope, reconciling, as it did,
temporal with spiritual interests, seems to have dispelled whatever
scruples yet lingered in the breasts of the legislature. There were few,
probably, in that goodly company, whose zeal would have aspired to the
crown of martyrdom.

The ensuing day, parliament, in obedience to the royal summons, again
assembled at Whitehall. Philip took his seat on the left of Mary, under
the same canopy, while Cardinal Pole sat at a greater distance on her


The chancellor, Gardiner, then presented a petition in the name of the
lords and commons, praying for reconciliation with the papal see.
Absolution was solemnly pronounced by the legate, and the whole assembly
received his benediction on their bended knees. England, purified from
her heresy, was once more restored to the communion of the Roman
Catholic Church.

Philip instantly despatched couriers, with the glad tidings, to Rome,
Brussels, and other capitals of Christendom. Everywhere the event was
celebrated with public rejoicings, as if it had been some great victory
over the Saracens. As Philip's zeal for the faith was well known, and as
the great change had taken place soon after his arrival in England, much
of the credit of it was ascribed to him.[121] Thus, before ascending the
throne of Spain, he had vindicated his claim to the title of Catholic,
so much prized by the Spanish monarchs. He had won a triumph greater
than that which his father had been able to win after years of war, over
the Protestants of Germany; greater than any which had been won by the
arms of Cortés or Pizarro in the New World. Their contest had been with
the barbarian; the field of Philip's labors was one of the most potent
and civilized countries of Europe.

The work of conversion was speedily followed by that of persecution. To
what extent Philip's influence was exerted in this is not manifest.
Indeed, from anything that appears, it would not be easy to decide
whether his influence was employed to promote or to prevent it. One fact
is certain, that, immediately after the first martyrs suffered at
Smithfield, Alfonso de Castro, a Spanish friar, preached a sermon in
which he bitterly inveighed against these proceedings. He denounced them
as repugnant to the true spirit of Christianity, which was that of
charity and forgiveness, and which enjoined its ministers not to take
vengeance on the sinner, but to enlighten him as to his errors, and
bring him to repentance.[122] This bold appeal had its effect, even in
that season of excitement. For a few weeks the arm of persecution seemed
to be palsied. But it was only for a few weeks. Toleration was not the
virtue of the sixteenth century. The charitable doctrines of the good
friar fell on hearts withered by fanaticism; and the spirit of
intolerance soon rekindled the fires of Smithfield into a fiercer glow
than before.

Yet men wondered at the source whence these strange doctrines had
proceeded. The friar was Philip's confessor. It was argued that he would
not have dared to speak thus boldly, had it not been by the command of
Philip, or, at least, by his consent. That De Castro should have thus
acted at the suggestion of his master is contradicted by the whole tenor
of Philip's life. Hardly four years elapsed before he countenanced by
his presence an _auto da fé_ in Valladolid, where fourteen persons
perished at the stake; and the burning of heretics in England could have
done no greater violence to his feelings than the burning of heretics in
Spain. If the friar did indeed act in obedience to Philip, we may well
suspect that the latter was influenced less by motives of humanity than
of policy; and that the disgust manifested by the people at the
spectacle of these executions may have led him to employ this expedient
to relieve himself of any share in the odium which attached to

What was the real amount of Philip's influence, in this or other
matters, it is not possible to determine. It is clear that he was
careful not to arouse the jealousy of the English by any parade of
it.[124] One obvious channel of it lay in the queen, who seems to have
doated on him with a fondness that one would hardly have thought a
temper cold and repulsive, like that of Philip, capable of exciting. But
he was young and good-looking. His manners had always been found to
please the sex, even where he had not been so solicitous to please as he
was in England. He was Mary's first and only love; for the emperor was
too old to have touched aught but her vanity, and Courtenay was too
frivolous to have excited any other than a temporary feeling. This
devotion to Philip, according to some accounts, was ill requited by his
gallantries. The Venetian ambassador says of him, that "he well deserved
the tenderness of his wife, for he was the most loving and the best of
husbands." But it seems probable that the Italian, in his estimate of
the best of husbands, adopted the liberal standard of his own


About the middle of November, parliament was advised that the queen was
in a state of pregnancy. The intelligence was received with the joy
usually manifested by loyal subjects on like occasions. The emperor
seems to have been particularly pleased with this prospect of an heir,
who, by the terms of the marriage treaty, would make a division of that
great empire which it had been the object of its master's life to build
up and consolidate under one sceptre. The commons, soon after, passed an
act empowering Philip, in case it should go otherwise than well with the
queen at the time of her confinement, to assume the regency, and take
charge of the education of her child during its minority. The regency
was to be limited by the provisions of the marriage treaty. But the act
may be deemed evidence that Philip had gained on the confidence of his
new subjects.

The symptoms continued to be favorable; and, as the time approached for
Mary's confinement, messengers were held in readiness to bear the
tidings to the different courts. The loyal wishes of the people ran so
far ahead of reality, that the rumor went abroad of the actual birth of
a prince. Bells were rung, bonfires lighted; _Te Deum_ was sung in some
of the churches; and one of the preachers "took upon him to describe the
proportions of the child, how fair, how beautiful and great a prince it
was, as the like had not been seen!" "But for all this great labor,"
says the caustic chronicler, "for their yoong maister long looked for
coming so surely into the world, in the end appeared neither yoong
maister nor yoong maistress, that any man to this day can hear of."[126]

The queen's disorder proved to be a dropsy. But, notwithstanding the
mortifying results of so many prognostics and preparations, and the
ridicule which attached to it, Mary still cherished the illusion of one
day giving an heir to the crown. Her husband did not share in this
illusion; and, as he became convinced that she had no longer prospect of
issue, he found less inducement to protract his residence in a country
which, on many accounts, was most distasteful to him. Whatever show of
deference might be paid to him, his haughty spirit could not be pleased
by the subordinate part which he was compelled to play, in public, to
the queen. The parliament had never so far acceded to Mary's wishes as
to consent to his coronation as king of England. Whatever weight he may
have had in the cabinet, it had not been such as to enable him to make
the politics of England subservient to his own interests, or, what was
the same thing, to those of his father. Parliament would not consent to
swerve so far from the express provisions of the marriage treaty as to
become a party in the emperor's contest with France.[127]

Nor could the restraint constantly imposed on Philip, by his desire to
accommodate himself to the tastes and habits of the English, be
otherwise than irksome to him. If he had been more successful in this
than might have been expected, yet it was not possible to overcome the
prejudices, the settled antipathy, with which the Spaniards were
regarded by the great mass of the people, as was evident from the
satirical shafts, which, from time to time, were launched by
pamphleteers and ballad-makers, both against the king and his followers.

These latter were even more impatient than their master of their stay in
a country where they met with so many subjects of annoyance. If a
Spaniard bought anything, complains one of the nation, he was sure to be
charged an exorbitant price for it.[128] If he had a quarrel with an
Englishman, says another writer, he was to be tried by English law, and
was very certain to come off the worst.[129] Whether right or wrong, the
Spaniards could hardly fail to find abundant cause of irritation and
disgust. The two nations were too dissimilar for either of them to
comprehend the other. It was with no little satisfaction, therefore,
that Philip's followers learned that their master had received a summons
from his father to leave England, and join him in Flanders.

The cause of this sudden movement was one that filled the Castilians, as
it did all Europe, with astonishment,--the proposed abdication of
Charles the Fifth. It was one that might seem to admit of neither doubt
nor delay on Philip's part. But Mary, distressed by the prospect of
separation, prevailed on her husband to postpone his departure for
several weeks. She yielded, at length, to the necessity of the case.
Preparations were made for Philip's journey, and Mary, with a heavy
heart, accompanied her royal consort down the Thames to Greenwich. Here
they parted; and Philip, taking an affectionate farewell, and commending
the queen and her concerns to the care of Cardinal Pole, took the road
to Dover.

After a short detention there by contrary winds, he crossed over to
Calais, and on the fourth of September made his entry into that strong
place, the last remnant of all their continental acquisitions that still
belonged to the English.

Philip was received by the authorities of the city with the honors due
to his rank. He passed some days there receiving the respectful
courtesies of the inhabitants, and, on his departure, rejoiced the
hearts of the garrison by distributing among them a thousand crowns of
gold. He resumed his journey, with his splendid train of Castilian and
English nobles, among whom were the earls of Arundel, Pembroke,
Huntington, and others of the highest station in the realm. On the road,
he was met by a military escort sent by his father; and towards the
latter part of September, 1555, Philip, with his gallant retinue, made
his entry into the Flemish capital, where the emperor and his court were
eagerly awaiting his arrival.[130]




Empire of Philip.--Paul the Fourth.--Court of France.--League against
Spain.--The Duke of Alva.--Preparations for War.--Victorious Campaign.

1555, 1556.

Soon after Philip's arrival in Brussels took place that memorable scene
of the abdication of Charles the Fifth, which occupies the introductory
pages of our narrative. By this event, Philip saw himself master of the
most widely extended and powerful monarchy in Europe. He was king of
Spain, comprehending under that name Castile, Aragon, and Granada,
which, after surviving as independent states for centuries, had been
first brought under one sceptre in the reign of his father, Charles the
Fifth. He was king of Naples and Sicily, and duke of Milan, which
important possessions enabled him to control, to a great extent, the
nicely balanced scales of Italian politics. He was lord of Franche
Comté, and of the Low Countries, comprehending the most flourishing and
populous provinces in Christendom, whose people had made the greatest
progress in commerce, husbandry, and the various mechanic arts. As
titular king of England, he eventually obtained an influence, which, as
we shall see, enabled him to direct the counsels of that country to his
own purposes. In Africa he possessed the Cape de Verd Islands and the
Canaries, as well as Tunis, Oran, and some other important places on the
Barbary coast. He owned the Philippines and the Spice Islands in Asia.
In America, besides his possessions in the West Indies, he was master of
the rich empires of Mexico and Peru, and claimed a right to a boundless
extent of country, that offered an inexhaustible field to the cupidity
and enterprise of the Spanish adventurer. Thus the dominions of Philip
stretched over every quarter of the globe. The flag of Castile was seen
in the remotest latitudes,--on the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the
far-off Indian seas,--passing from port to port, and uniting by
commercial intercourse the widely scattered members of her vast colonial

The Spanish army consisted of the most formidable infantry in Europe;
veterans who had been formed under the eye of Charles the Fifth and of
his generals, who had fought on the fields of Pavia and of Muhlberg, or
who, in the New World, had climbed the Andes with Almagro and Pizarro,
and helped these bold chiefs to overthrow the dynasty of the Incas. The
navy of Spain and Flanders combined far exceeded that of any other power
in the number and size of its vessels; and if its supremacy might be
contested by England on the "narrow seas," it rode the undisputed
mistress of the ocean. To supply the means for maintaining this costly
establishment, as well as the general machinery of government, Philip
had at his command the treasures of the New World; and if the incessant
enterprises of his father had drained the exchequer, it was soon
replenished by the silver streams that flowed in from the inexhaustible
mines of Zacatecas and Potosí.

All this vast empire, with its magnificent resources, was placed at the
disposal of a single man. Philip ruled over it with an authority more
absolute than that possessed by any European prince since the days of
the Cæsars. The Netherlands, indeed, maintained a show of independence
under the shadow of their ancient institutions. But they consented to
supply the necessities of the crown by a tax larger than the revenues of
America. Naples and Milan were ruled by Spanish viceroys. Viceroys, with
delegated powers scarcely less than those of their sovereign, presided
over the American colonies, which received their laws from the parent
country. In Spain itself, the authority of the nobles was gone. First
assailed under Ferdinand and Isabella, it was completely broken down
under Charles the Fifth. The liberties of the commons were crushed at
the fatal battle of Villalar, in the beginning of that monarch's reign.
Without nobles, without commons, the ancient cortes had faded into a
mere legislative pageant, with hardly any other right than that of
presenting petitions, and of occasionally raising an ineffectual note of
remonstrance against abuses. It had lost the power to redress them. Thus
all authority vested in the sovereign. His will was the law of the land.
From his palace at Madrid he sent forth the edicts which became the law
of Spain and of her remotest colonies. It may well be believed that
foreign nations watched with interest the first movements of a prince
who seemed to hold in his hands the destinies of Europe; and that they
regarded with no little apprehension the growth of that colossal power
which had already risen to a height that cast a shadow over every other

From his position, Philip stood at the head of the Roman Catholic
princes. He was in temporal matters what the pope was in spiritual. In
the existing state of Christendom, he had the same interest as the pope
in putting down that spirit of religious reform which had begun to show
itself, in public or in private, in every corner of Europe. He was the
natural ally of the pope. He understood this well, and would have acted
on it. Yet, strange to say, his very first war, after his accession, was
with the pope himself. It was a war not of Philip's seeking.

[Sidenote: PAUL THE FOURTH.]

The papal throne was at that time filled by Paul the Fourth, one of
those remarkable men, who, amidst the shadowy personages that have
reigned in the Vatican, and been forgotten, have vindicated to
themselves a permanent place in history. He was a Neapolitan by birth,
of the noble family of the Caraffas. He was bred to the religious
profession, and early attracted notice by his diligent application and
the fruits he gathered from it. His memory was prodigious. He was not
only deeply read in theological science, but skilled in various
languages, ancient and modern, several of which he spoke with fluency.
His rank, sustained by his scholarship, raised him speedily to high
preferment in the Church. In 1513, when thirty-six years of age, he went
as nuncio to England. In 1525, he resigned his benefices, and, with a
small number of his noble friends, he instituted a new religious order,
called the Theatins.[131] The object of the society was, to combine, to
some extent, the contemplative habits of the monk with the more active
duties of the secular clergy. The members visited the sick, buried the
dead, and preached frequently in public, thus performing the most
important functions of the priesthood. For this last vocation, of
public speaking, Caraffa was peculiarly qualified by a flow of natural
eloquence, which, if it did not always convince, was sure to carry away
the audience by its irresistible fervor.[132] The new order showed
itself particularly zealous in enforcing reform in the Catholic clergy,
and in stemming the tide of heresy which now threatened to inundate the
Church. Caraffa and his associates were earnest to introduce the
Inquisition. A life of asceticism and penance too often extinguishes
sympathy with human suffering, and leads its votaries to regard the
sharpest remedies as the most effectual for the cure of spiritual error.

From this austere way of life Caraffa was called, in 1536, to a
situation which engaged him more directly in worldly concerns. He was
made cardinal by Paul the Third. He had, as far back as the time of
Ferdinand the Catholic, been one of the royal council of Naples. The
family of Caraffa, however, was of the Angevine party, and regarded the
house of Aragon in the light of usurpers. The cardinal had been educated
in this political creed, and, even after his elevation to his new
dignity, he strongly urged Paul the Third to assert the claims of the
holy see to the sovereignty of Naples. This conduct, which came to the
ears of Charles the Fifth, so displeased that monarch that he dismissed
Caraffa from the council. Afterwards, when the cardinal was named by the
pope, his unfailing patron, to the archbishopric of Naples, Charles
resisted the nomination, and opposed all the obstacles in his power to
the collection of the episcopal revenues. These indignities sank deep
into the cardinal's mind, naturally tenacious of affronts; and what, at
first, had been only a political animosity, was now sharpened into
personal hatred of the most implacable character.[133]

Such was the state of feeling when, on the death of Marcellus the
Second, in 1555, Cardinal Caraffa was raised to the papal throne. His
election, as was natural, greatly disgusted the emperor, and caused
astonishment throughout Europe; for he had not the conciliatory manners
which win the favor and the suffrages of mankind. But the Catholic
Church stood itself in need of a reformer, to enable it to resist the
encroaching spirit of Protestantism. This was well understood not only
by the highest, but by the humblest ecclesiastics; and in Caraffa they
saw the man whose qualities precisely fitted him to effect such a
reform. He was, moreover, at the time of his election, in his eightieth
year; and age and infirmity have always proved powerful arguments with
the sacred college, as affording the numerous competitors the best
guaranties for a speedy vacancy. Yet it has more than once happened that
the fortunate candidate, who has owed his election mainly to his
infirmities, has been miraculously restored by the touch of the tiara.

Paul the Fourth--for such was the name assumed by the new pope, in
gratitude to the memory of his patron--adopted a way of life, on his
accession, for which his brethren of the college were not at all
prepared. The austerity and self-denial of earlier days formed a strong
contrast to the pomp of his present establishment and the profuse luxury
of his table. When asked how he would be served, "How but as a great
prince?" he answered. He usually passed three hours at his dinner, which
consisted of numerous courses of the most refined and epicurean dishes.
No one dined with him, though one or more of the cardinals were usually
present, with whom he freely conversed; and as he accompanied his meals
with large draughts of the thick, black wine of Naples, it no doubt gave
additional animation to his discourse.[134] At such times, his favorite
theme was the Spaniards, whom he denounced as the scum of the earth, a
race accursed of God, heretics and schismatics, the spawn of Jews and of
Moors. He bewailed the humiliation of Italy, galled by the yoke of a
nation so abject. But the day had come, he would thunder out, when
Charles and Philip were to be called to a reckoning for their ill-gotten
possessions, and be driven from the land![135]

Yet Paul did not waste all his hours in this idle vaporing, nor in the
pleasures of the table. He showed the same activity as ever in the
labors of the closet, and in attention to business. He was irregular in
his hours, sometimes prolonging his studies through the greater part of
the night, and at others rising long before the dawn. When thus engaged,
it would not have been well for any one of his household to venture into
his presence, without a summons.

Paul seemed to be always in a state of nervous tension. "He is all
nerve," the Venetian minister, Navagero, writes of him; "and when he
walks, it is with a free, elastic step, as if he hardly touched the
ground."[136] His natural arrogance, was greatly increased by his
elevation to the first dignity in Christendom. He had always entertained
the highest ideas of the authority of the sacerdotal office; and now
that he was in the chair of St. Peter, he seemed to have entire
confidence in his own infallibility. He looked on the princes of Europe,
not so much as his sons--the language of the Church--as his servants,
bound to do his bidding. Paul's way of thinking would have better suited
the twelfth century than the sixteenth. He came into the world at least
three centuries too late. In all his acts he relied solely on himself.
He was impatient of counsel from any one, and woe to the man who
ventured to oppose any remonstrance, still more any impediment to the
execution of his plans. He had no misgivings as to the wisdom of these
plans. An idea that had once taken possession of his mind lay there, to
borrow a cant phrase of the day, like "a fixed fact,"--not to be
disturbed by argument or persuasion. We occasionally meet with such
characters, in which strength of will and unconquerable energy in action
pass for genius with the world. They, in fact, serve as the best
substitute for genius, by the ascendancy which such qualities secure
their possessors over ordinary minds. Yet there were ways of approaching
the pontiff, for those who understood his character, and who, by
condescending to flatter his humors, could turn them to their own
account. Such was the policy pursued by some of Paul's kindred, who,
cheered by his patronage, now came forth from their obscurity to glitter
in the rays of the meridian sun.

[Sidenote: COURT OF FRANCE.]

Paul had all his life declaimed against nepotism as an opprobrious sin
in the head of the Church. Yet no sooner did he put on the tiara than he
gave a glaring example of the sin he had denounced, in the favors which
he lavished on three of his own nephews. This was the more remarkable,
as they were men whose way of life had given scandal even to the
Italians, not used to be too scrupulous in their judgments.

The eldest, who represented the family, he raised to the rank of duke,
providing him with an ample fortune from the confiscated property of the
Colonnas,--which illustrious house was bitterly persecuted by Paul, for
its attachment to the Spanish interests.

Another of his nephews he made a cardinal,--a dignity for which he was
indifferently qualified by his former profession, which was that of a
soldier, and still less fitted by his life, which was that of a
libertine. He was a person of a busy, intriguing disposition, and
stimulated his uncle's vindictive feelings against the Spaniards, whom
he himself hated, for some affront which he conceived had been put upon
him while in the emperor's service.[137]

But Paul needed no prompter in this matter. He very soon showed that,
instead of ecclesiastical reform, he was bent on a project much nearer
to his heart,--the subversion of the Spanish power in Naples. Like
Julius the Second, of warlike memory, he swore to drive out the
_barbarians_ from Italy. He seemed to think that the thunders of the
Vatican were more than a match for all the strength of the empire and of
Spain. But he was not weak enough to rely wholly on his spiritual
artillery in such a contest. Through the French ambassador at his court,
he opened negotiations with France, and entered into a secret treaty
with that power, by which each of the parties agreed to furnish a
certain contingent of men and money to carry on the war for the recovery
of Naples. The treaty was executed on the sixteenth of December,

In less than two months after this event, on the fifth of February,
1556, the fickle monarch of France, seduced by the advantageous offers
of Charles, backed, moreover, by the ruinous state of his own finances,
deserted his new ally, and signed the treaty of Vaucelles, which secured
a truce for five years between his dominions and those of Philip.

Paul received the news of this treaty while surrounded by his courtiers.
He treated the whole with scepticism, but expressed the pious hope, that
such a peace might be in store for the nations of Christendom. In
private he was not so temperate. But without expending his wrath in
empty menaces, he took effectual means to bring things back to their
former state,--to induce the French king to renew the treaty with
himself, and at once to begin hostilities. He knew the vacillating
temper of the monarch he had to deal with. Cardinal Caraffa was
accordingly despatched on a mission to Paris, fortified with ample
powers for the arrangement of a new treaty, and with such tempting
promises on the part of his holiness as might insure its acceptance by
the monarch and his ministers.

The French monarchy was, at that time, under the sceptre of Henry the
Second, the son of Francis the First, to whose character his own bore no
resemblance; or rather the resemblance consisted in those showy
qualities which lie too near the surface to enter into what may be
called character. He affected a chivalrous vein, excelled in the
exercises of the tourney, and indulged in vague aspirations after
military renown. In short, he fancied himself a hero, and seems to have
imposed on some of his own courtiers so far as to persuade them that he
was designed for one. But he had few of the qualities which enter into
the character of a hero. He was as far from being a hero as he was from
being a good Christian, though he thought to prove his orthodoxy by
persecuting the Protestants, who were now rising into a formidable sect
in the southern parts of his kingdom. He had little reliance on his own
resources, leading a life of easy indulgence, and trusting the direction
of his affairs to his favorites and his mistresses.

The most celebrated of these was Diana of Poictiers, created by Henry
duchess of Valentinois, who preserved her personal charms and her
influence over her royal lover to a much later period than usually
happens. The persons of his court in whom the king most confided were
the Constable Montmorency and the duke of Guise.

Anne de Montmorency, constable of France, was one of the proudest of the
French nobility,--proud alike of his great name, his rank, and his
authority with his sovereign. He had grown gray in the service of the
court, and Henry, accustomed to his society from boyhood, had learned to
lean on him for the execution of his measures. Yet his judgments, though
confidently given, were not always sound. His views were far from being
enlarged; and though full of courage, he showed little capacity for
military affairs. A consciousness of this, perhaps, may have led him to
recommend a pacific policy, suited to his own genius. He was a stanch
Catholic, extremely punctilious in all the ceremonies of devotion, and,
if we may credit Brantôme, would strangely mingle together the military
and the religious. He repeated his Pater-Noster at certain fixed hours,
whatever might be his occupation at the time. He would occasionally
break off to give his orders, calling out, "Cut me down such a man!"
"Hang up another!" "Run those fellows through with your lances!" "Set
fire to that village!"--and so on; when, having thus relieved the
military part of his conscience, he would go on with his Pater-Nosters
as before.[139]

A very different character was that of his younger rival, Francis, duke
of Guise, uncle to Mary, queen of Scots, and brother to the regent. Of a
bold, aspiring temper, filled with the love of glory, brilliant and
popular in his address, he charmed the people by his manners and the
splendor of his equipage and dress. He came to court, attended usually
by three or four hundred cavaliers, who formed themselves on Guise as
their model. His fine person was set off by the showy costume of the
time,--a crimson doublet and cloak of spotless ermine, and a cap
ornamented with a scarlet plume. In this dress he might often be seen,
mounted on his splendid charger and followed by a gay retinue of
gentlemen, riding at full gallop through the streets of Paris, and
attracting the admiration of the people.


But his character was not altogether made up of such vanities. He was
sagacious in counsel, and had proved himself the best captain of France.
It was he who commanded at the memorable siege of Metz, and foiled the
efforts of the imperial forces under Charles and the duke of Alva.
Caraffa found little difficulty in winning him over to his cause, as he
opened to the ambitious chief the brilliant perspective of the conquest
of Naples. The arguments of the wily Italian were supported by the
duchess of Valentinois. It was in vain that the veteran Montmorency
reminded the king of the ruinous state of the finances, which had driven
him to the shameful expedient of putting up public offices to sale. The
other party represented that the condition of Spain, after her long
struggle, was little better; that the reins of government had now been
transferred from the wise Charles to the hands of his inexperienced son;
and that the coöperation of Rome afforded a favorable conjunction of
circumstances, not to be neglected. Henry was further allured by
Caraffa's assurance that his uncle would grant to the French monarch the
investiture of Naples for one of his younger sons, and bestow Milan on
another. The offer was too tempting to be resisted.

One objection occurred, in certain conscientious scruples as to the
violation of the recent treaty of Vaucelles. But for this the pope, who
had anticipated the objection, readily promised absolution. As the king
also intimated some distrust lest the successor of Paul, whose advanced
age made his life precarious, might not be inclined to carry out the
treaty, Caraffa was authorized to assure him that this danger should be
obviated by the creation of a batch of French cardinals, or of cardinals
in the French interest.

All the difficulties being thus happily disposed of, the treaty was
executed in the month of July, 1556. The parties agreed each to furnish
about twelve thousand infantry, five hundred men-at-arms, and the same
number of light horse. France was to contribute three hundred and fifty
thousand ducats to the expenses of the war, and Rome one hundred and
fifty thousand. The French troops were to be supplied with provisions by
the pope, for which they were to reimburse his holiness. It was moreover
agreed, that the crown of Naples should be settled on a younger son of
Henry, that a considerable tract on the northern frontier should be
transferred to the papal territory, and that ample estates should be
provided from the new conquests for the three nephews of his holiness.
In short, the system of partition was as nicely adjusted as if the
quarry were actually in their possession, ready to be cut up and divided
among the parties.[140]

Finally, it was arranged that Henry should invite the Sultan Solyman to
renew his former alliance with France, and make a descent with his
galleys on the coast of Calabria. Thus did his most Christian majesty,
with the pope for one of his allies and the Grand Turk for the other,
prepare to make war on the most Catholic prince in Christendom![141]

Meanwhile, Paul the Fourth, elated by the prospect of a successful
negotiation, threw off the little decency he had hitherto preserved in
his deportment. He launched out into invectives more bitter than ever
against Philip, and in a tone of defiance told such of the Spanish
cardinals as were present that they might repeat his sayings to their
master. He talked of instituting a legal process against the king for
the recovery of Naples, which he had forfeited by omitting to pay the
yearly tribute to the holy see. The pretext was ill-founded, as the pope
well knew. But the process went on with suitable gravity, and a sentence
of forfeiture was ultimately pronounced against the Spanish monarch.

With these impotent insults, Paul employed more effectual means of
annoyance. He persecuted all who showed any leaning to the Spanish
interest. He set about repairing the walls of Rome, and strengthening
the garrisons on the frontier. His movements raised great alarm among
the Romans, who had too vivid a recollection of their last war with
Spain, under Clement the Seventh, to wish for another. Garcilasso de la
Vega, who had represented Philip, during his father's reign, at the
papal court, wrote a full account of these doings to the viceroy of
Naples. Garcilasso was instantly thrown into prison. Taxis, the Spanish
director of the posts, was both thrown into prison and put to the
torture. Saria, the imperial ambassador, after in vain remonstrating
against these outrages, waited on the pope to demand his passport, and
was kept standing a full hour at the gate of the Vatican, before he was

Philip had full intelligence of all these proceedings. He had long since
descried the dark storm that was mustering beyond the Alps. He had
provided for it at the close of the preceding year, by committing the
government of Naples to the man most competent to such a crisis. This
was the duke of Alva, at that time governor of Milan, and
commander-in-chief of the army in Italy. As this remarkable person is to
occupy a large space in the subsequent pages of this narrative, it may
be well to give some account of his earlier life.

Fernando Alvarez de Toledo was descended from an illustrious house in
Castile, whose name is associated with some of the most memorable events
in the national history. He was born in 1508, and while a child had the
misfortune to lose his father, who perished in Africa, at the siege of
Gelves. The care of the orphan devolved on his grandfather, the
celebrated conqueror of Navarre. Under this veteran teacher the young
Fernando received his first lessons in war, being present at more than
one skirmish when quite a boy. This seems to have sharpened his appetite
for a soldier's life, for we find him at the age of sixteen, secretly
leaving his home and taking service under the banner of the Constable
Velasco, at the siege of Fontarabia. He was subsequently made governor
of that place. In 1527, when not twenty years of age, he came, by his
grandfather's death, into possession of the titles and large patrimonial
estates of the house of Toledo.

The capacity which he displayed, as well as his high rank, soon made him
an object of attention; and as Philip grew in years, the duke of Alva
was placed near his person, formed one of his council, and took part in
the regency of Castile. He accompanied Philip on his journeys from
Spain, and, as we have seen, made one of his retinue both in Flanders
and in England. The duke was of too haughty and imperious a temper to
condescend to those arts which are thought to open the most ready
avenues to the favor of the sovereign. He met with rivals of a finer
policy and more accommodating disposition. Yet Philip perfectly
comprehended his character. He knew the strength of his understanding,
and did full justice to his loyalty; and he showed his confidence in his
integrity by placing him in offices of the highest responsibility.


The emperor, with his usual insight into character, had early discerned
the military talents of the young nobleman. He took Alva along with him
on his campaigns in Germany, where from a subordinate station he rapidly
rose to the first command in the army. Such was his position at the
unfortunate siege of Metz, where the Spanish infantry had nearly been
sacrificed to the obstinacy of Charles.

In his military career the duke displayed some of the qualities most
characteristic of his countrymen. But they were those qualities which
belong to a riper period of life. He showed little of that romantic and
adventurous spirit of the Spanish cavalier, which seemed to court peril
for its own sake, and would hazard all on a single cast. Caution was his
prominent trait, in which he was a match for any graybeard in the
army;--a caution carried to such a length as sometimes to put a curb on
the enterprising spirit of the emperor. Men were amazed to see so old a
head on so young shoulders.

Yet this caution was attended by a courage which dangers could not
daunt, and by a constancy which toil, however severe, could not tire. He
preferred the surest, even though the slowest, means to attain his
object. He was not ambitious of effect; he never sought to startle by a
brilliant _coup-de-main_. He would not have compromised a single chance
in his own favor by appealing to the issue of a battle. He looked
steadily to the end, and he moved surely towards it by a system of
operations planned with the nicest forecast. The result of these
operations was almost always success. Few great commanders have been
more uniformly successful in their campaigns. Yet it was rare that these
campaigns were marked by what is so dazzling to the imagination of the
young aspirant for glory,--a great and decisive victory.--Such were some
of the more obvious traits in the military character of the chief to
whom Philip, at this crisis, confided the post of viceroy of

Before commencing hostilities against the Church, the Spanish monarch
determined to ease his conscience, by obtaining, if possible, a warrant
for his proceedings from the Church itself. He assembled a body composed
of theologians from Salamanca, Alcalá, Valladolid, and some other
places, and of jurists from his several councils, to resolve certain
queries which he propounded. Among the rest, he inquired whether, in
case of a defensive war with the pope, it would not be lawful to
sequestrate the revenues of those persons, natives or foreigners, who
had benefices in Spain, but who refused obedience to the orders of its
sovereign;--whether he might not lay an embargo on all revenues of the
Church, and prohibit any remittance of moneys to Rome;--whether a
council might not be convoked to determine the validity of Paul's
election, which, in some particulars, was supposed to have been
irregular;--whether inquiry might not be made into the gross abuses of
ecclesiastical patronage by the Roman see, and effectual measures taken
to redress them. The suggestion of an ecclesiastical council was a
menace that grated unpleasantly on the pontifical ear, and was used by
European princes as a sort of counterblast to the threat of
excommunication. The particular objects for which this council was to be
summoned were not of a kind to soothe the irritable nerves of his
holiness. The conclave of theologians and jurists made as favorable
responses as the king had anticipated to his several interrogatories;
and Philip, under so respectable a sanction, sent orders to his viceroy
to take effectual measures for the protection of Naples.[144]

Alva had not waited for these orders, but had busily employed himself in
mustering his resources, and in collecting troops from the Abruzzi and
other parts of his territory. As hostilities were inevitable, he
determined to strike the first blow, and carry the war into the enemy's
country, before he had time to cross the Neapolitan frontier. Like his
master, however, the duke was willing to release himself, as far as
possible, from personal responsibility before taking up arms against the
head of the Church. He accordingly addressed a manifesto to the pope and
the cardinals, setting forth in glowing terms the manifold grievances of
his sovereign; the opprobrious and insulting language of Paul; the
indignities offered to Philip's agents, and to the imperial ambassador;
the process instituted for depriving his master of Naples; and, lastly,
the warlike demonstrations of the pope along the frontier, which left no
doubt as to his designs. He conjured his holiness to pause before he
plunged his country into war. As the head of the Church, it was his duty
to preserve peace, not to bring war into Christendom. He painted the
inevitable evils of war, and the ruin and devastation which it must
bring on the fair fields of Italy. If this were done, it would be the
pope's doing, and his would be the responsibility. On the part of
Naples, the war would be a war of defence. For himself, he had no
alternative. He was placed there to maintain the possessions of his
sovereign; and, by the blessing of God, he would maintain them to the
last drop of his blood.[145]

Alva, while making this appeal to the pope, invoked the good offices of
the Venetian government in bringing about a reconciliation between
Philip and the Vatican. His spirited manifesto to the pope was intrusted
to a special messenger, a person of some consideration in Naples. The
only reply which the hot-headed pontiff made to it was to throw the
envoy into prison, and, as some state, to put him to the torture.

Meanwhile, Alva, who had not placed much reliance on the success of his
appeal, had mustered a force, amounting in all to twelve thousand
infantry, fifteen hundred horse, and a train of twelve pieces of
artillery. His infantry was chiefly made up of Neapolitans, some of whom
had seen but little service. The strength of his army lay in his Spanish
veterans, forming one third of his force. The place of rendezvous was
San Germano, a town on the northern frontier of the kingdom. On the
first of September, 1556, Alva, attended by a gallant band of cavaliers,
left the capital, and on the fourth arrived at the place appointed. The
following day he crossed the borders at the head of his troops, and
marched on Pontecorvo. He met with no resistance from the inhabitants,
who at once threw open their gates to him. Several other places followed
the example of Pontecorvo; and Alva, taking possession of them, caused a
scutcheon displaying the arms of the sacred college to be hung up in the
principal church of each town, with a placard announcing that he held it
only for the college, until the election of a new pontiff. By this act
he proclaimed to the Christian world that the object of the war, as far
as Spain was concerned, was not conquest, but defence. Some historians
find in it a deeper policy,--that of exciting feelings of distrust
between the pope and the cardinals.[146]

Anagni, a place of some strength, refused the duke's summons to
surrender. He was detained three days before his guns had opened a
practicable breach in the walls. He then ordered an assault. The town
was stormed and delivered up to sack,--by which phrase is to be
understood the perpetration of all those outrages which the ruthless
code of war allowed, in that age, on the persons and property of the
defenceless inhabitants, without regard to sex or age.[147]

One or two other places which made resistance shared the fate of Anagni;
and the duke of Alva, having garrisoned his new conquests with such
forces as he could spare, led his victorious legions against Tivoli,--a
town strongly situated on elevated ground, commanding the eastern
approaches to the capital. The place surrendered without attempting a
defence; and Alva, willing to give his men some repose, made Tivoli his
head-quarters; while his army spread over the suburbs and adjacent
country, which afforded good forage for his cavalry.

The rapid succession of these events, the fall of town after town, and,
above all, the dismal fate of Anagni, filled the people of Rome with
terror. The women began to hurry out of the city; many of the men would
have followed but for the interference of Cardinal Caraffa. The panic
was as great as if the enemy had been already at the gates of the
capital. Amidst this general consternation, Paul seemed to be almost the
only person who retained his self-possession. Navagero, the Venetian
minister, was present when he received tidings of the storming of
Anagni, and bears witness to the composure with which he went through
the official business of the morning, as if nothing had happened.[148]
This was in public; but the shock was sufficiently strong to strike out
some sparkles of his fiery temper, as those found who met him that day
in private. To the Venetian agent who had come to Rome to mediate a
peace, and who had pressed him to enter into some terms of accommodation
with the Spaniards, he haughtily replied, that Alva must first recross
the frontier, and then, if he had aught to solicit, prefer his petition
like a dutiful son of the Church. This course was not one very likely to
be adopted by the victorious general[149]

In an interview with two French gentlemen, who, as he had reason to
suppose, were interesting themselves in the affair of a peace, he
exclaimed: "Whoever would bring me into a peace with heretics is a
servant of the Devil. Heaven will take vengeance on him. I will pray
that God's curse may fall on him. If I find that you intermeddle in any
such matter, I will cut your heads off your shoulders. Do not think this
an empty threat. I have an eye in my back on you,"--quoting an Italian
proverb,--"and if I find you playing me false, or attempting to entangle
me a second time in an accursed truce, I swear to you by the eternal
God, I will make your heads fly from your shoulders, come what may come
of it!" "In this way," concludes the narrator, one of the parties, "his
holiness continued for nearly an hour, walking up and down the
apartment, and talking all the while of his own grievances and of
cutting off our heads, until he had talked himself quite out of

But the valor of the pope did not expend itself in words. He instantly
set about putting the capital in the best state of defence. He taxed the
people to raise funds for his troops, drew in the garrisons from the
neighboring places, formed a body-guard of six or seven hundred horse,
and soon had the satisfaction of seeing his Roman levies, amounting to
six thousand infantry, well equipped for the war. They made a brave
show, with their handsome uniforms and their banners richly emblazoned
with the pontifical arms. As they passed in review before his holiness,
who stood at one of the windows of his palace, he gave them his
benediction. But the edge of the Roman sword, according to an old
proverb, was apt to be blunt; and these holiday troops were soon found
to be no match for the hardy veterans of Spain.

Among the soldiers at the pope's disposal was a body of German
mercenaries, who followed war as a trade, and let themselves out to the
highest bidder. They were Lutherans, with little knowledge of the Roman
Catholic religion, and less respect for it. They stared at its rites as
mummeries, and made a jest of its most solemn ceremonies, directly under
the eyes of the pope. But Paul, who at other times would have punished
offences like these with the gibbet and the stake, could not quarrel
with his defenders, and was obliged to digest his mortification as he
best might. It was remarked that the times were sadly out of joint, when
the head of the Church had heretics for his allies and Catholics for his

Meanwhile the duke of Alva was lying at Tivoli. If he had taken
advantage of the panic caused by his successes, he might, it was
thought, without much difficulty, have made himself master of the
capital. But this did not suit his policy, which was rather to bring the
pope to terms than to ruin him. He was desirous to reduce the city by
cutting off its supplies. The possession of Tivoli, as already noticed,
enabled him to command the eastern approaches to Rome, and he now
proposed to make himself master of Ostia and thus destroy the
communications with the coast.


Accordingly, drawing together his forces, he quitted Tivoli, and
directed his march across the Campagna, south of the Roman capital. On
his way he made himself master of some places belonging to the holy see,
and in the early part of November arrived before Ostia, and took up a
position on the banks of the Tiber, where it spread into two branches,
the northern one of which was called the Fiumicino, or little river. The
town, or rather village, consisted of only a few straggling houses, very
different from the proud Ostia, whose capacious harbor was once filled
with the commerce of the world. It was protected by a citadel of some
strength, garrisoned by a small but picked body of troops, so
indifferently provided with military stores, that it was clear the
government had not anticipated an attack in this quarter.

The duke ordered a number of boats to be sent round from Nettuno, a
place on the coast, of which he had got possession. By means of these he
formed a bridge, over which he passed a small detachment of his army,
together with his battering train of artillery. The hamlet was easily
taken, but, as the citadel refused to surrender, Alva laid regular siege
to it. He constructed two batteries, on which he planted his heavy guns,
commanding opposite quarters of the fortress. He then opened a lively
cannonade on the outworks, which was returned with great spirit by the

Meanwhile he detached a considerable body of horse, under Colonna, who
swept the country to the very walls of Rome. A squadron of cavalry,
whose gallant bearing had filled the heart of the old pope with
exultation, sallied out against the marauders. An encounter took place
not far from the city. The Romans bore themselves up bravely to the
shock; but, after splintering their lances, they wheeled about, and,
without striking another blow, abandoned the field to the enemy, who
followed them up to the gates of the capital. They were so roughly
handled in their flight, that the valiant troopers could not be induced
again to leave their walls, although Cardinal Caraffa--who had a narrow
escape from the enemy--sallied out with a handful of his followers, to
give them confidence.[152]

During this time Alva was vigorously pressing the siege of Ostia; but
though more than a week had elapsed, the besieged showed no disposition
to surrender. At length, the Spanish commander, on the seventeenth of
November, finding his ammunition nearly expended and his army short of
provisions, determined on a general assault. Early on the following
morning, after hearing mass as usual, the duke mounted his horse, and,
riding among the ranks to animate the spirits of his soldiers, gave
orders for the attack. A corps of Italians was first detached, to scale
the works; but they were repulsed with considerable loss. It was found
impossible for their officers to rally them, and bring them back to the
assault. A picked body of Spanish infantry was then despatched on this
dangerous service. With incredible difficulty they succeeded in scaling
the ramparts, under a storm of combustibles and other missiles hurled
down by the garrison, and effected an entrance into the place. But here
they were met with a courage as dauntless as their own. The struggle was
long and desperate. There had been no such fighting in the course of the
campaign. At length, the duke, made aware of the severe loss sustained
by his men, and of the impracticability of the attempt, as darkness was
setting in, gave the signal for retreat. The assailants had doubtless
the worst of it in the conflict; but the besieged, worn out with
fatigue, with their ammunition nearly exhausted, and almost without
food, did not feel themselves in condition to sustain another assault on
the following day. On the nineteenth of November, therefore, the morning
after the conflict, the brave garrison capitulated, and were treated
with honor as prisoners of war.[153]

The fate of the campaign seemed now to be decided. The pope, with, his
principal towns in the hands of the enemy, his communications cut off
both with the country and the coast, may well have felt his inability to
contend thus single-handed against the power of Spain. At all events,
his subjects felt it, and they were not deterred by his arrogant bearing
from clamoring loudly against the continuance of this ruinous war. But
Paul would not hear of a peace. However crippled by his late reverses,
he felt confident of repairing them all on the arrival of the French,
who, as he now learned with joy, were in full march across the territory
of Milan. He was not so disinclined to a truce, which might give time
for their coming.

Cardinal Caraffa, accordingly, had a conference with the duke of Alva,
and entered into negotiations with him for a suspension of arms. The
proposal was not unwelcome to the duke, who, weakened by losses of every
kind, was by no means in condition at the end of an active campaign to
contend with a fresh army under the command of so practised a leader as
the duke of Guise. He did not care to expose himself a second time to an
encounter with the French general, under disadvantages nearly as great
as those which had foiled him at Metz.

With these amiable dispositions, a truce was soon arranged between the
parties, to continue forty days. The terms were honorable to Alva, since
they left him in possession of all his conquests. Having completed these
arrangements, the Spanish commander broke up his camp on the southern
bank of the Tiber, recrossed the frontier, and in a few days made his
triumphant entry, at the head of his battalions, into the city of

So ended the first campaign of the war with Rome. It had given a severe
lesson, that might have shaken the confidence and humbled the pride of a
pontiff less arrogant than Paul the Fourth. But it served only to deepen
his hatred of the Spaniards, and to stimulate his desire for vengeance.




Guise enters Italy.--Operations in the Abruzzi.--Siege of
Civitella.--Alva drives out the French.--Rome menaced by the
Spaniards.--Paul consents to Peace.--Paul's subsequent Career.


While the events recorded in the preceding pages were passing in Italy,
the French army, under the duke of Guise, had arrived on the borders of
Piedmont. That commander, on leaving Paris, found himself at the head of
a force consisting of twelve thousand infantry, of which five thousand
were Swiss, and the rest French, including a considerable number of
Gascons. His cavalry amounted to two thousand, and he was provided with
twelve pieces of artillery. In addition to this, Guise was attended by a
gallant body of French gentlemen, young for the most part, and eager to
win laurels under the renowned defender of Metz.

The French army met with no opposition in its passage through Piedmont.
The king of Spain had ordered the government of Milan to strengthen the
garrisons of the fortresses, but to oppose no resistance to the French,
unless the latter began hostilities.[155] Some of the duke's counsellors
would have persuaded him to do so. His father-in-law, the duke of
Ferrara, in particular, who had brought him a reinforcement of six
thousand troops, strongly pressed the French general to make sure of the
Milanese before penetrating to the south; otherwise he would leave a
dangerous enemy in his rear. The Italian urged, moreover, the importance
of such a step in giving confidence to the Angevine faction in Naples,
and in drawing over to France those states which hesitated as to their
policy, or which had but lately consented to an alliance with Spain.

France, at this time, exercised but little influence in the counsels of
the Italian powers. Genoa, after an ineffectual attempt at revolution,
was devoted to Spain. The coöperation of Cosmo de'Medici, then lord of
Tuscany, had been secured by the cession of Sienna. The duke of Parma,
who had coquetted for some time with the French monarch, was won over to
Spain by the restoration of Placentia, of which he had been despoiled by
Charles the Fifth. His young son, Alexander Farnese, was sent as a
hostage, to be educated under Philip's eye, at the court of Madrid,--the
fruits of which training were to be gathered in the war of the
Netherlands, where he proved himself the most consummate captain of his
time. Venice, from her lonely watch-tower on the Adriatic, regarded at a
distance the political changes of Italy, prepared to profit by any
chances in her own favor. Her conservative policy, however, prompted her
to maintain things as far as possible in their present position. She was
most desirous that the existing equilibrium should not be disturbed by
the introduction of any new power on the theatre of Italy; and she had
readily acquiesced in the invitation of the duke of Alva, to mediate an
accommodation between the contending parties. This pacific temper found
little encouragement from the belligerent pontiff who had brought the
war upon Italy.

The advice of the duke of Ferrara, however judicious in itself, was not
relished by his son-in-law, the duke of Guise, who was anxious to press
forward to Naples as the proper scene of his conquests. The pope, too,
called on him, in the most peremptory terms, to hasten his march, as
Naples was the object of the expedition. The French commander had the
address to obtain instructions to the same effect from his own court, by
which he affected to be decided. His Italian father-in-law was so much
disgusted by this determination, that he instantly quitted the camp, and
drew off his six thousand soldiers, declaring that he needed all he
could muster to protect his own states against the troops of Milan.[156]

Thus shorn of his Italian reinforcement, the duke of Guise resumed his
march, and, entering the States of the Church, followed down the shores
of the Adriatic, passing through Ravenna and Rimini; then, striking into
the interior, he halted at Gesi, where he found good accommodations for
his men and abundant forage for the horses.

Leaving his army in their pleasant quarters, he soon after repaired to
Rome, in order to arrange with the pope the plan of the campaign. He was
graciously received by Paul, who treated him with distinguished honor as
the loyal champion of the Church. Emboldened by the presence of the
French army in his dominions, the pope no longer hesitated to proclaim
the renewal of the war against Spain. The Roman levies, scattered over
the Campagna, assaulted the places but feebly garrisoned by the
Spaniards. Most of them, including Tivoli and Ostia, were retaken; and
the haughty bosom of the pontiff swelled with exultation as he
anticipated the speedy extinction of the Spanish rule in Italy.

After some days consumed in the Vatican, Guise rejoined his army at
Gesi. He was fortified by abundant assurances of aid from his holiness,
and he was soon joined by one of Paul's nephews, the duke of Montebello,
with a slender reinforcement. It was determined to cross the Neapolitan
frontier at once, and to begin operations by the siege of Campli.

This was a considerable place, situated in the midst of a fruitful
territory. The native population had been greatly increased by the
influx of people from the surrounding country, who had taken refuge in
Campli as a place of security. But they did little for its defence. It
did not long resist the impetuosity of the French, who carried the town
by storm. The men--all who made resistance--were put to the sword. The
women were abandoned to the licentious soldiery. The houses, first
pillaged, were then fired; and the once flourishing place was soon
converted into a heap of smouldering ruins. The booty was great, for the
people of the neighborhood had brought their effects thither for safety,
and a large amount of gold and silver was found in the dwellings. The
cellars, too, were filled with delicate wines; and the victors abandoned
themselves to feasting and wassail, while the wretched citizens wandered
like spectres amidst the ruins of their ancient habitations.[157]


The fate of Italy, in the sixteenth century, was hard indeed. She had
advanced far beyond the age in most of the arts which belong to a
civilized community. Her cities, even her smaller towns, throughout the
country, displayed the evidences of architectural taste. They were
filled with stately temples and elegant mansions; the squares were
ornamented with fountains of elaborate workmanship; the rivers were
spanned by arches of solid masonry. The private as well as public
edifices were furnished with costly works of art, of which the value was
less in the material than in the execution. A generation had scarcely
passed since Michael Angelo and Raphael had produced their miracles of
sculpture and of painting; and now Correggio, Paul Veronese, and Titian
were filling their country with those immortal productions which have
been the delight and the despair of succeeding ages. Letters kept pace
with art. The magical strains of Ariosto had scarcely died away when a
greater bard had arisen in Tasso, to take up the tale of Christian
chivalry. This extraordinary combination of elegant art and literary
culture was the more remarkable, from the contrast presented by the
condition of the rest of Europe, then first rising into the light of a
higher civilization. But, with all this intellectual progress, Italy was
sadly deficient in some qualities found among the hardier sons of the
north, and which seem indispensable to a national existence. She could
boast of her artists, her poets, her politicians; but of few real
patriots, few who rested their own hopes on the independence of their
country. The freedom of the old Italian republics had passed away. There
was scarcely one that had not surrendered its liberties to a master. The
principle of union for defence against foreign aggression was as little
understood as the principle of political liberty at home. The states
were jealous of one another. The cities were jealous of one another, and
were often torn by factions within themselves. Thus their individual
strength was alike ineffectual, whether for self-government or
self-defence. The gift of beauty which Italy possessed in so
extraordinary a degree only made her a more tempting prize to the
spoiler, whom she had not the strength or the courage to resist. The
Turkish corsair fell upon her coasts, plundered her maritime towns, and
swept off their inhabitants into slavery. The Europeans, scarcely less
barbarous, crossed the Alps, and, striking into the interior, fell upon
the towns and hamlets that lay sheltered among the hills and in the
quiet valleys, and converted them into heaps of ruins. Ill fares it with
the land which, in an age of violence, has given itself up to the study
of the graceful and the beautiful, to the neglect of those hardy virtues
which can alone secure a nation's independence.

From the smoking ruins of Campli, Guise led his troops against
Civitella, a town but a few miles distant. It was built round a conical
hill, the top of which was crowned by a fortress well lined with
artillery. It was an important place for the command of the frontier,
and the duke of Alva had thrown into it a garrison of twelve hundred men
under the direction of an experienced officer, the marquis of Santa
Fiore. The French general considered that the capture of this post, so
soon following the sack of Campli, would spread terror among the
Neapolitans, and encourage those of the Angevine faction to declare
openly in his favor.

As the place refused to surrender, he prepared to besiege it in form,
throwing up intrenchments, and only waiting for his heavy guns to begin
active hostilities. He impatiently expected their arrival for some days,
when he caused four batteries to be erected, to operate simultaneously
against four quarters of the town. After a brisk cannonade, which was
returned by the besieged with equal spirit, and with still greater loss
to the enemy, from his exposed position, the duke, who had opened a
breach in the works, prepared for a general assault. It was conducted
with the usual impetuosity of the French, but was repulsed with courage
by the Italians. More than once the assailants were brought up to the
breach, and as often driven back with slaughter. The duke, convinced
that he had been too precipitate, was obliged to sound a retreat, and
again renewed the cannonade from his batteries, keeping it up night and
day, though, from the vertical direction of the fire, with comparatively
little effect. The French camp offered a surer mark to the guns of

The women of the place displayed an intrepidity equal to that of the
men. Armed with buckler and cuirass, they might be seen by the side of
their husbands and brothers, in the most exposed situations on the
ramparts; and, as one was shot down, another stepped forward to take
the place of her fallen comrade.[158] The fate of Campli had taught them
to expect no mercy from the victor, and they preferred death to

As day after day passed on in the same monotonous manner, Guise's troops
became weary of their inactive life. The mercurial spirits of the French
soldier, which overleaped every obstacle in his path, were often found
to evaporate in the tedium of protracted operations, where there was
neither incident nor excitement. Such a state of things was better
suited to the patient and persevering Spaniard. The men began openly to
murmur against the pope, whom they regarded as the cause of their
troubles. They were led by priests, they said, "who knew much more of
praying than of fighting."[159]

Guise himself had causes of disgust with the pontiff which he did not
care to conceal. For all the splendid promises of his holiness, he had
received few supplies either of men, ammunition, or money; and of the
Angevine lords not one had ventured to declare in his favor or to take
service under his banner. He urged all this with much warmth on the
pope's nephew, the duke of Montebello. The Italian, recriminated as
warmly, till the dialogue was abruptly ended, it is said, by the duke of
Guise throwing a napkin, or, according to some accounts, a dish, at the
head of his ally.[160] However this may be, Montebello left the camp in
disgust and returned to Rome. But the defender of the Church was too
important a person to quarrel with, and Paul deemed it prudent, for the
present, at least, to stifle his resentment.

Meanwhile heavy rains set in, causing great annoyance to the French
troops in their quarters, spoiling their provisions, and doing great
damage to their powder. The same rain did good service to the besieged,
by filling their cisterns. "God," exclaimed the profane Guise, "must
have turned Spaniard."[161]

While these events were taking place in the north of Naples, the duke of
Alva, in the south, was making active preparations for the defence of
the kingdom. He had seen with satisfaction the time consumed by his
antagonist, first at Gesi, and afterwards at the siege of Civitella; and
he had fully profited by the delay. On reaching the city of Naples, he
had summoned a parliament of the great barons, had clearly exposed the
necessities of the state, and demanded an extraordinary loan of two
millions of ducats. The loyal nobles readily responded to the call; but
as not more than one third of the whole amount could be instantly
raised, an order was obtained from the council, requiring the governors
of the several provinces to invite the great ecclesiastics in their
districts to advance the remaining two thirds of the loan. In case they
did not consent with a good grace, they were to be forced to comply by
the seizure of their revenues.[162]

By another decree of the council, the gold and silver plate belonging to
the monasteries and churches, throughout the kingdom, after being
valued, was to be taken for the use of the government. A quantity of it,
belonging to a city in the Abruzzi, was in fact put up to be sent to
Naples; but it caused such a tumult among the people, that it was found
expedient to suspend proceedings in the matter for the present.


The viceroy still further enlarged his resources by the sequestration of
the revenues belonging to such ecclesiastics as resided in Rome. By
these various expedients the duke of Alva found himself in possession of
sufficient funds, for carrying on the war as he desired. He mustered a
force of twenty-two, or, as some accounts state, twenty-five thousand
men. Of these three thousand only were Spanish veterans, five thousand
were Germans, and the remainder Italians, chiefly from the Abruzzi,--for
the most part raw recruits, on whom little reliance was to be placed. He
had besides seven hundred men-at-arms and fifteen hundred light horse.
His army, therefore, though, as far as the Italians were concerned,
inferior in discipline to that of his antagonist, was greatly superior
in numbers.[163]

In a council of war that was called, some were of opinion that the
viceroy should act on the defensive, and await the approach of the enemy
in the neighborhood of the capital. But Alva looked on this as a timid
course, arguing distrust in himself, and likely to infuse distrust into
his followers. He determined to march at once against the enemy, and
prevent his gaining a permanent foothold in the kingdom.

Pescara, on the Adriatic, was appointed as the place of rendezvous for
the army, and Alva quitted the city of Naples for that place on the
eleventh of April, 1557. Here he concentrated his whole strength, and
received his artillery and military stores, which were brought to him by
water. Having reviewed his troops, he began his march to the north. On
reaching Rio Umano, he detached a strong body of troops to get
possession of Giulia Nuova, a town of some importance lately seized by
the enemy. Alva supposed, and it seems correctly, that the French
commander had secured this as a good place of retreat in case of his
failure before Civitella, since its position was such as would enable
him readily to keep up his communications with the sea. The French
garrison sallied out against the Spaniards, but were driven back with
loss; and, as Alva's troops followed in their rear, the enemy fled in
confusion through the streets of the city, and left it in the hands of
the victors. In this commodious position, the viceroy for the present
took up his quarters.

On the approach of the Spanish army, the duke of Guise saw the necessity
of bringing his operations against Civitella to a decisive issue. He
accordingly, as a last effort, prepared for a general assault. But,
although it was conducted with great spirit, it was repulsed with still
greater by the garrison; and the French commander, deeply mortified at
his repeated failures, saw the necessity of abandoning the siege. He
could not effect even this without sustaining some loss from the brave
defenders of Civitella, who sallied out on his rear, as he drew off his
discomfited troops to the neighboring valley of Nireto. Thus ended the
siege of Civitella, which, by the confidence it gave to the loyal
Neapolitans throughout the country as well as by the leisure it afforded
to Alva for mustering his resources, may be said to have decided the
fate of the war. The siege lasted twenty-two days, during fourteen of
which the guns from the four batteries of the French had played
incessantly on the beleaguered city. The viceroy was filled with
admiration at the heroic conduct of the inhabitants; and, in token of
respect for it, granted some important immunities, to be enjoyed for
ever by the citizens of Civitella. The women, too, came in for their
share of the honors, as whoever married a maiden of Civitella was to be
allowed the same immunities, from whatever part of the country he might

The two armies were now quartered within a few miles of each other. Yet
no demonstration was made, on either side, of bringing matters to the
issue of a battle. This was foreign to Alva's policy, and was not to be
expected from Guise, so inferior in strength to his antagonist. On the
viceroy's quitting Giulia Nuova, however, to occupy a position somewhat
nearer the French quarters, Guise did not deem it prudent to remain
there any longer, but, breaking up his camp, retreated, with his whole
army, across the Tronto, and, without further delay, evacuated the
kingdom of Naples.

The Spanish general made no attempt to pursue, or even to molest his
adversary in his retreat. For this he has been severely criticized, more
particularly as the passage of a river offers many points of advantage
to an assailant. But, in truth, Alva never resorted to fighting when he
could gain his end without it. In an appeal to arms, however favorable
may be the odds, there must always be some doubt as to the result. But
the odds here were not so decisively on the side of the Spaniards as
they appeared. The duke of Guise carried off his battalions in admirable
order, protecting his rear with the flower of his infantry and with his
cavalry, in which last he was much superior to his enemy. Thus the parts
of the hostile armies likely to have been brought into immediate
conflict would have afforded no certain assurance of success to the
Spaniards. Alva's object had been, not so much to defeat the French as
to defend Naples. This he had now achieved, with but little loss; and
rather than incur the risk of greater, he was willing, in the words of
an old proverb, to make a bridge of silver for the flying foe.[165] In
the words of Alva himself, "he had no idea of staking the kingdom of
Naples against the embroidered coat of the duke of Guise."[166]

On the retreat of the French, Alva laid siege at once to two or three
places, of no great note, in the capture of which he and his lieutenants
were guilty of the most deliberate cruelty; though, in the judgment of
the chronicler, it was not cruelty, but a wholesome severity, designed
as a warning to such petty places not to defy the royal authority.[167]
Soon after this, Alva himself crossed the Tronto, and took up a position
not far removed from the French, who lay in the neighborhood of Ascoli.
Although the two armies were but a few miles asunder, there was no
attempt at hostilities, with the exception of a skirmish in which but a
small number on either side were engaged, and which terminated in favor
of the Spaniards. This state of things was at length ended by a summons
from the pope to the French commander to draw nearer to Rome, as he
needed his presence for the protection of the capital. The duke, glad,
no doubt, of so honorable an apology for his retreat, and satisfied with
having so long held his ground against a force superior to his own, fell
back, in good order, upon Tivoli, which, as it commanded the great
avenues to Rome on the east, and afforded good accommodations for his
troops, he made his head quarters for the present. The manner in which
the duke of Alva adhered to the plan of defensive operations settled at
the beginning of the campaign, and that, too, under circumstances which
would have tempted most men to depart from such a plan, is a remarkable
proof of his perseverance and inflexible spirit. It proves, moreover,
the empire which he held over the minds of his followers, that, under
such circumstances, he could maintain implicit obedience to his orders.


The cause of the pope's alarm was the rapid successes of Alva's
confederate, Mark Antony Colonna, who had defeated the papal levies,
and taken one place after another in the Campagna, till the Romans began
to tremble for their capital. Colonna was now occupied with the siege of
Segni, a place of considerable importance; and the duke of Alva,
relieved of the presence of the French, resolved to march to his
support. He accordingly recrossed the Tronto, and, passing through the
Neapolitan territory, halted for some days at Sora. He then traversed
the frontier, but had not penetrated far into the Campagna when he
received tidings of the fall of Segni. That strong place, after a
gallant defence, had been taken by storm. All the usual atrocities were
perpetrated by the brutal soldiery. Even the sanctity of the convents
did not save them from pollution. It was in vain that Colonna interfered
to prevent these excesses. The voice of authority was little heeded in
the tempest of passion.--It mattered little, in that age, into whose
hands a captured city fell; Germans, French, Italians, it was all the
same. The wretched town, so lately flourishing, it might be, in all the
pride of luxury and wealth, was claimed as the fair spoil of the
victors. It was their prize-money, which served in default of payment of
their long arrears,--usually long in those days; and it was a mode of
payment as convenient for the general as for his soldiers.[168]

The fall of Segni caused the greatest consternation in the capital. The
next thing, it was said, would be to assault the capital itself. Paul
the Fourth, incapable of fear, was filled with impotent fury. "They have
taken Segni," he said in a conclave of the cardinals; "they have
murdered the people, destroyed their property, fired their dwellings.
Worse than this, they will next pillage Palliano. Even this will not
fill up the measure of their cruelty. They will sack the city of Rome
itself; nor will they respect even my person. But, for myself, I long to
be with Christ, and await without fear the crown of martyrdom."[169]
Paul the Fourth, after having brought this tempest upon Italy, began to
consider himself a martyr!

Yet even in this extremity, though urged on all sides to make
concessions, he would abate nothing of his haughty tone. He insisted, as
a _sine qua non_, that Alva should forthwith leave the Roman territory
and restore his conquests. When these conditions were reported to the
duke, he coolly remarked, that "his holiness seemed to be under the
mistake of supposing that his own army was before Naples, instead of the
Spanish army being at the gates of Rome."[170]

After the surrender of Segni, Alva effected a junction with the Italian
forces, and marched to the town of Colona, in the Campagna, where for
the present he quartered his army. Here he formed the plan of an
enterprise, the adventurous character of which it seems difficult to
reconcile with his habitual caution. This was a night assault on Rome.
He did not communicate his whole purpose to his officers, but simply
ordered them to prepare to march on the following night, the
twenty-sixth of August, against a neighboring city, the name of which he
did not disclose. It was a wealthy place, he said, but he was most
anxious that no violence should be offered to the inhabitants, in either
their persons or property. The soldiers should be forbidden even to
enter the dwellings; but he promised that the loss of booty should be
compensated by increase of pay. The men were to go lightly armed,
without baggage, and with their shirts over their mail, affording the
best means of recognizing one another in the dark.

The night was obscure, but unfortunately a driving storm of rain set in,
which did such damage to the roads as greatly to impede the march, and
the dawn was nigh at hand when the troops reached the place of
destination. To their great surprise, they then understood that the
object of attack was Rome itself.

Alva halted at a short distance from the city, in a meadow, and sent
forward a small party to reconnoitre the capital, which seemed to
slumber in quiet. But, on a nearer approach, the Spaniards saw a great
light, as if occasioned by a multitude of torches, that seemed glancing
to and fro within the walls, inferring some great stir among the
inhabitants of that quarter. Soon after this, a few horsemen were seen
to issue from one of the gates, and ride off in the direction of the
French camp at Tivoli. The duke, on receiving the report, was satisfied
that the Romans had, in some way or other, got notice of his design;
that the horsemen had gone to give the alarm to the French in Tivoli;
and that he should soon find himself between two enemies. Not relishing
this critical position, he at once abandoned his design, and made a
rapid countermarch on the place he had left the preceding evening.

In his conjectures the duke was partly in the right and partly in the
wrong. The lights which were seen glancing within the town were owing to
the watchfulness of Caraffa, who, from some apprehensions of an attack,
in consequence of information he had received of preparations in the
Spanish camp, was patrolling this quarter before daybreak to see that
all was safe; but the horsemen who left the gates at that early hour in
the direction of the French camp were far from thinking that hostile
battalions lay within gunshot of their walls.[171]

Such is the account we have of this strange affair. Some historians
assert that it was not the duke's design to attack Rome, but only to
make a feint, and, by the panic which he would create, to afford the
pope a good pretext for terminating the war. In support of this, it is
said that he told his son Ferdinand, just before his departure, that he
feared it would be impossible to prevent the troops from sacking the
city, if they once set foot in it.[172] Other accounts state that it was
no feint, but a surprise meditated in good earnest, and defeated only by
the apparition of the lights and the seeming state of preparation in
which the place was found. Indeed, one writer asserts that he saw the
scaling-ladders, brought by a corps of two hundred arquebusiers, who
were appointed to the service of mounting the walls.[173]

The Venetian minister, Navagero, assures us that Alva's avowed purpose
was to secure the person of his holiness, which, he thought, must bring
the war at once to a close. The duke's uncle, the cardinal of
Sangiacomo, had warned his nephew, according to the same authority, not
to incur the fate of their countrymen who had served under the Constable
de Bourbon, at the sack of Rome, all of whom, sooner or later, had come
to a miserable end.[174]


This warning may have made some impression on the mind of Alva, who,
however inflexible by nature, had conscientious scruples of his own, and
was, no doubt, accessible, as others of his time, to arguments founded
on superstition.

We cannot but admit that the whole affair,--the preparations for the
assault, the counsel to the officers, and the sudden retreat on
suspicion of a discovery,--all look very much like earnest. It is quite
possible that the duke, as the Venetian asserts, may have intended
nothing beyond the seizure of the pope. But that the matter would have
stopped there, no one will believe. Once fairly within the walls, even
the authority of Alva would have been impotent to restrain the licence
of the soldiery; and the same scenes might have been acted over again as
at the taking of Rome under the Constable de Bourbon, or on the capture
of the ancient capital by the Goths.

When the Romans, on the following morning, learned the peril they had
been in during the night, and that the enemy had been prowling round,
like wolves about a sheepfold, ready to rush in upon their sleeping
victims, the whole city was seized with a panic. All the horrors of the
sack by the Constable de Bourbon rose up to their imaginations,--or
rather memories, for many there were who were old enough to remember
that terrible day. They loudly clamored for peace before it was too
late; and they pressed the demand in a manner which showed that the mood
of the people was a dangerous one. Strozzi, the most distinguished of
the Italian captains, plainly told the pope that he had no choice but to
come to terms with the enemy at once.[175]

Paul was made more sensible of this by finding now, in his greatest
need, the very arm withdrawn from him on which he most leaned for
support. Tidings had reached the French camp of the decisive victory
gained by the Spaniards at St. Quentin, and they were followed by a
summons from the king to the duke of Guise, to return with his army, as
speedily as possible, for the protection of Paris. The duke, who was
probably not unwilling to close a campaign which had been so barren of
laurels to the French, declared that "no chains were strong enough to
keep him in Italy." He at once repaired to the Vatican, and there laid
before his holiness the commands of his master. The case was so
pressing, that Paul could not in reason oppose the duke's departure. But
he seldom took counsel of reason, and in a burst of passion exclaimed to
Guise, "Go, then; and take with you the consciousness of having done
little for your king, still less for the Church, and nothing for your
own honor."[176]

Negotiations were now opened for an accommodation between the
belligerents, at the town of Cavi. Cardinal Caraffa appeared in behalf
of his uncle, the pope, and the duke of Alva for the Spaniards. Through
the mediation of Venice, the terms of the treaty were finally settled,
on the fourteenth of September, although the inflexible pontiff still
insisted on concessions nearly as extravagant as those he had demanded
before. It was stipulated in a preliminary article, that the duke of
Alva should publicly ask pardon, and receive absolution, for having
borne arms against the holy see. "Sooner than surrender this point,"
said Paul, "I would see the whole world perish; and this, not so much
for my own sake as for the honor of Jesus Christ."[177]

It was provided by the treaty, that the Spanish troops should be
immediately withdrawn from the territory of the Church, that all the
places taken from the Church should be at once restored, and that the
French army should be allowed a free passage to their own country.
Philip did not take so good care of his allies as Paul did of his.
Colonna, who had done the cause such good service, was not even
reinstated in the possessions of which the pope had deprived him. But a
secret article provided that his claims should be determined hereafter
by the joint arbitration of the pontiff and the king of Spain.[178]

The treaty was, in truth, one which, as Alva bitterly remarked, "seemed
to have been dictated by the vanquished rather than by the victor." It
came hard to the duke to execute it, especially the clause relating to
himself. "Were I the king," said he haughtily, "his holiness should send
one of his nephews to Brussels, to sue for my pardon, instead of my
general's suing for his."[179] But Alva had no power to consult his own
will in the matter. The orders from Philip were peremptory, to come to
some terms, if possible, with the pope. Philip had long since made up
his own mind, that neither profit nor honor was to be derived from a war
with the Church,--a war not only repugnant to his own feelings, but
which placed him in a false position, and one most prejudicial to his
political interests.

The news of peace filled the Romans with a joy great in proportion to
their former consternation. Nor was this joy much diminished by a
calamity which at any other time would have thrown the city into
mourning. The Tiber, swollen by the autumnal rains, rose above its
banks, sweeping away houses and trees in its fury, drowning men and
cattle, and breaking down a large piece of the wall that surrounded the
city. It was well that this accident had not occurred a few days
earlier, when the enemy was at the gates.[180]

On the twenty-seventh of September, 1557, the duke of Alva made his
public entrance into Rome. He was escorted by the papal guard, dressed
in its gay uniform. It was joined by the other troops in the city, who,
on this holiday service, did as well as better soldiers. On entering the
gates, the concourse was swelled by thousands of citizens, who made the
air ring with their acclamations, as they saluted the Spanish general
with the titles of Defender and Liberator of the capital. The epithets
might be thought an indifferent compliment to their own government. In
this state the procession moved along, like the triumph of a conqueror
returned from his victorious campaigns to receive the wreath of laurel
in the capitol.

On reaching the Vatican, the Spanish commander fell on his knees before
the pope, and asked his pardon for the offence of bearing arms against
the Church. Paul, soothed by this show of concession, readily granted
absolution. He paid the duke the distinguished honor of giving him a
seat at his own table; while he complimented the duchess by sending her
the consecrated golden rose, reserved only for royal persons and
illustrious champions of the Church.[181]


Yet the haughty spirit of Alva saw in all this more of humiliation than
of triumph. His conscience, like that of his master, was greatly
relieved by being discharged from the responsibilities of such a war.
But he had also a military conscience, which seemed to be quite as much
scandalized by the conditions of the peace. He longed to be once more at
Naples, where the state of things imperatively required his presence.
When he returned there, he found abundant occupation in reforming the
abuses which had grown out of the late confusion, and especially in
restoring, as far as possible, the shattered condition of the
finances,--a task hardly less difficult than that of driving out the
French from Naples.[182]

Thus ended the war with Paul the Fourth,--a war into which that pontiff
had plunged without preparation, which he had conducted without
judgment, and terminated without honor. Indeed, it brought little honor
to any of the parties concerned in it, but, on the other hand, a full
measure of those calamities which always follow in the train of war.

The French met with the same fate which uniformly befell them, when,
lured by the phantom of military glory, they crossed the Alps to lay
waste the garden of Italy,--in the words of their own proverb, "the
grave of the French." The duke of Guise, after a vexatious campaign, in
which it was his greatest glory that he had sustained no actual defeat,
thought himself fortunate in being allowed a free passage, with the
shattered remnant of his troops, back to his own country. Naples,
besides the injuries she had sustained on her borders, was burdened with
a debt which continued to press heavily for generations to come. Nor
were her troubles ended by the peace. In the spring of the following
year, 1558, a Turkish squadron appeared off Calabria; and, running down
the coast, the Moslems made a landing on several points, sacked some of
the principal towns, butchered the inhabitants, or swept them off into
hopeless slavery.[183] Such were some of the blessed fruits of the
alliance between the grand seignior and the head of the Catholic Church.
Solyman had come into the league at the invitation of the Christian
princes. But it was not found so easy to lay the spirit of mischief as
it had been to raise it.

The weight of the war, however, fell, as was just, most heavily on the
author of it. Paul, from his palace of the Vatican, could trace the
march of the enemy by the smoking ruins of the Campagna. He saw his
towns sacked, his troops scattered, his very capital menaced, his
subjects driven by ruinous taxes to the verge of rebellion. Even peace,
when it did come, secured to him none of the objects for which he had
contended, while he had the humiliating consciousness that he owed this
peace, not to his own arms, but to the forbearance--or the superstition
of his enemies. One lesson he might have learned,--that the thunders of
the Vatican could no longer strike terror into the hearts of princes, as
in the days of the Crusades.

In this war Paul had called in the French to aid him in driving out the
Spaniards. The French, he said, might easily be dislodged hereafter;
"but the Spaniards were like dog-grass, which is sure to strike root
wherever it is cast."--This was the last great effort that was made to
overturn the Spanish power in Naples; and the sceptre of that kingdom
continued to be transmitted in the dynasty of Castile, with as little
opposition as that of any other portion of its broad empire.

Being thus relieved of his military labors, Paul set about those great
reforms, the expectation of which had been the chief inducement to his
election. But first he gave a singular proof of self-command, in the
reforms which he introduced into his own family. Previously to his
election, no one, as we have seen, had declaimed more loudly than Paul
against nepotism,--the besetting sin of his predecessors, who, most of
them old men and without children, naturally sought a substitute for
these in their nephews and those nearest of kin. Paul's partiality for
his nephews was made the more conspicuous by the profligacy of their
characters. Yet the real bond which held the parties together was hatred
of the Spaniards. When peace came, and this bond of union was dissolved,
Paul readily opened his ears to the accusations against his kinsmen.
Convinced at length of their unworthiness, and of the flagrant manner in
which they had abused his confidence, he deprived the Caraffas of all
their offices, and banished them to the farthest part of his dominions.
By the sterner sentence of his successor, two of the brothers, the duke
and the cardinal, perished by the hand of the public executioner.[184]

After giving this proof of mastery over his own feelings, Paul addressed
himself to those reforms which had engaged his attention in early life.
He tried to enforce a stricter discipline and greater regard for morals,
both in the religious orders and the secular clergy. Above all, he
directed his efforts against the Protestant heresy, which had begun to
show itself in the head of Christendom, as it had long since done in the
extremities. The course he adopted was perfectly characteristic.
Scorning the milder methods of argument and persuasion, he resorted
wholly to persecution. The Inquisition, he declared, was the true
battery with which to assail the defences of the heretic. He suited the
action so well to the word, that in a short time the prisons of the Holy
Office were filled with the accused. In the general distrust no one felt
himself safe; and a panic was created, scarcely less than that felt by
the inhabitants when the Spaniards were at their gates.

Happily, their fears were dispelled by the death of Paul, which took
place suddenly, from a fever, on the eighteenth of August, 1559, in the
eighty-third year of his age, and fifth of his pontificate. Before the
breath was out of his body, the populace rose _en masse_, broke open the
prisons of the Inquisition, and liberated all who were confined there.
They next attacked the house of the grand-inquisitor, which they burned
to the ground; and that functionary narrowly escaped with his life. They
tore down the scutcheons, bearing the arms of the family of Caraffa,
which were affixed to the public edifices. They wasted their rage on the
senseless statue of the pope, which they overturned, and, breaking off
the head, rolled it, amidst the groans and execrations of the
by-standers, into the Tiber. Such was the fate of the reformer, who, in
his reforms, showed no touch of humanity, no sympathy with the
sufferings of his species.[185]

Yet, with all its defects, there is something in the character of Paul
the Fourth that may challenge our admiration. His project--renewing that
of Julius the Second--of driving out the _barbarians_ from Italy, was
nobly conceived, though impracticable. "Whatever others may feel, I at
least will have some care for my country," he once said to the Venetian


"If my voice is unheeded, it will at least be a consolation to me to
reflect, that it has been raised in such a cause; and that it will one
day be said that an old Italian, on the verge of the grave, who might be
thought to have nothing better to do than to give himself up to repose,
and weep over his sins, had his soul filled with this lofty



England joins in the War.--Philip's Preparations.--Siege of St.
Quentin.--French Army routed.--Storming of St. Quentin.--Successes of
the Spaniards.


While the events related in the preceding chapter were passing in Italy,
the war was waged on a larger scale, and with more important results, in
the northern provinces of France. As soon as Henry had broken the
treaty, and sent his army across the Alps, Philip lost no time in
assembling his troops, although in so quiet a manner as to attract as
little attention as possible. His preparations were such as enabled him,
not merely to defend the frontier of the Netherlands, but to carry the
war into the enemy's country.

He despatched his confidential minister, Ruy Gomez, to Spain, for
supplies both of men and money; instructing him to visit his father,
Charles the Fifth, and, after acquainting him with the state of affairs,
to solicit his aid in raising the necessary funds.[187]

Philip had it much at heart to bring England into the war. During his
stay in the Low Countries, he was in constant communication with the
English cabinet, and took a lively interest in the government of the
kingdom. The minutes of the privy council were regularly sent to him,
and as regularly returned with his remarks, in his own handwriting, on
the margin. In this way he discussed and freely criticized every measure
of importance; and, on one occasion, we find him requiring that nothing
of moment should be brought before parliament until it had first been
submitted to him.[188]

In March, 1557, Philip paid a second visit to England, where he was
received by his fond queen in the most tender and affectionate manner.
In her letters she had constantly importuned him to return to her. On
that barren eminence which placed her above the reach of friendship,
Mary was dependent on her husband for sympathy and support. But if the
channel of her affections was narrow, it was deep.

Philip found no difficulty in obtaining the queen's consent to his
wishes with respect to the war with France. She was induced to this, not
merely by her habitual deference to her husband, but by natural feelings
of resentment at the policy of Henry the Second. She had put up with
affronts, more than once, from the French ambassador, in her own court;
and her throne had been menaced by repeated conspiracies, which, if not
organized, had been secretly encouraged by France. Still, it was not
easy to bring the English nation to this way of thinking. It had been a
particular proviso of the marriage treaty, that England should not be
made a party to the war against France; and subsequent events had tended
to sharpen the feeling of jealousy rather towards the Spaniards than
towards the French.

The attempted insurrection of Stafford, who crossed over from the shores
of France at this time, did for Philip what possibly neither his own
arguments nor the authority of Mary could have done. It was the last of
the long series of indignities which had been heaped on the country from
the same quarter; and parliament now admitted that it was no longer
consistent with its honor to keep terms with a power which persisted in
fomenting conspiracies to overturn the government and plunge the nation
into civil war. On the seventh of June, a herald was despatched, with
the formality of ancient and somewhat obsolete usages, to proclaim war
against the French king in the presence of his court and in his capital.
This was done in such a bold tone of defiance, that the hot old
constable, Montmorency, whose mode of proceeding, as we have seen, was
apt to be summary, strongly urged his master to hang up the envoy on the

The state of affairs imperatively demanded Philip's presence in the
Netherlands, and, after a residence of less than four months in London,
he bade a final adieu to his disconsolate queen, whose excessive
fondness may have been as little to his taste as the coldness of her

Nothing could be more forlorn than the condition of Mary. Her health
wasting under a disease that cheated her with illusory hopes, which made
her ridiculous in the eyes of the world; her throne, her very life,
continually menaced by conspiracies, to some of which even her own
sister was supposed to be privy; her spirits affected by the
consciousness of the decline of her popularity under the gloomy system
of persecution into which she had been led by her ghostly advisers;
without friends, without children, almost it might be said without a
husband,--she was alone in the world, more to be commiserated than the
meanest subject in her dominions. She has had little commiseration,
however, from Protestant writers, who paint her in the odious colors of
a fanatic. This has been compensated, it may be thought, by the Roman
Catholic historians, who have invested the English queen with all the
glories of the saint and the martyr. Experience may convince us that
public acts do not always furnish a safe criterion of private
character,--especially when these acts are connected with religion. In
the Catholic Church the individual might seem to be relieved, in some
measure, of his moral responsibility, by the system of discipline which
intrusts his conscience to the keeping of his spiritual advisers. If the
lights of the present day allow no man to plead so humiliating an
apology, this was not the case in the first half of the sixteenth
century,--the age of Mary,--when the Reformation had not yet diffused
that spirit of independence in religious speculation, which, in some
degree at least, has now found its way to the darkest corner of


A larger examination of contemporary documents, especially of the
queen's own correspondence, justifies the inference, that, with all the
infirmities of a temper soured by disease, and by the difficulties of
her position, she possessed many of the good qualities of her
illustrious progenitors, Katharine of Aragon and Isabella of Castile;
the same conjugal tenderness and devotion, the same courage in times of
danger, the same earnest desire, misguided as she was, to do her
duty,--and, unfortunately, the same bigotry. It was, indeed, most
unfortunate, in Mary's case, as in that of the Catholic queen, that this
bigotry, from their position as independent sovereigns, should have been
attended with such fatal consequences as have left an indelible blot on
the history of their reigns.[190]

On his return to Brussels, Philip busied himself with preparations for
the campaign. He employed the remittances from Spain to subsidize a
large body of German mercenaries. Germany was the country which
furnished, at this time, more soldiers of fortune than any other; men
who served indifferently under the banner that would pay them best. They
were not exclusively made up of infantry, like the Swiss, but, besides
pikemen,--_lanzknechts_,--they maintained a stout array of cavalry,
_reiters_, as they were called,--"riders,"--who, together with the
cuirass and other defensive armor, carried pistols, probably of rude
workmanship, but which made them formidable from the weapon being little
known in that day. They were, indeed, the most dreaded troops of their
time. The men-at-arms, encumbered with their unwieldy lances, were drawn
up in line, and required an open plain to manœuvre to advantage, being
easily discomposed by obstacles; and once broken, they could hardly
rally. But the _reiters_, each with five or six pistols in his belt,
were formed into columns of considerable depth, the size of their
weapons allowing them to go through all the evolutions of light cavalry,
in which they were perfectly drilled. Philip's cavalry was further
strengthened by a fine corps of Burgundian lances, and by a great number
of nobles and cavaliers from Spain, who had come to gather laurels in
the fields of France, under the eye of their young sovereign. The flower
of his infantry, too, was drawn from Spain; men who, independently of
the indifference to danger, and wonderful endurance, which made the
Spanish soldier inferior to none of the time, were animated by that
loyalty to the cause which foreign mercenaries could not feel. In
addition to these, the king expected, and soon after received, a
reinforcement of eight thousand English under the earl of Pembroke. They
might well fight bravely on the soil where the arms of England had won
two of the most memorable victories in her history.

The whole force, exclusive of the English, amounted to thirty-five
thousand foot and twelve thousand horse, besides a good train of
battering artillery.[191] The command of this army was given to Emanuel
Philibert, prince of Piedmont, better known by his title of duke of
Savoy. No man had a larger stake in the contest, for he had been
stripped of his dominions by the French, and his recovery of them
depended on the issue of the war. He was at this time but twenty-nine
years of age; but he had had large experience in military affairs, and
had been intrusted by Charles the Fifth, who had early discerned his
capacity, with important commands. His whole life may be said to have
trained him for the profession of arms. He had no taste for effeminate
pleasures, but amused himself, in seasons of leisure, with the hardy
exercise of the chase. He strengthened his constitution, naturally not
very robust, by living as much as possible in the open air. Even when
conversing, or dictating to his secretaries, he preferred to do so
walking in his garden. He was indifferent to fatigue. After hunting all
day he would seem to require no rest, and in a campaign had been known,
like the knights-errant of old, to eat, drink, and sleep in his armor
for thirty days together.

He was temperate in his habits, eating little, and drinking water. He
was punctual in attention to business, was sparing of his words, and, as
one may gather from the piquant style of his letters, had a keen insight
into character, looking below the surface of men's actions into their

His education had not been neglected. He spoke several languages
fluently, and, though not a great reader, was fond of histories. He was
much devoted to mathematical science, which served him in his
profession, and he was reputed an excellent engineer.[193] In person the
duke was of the middle size; well-made, except that he was somewhat
bow-legged. His complexion was fair, his hair light, and his deportment
very agreeable.

Such is the portrait of Emanuel Philibert, to whom Philip now intrusted
the command of his forces, and whose pretensions he warmly supported as
the suitor of Elizabeth of England. There was none more worthy of the
royal maiden. But the duke was a Catholic; and Elizabeth, moreover, had
seen the odium which her sister had incurred by her marriage with a
foreign sovereign. Philip, who would have used some constraint in the
matter, pressed it with such earnestness on the queen as proved how much
importance he attached to the connection. Mary's conduct on the occasion
was greatly to her credit; and, while she deprecated the displeasure of
her lord, she honestly told him that she could not in conscience do
violence to the inclinations of her sister.[194]

The plan of the campaign, as determined by Philip's cabinet,[195] was
that the duke should immediately besiege some one of the great towns on
the northern borders of Picardy, which in a manner commanded the
entrance into the Netherlands. Rocroy was the first selected. But the
garrison, who were well provided with ammunition, kept within their
defences, and maintained so lively a cannonade on the Spaniards, that
the duke, finding the siege was likely to consume more time than it was
worth, broke up his camp, and resolved to march against St. Quentin.
This was an old frontier town of Picardy, important in time of peace as
an _entrepôt_ for the trade that was carried on between France and the
Low Countries. It formed a convenient place of deposit, at the present
period, for such booty as marauding parties from time to time brought
back from Flanders. It was well protected by its natural situation, and
the fortifications had been originally strong; but, as in many of the
frontier towns, they had been of late years much neglected.


Before beginning operations against St. Quentin, the duke of Savoy, in
order to throw the enemy off his guard, and prevent his introducing
supplies into the town, presented himself before Guise, and made a show
of laying siege to that place. After this demonstration he resumed his
march, and suddenly sat down before St. Quentin, investing it with his
whole army.

Meanwhile the French had been anxiously watching the movements of their
adversary. Their forces were assembled on several points in Picardy and
Champagne. The principal corps was under the command of the duke of
Nevers, governor of the latter province, a nobleman of distinguished
gallantry, and who had seen some active service. He now joined his
forces to those under Montmorency, the constable of France, who occupied
a central position in Picardy, and who now took the command, for which
his rash and impetuous temper but indifferently qualified him. As soon
as the object of the Spaniards was known, it was resolved to reinforce
the garrison of St. Quentin, which otherwise, it was understood, could
not hold out a week. This perilous duty was assumed by Gaspard de
Coligni, admiral of France.[196] This personage, the head of an ancient
and honored house, was one of the most remarkable men of his time. His
name had gained a mournful celebrity in the page of history, as that of
the chief martyr in the massacre of St. Bartholomew. He embraced the
doctrines of Calvin, and by his austere manners and the purity of his
life well illustrated the doctrines he embraced. The decent order of his
household, and their scrupulous attention to the services of religion,
formed a striking contrast to the licentious conduct of too many of the
Catholics, who, however, were as prompt as Coligni to do battle in
defence of their faith. In early life he was the gay companion of the
duke of Guise.[197] But as the Calvinists, or Huguenots, were driven by
persecution to an independent and even hostile position, the two
friends, widely separated by opinion and by interest, were changed into
mortal foes. That hour had not yet come. But the heresy that was soon to
shake France to its centre was silently working under ground.

As the admiral was well instructed in military affairs, and was
possessed of an intrepid spirit and great fertility of resource, he was
precisely the person to undertake the difficult office of defending St.
Quentin. As governor of Picardy he felt this to be his duty. Without
loss of time, he put himself at the head of some ten or twelve hundred
men, horse and foot, and used such despatch that he succeeded in
entering the place before it had been entirely invested. He had the
mortification, however, to be followed only by seven hundred of his men,
the remainder having failed through fatigue, or mistaken the path.

The admiral found the place in even worse condition than he had
expected. The fortifications were much dilapidated; and in many parts of
the wall the masonry was of so flimsy a character, that it must have
fallen before the first discharge of the enemy's cannon. The town was
victualled for three weeks, and the magazines were tolerably well
supplied with ammunition. But there were not fifty arquebuses fit for

St. Quentin stands on a gentle eminence, protected on one side by
marshes, or rather a morass of great extent, through which flows the
river Somme, or a branch of it. On the same side of the river with St.
Quentin lay the army of the besiegers, with their glittering lines
extending to the very verge of the morass. A broad ditch defended the
outer wall. But this ditch was commanded by the houses of the suburbs,
which had already been taken possession of by the besiegers. There was,
moreover, a thick plantation of trees close to the town, which would
afford an effectual screen for the approach of an enemy.

One of the admiral's first acts was to cause a sortie to be made. The
ditch was crossed, and some of the houses were burned to the ground. The
trees on the banks were then levelled, and the approach to the town was
laid open. Every preparation was made for a protracted defence. The
exact quantity of provision was ascertained, and the rations were
assigned for each man's daily consumption. As the supplies were
inadequate to support the increased population for any length of time,
Coligni ordered that all except those actively engaged in the defence of
the place should leave it without delay. Many, under one pretext or
another, contrived to remain, and share the fortunes of the garrison.
But by this regulation he got rid of seven hundred useless persons, who,
if they had staid, must have been the victims of famine; and "their dead
bodies," the admiral coolly remarked, "would have bred a pestilence
among the soldiers."[198]

He assigned to his men their several posts, talked boldly of maintaining
himself against all the troops of Spain, and by his cheerful tone
endeavored to inspire a confidence in others which he was far from
feeling himself. From one of the highest towers he surveyed the
surrounding country, tried to ascertain the most practicable fords in
the morass, and sent intelligence to Montmorency, that, without relief,
the garrison could not hold out more than a few days.[199]

That commander, soon after the admiral's departure, had marched his army
to the neighborhood of St. Quentin, and established it in the towns of
La Fère and Ham, together with the adjoining villages, so as to watch
the movements of the Spaniards, and coöperate, as occasion served, with
the besieged. He at once determined to strengthen the garrison, if
possible, by a reinforcement of two thousand men under Dandelot, a
younger brother of the admiral, and not inferior to him in audacity and
enterprise. But the expedition miserably failed. Through the treachery
or the ignorance of the guide, the party mistook the path, came on one
of the enemy's outposts, and, disconcerted by the accident, were thrown
into confusion, and many of them cut to pieces or drowned in the morass.
Their leader, with the remainder, succeeded, under cover of the night,
in making his way back to La Fère.


The constable now resolved to make another attempt, and in the open day.
He proposed to send a body, under the same commander, in boats across
the Somme, and to cover the embarkation in person with his whole army.
His force was considerably less than that of the Spaniards, amounting
in all to about eighteen thousand foot and six thousand horse, besides a
train of artillery consisting of sixteen guns.[200] His levies, like
those of his antagonist, were largely made up of German mercenaries. The
French peasantry, with the exception of the Gascons, who formed a fine
body of infantry, had long since ceased to serve in war. But the
chivalry of France was represented by as gallant an array of nobles and
cavaliers as ever fought under the banner of the lilies.

On the ninth of August, 1557, Montmorency put his whole army in motion;
and on the following morning, the memorable day of St. Lawrence, by nine
o'clock, he took up a position on the bank of the Somme. On the opposite
side, nearest the town, lay the Spanish force, covering the ground, as
far as the eye could reach, with their white pavilions; while the
banners of Spain, of Flanders, and of England, unfurled in the morning
breeze, showed the various nations from which the motley host had been

On the constable's right was a windmill, commanding a ford of the river
which led to the Spanish quarters. The building was held by a small
detachment of the enemy. Montmorency's first care was to get possession
of the mill, which he did without difficulty; and, by placing a garrison
there, under the prince of Condé, he secured himself from surprise in
that quarter. He then profited by a rising ground to get his guns in
position, so as to sweep the opposite bank, and at once opened a brisk
cannonade on the enemy. The march of the French had been concealed by
some intervening hills, so that, when they suddenly appeared on the
farther side of the Somme, it was as if they had dropped from the
clouds; and the shot which fell among the Spaniards threw them into
great disorder. There was hurrying to and fro, and some of the balls
striking the duke of Savoy's tent, he had barely time to escape with his
armor in his hand. It was necessary to abandon his position, and he
marched some three miles down the river, to the quarters occupied by the
commander of the cavalry, Count Egmont.[202]

Montmorency, as much elated with this cheap success as if it had been a
victory, now set himself about passing his troops across the water. It
was attended with more difficulty than he had expected. There were no
boats in readiness, and two hours were wasted in procuring them. After
all, only four or five could be obtained, and these so small that it
would be necessary to cross and recross the stream many times to effect
the object. The boats, crowded with as many as they could carry, stuck
fast in the marshy banks, or rather quagmire, on the opposite side; and
when some of the soldiers jumped out to lighten the load, they were
swallowed up and suffocated in the mud.[203] To add to these
distresses, they were galled by the incessant fire of a body of troops
which the Spanish general had stationed on an eminence that commanded
the landing.

While, owing to these causes, the transportation of the troops was going
slowly on, the duke of Savoy had called a council of war, and determined
that the enemy, since he had ventured so near, should not be allowed to
escape without a battle. There was a practicable ford in the river,
close to Count Egmont's quarters; and that officer received orders to
cross it at the head of his cavalry, and amuse the enemy until the main
body of the Spanish army, under the duke, should have time to come up.

Lamoral, Count Egmont, and prince of Gavre, a person who is to occupy a
large space in our subsequent pages, was a Flemish noble of an ancient
and illustrious lineage. He had early attracted the notice of the
emperor, who had raised him to various important offices, both civil and
military, in which he had acquitted himself with honor. At this time,
when thirty-five years old, he held the post of lieutenant-general of
the horse, and that of governor of Flanders.

Egmont was of a lofty and aspiring nature, filled with dreams of glory,
and so much elated by success, that the duke of Savoy was once obliged
to rebuke him, by reminding him that he was not the commander-in-chief
of the army.[204] With these defects he united some excellent qualities,
which not unfrequently go along with them. In his disposition he was
frank and manly, and, though hasty in temper, had a warm and generous
heart. He was distinguished by a chivalrous bearing, and a showy,
imposing address, which took with the people, by whom his name was held
dear in later times for his devotion to the cause of freedom. He was a
dashing officer, prompt and intrepid, well fitted for a brilliant
_coup-de-main_, or for an affair like the present, which required energy
and despatch; and he eagerly undertook the duty assigned him.

The light horse first passed over the ford, the existence of which was
known to Montmorency; and he had detached a corps of German pistoleers,
of whom there was a body in the French service, to defend the passage.
But the number was too small, and the Burgundian horse, followed by the
infantry, advanced, in face of the fire, as coolly and in as good order
as if they had been on parade.[205] The constable soon received tidings
that the enemy had begun to cross; and, aware of his mistake, he
reinforced his pistoleers with a squadron of horse under the duc de
Nevers. It was too late; when the French commander reached the ground,
the enemy had already crossed in such strength that it would have been
madness to attack him. After a brief consultation with his officers,
Nevers determined, by as speedy a countermarch as possible, to join the
main body of the army.


The prince of Condé, as has been mentioned, occupied the mill which
commanded the other ford, on the right of Montmorency. From its summit
he could descry the movements of the Spaniards, and their battalions
debouching on the plain, with scarcely any opposition from the French.
He advised the constable of this at once, and suggested the necessity of
an immediate retreat. The veteran did not relish advice from one so much
younger than himself, and testily replied, "I was a soldier before the
prince of Condé was born; and, by the blessing of Heaven, I trust to
teach him some good lessons in war for many a year to come." Nor would
he quit the ground while a man of the reinforcement under Dandelot
remained to cross.[206]

The cause of this fatal confidence was information he had received that
the ford was too narrow to allow more than four or five persons to pass
abreast, which would give him time enough to send over the troops, and
then secure his own retreat to La Fère. As it turned out, unfortunately,
the ford was wide enough to allow fifteen or twenty men to go abreast.

The French, meanwhile, who had crossed the river, after landing on the
opposite bank, were many of them killed or disabled by the Spanish
arquebusiers; others were lost in the morass; and of the whole number
not more than four hundred and fifty, wet, wounded, and weary, with
Dandelot at their head, succeeded in throwing themselves into St.
Quentin. The constable, having seen the last boat put off, gave instant
orders for retreat. The artillery was sent forward in the front, then
followed the infantry, and, last of all, he brought up the rear with the
horse, of which he took command in person. He endeavored to make up for
the precious time he had lost by quickening his march, which, however,
was retarded by the heavy guns in the van.

The duc de Nevers, as we have seen, declining to give battle to the
Spaniards who had crossed the stream, had prepared to retreat on the
main body of the army. On reaching the ground lately occupied by his
countrymen, he found it abandoned; and joining Condé, who still held the
mill, the two officers made all haste to overtake the constable.

Meanwhile, Count Egmont, as soon as he was satisfied that he was in
sufficient strength to attack the enemy, gave orders to advance, without
waiting for more troops to share with him the honors of victory.
Crossing the field lately occupied by the constable, he took the great
road to La Fère. But the rising ground which lay between him and the
French prevented him from seeing the enemy until he had accomplished
half a league or more. The day was now well advanced, and the Flemish
captain had some fears that, notwithstanding his speed, the quarry had
escaped him. But, as he turned the hill, he had the satisfaction to
descry the French columns in full retreat. On their rear hung a body of
sutlers and other followers of the camp, who, by the sudden apparition
of the Spaniards, were thrown into a panic, which they had wellnigh
communicated to the rest of the army.[207] To retreat before an enemy is
in itself a confession of weakness sufficiently dispiriting to the
soldier. Montmorency, roused by the tumult, saw the dark cloud gathering
along the heights, and knew that it must soon burst on him. In this
emergency, he asked counsel of an old officer near him as to what he
should do. "Had you asked me," replied the other, "two hours since, I
could have told you; it is now too late."[208] It was indeed too late,
and there was nothing to be done but to face about and fight the
Spaniards. The constable, accordingly, gave the word to halt, and made
dispositions to receive his assailants.

Egmont, seeing him thus prepared, formed his own squadron into three
divisions. One, which was to turn the left flank of the French, he gave
to the prince of Brunswick and to Count Hoorne,--a name afterwards
associated with his own on a sadder occasion than the present. Another,
composed chiefly of Germans, he placed under Count Mansfeldt, with
orders to assail the centre. He himself, at the head of his Burgundian
lances, rode on the left against Montmorency's right flank. Orders were
then given to charge, and, spurring forward their horses, the whole
column came thundering on against the enemy. The French met the shock
like well-trained soldiers, as they were; but the cavalry fell on them
with the fury of a torrent sweeping everything before it, and for a few
moments it seemed as if all were lost. But the French chivalry was true
to its honor, and, at the call of Montmorency, who gallantly threw
himself into the thick of the fight, it rallied, and, returning the
charge, compelled the assailants to give way in their turn. The
struggle, now continued on more equal terms, grew desperate; man against
man, horse against horse,--it seemed to be a contest of personal
prowess, rather than of tactics or military science. So well were the
two parties matched, that for a long time the issue was doubtful; and
the Spaniards might not have prevailed in the end, but for the arrival
of reinforcements, both foot and heavy cavalry, who came up to their
support. Unable to withstand this accumulated force, the French
cavaliers, overpowered by numbers, not by superior valor, began to give
ground. Hard pressed by Egmont, who cheered on his men to renewed
efforts, their ranks were at length broken. The retreat became a flight;
and, scattered over the field in all directions, they were hotly pursued
by their adversaries, especially the German _schwarzreiters_,--those
riders "black as devils,"[209]--who did such execution with their
fire-arms as completed the discomfiture of the French.

Amidst this confusion, the Gascons, the flower of the French infantry,
behaved with admirable coolness.[210] Throwing themselves into squares,
with the pikemen armed with their long pikes in front, and the
arquebusiers in the centre, they presented an impenetrable array,
against which the tide of battle raged and chafed in impotent fury. It
was in vain that the Spanish horse rode round the solid masses bristling
with steel, if possible, to force an entrance, while an occasional shot,
striking a trooper from his saddle, warned them not to approach too

It was in this state of things that the duke of Savoy, with the
remainder of the troops, including the artillery, came on the field of
action. His arrival could not have been more seasonable. The heavy guns
were speedily turned on the French squares, whose dense array presented
an obvious mark to the Spanish bullets. Their firm ranks were rent
asunder; and, as the brave men tried in vain to close over the bodies of
their dying comrades, the horse took advantage of the openings to plunge
into the midst of the phalanx. Here the long spears of the pikemen were
of no avail, and, striking right and left, the cavaliers dealt death on
every side. All now was confusion and irretrievable ruin. No one thought
of fighting, or even of self-defence. The only thought was of flight.
Men overturned one another in their eagerness to escape. They were soon
mingled with the routed cavalry, who rode down their own countrymen.
Horses ran about the field without riders. Many of the soldiers threw
away their arms, to fly the more quickly. All strove to escape from the
terrible pursuit which hung on their rear. The artillery and
ammunition-wagons choked up the road, and obstructed the flight of the
fugitives. The slaughter was dreadful. The best blood of France flowed
like water.

[Sidenote: ARMY ROUTED.]

Yet mercy was shown to those who asked it. Hundreds and thousands threw
down their arms, and obtained quarter. Nevers, according to some
accounts, covered the right flank of the French army. Others state that
he was separated from it by a ravine or valley. At all events, he fared
no better than his leader. He was speedily enveloped by the cavalry of
Hoorne and Brunswick, and his fine corps of light horse cut to pieces.
He himself, with the prince of Condé, was so fortunate as to make his
escape, with the remnant of his forces, to La Fère.

Had the Spaniards followed up the pursuit, few Frenchmen might have been
left that day to tell the story of the rout of St. Quentin. But the
fight had already lasted four hours; evening was setting in; and the
victors, spent with toil and sated with carnage, were content to take up
their quarters on the field of battle.

The French, in the mean time, made their way, one after another, to La
Fère, and, huddling together in the public squares, or in the quarters
they had before occupied, remained like a herd of panic-struck deer, in
whose ears the sounds of the chase are still ringing. But the loyal
cavaliers threw off their panic, and recovered heart, when a rumor
reached them that their commander, Montmorency, was still making head,
with a body of stout followers, against the enemy. At the tidings, faint
and bleeding as they were, they sprang to the saddles which they had
just quitted, and were ready again to take the field.[211]

But the rumor was without foundation. Montmorency was a prisoner in the
hands of the Spaniards. The veteran had exposed his own life throughout
the action, as if willing to show that he would not shrink in any degree
from the peril into which he had brought his followers. When he saw that
the day was lost, he threw himself into the hottest of the battle,
holding life cheap in comparison with honor. A shot from the pistol of a
_schwarzreiter_, fracturing his thigh, disabled him from further
resistance; and he fell into the hands of the Spaniards, who treated him
with the respect due to his rank. The number of prisoners was very
large,--according to some accounts, six thousand, of whom six hundred
were said to be gentlemen and persons of condition. The number of the
slain is stated, as usual, with great discrepancy, varying from three to
six thousand. A much larger proportion of them than usual were men of
family. Many a noble house in France went into mourning for that day.
Among those who fell was Jean de Bourbon, count d'Enghien, a prince of
the blood. Mortally wounded, he was carried to the tent of the duke of
Savoy, where he soon after expired, and his body was sent to his
countrymen at La Fère for honorable burial. To balance this bloody roll,
no account states the loss of the Spaniards at over a thousand men.[212]

More than eighty standards, including those of the cavalry, fell into
the hands of the victors, together with all the artillery,
ammunition-wagons, and baggage of the enemy. France had not experienced
such a defeat since the battle of Agincourt.[213]

King Philip had left Brussels, and removed his quarters to Cambray, that
he might be near the duke of Savoy, with whom he kept up daily
communication throughout the siege. Immediately after the battle, on the
eleventh of August, he visited the camp in person. At the same time, he
wrote to his father, expressing his regret that he had not been there to
share the glory of the day.[214] The emperor seems to have heartily
shared this regret.[215] It is quite certain, if Charles had had the
direction of affairs, he would not have been absent. But Philip had not
the bold, adventurous spirit of his father. His talent lay rather in
meditation than in action; and his calm, deliberate forecast better
fitted him for the council than the camp. In enforcing levies, in
raising supplies, in superintending the organization of the army, he was
indefatigable. The plan of the campaign was determined under his own
eye; and he was most sagacious in the selection of his agents. But to
those agents he prudently left the conduct of the war, for which he had
no taste, perhaps no capacity, himself. He did not, like his rival,
Henry the Second, fancy himself a great captain because he could carry
away the prizes of a tourney.

Philip was escorted to the camp by his household troops. He appeared on
this occasion armed _cap-à-pie_,--a thing by no means common with him.
It seems to have pleased his fancy to be painted in military costume. At
least, there are several portraits of him in complete mail,--one from
the pencil of Titian. A picture taken at the present time was sent by
him to Queen Mary, who, in this age of chivalry, may have felt some
pride in seeing her lord in the panoply of war.

On the king's arrival at the camp, he was received with all the honors
of a victor; with flourishes of trumpets, salvos of artillery, and the
loud shouts of the soldiery. The duke of Savoy laid at his feet the
banners and other trophies of the fight, and, kneeling down, would have
kissed Philip's hand; but the king, raising him from the ground, and
embracing him as he did so, said that the acknowledgments were due from
himself to the general who had won him such a victory. At the same time,
he paid a well-deserved compliment to the brilliant part which Egmont
and his brave companions had borne in the battle.[216]


The first thing to be done was to dispose of the prisoners, whose number
embarrassed the conquerors. Philip dismissed all those of the common
file, on the condition that they should not bear arms for six months
against the Spaniards. The condition did no great detriment to the
French service, as the men, on their return, were sent to garrison some
distant towns, and their places in the army filled by the troops whom
they had relieved. The cavaliers and persons of condition were lodged in
fortresses, where they could be securely detained till the amount of
their respective ransoms was determined. These ransoms formed an
important part of the booty of the conqueror. How important, may be
inferred from the sum offered by the constable on his own account and
that of his son,--no less, it is said, than a hundred and sixty-five
thousand gold crowns.[217] The soldier of that day, when the penalty was
loss of fortune as well as of freedom, must be confessed to have fought
on harder conditions than at present.

A council of war was next called, to decide on further operations. When
Charles the Fifth received tidings of the victory of St. Quentin, the
first thing he asked, as we are told, was "whether Philip were at
Paris."[218] Had Charles been in command, he would doubtless have
followed up the blow by presenting himself at once before the French
capital. But Philip was not of that sanguine temper which overlooks, or
at least overleaps, the obstacles in its way. Charles calculated the
chances of success; Philip, those of failure. Charles's character opened
the way to more brilliant achievements, but exposed him also to severer
reverses. His enterprising spirit was more favorable to building up a
great empire; the cautious temper of Philip was better fitted to
preserve it. Philip came in the right time; and his circumspect policy
was probably better suited to his position, as well as to his character,
than the bolder policy of the emperor.

When the duke of Savoy urged, as it is said, the expediency of profiting
by the present panic to march at once on the French capital, Philip
looked at the dangers of such a step. Several strong fortresses of the
enemy would be left in his rear. Rivers must be crossed, presenting
lines of defence which could easily be maintained against a force even
superior to his own. Paris was covered by formidable works, and forty
thousand citizens could be enrolled, at the shortest notice, for its
protection. It was not wise to urge the foe to extremity, to force a
brave and loyal people, like the French, to rise _en masse_, as they
would do for the defence of their capital. The emperor, his father, had
once invaded France with a powerful army, and laid siege to Marseilles.
The issue of that invasion was known to everybody. "The Spaniards," it
was tauntingly said, "had come into the country feasting on turkeys;
they were glad to escape from it feeding on roots!"[219] Philip
determined, therefore, to abide by his original plan of operations, and
profit by the late success of his arms to press the siege of St. Quentin
with his whole force.--It would not be easy for any one, at this
distance of time, to pronounce on the wisdom of his decision. But
subsequent events tend considerably to strengthen our confidence in it.

Preparations were now made to push the siege with vigor. Besides the
cannon already in the camp, and those taken in the battle, a good number
of pieces were brought from Cambray to strengthen the battering-train
of the besiegers. The river was crossed; and the Faubourg d'Ile was
carried by the duke, after a stout resistance on the part of the French,
who burned the houses in their retreat. The Spanish commander availed
himself of his advantage to establish batteries close to the town, which
kept up an incessant cannonade, that shook the old walls and towers to
their foundation. The miners also carried on their operations, and
galleries were excavated almost to the centre of the place.

The condition of the besieged, in the mean time, was forlorn in the
extreme; not so much from want of food, though their supplies were
scanty, as from excessive toil and exposure. Then it was that Coligni
displayed all the strength of his character. He felt the importance of
holding out as long as possible, that the nation might have time to
breathe, as it were, and recover from the late disaster. He endeavored
to infuse his own spirit into the hearts of his soldiers, toiling with
the meanest of them, and sharing all their privations. He cheered the
desponding, by assuring them of speedy relief from their countrymen.
Some he complimented for their bravery; others he flattered by asking
their advice. He talked loudly of the resources at his command. If any
should hear him so much as hint at a surrender, he gave them leave to
tie him hand and foot, and throw him into the moat. If he should hear
one of them talk of it, the admiral promised to do as much by him.[220]

The duc de Nevers, who had established himself, with the wreck of the
French army and such additional levies as he could muster, in the
neighborhood of St. Quentin, contrived to communicate with the admiral.
On one occasion he succeeded in throwing a reinforcement of a hundred
and twenty arquebusiers into the town, though it cost him thrice that
number, cut to pieces by the Spaniards in the attempt. Still the number
of the garrison was altogether inadequate to the duties imposed on it.
With scanty refreshment, almost without repose, watching and fighting by
turns, the day passed in defending the breaches which the night was not
long enough to repair. No frame could be strong enough to endure it.

Coligni had, fortunately, the services of a skilful engineer, named St.
Rémy, who aided him in repairing the injuries inflicted on the works by
the artillery, and by the scarcely less destructive mines of the
Spaniards. In the want of solid masonry, every material was resorted to
for covering up the breaches. Timbers were thrown across; and boats
filled with earth, laid on the broken rampart, afforded a good bulwark
for the French musketeers. But the time was come when neither the skill
of the engineer nor the courage of the garrison could further avail.
Eleven practicable breaches had been opened, and St. Rémy assured the
admiral that he could not engage to hold out four-and-twenty hours


The duke of Savoy also saw that the time had come to bring the siege to
a close by a general assault. The twenty-seventh of August was the day
assigned for it. On that preceding he fired three mines, which shook
down some fragments of the wall, but did less execution than was
expected. On the morning of the twenty-seventh, his whole force was
under arms. The duke divided it into as many corps as there were
breaches, placing these corps under his best and bravest officers. He
proposed to direct the assault in person.

Coligni made his preparations also with consummate coolness. He posted a
body of troops at each of the breaches, while he and his brother
Dandelot took charge of the two which, still more exposed than the
others, might be considered as the post of danger. He had the
satisfaction to find, in this hour of trial, that the men, as well as
their officers, seemed to be animated with his own heroic spirit.

Before proceeding to storm the place, the duke of Savoy opened a brisk
cannonade, in order to clear away the barricades of timber, and other
temporary defences, which had been thrown across the breaches. The fire
continued for several hours, and it was not till afternoon that the
signal was given for the assault. The troops rushed forward,--Spaniards,
Flemings, English, and Germans,--spurred on by feelings of national
rivalry. A body of eight thousand brave Englishmen had joined the
standard of Philip in the early part of the campaign;[222] and they now
eagerly coveted the opportunity for distinction which had been denied
them at the battle of St. Quentin, where the fortune of the day was
chiefly decided by cavalry. But no troops felt so keen a spur to their
achievements as the Spaniards, fighting as they were under the eye of
their sovereign, who from a neighboring eminence was spectator of the

The obstacles were not formidable in the path of the assailants, who
soon clambered over the fragments of masonry and other rubbish which lay
scattered below the ramparts, and, in the face of a steady fire of
musketry, presented themselves before the breaches. The brave men
stationed to defend them were in sufficient strength to occupy the open
spaces; their elevated position gave them some advantage over the
assailants, and they stood to their posts with the resolution of men
prepared to die rather than surrender. A fierce conflict now ensued
along the whole extent of the ramparts; and the French, sustained by a
dauntless spirit, bore themselves as stoutly in the fight as if they had
been in training for it of late, instead of being enfeebled by scanty
subsistence and excessive toil. After a severe struggle, which lasted
nearly an hour, the Spaniards were driven back at all points. Not a
breach was won; and, broken and dispirited, the assailants were
compelled to retire on their former position.

After this mortifying repulse, the duke did not give them a long time to
breathe, before he again renewed the assault. This time he directed the
main attack against a tower where the resistance had been weakest. In
fact, Coligni had there placed the troops on whom he had least reliance,
trusting to the greater strength of the works. But a strong heart is
worth all the defences in the world. After a sharp but short struggle,
the assailants succeeded in carrying the tower. The faint-hearted troops
gave way; and the Spaniards, throwing themselves on the rampart,
remained masters of one of the breaches. A footing once gained, the
assailants poured impetuously into the opening, Spaniards, Germans, and
English streaming like a torrent along the ramparts, and attacking the
defenders on their flank. Coligni, meanwhile, and his brother Dandelot,
had rushed, with a few followers, to the spot, in the hope, if possible,
to arrest the impending ruin. But they were badly supported. Overwhelmed
by numbers, they were trodden down, disarmed, and made prisoners. Still
the garrison, at the remaining breaches, continued to make a desperate
stand. But, with one corps pressing them on flank, and another in front,
they were speedily cut to pieces, or disabled and taken. In half an
hour resistance had ceased along the ramparts. The town was in
possession of the Spaniards.[223]

A scene of riot and wild uproar followed, such as made the late conflict
seem tame in comparison. The victorious troops spread over the town in
quest of plunder, perpetrating those deeds of ruthless violence, usual,
even in this enlightened age, in a city taken by storm. The wretched
inhabitants fled before them; the old and the helpless, the women and
children, taking refuge in garrets, cellars, and any other corner where
they could hide themselves from their pursuers. Nothing was to be heard
but the groans of the wounded and the dying, the cries of women and
children,--"so pitiful," says one present, "that they would grieve any
Christian heart,"[224]--mingled, with the shouts of the victors, who,
intoxicated with liquor, and loaded with booty, now madly set fire to
several of the buildings, which soon added the dangers of conflagration
to the other horrors of the scene. In a short time, the town would have
been reduced to ashes, and the place which Philip had won at so much
cost would have been lost to him by the excesses of his own soldiers.

The king had now entered the city in person. He had never been present
at the storming of a place, and the dreadful spectacle which he
witnessed touched his heart. Measures were instantly taken to extinguish
the flames, and orders were issued that no one, under pain of death,
should offer any violence to the old and infirm, to the women and
children, to the ministers of religion, to religious edifices, or, above
all, to the relics of the blessed St. Quentin. Several hundred of the
poor people, it is said, presented themselves before Philip, and claimed
his protection. By his command they were conducted, under a strong
escort, to a place of safety.[225]

It was not possible, however, to prevent the pillage of the town. It
would have been as easy to snatch the carcass from the tiger that was
rending it. The pillage of a place taken by storm was regarded as the
perquisite of the soldier, on which he counted as regularly as on his
pay. Those who distinguished themselves most, in this ruthless work,
were the German mercenaries. Their brutal rapacity filled even their
confederates with indignation. The latter seem to have been particularly
disgusted with the unscrupulous manner in which the _schwarzreiters_
appropriated not only their own share of the plunder, but that of both
English and Spaniards.[226]


Thus fell the ancient town of St. Quentin, after a defence which
reflects equal honor on the courage of the garrison, and on the conduct
of their commander. With its fortifications wretchedly out of repair,
its supplies of arms altogether inadequate, the number of its garrison
at no time exceeding a thousand, it still held out for near a month
against a powerful army, fighting under the eyes of its sovereign, and
led by one of the best captains of Europe.[227]

Philip, having taken measures to restore the fortifications of St.
Quentin, placed it under the protection of a Spanish garrison, and
marched against the neighboring town of Catelet. It was a strong place,
but its defenders, unlike their valiant countrymen at St. Quentin, after
a brief show of resistance, capitulated on the sixth of September. This
was followed by the surrender of Ham, once renowned through Picardy for
the strength of its defences. Philip then led his victorious battalions
against Noyon and Chaulny, which last town was sacked by the soldiers.
The French were filled with consternation, as one strong place after
another, on the frontier, fell into the hands of an enemy who seemed as
if he were planting his foot permanently on their soil. That Philip did
not profit by his success to push his conquests still further, is to be
attributed not to remissness on his part, but to the conduct, or rather
the composition, of his army, made up, as it was, of troops, who,
selling their swords to the highest bidder, cared little for the banner
under which they fought. Drawn from different countries, the soldiers,
gathered into one camp, soon showed all their national rivalries and
animosities. The English quarrelled with the Germans, and neither could
brook the insolent bearing of the Spaniards. The Germans complained that
their arrears were not paid,--a complaint probably well founded, as,
notwithstanding his large resources, Philip, on an emergency, found the
difficulty in raising funds, which every prince in that day felt, when
there was no such thing known as a well-arranged system of taxation.
Tempted by the superior offers of Henry the Second, the _schwarzreiters_
left the standard of Philip in great numbers, to join that of his rival.

The English were equally discontented. They had brought from home the
aversion for the Spaniards which had been festering there since the
queen's marriage. The sturdy islanders were not at all pleased with
serving under Philip. They were fighting, not the battles of England,
they said, but of Spain. Every new conquest was adding to the power of a
monarch far too powerful already. They had done enough, and insisted on
being allowed to return to their own country. The king, who dreaded
nothing so much as a rupture between his English and his Spanish
subjects, to which he saw the state of things rapidly tending, was fain
to consent.

By this departure of the English force, and the secession of the
Germans, Philip's strength was so much impaired, that he was in no
condition to make conquests, hardly to keep the field. The season was
now far advanced, for it was the end of October. Having, therefore,
garrisoned the conquered places, and put them in the best posture of
defence, he removed his camp to Brussels, and soon after put his army
into winter-quarters.[228]

Thus ended the first campaign of Philip the Second; the first, and, with
the exception of the following, the only campaign in which he was
personally present. It had been eminently successful. Besides the
important places which he had gained on the frontier of Picardy, he had
won a signal victory in the field.

But the campaign was not so memorable for military results as in a moral
view. It showed the nations of Europe that the Spanish sceptre had
passed into the hands of a prince who was as watchful as his predecessor
had been over the interests of the state; and who, if he were not so
actively ambitious as Charles the Fifth, would be as little likely to
brook any insult from his neighbors. The victory of St. Quentin,
occurring at the commencement of his reign, reminded men of the victory
won at Pavia by his father, at a similar period of his career, and, like
that, furnished a brilliant augury for the future. Philip, little given
to any visible expression of his feelings, testified his joy at the
success of his arms, by afterwards raising the magnificent pile of the
Escorial, in honor of the blessed martyr St. Lawrence, on whose day the
battle was fought, and to whose interposition with Heaven he attributed
the victory.



Extraordinary Efforts of France.--Calais surprised by Guise.--The French
invade Flanders.--Bloody Battle of Gravelines.--Negotiations for
Peace.--Mary's Death.--Accession of Elizabeth.--Treaty of


The state of affairs in France justified Philip's conclusions in respect
to the loyalty of the people. No sooner did Henry the Second receive
tidings of the fatal battle of St. Quentin, than he despatched couriers
in all directions, summoning his chivalry to gather round his banner,
and calling on the towns for aid in his extremity. The nobles and
cavaliers promptly responded to the call, flocking in with their
retainers; and not only the large towns, but those of inferior size,
cheerfully submitted to be heavily taxed for the public service. Paris
nobly set the example. She did not exhaust her zeal in processions of
the clergy, headed by the queen and the royal family, carrying with them
relics from the different churches. All the citizens capable of bearing
arms enrolled themselves for the defence of the capital; and large
appropriations were made for strengthening Montmartre, and for defraying
the expenses of the war.[229]


With these and other resources at his command, Henry was speedily
enabled to subsidize a large body of Swiss and German mercenaries. The
native troops serving abroad were ordered home. The veteran Marshal
Termes came, with a large corps, from Tuscany, and the duke of Guise
returned, with the remnant of his battalions, from Rome. This popular
commander was welcomed with enthusiasm. The nation seemed to look to him
as to the deliverer of the country. His late campaign in the kingdom of
Naples was celebrated as if it had been a brilliant career of victory.
He was made lieutenant-general of the army, and the oldest captains were
proud to take service under so renowned a chief.

The government was not slow to profit by the extraordinary resources
thus placed at its disposal. Though in the depth of winter, it was
resolved to undertake some enterprise that should retrieve the disasters
of the late campaign, and raise the drooping spirits of the nation. The
object proposed was the recovery of Calais, that strong place, which for
more than two centuries had remained in possession of the English.

The French had ever been keenly sensible to the indignity of an enemy
thus planting his foot immovably, as it were, on their soil. They had
looked to the recovery of Calais with the same feelings with which the
Spanish Moslems, when driven into Africa, looked to the recovery of
their ancient possessions in Granada. They showed how constantly this
was in their thoughts, by a common saying respecting any commander whom
they held lightly, that he was "not a man to drive the English out of
France."[230] The feelings they entertained, however, were rather those
of desire than of expectation. The place was so strong, so well
garrisoned, and so accessible to the English, that it seemed
impregnable. These same circumstances, and the long possession of the
place, had inspired the English, on the other hand, with no less
confidence, as was pretty well intimated by an inscription on the bronze
gates of the town,--"When the French besiege Calais, lead and iron will
swim like cork."[231] This confidence, as it often happens, proved their

The bishop of Acqs, the French envoy to England, on returning home, a
short time before this, had passed through Calais, and gave a strange
report of the decay of the works, and the small number of the garrison,
in short, of the defenceless condition of the place. Guise, however, as
cautious as he was brave, was unwilling to undertake so hazardous an
enterprise without more precise information. When satisfied of the fact,
he entered on the project with his characteristic ardor. The plan
adopted was said to have been originally suggested by Coligni. In order
to deceive the enemy, the duke sent the largest division of the army,
under Nevers, in the direction of Luxemburg. He then marched with the
remainder into Picardy, as if to menace one of the places conquered by
the Spaniards. Soon afterwards the two corps united, and Guise, at the
head of his whole force, by a rapid march, presented himself before the
walls of Calais.

The town was defended by a strong citadel, and by two forts. One of
these, commanding the approach by water, the duke stormed and captured
on the second of January, 1558. The other, which overlooked the land, he
carried on the following day. Possessed of these two forts, he felt
secure from any annoyance by the enemy, either by land or by water. He
then turned his powerful battering-train against the citadel, keeping up
a furious cannonade by day and by night. On the fifth, as soon as a
breach was opened, the victorious troops poured in, and, overpowering
the garrison, planted the French colors on the walls. The earl of
Wentworth, who commanded in Calais, unable, with his scanty garrison, to
maintain the place now that the defences were in the hands of the enemy,
capitulated on the eighth. The fall of Calais was succeeded by that of
Guisnes and of Hames. Thus, in a few days the English were stripped of
every rood of the territory which they had held in France since the time
of Edward the Third.

The fall of Calais caused the deepest sensation on both sides of the
Channel. The English, astounded by the event, loudly inveighed against
the treachery of the commander. They should rather have blamed the
treachery of their own government, who had so grossly neglected to
provide for the defence of the place. Philip, suspecting the designs of
the French, had intimated his suspicions to the English government, and
had offered to strengthen the garrison by a reinforcement of his own
troops. But his allies, perhaps distrusting his motives, despised his
counsel, or at least failed to profit by it.[232] After the place was
taken, he made another offer to send a strong force to recover it,
provided the English would support him with a sufficient fleet. This
also, perhaps from the same feeling of distrust, though on the plea of
inability to meet the expense, was declined, and the opportunity for the
recovery of Calais was lost for ever.[233]

Yet, in truth, it was no great loss to the nation. Like more than one,
probably, of the colonial possessions of England at the present day,
Calais cost every year more than it was worth. Its chief value was the
facility it afforded for the invasion of France. Yet such a facility for
war with their neighbors, always too popular with the English before the
time of Philip the Second, was of questionable value. The real injury
from the loss of Calais was the wound which it inflicted on the national

The exultation of the French was boundless. It could not well have been
greater, if the duke of Guise had crossed the Channel and taken London
itself. The brilliant and rapid manner in which the exploit had been
performed, the gallantry with which the young general had exposed his
own person in the assault, the generosity with which he had divided his
share of the booty among the soldiers, all struck the lively imagination
of the French; and he became more than ever the idol of the people.

Yet, during the remainder of the campaign, his arms were not crowned
with such distinguished success. In May he marched against the strong
town of Thionville, in Luxemburg. After a siege of twenty days, the
place surrendered. Having taken one or two other towns of less
importance, the French army wasted nearly three weeks in a state of
inaction, unless, indeed, we take into account the activity caused by
intestine troubles of the army itself. It is difficult to criticize
fairly the conduct of a commander of that age, when his levies were made
up so largely of foreign mercenaries, who felt so little attachment to
the service in which they were engaged, that they were ready to quarrel
with it on the slightest occasion. Among these the German
_schwarzreiters_ were the most conspicuous, manifesting too often a
degree of insolence and insubordination that made them hardly less
dangerous as friends than as enemies. The importance they attached to
their own services made them exorbitant in their demands of pay. When
this, as was too frequently the case, was in arrears, they took the
matter into their own hands, by pillaging the friendly country in which
they were quartered, or by breaking out into open mutiny. A German
baron, on one occasion, went so far as to level his pistol at the head
of the duke of Guise. So widely did this mutinous spirit extend, that
it was only by singular coolness and address that this popular chieftain
could bring these adventurers into anything like subjection to his
authority. As it was, the loss of time caused by these troubles was
attended with most disastrous consequences.


The duke had left Calais garrisoned by a strong force, under Marshal
Termes. He had since ordered that veteran to take command of a body of
fifteen hundred horse and five thousand foot, drawn partly from the
garrison itself, and to march into West Flanders. Guise proposed to join
him there with his own troops, when they would furnish such occupation
to the Spaniards as would effectually prevent them from a second
invasion of Picardy.

The plan was well designed, and the marshal faithfully executed his part
of it. Taking the road by St. Omer, he entered Flanders in the
neighborhood of Dunkirk, laid siege to that flourishing town, stormed
and gave it up to pillage. He then penetrated as far as Nieuport, when
the fatigue and the great heat of the weather brought on an attack of
gout, which entirely disabled him. The officer on whom the command
devolved allowed the men to spread themselves over the country, where
they perpetrated such acts of rapacity and violence as were not
sanctioned even by the code of that unscrupulous age. The wretched
inhabitants, driven from their homes, called loudly on Count Egmont,
their governor, to protect them. The duke of Savoy lay with his army, at
this time, at Maubeuge, in the province of Namur; but he sent orders to
Egmont to muster such forces as he could raise in the neighboring
country, and to intercept the retreat of the French, until the duke
could come to his support and chastise the enemy.

Egmont, indignant at the wrongs of his countrymen, and burning with the
desire of revenge, showed the greatest alacrity in obeying these orders.
Volunteers came in from all sides, and he soon found himself at the head
of an army consisting of ten or twelve thousand foot and two thousand
horse. With these he crossed the borders at once, and sent forward a
detachment to occupy the great road by which De Termes had penetrated
into Flanders.

The French commander, advised too late of these movements, saw that it
was necessary to abandon at once his present quarters, and secure, if
possible, his retreat. Guise was at a distance, occupied with the
troubles of his own camp. The Flemings had possession of the route by
which the marshal had entered the country. One other lay open to him
along the sea-shore, in the neighborhood of Gravelines, where the Aa
pours its waters into the ocean. By taking advantage of the ebb, the
river might be forded, and a direct road to Calais would be presented.

Termes saw that no time was to be lost. He caused himself to be removed
from his sick-bed to a litter, and began his retreat at once. On leaving
Dunkirk, he fired the town, where the houses were all that remained to
the wretched inhabitants of their property. His march was impeded by his
artillery, by his baggage, and especially by the booty which he was
conveying back from the plundered provinces. He however succeeded in
crossing the Aa at low water, and gained the sands on the opposite side.
But the enemy was there before him.[234]

Egmont, on getting tidings of the marshal's movements, had crossed the
river higher up, where the stream was narrower. Disencumbering himself
of artillery, and even of baggage, in order to move the lighter, he made
a rapid march to the sea-side, and reached it in time to intercept the
enemy. There was no choice left for Termes but to fight his way through
the Spaniards or surrender.

Ill as he was, the marshal mounted his horse, and addressed a few words
to his troops. Pointing in the direction of the blazing ruins of
Dunkirk, he told them that they could not return there. Then turning
towards Calais, "There is your home," he said, "and you must beat the
enemy before you can gain it." He determined, however, not to begin the
action, but to secure his position as strongly as he could, and wait the
assault of the Spaniards.

He placed his infantry in the centre, and flanked it on either side by
his cavalry. In the front he established his artillery, consisting of
six or seven falconets,--field-pieces of smaller size. He threw a
considerable body of Gascon pikemen in the rear, to act as a reserve
wherever their presence should be required. The river Aa, which flowed
behind his troops, formed also a good protection in that quarter. His
left wing he covered by a barricade made of the baggage and artillery
wagons. His right, which rested on the ocean, seemed secure from any
annoyance on that side.

Count Egmont, seeing the French thus preparing to give battle, quickly
made his own dispositions. He formed his cavalry into three divisions.
The centre he proposed to lead in person. It was made up chiefly of the
heavy men-at-arms and some Flemish horse. On the right he placed his
light cavalry, and on the left wing rode the Spanish. His infantry he
drew up in such a manner as to support the several divisions of horse.
Having completed his arrangements, he gave orders to the centre and the
right wing to charge, and rode at full gallop against the enemy.

Though somewhat annoyed by the heavy guns in their advance, the
battalions came on in good order, and fell with such fury on the French
left and centre, that horse and foot were borne down by the violence of
the shock. But the French gentlemen who formed the cavalry were of the
same high mettle as those who fought at St. Quentin. Though borne down
for a moment, they were not overpowered; and, after a desperate
struggle, they succeeded in rallying and in driving back the assailants.
Egmont returned to the charge, but was forced back with greater loss
than before. The French, following up their advantage, compelled the
assailants to retreat on their own lines. The guns, at the same time,
opening on the exposed flank of the retreating troopers, did them
considerable mischief. Egmont's horse was killed under him, and he had
nearly been run over by his own followers. In the mean while, the Gascon
reserve, armed with their long spears, pushed on to the support of the
cavalry, and filled the air with their shouts of "Victory!"[235]

The field seemed to be already lost; when the left wing of Spanish
horse, which had not yet come into action, seeing the disorderly state
of the French, as they were pressing on, charged them briskly on the
flank. This had the effect to check the tide of pursuit, and give the
fugitives time to rally. Egmont, meanwhile, was mounted on a fresh
horse, and, throwing himself into the midst of his followers, endeavored
to reanimate their courage and reform their disordered ranks. Then,
cheering them on by his voice and example, he cried out, "We are
conquerors! Those who love glory and their fatherland, follow me!"[236]
and spurred furiously against the enemy.


The French, hard pressed both on front and on flank, fell back in their
turn, and continued to retreat till they had gained their former
position. At the same time, the _lanzknechts_ in Egmont's service,
marched up, in defiance of the fire of the artillery, and got possession
of the guns, running the men who had charge of them through with their
lances.[237] The fight now became general; and, as the combatants were
brought into close quarters, they fought as men fight where numbers are
nearly balanced, and each one seems to feel that his own arm may turn
the scale of victory. The result was brought about by an event which
neither party could control, and neither have foreseen.

An English squadron of ten or twelve vessels lay at some distance, but
out of sight of the combatants. Attracted by the noise of the firing,
its commander drew near the scene of action, and, ranging along shore,
opened his fire on the right wing of the French, nearest the sea.[238]
The shot, probably, from the distance of the ships, did no great
execution, and is even said to have killed some of the Spaniards. But it
spread a panic among the French, as they found themselves assailed by a
new enemy, who seemed to have risen from the depths of the ocean. In
their eagerness to extricate themselves from the fire, the cavalry on
the right threw themselves on the centre, trampling down their own
comrades, until all discipline was lost, and horse and foot became
mingled together in wild disorder. Egmont profited by the opportunity to
renew his charge; and at length, completely broken and dispirited, the
enemy gave way in all directions. The stout body of Gascons who formed
the reserve alone held their ground for a time, until, vigorously
charged by the phalanx of Spanish spearmen, they broke, and were
scattered like the rest.

The rout was now general, and the victorious cavalry rode over the
field, trampling and cutting down the fugitives on all sides. Many who
did not fall under their swords perished in the waters of the Aa, now
swollen by the rising tide. Others were drowned in the ocean. No less
than fifteen hundred of those who escaped from the field are said to
have been killed by the peasantry, who occupied the passes, and thus
took bloody revenge for the injuries inflicted on their country.[239]
Two thousand French are stated to have fallen on the field, and not more
than five hundred Spaniards, or rather Flemings, who composed the bulk
of the army. The loss fell most severely on the French cavalry; severely
indeed, if, according to some accounts, not very credible, they were cut
to pieces almost to a man.[240] The number of prisoners was three
thousand. Among them was Marshal Termes himself, who had been disabled
by a wound in the head. All the baggage, the ammunition, and the rich
spoil gleaned by the foray into Flanders, became the prize of the
victors.--Although not so important for the amount of forces engaged,
the victory of Gravelines was as complete as that of St. Quentin.[241]

Yet the French, who had a powerful army on foot, were in better
condition to meet their reverses than on that day. The duke of Guise, on
receiving the tidings, instantly marched with his whole force, and
posted himself strongly behind the Somme, in order to cover Picardy from
invasion. The duke of Savoy, uniting his forces with those of Count
Egmont, took up a position along the line of the Authie, and made
demonstrations of laying siege to Dourlens. The French and Spanish
monarchs both took the field. So well appointed and large a force as
that led by Henry had not been seen in France for many a year; yet that
monarch might justly be mortified by the reflection that the greater
part of this force was made up of foreign mercenaries, amounting, it is
said, to forty thousand. Philip was in equal strength, and the length of
the war had enabled him to assemble his best captains around him. Among
them was Alva, whose cautious councils might serve to temper the bolder
enterprise of the duke of Savoy.

A level ground, four leagues in breadth, lay between the armies.
Skirmishes took place occasionally between the light troops on either
side, and a general engagement might be brought on at any moment. All
eyes were turned to the battle-field, where the two greatest princes of
Europe might so soon contend for mastery with each other. Had the
fathers of these princes, Charles the Fifth and Francis the First, been
in the field, such very probably would have been the issue. But Philip
was not disposed to risk the certain advantages he had already gained by
a final appeal to arms. And Henry was still less inclined to peril
all--his capital, perhaps his crown--on the hazard of a single cast.


There were many circumstances which tended to make both monarchs prefer
a more peaceful arbitrament of their quarrel, and to disgust them with
the war. Among these was the ruinous state of their finances.[242] When
Ruy Gomez de Silva, as has been already stated, was sent to Spain by
Philip, he was commanded to avail himself of every expedient that could
be devised to raise money. Offices were put up for sale to the highest
bidder. The public revenues were mortgaged. Large sums were obtained
from merchants at exorbitant rates of interest. Forced loans were
exacted from individuals, especially from such as were known to have
received large returns by the late arrivals from the New World. Three
hundred thousand ducats were raised on the security of the coming fair
at Villalon. The Regent Joanna was persuaded to sell her yearly pension,
assigned her on the _alcavala_, for a downright sum to meet the
exigencies of the state. Goods were obtained from the king of Portugal,
in order to be sent to Flanders for the profit to be raised on the
sale.[243] Such were the wretched devices by which Philip, who inherited
this policy of temporizing expedients from his father, endeavored to
replenish his exhausted treasury. Besides the sums drawn from Castile,
the king obtained also no less than a million and a half of ducats, as
an extraordinary grant from the states of the Netherlands.[244] Yet
these sums, large as they were, were soon absorbed by the expense of
keeping armies on foot in France and in Italy. Philip's correspondence
with his ministers teems with representations of the low state of his
finances, of the arrears due to his troops, and the necessity of
immediate supplies to save him from bankruptcy. The prospects the
ministers hold out to him in return are anything but encouraging.[245]

Another circumstance which made both princes desire the termination of
the war was the disturbed state of their own kingdoms. The Protestant
heresy had already begun to rear its formidable crest in the
Netherlands; and the Huguenots were beginning to claim the notice of the
French government. Henry the Second, who was penetrated, as much as
Philip himself, with the spirit of the Inquisition, longed for leisure
to crush the heretical doctrines in the bud. In this pious purpose he
was encouraged by Paul the Fourth, who, now that he was himself
restrained from levying war against his neighbors, seemed resolved that
no one else should claim that indulgence. He sent legates to both Henry
and Philip, conjuring them, instead of warring with each other, to turn
their arms against the heretics in their dominions, who were sapping the
foundations of the Church.[246]

The pacific disposition of the two monarchs was, moreover, fostered by
the French prisoners, and especially by Montmorency, whose authority had
been such at court, that Charles the Fifth declared "his capture was
more important than would have been that of the king himself."[247] The
old constable was most anxious to return to his own country, where he
saw with uneasiness the ascendancy which his absence and the
prolongation of the war were giving to his rival, Guise, in the royal
counsels. Through him negotiations were opened with the French court,
until, Henry the Second thinking, with good reason, that these
negotiations would be better conducted by a regular congress than by
prisoners in the custody of his enemies, commissioners were appointed on
both sides, to arrange the terms of accommodation.[248] Montmorency and
his fellow-captive, Marshal St. André, were included in the commission.
But the person of most importance in it, on the part of France, was the
cardinal of Lorraine, brother of the duke of Guise, a man of a subtle,
intriguing temper, and one who, like the rest of his family,
notwithstanding his pacific demonstrations, may be said to have
represented the war party in France[249]

On the part of Spain the agents selected were the men most conspicuous
for talent and authority in the kingdom; the names of some of whom,
whether for good or for evil report, remain immortal on the page of
history. Among these were the duke of Alva and his great antagonist,--as
he became afterwards in the Netherlands,--William of Orange. But the
principal person in the commission, the man who in fact directed it, was
Anthony Perrenot, bishop of Arras, better known by his later title of
Cardinal Granvelle. He was son of the celebrated chancellor of that name
under Charles the Fifth, by whom he was early trained, not so much to
the duties of the ecclesiastical profession as of public life. He
profited so well by the instruction, that, in the emperor's time, he
succeeded his father in the royal confidence, and surpassed him in his
talent for affairs. His accommodating temper combined with his zeal for
the interests of Philip to recommend Granvelle to the favor of that
monarch; and his insinuating address and knowledge of character well
qualified him for conducting a negotiation where there were so many
jarring feelings to be brought into concord, so many hostile and
perplexing interests to be reconciled.

As a suspension of hostilities was agreed on during the continuance of
the negotiations, it was decided to remove the armies from the
neighborhood of each other, where a single spark might at any time lead
to a general explosion. A still stronger earnest was given of their
pacific intentions, by both the monarchs disbanding part of their
foreign mercenaries, whose services were purchased at a ruinous cost,
that made one of the great evils of the war.

The congress met on the fifteenth of October, 1558, at the abbey of
Cercamps, near Cambray. Between parties so well disposed, it might be
thought that some general terms of accommodation would soon be settled.
But the war, which ran back pretty far into Charles the Fifth's time,
had continued so long, that many territories had changed masters during
the contest, and it was not easy to adjust the respective claims to
them. The duke of Savoy's dominions, for example, had passed into the
hands of Henry the Second, who, moreover, asserted an hereditary right
to them through his grandmother. Yet it was not possible for Philip to
abandon his ally, the man whom he had placed at the head of his armies.
But the greatest obstacle was Calais. "If we return without the recovery
of Calais," said the English envoys, who also took part in this
congress, "we shall be stoned to death by the people."[250]

[Sidenote: MARY'S DEATH.]

Philip supported the claim of England; and yet it was evident that
France would never relinquish a post so important to herself, which,
after so many years of hope deferred, had at last come again into her
possession. While engaged in the almost hopeless task of adjusting these
differences, an event occurred which suspended the negotiations for a
time, and exercised an important influence on the affairs of Europe.
This was the death of one of the parties to the war, Queen Mary of

Mary's health had been fast declining of late, under the pressure of
both mental and bodily disease. The loss of Calais bore heavily on her
spirits, as she thought of the reproach it would bring on her reign, and
the increased unpopularity it would draw upon herself. "When I die," she
said, in the strong language since made familiar to Englishmen by the
similar expression of their great admiral, "Calais will be found written
on my heart."[251]

Philip, who was not fully apprised of the queen's low condition, early
in November sent the count, afterwards duke, of Feria as his envoy to
London, with letters for Mary. This nobleman, who had married one of the
queen's maids of honor, stood high in the favor of his master. With
courtly manners, and a magnificent way of living, he combined a
shrewdness and solidity of judgment, that eminently fitted him for his
present mission. The queen received with great joy the letters which he
brought her, though too ill to read them. Feria, seeing the low state of
Mary's health, was earnest with the council to secure the succession for

He had the honor of supping with the princess at her residence in
Hatfield, about eighteen miles from London. The Spaniard enlarged, in
the course of conversation, on the good-will of his master to Elizabeth,
as shown in the friendly offices he had rendered her during her
imprisonment, and his desire to have her succeed to the crown. The envoy
did not add that this desire was prompted not so much by the king's
concern for the interests of Elizabeth as by his jealousy of the French,
who seemed willing to countenance the pretensions of Mary Stuart, the
wife of the dauphin, to the English throne.[252] The princess
acknowledged the protection she had received from Philip in her
troubles. "But for her present prospects," she said, "she was indebted
neither to the king nor to the English lords, however much these latter
might vaunt their fidelity. It was to the people that she owed them, and
on the people she relied."[253] This answer of Elizabeth furnishes the
key to her success.

The penetrating eye of the envoy soon perceived that the English
princess was under evil influences. The persons most in her confidence,
he wrote, were understood to have a decided leaning to the Lutheran
heresy, and he augured most unfavorably for the future prospects of the

On the seventeenth of November, 1558, after a brief, but most disastrous
reign, Queen Mary died. Her fate had been a hard one. Unimpeachable in
her private life, and, however misguided, with deeply-seated religious
principles, she has yet left a name held in more general execration than
any other on the roll of English sovereigns. One obvious way of
accounting for this, doubtless, is by the spirit of persecution which
hung like a dark cloud over her reign. And this not merely on account of
the persecution; for that was common with the line of Tudor; but because
it was directed against the professors of a religion which came to be
the established religion of the country. Thus the blood of the martyr
became the seed of a great and powerful church, ready through all after
time to bear testimony to the ruthless violence of its oppressor.

There was still another cause of Mary's unpopularity. The daughter of
Katharine of Aragon could not fail to be nurtured in a reverence for the
illustrious line from which she was descended. The education begun in
the cradle was continued in later years. When the young princess was
betrothed to her cousin, Charles the Fifth, it was stipulated that she
should be made acquainted with the language and the institutions of
Castile, and should even wear the costume of the country. "And who,"
exclaimed Henry the Eighth, "is so well fitted to instruct her in all
this as the queen, her mother?" Even after the match with her imperial
suitor was broken off by his marriage with the Portuguese infanta,
Charles still continued to take a lively interest in the fortunes of his
young kinswoman; while she, in her turn, naturally looked to the
emperor, as her nearest relative, for counsel and support. Thus drawn
towards Spain by the ties of kindred, by sympathy, and by interest, Mary
became in truth more of a Spanish than an English woman; and when all
this was completed by the odious Spanish match, and she gave her hand to
Philip the Second, the last tie seemed to be severed which had bound her
to her native land. Thenceforth she remained an alien in the midst of
her own subjects.--Very different was the fate of her sister and
successor, Elizabeth, who ruled over her people like a true-hearted
English queen, under no influence, and with no interests distinct from
theirs. She was requited for it by the most loyal devotion on their
part; while round her throne have gathered those patriotic recollections
which, in spite of her many errors, still render her name dear to

On the death of her sister, Elizabeth, without opposition, ascended the
throne of her ancestors. It may not be displeasing to the reader to see
the portrait of her sketched by the Venetian minister at this period, or
rather two years earlier, when she was twenty-three years of age. "The
princess," he says, "is as beautiful in mind as she is in body; though
her countenance is rather pleasing from its expression, than
beautiful.[254] She is large and well-made; her complexion clear, and of
an olive tint; her eyes are fine, and her hands, on which she prides
herself, small and delicate. She has an excellent genius, with much
address and self-command, as was abundantly shown in the severe trials
to which she was exposed in the earlier part of her life. In her temper
she is haughty and imperious, qualities inherited from her father, King
Henry the Eighth, who, from her resemblance to himself, is said to have
regarded her with peculiar fondness."[255]--He had, it must be owned, an
uncommon way of showing it.


One of the first acts of Elizabeth was to write an elegant Latin epistle
to Philip, in which she acquainted him with her accession to the crown,
and expressed the hope that they should continue to maintain "the same
friendly relations as their ancestors had done, and, if possible, more

Philip received the tidings of his wife's death at Brussels, where her
obsequies were celebrated, with great solemnity, on the same day with
her funeral in London. All outward show of respect was paid to her
memory. But it is doing no injustice to Philip to suppose that his heart
was not very deeply touched by the loss of a wife so many years older
than himself, whose temper had been soured, and whose personal
attractions, such as they were, had long since faded under the pressure
of disease. Still, it was not without feelings of deep regret that the
ambitious monarch saw the sceptre of England--barren though it had
proved to him--thus suddenly snatched from his grasp.

We have already seen that Philip, during his residence in the country,
had occasion more than once to interpose his good offices in behalf of
Elizabeth. It was perhaps the friendly relation in which he thus stood
to her, quite as much as her personal qualities, that excited in the
king a degree of interest which seems to have provoked something like
jealousy in the bosom of his queen.[256] However this may be, motives of
a very different character from those founded on sentiment now
determined him to retain, if possible, his hold on England, by
transferring to Elizabeth the connection which had subsisted with Mary.

A month had not elapsed since Mary's remains were laid in Westminster
Abbey, when the royal widower made direct offers, through his
ambassador, Feria, for the hand of her successor. Yet his ardor did not
precipitate him into any unqualified declaration of his passion; on the
contrary, his proposals were limited by some very prudent conditions.

It was to be understood that Elizabeth must be a Roman Catholic, and, if
not one already, must repudiate her errors and become one. She was to
obtain a dispensation from the pope for the marriage. Philip was to be
allowed to visit Spain, whenever he deemed it necessary for the
interests of that kingdom;--a provision which seems to show that Mary's
over-fondness, or her jealousy, must have occasioned him some
inconvenience on that score. It was further to be stipulated, that the
issue of the marriage should not, as was agreed in the contract with
Mary, inherit the Netherlands, which were to pass to his son Don Carlos,
the prince of Asturias.

Feria was directed to make these proposals by word of mouth, not in
writing, "although," adds his considerate master, "it is no disgrace for
a man to have his proposals rejected, when they are founded, not on
worldly considerations, but on zeal for his Maker and the interests of

Elizabeth received the offer of Philip's hand, qualified as it was, in
the most gracious manner. She told the ambassador, indeed, that, "in a
matter of this kind, she could take no step without consulting her
parliament. But his master might rest assured, that, should she be
induced to marry, there was no man she should prefer to him."[257]
Philip seems to have been contented with the encouragement thus given,
and shortly after he addressed Elizabeth a letter, written with his own
hand, in which he endeavored to impress on her how much he had at heart
the successes of his ambassador's mission.

The course of events in England, however, soon showed that such success
was not to be relied on, and that Feria's prognostics in regard to the
policy of Elizabeth were well founded. Parliament soon entered on the
measures which ended in the subversion of the Roman Catholic, and the
restoration of the Reformed religion. And it was very evident that these
measures, if not originally dictated by the queen, must at least have
received her sanction.

Philip, in consequence, took counsel with two of his ministers, on whom
he most relied, as to the expediency of addressing Elizabeth on the
subject, and telling her plainly, that, unless she openly disavowed the
proceedings of parliament, the marriage could not take place.[258] Her
vanity should be soothed by the expressions of his regret at being
obliged to relinquish the hopes of her hand. But, as her lover modestly
remarked, after this candid statement of all the consequences before
her, whatever the result might be, she would have no one to blame but
herself.[259] His sage advisers, probably not often called to deliberate
on questions of this delicate nature, entirely concurred in opinion with
their master. In any event, they regarded it as impossible that he
should wed a Protestant.

What effect this frank remonstrance had on the queen we are not told.
Certain it is, Philip's suit no longer sped so favorably as before.
Elizabeth, throwing off all disguise, plainly told Feria, when pressed
on the matter, that she felt great scruples as to seeking a dispensation
from the pope;[260] and soon after she openly declared in parliament,
what she was in the habit of repeating so often, that she had no other
purpose but to live and die a maid.[261]--It can hardly be supposed that
Elizabeth entertained serious thoughts, at any time, of marrying Philip.
If she encouraged his addresses, it was only until she felt herself so
securely seated on the throne, that she was independent of the ill-will
she would incur by their rejection. It was a game in which the heart,
probably, formed no part of the stake on either side. In this game, it
must be confessed, the English queen showed herself the better player of
the two.


Philip bore his disappointment with great equanimity. He expressed his
regret to Elizabeth that she should have decided in a way so contrary to
what the public interests seemed to demand. But since it appeared to her
otherwise, he should acquiesce, and only hoped that the same end might
be attained by the continuance of their friendship.[262] With all this
philosophy, we may well believe that, with a character like that of
Philip, some bitterness must have remained in the heart; and that, very
probably, feelings of a personal nature mingled with those of a
political in the long hostilities which he afterwards carried on with
the English queen.

In the month of February, the conferences for the treaty of peace had
been resumed, and the place of meeting changed from the abbey of
Cercamps to Cateau-Cambresis. The negotiations were urged forward with
greater earnestness than before, as both the monarchs were more sorely
pressed by their necessities. Philip, in particular, was so largely in
arrears to his army, that he frankly told his ministers "he was on the
brink of ruin, from which nothing but a peace could save him."[263] It
might be supposed that, in this state of things, he would be placed in a
disadvantageous attitude for arranging terms with his adversary. But
Philip and his ministers put the best face possible on their affairs,
affecting a confidence in their resources, before their allies as well
as their enemies, which they were far from feeling; like some
half-famished garrison, which makes a brave show of its scanty stock of
supplies, in order to win better terms from the besiegers.[264]

All the difficulties were at length cleared away, except the vexed
question of Calais. The English queen, it was currently said in the
camp, would cut off the head of any minister who abandoned it. Mary, the
young queen of Scots, had just been married to the French dauphin,
afterwards Francis the Second. It was proposed that the eldest daughter
born of this union should be united to the eldest son of Elizabeth, and
bring with her Calais as a dowry. In this way, the place would be
restored to England without dishonor to France.[265] Such were the wild
expedients to which the parties resorted in the hope of extricating
themselves from their embarrassment!

At length, seeing the absolute necessity of bringing the matter to an
issue, Philip ordered the Spanish plenipotentiaries to write his final
instructions to Feria, his minister in London. The envoy was authorized
to say, that, although England had lost Calais through her own
negligence, yet Philip would stand faithfully by her for the recovery of
it. But, on the other hand, she must be prepared to support him with her
whole strength by land and by sea, and that not for a single campaign,
but for the war so long as it lasted. The government should ponder well
whether the prize would be worth the cost. Feria must bring the matter
home to the queen, and lead her, if possible, to the desired conclusion;
but so that she might appear to come to it by her own suggestion rather
than by his. The responsibility must be left with her.[266] The letter
of the plenipotentiaries, which is a very long one, is a model in its
way, and shows that, in some particulars, the science of diplomacy has
gained little since the sixteenth century.

Elizabeth needed no argument to make her weary of a war which hung like
a dark cloud on the morning of her reign. Her disquietude had been
increased by the fact of Scotland having become a party to the war; and
hostilities, with little credit to that country, had broken out along
the borders. Her own kingdom was in no condition to allow her to make
the extraordinary efforts demanded by Philip. Yet it was plain if she
did not make them, or consent to come into the treaty, she must be left
to carry on the war by herself. Under these circumstances, the English
government at last consented to an arrangement, which, if it did not
save Calais, so far saved appearances that it might satisfy the nation.
It was agreed that Calais should be restored at the end of eight years.
If France failed to do this, she was to pay five hundred thousand crowns
to England, whose claims to Calais would not, however, be affected by
such a payment. Should either of the parties, or their subjects, during
that period, do anything in contravention of this treaty, or in
violation of the peace between the two countries, the offending party
should forfeit all claim to the disputed territory.[267] It was not very
probable that eight years would elapse without affording some plausible
pretext to France, under such a provision, for keeping her hold on

The treaty with England was signed on the second of April, 1559. On the
day following was signed that between France and Spain. By the
provisions of this treaty, the allies of Philip, Savoy, Mantua, Genoa,
were reinstated in the possession of the territories of which they had
been stripped in the first years of the war. Four or five places of
importance in Savoy were alone reserved, to be held as guaranties by the
French king, until his claim to the inheritance of that kingdom was

The conquests made by Philip in Picardy were to be exchanged for those
gained by the French in Italy and the Netherlands. The exchange was
greatly for the benefit of Philip. In the time of Charles the Fifth, the
Spanish arms had experienced some severe reverses, and the king now
received more than two hundred towns in return for the five places he
held in Picardy.[268]


Terms so disadvantageous to France roused the indignation of the duke of
Guise, who told Henry plainly, that a stroke of his pen would cost the
country more than thirty years of war. "Give me the poorest of the
places you are to surrender," said he, "and I will undertake to hold it
against all the armies of Spain!"[269] But Henry sighed for peace, and
for the return of his friend, the constable. He affected much deference
to the opinions of the duke. But he wrote to Montmorency that the Guises
were at their old tricks,[270]--and he ratified the treaty.

The day on which the plenipotentiaries of the three great powers had
completed their work, they went in solemn procession to the church, and
returned thanks to the Almighty for the happy consummation of their
labors. The treaty was then made public; and, notwithstanding the
unfavorable import of the terms to France, the peace, if we except some
ambitious spirits, who would have found their account in the continuance
of hostilities, was welcomed with joy by the whole nation. In this
sentiment all the parties to the war participated. The more remote, like
Spain, rejoiced to be delivered from a contest which made such large
drains on their finances; while France had an additional reason for
desiring peace, now that her own territory had become the theatre of

The reputation which Philip had acquired by his campaigns was greatly
heightened by the result of his negotiations. The whole course of these
negotiations--long and intricate as it was--is laid open to us in the
correspondence fortunately preserved among the papers of Granvelle; and
the student who explores these pages may probably rise from them with
the conviction that the Spanish plenipotentiaries showed an address, a
knowledge of the men they had to deal with, and a consummate policy, in
which neither their French nor English rivals were a match for them. The
negotiation all passed under the eyes of Philip. Every move in the game,
if not by his suggestion, had been made at least with his sanction. The
result placed him in honorable contrast to Henry the Second, who, while
Philip had stood firmly by his allies, had, in his eagerness for peace,
abandoned those of France to their fate.

The early campaigns of Philip had wiped away the disgrace caused by the
closing campaigns of Charles the Fifth; and by the treaty he had
negotiated, the number of towns which he lost was less than that of
provinces which he gained.[271] Thus he had shown himself as skilful in
counsel as he had been successful in the field. Victorious in Picardy
and in Naples, he had obtained the terms of a victor from the king of
France, and humbled the arrogance of Rome, in a war to which he had been
driven in self-defence.[272] Faithful to his allies and formidable to
his foes, there was probably no period of Philip's life in which he
possessed so much real consideration in the eyes of Europe, as at the
time of signing the treaty of Cateau-Cambresis.

In order to cement the union between the different powers, and to
conciliate the good-will of the French nation to the treaty by giving it
somewhat of the air of a marriage contract, it was proposed that an
alliance should take place between the royal houses of France and Spain.
It was first arranged that the hand of Henry's daughter, the Princess
Elizabeth, should be given to Carlos, the son and heir of Philip. The
parties were of nearly the same age, being each about fourteen years
old. Now that all prospect of the English match had vanished, it was
thought to be a greater compliment to the French to substitute the
father for the son, the monarch himself for the heir apparent, in the
marriage treaty. The disparity of years between Philip and Elizabeth was
not such as to present any serious objection. The proposition was said
to have come from the French negotiators. The Spanish envoys replied,
that, notwithstanding their master's repugnance to entering again into
wedlock, yet, from his regard to the French monarch, and his desire for
the public weal, he would consent to waive his scruples, and accept the
hand of the French princess, with the same dowry which had been promised
to his son Don Carlos.[273]

Queen Elizabeth seems to have been not a little piqued by the
intelligence that Philip had so soon consoled himself for the failure of
his suit to her. "Your master," said she, in a petulant tone, to Feria,
"must have been much in love with me not to be able to wait four
months!" The ambassador answered somewhat bluntly, by throwing the blame
of the affair on the queen herself. "Not so," she retorted, "I never
gave your king a decided answer." "True," said Feria, "the refusal was
only implied, for I would not urge your highness to a downright 'No,'
lest it might prove a cause of offence between so great princes."[274]

In June, 1559, the duke of Alva entered France for the purpose of
claiming the royal bride, and espousing her in the name of his master.
He was accompanied by Ruy Gomez, count of Melito,--better known by his
title of prince of Eboli,--by the prince of Orange, the Count Egmont,
and other noblemen, whose high rank and character might give lustre to
the embassy. He was received in great state by Henry, who, with his
whole court, seemed anxious to show to the envoy every mark of respect
that could testify their satisfaction with the object of his mission.
The duke displayed all the stately demeanor of a true Spanish hidalgo.
Although he conformed to the French usage by saluting the ladies of the
court, he declined taking this liberty with his future queen, or
covering himself, as repeatedly urged, in her presence,--a piece of
punctilio greatly admired by the French, as altogether worthy of the
noble Castilian breeding.[275]


On the twenty-fourth of June, the marriage of the young princess was
celebrated in the church of St. Mary. King Henry gave his daughter away.
The duke of Alva acted as his sovereign's proxy. At the conclusion of
the ceremony, the prince of Eboli placed on the finger of the princess,
as a memento from her lord, a diamond ring of inestimable value; and the
beautiful Elizabeth, the destined bride of Don Carlos, became the bride
of the king his father. It was an ominous union, destined, in its
mysterious consequences, to supply a richer theme for the pages of
romance than for those of history.

The wedding was followed by a succession of brilliant entertainments,
the chief of which was the tournament,--the most splendid pageant of
that spectacle-loving age. Henry was, at that time, busily occupied with
the work of exterminating the Protestant heresy, which, as already
noticed, had begun to gather formidable head in the capital of his
dominions.[276] On the evening of the fifteenth of June, he attended a
session of the parliament, and arrested some of its principal members
for the boldness of their speech in his presence. He ordered them into
confinement, deferring their sentence till the termination of the
engrossing business of the tourney.

The king delighted in these martial exercises, in which he could display
his showy person and matchless horsemanship in the presence of the
assembled beauty and fashion of his court.[277] He fully maintained his
reputation on this occasion, carrying off one prize after another, and
bearing down all who encountered his lance. Towards evening, when the
games had drawn to a close, he observed the young count of Montgomery, a
Scotch noble, the captain of his guard, leaning on his lance, as yet
unbroken. The king challenged the cavalier to run a course with him for
his lady's sake. In vain the queen, with a melancholy boding of some
disaster, besought her lord to remain content with the laurels he had
already won. Henry obstinately urged his fate, and compelled the count,
though extremely loth, to take the saddle. The champions met with a
furious shock in the middle of the lists. Montgomery was a rude jouster.
He directed his lance with such force against the helmet of his
antagonist, that the bars of the visor gave way. The lance splintered; a
fragment struck the king with such violence on the temple as to lay bare
the eye. The unhappy monarch reeled in his saddle, and would have fallen
but for the assistance of the constable, the duke of Guise, and other
nobles, who bore him in their arms senseless from the lists. Henry's
wound was mortal. He lingered ten days in great agony, and expired on
the ninth of July, in the forty-second year of his age, and the
thirteenth of his reign. It was an ill augury for the nuptials of

The tidings of the king's death were received with demonstrations of
sorrow throughout the kingdom. He had none of those solid qualities
which make either a great or a good prince. But he had the showy
qualities which are perhaps more effectual to secure the affections of a
people as fond of show as the nation whom Henry governed.[279] There
were others in the kingdom, however,--that growing sect of the
Huguenots,--who looked on the monarch's death with very different
eyes,--who rejoiced in it as a deliverance from persecution. They had
little cause to rejoice. The sceptre passed into the hands of a line of
imbecile princes, or rather of their mother, the famous Catherine de
Medicis, who reigned in their stead, and who ultimately proved herself
the most merciless foe the Huguenots ever encountered.



Charles at Yuste.--His Mode of Life.--Interest in Public
Affairs.--Celebrates his Obsequies.--Last Illness.--Death and Character.


While the occurrences related in the preceding chapter were passing, an
event took place which, had it happened earlier, would have had an
important influence on the politics of Europe, and the news of which,
when it did happen, was everywhere received with the greatest interest.
This event was the death of the Emperor Charles the Fifth, in his
monastic retreat at Yuste. In the earlier pages of our narrative, we
have seen how that monarch, after his abdication of the throne, withdrew
to the Jeronymite convent among the hills of Estremadura. The reader may
now feel some interest in following him thither, and in observing in
what manner he accommodated himself to the change, and passed the
closing days of his eventful life. The picture I am enabled to give of
it will differ in some respects from those of former historians, who
wrote when the Archives of Simancas, which afford the most authentic
records for the narrative, were inaccessible to the scholar, native as
well as foreign.[280]


Charles, as we have seen, had early formed the determination to
relinquish at some future time the cares of royalty, and devote
himself, in some lonely retreat to the good work of his salvation. His
consort, the Empress Isabella, as appears from his own statement at
Yuste, had avowed the same pious purpose.[281] She died, however, too
early to execute her plan; and Charles was too much occupied with his
ambitious enterprises to accomplish his object until the autumn of 1555,
when, broken in health and spirits, and disgusted with the world, he
resigned the sceptre he had held for forty years, and withdrew to a life
of obscurity and repose.

The spot he had selected for his residence was situated about seven
leagues from the city of Plasencia, on the slopes of the mountain chain
that traverses the province of Estremadura. There, nestling among the
rugged hills, clothed with thick woods of chestnut and oak, the
Jeronymite convent was sheltered from the rude breezes of the north.
Towards the south, the land sloped by a gradual declivity, till it
terminated in a broad expanse, the _Vera_ of Plasencia, as it was
called, which, fertilized by the streams of the sierra, contrasted
strongly in its glowing vegetation with the wild character of the
mountain scenery. It was a spot well fitted for such as would withdraw
themselves from commerce with the world, and consecrate their days to
prayer and holy meditation. The Jeronymite fraternity had prospered in
this peaceful abode. Many of the monks had acquired reputation for
sanctity, and some of them for learning, the fruits of which might be
seen in a large collection of manuscripts preserved in the library of
the monastery. Benefactions were heaped on the brotherhood. They became
proprietors of considerable tracts of land in the neighborhood, and they
liberally employed their means in dispensing alms to the poor who sought
it at the gate of the convent. Not long before Charles took up his
residence among them, they had enlarged their building by an extensive
quadrangle, which displayed some architectural elegance in the
construction of its cloisters.

Three years before the emperor repaired thither, he sent a skilful
architect to provide such accommodations as he had designed for himself.
These were very simple. A small building, containing eight rooms, four
on each floor, was raised against the southern wall of the monastery.
The rooms were low, and of a moderate size. They were protected by
porticos, which sheltered them on two sides from the rays of the sun,
while an open gallery, which passed through the centre of the house,
afforded means for its perfect ventilation. But Charles, with his gouty
constitution, was more afraid of the cold damps than of heat; and he
took care to have the apartments provided with fire-places, a luxury
little known in this temperate region.

A window opened from his chamber directly into the chapel of the
monastery; and through this, when confined to his bed, and too ill to
attend mass, he could see the elevation of the host. The furniture of
the dwelling--according to an authority usually followed--was of the
simplest kind; and Charles, we are told, took no better care of his
gouty limbs than to provide himself with an arm-chair, or rather half a
chair, which would not have brought four reals at auction.[282] The
inventory of the furniture of Yuste tells a very different story.
Instead of "half an arm-chair," we find, besides other chairs lined with
velvet, two arm-chairs especially destined to the emperor's service. One
of these was of a peculiar construction, and was accommodated with no
less than six cushions and a footstool, for the repose of his gouty
limbs. His wardrobe showed a similar attention to his personal comfort.
For one item we find no less than sixteen robes of silk and velvet,
lined with ermine or eider-down, or the soft hair of the Barbary goat.
The decorations of his apartment were on not merely a comfortable, but a
luxurious scale;--canopies of velvet; carpets from Turkey and Alcaraz;
suits of tapestry, of which twenty-five pieces are specified, richly
wrought with figures of flowers and animals. Twelve hangings, of the
finest black cloth, were for the emperor's bed-chamber, which, since his
mother's death, had been always dressed in mourning. Among the ornaments
of his rooms were four large clocks of elaborate workmanship. He had
besides a number of pocket-watches, then a greater rarity than at
present. He was curious in regard to his timepieces, and took care to
provide for their regularity by bringing the manufacturer of them in his
train to Yuste. Charles was served on silver. Even the meanest utensils
for his kitchen and his sleeping apartment were of the same costly
material, amounting to nearly fourteen thousand ounces in weight.[283]

The inventory contains rather a meagre show of books, which were for the
most part of a devotional character. But Charles's love of art was
visible in a small but choice collection of paintings, which he brought
with him to adorn the walls of his retreat. Nine of these were from the
pencil of Titian. Charles held the works of the great Venetian in the
highest honor, and was desirous that by his hand his likeness should be
transmitted to posterity. The emperor had brought with him to Yuste four
portraits of himself and the empress by Titian; and among the other
pieces by the same master were some of his best pictures. One of these
was the famous "Gloria," in which Charles and the empress appear, in the
midst of the celestial throng, supported by angels, and in an attitude
of humble adoration.[284] He had the painting hung at the foot of his
bed, or according to another account, over the great altar in the
chapel. It is said, he would gaze long and fondly on this picture, which
filled him with the most tender recollections; and as he dwelt on the
image of one who had been so dear to him on earth, he may have looked
forward to his reunion with her in the heavenly mansions, as the artist
had here depicted him.[285]


A stairway, or rather an inclined plane, suited to the weakness of
Charles's limbs, led from the gallery of his house to the gardens below.
These were surrounded by a high wall, which completely secluded him from
observation from without. The garden was filled with orange, citron, and
fig trees, and various aromatic plants that grew luxuriantly in the
genial soil. The emperor had a taste for horticulture, and took much
pleasure in tending the young plants and pruning his trees. His garden
afforded him also the best means for taking exercise; and in fine
weather he would walk along an avenue of lofty chestnut-trees, that led
to a pretty chapel in the neighboring woods, the ruins of which may be
seen at this day. Among the trees, one is pointed out,--an overgrown
walnut, still throwing its shade far and wide over the ground,--under
whose branches the pensive monarch would sit and meditate on the dim
future, or perhaps on the faded glories of the past.

Charles had once been the most accomplished horseman of his time. He had
brought with him to Yuste a pony and a mule, in the hope of being able
to get some exercise in the saddle. But the limbs that had bestrode day
after day, without fatigue, the heavy war-horse of Flanders and the
wildest genet of Andalusia, were unable now to endure the motion of a
poor palfrey; and, after a solitary experiment in the saddle on his
arrival at Yuste, when he nearly fainted, he abandoned it for ever.[286]

There are few spots that might now be visited with more interest, than
that which the great emperor had selected as his retreat from the thorny
cares of government. And until within a few years the traveller would
have received from the inmates of the convent the same hospitable
welcome which they had always been ready to give to the stranger. But in
1809 the place was sacked by the French; and the fierce soldiery of
Soult converted the pile, with its venerable cloisters, into a heap of
blackened ruins. Even the collection of manuscripts, piled up with so
much industry by the brethren, did not escape the general doom. The
_palace_ of the emperor, as the simple monks loved to call his dwelling,
had hardly a better fate, though it came from the hands of Charles's own
countrymen, the liberals of Cuacos. By these patriots the lower floor of
the mansion was turned into stables for their horses. The rooms above
were used as magazines for grain. The mulberry-leaves were gathered from
the garden to furnish material for the silkworm, who was permitted to
wind his cocoon in the deserted chambers of royalty. Still the great
features of nature remain the same as in Charles's day. The bald peaks
of the sierra still rise above the ruins of the monastery. The shaggy
sides of the hills still wear their wild forest drapery. Far below, the
eye of the traveller ranges over the beautiful _Vera_ of Plasencia,
which glows in the same exuberant vegetation as of yore; and the
traveller, as he wanders among the ruined porticos and desolate arcades
of the palace, drinks in the odors of a thousand aromatic plants and
wild-flowers that have shot up into a tangled wilderness, where once was
the garden of the imperial recluse.[287]

Charles, though borne across the mountains in a litter, had suffered
greatly in his long and laborious journey from Valladolid. He passed
some time in the neighboring village of Xarandilla, and thence, after
taking leave of the greater part of his weeping retinue, he proceeded
with the remainder to the monastery of Yuste. It was on the third of
February, 1557, that he entered the abode which was to prove his final
resting-place.[288] The monks of Yuste had been much flattered by the
circumstance of Charles having shown such a preference for their
convent. As he entered the chapel, Te Deum was chanted by the whole
brotherhood; and when the emperor had prostrated himself before the
altar, the monks gathered round him, anxious to pay him their respectful
obeisance. Charles received them graciously, and, after examining his
quarters, professed himself well pleased with the accommodations
prepared for him. His was not a fickle temper. Slow in forming his
plans, he was slower in changing them. To the last day of his residence
at Yuste,--whatever may have been said to the contrary,--he seems to
have been well satisfied with the step he had taken and with the spot he
had selected.

[Sidenote: HIS MODE OF LIFE.]

From the first, he prepared to conform, as far as his health would
permit, to the religious observances of the monastery. Not that he
proposed to limit himself to the narrow circumstances of an ordinary
friar. The number of his retinue that still remained with him was at
least fifty, mostly Flemings;[289] a number not greater, certainly, than
that maintained by many a private gentleman of the country. But among
these we recognize those officers of state who belong more properly to a
princely establishment than to the cell of the recluse. There was the
major-domo, the almoner, the keeper of the wardrobe, the keeper of the
jewels, the chamberlains, two watchmakers, several secretaries, the
physician, the confessor, besides cooks, confectioners, bakers, brewers,
game-keepers, and numerous valets. Some of these followers seem not to
have been quite so content as their master with their secluded way of
life, and to have cast many a longing look to the pomps and vanities of
the world they had left behind them. At least such were the feelings of
Quixada, the emperor's major-domo, in whom he placed the greatest
confidence, and who had the charge of his household. "His majesty's
bedroom," writes the querulous functionary, "is good enough; but the
view from it is poor,--barren mountains, covered with rocks and stunted
oaks; a garden of moderate size, with a few straggling orange-trees; the
roads scarcely passable, so steep and stony; the only water, a torrent
rushing from the mountains; a dreary solitude!" The low, cheerless
rooms, he predicts, must necessarily be damp, boding no good to the
emperor's infirmity.[290] "As to the friars," observes the secretary,
Gaztelu, in the same amiable mood, "please God that his majesty may be
able to tolerate them,--which will be no easy matter; for they are an
importunate race."[291] It is evident that Charles's followers would
have been very willing to exchange the mortifications of the monastic
life for the good cheer and gaiety of Brussels.

The worthy prior of the convent, in addressing Charles, greeted him with
the title of _paternidad_, till one of the fraternity suggested to him
the propriety of substituting that of _magestad_.[292] Indeed, to this
title Charles had good right, for he was still emperor. His resignation
of the imperial crown, which, as we have seen, so soon followed that of
the Spanish, had not taken effect, in consequence of the diet not being
in session at the time when his envoy, the prince of Orange, was to have
presented himself at Ratisbon, in the spring of 1557. The war with
France made Philip desirous that his father should remain lord of
Germany for some time longer. It was not, therefore, until more than a
year after Charles's arrival at Yuste, that the resignation was accepted
by the diet, at Frankfort, on the twenty-eighth of February, 1558.
Charles was still emperor, and continued to receive the imperial title
in all his correspondence.[293]

We have pretty full accounts of the manner in which the monarch employed
his time. He attended mass every morning in the chapel, when his health
permitted. Mass was followed by dinner, which he took early and alone,
preferring this to occupying a seat in the refectory of the convent. He
was fond of carving for himself, though his gouty fingers were not
always in the best condition for this exercise.[294] His physician was
usually in attendance during the repast, and might, at least, observe
how little his patient, who had not the virtue of abstinence, regarded
his prescriptions. The Fleming, Van Male, the emperor's favorite
gentleman of the chamber, was also not unfrequently present. He was a
good scholar; and his discussions with the doctor served to beguile the
tediousness of their master's solitary meal. The conversation frequently
turned on some subject of natural history, of which the emperor was
fond; and when the parties could not agree, the confessor, a man of
learning, was called in to settle the dispute.

After dinner,--an important meal, which occupied much time with
Charles,--he listened to some passages from a favorite theologian. In
his worldly days, the book he most affected is said to have been
Comines's Life of Louis the Eleventh,[295]--a prince whose maxim, "_Qui
nescit dissimulare, nescit regnare_," was too well suited to the genius
of the emperor. He now, however, sought a safer guide for his spiritual
direction, and would listen to a homily from the pages of St. Bernard,
or more frequently St. Augustine, in whom he most delighted.[296]
Towards evening, he heard a sermon from one of his preachers. Three or
four of the most eloquent of the Jeronymite order had been brought to
Yuste for his especial benefit. When he was not in condition to be
present at the discourse, he expected to hear a full report of it from
the lips of his confessor, Father Juan de Regla. Charles was punctual in
his attention to all the great fasts and festivals of the Church. His
infirmities, indeed, excused him from fasting, but he made up for it by
the severity of his flagellation. In Lent, in particular, he dealt with
himself so sternly, that the scourge was found stained with his blood;
and this precious memorial of his piety was ever cherished, we are told,
by Philip, and by him bequeathed as an heirloom to his son.[297]

Increasing vigilance in his own spiritual concerns made him more
vigilant as to those of others,--as the weaker brethren sometimes found
to their cost. Observing that some of the younger friars spent more time
than was seemly in conversing with the women who came on business to the
door of the convent, Charles procured an order to be passed, that any
woman who ventured to approach within two bowshots of the gate should
receive a hundred stripes.[298] On another occasion, his officious
endeavor to quicken the diligence of one of the younger members of the
fraternity _is said_ to have provoked the latter testily to exclaim,
"Cannot you be contented with having so long turned the world upside
down, without coming here to disturb the quiet of a poor convent?"

[Sidenote: HIS MODE OF LIFE.]

He derived an additional pleasure, in his spiritual exercises, from his
fondness for music, which enters so largely into those of the Romish
Church. He sung well himself, and his clear, sonorous voice might often
be heard through the open casement of his bedroom, accompanying the
chant of the monks in the chapel. The choir was made up altogether of
brethren of the order, and Charles would allow no intrusion from any
other quarter. His ear was quick to distinguish any strange voice, as
well as any false note in the performance,--on which last occasion he
would sometimes pause in his devotions, and, in half-suppressed tones,
give vent to his anger by one of those scurrilous epithets, which,
however they may have fallen in with the habits of the old campaigner,
were but indifferently suited to his present way of life.[299]

Such time as was not given to his religious exercises was divided among
various occupations, for which he had always had a relish, though
hitherto but little leisure to pursue them. Besides his employments in
his garden, he had a decided turn for mechanical pursuits. Some years
before, while in Germany, he had invented an ingenious kind of carriage
for his own accommodation.[300] He brought with him to Yuste an engineer
named Torriano, famous for the great hydraulic works he constructed in
Toledo. With the assistance of this man, a most skilful mechanician,
Charles amused himself by making a variety of puppets representing
soldiers, who went through military exercises. The historian draws
largely on our faith, by telling us also of little wooden birds which
the ingenious pair contrived, so as to fly in and out of the window
before the admiring monks![301] But nothing excited their astonishment
so much as a little hand-mill, used for grinding wheat, which turned out
meal enough in a single day to support a man for a week or more. The
good fathers thought this savored of downright necromancy; and it may
have furnished an argument against the unfortunate engineer in the
persecution which he afterwards underwent from the Inquisition.

Charles took, moreover, great interest in the mechanism of timepieces.
He had a good number of clocks and watches ticking together in his
apartments; and a story has obtained credit, that the difficulty he
found in making any two of them keep the same time drew from him an
exclamation on the folly of attempting to bring a number of men to think
alike in matters of religion, when he could not regulate any two of his
timepieces so as to make them agree with each other; a philosophical
reflection for which one will hardly give credit to the man who, with
his dying words, could press on his son the maintenance of the
Inquisition as the great bulwark of the Catholic faith. In the gardens
of Yuste there is still, or was lately, to be seen, a sun-dial
constructed by Torriano to enable his master to measure more accurately
the lapse of time as it glided away in the monotonous routine of the

Though averse to visits of curiosity or idle ceremony,[303] Charles
consented to admit some of the nobles whose estates lay in the
surrounding country, and who, with feelings of loyal attachment to their
ancient master, were anxious to pay their respects to him in his
retirement. But none who found their way into his retreat appear to have
given him so much satisfaction as Francisco Borja, duke of Gandia, in
later times placed on the roll of her saints by the Roman Catholic
Church. Like Charles, he had occupied a brilliant eminence in the world,
and like him had found the glory of this world but vanity. In the prime
of life, he withdrew from the busy scenes in which he had acted, and
entered a college of Jesuits. By the emperor's invitation, Borja made
more than one visit to Yuste; and Charles found much consolation in his
society, and in conversing with his early friend on topics of engrossing
interest to both. The result of their conferences was to confirm them
both in the conviction, that they had done wisely in abjuring the world,
and in dedicating themselves to the service of Heaven.

The emperor was also visited by his two sisters, the dowager queens of
France and Hungary, who had accompanied their brother, as we have seen,
on his return to Spain. But the travelling was too rough, and the
accommodations at Yuste too indifferent, to encourage the royal matrons
to prolong their stay, or, with one exception on the part of the queen
of Hungary, to repeat their visit.

But an object of livelier interest to the emperor than either of his
sisters was a boy, scarcely twelve years of age, who resided in the
family of his major-domo, Quixada, in the neighboring village of Cuacos.
This was Don John of Austria, as he was afterwards called, the future
hero of Lepanto. He was the natural son of Charles, a fact known to no
one during the father's lifetime, except Quixada, who introduced the boy
into the convent as his own page. The lad, at this early age, showed
many gleams of that generous spirit by which he was afterwards
distinguished,--thus solacing the declining years of his parent, and
affording a hold for those affections which might have withered in the
cold atmosphere of the cloister.

Strangers were sure to be well received who, coming from the theatre of
war, could furnish the information he so much desired respecting the
condition of things abroad. Thus we find him in conference with an
officer arrived from the Low Countries, named Spinosa, and putting a
multitude of questions respecting the state of the army, the
organization and equipment of the different corps, and other
particulars, showing the lively interest taken by Charles in the conduct
of the campaign.[304]


It has been a common opinion, that the emperor, after his retirement to
Yuste, remained as one buried alive, totally cut off from intercourse
with the world;--"as completely withdrawn from the business of the
kingdom and the concerns of government," says one of his biographers,
"as if he had never taken part in them;"[305]--"so entirely abstracted
in his solitude," says another contemporary, "that neither revolutions
nor wars, nor gold arriving in heaps from the Indies, had any power to
affect his tranquillity."[306]

So far from this being the case, that not only did the emperor continue
to show an interest in public affairs, but he took a prominent part,
even from the depths of his retreat, in the management of them.[307]
Philip, who had the good sense to defer to the long experience and the
wisdom of his father, consulted him, constantly, on great questions of
public policy. And so far was he from the feeling of jealousy often
imputed to him, that we find him on one occasion, when the horizon
looked particularly, dark, imploring the emperor to leave his retreat,
and to aid him not only by his counsels, but by his presence and
authority.[308] The emperor's daughter Joanna, regent of Castile, from
her residence at Valladolid, only fifty leagues from Yuste, maintained a
constant correspondence with her father, soliciting his advice in the
conduct of the government. However much Charles may have felt himself
relieved from responsibility for measures, he seems to have been as
anxious for the success of Philip's administration as if it had been his
own. "Write more fully," says one of his secretaries in a letter to the
secretary of the regent's council; "the emperor is always eager to hear
more particulars of events."[309] He showed the deepest concern in the
conduct of the Italian war. He betrayed none of the scruples manifested
by Philip, but boldly declared that the war with the pope was a just
war, in the sight of both God and man.[310] When letters came from
abroad, he was even heard to express his regret that they brought no
tidings of Paul's death, or Caraffa's![311] He was sorely displeased
with the truce which Alva granted to the pontiff, intimating a regret
that he had not the reins still in his own hand. He was yet more
discontented with the peace, and the terms of it, both public and
private; and when Alva talked of leaving Naples, his anger, as his
secretary quaintly remarks, was "more than was good for his

The same interest he showed in the French war. The loss of Calais filled
him with the deepest anxiety. But in his letters on the occasion,
instead of wasting his time in idle lament, he seems intent only on
devising in what way he can best serve Philip in his distress.[313] In
the same proportion he was elated by the tidings of the victory of St.
Quentin. His thoughts turned upon Paris, and he was eager to learn what
road his son had taken after the battle.[314] According to Brantôme, on
hearing the news, he abruptly asked, "Is Philip at Paris?"--He judged of
Philip's temper by his own.[315]

At another time, we find him conducting negotiations with Navarre;[316]
and then, again, carrying on a correspondence with his sister, the
regent of Portugal, for the purpose of having his grandson, Carlos,
recognized as heir to the crown, in case of the death of the young king,
his cousin. The scheme failed, for it would be as much as her life was
worth, the regent said, to engage in it. But it was a bold one, that of
bringing under the same sceptre these two nations, which, by community
of race, language, and institutions, would seem by nature to have been
designed for one. It was Charles's comprehensive idea; and it proves
that, even in the cloister, the spirit of ambition had not become
extinct in his bosom. How much would it have rejoiced that ambitious
spirit, could he have foreseen that the consummation so much desired by
him would be attained under Philip![317]


But the department which especially engaged Charles's attention in his
retirement, singularly enough, was the financial. "It has been my
constant care," he writes to Philip, "in all my letters to your sister,
to urge the necessity of providing you with funds,--since I can be of
little service to you in any other way."[318] His interposition, indeed,
seems to have been constantly invoked to raise supplies for carrying on
the war. This fact may be thought to show that those writers are
mistaken who accuse Philip of withholding from his father the means of
maintaining a suitable establishment at Yuste. Charles, in truth,
settled the amount of his own income; and in one of his letters we find
him fixing this at twenty thousand ducats, instead of sixteen thousand,
as before, to be paid quarterly and in advance.[319] That the payments
were not always punctually made may well be believed, in a country where
punctuality would have been a miracle.

Charles had more cause for irritation in the conduct of some of those
functionaries with whom he had to deal in his financial capacity.
Nothing appears to have stirred his bile so much at Yuste as the
proceedings of some members of the board of trade at Seville. "I have
deferred sending to you," he writes to his daughter, the regent, "in
order to see if, with time, my wrath would not subside. But, far from
it, it increases, and will go on increasing till I learn that those who
have done wrong have atoned for it. Were it not for my infirmities," he
adds, "I would go to Seville myself, and find out the authors of this
villany, and bring them to a summary reckoning."[320] "The emperor
orders me," writes his secretary, Gaztelu, "to command that the
offenders be put in irons, and in order to mortify them the more, that
they be carried, in broad daylight, to Simancas, and there lodged, not
in towers or chambers, but in a dungeon. Indeed, such is his
indignation, and such are the _violent and bloodthirsty expressions_ he
commands me to use, that you will pardon me if my language is not so
temperate as it might be."[321] It had been customary for the board of
trade to receive the gold imported from the Indies, whether on public or
private account, and hold it for the use of the government, paying to
the merchants interested an equivalent in government bonds. The
merchants, naturally enough, not relishing this kind of security so well
as the gold, by a collusion with some of the members of the board of
trade, had been secretly allowed to remove their own property. In this
way the government was defrauded--as the emperor regarded it--of a large
sum on which it had calculated. This, it would seem, was the offence
which had roused the royal indignation to such a pitch. Charles's
phlegmatic temperament had ever been liable to be ruffled by these
sudden gusts of passion; and his conventual life does not seem to have
had any very sedative influence on him in this particular.

For the first ten months after his arrival at Yuste, the emperor's
health, under the influence of a temperate climate, the quiet of
monastic life, and more than all, probably, his exemption from the cares
of state, had generally improved.[322] His attacks of gout had been less
frequent and less severe than before. But in the spring of 1558, the old
malady returned with renewed violence. "I was not in a condition," he
writes to Philip, "to listen to a single sermon during Lent."[323] For
months he was scarcely able to write a line with his own hand. His
spirits felt the pressure of bodily suffering, and were still further
depressed by the death of his sister Eleanor, the queen-dowager of
France and Portugal, which took place in February, 1558.

A strong attachment seems to have subsisted between the emperor and his
two sisters. Queen Eleanor's sweetness of disposition had particularly
endeared her to her brother, who now felt her loss almost as keenly as
that of one of his own children. "She was a good Christian," he said to
his secretary, Gaztelu; and, as the tears rolled down his cheeks, he
added, "We have always loved each other. She was my elder by fifteen
months; and before that period has passed I shall probably be with
her."[324] Before half that period, the sad augury was fulfilled.

At this period--as we shall see hereafter--the attention of the
government was called to the Lutheran heresy, which had already begun to
disclose itself in various quarters of the country. Charles was
possessed of a full share of the spirit of bigotry which belonged to the
royal line of Castile, from which he was descended. While on the throne,
this feeling was held somewhat in check by a regard for his political
interests. But in the seclusion of the monastery he had no interests to
consult but those of religion; and he gave free scope to the spirit of
intolerance which belonged to his nature. In a letter addressed, the
third of May, 1558, to his daughter Joanna, he says: "Tell the
grand-inquisitor from me to be at his post, and lay the axe at the root
of the evil before it spreads further. I rely on your zeal for bringing
the guilty to punishment, and for having them punished, without favor to
any one, with all the severity which their crimes demand."[325] In
another letter to his daughter, three weeks later, he writes: "If I had
not entire confidence that you would do your duty, and arrest the evil
at once by chastising the guilty in good earnest, I know not how I
could help leaving the monastery, and taking the remedy into my own
hands."[326] Thus did Charles make his voice heard from his retreat
among the mountains, and by his efforts and influence render himself
largely responsible for the fiery persecution which brought woe upon the
land after he himself had gone to his account.


About the middle of August, the emperor's old enemy, the gout, returned
on him with uncommon force. It was attended with symptoms of an alarming
kind, intimating, indeed, that his strong constitution was giving way.
These were attributed to a cold which he had taken, though it seems
there was good reason for imputing them to his intemperate living; for
he still continued to indulge his appetite for the most dangerous
dishes, as freely as in the days when a more active way of life had
better enabled him to digest them. It is true, the physician stood by
his side, as prompt as Sancho Panza's doctor, in his island domain, to
remonstrate against his master's proceedings. But, unhappily, he was not
armed with the authority of that functionary; and an eel-pie, a
well-spiced capon, or any other savory abomination, offered too great a
fascination for Charles to heed the warnings of his physician.

The declining state of the emperor's health may have inspired him with a
presentiment of his approaching end, to which, we have seen, he gave
utterrance some time before this, in his conversation with Gaztelu. It
may have been the sober reflections which such a feeling would naturally
suggest that led him, at the close of the month of August, to conceive
the extraordinary idea of preparing for the final scene by rehearsing
his own funeral. He consulted his professor on the subject, and was
encouraged by the accommodating father to consider it as a meritorious
act. The chapel was accordingly hung in black, and the blaze of hundreds
of wax-lights was not sufficient to dispel the darkness. The monks in
their conventual dresses, and all the emperor's household, clad in deep
mourning, gathered round a huge _catafalque_, shrouded also in black,
which had been raised in the centre of the chapel. The service for the
burial of the dead was then performed; and amidst the dismal wail of the
monks, the prayers ascended for the departed spirit, that it might be
received into the mansions of the blessed. The sorrowful attendants were
melted to tears, as the image of their master's death was presented to
their minds, or they were touched, it may be, with compassion for this
pitiable display of his weakness. Charles, muffled in a dark mantle, and
bearing a lighted candle in his hand, mingled with his household, the
spectator of his own obsequies; and the doleful ceremony was concluded
by his placing the taper in the hands of the priest, in sign of his
surrendering up his soul to the Almighty.

Such is the account of this melancholy farce given us by the Jeronymite
chroniclers of the cloister life of Charles the Fifth, and which has
since been repeated--losing nothing in the repetition--by every
succeeding historian, to the present time.[327] Nor does there seem to
have been any distrust of its correctness till the historical scepticism
of our own day had subjected the narrative to a more critical scrutiny.
It was then discovered that no mention of the affair was to be discerned
in the letters of any one of the emperor's household residing at Yuste,
although there are letters extant written by Charles's physician, his
major-domo, and his secretary, both on the thirty-first of August, the
day of the funeral, and on the first of September. With so extraordinary
an event fresh in their minds, their silence is inexplicable.

One fact is certain, that, if the funeral did take place, it could not
have been on the date assigned to it; for on the thirty-first the
emperor was laboring under an attack of fever, of which his physician
has given full particulars, and from which he was destined never to
recover. That the writers, therefore, should have been silent in respect
to a ceremony which must have had so bad an effect on the nerves of the
patient, is altogether incredible.

Yet the story of the obsequies comes from one of the Jeronymite brethren
then living at Yuste, who speaks of the emotions which he felt, in
common with the rest of the convent, at seeing a man thus bury himself
alive, as it were, and perform his funeral rites before his death.[328]
It is repeated by another of the fraternity, the prior of Escorial, who
had ample means of conversing with eye-witnesses.[329] And finally, it
is confirmed by more than one writer near enough to the period to be
able to assure himself of the truth.[330] Indeed, the parties from whom
the account is originally derived were so situated that, if the story be
without foundation, it is impossible to explain its existence by
misapprehension on their part. It must be wholly charged on a wilful
misstatement of facts. It is true, the monkish chronicler is not always
quite so scrupulous in this particular as would be
desirable,--especially where the honor of his order is implicated. But
what interest could the Jeronymite fathers have had in so foolish a
fabrication as this? The supposition is at variance with the respectable
character of the parties, and with the air of simplicity and good faith
that belongs to their narratives.[331]

We may well be staggered, it is true, by the fact that no allusion to
the obsequies appears in any of the letters from Yuste; while the date
assigned for them, moreover, is positively disproved. Yet we may
consider that the misstatement of a date is a very different thing from
the invention of a story; and that chronological accuracy, as I have
more than once had occasion to remark, was not the virtue of the
monkish, or indeed of any other historian of the sixteenth century. It
would not be a miracle if the obsequies should have taken place some
days before the period assigned to them. It so happens that we have no
letters from Yuste between the eighteenth and twenty-eighth of August.
At least, I have none myself, and have seen none cited by others. If any
should hereafter come to light, written during that interval, they may
be found possibly to contain some allusion to the funeral. Should no
letters have been written during the period, the silence of the parties
who wrote at the end of August and the beginning of September may be
explained by the fact, that too long a time had elapsed since the
performance of the emperor's obsequies, for them to suppose it could
have any connection with his illness, which formed the subject of their
correspondence. Difficulties will present themselves, whichever view we
take of the matter. But the reader may think it quite as reasonable to
explain those difficulties by the supposition of involuntary error, as
by that of sheer invention.

Nor is the former supposition rendered less probable by the character of
Charles the Fifth. There was a taint of insanity in the royal blood of
Castile, which was most fully displayed in the emperor's mother, Joanna.
Some traces of it, however faint, may be discerned in his own conduct,
before he took refuge in the cloisters of Yuste. And though we may not
agree with Paul the Fourth in regarding this step as sufficient evidence
of his madness,[332] we may yet find something in his conduct, on more
than one occasion, while there, which is near akin to it. Such, for
example, was the morbid relish which he discovered for performing the
obsequies, not merely of his kindred, but of any one whose position
seemed to him to furnish an apology for it. Not a member of the _toison_
died, but he was prepared to commemorate the event with solemn funeral
rites. These, in short, seemed to be the festivities of Charles's
cloister life. These lugubrious ceremonies had a fascination for him,
that may remind one of the tenacity with which his mother, Joanna, clung
to the dead body of her husband, taking it with her wherever she went.
It was after celebrating the obsequies of his parents and his wife,
which occupied several successive days, that he conceived, as we are
told, the idea of rehearsing his own funeral,--a piece of extravagance
which becomes the more credible when we reflect on the state of morbid
excitement to which his mind may have been brought by dwelling so long
on the dreary apparatus of death.

But whatever be thought of the account of the mock funeral of Charles,
it appears that on the thirtieth of August he was affected by an
indisposition which on the following day was attended with most alarming
symptoms. Here also we have some particulars from his Jeronymite
biographers which we do not find in the letters. On the evening of the
thirty-first, according to their account, Charles ordered a portrait of
the empress, his wife, of whom, as we have seen, he had more than one in
his collection, to be brought to him. He dwelt a long while on its
beautiful features, "as if," says the chronicler, "he were imploring her
to prepare a place for him in the celestial mansions to which she had
gone."[333] He then passed to the contemplation of another
picture,--Titian's "Agony in the Garden," and from this to that immortal
production of his pencil, the "Gloria," as it is called, which is said
to have hung over the high altar at Yuste, and which, after the
emperor's death, followed his remains to the Escorial.[334] He gazed so
long and with such rapt attention on the picture, as to cause
apprehension in his physician, who, in the emperor's debilitated state,
feared the effects of such excitement on his nerves. There was good
reason for apprehension; for Charles, at length, rousing from his
reverie, turned to the doctor, and complained that he was ill. His pulse
showed him to be in a high fever. As the symptoms became more
unfavorable, his physician bled him, but without any good effect.[335]
The Regent Joanna, on learning her father's danger, instantly despatched
her own physician from Valladolid to his assistance. But no earthly
remedies could avail. It soon became evident that the end was

Charles received the intelligence, not merely with composure, but with
cheerfulness. It was what he had long desired, he said. His first care
was to complete some few arrangements respecting his affairs. On the
ninth of September, he executed a codicil to his will. The will, made a
few years previous, was of great length, and the codicil had not the
merit of brevity. Its principal object was to make provision for those
who had followed him to Yuste. No mention is made in the codicil of his
son Don John of Austria. He seems to have communicated his views in
regard to him to his major-domo, Quixada, who had a private interview of
some length with his master a few days before his death. Charles's
directions on the subject appear to have been scrupulously regarded by


One clause in the codicil deserves to be noticed. The emperor conjures
his son most earnestly, by the obedience he owes him, to follow up and
bring to justice every heretic in his dominions; and this without
exception, and without favor or mercy to any one. He conjures Philip to
cherish the Holy Inquisition, as the best instrument for accomplishing
this good work. "So," he concludes, "shall you have my blessing, and the
Lord shall prosper all your undertakings."[338] Such were the last words
of the dying monarch to his son. They did not fall on a deaf ear; and
the parting admonition of his father served to give a keener edge to the
sword of persecution which Philip had already begun to wield.

On the nineteenth of September, Charles's strength had declined so much
that it was thought proper to administer extreme unction to him. He
preferred to have it in the form adopted by the friars, which,
comprehending a litany, the seven penitential psalms, and sundry other
passages of Scripture, was much longer and more exhausting than the rite
used by the laity. His strength did not fail under it, however; and the
following day he desired to take the communion, as he had frequently
done during his illness. On his confessor's representing that, after the
sacrament of extreme unction, this was unnecessary, he answered,
"Perhaps so, but it is good provision for the long journey I am to set
out upon."[339] Exhausted as he was, he knelt a full quarter of an hour
in his bed during the ceremony, offering thanks to God for his mercies,
and expressing the deepest contrition for his sins, with an earnestness
of manner that touched the hearts of all present.[340]

Throughout his illness he had found consolation in having passages of
Scripture, especially the Psalms, read to him. Quixada, careful that his
master should not be disquieted in his last moments, would allow very
few persons to be present in his chamber. Among the number was Bartolomé
de Carranza, who had lately been raised to the archiepiscopal see of
Toledo. He had taken a prominent part in the persecution in England
under Mary. For the remainder of his life he was to be the victim of
persecution himself, from a stronger arm than his, that of the
Inquisition. Even the words of consolation which he uttered in this
chamber of death were carefully treasured up by Charles's confessor, and
made one of the charges against him in his impeachment for heresy.

On the twenty-first of September, St. Matthew's day, about two hours
after midnight, the emperor, who had remained long without speaking,
feeling that his hour had come, exclaimed, "Now it is time!" The holy
taper was placed lighted in his right hand, as he sat up leaning on the
shoulder of the faithful Quixada. With his left he endeavored to clasp a
silver crucifix. It had comforted the empress, his wife, in her dying
hour; and Charles had ordered Quixada to hold it in readiness for him on
the like occasion.[341] It had lain for some time on his breast; and as
it was now held up before his glazing eye by the archbishop of Toledo,
Charles fixed his gaze long and earnestly on the sacred symbol,--to him
the memento of earthly love as well as heavenly. The archbishop was
repeating the psalm _De Profundis_,--"Out of the depths have I cried
unto thee, O Lord!"--when the dying man, making a feeble effort to
embrace the crucifix, exclaimed, in tones so audible as to be heard in
the adjoining room, "_Ay Jesus!_" and sinking back on the pillow,
expired without a struggle.[342] He had always prayed--perhaps fearing
the hereditary taint of insanity--that he might die in possession of
his faculties.[343] His prayer was granted.

The emperor's body, after being embalmed, and placed in its leaden
coffin, lay in state in the chapel for three days, during which three
discourses were pronounced over it by the best preachers in the convent.
It was then consigned to the earth, with due solemnity, amidst the
prayers and tears of the brethren and of Charles's domestics, in
presence of a numerous concourse of persons from the surrounding

The burial did not take place, however, without some difficulty. Charles
had requested by his will that he might be laid partially under the
great altar, in such a manner that his head and the upper part of his
body might come under the spot where the priest stood when he performed
the service. This was dictated in all humility by the emperor; but it
raised a question among the scrupulous ecclesiastics as to the propriety
of permitting any bones save those of a saint to occupy so holy a place
as that beneath the altar. The dispute waxed somewhat warmer than was
suited to the occasion; till the momentous affair was finally adjusted
by having an excavation made in the wall, within which the head was
introduced, so as to allow the feet to touch the verge of the hallowed
ground.[344] The emperor's body did not long abide in its resting-place
at Yuste. Before many years had elapsed, it was transported, by command
of Philip the Second, to the Escorial, and in that magnificent mausoleum
it has continued to repose, beside that of the Empress Isabella.

The funeral obsequies of Charles were celebrated with much pomp by the
court of Rome, by the Regent Joanna at Valladolid, and, with yet greater
magnificence, by Philip the Second at Brussels. Philip was at Arras when
he learned the news of his father's death. He instantly repaired to a
monastery in the neighborhood of Brussels, where he remained secluded
for several weeks. Meanwhile he ordered the bells in all the churches
and convents throughout the Netherlands to be tolled thrice a day for
four mouths, and during that time that no festivals or public rejoicings
of any kind should take place. On the twenty-eighth of December the king
entered Brussels by night, and on the following day, before the hour of
vespers, a procession was formed to the church of St. Gudule, which
still challenges the admiration of the traveller as one of the noblest
monuments of mediæval architecture in the Netherlands.


The procession consisted of the principal clergy, the members of the
different religious houses, bearing lighted tapers in their hands, the
nobles and cavaliers about the court, the great officers of state and
the royal household, all clad in deep mourning. After these came the
knights of the Golden Fleece, wearing the insignia and the superb dress
of the order. The marquis of Aguilar bore the imperial sceptre, the
duke of Villahermosa the sword, and the prince of Orange carried the
globe and the crown of the empire. Philip came on foot, wrapped in a
sable mantle, with his head buried in a deep cowl. His train was borne
by Ruy Gomez de Silva, the favorite minister. Then followed the duke of
Savoy, walking also alone, with his head covered, as a prince of the
blood. Files of the Spanish and German guard, in their national
uniforms, formed an escort to the procession, as it took its way through
the principal streets, which were illumined with a blaze of torchlight,
that dispelled the gathering shadows of evening.

A conspicuous part of the procession was a long train of horses led each
by two gentlemen, and displaying on their splendid housings, and the
banners which they carried, the devices and arms of the several states
over which the emperor presided.

But no part of the pageant attracted so much notice from the populace as
a stately galley, having its sides skilfully painted with battle-pieces
suggested by different actions in which Charles had been engaged; while
its sails of black silk were covered with inscriptions in letters of
gold, that commemorated the triumphs of the hero.

Although the palace was at no great distance from St. Gudule's, the
procession occupied two hours in passing to the church. In the nave of
the edifice stood a sort of chapel, constructed for the occasion. Its
roof, or rather canopy, displaying four crowns embroidered in gold,
rested on four Ionic pillars curiously wrought. Within lay a sarcophagus
covered with a dark pall of velvet, surmounted by a large crimson cross.
The imperial crown, together with the globe and sceptre, was deposited
in this chapel, which was lighted up with three thousand wax tapers.

In front of it was a scaffolding covered with black, on which a throne
was raised for Philip. The nobles and great officers of the crown
occupied the seats, or rather steps, below. Drapery of dark velvet and
cloth of gold, emblazoned with the imperial arms, was suspended across
the arches of the nave; above which ran galleries, appropriated to the
duchess of Lorraine and the ladies of the court.[345]

The traveller who at this time visits this venerable pile, where Charles
the Fifth was wont to hold the chapters of the Golden Fleece, while he
gazes on the characteristic effigy of that monarch, as it is displayed
on the superb windows of painted glass, may call to mind the memorable
day when the people of Flanders, and the rank and beauty of its capital,
were gathered together to celebrate the obsequies of the great emperor;
when, amidst clouds of incense and the blaze of myriads of lights, the
deep tones of the organ, vibrating through the long aisles, mingled with
the voices of the priests, as they chanted their sad requiem to the soul
of their departed sovereign.[346]

I have gone somewhat into detail in regard to the latter days of Charles
the Fifth, who exercised, in his retirement, too important an influence
on public affairs for such an account of him to be deemed an impertinent
episode to the history of Philip the Second. Before parting from him for
ever, I will take a brief view of some peculiarities in his personal,
rather than his political character, which has long since been indelibly
traced by a hand abler than mine.

Charles, at the time of his death, was in the fifty-eighth year of his
age. He was older in constitution than in years. So much shaken had he
been, indeed, in mind as well as body, that he may be said to have died
of premature old age. Yet his physical development had been very slow.
He was nearly twenty-one years old before any beard was to be seen on
his chin.[347] Yet by the time he was thirty-six, gray hairs began to
make their appearance on his temples. At forty the gout had made severe
inroads on a constitution originally strong; and before he was fifty,
the man who could keep the saddle day and night in his campaigns, who
seemed to be insensible to fatigue as he followed the chase among the
wild passes of the Alpuxarras, was obliged to be carried in a litter,
like a poor cripple, at the head of his armies.[348]

His mental development was equally tardy with his bodily. So long as
Chievres lived,--the Flemish noble who had the care of his early
life,--Charles seemed to have no will of his own. During his first visit
to Spain, where he came when seventeen years old, he gave so little
promise, that those who approached him nearest could discern no signs of
his future greatness. Yet the young prince seems to have been conscious
that he had the elements of greatness within him, and he patiently bided
his time. "_Nondum_"--"Not yet"--was the motto which he adopted for his
maiden shield, when but eighteen years old, at a tournament at


But when the death of the Flemish minister had released the young
monarch from this state of dependence, he took the reins into his own
hands, as Louis the Fourteenth did on the death of Mazarin. He now
showed himself in an entirely new aspect. He even displayed greater
independence than his predecessors had done. He no longer trusted
everything, like them, to a council of state. He trusted only to
himself; and if he freely communicated with some one favorite minister,
like the elder Granvelle, and the cardinal, his son, it was in order to
be counselled, not to be controlled by their judgments. He patiently
informed himself of public affairs; and when foreign envoys had their
audiences of him, they were surprised to find him possessed of
everything relating to their own courts and the objects of their

Yet he did not seem to be quick of apprehension, or, to speak more
correctly, he was slow in arriving at his results. He would keep the
courier waiting for days before he could come to a decision. When he did
come to it, no person on earth could shake it. Talking one day with the
Venetian Contarini about this habit of his mind, the courtly minister
remarked, that "it was not obstinacy to adhere to sound opinions."
"True," said Charles, "but I sometimes adhere to those that are

His indefatigable activity both of mind and body formed a strong
contrast to the lethargy of early years. His widely scattered empire,
spreading over the Low Countries, Spain, Germany, and the New World,
presented embarrassments which most princes would have found it
impossible to overcome. At least they would have been compelled to
govern, in a great measure, by deputy,--to transact their business by
agents. But Charles chose to do everything himself,--to devise his own
plans, and to execute them in person. The number of his journeys by land
and by water, as noticed in his farewell address, is truly wonderful;
for that was not the day of steamboats and railways. He seemed to lead
the life of a courier. But it was for no trivial object that he made
these expeditions. He knew where his presence was needed; and his
promptness and punctuality brought him, at the right time, on the right
spot. No spot in his broad empire was far removed from him. He seemed to
possess the power of ubiquity.

The consciousness of his own strength roused to a flame the spark of
ambition which had hitherto slept in his bosom. His schemes were so
vast, that it was a common opinion he aspired to universal monarchy.
Like his grandfather, Ferdinand, and his own son, Philip, he threw over
his schemes the cloak of religion. Or, to deal with him more fairly,
religious principle probably combined with personal policy to determine
his career. He seemed always ready to do battle for the Cross. He
affected to identify the cause of Spain with the cause of Christendom.
He marched against the Turks, and stayed the tide of Ottoman inroad in
Hungary. He marched against the Protestants, and discomfited their
armies in the heart of Germany. He crossed the Mediterranean, and
humbled the Crescent at Algiers. He threw himself on the honor of
Francis, and travelled through France to take vengeance on the rebels of
Flanders. He twice entered France as an enemy, and marched up to the
gates of Paris. Instead of the modest legend on his maiden shield; he
now assumed the proud motto, "_Plus ultra_;" and he vindicated his right
to it, by sending his fleets across the ocean, and by planting the
banner of Castile on the distant shores of the Pacific. In these
enterprises he was generally successful. His success led him to rely
still more on himself. "Myself and the lucky moment," was his favorite
saying. The "star of Austria," was still a proverb. It was not till the
evening of life that he complained of the fickleness of fortune; that
his star, as it descended to the horizon, was obscured by clouds and

Thus Charles's nerves were kept in a state of perpetual excitement. No
wonder that his health should have sunk under it; like a plant forced by
extraordinary stimulants to an unnatural production at the expense of
its own vitality.

His habits were not all of them the most conducive to health. He slept
usually only four hours; too short a time to repair the waste caused by
incessant toil.[350] His phlegmatic temperament did not incline him to
excess. Yet there was one excess of which he was guilty,--the indulgence
of his appetite to a degree most pernicious to his health. A Venetian
contemporary tells us, that, before rising in the morning, potted capon
was usually served to him, dressed with sugar, milk, and spices. At noon
he dined on a variety of dishes. Soon after vespers he took another
meal; and later in the evening supped heartily on anchovies, or some
other gross and savory food of which he was particularly fond.[351] On
one occasion, complaining to his _maître d'hôtel_ that the cook sent him
nothing but dishes too insipid and tasteless to be eaten, the perplexed
functionary, knowing Charles's passion for timepieces, replied, that "he
did not know what he could do, unless it were to serve his majesty a
ragout of watches!" The witticism had one good effect, that of provoking
a hearty laugh from the emperor,--a thing rarely witnessed in his latter

It was in vain that Cardinal Loaysa, his confessor, remonstrated, with
an independence that does him credit, against his master's indulgence of
his appetite, assuring him that resistance here would do more for his
soul than any penance with the scourge.[353] It seems a pity that
Charles, considering his propensities, should have so easily obtained
absolution from fasts, and that he should not, on the contrary, have
transferred some of the penance which he inflicted on his back to the
offending part. Even in the monastery of Yuste he still persevered in
the same pernicious taste. Anchovies, frogs' legs, and eel-pasties were
the dainty morsels with which he chose to be regaled, even before the
eyes of his physician. It would not have been amiss for him to have
exchanged his solitary repast more frequently for the simpler fare of
the refectory.

With these coarser tastes Charles combined many others of a refined and
intellectual character. We have seen his fondness for music, and the
delight he took in the sister art of design,--especially in the works of
Titian. He was painted several times by this great master, and it was by
his hand, as we have seen, that he desired to go down to posterity. The
emperor had, moreover, another taste, perhaps talent, which, with a
different training and in a different sphere of life, might have led him
to the craft of authorship.

A curious conversation is reported as having been held by him with
Borja, the future saint, during one of the visits paid by the Jesuit to
Yuste. Charles inquired of his friend whether it were wrong for a man to
write his autobiography, provided he did so honestly, and with no motive
of vanity. He said that he had written his own memoirs, not from the
desire of self-glorification, but to correct manifold mistakes which had
been circulated of his doings, and to set his conduct in a true
light.[354] One might be curious to know the answer, which is not given,
of the good father to this question. It is to be hoped that it was not
of a kind to induce the emperor to destroy the manuscript, which has
never come to light.

However this may be, there is no reason to doubt that at one period of
his life he had compiled a portion of his autobiography. In the imperial
household, as I have already noticed, was a Flemish scholar, William Van
Male, or Malinæus, as he is called in Latin, who, under the title of
gentleman of the chamber, wrote many a long letter for Charles, while
standing by his bedside, and read many a weary hour to him after the
monarch had gone to rest,--not, as it would seem, to sleep.[355] This
personage tells us that Charles, when sailing on the Rhine, wrote an
account of his expeditions to as late a date as 1550.[356] This is not
very definite. Any account written under such circumstances, and in so
short a time, could be nothing but a sketch of the most general kind.
Yet Van Male assures us that he had read the manuscript, which he
commends for its terse and elegant diction; and he proposes to make a
Latin version of it, the style of which should combine the separate
merits of Tacitus, Livy, Suetonius, and Cæsar![357] The admiring
chamberlain laments that, instead of giving it to the world, Charles
should keep it jealously secured under lock and key.[358]

The emperor's taste for authorship showed itself also in another form.
This was by the translation of the "_Chevalier Délibéré_," a French poem
then popular, celebrating the court of his ancestor, Charles the Bold of
Burgundy. Van Male, who seems to have done for Charles the Fifth what
Voltaire did for Frederick, when he spoke of himself as washing the
king's dirty linen, was employed also to overlook this translation,
which he pronounces to have possessed great merit in regard to idiom and
selection of language. The emperor then gave it to Acuña, a good poet of
the court, to be done into Castilian verse. Thus metamorphosed, he
proposed to give the copy to Van Male. A mischievous wag, Avila the
historian, assured the emperor that it could not be worth less than five
hundred gold crowns to that functionary. "And William is well entitled
to them," said the monarch, "for he has sweat much over the work."[359]
Two thousand copies were forthwith ordered to be printed of the poem,
which was to come out anonymously. Poor Van Male, who took a very
different view of the profits, and thought that nothing was certain but
the cost of the edition, would have excused himself from this proof of
his master's liberality. It was all in vain; Charles was not to be
balked in his generous purpose; and, without a line to propitiate the
public favor, by stating in the preface the share of the royal hand in
the composition, it was ushered into the world.[360]

Whatever Charles may have done in the way of an autobiography, he was
certainly not indifferent to posthumous fame. He knew that the greatest
name must soon pass into oblivion, unless embalmed in the song of the
bard or the page of the chronicler. He looked for a chronicler to do for
him with his pen what Titian had done for him with his pencil,--exhibit
him in his true proportions, and in a permanent form, to the eye of
posterity! In this he does not seem to have been so much under the
influence of vanity as of a natural desire to have his character and
conduct placed in a fair point of view,--what seemed to him to be
such,--for the contemplation or criticism of mankind.


The person whom the emperor selected for this delicate office was the
learned Sepulveda. Sleidan he condemned as a slanderer; and Giovio, who
had taken the other extreme, and written of him with what he called the
"golden pen" of history, he no less condemned as a flatterer.[361]
Charles encouraged Sepulveda to apply to him for information on matters
relating to his government. But when requested by the historian to
listen to what he had written, the emperor refused. "I will neither
hear nor read," he replied, "what you have said of me. Others may do
this when I am gone. But if you wish for information on any point, I
shall be always ready to give it to you."[362] A history thus compiled
was of the nature of an autobiography, and must be considered,
therefore, as entitled to much the same confidence, and open to the same
objections, as that kind of writing. Sepulveda was one of the few who
had repeated access to Charles in his retirement at Yuste;[363] and the
monarch testified his regard for him, by directing that particular care
be taken that no harm should come to the historian's manuscript before
it was committed to the press.[364]

Such are some of the most interesting traits and personal anecdotes I
have been able to collect of the man who, for nearly forty years, ruled
over an empire more vast, with an authority more absolute, than any
monarch since the days of Charlemagne. It may be thought strange that I
should have omitted to notice one feature in his character, the most
prominent in the line from which he was descended, at least on the
mother's side,--his bigotry. But in Charles this was less conspicuous
than in many others of his house; and while he sat upon the throne, the
extent to which his religious principles were held in subordination by
his political, suggests a much closer parallel to the policy of his
grandfather, Ferdinand the Catholic, than to that of his son, Philip the
Second, or of his imbecile grandson, Philip the Third.

But the religious gloom which hung over Charles's mind took the deeper
tinge of fanaticism after he had withdrawn to the monastery of Yuste.
With his dying words, as we have seen, he bequeathed the Inquisition as
a precious legacy to his son. In like manner, he endeavored to cherish
in the Regent Joanna's bosom the spirit of persecution.[365] And if it
were true, as his biographer assures us, that Charles expressed a regret
that he had respected the safe-conduct of Luther,[366] the world had
little reason to mourn that he exchanged the sword and the sceptre for
the breviary of the friar,--the throne of the Cæsars for his monastic
retreat among the wilds of Estremadura.

       *       *       *       *       *

The preceding chapter was written in the summer of 1851, a year before
the appearance of Stirling's "Cloister Life of Charles the Fifth," which
led the way in that brilliant series of works from the pens of Amédée
Pichot, Mignet, and Gachard, which has made the darkest recesses of
Yuste as light as day. The publication of these works has deprived my
account of whatever novelty it might have possessed, since it rests on a
similar basis with theirs, namely, original documents in the Archives of
Simancas. Yet the important influence which Charles exerted over the
management of affairs, even in his monastic retreat, has made it
impossible to dispense with the chapter. On the contrary, I have
profited by these recent publications to make sundry additions, which
may readily be discovered by the reader, from the references I have been
careful to make to the sources whence they are derived.

The public has been hitherto indebted for its knowledge of the reign of
Charles the Fifth to Robertson,--a writer who, combining a truly
philosophical spirit with an acute perception of character, is
recommended, moreover, by a classic elegance of style which has justly
given him a preëminence among the historians of the great emperor. But
in his account of the latter days of Charles, Robertson mainly relies on
commonplace authorities, whose information, gathered at second hand, is
far from being trustworthy,--as is proved by the contradictory tenor of
such authentic documents as the letters of Charles himself, with those
of his own followers, and the narratives of the brotherhood of Yuste.
These documents are, for the most part, to be found in the Archives of
Simancas, where, in Robertson's time, they were guarded, with the
vigilance of a Turkish harem, against all intrusion of native as well as
foreigner. It was not until very recently, in 1844, that the more
liberal disposition of the government allowed the gates to be unbarred
which had been closed for centuries; and then, for the first time, the
student might be seen toiling in the dusty alcoves of Simancas, and
busily exploring the long-buried memorials of the past. It was at this
period that my friend, Don Pascual de Gayangos, having obtained
authority from the government, passed some weeks at Simancas in
collecting materials, some of which have formed the groundwork of the
preceding chapter.

While the manuscripts of Simancas were thus hidden from the world, a
learned keeper of the archives, Don Tomas Gonzalez, discontented with
the unworthy view which had been given of the latter days of Charles the
Fifth, had profited by the materials which lay around him, to exhibit
his life at Yuste in a new and more authentic light. To the volume which
he compiled for this purpose he gave the title of "_Retiro, Estancia, y
Muerte del Emperador Carlos Quinto en el Monasterio de Yuste_." The
work, the principal value of which consists in the copious extracts with
which it is furnished from the correspondence of Charles and his
household, was suffered by the author to remain in manuscript; and, at
his death, it passed into the hands of his brother, who prepared a
summary of its contents, and endeavored to dispose of the volume at a
price so exorbitant that it remained for many years without a purchaser.
It was finally bought by the French government at a greatly reduced
price,--for four thousand francs. It may seem strange that it should
have even brought this sum, since the time of the sale was that in which
the new arrangements were made for giving admission to the archives that
contained the original documents on which the Gonzalez MS. was founded.
The work thus bought by the French government was transferred to the
Archives des Affaires Etrangères, then under the direction of M. Mignet.
The manuscript could not be in better hands than those of a scholar who
has so successfully carried the torch of criticism into some of the
darkest passages of Spanish history. His occupations, however, took him
in another direction; and for eight years the Gonzalez MS. remained as
completely hidden from the world in the Parisian archives as it had been
in those of Simancas. When, at length, it was applied to the historical
uses for which it had been intended, it was through the agency, not of a
French, but of a British writer. This was Mr. Stirling, the author of
the "Annals of the Artists of Spain,"--a work honorable to its author
for the familiarity it shows, not only with the state of the arts in
that country, but also with its literature.


Mr. Stirling, during a visit to the Peninsula, in 1849, made a
pilgrimage to Yuste; and the traditions and hoary reminiscences gathered
round the spot left such an impression on the traveller's mind, that, on
his return to England, he made them the subject of two elaborate papers
in Fraser's Magazine, in the numbers for April and May, 1851. Although
these spirited essays rested wholly on printed works, which had long
been accessible to the scholar, they were found to contain many new and
highly interesting details; showing how superficially Mr.

Stirling's predecessors had examined the records of the emperor's
residence at Yuste. Still, in his account the author had omitted the
most important feature of Charles's monastic life,--the influence which
he exercised on the administration of the kingdom. This was to be
gathered from the manuscripts of Simancas.

Mr. Stirling, who through that inexhaustible repository, the Handbook of
Spain, had become acquainted with the existence of the Gonzalez MS.,
was, at the time of writing his essays, ignorant of its fate. On
learning, afterwards, where it was to be found, he visited Paris, and,
having obtained access to the volume, so far profited by its contents as
to make them the basis of a separate work, which he entitled "The
Cloister Life of Charles the Fifth." It soon attracted the attention of
scholars, both at home and abroad, went through several editions, and
was received, in short, with an avidity which showed both the importance
attached to the developments the author had made, and the highly
attractive form in which he had presented them to the reader.

The Parisian scholars were now stimulated to turn to account the
treasure which had remained so long neglected on their shelves. In 1854,
less than two years after the appearance of Mr. Stirling's book, M.
Amédée Pichot published his "_Chronique de Charles-Quint_," a work
which, far from being confined to the latter days of the emperor, covers
the whole range of his biography, presenting a large amount of
information in regard to his personal habits, as well as to the interior
organization of his government, and the policy which directed it. The
whole is enriched, moreover, by a multitude of historical incidents,
which may be regarded rather as subsidiary than essential to the conduct
of the narrative, which is enlivened by much ingenious criticism on the
state of manners, arts, and moral culture of the period.

It was not long after the appearance of this work that M. Gachard, whom
I have elsewhere noticed as having been commissioned by the Belgian
government to make extensive researches in the Archives of Simancas,
gave to the public some of the fruits of his labors, in the first volume
of his "_Retraite et Mort de Charles-Quint_." It is devoted to the
letters of the emperor and his household, which form the staple of the
Gonzalez MS.; thus placing at the disposition of the future biographer
of Charles the original materials with which to reconstruct the history
of his latter days.

Lastly came the work, long expected, of M. Mignet, "_Charles-Quint; son
Abdication, son Séjour, et sa Mort au Monastère de Yuste_." It was the
reproduction, in a more extended and elaborate form, of a series of
papers, the first of which appeared shortly after the publication of Mr.
Stirling's book. In this work the French author takes the clear and
comprehensive view of his subject so characteristic of his genius. The
difficult and debatable points he discusses with acuteness and
precision; and the whole story of Charles's monastic life he presents in
so luminous an aspect to the reader as leaves nothing further to be

The critic may take some interest in comparing the different manners in
which the several writers have dealt with the subject, each according to
his own taste, or the bent of his genius. Thus through Stirling's more
free and familiar narrative there runs a pleasant vein of humor, with
piquancy enough to give it relish, showing the author's sensibility to
the ludicrous, for which Charles's stingy habits, and excessive love of
good cheer, even in the convent, furnish frequent occasion.

Quite a different conception is formed by Mignet of the emperor's
character, which he has cast in the true heroic mould, not deigning to
recognize a single defect, however slight, which may at all impair the
majesty of the proportions. Finally, Amédée Pichot, instead of the
classical, may be said to have conformed to the romantic school in the
arrangement of his subject, indulging in various picturesque episodes,
which he has, however, combined so successfully with the main body of
the narrative as not to impair the unity of interest.

Whatever may be thought of the comparative merits of these eminent
writers in the execution of their task, the effect of their labors has
undoubtedly been to make that the plainest which was before the most
obscure portion of the history of Charles the Fifth.




Civil Institutions.--Commercial Prosperity.--Character of the
People.--Protestant Doctrines.--Persecution by Charles the Fifth.

We have now come to that portion of the narrative which seems to be
rather in the nature of an episode, than part and parcel of our history;
though from its magnitude and importance it is better entitled to be
treated as an independent history by itself. This is the War of the
Netherlands; opening the way to that great series of revolutions, the
most splendid example of which is furnished by our own happy land.
Before entering on this vast theme, it will be well to give a brief view
of the country which forms the subject of it.

At the accession of Philip the Second, about the middle of the sixteenth
century, the Netherlands, or Flanders, as the country was then usually
called,[367] comprehended seventeen provinces, occupying much the same
territory, but somewhat abridged, with that included in the present
kingdoms of Holland and Belgium.[368] These provinces, under the various
denominations of duchies, counties, and lordships, formed anciently so
many separate states, each under the rule of its respective prince. Even
when two or three of them, as sometimes happened, were brought together
under one sceptre, each still maintained its own independent existence.
In their institutions these states bore great resemblance to one
another, and especially in the extent of the immunities conceded to the
citizens as compared with those enjoyed in most of the countries of
Christendom. No tax could be imposed, without the consent of an assembly
consisting of the clergy, the nobles, and the representatives of the
towns. No foreigner was eligible to office, and the native of one
province was regarded as a foreigner by every other. These were insisted
on as inalienable rights, although in later times none were more
frequently disregarded by the rulers.[369]


The condition of the commons in the Netherlands, during the Middle Ages,
was far in advance of what it was in most other European countries at
the same period. For this they were indebted to the character of the
people, or rather to the peculiar circumstances which formed that
character. Occupying a soil which had been redeemed with infinite toil
and perseverance from the waters, their life was passed in perpetual
struggle with the elements. They were early familiarized to the dangers
of the ocean. The Flemish mariner was distinguished for the intrepid
spirit with which he pushed his voyages into distant and unknown seas.
An extended commerce opened to him a wide range of observation and
experience; and to the bold and hardy character of the ancient
Netherlander was added a spirit of enterprise, with such enlarged and
liberal views as fitted him for taking part in the great concerns of the
community. Villages and towns grew up rapidly. Wealth flowed in from
this commercial activity, and the assistance which these little
communities were thus enabled to afford their princes drew from the
latter the concession of important political privileges, which
established the independence of the citizen.

The tendency of things, however, was still to maintain the distinct
individuality of the provinces, rather than to unite them into a common
political body. They were peopled by different races, speaking different
languages. In some of the provinces French was spoken, in others a
dialect of the German. Their position, moreover, had often brought these
petty states into rivalry, and sometimes into open war, with one
another. The effects of these feuds continued after the causes of them
had passed away; and mutual animosities still lingered in the breasts of
the inhabitants, operating as a permanent source of disunion.

From these causes, after the greater part of the provinces had been
brought together under the sceptre of the ducal house of Burgundy, in
the fifteenth century, it was found impossible to fuse them into one
nation. Even Charles the Fifth, with all his power and personal
influence, found himself unequal to the task.[370] He was obliged to
relinquish the idea of consolidating the different states into one
monarchy, and to content himself with the position--not too grateful to
a Spanish despot--of head of a republic, or, to speak more properly, of
a confederacy of republics.

There was, however, some approach made to a national unity in the
institution which grew up after the states were brought together under
one sceptre. Thus, while each of the provinces maintained its own courts
of justice, there was a supreme tribunal established at Mechlin, with
appellate jurisdiction over all the provincial tribunals. In like
manner, while each state had its own legislative assembly, there were
the states-general, consisting of the clergy, the nobles, and the
representatives of the towns, from each of the provinces. In this
assembly--but rarely convened--were discussed the great questions having
reference to the interests of the whole country. But the assembly was
vested with no legislative authority. It could go no further than to
present petitions to the sovereign for the redress of grievances. It
possessed no right beyond the right of remonstrance. Even in questions
of taxation, no subsidy could be settled in that body, without the
express sanction of each of the provincial legislatures. Such a form of
government, it must be admitted, was altogether too cumbrous in its
operations for efficient executive movement. It was by means favorable
to the promptness and energy demanded for military enterprise. But it
was a government which, however ill-suited in this respect to the temper
of Charles the Fifth, was well suited to the genius of the inhabitants,
and to their circumstances, which demanded peace. They had no ambition
for foreign conquest. By the arts of peace they had risen to this
unprecedented pitch of prosperity, and by peace alone, not by war, could
they hope to maintain it.

But under the long rule of the Burgundian princes, and still more under
that of Charles the Fifth, the people of the Netherlands felt the
influence of those circumstances which in other parts of Europe were
gradually compelling the popular, or rather the feudal element, to give
way to the spirit of centralization. Thus in time the sovereign claimed
the right of nominating all the higher clergy. In some instances he
appointed the judges of the provincial courts; and the supreme tribunal
of Mechlin was so far dependent on his authority, that all the judges
were named and their salaries paid by the crown. The sovereign's
authority was even stretched so far as to interfere not unfrequently
with the rights exercised by the citizens in the election of their own
magistrates,--rights that should have been cherished by them as of the
last importance. As for the nobles, we cannot over-estimate the
ascendancy which the master of an empire like that of Charles the Fifth
must have obtained over men to whom he could open such boundless
prospects in the career of ambition.[371]

But the personal character and the peculiar position of Charles tended
still further to enlarge the royal authority. He was a Fleming by birth.
He had all the tastes and habits of a Fleming. His early days had been
passed in Flanders, and he loved to return to his native land as often
as his busy life would permit him, and to seek in the free and joyous
society of the Flemish capitals some relief from the solemn ceremonial
of the Castilian court. This preference of their lord was repaid by the
people of the Netherlands with feelings of loyal devotion.


But they had reason for feelings of deeper gratitude in the substantial
benefits which the favor of Charles secured to them. It was for Flemings
that the highest posts even in Spain were reserved, and the marked
preference thus shown by the emperor to his countrymen was one great
source of the troubles in Castile. The soldiers of the Netherlands
accompanied Charles on his military expeditions, and their cavalry had
the reputation of being the best appointed and best disciplined in the
imperial army. The vast extent of his possessions, spreading over every
quarter of the globe, offered a boundless range for the commerce of the
Netherlands, which was everywhere admitted on the most favorable
footing. Notwithstanding his occasional acts of violence and extortion,
Charles was too sagacious not to foster the material interests of a
country which contributed so essentially to his own resources. Under his
protecting policy, the industry and ingenuity of the Flemings found
ample scope in the various departments of husbandry, manufactures, and
trade. The country was as thickly studded with large towns as other
countries were with villages. In the middle of the sixteenth century it
was computed to contain above three hundred and fifty cities, and more
than six thousand three hundred towns of a smaller size.[372] These
towns were not the resort of monks and mendicants, as in other parts of
the Continent, but they swarmed with a busy, laborious population. No
man ate the bread of idleness in the Netherlands. At the period with
which we are occupied Ghent counted 70,000 inhabitants, Brussels 75,000,
and Antwerp 100,000. This was at a period when London itself contained
but 150,000.[373]

The country, fertilized by its countless canals and sluices, exhibited
everywhere that minute and patient cultivation which distinguishes it at
the present day, but which in the middle of the sixteenth century had no
parallel but in the lands tilled by the Moorish inhabitants of the south
of Spain. The ingenious spirit of the people was shown in their
dexterity in the mechanical arts, and in the talent for invention which
seems to be characteristic of a people accustomed from infancy to the
unfettered exercise of their faculties. The processes for simplifying
labor were carried so far, that children, as we are assured, began, at
four or five years of age, to earn a livelihood.[374] Each of the
principal cities became noted for its excellence in some branch or other
of manufacture. Lille was known for its woollen cloths, Brussels for its
tapestry and carpets, Valenciennes for its camlets, while the towns of
Holland and Zealand furnished a simpler staple in the form of cheese,
butter, and salted fish.[375] These various commodities were exhibited
at the great fairs held twice a year, for the space of twenty days each,
at Antwerp, which were thronged by foreigners as well as natives.

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the Flemings imported great
quantities of wool from England, to be manufactured into cloth at home.
But Flemish emigrants had carried that manufacture to England; and in
the time of Philip the Second the cloths themselves were imported from
the latter country to the amount of above five millions of crowns
annually, and exchanged for the domestic products of the
Netherlands.[376] This single item of trade with one of their neighbors
may suggest some notion of the extent of the commerce of the Low
Countries at this period.

But in truth the commerce of the country stretched to the remotest
corners of the globe. The inhabitants of the Netherlands, trained from
early youth to battle with the waves, found their true element on the
ocean. "As much as Nature," says an enthusiastic writer, "restricted
their domain on the land, so much the more did they extend their empire
on the deep."[377] Their fleets were to be found on every sea. In the
Euxine and in the Mediterranean they were rivals of the Venetian and the
Genoese, and they contended with the English, and even with the
Spaniards, for superiority on the "narrow seas" and the great ocean.

The wealth which flowed into the country from this extended trade was
soon shown in the crowded population of its provinces and the splendor
of their capitals. At the head of these stood the city of Antwerp, which
occupied the place in the sixteenth century that Bruges had occupied in
the fifteenth, as the commercial metropolis of the Netherlands. Two
hundred and fifty vessels might often be seen at the same time taking in
their cargoes at her quays.[378] Two thousand loaded wagons from the
neighboring countries of France, Germany, and Lorraine daily passed
through her gates;[379] and a greater number of vessels, freighted with
merchandise from different quarters of the world, were to be seen
floating at the same time on the waters of the Scheldt.[380]

The city, in common with the rest of Brabant, was distinguished by
certain political privileges, which commended it as a place of residence
even to foreigners. Women of the other provinces, it is said, when the
time of their confinement drew near, would come to Brabant, that their
offspring might claim the franchises of this favored portion of the
Netherlands.[381] So jealous were the people of this province of their
liberties, that in their oath of allegiance to their sovereign, on his
accession, it was provided that this allegiance might lawfully be
withheld whenever he ceased to respect their privileges.[382]

Under the shelter of its municipal rights, foreigners settled in great
numbers in Antwerp. The English established a factory there. There was
also a Portuguese company, an Italian company, a company of merchants
from the Hanse Towns, and, lastly, a Turkish company, which took up its
residence there for the purpose of pursuing a trade with the Levant. A
great traffic was carried on in bills of exchange. Antwerp, in short,
became the banking-house of Europe; and capitalists, the Rothschilds of
their day, whose dealings were with sovereign princes, fixed their abode
in Antwerp, which was to the rest of Europe in the sixteenth century
what London is in the nineteenth,--the great heart of commercial


In 1531, the public Exchange was erected, the finest building of its
kind at that time anywhere to be seen. The city, indeed, was filled with
stately edifices, the largest of which, the great cathedral, having been
nearly destroyed by fire, soon after the opening of the Exchange, was
rebuilt, and still remains a noble specimen of the architectural
science of the time. Another age was to see the walls of the same
cathedral adorned with those exquisite productions of Rubens and his
disciples, which raised the Flemish school to a level with the great
Italian masters.

The rapidly increasing opulence of the city was visible in the luxurious
accommodations and sumptuous way of living of the inhabitants. The
merchants of Antwerp rivalled the nobles of other lands in the splendor
of their dress and domestic establishments. Something of the same sort
showed itself in the middle classes; and even in those of humbler
condition, there was a comfort approaching to luxury in their
households, which attracted the notice of an Italian writer of the
sixteenth century. He commends the scrupulous regard to order and
cleanliness observed in the arrangement of the dwellings, and expresses
his admiration, not only of the careful attention given by the women to
their domestic duties, but also of their singular capacity for
conducting those business affairs usually reserved for the other sex.
This was particularly the case in Holland.[384] But this freedom of
intercourse was no disparagement to their feminine qualities. The
liberty they assumed did not degenerate into licence; and he concludes
his animated portraiture of these Flemish matrons by pronouncing them as
discreet as they were beautiful.

The humbler classes, in so abject a condition in other parts of Europe
at that day, felt the good effects of this general progress in comfort
and civilization. It was rare to find one, we are told, so illiterate as
not to be acquainted with the rudiments of grammar; and there was
scarcely a peasant who could not both read and write;[385]--this at a
time when to read and write were accomplishments not always possessed,
in other countries, by those even in the higher walks of life.

It was not possible that a people so well advanced in the elements of
civilization should long remain insensible to the great religious reform
which, having risen on their borders, was now rapidly spreading over
Christendom. Besides the contiguity of the Netherlands to Germany, their
commerce with other countries had introduced them to Protestantism as it
existed there. The foreign residents, and the Swiss and German
mercenaries quartered in the provinces, had imported along with them
these same principles of the Reformation; and lastly the Flemish nobles,
who, at that time, were much in the fashion of going abroad to study in
Geneva, returned from that stronghold of Calvin well fortified with the
doctrines of the great Reformer.[386] Thus the seeds of the Reformation,
whether in the Lutheran or the Calvinistic form, were scattered wide
over the land, and took root in a congenial soil. The phlegmatic
temperament of the northern provinces, especially, disposed them to
receive a religion which addressed itself so exclusively to the reason,
while they were less open to the influences of Catholicism, which, with
its gorgeous accessories, appealing to the passions, is better suited to
the lively sensibilities and kindling imaginations of the south.

It is not to be supposed that Charles the Fifth could long remain
insensible to this alarming defection of his subjects in the
Netherlands; nor that the man whose life was passed in battling with the
Lutherans of Germany could patiently submit to see their detested heresy
taking root in his own dominions. He dreaded this innovation no less in
a temporal than in a spiritual view. Experience had shown that freedom
of speculation in affairs of religion naturally led to free inquiry into
political abuses; that the work of the reformer was never accomplished
so long as anything remained to reform, in state as well as in church.
Charles, with the instinct of Spanish despotism, sought a remedy in one
of those acts of arbitrary power in which he indulged without scruple
when the occasion called for them.

In March, 1520, he published the first of his barbarous edicts for the
suppression of the new faith. It was followed by several others of the
same tenor, repeated at intervals throughout his reign. The last
appeared in September, 1550.[387] As this in a manner suspended those
that had preceded it, to which, however, it substantially conformed, and
as it became the basis of Philip's subsequent legislation, it will be
well to recite its chief provisions.

By this edict, or "placard," as it was called, it was ordained that all
who were convicted of heresy should suffer death "by fire, by the pit,
or by the sword;"[388] in other words, should be burned alive, be buried
alive, or be beheaded. These terrible penalties were incurred by all who
dealt in heretical books, or copied or bought them, by all who held or
attended conventicles, by all who disputed on the Scriptures in public
or private, by all who preached or defended the doctrines of reform.
Informers were encouraged by the promise of one half of the confiscated
estate of the heretic. No suspected person was allowed to make any
donation, or sell any of his effects, or dispose of them by will.
Finally, the courts were instructed to grant no remission or mitigation
of punishment under the fallacious idea of mercy to the convicted party,
and it was made penal for the friends of the accused to solicit such
indulgence on his behalf.[389]

The more thoroughly to enforce these edicts, Charles took a hint from
the terrible tribunal with which he was familiar in Spain,--the
Inquisition. He obtained a bull from his old preceptor, Adrian the
Sixth, appointing an inquisitor-general, who had authority to examine
persons suspected of heresy, to imprison and torture them, to confiscate
their property, and finally sentence them to banishment or death. These
formidable powers were intrusted to a layman,--a lawyer of eminence, and
one of the council of Brabant. But this zealous functionary employed his
authority with so good effect, that it speedily roused the general
indignation of his countrymen, who compelled him to fly for his life.

By another bull from Rome, four inquisitors were appointed in the place
of the fugitive. These inquisitors were ecclesiastics, not of the fierce
Dominican order, as in Spain, but members of the secular clergy. All
public officers were enjoined to aid them in detecting and securing
suspected persons, and the common prisons were allotted for the
confinement of their victims.


The people would seem to have gained little by the substitution of four
inquisitors for one. But in fact they gained a great deal. The sturdy
resistance made to the exercise of the unconstitutional powers of the
inquisitor-general compelled Charles to bring those of the new
functionaries more within the limits of the law. For twenty years or
more their powers seem not to have been well defined. But in 1546 it was
decreed that no sentence whatever could be pronounced by an inquisitor
without the sanction of some member of the provincial council. Thus,
however barbarous the law against heresy, the people of the Netherlands
had this security, that it was only by their own regular courts of
justice that this law was to be interpreted and enforced.[390]

Such were the expedients adopted by Charles the Fifth for the
suppression of heresy in the Netherlands. Notwithstanding the name of
"inquisitors," the new establishment bore faint resemblance to the dread
tribunal of the Spanish Inquisition, with which it has been often
confounded.[391] The Holy Office presented a vast and complicated
machinery, skilfully adapted to the existing institutions of Castile. It
may be said to have formed part of the government itself, and, however
restricted in its original design, it became in time a formidable
political engine, no less than a religious one. The grand-inquisitor was
clothed with an authority before which the monarch himself might
tremble. On some occasions, he even took precedence of the monarch. The
courts of the Inquisition were distributed throughout the country, and
were conducted with a solemn pomp that belonged to no civil tribunal.
Spacious buildings were erected for their accommodation, and the
gigantic prisons of the Inquisition rose up, like impregnable
fortresses, in the principal cities of the kingdom. A swarm of menials
and officials waited to do its bidding. The proudest nobles of the land
held it an honor to serve as familiars of the Holy Office. In the midst
of this external pomp, the impenetrable veil thrown over its proceedings
took strong hold of the imagination, investing the tribunal with a sort
of supernatural terror. An individual disappeared from the busy scenes
of life. No one knew whither he had gone, till he reappeared, clothed in
the fatal garb of the _san benito_, to take part in the tragic spectacle
of an _auto da fé_. This was the great triumph of the Inquisition,
rivalling the ancient Roman triumph in the splendor of the show, and
surpassing it in the solemn and mysterious import of the ceremonial. It
was hailed with enthusiasm by the fanatical Spaniard of that day, who,
in the martyrdom of the infidel, saw only a sacrifice most acceptable to
the Deity. The Inquisition succeeded in Spain, for it was suited to the
character of the Spaniard.

But it was not suited to the free and independent character of the
people of the Netherlands. Freedom of thought they claimed as their
birthright; and the attempt to crush it by introducing the pernicious
usages of Spain was everywhere received with execration. Such an
institution was an accident, and could not become an integral part of
the constitution. It was a vicious graft on a healthy stock. It could
bear no fruit, and sooner or later it must perish.

Yet the Inquisition, such as it was, did its work while it lasted in the
Netherlands. This is true, at least, if we are to receive the popular
statement, that fifty thousand persons, in the reign of Charles the
Fifth, suffered for their religious opinions by the hand of the
executioner![392] This monstrous statement has been repeated by one
historian after another, with apparently as little distrust as
examination. It affords one among many examples of the facility with
which men adopt the most startling results, especially when conveyed in
the form of numerical estimates. There is something that strikes the
imagination, in a numerical estimate, which settles a question so
summarily, in a form so precise and so portable. Yet whoever has had
occasion to make any researches into the past,--that land of
uncertainty,--will agree that there is nothing less entitled to

In the present instance, such a statement might seem to carry its own
refutation on the face of it. Llorente, the celebrated secretary of the
Holy Office, whose estimates will never be accused of falling short of
the amount, computes the whole number of victims sacrificed during the
first eighteen years of the Inquisition in Castile, when it was in most
active operation, at about ten thousand.[393] The storm of persecution
there, it will be remembered, fell chiefly on the Jews,--that ill-omened
race, from whom every pious Catholic would have rejoiced to see his land
purified by fire and fagot. It will hardly be believed that five times
the number of these victims perished in a country like the Netherlands,
in a term of time not quite double that occupied for their extermination
in Spain;--the Netherlands, where every instance of such persecution,
instead of being hailed as a triumph of the Cross, was regarded as a
fresh outrage on the liberties of the nation. It is not too much to say,
that such a number of martyrs as that pretended would have produced an
explosion that would have unsettled the authority of Charles himself,
and left for his successor less territory in the Netherlands at the
beginning of his reign, than he was destined to have at the end of it.

Indeed, the frequent renewal of the edicts, which was repeated no less
than nine times during Charles's administration, intimates plainly
enough the very sluggish and unsatisfactory manner in which they had
been executed. In some provinces, as Luxembourg and Groningen, the
Inquisition was not introduced at all. Gueldres stood on its privileges,
guaranteed to it by the emperor on his accession. And Brabant so
effectually remonstrated on the mischief which the mere name of the
Inquisition would do to the trade of the country, and especially of
Antwerp, its capital, that the emperor deemed it prudent to qualify some
of the provisions, and to drop the name of Inquisitor altogether.[394]
There is no way more sure of rousing the sensibilities of a commercial
people, than by touching their pockets. Charles did not care to press
matters to such extremity. He was too politic a prince, too large a
gainer by the prosperity of his people, willingly to put it in peril,
even for conscience' sake. In this lay the difference between him and


Notwithstanding, therefore, his occasional abuse of power, and the
little respect he may have had at heart for the civil rights of his
subjects, the government of Charles, as already intimated, was on the
whole favorable to their commercial interests. He was well repaid by the
enlarged resources of the country, and the aid they afforded him for the
prosecution of his ambitious enterprises. In the course of a few years,
as we are informed by a contemporary, he drew from the Netherlands no
less than twenty-four millions of ducats.[395] And this
supply--furnished not ungrudgingly, it is true--was lavished, for the
most part, on objects in which the nation had no interest. In like
manner, it was the revenues of the Netherlands which defrayed great part
of Philip's expenses in the war that followed his accession. "Here,"
exclaims the Venetian envoy, Soriano, "were the true treasures of the
king of Spain; here were his mines, his Indies, which furnished Charles
with the means of carrying on his wars for so many years with the
French, the Germans, the Italians, which provided for the defence of his
own states, and maintained his dignity and reputation."[396]

Such then was the condition of the country at the time when the sceptre
passed from the hands of Charles the Fifth into those of Philip the
Second;--its broad plains teeming with the products of an elaborate
culture; its cities swarming with artisans, skilled in all kinds of
ingenious handicraft; its commerce abroad on every sea, and bringing
back rich returns from distant climes. The great body of its people,
well advanced in the arts of civilization, rejoiced in "such abundance
of all things," says a foreigner who witnessed their prosperity, "that
there was no man, however humble, who did not seem rich for his
station."[397] In this active development of their powers, the
inquisitive mind of the inhabitants naturally turned to those great
problems in religion which were agitating the neighboring countries of
France and Germany. All the efforts of Charles were unavailing to check
the spirit of inquiry; and in the last year of his reign he bitterly
confessed the total failure of his endeavor to stay the progress of
heresy in the Netherlands.[398] Well had it been for his successor, had
he taken counsel by the failure of his father, and substituted a more
lenient policy for the ineffectual system of persecution. But such was
not the policy of Philip.



Unpopular Manners of Philip.--He enforces the Edicts.--Increase of
Bishoprics.--Margaret of Parma Regent.--Meeting of the
States-General.--Their spirited Conduct.--Organization of the
Councils.--Rise and Character of Granvelle.--Philip's Departure.


Philip the Second was no stranger to the Netherlands. He had come there,
as it will be remembered, when very young, to be presented by his father
to his future subjects. On that occasion he had greatly disgusted the
people by that impenetrable reserve which they construed into
haughtiness, and which strongly contrasted with the gracious manners of
the emperor. Charles saw with pain the impression which his son had left
on his subjects; and the effects of his paternal admonitions were
visible in a marked change in Philip's deportment on his subsequent
visit to England. But nature lies deeper than manner; and when Philip
returned, on his father's abdication, to assume the sovereignty of the
Netherlands, he wore the same frigid exterior as in earlier days.

His first step was to visit the different provinces, and receive from
them their oaths of allegiance. No better occasion could be offered for
conciliating the good-will of the inhabitants. Everywhere his approach
was greeted with festivities and public rejoicing. The gates of the
capitals were thrown open to receive him, and the population thronged
out, eager to do homage to their new sovereign. It was a season of
jubilee for the whole nation.

In this general rejoicing, Philip's eye alone remained dark.[399] Shut
up in his carriage, he seemed desirous to seclude himself from the gaze
of his new subjects, who crowded around, anxious to catch a glimpse of
their young monarch.[400] His conduct seemed like a rebuke of their
enthusiasm. Thus chilled as they were in the first flow of their
loyalty, his progress through the land, which should have won him all
hearts, closed all hearts against him.

The emperor, when he visited the Netherlands, was like one coming back
to his native country. He spoke the language of the people, dressed in
their dress, conformed to their usages and way of life. But Philip was
in everything a Spaniard. He spoke only the Castilian. He adopted the
Spanish etiquette and burdensome ceremonial. He was surrounded by
Spaniards, and, with few exceptions, it was to Spaniards only that he
gave his confidence. Charles had disgusted his Spanish subjects by the
marked preference he had given to his Flemish. The reverse now took
place, and Philip displeased the Flemings by his partiality for the
Spaniards. The people of the Netherlands felt with bitterness that the
sceptre of their country had passed into the hands of a foreigner.

During his progress Philip caused reports to be prepared for him of the
condition of the several provinces, their population and
trade,--presenting a mass of statistical details, in which, with his
usual industry, he was careful to instruct himself. On his return, his
first concern was to provide for the interests of religion. He renewed
his father's edicts relating to the Inquisition, and in the following
year confirmed the "placard" respecting heresy. In doing this, he was
careful, by the politic advice of Granvelle, to conform as nearly as
possible to the language of the original edicts, that no charge of
innovation might be laid to him, and thus the odium of these unpopular
measures might remain with their original author.[401]


But the object which Philip had most at heart was a reform much needed
in the ecclesiastical establishment of the country. It may seem strange
that in all the Netherlands there were but three bishoprics,--Arras,
Tournay, and Utrecht. A large part of the country was incorporated with
some one or other of the contiguous German dioceses. The Flemish
bishoprics were of enormous extent. That of Utrecht alone embraced no
less than three hundred walled towns, and eleven hundred churches.[402]
It was impossible that any pastor, however diligent, could provide for
the wants of a flock so widely scattered, or that he could exercise
supervision over the clergy themselves, who had fallen into a lamentable
decay both of discipline and morals.

Still greater evils followed from the circumstance of the episcopal
authority's being intrusted to foreigners. From their ignorance of the
institutions of the Netherlands, they were perpetually trespassing on
the rights of the nation. Another evil consequence was the necessity of
carrying up ecclesiastical causes, by way of appeal, to foreign
tribunals; a thing, moreover, scarcely practicable in time of war.

Charles the Fifth, whose sagacious mind has left its impress on the
permanent legislation of the Netherlands, saw the necessity of some
reform in this matter. He accordingly applied to Rome for leave to erect
six bishoprics, in addition to those previously existing in the country.
But his attention was too much distracted by other objects to allow time
for completing his design. With his son Philip, on the other hand, no
object was allowed to come in competition with the interests of the
Church. He proposed to make the reform on a larger scale than his father
had done, and applied to Paul the Fourth for leave to create fourteen
bishoprics and three archbishoprics. The chief difficulty lay in
providing for the support of the new dignitaries. On consultation with
Granvelle, who had not been advised of the scheme till after Philip's
application to Rome, it was arranged that the income should be furnished
by the abbey lands of the respective dioceses, and that the abbeys
themselves should hereafter be placed under the control of priors or
provosts depending altogether on the bishops. Meanwhile, until the bulls
should be received from Rome, it was determined to keep the matter
profoundly secret. It was easy to foresee that a storm of opposition
would arise, not only among those immediately interested in preserving
the present order of things, but among the great body of the nobles, who
would look with an evil eye on the admission into their ranks of so
large a number of persons servilely devoted to the interests of the

Having concluded his arrangements for the internal settlement of the
country, Philip naturally turned his thoughts towards Spain. He was the
more desirous of returning thither from the reports he received, that
even that orthodox land was becoming every day more tainted with the
heretical doctrines so rife in the neighboring countries. There were no
hostilities to detain him longer in the Netherlands, now that the war
with France had been brought to a close. The provinces, as we have
already stated, had furnished the king with important aid for carrying
on that war, by the grant of a stipulated annual tax for nine years.
This had not proved equal to his necessities. It was in vain, however,
to expect any further concessions from the states. They had borne, not
without murmurs, the heavy burdens laid on them by Charles,--a monarch
whom they loved. They bore still more impatiently the impositions of a
prince whom they loved so little as Philip. Yet the latter seemed ready
to make any sacrifice of his permanent interests for such temporary
relief as would extricate him from his present embarrassments. His
correspondence with Granvelle on the subject, unfolding the suicidal
schemes which he submitted to that minister, might form an edifying
chapter in the financial history of that day.[404] The difficulty of
carrying on the government of the Netherlands in this crippled state of
the finances doubtless strengthened the desire of the monarch to return
to his native land, where the manners and habits of the people were so
much more congenial with his own.

Before leaving the country, it was necessary to provide a suitable
person to whom the reins of government might be intrusted. The duke of
Savoy, who, since the emperor's abdication, had held the post of regent,
was now to return to his own dominions, restored to him by the treaty of
Cateau-Cambresis. There were several persons who presented themselves
for this responsible office in the Netherlands. One of the most
prominent was Lamoral, prince of Gavre, count of Egmont, the hero of St.
Quentin and of Gravelines. The illustrious house from which he was
descended, his chivalrous spirit, his frank and generous bearing, no
less than his brilliant military achievements, had made him the idol of
the people. There were some who insisted that these achievements
inferred rather the successful soldier than the great captain;[405] and
that, whatever merit he could boast in the field, it was no proof of his
capacity for so important a civil station as that of governor of the
Netherlands. Yet it could not be doubted that his nomination would be
most acceptable to the people. This did not recommend him to Philip.

Another candidate was Christine, duchess of Lorraine, the king's cousin.
The large estates of her house lay in the neighborhood of the
Netherlands. She had shown her talent for political affairs by the part
she had taken in effecting the arrangements of Cateau-Cambresis. The
prince of Orange, lately become a widower, was desirous, it was said, of
marrying her daughter. Neither did this prove a recommendation with
Philip, who was by no means anxious to raise the house of Orange higher
in the scale, still less to intrust it with the destinies of the
Netherlands. In a word, the monarch had no mind to confide the regency
of the country to any one of its powerful nobles.[406]

The individual on whom the king at length decided to bestow this mark of
his confidence was his half-sister, Margaret, duchess of Parma. She was
the natural daughter of Charles the Fifth, born about four years before
his marriage with Isabella of Portugal. Margaret's mother, Margaret
Vander Gheenst, belonged to a noble Flemish house. Her parents both died
during her infancy. The little orphan was received into the family of
Count Hoogstraten, who, with his wife, reared her with the same
tenderness as they did their own offspring. At the age of seventeen she
was unfortunate enough to attract the eye of Charles the Fifth, who,
then in his twenty-third year, was captivated by the charms of the
Flemish maiden. Margaret's virtue was not proof against the seductions
of her royal suitor; and the victim of love--or of vanity--became the
mother of a child, who received her own name of Margaret.


The emperor's aunt, then regent of the Netherlands, took charge of the
infant; and on the death of that princess, she was taken into the family
of the emperor's sister, Mary, queen of Hungary, who succeeded in the
regency. Margaret's birth did not long remain a secret; and she received
an education suited to the high station she was to occupy in life. When
only twelve years of age, the emperor gave her in marriage to Alexander
de'Medici, grand duke of Tuscany, some fifteen years older than herself.
The ill-fated connection did not subsist long, as, before twelve months
had elapsed, it was terminated by the violent death of her husband.

When she had reached the age of womanhood, the hand of the young widow
was bestowed, together with the duchies of Parma and Placentia as her
dowry, on Ottavio Farnese, grandson of Paul the Third. The bridegroom
was but twelve years old. Thus again it was Margaret's misfortune that
there should be such disparity between her own age and that of her
husband as to exclude anything like sympathy or similarity in their
tastes. In the present instance, the boyish years of Ottavio inspired
her with a sentiment not very different from contempt, that in later
life settled into an indifference in which both parties appear to have
shared, and which, as a contemporary remarks with _naïveté_, was only
softened into a kindlier feeling when the husband and wife had been long
separated from each other.[407] In truth, Margaret was too ambitious of
power to look on her husband in any other light than that of a rival.

In her general demeanor, her air, her gait, she bore great resemblance
to her aunt, the regent. Like her, Margaret was excessively fond of
hunting, and she followed the chase with an intrepidity that might have
daunted the courage of the keenest sportsman. She had but little of the
natural softness that belongs to the sex, but in her whole deportment
was singularly masculine; so that, to render the words of the historian
by a homely phrase, in her woman's dress she seemed like a man in
petticoats.[408] As if to add to the illusion, Nature had given her
somewhat of a beard; and, to crown the whole, the malady to which she
was constitutionally subject was a disease to which women are but rarely
liable,--the gout.[409] It was good evidence of her descent from Charles
the Fifth.

Though masculine in her appearance, Margaret was not destitute of the
kindlier qualities which are the glory of her sex. Her disposition was
good; but she relied much on the advice of others, and her more
objectionable acts may probably be referred rather to their influence
than to any inclination of her own.

Her understanding was excellent, her apprehension quick. She showed much
versatility in accommodating herself to the exigencies of her position,
as well as adroitness in the management of affairs, which she may have
acquired in the schools of Italian politics. In religion she was as
orthodox as Philip the Second could desire. The famous Ignatius Loyola
had been her confessor in early days. The lessons of humility which he
inculcated were not lost on her, as may be inferred from the care she
took to perform the ceremony, in Holy Week, of washing the dirty
feet--she preferred them in this condition--of twelve poor maidens;[410]
outstripping, in this particular, the humility of the pope
himself.--Such was the character of Margaret, duchess of Parma, who now,
in the thirty-eighth year of her age, was called, at a most critical
period, to take the helm of the Netherlands.

The appointment seems to have given equal satisfaction to herself and to
her husband, and no objection was made to Philip's purpose of taking
back with him to Castile their little son, Alexander Farnese,--a name
destined to become in later times so renowned in the Netherlands. The
avowed purpose was to give the boy a training suited to his rank, under
the eye of Philip; combined with which, according to the historian, was
the desire of holding a hostage for the fidelity of Margaret and of her
husband, whose dominions in Italy lay contiguous to those of Philip in
that country.[411]

Early in June, 1559, Margaret of Parma, having reached the Low
Countries, made her entrance in great state into Brussels, where Philip
awaited her, surrounded by his whole court of Spanish and Flemish
nobles. The duke of Savoy was also present, as well as Margaret's
husband, the duke of Parma, then in attendance on Philip. The
appointment of Margaret was not distasteful to the people of the
Netherlands, for she was their countrywoman, and her early days had been
passed amongst them. Her presence was not less welcome to Philip, who
looked forward with eagerness to the hour of his departure. His first
purpose was to present the new regent to the nation, and for this he
summoned a meeting of the States-General at Ghent, in the coming August.

On the twenty-fifth of July, he repaired with his court to this ancient
capital, which still smarted under the effects of that chastisement of
his father, which, terrible as it was, had not the power to break the
spirits of the men of Ghent. The presence of the court was celebrated
with public rejoicings, which continued for three days, during which
Philip held a chapter of the Golden Fleece for the election of fourteen
knights. The ceremony was conducted with the magnificence with which the
meetings of this illustrious order were usually celebrated. It was
memorable as the last chapter of it ever held.[412] Founded by the dukes
of Burgundy, the order of the Golden Fleece drew its members immediately
from the nobility of the Netherlands. When the Spanish sovereign, who
remained at its head, no more resided in the country, the chapters were
discontinued; and the knights derived their appointment from the simple
nomination of the monarch.

On the eighth of August, the States-General assembled at Ghent. The
sturdy burghers who took their seats in this body came thither in no
very friendly temper to the government. Various subjects of complaint
had long been rankling in their bosoms, and now found vent in the form
of animated and angry debate. The people had been greatly alarmed by the
avowed policy of their rulers to persevere in the system of religious
persecution, as shown especially by the revival of the ancient edicts
against heresy and in support of the Inquisition. Rumors had gone
abroad, probably with exaggeration, of the proposed episcopal reforms.
However necessary, they were now regarded only as part of the great
scheme of persecution. Different nations, it was urged, required to be
guided by different laws. What suited the Spaniards would not for that
reason suit the people of the Netherlands. The Inquisition was ill
adapted to men accustomed from their cradles to freedom of thought and
action. Persecution was not to be justified in matters of conscience,
and men were not to be reclaimed from spiritual error by violence, but
by gentleness and persuasion.


But what most called forth the invective of the Flemish orators was the
presence of a large body of foreign troops in the country. When Philip
disbanded his forces after the French war had terminated, there still
remained a corps of the old Spanish infantry, amounting to some three or
four thousands, which he thought proper to retain in the western
provinces. His avowed object was to protect the country from any
violence on the part of the French. Another reason assigned by him was
the difficulty of raising funds to pay their arrears. The true motive,
in the opinion of the states, was to enforce the execution of the new
measures, and overcome any resistance that might be made in the country.
These troops, like most of the soldiers of that day, who served for
plunder quite as much as for pay, had as little respect for the rights
or the property of their allies, as for those of their enemies. They
quartered themselves on the peaceful inhabitants of the country, and
obtained full compensation for loss of pay by a system of rapine and
extortion that beggared the people, and drove them to desperation.
Conflicts with the soldiery occasionally occurred, and in some parts the
peasantry even refused to repair the dikes, in order to lay the country
under water rather than submit to such outrages! "How is it," exclaimed
the bold syndic of Ghent, "that we find foreign soldiers thus quartered
on us, in open violation of our liberties? Are not our own troops able
to protect us from the dangers of invasion? Must we be ground to the
dust by the exactions of these mercenaries in peace, after being
burdened with the maintenance of them in war?" These remonstrances were
followed by a petition to the throne, signed by members of the other
orders as well as the commons, requesting that the king would be
graciously pleased to respect the privileges of the nation, and send
back the foreign troops to their own homes.

Philip, who sat in the assembly with his sister, the future regent, by
his side, was not prepared for this independent spirit in the burghers
of the Netherlands. The royal ear had been little accustomed to this
strain of invective from the subject. For it was rare that the tone of
remonstrance was heard in the halls of Castilian legislation, since the
power of the commons had been broken on the field of Villalar. Unable or
unwilling to conceal his displeasure, the king descended from his
throne, and abruptly quitted the assembly.[413]

Yet he did not, like Charles the First of England, rashly vent his
indignation by imprisoning or persecuting the members who had roused it.
Even the stout syndic of Ghent was allowed to go unharmed. Philip looked
above him to a mark more worthy of his anger,--to those of the higher
orders who had encouraged the spirit of resistance in the commons. The
most active of these malecontents was William of Orange. That noble, as
it may be remembered, was one of the hostages who remained at the Court
of Henry the Second for the fulfilment of the treaty of
Cateau-Cambresis. While there, a strange disclosure was made to the
prince by the French monarch, who told him that, through the duke of
Alva, a secret treaty had been entered into with his master, the king of
Spain, for the extirpation of heresy throughout their dominions. This
inconsiderate avowal of the French king was made to William on the
supposition that he was stanch in the Roman Catholic faith, and entirely
in his master's confidence. Whatever may have been the prince's claims
to orthodoxy at this period, it is certain he was not in Philip's
confidence. It is equally certain that he possessed one Christian virtue
which belonged neither to Philip nor to Henry,--the virtue of
toleration. Greatly shocked by the intelligence he had received, William
at once communicated it to several of his friends in the Netherlands.
One of the letters unfortunately fell into Philip's hands. The prince
soon after obtained permission to return to his own country, bent, as he
tells us in his Apology, on ridding it of the Spanish vermin.[414]
Philip, who understood the temper of his mind, had his eye on his
movements, and knew well to what source, in part at least, he was to
attribute the present opposition. It was not long after, that a
Castilian courtier intimated to the prince of Orange and to Egmont, that
it would be well for them to take heed to themselves; that the names of
those who had signed the petition for the removal of the troops had been
noted down, and that Philip and his council were resolved, when a
fitting occasion offered, to call them to a heavy reckoning for their

Yet the king so far yielded to the wishes of the people as to promise
the speedy departure of the troops. But no power on earth could have
been strong enough to shake his purpose where the interests of religion
were involved. Nor would he abate one jot of the stern provisions of the
edicts. When one of his ministers, more hardy than the rest, ventured to
suggest to him that perseverance in this policy might cost him the
sovereignty of the provinces, "Better not reign at all," he answered,
"than reign over heretics!"[416]--an answer extolled by some as the
height of the sublime, by others derided as the extravagance of a
fanatic. In whatever light we view it, it must be admitted to furnish
the key to the permanent policy of Philip in his government of the

Before dissolving the States-General, Philip, unacquainted with the
language of the country, addressed the deputies through the mouth of the
bishop of Arras. He expatiated on the warmth of his attachment to his
good people of the Netherlands, and paid them a merited tribute for
their loyalty both to his father and to himself. He enjoined on them to
show similar respect to the regent, their own countrywoman, into whose
hands he had committed the government. They would reverence the laws and
maintain public tranquillity. Nothing would conduce to this so much as
the faithful execution of the edicts. It was their sacred duty to aid in
the extermination of heretics,--the deadliest foes both of God and their
sovereign. Philip concluded by assuring the states that he should soon
return in person to the Netherlands, or send his son Don Carlos as his

The answer of the legislature was temperate and respectful. They made no
allusion to Philip's proposed ecclesiastical reforms, as he had not
authorized this by any allusion to them himself. They still pressed,
however, the removal of the foreign troops, and the further removal of
all foreigners from office, as contrary to the constitution of the land.
This last shaft was aimed at Granvelle, who held a high post in the
government, and was understood to be absolute in the confidence of the
king. Philip renewed his assurances of the dismissal of the forces, and
that within the space, as he promised, of four months. The other request
of the deputies he did not condescend to notice. His feelings on the
subject were intimated in an exclamation he made to one of his
ministers: "I too am a foreigner; will they refuse to obey me as their


The regent was to be assisted in the government by three councils which
of old time had existed in the land;--the council of finance, for the
administration, as the name implies, of the revenues; the privy council,
for affairs of justice and the internal concerns of the country; and the
council of state, for matters relating to peace and war, and the foreign
policy of the nation. Into this last, the supreme council, entered
several of the Flemish nobles, and among them the prince of Orange and
Count Egmont. There were, besides, Count Barlaimont, president of the
council of finance, Viglius, president of the privy council, and lastly
Granvelle, bishop of Arras.

The regent was to act with the coöperation of these several bodies in
their respective departments. In the conduct of the government, she was
to be guided by the council of state. But by private instructions of
Philip, questions of a more delicate nature, involving the tranquillity
of the country, might be first submitted to a select portion of this
council; and in such cases, or when a spirit of faction had crept into
the council, the regent, if she deemed it for the interest of the state,
might adopt the opinion of the minority. The select body with whom
Margaret was to advise in the more important matters was termed the
_Consulta_; and the members who composed it were Barlaimont, Viglius,
and the bishop of Arras.[418]

The first of these men, Count Barlaimont, belonged to an ancient Flemish
family. With respectable talents and constancy of purpose, he was
entirely devoted to the interests of the crown. The second, Viglius, was
a jurist of extensive erudition, at this time well advanced in years,
and with infirmities that might have pressed heavily on a man less
patient of toil. He was personally attached to Granvelle; and as his
views of government coincided very nearly with that minister's, Viglius
was much under his influence. The last of the three, Granvelle, from his
large acquaintance with affairs, and his adroitness in managing them,
was far superior to his colleagues;[419] and he soon acquired such an
ascendancy over them, that the government may be said to have rested on
his shoulders. As there is no man who for some years is to take so
prominent a part in the story of the Netherlands, it will be proper to
introduce the reader to some acquaintance with his earlier history.

Anthony Perrenot--whose name of Granvelle was derived from an estate
purchased by his father--was born in the year 1517, at Besançon, a town
in Franche Comté. His father, Nicholas Perrenot, founded the fortunes of
the family, and from the humble condition of a poor country attorney
rose to the rank of chancellor of the empire. This extraordinary
advancement was not owing to caprice, but to his unwearied industry,
extensive learning, and a clear and comprehensive intellect, combined
with steady devotion to the interests of his master, Charles the Fifth.
His talent for affairs led him to be employed not merely in official
business, but in diplomatic missions of great importance. In short, he
possessed the confidence of the emperor to a degree enjoyed by no other
subject; and when the chancellor died, in 1550, Charles pronounced his
eulogy to Philip in a single sentence, saying that in Granvelle they had
lost the man on whose wisdom they could securely repose.[420]

Anthony Perrenot, distinguished from his father in later times as
Cardinal Granvelle, was the eldest of eleven children. In his childhood
he discovered such promise, that the chancellor bestowed much pains
personally on his instruction. At fourteen he was sent to Padua, and
after some years was removed to Louvain, then the university of greatest
repute in the Netherlands. It was not till later that the seminary of
Douay was founded, under the auspices of Philip the Second.[421] At the
university, the young Perrenot soon distinguished himself by the
vivacity of his mind, the acuteness of his perceptions, an industry
fully equal to his father's, and remarkable powers of acquisition.
Besides a large range of academic study, he made himself master of seven
languages, so as to read and converse in them with fluency. He seemed to
have little relish for the amusements of the youth of his own age. His
greatest amusement was a book. Under this incessant application his
health gave way, and for a time his studies were suspended.

Whether from his father's preference or his own, young Granvelle
embraced the ecclesiastical profession. At the age of twenty-one he was
admitted to orders. The son of the chancellor was not slow in his
advancement, and he was soon possessed of several good benefices. But
the ambitious and worldly temper of Granvelle was not to be satisfied
with the humble duties of the ecclesiastic. It was not long before he
was called to court by his father, and there a brilliant career was
opened to his aspiring genius.

The young man soon showed such talent for business, and such shrewd
insight into character, as, combined with the stores of learning he had
at his command, made his services of great value to his father. He
accompanied the chancellor on some of his public missions, among others
to the Council of Trent, where the younger Granvelle, who had already
been promoted to the see of Arras, first had the opportunity of
displaying that subtle, insinuating eloquence, which captivated as much
as it convinced.


The emperor saw with satisfaction the promise afforded by the young
statesman, and looked forward to the time when he would prove the same
pillar of support to his administration that his father had been before
him. Nor was that time far distant. As the chancellor's health declined,
the son became more intimately associated with his father in the
counsels of the emperor. He justified this confidence by the unwearied
toil with which he devoted himself to the business of the cabinet; a
toil to which even night seemed to afford no respite. He sometimes
employed five secretaries at once, dictating to them in as many
different languages.[422] The same thing, or something as miraculous,
has been told of other remarkable men, both before and since. As a mere
_tour de force_ Granvelle may possibly have amused himself with it. But
it was not in this way that the correspondence was written which
furnishes the best key to the events of the time. If it had been so
written, it would never have been worth the publication.

Every evening Granvelle presented himself before the emperor, and read
to him the programme he had prepared of the business of the following
day, with his own suggestions.[423] The foreign ambassadors who resided
at the court were surprised to find the new minister so entirely in the
secrets of his master; and that he was as well instructed in all their
doings as the emperor himself.[424] In short, the confidence of Charles,
given slowly and with much hesitation, was at length bestowed as freely
on the son as it had been on the father. The two Granvelles may be truly
said to have been the two persons who most possessed the confidence of
the emperor, from the time that he took the reins of government into his
own hands.

When raised to the see of Arras, Granvelle was but twenty-five years
old. It is rare that the mitre has descended on a man of a more
ambitious spirit. Yet Granvelle was not averse to the good things of the
world, nor altogether insensible to its pomps and vanities. He affected
great state in his manner of living, and thus necessity, no less than
taste, led him to covet the possession of wealth as well as of power. He
obtained both; and his fortunes were rapidly advancing when, by the
abdication of his royal master, the sceptre passed into the hands of
Philip the Second.

Charles recommended Granvelle to his son as every way deserving of his
confidence. Granvelle knew that the best recommendation--the only
effectual one--must come from himself. He studied carefully the
character of his new sovereign, and showed a wonderful flexibility in
conforming to his humors. The ambitious minister proved himself no
stranger to those arts by which great minds, as well as little ones,
sometimes condescend to push their fortunes in a court.

Yet, in truth, Granvelle did not always do violence to his own
inclinations in conforming to those of Philip. Like the king, he did not
come rapidly to results, but pondered long, and viewed a question in all
its bearings, before arriving at a decision. He had, as we have seen,
the same patient spirit of application as Philip, so that both may be
said to have found their best recreation in labor. Neither was he less
zealous than the king for the maintenance of the true faith, though his
accommodating nature, if left to itself, might have sanctioned a
different policy from that dictated by the stern, uncompromising spirit
of his master.

Granvelle's influence was further aided by the charms of his personal
intercourse. His polished and insinuating manners seem to have melted
even the icy reserve of Philip. He maintained his influence by his
singular tact in suggesting hints for carrying out his master's policy,
in such a way that the suggestion might seem to have come from the king
himself. Thus careful not to alarm the jealousy of his sovereign, he was
content to forego the semblance of power for the real possession of

It was soon seen that he was as well settled in the confidence of Philip
as he had previously been in that of Charles. Notwithstanding the
apparent distribution of power between the regent and the several
councils, the arrangements made by the king were such as to throw the
real authority into the hands of Granvelle. Thus the rare example was
afforded of the same man continuing the favorite of two successive
sovereigns. Granvelle did not escape the usual fate of favorites; and
whether from the necessity of the case, or that, as some pretend, he did
not on his elevation bear his faculties too meekly, no man was so
generally and so heartily detested throughout the country.[426]

Before leaving the Netherlands, Philip named the governors of the
several provinces,--the nominations, for the most part, only confirming
those already in office. Egmont had the governments of Flanders and
Artois; the prince of Orange, those of Holland, Zealand, Utrecht, and
West Friesland. The commission to William, running in the usual form,
noticed "the good, loyal, and notable services he had rendered both to
the emperor and his present sovereign."[427] The command of two
battalions of the Spanish army was also given to the two nobles,--a poor
contrivance for reconciling the nation to the continuance of these
detested troops in the country.

Philip had anxiously waited for the arrival of the papal bull which was
to authorize the erection of the bishoprics. Granvelle looked still more
anxiously for it. He had read the signs of the coming storm, and would
gladly have encountered it when the royal presence might have afforded
some shelter from its fury. But the court of Rome moved at its usual
dilatory pace, and the apostolic nuncio did not arrive with the missive
till the eve of Philip's departure,--too late for him to witness its


Having completed all his arrangements, about the middle of August the
king proceeded to Zealand, where, in the port of Flushing, lay a gallant
fleet, waiting to take him and the royal suite to Spain. It consisted of
fifty Spanish and forty other vessels,--all well manned, and victualled
for a much longer voyage.[429] Philip was escorted to the place of
embarkation by a large body of Flemish nobles, together with the foreign
ambassadors and the duke and duchess of Savoy. A curious scene is
reported to have taken place as he was about to go on board. Turning
abruptly round to the prince of Orange, who had attended him on the
journey, he bluntly accused him of being the true source of the
opposition which his measures had encountered in the States-General.
William, astonished at the suddenness of the attack, replied that the
opposition was to be regarded, not as the act of an individual, but of
the states. "No," rejoined the incensed monarch, shaking him at the same
time violently by the wrist, "not the states, but you, you, you!"[430]
an exclamation deriving additional bitterness from the fact that the
word _you_, thus employed, in the Castilian was itself indicative of
contempt. William did not think it prudent to reply, nor did he care to
trust himself with the other Flemish lords on board the royal

The royal company being at length all on board, on the twentieth of
August, 1559, the fleet weighed anchor; and Philip, taking leave of the
duke and duchess of Savoy, and the rest of the noble train who attended
his embarkation, was soon wafted from the shores,--to which he was never
to return.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Luc-Jean-Joseph Vandervynckt, to whom I have repeatedly had
     occasion to refer in the course of the preceding chapter, was a
     Fleming,--born at Ghent in 1691. He was educated to the law, became
     eminent in his profession, and at the age of thirty-eight was made
     a member of the council of Flanders. He employed his leisure in
     studying the historical antiquities of his own country. At the
     suggestion of Coblentz, prime minister of Maria Theresa, he
     compiled his work on the Troubles of the Netherlands. It was
     designed for the instruction of the younger branches of the
     imperial family, and six copies only of it were at first printed,
     in 1765. Since the author's death, which took place in 1779, when
     he had reached the great age of eighty-eight, the work has been
     repeatedly published.

     As Vandervynckt had the national archives thrown open to his
     inspection, he had access to the most authentic sources of
     information. He was a man of science and discernment, fair-minded,
     and temperate in his opinions, which gives value to a book that
     contains, moreover, much interesting anecdote, not elsewhere to be
     found. The work, though making only four volumes, covers a large
     space of historical ground,--from the marriage of Philip the Fair,
     in 1495, to the peace of Westphalia, in 1648. Its literary
     execution is by no means equal to its other merits. The work is
     written in French; but Vandervynckt, unfortunately, while he both
     wrote and spoke Flemish, and even Latin, with facility, was but
     indifferently acquainted with French.



Philip's Arrival in Spain.--The Reformed Doctrines.--Their
Suppression.--Autos da Fé.--Prosecution of Carranza.--Extinction of
Heresy.--Fanaticism of the Spaniards.


The voyage of King Philip was a short and prosperous one. On the
twenty-ninth of August, 1559, he arrived off the port of Laredo. But
while he was in sight of land, the weather, which had been so
propitious, suddenly changed. A furious tempest arose, which scattered
his little navy. Nine of the vessels foundered, and though the monarch
had the good fortune, under the care of an experienced pilot, to make
his escape in a boat, and reach the shore in safety, he had the
mortification to see the ship which had borne him go down with the rest,
and with her the inestimable cargo he had brought from the Low
Countries. It consisted of curious furniture, tapestries, gems, pieces
of sculpture, and paintings,--the rich productions of Flemish and
Italian art, which his father, the emperor, had been employed many years
of his life in collecting. Truly was it said of Charles, that "he had
sacked the land only to feed the ocean."[432] To add to the calamity,
more than a thousand persons perished in this shipwreck.[433]

The king, without delay, took the road to Valladolid; but on arriving at
that capital, whether depressed by his late disaster, or from his
habitual dislike of such empty parade, he declined the honors, with
which the loyal inhabitants would have greeted the return of their
sovereign to his dominions. Here he was cordially welcomed by his
sister, the Regent Joanna, who, long since weary of the cares of
sovereignty, resigned the sceptre into his hands, with a better will
than that with which most persons would have received it. Here, too, he
had the satisfaction of embracing his son Carlos, the heir to his
empire. The length of Philip's absence may have allowed him to see some
favorable change in the person of the young prince, though, if report be
true, there was little change for the better in his disposition, which,
headstrong and imperious, had already begun to make men tremble for the
future destinies of their country.

Philip had not been many days in Valladolid when his presence was
celebrated by one of those exhibitions, which, unhappily for Spain,
maybe called national. This was an _auto da fé_, not, however, as
formerly, of Jews and Moors, but of Spanish Protestants. The Reformation
had been silently, but not slowly, advancing in the Peninsula; and
intelligence of this, as we have already seen, was one cause of Philip's
abrupt departure from the Netherlands. The brief but disastrous attempt
at a religious revolution in Spain is an event of too much importance to
be passed over in silence by the historian.


Notwithstanding the remote position of Spain, under the imperial sceptre
of Charles she was brought too closely into contact with the other
states of Europe not to feel the shock of the great religious reform
which was shaking those states to their foundations. Her most intimate
relations, indeed, were with those very countries in which the seeds of
the Reformation were first planted. It was no uncommon thing for
Spaniards, in the sixteenth century, to be indebted for some portion of
their instruction to German universities. Men of learning, who
accompanied the emperor, became familiar with the religious doctrines so
widely circulated in Germany and Flanders. The troops gathered the same
doctrines from the Lutheran soldiers, who occasionally served with them
under the imperial banners. These opinions, crude for the most part as
they were, they brought back to their own country; and a curiosity was
roused which prepared the mind for the reception of the great truths
which were quickening the other nations of Europe. Men of higher
education, on their return to Spain, found the means of disseminating
these truths. Secret societies were established; meetings were held;
and, with the same secrecy as in the days of the early Christians, the
Gospel was preached and explained to the growing congregation of the
faithful. The greatest difficulty was the want of books. The enterprise
of a few self-devoted proselytes at length overcame this difficulty.

A Castilian version of the Bible had been printed in Germany. Various
Protestant publications, whether originating in the Castilian or
translated into that language, appeared in the same country. A copy, now
and then, in the possession of some private individual, had found its
way, without detection, across the Pyrenees. These instances were rare,
when a Spaniard named Juan Hernandez, resident in Geneva, where he
followed the business of a corrector of the press, undertook, from no
other motive but zeal for the truth, to introduce a larger supply of the
forbidden fruit into his native land.

With great adroitness, he evaded the vigilance of the custom-house
officers, and the more vigilant spies of the Inquisition, and in the end
succeeded in landing two large casks filled with prohibited works, which
were quickly distributed among the members of the infant church. Other
intrepid converts followed the example of Hernandez, and with similar
success; so that, with the aid of books and spiritual teachers, the
number of the faithful multiplied daily throughout the country.[434]
Among this number was a much larger proportion, it was observed, of
persons of rank and education than is usually found in like cases; owing
doubtless to the circumstance that it was this class of persons who had
most frequented the countries where the Lutheran doctrines were taught.
Thus the Reformed Church grew and prospered, not indeed as it had
prospered in the freer atmospheres of Germany and Britain, but as well
as it could possibly do under the blighting influence of the
Inquisition; like some tender plant, which, nurtured in the shade, waits
only for a more genial season for its full expansion. That season was
not in reserve for it in Spain.

It may seem strange that the spread of the Reformed religion should so
long have escaped the detection of the agents of the Holy Office. Yet it
is certain that the first notice which the Spanish inquisitors received
of the fact was from their brethren abroad. Some ecclesiastics in the
train of Philip, suspecting the heresy of several of their own
countrymen in the Netherlands, had them seized and sent to Spain, to be
examined by the Inquisition. On a closer investigation, it was found
that a correspondence had long been maintained between these persons and
their countrymen, of a similar persuasion with themselves, at home. Thus
the existence, though not the extent, of the Spanish Reformation was
made known.[435]

No sooner was the alarm sounded, than Paul the Fourth, quick to follow
up the scent of heresy in any quarter of his pontifical dominions,
issued a brief, in February, 1558, addressed to the Spanish
inquisitor-general. In this brief, his holiness enjoins it on the head
of the tribunal to spare no efforts to detect and exterminate the
growing evil; and he empowers that functionary to arraign and bring to
condign punishment all suspected of heresy, of whatever rank or
profession,--whether bishops or archbishops, nobles, kings, or emperors.
Paul the Fourth was fond of contemplating himself as seated in the chair
of the Innocents and the Gregories, and like them setting his pontifical
foot on the necks of princes. His natural arrogance was probably not
diminished by the concessions which Philip the Second had thought proper
to make to him at the close of the Roman war.

Philip, far from taking umbrage at the swelling tone of this apostolical
mandate, followed it up, in the same year, by a monstrous edict,
borrowed from one in the Netherlands, which condemned all who bought,
sold, or read prohibited works to be burned alive.

In the following January, Paul, to give greater efficacy to this edict,
published another bull, in which he commanded all confessors, under pain
of excommunication, to enjoin on their penitents to inform against all
persons, however nearly allied to them, who might be guilty of such
practices. To quicken the zeal of the informer, Philip, on his part,
revived a law fallen somewhat into disuse, by which the accuser was to
receive one fourth of the confiscated property of the convicted party.
And finally, a third bull from Paul allowed the inquisitors to withhold
a pardon from the recanting heretic, if any doubt existed of his
sincerity; thus placing the life as well as fortune of the unhappy
prisoner entirely at the mercy of judges who had an obvious interest in
finding him guilty. In this way the pope and the king continued to play
into each other's hands, and while his holiness artfully spread the
toils, the king devised the means for driving the quarry into them.[436]

Fortunately for these plans, the Inquisition was at this time under the
direction of a man peculiarly fitted to execute them. This was Fernando
Valdés, cardinal-archbishop of Seville, a person of a hard, inexorable
nature, and possessed of as large a measure of fanaticism as ever fell
to a grand-inquisitor since the days of Torquemada. Valdés readily
availed himself of the terrible machinery placed under his control.
Careful not to alarm the suspected parties, his approaches were slow and
stealthy. He was the chief of a tribunal which sat in darkness, and
which dealt by invisible agents. He worked long and silently under
ground before firing the mine which was to bury his enemies in a general


His spies were everywhere abroad, mingling with the suspected, and
insinuating themselves into their confidence. At length, by the
treachery of some, and by working on the nervous apprehensions or the
religions scruples of others, he succeeded in detecting the
lurking-places of the new heresy, and the extent of ground which it
covered. This was much larger than had been imagined, although the
Reformation in Spain seemed less formidable from the number of its
proselytes than from their character and position. Many of them were
ecclesiastics, especially intrusted with maintaining the purity of the
faith. The quarters in which the heretical doctrines most prevailed were
Aragon, which held an easy communication with the Huguenots of France,
and the ancient cities of Seville and Valladolid, indebted less to any
local advantages than to the influence of a few eminent men, who had
early embraced the faith of the Reformers.

At length, the preliminary information having been obtained, the
proscribed having been marked out, the plan of attack settled, an order
was given for the simultaneous arrest of all persons suspected of
heresy, throughout the kingdom. It fell like a thunderbolt on the
unhappy victims, who had gone on with their secret associations, little
suspecting the ruin that hung over them. No resistance was attempted.
Men and women, churchmen and laymen, persons of all ranks and
professions, were hurried from their homes, and lodged in the secret
chambers of the Inquisition. Yet these could not furnish accommodations
for the number, and many were removed to the ordinary prisons, and even
to convents and private dwellings. In Seville alone eight hundred were
arrested on the first day. Fears were entertained of an attempt at
rescue, and an additional guard was stationed over the places of
confinement. The inquisitors were in the condition of a fisherman whose
cast has been so successful that the draught of fishes seems likely to
prove too heavy for his net.[437]

The arrest of one party gradually led to the detection of others.
Dragged from his solitary dungeon before the secret tribunal of the
Inquisition, alone, without counsel to aid or one friendly face to cheer
him, without knowing the name of his accuser, without being allowed to
confront the witnesses who were there to swear away his life, without
even a sight of his own process, except such garbled extracts as the
wily judges thought fit to communicate, is it strange that the unhappy
victim, in his perplexity and distress, should have been drawn into
disclosures fatal to his associates and himself? If these disclosures
were not to the mind of his judges, they had only to try the efficacy of
the torture,--the rack, the cord, and the pulley,--until, when every
joint had been wrenched from its socket, the barbarous tribunal was
compelled to suspend, not terminate, the application, from the inability
of the sufferer to endure it. Such were the dismal scenes enacted in the
name of religion, and by the ministers of religion, as well as of the
Inquisition,--scenes to which few of those who had once witnessed them,
and escaped with life, dared ever to allude. For to reveal the secrets
of the Inquisition was death.[438]

At the expiration of eighteen months from the period of the first
arrests, many of the trials had been concluded, the doom of the
prisoners was sealed, and it was thought time that the prisons should
disgorge their superfluous inmates. Valladolid was selected as the
theatre of the first _auto da fé_, both from the importance of the
capital and the presence of the court, which would thus sanction and
give greater dignity to the celebration. This event took place in May,
1559. The Regent Joanna, the young prince of the Asturias, Don Carlos,
and the principal grandees of the court, were there to witness the
spectacle. By rendering the heir of the crown thus early familiar with
the tender mercies of the Holy Office, it may have been intended to
conciliate his favor to that institution. If such was the object,
according to the report it signally failed, since the woeful spectacle
left no other impressions on the mind of the prince than those of
indignation and disgust.

The example of Valladolid was soon followed by _autos da fé_ in Granada,
Toledo, Seville, Barcelona,--in short, in the twelve capitals in which
tribunals of the Holy Office were established. A second celebration at
Valladolid was reserved for the eighth of October in the same year, when
it would be graced by the presence of the sovereign himself. Indeed, as
several of the processes had been concluded some months before this
period, there is reason to believe that the sacrifice of more than one
of the victims had been postponed, in order to give greater effect to
the spectacle.[439]

The _auto da fé_--"act of faith"--was the most imposing, as it was the
most awful, of the solemnities authorized by the Roman Catholic Church.
It was intended, somewhat profanely, as has been intimated, to combine
the pomp of the Roman triumph with the terrors of the day of
judgment.[440] It may remind one quite as much of those bloody festivals
prepared for the entertainment of the Cæsars in the Colisæum. The
religions import of the _auto da fé_ was intimated by the circumstance
of its being celebrated on a Sunday, or some other holiday of the
Church. An indulgence for forty days was granted by his holiness to all
who should be present at the spectacle; as if the appetite for
witnessing the scenes of human suffering required to be stimulated by a
bounty; that too in Spain, where the amusements were, and still are, of
the most sanguinary character.

The scene for this second _auto da fé_ at Valladolid was the great
square in front of the church of St. Francis. At one end a platform was
raised, covered with rich carpeting, on which were ranged the seats of
the inquisitors, emblazoned with the arms of the Holy Office. Near to
this was the royal gallery, a private entrance to which secured the
inmates from molestation by the crowd. Opposite to this gallery a large
scaffold was erected, so as to be visible from all parts of the arena,
and was appropriated to the unhappy martyrs who were to suffer in the

At six in the morning all the bells in the capital began to toll, and a
solemn procession was seen to move from the dismal fortress of the
Inquisition. In the van marched a body of troops, to secure a free
passage for the procession. Then came the condemned, each attended by
two familiars of the Holy Office, and those who were to suffer at the
stake by two friars, in addition, exhorting the heretic to abjure his
errors. Those admitted to penitence wore a sable dress; while the
unfortunate martyr was enveloped in a loose sack of yellow cloth,--the
_san benito_,--with his head surmounted by a cap of pasteboard of a
conical form, which, together with the cloak, was embroidered with
figures of flames and of devils fanning and feeding them; all
emblematical of the destiny of the heretic's soul in the world to come,
as well as of his body in the present. Then came the magistrates of the
city, the judges of the courts, the ecclesiastical orders, and the
nobles of the land on horseback. These were followed by the members of
the dread tribunal, and the fiscal, bearing a standard of crimson
damask, on one side of which were displayed the arms of the Inquisition,
and on the other the insignia of its founders, Sixtus the Fifth and
Ferdinand the Catholic. Next came a numerous train of familiars, well
mounted, among whom were many gentry of the province, proud to act as
the body-guard of the Holy Office. The rear was brought up by an immense
concourse of the common people, stimulated on the present occasion, no
doubt, by the loyal desire to see their new sovereign, as well as by the
ambition to share in the triumphs of the _auto da fé_. The number thus
drawn together from the capital and the country, far exceeding what was
usual on such occasions, is estimated by one present at full two hundred

[Sidenote: AUTOS DA FE.]

As the multitude defiled into the square, the inquisitors took their
place on the seats prepared for their reception. The condemned were
conducted to the scaffold, and the royal station was occupied by Philip,
with the different members of his household. At his side sat his sister,
the late regent, his son, Don Carlos, his nephew, Alexander Farnese,
several foreign ambassadors, and the principal grandees and higher
ecclesiastics in attendance on the court. It was an august assembly of
the greatest and the proudest in the land. But the most indifferent
spectator, who had a spark of humanity in his bosom, might have turned
with feelings of admiration from this array of worldly power, to the
poor martyr, who, with no support but what he drew from within, was
prepared to defy this power, and to lay down his life in vindication of
the rights of conscience. Some there may have been, in that large
concourse, who shared in these sentiments. But their number was small
indeed in comparison with those who looked on the wretched victim as the
enemy of God, and his approaching sacrifice as the most glorious triumph
of the Cross.

The ceremonies began with a sermon, "the sermon of the faith," by the
bishop of Zamora. The subject of it may well be guessed, from the
occasion. It was no doubt plentifully larded with texts of Scripture,
and, unless the preacher departed from the fashion of the time, with
passages from the heathen writers, however much out of place they may
seem in an orthodox discourse.

When the bishop had concluded, the grand-inquisitor administered an oath
to the assembled multitude, who on their knees solemnly swore to defend
the Inquisition, to maintain the purity of the faith, and to inform
against any one who should swerve from it. As Philip repeated an oath of
similar import, he suited the action to the word, and, rising from his
seat, drew his sword from its scabbard, as if to announce himself the
determined champion of the Holy Office. In the earlier _autos_ of the
Moorish and Jewish infidels, so humiliating an oath had never been
exacted from the sovereign.

After this, the secretary of the tribunal read aloud an instrument
reciting the grounds for the conviction of the prisoners, and the
respective sentences pronounced against them. Those who were to be
admitted to penitence, each, as his sentence was proclaimed, knelt down,
and, with his hands on the missal, solemnly abjured his errors, and was
absolved by the grand-inquisitor. The absolution, however, was not so
entire as to relieve the offender from the penalty of his transgressions
in this world. Some were doomed to perpetual imprisonment in the cells
of the Inquisition, others to lighter penances. All were doomed to the
confiscation of their property,--a point of too great moment to the
welfare of the tribunal ever to be omitted. Besides this, in many cases
the offender, and, by a glaring perversion of justice, his immediate
descendants, were rendered for ever ineligible to public office of any
kind, and their names branded with perpetual infamy. Thus blighted in
fortune and in character, they were said, in the soft language of the
Inquisition, to be _reconciled_.

As these unfortunate persons were remanded, under a strong guard, to
their prisons, all eyes were turned on the little company of martyrs,
who, clothed in the ignominious garb of the _san benito_, stood waiting
the sentence of the judges,--with cords round their necks, and in their
hands a cross, or sometimes an inverted torch, typical of their own
speedy dissolution. The interest of the spectators was still further
excited, in the present instance, by the fact that several of these
victims were not only illustrious for their rank, but yet more so for
their talents and virtues. In their haggard looks, their emaciated
forms, and too often, alas! their distorted limbs, it was easy to read
the story of their sufferings in their long imprisonment, for some of
them had been confined in the dark cells of the Inquisition much more
than a year. Yet their countenances, though haggard, far from showing
any sign of weakness or fear, were lighted up with a glow of holy
enthusiasm, as of men prepared to seal their testimony with their blood.

When that part of the process showing the grounds of their conviction
had been read, the grand-inquisitor consigned them to the hands of the
corregidor of the city, beseeching him to deal with the prisoners _in
all kindness and mercy_;[442] a honeyed, but most hypocritical phrase,
since no choice was left to the civil magistrate, but to execute the
terrible sentence of the law against heretics, the preparations for
which had been made by him a week before.[443]

The whole number of convicts amounted to thirty, of whom sixteen were
_reconciled_, and the remainder _relaxed_ to the secular arm,--in other
words, turned over to the civil magistrate for execution. There were few
of those thus condemned who, when brought to the stake, did not so far
shrink from the dreadful doom that awaited them as to consent to
purchase a commutation of it by confession before they died; in which
case they were strangled by the _garrote_, before their bodies were
thrown into the flames.

Of the present number there were only two whose constancy triumphed to
the last over the dread of suffering, and who refused to purchase any
mitigation of it by a compromise with conscience. The names of these
martyrs should be engraven on the record of history.

One of them was Don Carlos de Seso, a noble Florentine, who had stood
high in the favor of Charles the Fifth. Being united with a lady of rank
in Castile, he removed to that country, and took up his residence in
Valladolid. He had become a convert to the Lutheran doctrines, which he
first communicated to his own family, and afterwards showed equal zeal
in propagating among the people of Valladolid and its neighborhood. In
short, there was no man to whose untiring and intrepid labors the cause
of the Reformed religion in Spain was more indebted. He was, of course,
a conspicuous mark for the Inquisition.

[Sidenote: AUTOS DA FE.]

During the fifteen months in which he lay in its gloomy cells, cut off
from human sympathy and support, his constancy remained unshaken. The
night preceding his execution, when his sentence had been announced to
him, De Seso called for writing materials. It was thought he designed to
propitiate his judges by a full confession of his errors. But the
confession he made was of another kind. He insisted on the errors of the
Romish Church, and avowed his unshaken trust in the great truths of the
Reformation. The document, covering two sheets of paper, is pronounced
by the secretary of the Inquisition to be a composition equally
remarkable for its energy and precision.[444] When led before the royal
gallery, on his way to the place of execution, De Seso pathetically
exclaimed to Philip, "Is it thus that you allow your innocent subjects
to be persecuted?" To which the king made the memorable reply, "If it
were my own son, I would fetch the wood to burn him, were he such a
wretch as thou art!" It was certainly a characteristic answer.[445]

At the stake De Seso showed the same unshaken constancy, bearing his
testimony to the truth of the great cause for which he gave up his life.
As the flames crept slowly around him, he called on the soldiers to heap
up the fagots, that his agonies might be sooner ended; and his
executioners, indignant at the obstinacy--the heroism--of the martyr,
were not slow in obeying his commands.[446]

The companion and fellow-sufferer of De Seso was Domingo de Roxas, son
of the marquis de Poza, an unhappy noble, who had seen five of his
family, including his eldest son, condemned to various humiliating
penances by the Inquisition for their heretical opinions. This one was
now to suffer death. De Roxas was a Dominican monk. It is singular that
this order, from which the ministers of the Holy Office were
particularly taken, furnished many proselytes to the Reformed religion.
De Roxas, as was the usage with ecclesiastics, was allowed to retain his
sacerdotal habit until his sentence had been read, when he was degraded
from his ecclesiastical rank, his vestments were stripped off one after
another, and the hideous dress of the _san benito_ thrown over him, amid
the shouts and derision of the populace. Thus apparelled, he made an
attempt to address the spectators around the scaffold; but no sooner did
he begin to raise his voice against the errors and cruelties of Rome,
than Philip indignantly commanded him to be gagged. The gag was a piece
of cleft wood, which, forcibly compressing the tongue, had the
additional advantage of causing great pain, while it silenced the
offender. Even when he was bound to the stake, the gag, though contrary
to custom, was suffered to remain in the mouth of De Roxas, as if his
enemies dreaded the effects of an eloquence that triumphed over the
anguish of death.[447]

The place of execution--the _quemadero_, the burning-place, as it was
called--was a spot selected for the purpose without the walls of the
city.[448] Those who attended an _auto da fé_ were not, therefore,
necessarily, as is commonly imagined, spectators of the tragic scene
that concluded it. The great body of the people, and many of higher
rank, no doubt, followed to the place of execution. On this occasion,
there is reason to think, from the language--somewhat equivocal, it is
true--of Philip's biographer, that the monarch chose to testify his
devotion to the Inquisition by witnessing in person the appalling close
of the drama; while his guards mingled with the menials of the Holy
Office, and heaped up the fagots round their victims.[449]

Such was the cruel exhibition which, under the garb of a religious
festival, was thought the most fitting ceremonial for welcoming the
Catholic monarch to his dominions! During the whole time of its duration
in the public square, from six in the morning till two in the afternoon,
no symptom of impatience was exhibited by the spectators, and, as may
well be believed, no sign of sympathy for the sufferers.[450] It would
be difficult to devise a better school for perverting the moral sense,
and deadening the sensibilities of a nation.[451]


Under the royal sanction, the work of persecution now went forward more
briskly than ever.[452] No calling was too sacred, no rank too high, to
escape the shafts of the informer. In the course of a few years, no
less than nine bishops were compelled to do humiliating penance in some
form or other for heterodox opinions. But the most illustrious victim of
the Inquisition was Bartolomé Carranzo, archbishop of Toledo. The
primacy of Spain might be considered as the post of the highest
consideration in the Roman Catholic Church after the papacy.[453] The
proceedings against this prelate, on the whole, excited more interest
throughout Christendom than any other case that came before the tribunal
of the Inquisition.

Carranza, who was of an ancient Castilian family, had early entered a
Dominican convent in the suburbs of Guadalajara. His exemplary life, and
his great parts and learning, recommended him to the favor of Charles
the Fifth, who appointed him confessor to his son Philip. The emperor
also sent him to the Council of Trent, where he made a great impression
by his eloquence, as well as by a tract which he published against
plurality of benefices, which, however, excited no little disgust in
many of his order. On Philip's visit to England to marry Queen Mary,
Carranza accompanied his master, and while in that country he
distinguished himself by the zeal and ability with which he controverted
the doctrines of the Protestants. The alacrity, moreover, which he
manifested in the work of persecution made him generally odious under
the name of the "black friar,"--a name peculiarly appropriate, as it
applied not less to his swarthy complexion than to the garb of his
order. On Philip's return to Flanders, Carranza, who had twice refused a
mitre, was raised--not without strong disinclination on his own part--to
the archiepiscopal see of Toledo. The "_nolo episcopari_," in this
instance, seems to have been sincere. It would have been well for him if
it had been effectual. Carranza's elevation to the primacy was the
source of all his troubles.

The hatred of theologians has passed into a proverb; and there would
certainly seem to be no rancor surpassing that of a Spanish
ecclesiastic. Among the enemies raised by Carranza's success, the most
implacable was the grand-inquisitor, Valdés. The archbishop of Seville
could ill brook that a humble Dominican should be thus raised from the
cloister over the heads of the proud prelacy of Spain. With unwearied
pains, such as hate only could induce, he sought out whatever could make
against the orthodoxy of the new prelate, whether in his writings or his
conversation. Some plausible ground was afforded for this from the fact,
that, although Carranza, as his whole life had shown, was devoted to the
Roman Catholic Church, yet his long residence in Protestant countries,
and his familiarity with Protestant works, had given a coloring to his
language, if not to his opinions, which resembled that of the Reformers.
Indeed, Carranza seems to have been much of the same way of thinking
with Pole, Contarini, Morone, and other illustrious Romanists, whose
liberal natures and wide range of study, had led them to sanction more
than one of the Lutheran dogmas which were subsequently proscribed by
the Council of Trent. One charge strongly urged against the primate was
his assent to the heretical doctrine of justification by faith. In
support of this, Father Regla, the confessor, as the reader may
remember, of Charles the Fifth, and a worthy coadjutor of Valdés,
quoted words of consolation employed by Carranza, in his presence, at
the death-bed of the emperor.[454]

The exalted rank of the accused made it necessary for his enemies to
proceed with the greatest caution. Never had the bloodhounds of the
Inquisition been set on so noble a quarry. Confident in his own
authority, the prelate had little reason for distrust. He could not ward
off the blow, for it was an invisible arm stronger than his own that was
raised to smite him. On the twenty-second of August, 1559, the
emissaries of the Holy Office entered the primate's town of Torrelaguna.
The doors of the episcopal palace were thrown open to the ministers of
the terrible tribunal. The prelate was dragged from his bed at midnight,
was hurried into a coach, and while the inhabitants were ordered not so
much as to present themselves at the windows, he was conducted, under a
strong guard, to the prisons of the Inquisition at Valladolid. The
arrest of such a person caused a great sensation throughout the country,
but no attempt was made at a rescue.

The primate would have appealed from the Holy Office to the pope, as the
only power competent to judge him. But he was unwilling to give umbrage
to Philip, who had told him in any extremity to rely on him. The king,
however, was still in the Netherlands, where his mind had been
preoccupied, through the archbishop's enemies, with rumors of his
defection. And the mere imputation of heresy, in this dangerous crisis,
and especially in one whom he had so recently raised to the highest post
in the Spanish church, was enough, not only to efface the recollection
of past services from the mind of Philip, but to turn his favor into
aversion. For two years Carranza was suffered to languish in
confinement, exposed to all the annoyances which the malice of his
enemies could devise. So completely was he dead to the world, that he
knew nothing of a conflagration which consumed more than four hundred of
the principal houses in Valladolid, till some years after the

At length the Council of Trent, sharing the indignation of the rest of
Christendom at the archbishop's protracted imprisonment, called on
Philip to interpose in his behalf, and to remove the cause to another
tribunal. But the king gave little heed to the remonstrance, which the
inquisitors treated as a presumptuous interference with their authority.

In 1566, Pius the Fifth ascended the pontifical throne. He was a man of
austere morals and a most inflexible will. A Dominican, like Carranza,
he was greatly scandalized by the treatment which the primate had
received, and by the shameful length to which his process had been
protracted. He at once sent his orders to Spain for the removal of the
grand-inquisitor, Valdés, from office, summoning, at the same time, the
cause and the prisoner before his own tribunal. The bold inquisitor,
loth to lose his prey, would have defied the power of Rome, as he had
done that of the Council of Trent. Philip remonstrated; but Pius was
firm, and menaced both king and inquisitor with excommunication. Philip
had no mind for a second collision with the papal court. In imagination
he already heard the thunders of the Vatican rolling in the distance,
and threatening soon to break upon his head. After a confinement of now
more than seven years' duration, the archbishop was sent under a guard
to Rome. He was kindly received by the pontiff, and honorably lodged in
the castle of St. Angelo, in apartments formerly occupied by the popes
themselves. But he was still a prisoner.


Pius now set seriously about the examination of Carranza's process. It
was a tedious business, requiring his holiness to wade through an ocean
of papers, while the progress of the suit was perpetually impeded by
embarrassments thrown in his way by the industrious malice of the
inquisitors. At the end of six years more, Pius was preparing to give
his judgment, which it was understood would be favorable to Carranza,
when, unhappily for the primate, the pontiff died.

The Holy Office, stung by the prospect of its failure, now strained
every nerve to influence the mind of the new pope, Gregory the
Thirteenth, to a contrary decision. New testimony was collected, new
glosses were put on the primate's text, and the sanction of the most
learned Spanish theologians was brought in support of them. At length,
at the end of three years further, the holy father announced his purpose
of giving his final decision. It was done with great circumstance. The
pope was seated on his pontifical throne, surrounded by all his
cardinals, prelates, and functionaries of the apostolic chamber. Before
this august assembly, the archbishop presented himself unsupported and
alone, while no one ventured to salute him. His head was bare. His once
robust form was bent by infirmity more than by years; and his care-worn
features told of that sickness which arises from hope deferred. He knelt
down at some distance from the pope, and in this humble attitude
received his sentence.

He was declared to have imbibed the pernicious doctrines of Luther. The
decree of the Inquisition prohibiting the use of his catechism was
confirmed. He was to abjure sixteen propositions found in his writings;
was suspended from the exercise of his episcopal functions for five
years, during which time he was to be confined in a convent of his order
at Orvieto; and, finally, he was required to visit seven of the
principal churches in Rome, and perform mass there by way of penance.

This was the end of eighteen years of doubt, anxiety, and imprisonment.
The tears streamed down the face of the unhappy man, as he listened to
the sentence; but he bowed in silent submission to the will of his
superior. The very next day he began his work of penance. But nature
could go no further; and on the second of May, only sixteen days after
his sentence had been pronounced, Carranza died of a broken heart. The
triumph of the Inquisition was complete.

The pope raised a monument to the memory of the primate, with a pompous
inscription, paying a just tribute to his talents and his scholarship,
endowing him with a full measure of Christian worth, and particularly
commending the exemplary manner in which he had discharged the high
trusts reposed in him by his sovereign.[456]

Such is the story of Carranza's persecution,--considering the rank of
the party, the unprecedented length of the process, and the sensation it
excited throughout Europe, altogether the most remarkable on the records
of the Inquisition.[457] Our sympathy for the archbishop's sufferings
may be reasonably mitigated by the reflection, that he did but receive
the measure which he had meted out to others.

While the persecution of Carranza was going on, the fires lighted for
the Protestants continued to burn with fury in all parts of the country,
until at length they gradually slackened and died away, from mere want
of fuel to feed them. The year 1570 may be regarded as the period of the
last _auto da fé_ in which the Lutherans played a conspicuous part. The
subsequent celebrations were devoted chiefly to relapsed Jews and
Mahometans; and if a Protestant heretic was sometimes added to this
list, it was "but as the gleaning of grapes after the vintage is

Never was there a persecution which did its work more thoroughly. The
blood of the martyr is commonly said to be the seed of the church. But
the storm of persecution fell as heavily on the Spanish Protestants as
it did on the Albigenses in the thirteenth century; blighting every
living thing, so that no germ remained for future harvests. Spain might
now boast that the stain of heresy no longer defiled the hem of her
garment. But at what a price was this purchased! Not merely by the
sacrifice of the lives and fortunes of a few thousands of the existing
generation but by the disastrous consequences entailed for ever on the
country. Folded under the dark wing of the Inquisition, Spain was shut
out from the light which in the sixteenth century broke over the rest of
Europe, stimulating the nations to greater enterprise in every
department of knowledge. The genius of the people was rebuked, and their
spirit quenched, under the malignant influence of an eye that never
slumbered, of an unseen arm ever raised to strike. How could there be
freedom of thought, where there was no freedom of utterance? Or freedom
of utterance, where it was as dangerous to say too little as too much?
Freedom cannot go along with fear. Every way the mind of the Spaniard
was in fetters.

His moral sense was miserably perverted. Men were judged, not by their
practice, but by their professions. Creed became a substitute for
conduct. Difference of faith made a wider gulf of separation than
difference of race, language, or even interest. Spain no longer formed
one of the great brotherhood of Christian nations. An immeasurable
barrier was raised between that kingdom and the Protestants of Europe.
The early condition of perpetual warfare with the Arabs who overran the
country had led the Spaniards to mingle religion strangely with their
politics. The effect continued when the cause had ceased. Their wars
with the European nations became religious wars. In fighting England or
the Netherlands, they were fighting the enemies of God. It was the same
everywhere. In their contest with the unoffending natives of the New
World, they were still battling with the enemies of God. Their wars
took the character of a perpetual crusade, and were conducted with all
the ferocity which fanaticism could inspire.


The same dark spirit of fanaticism seems to brood over the national
literature; even that lighter literature which in other nations is made
up of the festive sallies of wit, or the tender expression of sentiment.
The greatest geniuses of the nation, the masters of the drama and of the
ode, while they astonish us by their miracles of invention, show that
they have too often kindled their inspiration at the altars of the

Debarred as he was from freedom of speculation, the domain of science
was closed against the Spaniard. Science looks to perpetual change. It
turns to the past to gather warning, as well as instruction, for the
future. Its province is to remove old abuses, to explode old errors, to
unfold new truths. Its condition, in short, is that of progress. But in
Spain, everything not only looked to the past, but rested on the past.
Old abuses gathered respect from their antiquity. Reform was innovation,
and innovation was a crime. Far from progress, all was stationary. The
hand of the Inquisition drew the line which said, "No further!" This was
the limit of human intelligence in Spain.

The effect was visible in every department of science,--not in the
speculative alone, but in the physical and the practical; in the
declamatory rant of its theology and ethics, in the childish and
chimerical schemes of its political economists. In every walk were to be
seen the symptoms of premature decrepitude, as the nation clung to the
antiquated systems which the march of civilization in other countries
had long since effaced. Hence those frantic experiments, so often
repeated, in the financial administration of the kingdom, which made
Spain the byword of the nations, and which ended in the ruin of trade,
the prostration of credit, and finally the bankruptcy of the state.--But
we willingly turn from this sad picture of the destinies of the country
to a more cheerful scene in the history of Philip.



Reception of Isabella.--Marriage Festivities.--The Queen's Mode of
Life.--The Court removed to Madrid.


So soon as Philip should be settled in Spain, it had been arranged that
his young bride, Elizabeth of France, should cross the Pyrenees. Early
in January, 1560, Elizabeth,--or Isabella, to use the corresponding name
by which she was known to the Spaniards,--under the protection of the
Cardinal de Bourbon and some of the French nobility, reached the borders
of Navarre, where she was met by the duke of Infantado, who was to take
charge of the princess, and escort her to Castile.

Iñigo Lopez de Mendoza, fourth duke of Infantado, was the head of the
most illustrious house in Castile. He was at this time near seventy
years of age, having passed most of his life in attendance at court,
where he had always occupied the position suited to his high birth and
his extensive property, which, as his title intimated, lay chiefly in
the north. He was a fine specimen of the old Castilian hidalgo, and
displayed a magnificence in his way of living that became his station.
He was well educated, for the time; and his fondness for books did not
prevent his excelling in all knightly exercises. He was said to have the
best library and the best stud of any gentleman in Castile.[459]

He appeared on this occasion in great state, accompanied by his
household and his kinsmen, the heads of the noblest families in Spain.
The duke was attended by some fifty pages, who, in their rich dresses of
satin and brocade, displayed the gay colors of the house of Mendoza. The
nobles in his train, all suitably mounted, were followed by twenty-five
hundred gentlemen, well equipped, like themselves. So lavish were the
Castilians of that day in the caparisons of their horses, that some of
these are estimated, without taking into account the jewels with which
they were garnished, to have cost no less than two thousand ducats![460]
The same taste is visible at this day in their descendants, especially
in South America and Mexico, where the love of barbaric ornament in the
housings and caparisons of their steeds is conspicuous among all classes
of the people.

Several days were spent in settling the etiquette to be observed before
the presentation of the duke and his followers to the princess,--a
perilous matter with the Spanish hidalgo. When at length the interview
took place, the cardinal of Burgos, the duke's brother, opened it by a
formal and rather long address to Isabella, who replied in a tone of
easy gaiety, which, though not undignified, savored much more of the
manners of her own country than those of Spain.[461] The place of
meeting was at Roncesvalles,--a name which to the reader of romance may
call up scenes very different from those presented by the two nations
now met together in kindly courtesy.[462]

From Roncesvalles the princess proceeded, under the strong escort of the
duke, to his town of Guadalajara in New Castile, where her marriage with
King Philip was to be solemnized. Great preparations were made by the
loyal citizens for celebrating the event in a manner honorable to their
own master and their future queen. A huge mound, or what might be called
a hill, was raised at the entrance of the town, where a grove of natural
oaks had been transplanted, amongst which was to be seen abundance of
game. Isabella was received by the magistrates of the place, and
escorted through the principal streets by a brilliant cavalcade,
composed of the great nobility of the court. She was dressed in ermine,
and rode a milk-white palfrey, which she managed with an easy grace that
delighted the multitude. On one side of her rode the duke of Infantado,
and on the other the cardinal of Burgos. After performing her devotions
at the church, where _Te Deum_ was chanted, she proceeded to the ducal
palace, in which the marriage ceremony was to be performed. On her
entering the court, the princess Joanna came down to receive her
sister-in-law, and, after an affectionate salutation, conducted her to
the saloon, where Philip, attended by his son, was awaiting his


It was the first time that Isabella had seen her destined lord. She now
gazed on him so intently, that he good-humoredly asked her "if she were
looking to see if he had any gray hairs in his head?" The bluntness of
the question somewhat disconcerted her.[464] Philip's age was not much
less than that at which the first gray hairs made their appearance on
his father's temples. Yet the discrepancy between the ages of the
parties in the present instance was not greater than often happens in a
royal union. Isabella was in her fifteenth year,[465] and Philip in his

From all accounts, the lady's youth was her least recommendation.
"Elizabeth de Valois," says Brantôme, who know her well, "was a true
daughter of France,--discreet, witty, beautiful, and good, if ever woman
was so."[466] She was well made, and tall of stature, and on this
account the more admired in Spain, where the women are rarely above the
middle height. Her eyes were dark, and her luxuriant tresses, of the
same dark color, shaded features that were delicately fair.[467] There
was sweetness mingled with dignity in her deportment, in which Castilian
stateliness seemed to be happily tempered by the vivacity of her own
nation. "So attractive was she," continues the gallant old courtier,
"that no cavalier durst look on her long, for fear of losing his heart,
which in that jealous court might have proved the loss of his

Some of the chroniclers notice a shade of melancholy as visible on
Isabella's features, which they refer to the comparison the young bride
was naturally led to make between her own lord and his son, the prince
of Asturias, for whom her hand had been originally intended.[469] But
the daughter of Catherine de Medicis, they are careful to add, had been
too well trained, from her cradle, not to know how to disguise her
feelings. Don Carlos had one advantage over his father, in his youth;
though, in this respect, since he was but a boy of fourteen, he might be
thought to fall as much too short of the suitable age as the king
exceeded it. It is also intimated by the same gossiping writers, that
from this hour of their meeting, touched by the charms of his
step-mother, the prince nourished a secret feeling of resentment against
his father, who had thus come between him and his beautiful
betrothed.[470] It is this light gossip of the chroniclers that has
furnished the romancers of later ages with the flimsy materials for that
web of fiction, which displays in such glowing colors the loves of
Carlos and Isabella. I shall have occasion to return to this subject
when treating of the fate of this unhappy prince.

When the nuptials were concluded, the good people of Guadalajara
testified their loyalty by all kinds of festivities in honor of the
event,--by fireworks, music, and dancing. The fountains flowed with
generous liquor. Tables were spread in the public squares, laden with
good cheer, and freely open to all. In the evening, the _regidores_ of
the town, to the number of fifty or more, presented themselves before
the king and queen. They were dressed in their gaudy liveries of crimson
and yellow velvet, and each one of these functionaries bore a napkin on
his arm, while he carried a plate of sweetmeats, which he presented to
the royal pair and the ladies of the court. The following morning Philip
and his consort left the hospitable walls of Guadalajara, and set out
with their whole suite for Toledo. At parting, the duke of Infantado
made the queen and her ladies presents of jewels, lace, and other rich
articles of dress; and the sovereigns took leave of their noble host,
well pleased with the princely entertainment he had given them.[471]

At Toledo preparations were made for the reception of Philip and
Isabella in a style worthy of the renown of that ancient capital of the
Visigoths. In the broad _vega_ before the city, three thousand of the
old Spanish infantry engaged in a mock encounter with a body of Moorish
cavalry, having their uniforms and caparisons fancifully trimmed and
ornamented in the Arabesque fashion. Then followed various national
dances by beautiful maidens of Toledo, dances of the Gypsies, and the
old Spanish "war-dance of the swords."[472]


On entering the gates, the royal pair were welcomed by the municipality
of the city, who supported a canopy of cloth of gold over the heads of
the king and queen, emblazoned with their ciphers. A procession was
formed, consisting of the principal magistrates, the members of the
military orders, the officers of the Inquisition,--for Toledo was one of
the principal stations of the secret tribunal,--and, lastly, the chief
nobles of the court. In the cavalcade might be discerned the iron form
of the duke of Alva, and his more courtly rival, Ruy Gomez de Silva,
count of Melito,--the two nobles highest in the royal confidence.
Triumphal arches, ornamented with quaint devices and emblematical
figures from ancient mythology, were thrown across the streets, which
were filled with shouting multitudes. Gay wreaths of flowers and
flaunting streamers adorned the verandas and balconies, which were
crowded with spectators of both sexes in their holiday attire, making a
display of gaudy colors that reminds an old chronicler of the richly
tinted tapestries and carpetings of Flanders.[473] In this royal state,
the new-married pair moved along the streets towards the great
cathedral; and after paying their devotions at its venerable shrine,
they repaired to the _alcazar_,--the palace-fortress of Toledo.

For some weeks, during which the sovereigns remained in the capital,
there was a general jubilee.[474] All the national games of Spain were
exhibited to the young queen; the bull-fight, the Moorish sport of the
_cañas_, or tilt of reeds, and tournaments on horseback and on foot, in
both of which Philip often showed himself armed _cap-à-pie_ in the
lists, and did his _devoir_ in the presence of his fair bride, as became
a loyal knight. Another show, which might have been better reserved for
a less joyous occasion, was exhibited to Isabella. As the court and the
cortes were drawn together in Toledo, the Holy Office took the occasion
to celebrate an _auto da fé_, which, from the number of the victims and
quality of the spectators, was the most imposing spectacle of the kind
ever witnessed in that capital.

No country in Europe has so distinct an individuality as Spain; shown
not merely in the character of the inhabitants, but in the smallest
details of life,--in their national games, their dress, their social
usages. The tenacity with which the people have clung to these amidst
all the changes of dynasties and laws is truly admirable. Separated by
their mountain barrier from the central and eastern parts of Europe, and
during the greater part of their existence brought into contact with
Oriental forms of civilization, the Spaniards have been but little
exposed to those influences which have given a homogeneous complexion to
the other nations of Christendom. The system under which they have been
trained is too peculiar to be much affected by these influences, and the
ideas transmitted from their ancestors are too deeply settled in their
minds to be easily disturbed. The present in Spain is but the mirror of
the past, in other countries fashions become antiquated, old errors
exploded, early tastes reformed. Not so in the Peninsula. The traveller
has only to cross the Pyrenees to find himself a contemporary of the
sixteenth century.

The festivities of the court were suddenly terminated by the illness of
Isabella, who was attacked by the small-pox. Her life was in no danger;
but great fears were entertained lest the envious disease should prove
fatal to her beauty. Her mother, Catherine de Medicis, had great
apprehensions on this point; and couriers crossed the Pyrenees
frequently, during the queen's illness, bringing prescriptions--some of
them rather extraordinary--from the French doctors for preventing the
ravages of the disorder.[475] Whether it was by reason of these
nostrums, or her own excellent constitution, the queen was fortunate
enough to escape from the sick-room without a scar.

Philip seems to have had much reason to be contented not only with the
person, but the disposition, of his wife. As her marriage had formed one
of the articles in the treaty with France, she was called by the
Spaniards _Isabel de la Paz_,--"Isabella of the Peace." Her own
countrymen no less fondly styled her "the Olive-Branch of
Peace,"--intimating the sweetness of her disposition.[476] In this
respect she may be thought to have formed a contrast to Philip's former
wife, Mary of England; at least after sickness and misfortune had done
their work upon that queen's temper, in the latter part of her life.

If Isabella was not a scholar, like Mary, she at least was well
instructed for the time, and was fond of reading, especially poetry. She
had a ready apprehension, and learned in a short time to speak the
Castilian with tolerable fluency, while there was something pleasing in
her foreign accent, that made her pronunciation the more interesting.
She accommodated herself so well to the usages of her adopted nation,
that she soon won the hearts of the Spaniards. "No queen of Castile,"
says the loyal Brantôme, "with due deference to Isabella the Catholic,
was ever so popular in the country." When she went abroad, it was
usually with her face uncovered, after the manner of her countrywomen.
The press was always great around her whenever she appeared in public,
and happy was the man who could approach so near as to get a glimpse of
her beautiful countenance.[477]

Yet Isabella never forgot the land of her birth; and such of her
countrymen as visited the Castilian court were received by her with
distinguished courtesy. She brought along with her in her train to
Castile several French ladies of rank, as her maids of honor. But a
rivalry soon grew up between them and the Spanish ladies in the palace,
which compelled the queen, after she had in vain attempted to reconcile
the parties, to send back most of her own countrywomen. In doing so, she
was careful to provide them with generous marriage portions.[478]


The queen maintained great state in her household, as was Philip's wish,
who seems to have lavished on his lovely consort those attentions for
which the unfortunate Mary Tudor had pined in vain. Besides a rare
display of jewels, Isabella's wardrobe was exceedingly rich. Few of her
robes cost less than three or four hundred crowns each,--a great sum for
the time. Like her namesake and contemporary, Elizabeth of England, she
rarely wore the same dress twice. But she gave away the discarded suit
to her attendants,[479] unlike in this to the English queen, who hoarded
up her wardrobe so carefully, that at her death it must have displayed
every fashion of her reign. Brantôme, who, both as a Frenchman and as
one who had seen the queen often in the court of Castile, may be
considered a judge in the matter, dwells with rapture on the elegance of
her costume, the matchless taste in its arrangement, and the perfection
of her _coiffure_.

A manuscript of the time, by an eye-witness, gives a few particulars
respecting her manner of living, in which some readers may take an
interest. Among the persons connected with the queen's establishment,
the writer mentions her confessor, her almoner, and four physicians. The
medical art seems to have been always held in high repute in Spain,
though in no country, considering the empirical character of its
professors, with so little reason. At dinner the queen was usually
attended by some thirty of her ladies. Two of them, singularly enough as
it may seem to us, performed the office of carvers. Another served as
cupbearer, and stood by her majesty's chair. The rest of her attendants
stood round the apartment, conversing with their gallants, who, in a
style to which she had not been used in the French courts, kept their
heads covered during the repast. "They were there," they said, "not to
wait on the queen, but her ladies." After her solitary meal was over,
Isabella retired with her attendants to her chamber, where, with the aid
of music, and such mirth as the buffoons and jesters of the palace could
afford, she made shift to pass the evening.[480]

Such is the portrait which her contemporaries have left us of Elizabeth
of France; and such the accounts of her popularity with the nation, and
the state maintained in her establishment. Well might Brantôme sadly
exclaim, "Alas! what did it all avail?" A few brief years only were to
pass away before this spoiled child of fortune, the delight of the
monarch, the ornament and pride of the court, was to exchange the pomps
and glories of her royal state for the dark chambers of the Escorial.

From Toledo the court proceeded to Valladolid, long the favourite
residence of the Castilian princes, though not the acknowledged capital
of the country. Indeed there was no city, since the time of the
Visigoths, that could positively claim that preëminence. This honor was
reserved for Madrid, which became the established residence of the court
under Philip, who in this but carried out the ideas of his father,
Charles the Fifth.

The emperor had passed much time in this place, where, strange to say,
the chief recommendation to him seems to have been the climate. Situated
on a broad expanse of table-land, at an elevation of twenty-four hundred
feet above the level of the sea, the brisk and rarefied atmosphere of
Madrid proved favorable to Charles's health. It preserved him, in
particular, from attacks of the fever and ague, which racked his
constitution almost as much as the gout. In the ancient _alcazar_ of the
Moors he found a stately residence, which he made commodious by various
alterations. Philip extended these improvements. He added new
apartments, and spent much money in enlarging and embellishing the old
ones. The ceilings were gilded and richly carved. The walls were hung
with tapestries, and the saloons and galleries decorated with sculpture
and with paintings,--many of them the productions of native artists, the
first disciples of a school which was one day to rival the great masters
of Italy. Extensive grounds were also laid out around the palace, and a
park was formed, which in time came to be covered with a growth of noble
trees, and well stocked with game. The _alcazar_, thus improved, became
a fitting residence for the sovereign of Spain. Indeed, if we may trust
the magnificent vaunt of a contemporary, it was "allowed by foreigners
to be the rarest thing of the kind possessed by any monarch in
Christendom."[481] It continued to be the abode of the Spanish princes
until, in 1734, in the reign of Philip the Fifth, the building was
destroyed by a fire, which lasted nearly a week. But it rose like a
phoenix from its ashes; and a new palace was raised on the site of the
old one, of still larger dimensions, presenting in the beauty of its
materials as well as of its execution one of the noblest monuments of
the architecture of the eighteenth century.[482]

Having completed his arrangements, Philip established his residence at
Madrid in 1563. The town then contained about twelve thousand
inhabitants. Under the forcing atmosphere of a court, the population
rose by the end of his long reign to three hundred thousand,[483]--a
number which it has probably not since exceeded. The accommodations in
the capital kept pace with the increase of population. Everything was
built for duration. Instead of flimsy houses that might serve for a
temporary residence, the streets were lined with strong and substantial
edifices. Under the royal patronage public works on a liberal scale were
executed. Madrid was ornamented with bridges, aqueducts, hospitals, the
Museum, the Armory,--stately structures which even now challenge our
admiration, not less by the excellence of their designs than by the
richness of their collections and the enlightened taste which they infer
at this early period.


In the opinion of its inhabitants, indeed we may say of the nation,
Madrid surpassed, not only every other city in the country, but in
Christendom. "There is but one Madrid," says the Spanish proverb.[484]
"When Madrid is the theme, the world listens in silence!"[485] In a
similar key, the old Castilian writers celebrate the glories of their
capital,--the nursery of wit, genius, and gallantry,--and expatiate on
the temperature of a climate propitious alike to the beauty of the women
and the bravery of the men.[486]

Yet, with all this lofty panegyric, the foreigner is apt to see things
through a very different medium from that through which they are seen by
the patriotic eye of the native. The traveller to Madrid finds little to
praise in a situation where the keen winds from the mountains come laden
with disease, and where the subtle atmosphere, to use one of the
national proverbs, that can hardly put out a candle, will extinguish the
life of a man;[487] where the capital, insulated in the midst of a
dreary expanse of desert, seems to be cut off from sympathy, if not from
intercourse, with the provinces;[488] and where, instead of a great
river that might open to it a commerce with distant quarters of the
globe, it is washed only by a stream,--"the far-famed Manzanares,"--the
bed of which in summer is a barren watercourse. The traveller may well
doubt whether the fanciful advantage, so much vaunted, of being the
centre of Spain, is sufficient to compensate the manifold evils of such
a position, and even whether those are far from truth who find in this
position one of the many causes of the decline of the national

A full experience of the inconveniences of the site of the capital led
Charles the Third to contemplate its removal to Seville. But it was too
late. Madrid had been too long, in the Castilian boast, "the only court
in the world,"[490]--the focus to which converged talent, fashion, and
wealth from all quarters of the country. Too many patriotic associations
had gathered round it to warrant its desertion; and, in spite of its
local disadvantages, the capital planted by Philip the Second continued
to remain, as it will probably ever remain, the capital of the Spanish



The Reformation.--Its Progress in the Netherlands.--General
Discontent.--William of Orange.

The middle of the sixteenth century presented one of those crises which
have occurred at long intervals in the history of Europe, when the
course of events has had a permanent influence on the destiny of
nations. Scarcely forty years had elapsed since Luther had thrown down
the gauntlet to the Vatican, by publicly burning the papal bull at
Wittenberg. Since that time, his doctrines had been received in Denmark
and Sweden. In England, after a state of vacillation for three reigns,
Protestantism, in the peculiar form which it still wears, was become the
established religion of the state. The fiery cross had gone round over
the hills and valleys of Scotland, and thousands and tens of thousands
had gathered to hear the word of life from the lips of Knox. The
doctrines of Luther were spread over the northern parts of Germany, and
freedom of worship was finally guarantied there, by the treaty of
Passau. The Low Countries were the "debatable land," on which the
various sects of Reformers, the Lutheran, the Calvinist, the English
Protestant, contended for mastery with the established church. Calvinism
was embraced by some of the cantons of Switzerland, and at Geneva its
great apostle had fixed his head-quarters. His doctrines were widely
circulated through France, till the divided nation was preparing to
plunge into that worst of all wars, in which the hand of brother is
raised against brother. The cry of reform had even passed the Alps, and
was heard under the walls of the Vatican. It had crossed the Pyrenees.
The king of Navarre declared himself a Protestant; and the spirit of the
Reformation had secretly insinuated itself into Spain, and taken hold,
as we have seen, of the middle and southern provinces of the kingdom.

A contemporary of the period, who reflected on the onward march of the
new religion over every obstacle in its path, who had seen it gather
under its banners states and nations once the most loyal and potent
vassals of Rome, would have had little reason to doubt that, before the
end of the century, the Reform would have extended its sway over the
whole of Christendom. Fortunately for Catholicism, the most powerful
empire in Europe was in the hands of a prince who was devoted with his
whole soul to the interests of the Church. Philip the Second understood
the importance of his position. His whole life proves that he felt it to
be his especial mission to employ his great resources to restore the
tottering fortunes of Catholicism, and stay the progress of the torrent
which was sweeping away every landmark of the primitive faith.

We have seen the manner in which he crushed the efforts of the
Protestants in Spain. This was the first severe blow struck at the
Reformation. Its consequences cannot well be exaggerated; not the
immediate results, which would have been little without the subsequent
reforms and increased activity of the Church of Rome itself. But the
moral influence of such a blow, when the minds of men had been depressed
by a long series of reverses, is not to be estimated. In view of this,
one of the most eminent Roman Catholic writers does not hesitate to
remark, that "the power and abilities of Philip the Second afforded a
counterpoise to the Protestant cause, which prevented it from making
itself master of Europe."[491] The blow was struck; and from this
period little beyond its present conquests was to be gained for the
cause of the Reformation.


It was not to be expected that Philip, after having exterminated heresy
in one part of his dominions, should tolerate its existence in any
other, least of all, in a country so important as the Netherlands. Yet a
little reflection might have satisfied him that the same system of
measures could hardly be applied with a prospect of success to two
countries so differently situated as Spain and the Netherlands. The
Romish faith may be said to have entered into the being of the Spaniard.
It was not merely cherished as a form of religion, but as a principle of
honor. It was part of the national history. For eight centuries the
Spaniard had been fighting at home the battles of the Church. Nearly
every inch of soil in his own country was won by arms from the infidel.
His wars, as I have more than once had occasion to remark, were all wars
of religion. He carried the same spirit across the waters. There he was
still fighting the infidel. His life was one long crusade. How could
this champion of the Church desert her in her utmost need?

With this predisposition, it was easy for Philip to enforce obedience in
a people naturally the most loyal to their princes, to whom, moreover,
since the fatal war of the _Comunidades_, they had been accustomed to
pay an almost Oriental submission. Intrenched behind the wall of the
Pyrenees, Spain, we must bear in mind, felt little of the great shock
which was convulsing France and the other states of Europe; and with the
aid of so formidable an engine as the Inquisition, it was easy to
exterminate, before they could take root, such seeds of heresy as had
been borne by the storm across the mountains.

The Netherlands, on the other hand, lay like a valley among the hills,
which drinks in all the waters of the surrounding country. They were a
common reservoir for the various opinions which agitated the nations on
their borders. On the south were the Lutherans of Germany. The French
Huguenots pressed them on the west; and by the ocean they held
communication with England and the nations of the Baltic. The soldier
quartered on their territory, the seaman who visited their shores, the
trader who trafficked in their towns, brought with them different forms
of the new religion. Books from France and from Germany circulated
widely among a people, nearly all of whom, as we have seen, were able to

The new doctrines were discussed by men accustomed to think and act for
themselves. Freedom of speculation on religious topics soon extended to
political. It was the natural tendency of reform. The same spirit of
free inquiry which attacked the foundations of unity of faith, stood
ready next to assail those of unity of government; and men began boldly
to criticize the rights of kings and the duties of subjects.

The spirit of independence was fostered by the institutions of the
country. The provinces of the Netherlands, if not republican in form,
were filled with the spirit of republics. In many of their features they
call to mind the free states of Italy in the Middle Ages. Under the
petty princes who ruled over them in early days, they had obtained
charters, as we have seen, which secured a certain degree of
constitutional freedom. The province of Brabant, above all, gloried in
its "_Joyeuse Entrée_," which guarantied privileges and immunities of a
more liberal character than those possessed by the other states of the
Netherlands. When the provinces passed at length under the sceptre of a
single sovereign, he lived at a distance, and the government was
committed to a viceroy. Since their connection with Spain, the
administration had been for the most part in the hands of a woman; and
the delegated authority of a woman pressed but lightly on the
independent temper of the Flemings.

Yet Charles the Fifth, as we have seen, partial as he was to his
countrymen in the Netherlands, could ill brook their audacious spirit,
and made vigorous efforts to repress it. But his zeal for the spiritual
welfare of his people never led him to overlook their material
interests. He had no design by his punishments to cripple their
strength, much less to urge them to extremity. When the regent, Mary of
Hungary, his sister, warned him that his laws bore too heavily on the
people to be endured, he was careful to mitigate their severity. His
edicts in the name of religion were, indeed, written in blood. But the
frequency of their repetition shows, as already remarked, the imperfect
manner in which they were executed. This was still further proved by the
prosperous condition of the people, the flourishing aspect of the
various branches of industry, and the great enterprises to facilitate
commercial intercourse and foster the activity of the country. At the
close of Charles's reign, or rather at the commencement of his
successor's, in 1560, was completed the grand canal extending from
Antwerp to Brussels, the construction of which had consumed thirty
years, and one million eight hundred thousand florins.[492] Such a work,
at such a period,--the fruit, not of royal patronage, but of the public
spirit of the citizens,--is evidence both of large resources and of
wisdom in the direction of them. In this state of things, it is not
surprising that the Flemings, feeling their own strength, should have
assumed a free and independent tone little grateful to the ear of a
sovereign. So far had this spirit of liberty or licence, as it was
termed, increased, in the latter part of the emperor's reign, that the
Regent Mary, when her brother abdicated, chose also to resign,
declaring, in a letter to him, that "she would not continue to live
with, much less to reign over, a people whose manners had undergone such
a change,--in whom respect for God and man seemed no longer to

A philosopher who should have contemplated at that day the condition of
the country, and the civilization at which it had arrived, might feel
satisfied that a system of toleration in religious matters would be the
one best suited to the genius of the people and the character of their
institutions. But Philip was no philosopher; and toleration was a virtue
not understood, at that time, by Calvinist any more than by Catholic.
The question, therefore, is not whether the end he proposed was the best
one;--on this, few at the present day will differ;--but whether Philip
took the best means for effecting that end. This is the point of view
from which his conduct in the Netherlands should be criticized.

Here, in the outset, he seems to have fallen into a capital error, by
committing so large a share in the government to the hands of a
foreigner,--Granvelle. The country was filled with nobles, some of them
men of the highest birth, whose ancestors were associated with the most
stirring national recollections, and who were endeared, moreover, to
their countrymen by their own services. To several of these Philip
himself was under no slight obligations for the aid they had afforded
him in the late war,--on the fields of Gravelines and St. Quentin, and
in the negotiation of the treaty which closed his hostilities with
France. It was hardly to be expected that these proud nobles, conscious
of their superior claims, and accustomed to so much authority and
deference in their own land, would tamely submit to the control of a
stranger, a man of obscure family, like his father indebted for his
elevation to the royal favor.


Besides these great lords, there was a numerous aristocracy, inferior
nobles and cavaliers, many of whom had served under the standard of
Charles in his long wars. They there formed those formidable companies
of _ordonnance_, whose fame perhaps stood higher than that of any other
corps of the imperial cavalry. The situation of these men, now
disbanded, and, with their roving military habits, hanging loosely on
the country, has been compared by a modern author to that which, on the
accession of the Bourbons, was occupied by the soldiers whom Napoleon
had so often led to victory.[494] To add to their restlessness, many of
these, as well as of the higher nobility, were embarrassed by debts
contracted in their campaigns, or by too ambitious expenditure at home,
especially in rivalry with the ostentatious Spaniard. "The Flemish
nobles," says a writer of the time, "were too many of them oppressed by
heavy debts and the payment of exorbitant interest. They spent twice as
much as they were worth on their palaces, furniture, troops of
retainers, costly liveries, their banquets and sumptuous entertainments
of every description,--in fine, in every form of luxury and superfluity
that could be devised. Thus discontent became prevalent through the
country, and men anxiously looked forward to some change."[495]

Still another element of discontent, and one that extended to all
classes, was antipathy to the Spaniards. It had not been easy to repress
this even under the rule of Charles the Fifth, who had shown such
manifest preference for his Flemish subjects. But now it was more
decidedly called out, under a monarch, whose sympathies lay altogether
on the side of their rivals. No doubt this popular sentiment is to be
explained partly by the contrast afforded by the characters of the two
nations, so great as hardly to afford a point of contact between them.
But it may be fairly charged, to a great extent, on the Spaniards
themselves, who, while they displayed many noble and magnanimous traits
at home, seemed desirous to exhibit only the repulsive side of their
character to the eye of the stranger. Cold and impenetrable, assuming an
arrogant tone of superiority over every other nation, in whatever land
it was their destiny to be cast, England, Italy, or the Netherlands, as
allies or as enemies, we find the Spaniards of that day equally
detested. Brought with them, as the people of the Netherlands were,
under a common sceptre, a spirit of comparison and rivalry grew up,
which induced a thousand causes of irritation.

The difficulty was still further increased by the condition of the
neighboring countries, where the minds of the inhabitants were now in
the highest state of fermentation in matters of religion. In short, the
atmosphere seemed everywhere to be in that highly electrified condition
which bodes the coming tempest. In this critical state of things, it was
clear that it was only by a most careful and considerate policy that
harmony could be maintained in the Netherlands; a policy manifesting
alike tenderness for the feelings of the nation and respect for its

Having thus shown the general aspect of things when the duchess of Parma
entered on her regency, towards the close of 1559, it is time to go
forward with the narrative of the prominent events which led to the War
of the Revolution.

We have already seen that Philip, on leaving the country, lodged the
administration nominally in three councils, although in truth it was on
the council of state that the weight of government actually rested. Even
here the nobles who composed it were of little account in matters of
real importance, which were reserved for a _consulta_, consisting,
besides the regent, of Granvelle, Count Barlaimont, and the learned
jurist Viglius. As the last two were altogether devoted to Granvelle,
and the regent was instructed to defer greatly to his judgment, the
government of the Netherlands may be said to have been virtually
deposited in the hands of the bishop of Arras.

At the head of the Flemish nobles in the council of state, and indeed in
the country, taking into view their rank, fortune, and public services,
stood Count Egmont and the prince of Orange. I have already given some
account of the former, and the reader has seen the important part which
he took in the great victories of Gravelines and St. Quentin. To the
prince of Orange Philip had also been indebted for his counsel in
conducting the war, and still more for the aid which he had afforded in
the negotiations for peace. It will be proper, before going further, to
give the reader some particulars of this celebrated man, the great
leader in the war of the Netherlands.

William, prince of Orange, was born at Dillenburg, in the German duchy
of Nassau, on the twenty-fifth of April, 1533. He was descended from a
house, one of whose branches had given an emperor to Germany; and
William's own ancestors were distinguished by the employments they had
held, and the services they had rendered, both in Germany and the Low
Countries. It was a proud vaunt of his, that Philip was under larger
obligations to him than he to Philip; and that, but for the house of
Nassau, the king of Spain would not be able to write as many titles as
he now did after his name.[496]

When eleven years old, by the death of his cousin René he came into
possession of a large domain in Holland, and a still larger property in
Brabant, where he held the title of Lord of Breda. To these was added,
the splendid inheritance of Chalons, and of the principality of Orange;
which, however, situated at a distance, in the heart of France, might
seem to be held by a somewhat precarious tenure.

William's parents were both Lutherans, and in their faith he was
educated. But Charles saw with displeasure the false direction thus
given to one who at a future day was to occupy so distinguished a
position among his Flemish vassals. With the consent of his parents, the
child, in his twelfth year, was removed to Brussels, to be brought up in
the family of the emperor's sister, the Regent Mary of Hungary. However
their consent to this step may be explained, it certainly seems that
their zeal for the spiritual welfare of their son was not such as to
stand in the way of his temporal. In the family of the regent the youth
was bred a Catholic, while in all respects he received an education
suited to his rank.[497] It is an interesting fact, that his preceptor
was a younger brother of Granvelle,--the man with whom William was
afterwards to be placed in an attitude of such bitter hostility.


When fifteen years of age, the prince was taken into the imperial
household, and became the page of Charles the Fifth. The emperor was not
slow in discerning the extraordinary qualities of the youth; and he
showed it by intrusting him, as he grew older, with various important
commissions. He was accompanied by the prince on his military
expeditions, and Charles gave a remarkable proof of his confidence in
his capacity, by raising him, at the age of twenty-two, over the heads
of veteran officers, and giving him the command of the imperial forces
engaged in the siege of Marienburg. During the six months that William
was in command, they were still occupied with this siege, and with the
construction of a fortress for the protection of Flanders. There was
little room for military display. But the troops were in want of food
and of money, and their young commander's conduct under these
embarrassments was such as to vindicate the wisdom of his appointment.
Charles afterwards employed him on several diplomatic missions,--a more
congenial field for the exercise of his talents, which appear to have
been better suited to civil than to military affairs.

The emperor's regard for the prince seems to have increased with his
years, and he gave public proof of it, in the last hour of his reign, by
leaning on William's shoulder at the time of his abdication, when he
made his parting address to the states of the Netherlands. He showed
this still further by selecting him for the honorable mission of bearing
the imperial crown to Ferdinand.

On his abdication, Charles earnestly commended William to his successor.
Philip profited by his services in the beginning of his reign, when the
prince of Orange, who had followed him in the French war, was made one
of the four plenipotentiaries for negotiating the treaty of
Cateau-Cambresis, for the execution of which he remained as one of the
hostages in France.

While at the court of Henry the Second, it will be remembered, the
prince became acquainted with the secret designs of the French and
Spanish monarchs against the Protestants in their dominions; and he
resolved, from that hour, to devote all his strength to expel the
"Spanish vermin" from the Netherlands. One must not infer from this,
however, that William, at this early period, meditated the design of
shaking off the rule of Spain altogether. The object he had in view went
no further than to relieve the country from the odious presence of the
Spanish troops, and to place the administration in those hands to which
it rightfully belonged. They, however, who set a revolution in motion
have not always the power to stop it. If they can succeed in giving it a
direction, they will probably be carried forward by it beyond their
intended limits, until, gathering confidence with success, they aim at
an end far higher than that which they had originally proposed. Such,
doubtless, was the case with William of Orange.

Notwithstanding the emperor's recommendation, the prince of Orange was
not the man whom Philip selected for his confidence. Nor was it possible
for William to regard the king with the same feelings which he had
entertained for the emperor. To Charles the prince was under obvious
obligations for his nurture in early life. His national pride, too, was
not wounded by having a Spaniard for his sovereign, since Charles was
not by birth, much less in heart, a Spaniard. All this was reversed in
Philip, in whom William saw only the representative of a detested race.
The prudent reserve which marked the character of each, no doubt,
prevented the outward demonstration of their sentiments; but from their
actions we may readily infer the instinctive aversion which the two
parties entertained for each other.

At the early age of eighteen, William married Anne of Egmont, daughter
of the count of Büren. The connection was a happy one, if we may trust
the loving tone of their correspondence. Unhappily, in a few years their
union was dissolved by the lady's death. The prince did not long remain
a widower, before he made proposals to the daughter of the duchess of
Lorraine. The prospect of such a match gave great dissatisfaction to
Philip, who had no mind to see his Flemish vassal allied with the family
of a great feudatory of France. Disappointed in this quarter, William
next paid his addresses to Anne of Saxony, an heiress, whose large
possessions made her one of the most brilliant matches in Germany.
William's passion and his interest, it was remarked, kept time well

The course of love, however, was not destined to run smoothly on the
present occasion. Anne was the daughter of Maurice, the great Lutheran
champion, the implacable enemy of Charles the Fifth. Left early an
orphan, she had been reared in the family of her uncle, the elector of
Saxony, in the strictest tenets of the Lutheran faith. Such a connection
was, of course, every way distasteful to Philip, to whom William was
willing so far to defer as to solicit his approbation, though he did not
mean to be controlled by it.[498] The correspondence on the subject, in
which both the regent and Granvelle took an active part, occupies as
much space in collections of the period as more important negotiations.
The prince endeavored to silence the king's scruples, by declaring that
he was too much a Catholic at heart to marry any woman who was not of
the same persuasion as himself; and that he had received assurances from
the elector that his wife in this respect should entirely conform to his
wishes. The elector had scruples as to the match, no less than Philip,
though on precisely the opposite grounds; and, after the prince's
assurance to the king, one is surprised to find that an understanding
must have existed with the elector that Anne should be allowed the
undisturbed enjoyment of her own religion.[499] This double dealing
leaves a disagreeable impression in regard to William's character. Yet
it does not seem, to judge from his later life, to be altogether
inconsistent with it. Machiavelli is the author whom he is said to have
had most frequently in his hand;[500] and in the policy with which he
shaped his course, we may sometimes fancy that we can discern the
influence of the Italian statesman.

The marriage was celebrated with great pomp at Leipsic, on the
twenty-fifth of August, 1561. The king of Denmark, several of the
electors, and many princes and nobles of both Germany and the Low
Countries, were invited guests; and the whole assembly present on the
occasion was estimated at nearly six thousand persons.[501] The king of
Spain complimented the bride by sending her a jewel worth three thousand
ducats.[502] It proved, however, as Granvelle had predicted, an
ill-assorted union. After living together for nearly thirteen years, the
prince, weary of the irregularities of his wife, separated from her, and
sent her back to her friends in Germany.


During his residence in Brussels, William easily fell into the way of
life followed by the Flemish nobles. He was very fond of the healthy
exercise of the chase, and especially of hawking. He was social, indeed
convivial, in his habits, after the fashion of his countrymen;[503] and
was addicted to gallantries, which continued long enough, it is said, to
suggest an apology for the disorderly conduct of his wife. He occupied
the ancient palace of his family at Brussels, where he was surrounded by
lords and cavaliers, and a numerous retinue of menials.[504] He lived in
great state, displaying a profuse magnificence in his entertainments;
and few there were, natives or foreigners, who had any claim on his
hospitality, that did not receive it.[505] By this expensive way of
life, he encumbered his estate with a heavy debt; amounting, if we may
take Granvelle's word, to nine hundred thousand florins.[506] Yet, if
William's own account, but one year later, be true, the debt was then
brought within a very moderate compass.[507]

With his genial habits and love of pleasure, and with manners the most
attractive, he had not the free and open temper which often goes along
with them. He was called by his contemporaries "William the Silent."
Perhaps the epithet was intended to indicate not so much his
taciturnity, as that impenetrable reserve which locked up his secrets
closely within his bosom. No man knew better how to keep his counsel,
even from those who acted with him. But while masking his own designs,
no man was more sagacious in penetrating those of others. He carried on
an extensive correspondence in foreign countries, and employed every
means for getting information. Thus, while he had it in his power to
outwit others, it was very rare that he became their dupe. Though on
ordinary occasions frugal of words, when he did speak it was with
effect. His eloquence was of the most persuasive kind;[508] and as
towards his inferiors he was affable, and exceedingly considerate of
their feelings, he acquired an unbounded ascendancy over his
countrymen.[509] It must be admitted that the prince of Orange possessed
many rare qualities for the leader of a great revolution.

The course William took in respect to his wife's religion might lead one
to doubt whether he were at heart Catholic or Protestant; or indeed
whether he were not equally indifferent to both persuasions. The latter
opinion might be strengthened by a remark imputed to him, that "he would
not have his wife trouble herself with such melancholy books as the
Scriptures, but instead of them amuse herself with Amadis de Gaul, and
other pleasant works of the kind."[510] "The prince of Orange," says a
writer of the time, "passed for a Catholic among Catholics, a Lutheran
among Lutherans. If he could, he would have had a religion compounded of
both. In truth, he looked on the Christian religion like the ceremonies
which Numa introduced, as a sort of politic invention."[511] Granvelle,
in a letter to Philip, speaks much to the same purpose.[512] These
portraits were by unfriendly hands. Those who take a different view of
his character, while they admit that in his early days his opinions in
matters of faith were unsettled, contend that in time he became
sincerely attached to the doctrines which he defended with his sword.
This seems to be no more than natural. But the reader will have an
opportunity of judging for himself, when he has followed the great chief
through the changes of his stormy career.

It would be strange, indeed, if the leader in a religious revolution
should have been himself without any religious convictions. One thing is
certain, he possessed a spirit of toleration, the more honorable that in
that day it was so rare. He condemned the Calvinists as restless and
seditious; the Catholics, for their bigoted attachment to a dogma.
Persecution in matters of faith he totally condemned, for freedom of
judgment in such matters he regarded as the inalienable right of
man.[513] These conclusions, at which the world, after an incalculable
amount of human suffering, has been three centuries in arriving, (has it
altogether arrived at them yet?) must be allowed to reflect great credit
on the character of William.




Grounds of Complaint.--The Spanish Troops.--The New
Bishoprics.--Influence on Granvelle.--Opposed by the Nobles.--His


The first cause of trouble, after Philip's departure from the
Netherlands, arose from the detention of the Spanish troops there. The
king had pledged his word, it will be remembered, that they should leave
the country by the end of four months, at farthest. Yet that period had
long since passed, and no preparations were made for their departure.
The indignation of the people rose higher and higher at the insult thus
offered by the presence of these detested foreigners. It was a season of
peace. No invasion was threatened from abroad; no insurrection existed
at home. There was nothing to require the maintenance of an
extraordinary force, much less of one composed of foreign troops. It
could only be that the king, distrusting his Flemish subjects, designed
to overawe them by his mercenaries, in sufficient strength to enforce
his arbitrary acts. The free spirit of the Netherlanders was roused by
these suggestions, and they boldly demanded the removal of the

Granvelle himself, who would willingly have pleased his master by
retaining a force in the country on which he could rely, admitted that
the project was impracticable. "The troops must be withdrawn," he wrote,
"and that speedily, or the consequence will be an insurrection."[514]
The states would not consent, he said, to furnish the necessary
subsidies while they remained. The prince of Orange and Count Egmont
threw up the commands intrusted to them by the king. They dared no
longer hold them, as the minister added, it was so unpopular.[515]

The troops had much increased the difficulty by their own misconduct.
They were drawn from the great mass, often the dregs, of the people; and
their morals, such as they were, had not been improved in the life of
the camp. However strict their discipline in time of active service, it
was greatly relaxed in their present state of inaction; and they had
full license, as well as leisure, to indulge their mischievous
appetites, at the expense of the unfortunate districts in which they
were quartered.

Yet Philip was slow in returning an answer to the importunate letters of
the regent and the minister; and when he did reply, it was to evade
their request, lamenting his want of funds, and declaring his purpose to
remove the forces so soon as he could pay their arrears. The public
exchequer was undoubtedly at a low ebb; lower in Spain than in the
Netherlands.[516] But no one could believe the royal credit so far
reduced as not to be able to provide for the arrears of three or four
thousand soldiers. The regent, however, saw that, with or without
instructions, it was necessary to act. Several of the members of the
council became sureties for the payment of the arrears, and the troops
were ordered to Zealand, in order to embark for Spain. But the winds
proved unfavorable. Two months longer they were detained, on shore or on
board the transports. They soon got into brawls with the workmen
employed on the dikes; and the inhabitants, still apprehensive of orders
from the king countermanding the departure of the Spaniards, resolved,
in such an event, to abandon the dikes, and lay the country under
water![517] Fortunately, they were not driven to this extremity. In
January, 1561, more than a year after the date assigned by Philip, the
nation was relieved of the presence of the intruders.[518]

Philip's conduct in this affair is not very easy to explain. However
much he might have desired originally to maintain the troops in the
Netherlands, as an armed police on which he could rely to enforce the
execution of his orders, it had become clear that the good they might do
in quelling an insurrection was more than counterbalanced by the
probability of their exciting one. It was characteristic of the king,
however, to be slow in retreating from any position he had taken; and,
as we shall often have occasion to see, there was a certain apathy or
sluggishness in his nature, which led him sometimes to leave events to
take their own course, rather than to shape a course for them himself.

This difficulty was no sooner settled, than it was followed by another
scarcely less serious. We have seen, in a former chapter, the
arrangements made for adding thirteen new bishoprics to the four already
existing in the Netherlands. The measure, in itself a good one, and
demanded by the situation of the country, was, from the posture of
affairs at that time, likely to meet with opposition, if not to occasion
great excitement. For this reason, the whole affair had been kept
profoundly secret by the government. It was not till 1561 that Philip
disclosed his views, in a letter to some of the principal nobles in the
council of state. But, long before that time, the project had taken
wind, and created a general sensation through the country.

The people looked on it as an attempt to subject them to the same
ecclesiastical system which existed in Spain. The bishops, by virtue of
their office, were possessed of certain inquisitorial powers, and these
were still further enlarged by the provisions of the royal edicts.
Philip's attachment to the Inquisition was well understood, and there
was probably not a child in the country who had not heard of the _auto
da fé_ which he had sanctioned by his presence on his return to his
dominions. The present changes were regarded as part of a great scheme
for introducing the Spanish Inquisition into the Netherlands.[519]
However erroneous these conclusions, there is little reason to doubt
they were encouraged by those who knew their fallacy.


The nobles had other reasons for opposing the measure. The bishops would
occupy in the legislature the place formerly held by the abbots, who
were indebted for their election to the religious houses over which they
presided. The new prelates, on the contrary, would receive their
nomination from the crown; and the nobles saw with alarm their own
independence menaced by the accession of an order of men who would
naturally be subservient to the interests of the monarch. That the crown
was not insensible to these advantages is evident from a letter of the
minister, in which he sneers at the abbots, as "men fit only to rule
over monasteries, ever willing to thwart the king, and as perverse as
the lowest of the people."[520]

But the greatest opposition arose from the manner in which the new
dignitaries were to be maintained. This was to be done by suppressing
the offices of the abbots, and by appropriating the revenues of their
houses to the maintenance of the bishops. For this economical
arrangement Granvelle seems to have been chiefly responsible. Thus the
income--amounting to fifty thousand ducats--of the Abbey of Afflighen,
one of the wealthiest in Brabant, was to be bestowed on the
archiepiscopal see of Mechlin, to be held by the minister himself.[521]
In virtue of that dignity, Granvelle would become primate of the

Loud was the clamor excited by this arrangement among the members of the
religious fraternities, and all those who directly or indirectly had any
interest in them. It was a manifest perversion of the funds from the
objects for which they had been given to the institutions. It was
interfering with the economy of these institutions, protected by the
national charters; and the people of Brabant appealed to the "_Joyeuse
Entrée_." Jurists of the greatest eminence, in different parts of
Europe, were consulted as to the legality of these proceedings. Thirty
thousand florins were expended by Brabant alone in this matter, as well
as in employing an agent at the court of Rome to exhibit the true state
of the affair to his holiness, and to counteract the efforts of the
Spanish government.[522]

The reader may remember, that, just before Philip's departure from the
Netherlands, a bull arrived from Rome authorizing the erection of the
new bishoprics. This was but the initiatory step. Many other proceedings
were necessary before the consummation of the affair. Owing to
impediments thrown in the way by the provinces, and the habitual
tardiness of the court of Rome, nearly three years elapsed before the
final briefs were expedited by Pius the Fourth. New obstacles were
raised by the jealous temper of the Flemings, who regarded the whole
matter as a conspiracy of the pope and the king against the liberties of
the nation. Utrecht, Gueldres, and three other places, refused to
receive their bishops; and they never obtained a footing there.
Antwerp, which was to have been made an episcopal see, sent a commission
to the king to represent the ruin this would bring on its trade, from
the connection supposed to exist between the episcopal establishment and
the Spanish Inquisition. For a year the king would not condescend to
give any heed to the remonstrance. He finally consented to defer the
decision of the question till his arrival in the country; and Antwerp
was saved from its bishop.[523]

In another place we find the bishop obtaining an admission through the
management of Granvelle, who profited by the temporary absence of the
nobles. Nowhere were the new prelates received with enthusiasm, but, on
the contrary, wherever they were admitted, it was with a coldness and
silence that intimated too plainly the aversion of the inhabitants. Such
was the case with the archbishop of Mechlin himself, who made his entry
into the capital of his diocese with not a voice to cheer or to welcome
him.[524] In fact, everywhere the newly elected prelate seemed more like
the thief stealthily climbing into the fold, than the good shepherd who
had come to guard it.

Meanwhile the odium of these measures fell on the head of the minister.
No other man had been so active in enforcing them, and he had the credit
universally with the people of having originated the whole scheme, and
proposed it to the sovereign. But from this Philip expressly exonerates
him in a letter to the regent, in which he says, that the whole plan had
been settled long before it was communicated to Granvelle.[525] Indeed,
the latter, with some show of reason, demanded whether, being already
one of four bishops in the country, he should be likely to recommend a
plan which would make him only one of seventeen.[526] This appeal to
self-interest did not wholly satisfy those who thought that it was
better to be the first of seventeen, than to be merely one of four where
all were equal.

Whatever may have been Granvelle's original way of thinking in the
matter, it is certain that, whether it arose from his accommodating
temper, or from his perceptions of the advantages of the scheme being
quickened by his prospect of the primacy, he soon devoted himself, heart
as well as hand, to carry out the royal views. "I am convinced," he
writes, in the spring of 1560, to Philip's secretary, Perez, "that no
measure could be more advantageous to the country, or more necessary for
the support of religion; and if necessary to the success of the scheme,
I would willingly devote to it my fortune and my life."[527]


Accordingly we find him using all his strength to carry the project
through, devising expedients for raising the episcopal revenues, and
thus occupying a position which exposed him to general obloquy. He felt
this bitterly, and at times, even with all his constancy, was hardly
able to endure it. "Though I say nothing," he writes in the month of
September, 1561, to the Spanish ambassador in Rome, "I feel the danger
of the situation in which the king has placed me. All the odium of these
measures falls on my head; and I only pray that a remedy for the evil
may be found, though it should be by the sacrifice of myself. Would to
God the erection of these bishoprics had never been thought of!"[528]

In February, 1561, Granvelle received a cardinal's hat from Pope Pius
the Fourth. He did not show the alacrity usually manifested in accepting
this distinguished honor. He had obtained it by the private intercession
of the duchess of Parma; and he feared lest the jealousy of Philip might
be alarmed, were it to any other than himself that his minister owed
this distinction. But the king gave the proceeding his cordial sanction,
declaring to Granvelle that the reward was no higher than his desert.

Thus clothed with the Roman purple, primate of the Netherlands, and
first minister of state, Granvelle might now look down on the proudest
noble in the land. He stood at the head of both the civil and the
ecclesiastical administration of the country. All authority centred in
his person. Indeed, such had been the organization of the council of
state, that the minister might be said to be not so much the head of the
government as the government itself.

The affairs of the council were conducted in the manner prescribed by
Philip. Ordinary business passed through the hands of the whole body;
but affairs of moment were reserved for the cardinal and his two
coadjutors to settle with the regent. On such occasions the other
ministers were not even summoned, or, if summoned, such only of the
despatches from Spain as the minister chose to communicate were read,
and the remainder reserved for the _consulta_. When, as did sometimes
happen, the nobles carried a measure in opposition to Granvelle, he
would refer the whole question to the court at Madrid.[529] By this
expedient he gained time for the present, and probably obtained a
decision in his favor at last. The regent conformed entirely to the
cardinal's views. The best possible understanding seems to have
subsisted between them, to judge from the tone of their correspondence
with Philip, in which each of the parties bestows the most unqualified
panegyric on the other. Yet there was a strange reserve in their
official intercourse. Even when occupying the same palace, they are said
to have communicated with each other by writing.[530] The reason
suggested for this singular proceeding is, that it might not appear,
from their being much together, that the regent was acting so entirely
under the direction of the minister. It is certain that both Margaret
and Granvelle had an uncommon passion for letter-writing, as is shown by
the length and number of their epistles, particularly to the king. The
cardinal especially went into a gossiping minuteness of detail, to which
few men in his station would have condescended. But his master, to whom
his letters at this period were chiefly addressed, had the virtue of
patience in an extraordinary degree, as is evinced by the faithful
manner in which he perused these despatches, and made notes upon them
with his own hand.

The minister occupied a palace in Brussels, and had another residence at
a short distance from the capital.[531] He maintained great pomp in his
establishment, was attended by a large body of retainers, and his
equipage and liveries were distinguished by their magnificence. He gave
numerous banquets, held large _levées_, and, in short, assumed a state
in his manner of living which corresponded with his station, and did no
violence to his natural taste. We may well believe that the great lords
of the country, whose ancestors had for centuries filled its highest
places, must have chafed as they saw themselves thrown into the shade by
one whose fortunes had been thus suddenly forced to this unnatural
height by the sunshine of royal favor. Their indignation was heightened
by the tricky arrangement, which, while it left them ciphers in the
administration, made them responsible to the people for its measures.
And if the imputation to Granvelle of arrogance, in the pride of his
full-blown fortunes, was warranted, feelings of a personal nature may
have mingled with those of general discontent.

But, however they may have felt, the Flemish lords must be allowed not
to have been precipitate in the demonstration of their feelings. It is
not till 1562 that we observe the cardinal, in his correspondence with
Spain, noticing any discourtesy in the nobles, or intimating the
existence of any misunderstanding with them. In the spring of the
preceding year we find the prince of Orange "commending himself
cordially and affectionately to the cardinal's good will;" and
subscribing himself, "your very good friend to command."[532] In four
months after this, on the twenty-third of July, we have a letter from
this "very good friend" and count Egmont, addressed to Philip. In this
epistle the writers complain bitterly of their exclusion from all
business of importance in the council of state. They were only invited
to take part in deliberations of no moment. This was contrary to the
assurance of his majesty when they reluctantly accepted office; and it
was in obedience to his commands to advise him if this should occur that
they now wrote to him.[533] Nevertheless, they should have still
continued to bear the indignity in silence, had they not found that they
were held responsible by the people for measures in which they had no
share.[534]--Considering the arrangement Philip had made for the
_consulta_, one has little reason to commend his candor in this
transaction, and not much to praise his policy. As he did not redress
the evil, his implied disavowal of being privy to it would hardly go for
anything with the injured party. In his answer, Philip thanked the
nobles for their zeal in his service, and promised to reply to them more
at large on the return of Count Hoorne to Flanders.[535]

There is no reason to suppose that Granvelle was ever acquainted with
the fact of the letter having been written by the two lords. The
privilege claimed by the novelist, who looks over the shoulders of his
heroes and heroines when they are inditing their epistles, is also
enjoyed by the historian. With the materials rescued from the mouldering
archives of the past, he can present the reader with a more perfect view
of the motives and opinions of the great actors in the drama three
centuries ago, than they possessed in respect to one another. This is
particularly true of the period before us, when the correspondence of
the parties interested was ample in itself, and, through the care taken
of it, in public and private collections, has been well preserved. Such
care was seldom bestowed on historical documents of this class before
the sixteenth century.


It is not till long--nearly a year--after the date of the preceding
letter, that anything appears to intimate the existence of a coldness,
much less of an open rupture, between Granvelle and the discontented
nobles. Meanwhile, the religious troubles in France had been fast
gathering to a head; and the opposite factions ranged themselves under
the banners of their respective chiefs, prepared to decide the question
by arms. Philip the Second, who stood forth as the champion of
Catholicism, not merely in his own dominions, but throughout
Christendom, watched with anxiety the struggle going forward in the
neighboring kingdom. It had the deeper interest for him, from its
influence on the Low Countries. His Italian possessions were separated
from France by the Alps; his Spanish, by the Pyrenees. But no such
mountain barrier lay between France and Flanders. They were not even
separated, in the border provinces, by difference of language. Every
shock given to France must necessarily be felt in the remotest corner of
the Netherlands. Granvelle was so well aware of this, that he besought
the king to keep an eye on his French neighbors, and support them in the
maintenance of the Roman Catholic religion. "That they should be
maintained in this is quite as important to us as it is to them. Many
here," he adds, "would be right glad to see affairs go badly for the
Catholics in that kingdom. No noble as yet among us has openly declared
himself. Should any one do so, God only could save the country from the
fate of France."[536]

Acting on these hints, and conformably to his own views, Philip sent
orders to the regent to raise two thousand men, and send them across the
borders to support the French Catholics. The orders met with decided
resistance in the council of state. The great Flemish lords, at this
time, must have affected, if they did not feel, devotion to the
established religion. But they well knew there was too large a leaven of
heresy in the country to make these orders palatable. They felt no
desire, moreover, thus unnecessarily to mix themselves up with the feuds
of France. They represented that the troops could not safely be
dispensed with in the present state of feeling at home; and that, if
they marched against the Protestants of France, the German Protestants
might be expected to march against them.

Granvelle, on the other hand, would have enforced the orders of Philip,
as essential to the security of the Netherlands themselves. Margaret,
thus pressed by the opposite parties, felt the embarrassment of either
course. The alternative presented was, that of disobeying the king, or
of incurring the resentment, perhaps the resistance, of the nation.
Orange and Egmont besought her to convoke the states-general, as the
only safe counsellors in such an emergency. The states had often been
convened on matters of less moment by the former regent, Mary of
Hungary. But the cardinal had no mind to invoke the interference of that
"mischievous animal, the people."[537] He had witnessed a convocation of
the states previous to the embarkation of Philip; and he had not
forgotten the independent tone then assumed by that body. It had been,
indeed, the last injunction of the king to his sister, on no account to
call a meeting of the national legislature till his return to the

But while on this ground Margaret refused to summon the states-general,
she called a meeting of the order of the Golden Fleece, to whom she was
to apply for counsel on extraordinary occasions. The knights of the
order consisted of persons of the highest consideration in the country,
including the governors of the provinces. In May, 1562, they assembled
at Brussels. Before meeting in public, the prince of Orange invited them
to a conference in his own palace. He there laid before them the state
of the country, and endeavored to concert with the members some regular
system of resistance to the exclusive and arbitrary course of the
minister. Although no definite action took place at that time, most of
those present would seem to have fallen in with the views of the prince.
There were some, however, who took opposite ground, and who declared
themselves content with Granvelle, and not disposed to prescribe to
their sovereign the choice of his ministers. The foremost of these were
the duke of Arschot, a zealous Catholic, and Count Barlaimont, president
of the council of finance, and, as we have already seen, altogether
devoted to the minister. This nobleman communicated to Margaret the
particulars of the meeting in the prince's palace; and the regent was
careful to give the knights of the order such incessant occupation
during the remainder of their stay in the capital, as to afford the
prince of Orange no opportunity of pursuing his scheme of

Before the assembly of the Golden Fleece had been dissolved, it was
decided to send an envoy to the king to lay before him the state of the
country, both in regard to the religious excitement, much stimulated in
certain quarters by the condition of France, and to the financial
embarrassments, which now pressed heavily on the government. The person
selected for the office was Florence de Montmorency, lord of Montigny, a
cavalier who had the boldness to avow his aversion to any interference
with the rights of conscience, and whose sympathies, it will be
believed, were not on the side of the minister.

Soon after his departure, the vexed question of aid to France was
settled in the council by commuting personal service for money. It was
decided to raise a subsidy of fifty thousand crowns, to be remitted at
once to the French government.[539]

Montigny reached Spain in June, 1562. He was graciously received by
Philip, who, in a protracted audience, gathered from him a
circumstantial account of the condition of the Netherlands. In answer to
the royal queries, the envoy also exposed the misunderstanding which
existed between the minister and the nobles.

But the duchess of Parma did not trust this delicate affair to the
representations of Montigny. She wrote herself to her brother, in
Italian, which, when she would give her own views on matters of
importance, she used instead of French, ordinarily employed by the
secretaries. In Italian she expressed herself with the greatest fluency,
and her letters in that language, for the purpose of secrecy, were
written with her own hand.


The duchess informed the king of the troubles that had arisen with the
nobles; charging Orange and Egmont, especially, as the source of them.
She accused them of maliciously circulating rumors that the cardinal had
advised Philip to invade the country with an armed force, and to cut off
the heads of some five or six of the principal malecontents.[540] She
paid a high tribute to the minister's loyalty, and his talent for
business; and she besought the king to disabuse Montigny in respect to
the common idea of a design to introduce the Spanish Inquisition into
the country, and to do violence to its institutions.

The war was now openly proclaimed between the cardinal and the nobles.
Whatever decorum might be preserved in their intercourse, there was no
longer any doubt as to the hostile attitude in which they were hereafter
to stand in respect to each other. In a letter written a short time
previous to that of the regent, the cardinal gives a brief view of his
situation to the king. The letter is written in the courageous spirit of
one who does not shrink from the dangers that menace him. After an
observation intimating no great confidence in the orthodoxy of the
prince of Orange, he remarks: "Though the prince shows me a friendly
face, when absent he is full of discontent. They have formed a league
against me," he continues, "and threaten my life. But I have little fear
on that score, as I think they are much too wise to attempt any such
thing. They complain of my excluding them from office, and endeavoring
to secure an absolute authority for your majesty. All which they repeat
openly at their banquets, with no good effect on the people. Yet never
were there governors of the provinces who possessed so much power as
they have, or who had all appointments more completely in their own
hands. In truth, their great object is to reduce your majesty and the
regent to the condition of mere ciphers in the government."

"They refuse to come to my table," he adds, "at which I smile. I find
guests enough in the gentry of the country, the magistrates, and even
the worthy burghers of the city, whose good-will it is well to
conciliate against a day of trouble. These evils I bear with patience,
as I can. For adversity is sent by the Almighty, who will recompense
those who suffer for religion and justice." The cardinal was fond of
regarding himself in the light of a martyr.

He concludes this curious epistle with beseeching the king to come soon
to the Netherlands; "to come well attended, and with plenty of money;
since, thus provided, he will have no lack of troops, if required to act
abroad, while his presence will serve to calm the troubled spirits at
home."[541] The politic minister says nothing of the use that might be
made of these troops at home. Such an intimation would justify the
charges already brought against him. He might safely leave his master to
make that application for himself.

In December, 1562, Montigny returned from his mission, and straightway
made his report to the council of state. He enlarged on the solicitude
which Philip had shown for the interests of the country. Nothing had
been further from his mind than to introduce into it the Spanish
Inquisition. He was only anxious to exterminate the growing heresy from
the land, and called on those in authority to aid in the good work with
all their strength. Finally, though pressed by want of funds, he
promised, so soon as he could settle his affairs in Spain, to return to
Flanders.--It was not unusual for Philip to hold out the idea of his
speedy return to the country. The king's gracious reception seems to
have had some effect on Montigny. At all events, he placed a degree of
confidence in the royal professions, in which the sceptical temper of
William was far from acquiescing. He intimated as much to his friend,
and the latter, not relishing the part of a dupe, which the prince's
language seemed to assign to him, retorted in an angry manner; and
something like altercation took place between the two lords, in the
presence of the duchess. At least, such is the report of the
historians.[542] But historians in a season of faction are not the best
authorities. In the troubles before us we have usually a safer guide in
the correspondence of the actors.

By Montigny despatches were also brought from Philip for the duchess of
Parma. They contained suggestions as to her policy in reference to the
factious nobles, whom the king recommended to her, if possible, to
divide by sowing the seeds of jealousy among them.[543] Egmont was a
stanch Catholic, loyal in his disposition, ambitious, and vain. It would
not be difficult to detach him from his associates by a show of
preference, which, while it flattered his vanity, would excite in them
jealousy and distrust.

In former times there had been something of these feelings betwixt
Egmont and the prince of Orange. At least there had been estrangement.
This might, in some degree, be referred to the contrast in their
characters. Certainly no two characters could be more strongly
contrasted with each other. Egmont, frank, fiery, impulsive in his
temper, had little in common with the cool, cautious, and calculating
William. The showy qualities of the former, lying on the surface, more
readily caught the popular eye. There was a depth in William's character
not easy to be fathomed,--an habitual reserve, which made it difficult
even for those who knew him best always to read him right. Yet the
coolness between these two nobles may have arisen less from difference
of character than from similarity of position. Both, by their rank and
services, took the foremost ground in public estimation, so that it was
scarcely possible they should not jostle each other in the career of
ambition. But however divided formerly, they were now too closely united
by the pressure of external circumstances to be separated by the subtle
policy of Philip. Under the influence of a common disgust with the
administration and its arbitrary measures, they continued to act in
concert together, and, in their union, derived benefit from the very
opposition of their characters. For what better augury of success than
that afforded by the union of wisdom in council with boldness in

The consequences of the troubles in France, as had been foreseen, were
soon visible in the Low Countries. The Protestants of that time
constituted a sort of federative republic, or rather a great secret
association, extending through the different parts of Europe, but so
closely linked together that a blow struck in one quarter instantly
vibrated to every other. The Calvinists in the border provinces of the
Low Countries felt, in particular, great sympathy with the movements of
their French brethren. Many Huguenots took shelter among them. Others
came to propagate their doctrines. Tracts in the French tongue were
distributed and read with avidity. Preachers harangued in the
conventicles; and the people, by hundreds and thousands, openly
assembled, and, marching in procession, chanted the Psalms of David in
the translation of Marot.[544]


This open defiance of the edicts called for the immediate interposition
of the government. At Tournay two Calvinist preachers were arrested,
and, after a regular trial, condemned and burned at the stake. In
Valenciennes two others were seized, in like manner, tried, and
sentenced to the same terrible punishment. But as the marquis of Bergen,
the governor of the province, had left the place on a visit to a
distant quarter, the execution was postponed till his return. Seven
months thus passed, when the regent wrote to the marquis, remonstrating
on his unseasonable absence from his post. He had the spirit to answer,
that "it neither suited his station nor his character to play the part
of an executioner."[545] The marquis of Bergen had early ranged himself
on the side of the prince of Orange, and he is repeatedly noticed by
Granvelle, in his letters, as the most active of the malecontents. It
may well be believed he was no friend to the system of persecution
pursued by the government. Urged by Granvelle, the magistrates of the
city at length assumed the office of conducting the execution
themselves. On the day appointed, the two martyrs were escorted to the
stake. The funeral pile was prepared, and the torch was about to be
applied, when, at a signal from one of the prisoners, the multitude
around broke in upon the place of execution, trampled down the guards
and officers of justice, scattered the fagots collected for the
sacrifice, and liberated the victims. Then, throwing themselves into a
procession, they paraded the streets of the city, singing their psalms
and Calvinistic hymns.

Meanwhile the officers of justice succeeded in again arresting the
unfortunate men, and carrying them back to prison. But it was not long
before their friends, assembling in greater numbers than before, stormed
the fortress, forced the gates, and, rescuing the prisoners, carried
them off in triumph.

These high-handed measures caused, as may be supposed, great indignation
at the court of the regent. She instantly ordered a levy of three
thousand troops, and, placing them under the marquis of Bergen, sent
them against the insurgents. The force was such as to overcome all
resistance. Arrests were made in great numbers, and the majesty of the
law was vindicated by the trial and punishment of the ringleaders.[546]

"Rigorous and severe measures," wrote Philip, "are the only ones to be
employed in matters of religion. It is by fear only that the
rabble"--meaning by this the Reformers--"can be made to do their duty,
and not always then."[547] This liberal sentiment found less favor in
the Low Countries than in Spain. "One must ponder well," writes the
cardinal to Perez, the royal secretary, "before issuing those absolute
decrees, which are by no means as implicitly received here as they are
in Italy."[548] The Fleming appealed to his laws, and, with all the
minister's zeal, it was found impossible to move forward at the fiery
pace of the Spanish Inquisition.

"It would raise a tumult at once," he writes, "should we venture to
arrest a man without the clearest evidence. No man can be proceeded
against without legal proof."[549] But an insurmountable obstacle in the
way of enforcing the cruel edicts lay in the feelings of the nation. No
law repugnant to such feelings can long be executed. "I accuse none of
the nobles of being heretics," writes the regent to her brother; "but
they show little zeal in the cause of religion, while the magistrates
shrink from their duty from fear of the people."[550] "How absurd is
it," exclaims Granvelle, "for depositions to be taken before the
Inquisition in Spain, in order to search out heretics in Antwerp, where
thousands are every day walking about whom no one meddles with!"[551]
"It is more than a year," he says, "since a single arrest on a charge of
heresy has taken place in that city."[552] Yet whatever may have been
the state of persecution at the present time, the vague dread of the
future must have taken strong hold of people's minds, if, as a
contemporary writes, there were no less than eighteen or twenty thousand
refugees then in England, who had fled from Flanders for the sake of
their religion.[553]

The odium of this persecution all fell on the head of Granvelle. He was
the tool of Spain. Spain was under the yoke of the Inquisition.
Therefore it was clearly the minister's design to establish the Spanish
Inquisition over the Netherlands. Such was the concise logic by which
people connected the name of Granvelle with that of the most dreaded of
tribunals.[554] He was held responsible for the contrivance of the most
unpopular measures of government, as well as for their execution. A
thousand extravagant stories were circulated both of his private and his
political life, which it is probably doing no injustice to the nobles to
suppose they did not take much pains to correct. The favorite of the
prince is rarely the favorite of the people. But no minister had ever
been so unpopular as Granvelle in the Netherlands. He was hated by the
nobles for his sudden elevation to power, and for the servile means, as
they thought, by which he had risen to it. The people hated him, because
he used that power for the ruin of their liberties. No
administration--none certainly, if we except that of the iron Alva--was
more odious to the nation.


Notwithstanding Granvelle's constancy, and the countenance he received
from the regent and a few of the leading councillors, it was hard to
bear up under this load of obloquy. He would gladly have had the king
return to the country, and sustain him by his presence. It is the burden
of his correspondence at this period. "It is a common notion here," he
writes to the secretary, Perez, "that they are all ready in Spain to
sacrifice the Low Countries. The lords talk so freely, that every moment
I fear an insurrection.... For God's sake, persuade the king to come, or
it will lie heavy on his conscience."[555] The minister complains to the
secretary that he seems to be entirely abandoned by the government at
home. "It is three months," he writes, "since I have received a letter
from the court. We know as little of Spain here as of the Indies. Such
delays are dangerous, and may cost the king dear."[556]--It is clear his
majesty exercised his royal prerogative of having the correspondence all
on one side. At least his own share in it, at this period, was small,
and his letters were concise indeed in comparison with the voluminous
epistles of his minister. Perhaps there was some policy in this silence
of the monarch. His opinions, nay, his wishes, would have, to some
extent, the weight of laws. He would not, therefore, willingly commit
himself. He preferred to conform to his natural tendency to trust to the
course of events, instead of disturbing them by too precipitate action.
The cognomen by which Philip is recognized on the roll of Castilian
princes is "the Prudent."



League against Granvelle.--Margaret desires his Removal.--Philip
deliberates.--Granvelle dismissed.--Leaves the Netherlands.


While the state of feeling towards Granvelle, in the nation generally,
was such as is described in the preceding chapter, the lords who were in
the council of state chafed more and more under their exclusion from
business. As the mask was now thrown away, they no longer maintained the
show of deference which they had hitherto paid to the minister. From
opposition to his measures, they passed to irony, ridicule, sarcasm;
till, finding that their assaults had little effect to disturb
Granvelle's temper, and still less to change his policy, they grew at
length less and less frequent in their attendance at the council, where
they played so insignificant a part. This was a sore embarrassment to
the regent, who needed the countenance of the great nobles to protect
her with the nation, in the unpopular measures in which she was

Even Granvelle, with all his equanimity, considered the crisis so grave
as to demand some concession, or at least a show of it, on his own part,
to conciliate the good-will of his enemies. He authorized the duchess to
say that he was perfectly willing that they should be summoned to the
_consulta_, and to absent himself from its meetings; indeed, to resign
the administration altogether, provided the king approved of it.[557]
Whether Margaret communicated this to the nobles does not appear; at all
events, as nothing came of these magnanimous concessions of the
minister, they had no power to soothe the irritation of his

On the contrary, the disaffected lords were bending their efforts to
consolidate their league, of which Granvelle, it may be recollected,
noticed the existence in a letter of the preceding year. We now find the
members binding themselves to each other by an oath of secrecy.[559] The
persons who formed this confederacy were the governors of the
provinces, the knights of the Golden Fleece, and, in short, most of the
aristocracy of any consideration in the country. It seemed impossible
that any minister could stand against such a coalition, resting,
moreover, on the sympathies of the people. This formidable association,
seeing that all attempts to work on the cardinal were ineffectual,
resolved at length to apply directly to the king for his removal. They
stated that, knowing the heavy cares which pressed on his majesty, they
had long dissembled and kept silence, rather than aggravate these cares
by their complaints. If they now broke this silence, it was from a sense
of duty to the king, and to save the country from ruin. They enlarged on
the lamentable condition of affairs, which, without specifying any
particular charges, they imputed altogether to the cardinal, or rather
to the position in which he stood in reference to the nation. It was
impossible, they said, that the business of the country could prosper,
where the minister who directed it was held in such general detestation
by the people. They earnestly implored the king to take immediate
measures for removing an evil which menaced the speedy ruin of the land.
And they concluded with begging that they might be allowed to resign
their seats in the council of state, where, in the existing state of
affairs, their presence could be of no service.--This letter, dated the
eleventh of March, 1563, was signed, on behalf of the coalition, by
three lords who had places in the council of state,--the prince of
Orange, Count Egmont, and Count Hoorne.[560]

The last nobleman was of an ancient and most honorable lineage. He held
the high office of admiral of the Netherlands, and had been governor
both of Zütphen and of Gueldres. He accompanied Philip to Spain, and
during his absence the province of Gueldres was transferred to another,
Count Megen, for which Hoorne considered that he was indebted to the
good offices of the cardinal. On his return to his own country, he at
once enrolled himself in the ranks of the opposition. He was a man of
indisputable bravery, of a quick and impatient temper; one, on the
whole, who seems to have been less indebted for his celebrity to his
character, than to the peculiar circumstances in which he was placed.

On the day previous to this despatch of the nobles, we find a letter to
the king from Granvelle, who does not seem to have been ignorant of what
was doing by the lords. He had expostulated with them, he tells Philip,
on the disloyalty of their conduct in thus banding against the
government,--a proceeding which in other times might have subjected them
to a legal prosecution.[561] He mentions no one by name except Egmont,
whom he commends as more tractable and open to reason than his
confederates. He was led away by evil counsellors, and Granvelle
expresses the hope that he will one day open his eyes to his errors, and
return to his allegiance.


It is difficult to conceive the detestation, he goes on to say, in which
the Spaniards are held by the nation. The Spaniards only, it was
everywhere said, were regarded by the court of Madrid as the lawful
children; the Flemings, as illegitimate.[562] It was necessary to do
away this impression to place the Flemings on the same footing with the
Spaniards; to give them lucrative appointments, for they greatly needed
them, in Spain or in Italy; and it might not be amiss to bestow the
viceroyalty of Sicily on the prince of Orange.--Thus, by the same act,
the politic minister would both reward his rivals and remove them from
the country. But he greatly misunderstood the character of William, if
he thought in this way to buy him off from the opposition.

It was four months before the confederates received an answer; during
which time affairs continued to wear the same gloomy aspect as before.
At length came the long-expected epistle from the monarch, dated on the
sixth of June. It was a brief one. Philip thanked the lords for their
zeal and devotion to his service. After well considering the matter,
however, he had not found any specific ground of complaint alleged, to
account for the advice given him to part with his minister. The king
hoped before long to visit the Low Countries in person. Meanwhile, he
should be glad to see any one of the nobles in Spain, to learn from him
the whole state of the affair; as it was not his wont to condemn his
ministers without knowing the grounds on which they were accused.[563]

The fact that the lords had not specified any particular subject of
complaint against the cardinal gave the king an obvious advantage in the
correspondence. It seemed to be too much to expect his immediate
dismissal of the minister, on the vague pretext of his unpopularity,
without a single instance of misconduct being alleged against him. Yet
this was the position in which the enemies of Granvelle necessarily
found themselves. The minister acted by the orders of the king. To have
assailed the minister's acts, therefore, would have been to attack the
king himself. Egmont, some time after this, with even more frankness
than usual, is said to have declared at table to a friend of the
cardinal, that "the blow was aimed not so much at the minister as at the

The discontent of the lords at receiving this laconic epistle may be
imagined. They were indignant that so little account should be made of
their representations, and that both they and the country should be
sacrificed to the king's partiality for his minister. The three lords
waited on the regent, and extorted from her a reluctant consent to
assemble the knights of the order, and to confer with them and the other
nobles as to the course to be taken.

It was there decided that the lords should address a second letter, in
the name of the whole body, to Philip, and henceforth should cease to
attend the council of state.[565]

In this letter, which bears the date of July the twenty-ninth, they
express their disappointment that his majesty had not come to a more
definite resolution, when prompt and decisive measures could alone save
the country from ruin. They excuse themselves from visiting Spain in the
critical state of affairs at home. At another time, and for any other
purpose, did the king desire it, they would willingly do so. But it was
not their design to appear as accusers, and institute a process against
the minister. They had hoped their own word in such an affair would have
sufficed with his majesty. It was not the question whether the minister
was to be condemned, but whether he was to be removed from an office for
which he was in no respect qualified.[566] They had hoped their
attachment and tried fidelity to the crown would have made it
superfluous for them to go into a specification of charges. These,
indeed, could be easily made, but the discontent and disorder which now
reigned throughout the country were sufficient evidence of the
minister's incapacity.[567]

They stated that they had acquainted the regent with their intention to
absent themselves in future from the council, where their presence could
be no longer useful; and they trusted this would receive his majesty's
sanction. They expressed their determination loyally and truly to
discharge every trust reposed in them by the government; and they
concluded by apologizing for the homely language of their epistle,--for
they were no haranguers or orators, but men accustomed to act rather
than to talk, as was suited to persons of their quality.[568]--This last
shaft was doubtless aimed at the cardinal.--The letter was signed by the
same triumvirate as the former. The abstract here given does no justice
to the document, which is of considerable length, and carefully written.
The language is that of men who to the habitual exercise of authority
united a feeling of self-respect, which challenged the respect of their
opponents. Such were not the men to be cajoled or easily intimidated. It
was the first time that Philip had been addressed in this lofty tone by
his great vassals. It should have opened his eyes to the condition and
the character of his subjects in the Netherlands.

The coalition drew up, at the same time, an elaborate "remonstrance,"
which they presented to Margaret. In it they set forth the various
disorders of the country, especially those growing out of the state of
religion and the embarrassment of the finances. The only remedy for
these evils is to be found in a meeting of the states-general. The
king's prohibition of this measure must have proceeded, no doubt, from
the evil counsels of persons hostile to the true interests of the
nation. As their services can be of little use while they are thus
debarred from a resort to their true and only remedy in their
embarrassments, they trust the regent will not take it amiss, that, so
long as the present policy is pursued, they decline to take their seats
in the council of state, to be merely shadows there, as they have been
for the last four years.[569]


From this period the malecontent lords no more appeared in council. The
perplexity of Margaret was great. Thus abandoned by the nobles in whom
the country had the greatest confidence, she was left alone, as it were,
with the man whom the country held in the greatest abhorrence. She had
long seen with alarm the storm gathering round the devoted head of the
minister. To attempt alone to uphold his falling fortunes would be
probably to bury herself in their ruins. In her extremity, she appealed
to the confederates, and, since she could not divide them, endeavored to
divert them from their opposition. They, on the other hand, besought
the regent no longer to connect herself with the desperate cause of a
minister so odious to the country. Possibly they infused into her mind
some suspicions of the subordinate part she was made to play, through
the overweening ambition of the cardinal. At all events, an obvious
change took place in her conduct, and while she deferred less and less
to Granvelle, she entered into more friendly relations with his enemies.
This was especially the case with Egmont, whose frank and courteous
hearing and loyal disposition seem to have won greatly on the esteem of
the duchess.

Satisfied, at last, that it would be impracticable to maintain the
government much longer on its present basis, Margaret resolved to write
to her brother on the subject, and at the same time to send her
confidential secretary, Armenteros, to Spain, to acquaint the king with
the precise state of affairs in the Netherlands.[570]

After enlarging on the disorders and difficulties of the country, the
duchess came to the quarrel between the cardinal and the nobles. She had
made every effort to reconcile the parties; but that was impossible. She
was fully sensible of the merits of Granvelle, his high capacity, his
experience in public affairs, his devotion to the interests both of the
king and of religion.[571] But, on the other hand, to maintain him in
the Netherlands, in opposition to the will of the nobles, was to expose
the country, not merely to great embarrassments, but to the danger of
insurrection.[572] The obligations of the high place which she occupied
compelled her to lay the true state of the case before the king, and he
would determine the course to be pursued.--With this letter, bearing the
date of August twelfth, and fortified with ample instructions from the
duchess, Armenteros was forthwith despatched on his mission to Spain.

It was not long before the state of feeling in the cabinet of Brussels
was known, or at least surmised, throughout the country. It was the
interest of some of the parties that it should not be kept secret. The
cardinal, thus abandoned by his friends, became a more conspicuous mark
for the shafts of his enemies. Libels, satires, pasquinades, were
launched against him from every quarter. Such fugitive pieces, like the
insect which dies when it has left its sting, usually perish with the
occasion that gives them birth. But some have survived to the present
day, or at least were in existence at the close of the last century, and
are much commended by a critic for the merits of their literary

It was the custom, at the period of our narrative, for the young people
to meet in the towns and villages, and celebrate what were called
"academic games," consisting of rhetorical discussions on the various
topics of the day, sometimes of a theological or a political character.
Public affairs furnished a fruitful theme at this crisis; and the
cardinal, in particular, was often roughly handled. It was in vain the
government tried to curb this licence. It only served to stimulate the
disputants to new displays of raillery and ridicule.[574]

Granvelle, it will be readily believed, was not slow to perceive his
loss of credit with the regent, and the more intimate relations into
which she had entered with his enemies. But whatever he may have felt,
he was too proud or too politic to betray his mortification to the
duchess. Thus discredited by all but an insignificant party, who were
branded as the "Cardinalists," losing influence daily with the regent,
at open war with the nobles, and hated by the people, never was there a
minister in so forlorn a situation, or one who was able to maintain his
post a day in such circumstances. Yet Granvelle did not lose heart; as
others failed him, he relied the more on himself; and the courage which
he displayed, when thus left alone, as it were, to face the anger of the
nation, might have well commanded the respect of his enemies. He made no
mean concession to secure the support of the nobles, or to recover the
favor of the regent. He did not shrink from the dangers or the
responsibilities of his station; though the latter, at least, bore
heavily on him. Speaking of the incessant pressure of his cares, he
writes to his correspondent, Perez, "My hairs have turned so white you
would not recognize me."[575] He was then but forty-six. On one
occasion, indeed, we do find him telling the king, that, "if his majesty
does not soon come to the Netherlands, he must withdraw from them."[576]
This seems to have been a sudden burst of feeling, as it was a solitary
one, forced from him by the extremity of his situation. It was much more
in character that he wrote afterwards to the secretary, Perez: "I am so
beset with dangers on every side, that most people give me up for lost.
But I mean to live as long, by the grace of God, as I can; and if they
do take away my life, I trust they will not gain everything for all
that."[577] He nowhere intimates a wish to be recalled. Nor would his
ambition allow him to resign the helm; but the fiercer the tempest
raged, the more closely did he cling to the wreck of his fortunes.

The arrival of Armenteros with the despatches, and the tidings that he
brought, caused a great sensation in the court of Madrid. "We are on the
eve of a terrible conflagration," writes one of the secretaries of
Philip; "and they greatly err who think it will pass away as formerly."
He expresses the wish that Granvelle would retire from the country,
where, he predicts, they would soon wish his return. "But ambition," he
adds, "and the point of honor are alike opposed to this. Nor does the
king desire it."[578]

Yet it was not easy to say what the king did desire,--certainly not what
course he would pursue. He felt a natural reluctance to abandon the
minister, whose greatest error seemed to be that of too implicit an
obedience to his master's commands. He declared he would rather risk the
loss of the Netherlands than abandon him.[579] Yet how was that minister
to be maintained in his place, in opposition to the will of the nation?
In this perplexity, Philip applied for counsel to the man in whom he
most confided,--the duke of Alva; the very worst counsellor possible in
the present emergency.


The duke's answer was eminently characteristic of the man. "When I read
the letters of these lords," he says, "I am so filled with rage, that,
did I not make an effort to suppress it, my language would appear to you
that of a madman."[580] After this temperate exordium, he recommends the
king on no account to remove Granvelle from the administration of the
Netherlands. "It is a thing of course," he says, "that the cardinal
should be the first victim. A rebellion against the prince naturally
begins with an attack on his ministers. It would be better," he
continues, "if all could be brought at once to summary justice. Since
that cannot be, it may be best to divide the nobles; to win over Egmont
and those who follow him by favors; to show displeasure to those who are
the least offenders. For the greater ones, who deserve to lose their
heads, your majesty will do well to dissemble, until you can give them
their deserts."[581]

Part of this advice the king accepted; for to dissemble did no violence
to his nature. But the more he reflected on the matter, the more he was
satisfied that it would be impossible to retain the obnoxious minister
in his place. Yet when he had come to this decision, he still shrunk
from announcing it. Months passed, and yet Armenteros, who was to carry
back the royal despatches, was still detained at Madrid. It seemed as if
Philip here, as on other occasions of less moment, was prepared to leave
events to take their own course, rather than direct them himself.

Early in January, 1564, the duchess of Parma admonished her brother that
the lords chafed much under his long silence. It was a common opinion,
she said, that he cared little for Flanders, and that he was under the
influence of evil counsellors, who would persuade him to deal with the
country as a conquered province. She besought him to answer the letter
of the nobles, and especially to write in affectionate terms to Count
Egmont, who well deserved this for the zeal he had always shown for his
sovereign's interests.[582]

One is struck with the tone in which the regent here speaks of one of
the leaders of the opposition, so little in unison with her former
language. It shows how completely she was now under their influence. In
truth, however, we see constantly, both in her letters and those of the
cardinal, a more friendly tone of feeling towards Egmont than to either
of his associates. On the score of orthodoxy in matters of religion he
was unimpeachable. His cordial manners, his free and genial temper,
secured the sympathy of all with whom he came in contact. It was a
common opinion, that it would not be difficult to detach him from the
party of malecontents with whom his lot was cast. Such were not the
notions entertained of the prince of Orange.

In a letter from Granvelle to Philip, without a date, but written
perhaps about this period,[583] we have portraits, or rather outlines,
of the two great leaders of the opposition, touched with a masterly
hand. Egmont he describes as firm in his faith, loyally disposed, but
under the evil influence of William. It would not be difficult to win
him over by flattery and favors.[584] The prince, on the other hand, is
a cunning and dangerous enemy, of profound views, boundless ambition,
difficult to change, and impossible to control.[585] In the latter
character we see the true leader of the revolution.

Disgusted with the indifference of the king, shown in his
long-protracted silence, the nobles, notwithstanding the regent's
remonstrances, sent orders to their courier, who had been waiting in
Madrid for the royal despatches, to wait no longer, but return without
them to the Netherlands.[586] Fortunately Philip now moved, and at the
close of January, 1564, sent back Armenteros with his instructions to
Brussels. The most important of them was a letter of dismissal to the
cardinal himself. It was very short. "On considering what you write,"
said the king, "I deem it best that you should leave the Low Countries
for some days, and go to Burgundy to see your mother, with the consent
of the duchess of Parma. In this way, both my authority and your own
reputation will be preserved."[587]

It has been a matter of dispute how far the resignation of the cardinal
was voluntary. The recent discovery of this letter of Philip determines
that question.[588] It was by command of the sovereign. Yet that command
was extorted by necessity, and so given as best to save the feelings and
the credit of the minister. Neither party anticipated that Granvelle's
absence would continue for a long time, much less that his dismissal was
final. Even when inditing the letter to the cardinal, Philip cherished
the hope that the necessity for his departure might be avoided
altogether. This appears from the despatches sent at the same time to
the regent.


Shortly after his note to Granvelle, on the nineteenth of February,
Philip wrote an answer to the lords in all the tone of offended
majesty. He expressed his astonishment that they should have been led,
by any motive whatever, to vacate their seats at the council, where he
had placed them.[589] They would not fail to return there at once, and
show that they preferred the public weal to all private
considerations.[590] As for the removal of the minister, since they had
not been pleased to specify any charges against him, the king would
deliberate further before deciding on the matter. Thus, three weeks
after Philip had given the cardinal his dismissal, did he write to his
enemies as if the matter were still in abeyance; hoping, it would seem,
by the haughty tone of authority, to rebuke the spirit of the refractory
nobles, and intimidate them into a compliance with his commands. Should
this policy succeed, the cardinal might still hold the helm of

But Philip had not yet learned that he was dealing with men who had
little of that spirit of subserviency to which he was accustomed in his
Castilian vassals. The peremptory tone of his letter fired the blood of
the Flemish lords, who at once waited on the regent, and announced their
purpose not to reënter the council. The affair was not likely to end
here; and Margaret saw with alarm the commotion that would be raised
when the letter of the king should be laid before the whole body of the
nobles.[592] Fearing some rash step, difficult to be retrieved, she
resolved either that the cardinal should announce his intended
departure, or that she would do so for him. Philip's experiment had
failed. Nothing, therefore, remained but for the minister publicly to
declare, that, as his brother, the late envoy to France, had returned to
Brussels, he had obtained permission from the regent to accompany him on
a visit to their aged mother, whom Granvelle had not seen for fourteen

The news of the minister's resignation and speedy departure spread like
wildfire over the country. The joy was universal; and the wits of the
time redoubled their activity, assailing the fallen minister with
libels, lampoons, and caricatures, without end. One of these
caricatures, thrust into his own hand under the pretence of its being a
petition, represented him as hatching a brood of young bishops, who were
crawling out of their shells. Hovering above might be seen the figure of
the Devil; while these words were profanely made to issue from his
month: "This is my son; hear ye him!"[594]

It was at this time that, at a banquet at which many of the Flemish
nobles were present, the talk fell on the expensive habits of the
aristocracy, especially as shown in the number and dress of their
domestics. It was the custom for them to wear showy and very costly
liveries, intimating by the colors the family to which they belonged.
Granvelle had set an example of this kind of ostentation. It was
proposed to regulate their apparel by a more modest and uniform
standard. The lot fell on Egmont to devise some suitable livery, of the
simple kind used by the Germans. He proposed a dark-gray habit, which,
instead of the _aiguillettes_ commonly suspended from the shoulders,
should have flat pieces of cloth, embroidered with the figure of a head
and a fool's cap. The head was made marvellously like that of the
cardinal, and the cap, being red, was thought to bear much resemblance
to a cardinal's hat. This was enough. The dress was received with
acclamation. The nobles instantly clad their retainers in the new
livery, which had the advantage of greater economy. It became the badge
of party. The tailors of Brussels could not find time to supply their
customers. Instead of being confined to Granvelle, the heads
occasionally bore the features of Arschot, Aremberg, or Viglius, the
cardinal's friends. The duchess at first laughed at the jest, and even
sent some specimens of the embroidery to Philip. But Granvelle looked
more gravely on the matter, declaring it an insult to the government,
and the king interfered to have the device given up. This was not easy,
from the extent to which it had been adopted. But Margaret at length
succeeded in persuading the lords to take another, not personal in its
nature. The substitute was a sheaf of arrows. Even this was found to
have an offensive application, as it intimated the league of the nobles.
It was the origin, it is said, of the device afterwards assumed by the
Seven United Provinces.[595]


On the thirteenth of March, 1564, Granvelle quitted Brussels,--never to
return.[596] "The joy of the nobles at his departure," writes one of the
privy council, "was excessive. They seemed like boys let loose from
school."[597] The three lords, members of the council of state, in a
note to the duchess, declared that they were ready to resume their
places at the board; with the understanding, however, that they should
retire whenever the minister returned.[598] Granvelle had given out that
his absence would be of no long duration. The regent wrote to her
brother in warm commendation of the lords. It would not do for Granvelle
ever to return. She was assured by the nobles, if he did return, he
would risk the loss of his life, and the king the loss of the

The three lords wrote each to Philip, informing him that they had
reëntered the council, and making the most earnest protestations of
loyalty. Philip, on his part, graciously replied to each, and in
particular to the prince of Orange, who had intimated that slanderous
reports respecting himself had found their way to the royal ear. The
king declared "he never could doubt for a moment that William would
continue to show the same zeal in his service that he had always done;
and that no one should be allowed to cast a reproach on a person of his
quality, and one whom Philip knew so thoroughly."[600] It might almost
seem that a double meaning lurked under this smooth language. But
whatever may have been felt, no distrust was exhibited on either side.
To those who looked on the surface only,--and they were a hundred to
one,--it seemed as if the dismissal of the cardinal had removed all
difficulties; and they now confidently relied on a state of permanent
tranquillity. But there were others whose eyes looked deeper than the
calm sunshine that lay upon the surface; who saw, more distinctly than
when the waters were ruffled by the tempest, the rocks beneath, on which
the vessel of state was afterward to be wrecked.

The cardinal, on leaving the Low Countries, retired to his patrimonial
estate at Besançon,--embellished with all that wealth and a cultivated
taste could supply. In this pleasant retreat the discomfited statesman
found a solace in those pursuits which in earlier, perhaps happier, days
had engaged his attention.[601] He had particularly a turn for the
physical sciences. But he was fond of letters, and in all his tastes
showed the fruits of a liberal culture. He surrounded himself with
scholars and artists, and took a lively interest in their pursuits.
Justus Lipsius, afterwards so celebrated, was his secretary. He gave
encouragement to Plantin, who rivalled in Flanders the fame of the Aldi
in Venice. His generous patronage was readily extended to genius, in
whatever form it was displayed. It is some proof how widely extended,
that, in the course of his life, he is said to have received more than a
hundred dedications. Though greedy of wealth, it was not to hoard it,
and his large revenues were liberally dispensed in the foundation of
museums, colleges, and public libraries. Besançon, the place of his
residence, did not profit least by this munificence.[602]

Such is the portrait which historians have given to us of the minister
in his retirement. His own letters show that, with these sources of
enjoyment, he did not altogether disdain others of a less spiritual
character. A letter to one of the regent's secretaries, written soon
after the cardinal's arrival at Besançon, concludes in the following
manner: "I know that God will recompense men according to their deserts.
I have confidence that he will aid me; and that I shall yet be able to
draw profit from what my enemies designed for my ruin. This is my
philosophy, with which I endeavor to live as joyously as I can, laughing
at the world, its calumnies and its passions."[603]

With all this happy mixture of the Epicurean and the Stoic, the
philosophic statesman did not so contentedly submit to his fate as to
forego the hope of seeing himself soon reinstated in authority in the
Netherlands. "In the course of two months," he writes, "you may expect
to see me there."[604] He kept up an active correspondence with the
friends whom he had left in Brussels, and furnished the results of the
information thus obtained, with his own commentaries, to the court at
Madrid. His counsel was courted, and greatly considered, by Philip; so
that from the shades of his retirement the banished minister was still
thought to exercise an important influence on the destiny of Flanders.

       *       *       *       *       *

     A singular history is attached to the papers of Granvelle. That
     minister resembled his master, Philip the Second, in the fertility
     of his epistolary vein. That the king had a passion for writing,
     notwithstanding he could throw the burden of the correspondence,
     when it suited him, on the other party, is proved by the quantity
     of letters he left behind him. The example of the monarch seems to
     have had its influence on his courtiers; and no reign of that time
     is illustrated by a greater amount of written materials from the
     hands of the principal actors in it. Far from a poverty of
     materials, therefore, the historian has much more reason to
     complain of an _embarras de richesses_.


     Granvelle filled the highest posts in different parts of the
     Spanish empire; and in each of these--in the Netherlands, where he
     was minister, in Naples, where he was viceroy, in Spain, where he
     took the lead in the cabinet, and in Besançon, whither he retired
     from public life--he left ample memorials under his own hand of his
     residence there. This was particularly the case with Besançon, his
     native town, and the favorite residence to which he turned, as he
     tells us, from the turmoil of office to enjoy the sweets of
     privacy,--yet not, in truth, so sweet to him as the stormy career
     of the statesman, to judge from the tenacity with which he clung to

     The cardinal made his library at Besançon the depository, not
     merely of his own letters, but of such as were addressed to him. He
     preserved them all, however humble the sources whence they came,
     and, like Philip, he was in the habit of jotting down his own
     reflections in the margin. As Granvelle's personal and political
     relations connected him with the most important men of his time, we
     may well believe that the mass of correspondence which he gathered
     together was immense. Unfortunately, at his death, instead of
     bequeathing his manuscripts to some public body, who might have
     been responsible for the care of them, he left them to heirs who
     were altogether ignorant of their value. In the course of time the
     manuscripts found their way to the garret, where they soon came to
     be regarded as little better than waste paper. They were pilfered
     by the children and domestics, and a considerable quantity was sent
     off to a neighboring grocer, who soon converted the correspondence
     of the great statesman into wrapping-paper for his spices.

     From this ignominious fate the residue of the collection was
     happily rescued by the generous exertions of the Abbé Boissot. This
     excellent and learned man was the head of the Benedictines of St.
     Vincent in Besançon, of which town he was himself a native. He was
     acquainted with the condition of the Granvelle papers, and
     comprehended their importance. In the course of eighty years, which
     had elapsed since the cardinal's death, his manuscripts had come to
     be distributed among several heirs, some of whom consented to
     transfer their property gratuitously to the Abbé Boissot, while he
     purchased that of others. In this way he at length succeeded in
     gathering together all that survived of the large collection; and
     he made it the great business of his subsequent life to study its
     contents and arrange the chaotic mass of papers with reference to
     their subjects. To complete his labors, he caused the manuscripts
     thus arranged to be bound, in eighty-two volumes, folio, thus
     placing them in that permanent form which might best secure them
     against future accident.

     The abbé did not live to publish to the world an account of his
     collection, which at his death passed by his will to his brethren
     of the abbey of St. Vincent, on condition that it should be for
     ever open for the use of the town of Besançon. It may seem strange
     that, notwithstanding the existence of this valuable body of
     original documents was known to scholars, they should so rarely
     have resorted to it for instruction. Its secluded situation, in the
     heart of a remote province, was doubtless regarded as a serious
     obstacle by the historical inquirer, in an age when the public took
     things too readily on trust to be very solicitous about authentic
     sources of information. It is more strange that Boissot's
     Benedictine brethren should have shown themselves so insensible to
     the treasures under their own roof. One of their body, Dom Prosper
     l'Evesque, did indeed profit by the Boissot collection to give to
     the world his Mémoires de Granvelle, a work in two volumes,
     duodecimo, which, notwithstanding the materials at the writer's
     command, contain little of any worth, unless it be an occasional
     extract from Granvelle's own correspondence.

     At length, in 1834, the subject drew the attention of M. Guizot,
     then Minister of Public Instruction in France. By his direction a
     commission of five scholars was instituted, with the learned Weiss
     at its head, for the purpose of examining the Granvelle papers,
     with a view to their immediate publication. The work was performed
     in a prompt and accurate manner, that must have satisfied its
     enlightened projector. In 1839 the whole series of papers had been
     subjected to a careful analysis, and the portion selected that was
     deemed proper for publication. The first volume appeared in 1841;
     and the president of the commission, M. Weiss, expressed in his
     preface the confident hope that in the course of 1843 the remaining
     papers would all be given to the press. But these anticipations
     have not been realized. In 1854 only nine volumes had appeared. How
     far the publication has since advanced I am ignorant.

     The Papiers d'Etat, besides Granvelle's own letters, contain a
     large amount of historical materials, such as official documents,
     state papers, and diplomatic correspondence of foreign
     ministers,--that of Renard, for example, so often quoted in these
     pages. There are, besides, numerous letters both of Philip and of
     Charles the Fifth, for the earlier volumes embrace the times of the
     emperor.--The minister's own correspondence is not the least
     valuable part of the collection. Granvelle stood so high in the
     confidence of his sovereign, that, when not intrusted himself with
     the conduct of affairs, ha was constantly consulted by the king as
     to the best mode of conducting them. With a different fate from
     that of most ministers, he retained his influence when he had lost
     his place. Thus there were few transactions of any moment in which
     he was not called on directly or indirectly to take part. And his
     letters furnish a clew for conducting the historical student
     through more than one intricate negotiation, by revealing the true
     motives of the parties who were engaged in it.

     Granvelle was in such intimate relations with the most eminent
     persons of the time, that his correspondence becomes in some sort
     the mirror of the age, reflecting the state of opinion on the
     leading topics of the day. For the same reason it is replete with
     matters of personal as well as political interest; while the range
     of its application, far from being confined to Spain, embraces most
     of the states of Europe with which Spain held intercourse. The
     French government has done good service by the publication of a
     work which contains so much for the illustration of the history of
     the sixteenth century. M. Weiss, the editor, has conducted his
     labors on the true principles by which an editor should be guided;
     and, far from magnifying his office, and unseasonably obtruding
     himself on the reader's attention, he has sought only to explain
     what is obscure in the text, and to give such occasional notices of
     the writers as may enable the reader to understand their



Policy of Philip.--Ascendancy of the Nobles.--The Regent's
Embarrassments.--Egmont sent to Spain.

1564, 1565.

We have now arrived at an epoch in the history of the revolution, when,
the spirit of the nation having been fully roused, the king had been
compelled to withdraw his unpopular minister, and to intrust the reins
of government to the hands of the nobles. Before proceeding further, it
will be well to take a brief survey of the ground, that we may the
better comprehend the relations in which the parties stood to each other
at the commencement of the contest.


In a letter to his sister, the regent, written some two years after this
period, Philip says: "I have never had any other object in view than the
good of my subjects. In all that I have done, I have but trod in the
footsteps of my father, under whom the people of the Netherlands must
admit they lived contented and happy. As to the Inquisition, whatever
people may say of it, I have never attempted anything new. With regard
to the edicts, I have been always resolved to live and die in the
Catholic faith. I could not be content to have my subjects do otherwise.
Yet I see not how this can be compassed without punishing the
transgressors. God knows how willingly I would avoid shedding a drop of
Christian blood,--above all, that of my people in the Netherlands; and
I should esteem it one of the happiest circumstances of my reign to be
spared this necessity."[605]

Whatever we may think of the sensibility of Philip, or of his tenderness
for his Flemish subjects in particular, we cannot deny that the policy
he had hitherto pursued was substantially that of his father. Yet his
father lived beloved, and died lamented, by the Flemings; while Philip's
course, from the very first, had encountered only odium and opposition.
A little reflection will show us the reasons of these different results.

Both Charles and Philip came forward as the great champions of
Catholicism. But the emperor's zeal was so far tempered by reason, that
it could accommodate itself to circumstances. He showed this on more
than one occasion, both in Germany and in Flanders. Philip, on the other
hand, admitted of no compromise. He was the inexorable foe of heresy.
Persecution was his only remedy, and the Inquisition the weapon on which
he relied. His first act on setting foot on his native shore was to
assist at an _auto da fé_. This proclaimed his purpose to the world, and
associated his name indelibly with that of the terrible tribunal.

The free people of the Netherlands felt the same dread of the
Inquisition that a free and enlightened people of our own day might be
supposed to feel. They looked with gloomy apprehension to the
unspeakable misery it was to bring to their firesides, and the
desolation and ruin to their country. Everything that could in any way
be connected with it took the dismal coloring of their fears. The edicts
of Charles the Fifth, written in blood, became yet more formidable, as
declaring the penalties to be inflicted by this tribunal. Even the
erection of the bishoprics, so necessary a measure, was regarded with
distrust on account of the inquisitorial powers which of old were vested
in the bishops, thus seeming to give additional strength to the arm of
persecution. The popular feeling was nourished by every new convert to
the Protestant faith, as well as by those who, from views of their own,
were willing to fan the flame of rebellion.

Another reason why Philip's policy met with greater opposition than that
of his predecessor was the change in the condition of the people
themselves. Under the general relaxation of the law, or rather of its
execution, in the latter days of Charles the Fifth, the number of the
Reformers had greatly multiplied. Calvinism predominated in Luxemburg,
Artois, Flanders, and the states lying nearest to France. Holland,
Zealand, and the North, were the chosen abode of the Anabaptists. The
Lutherans swarmed in the districts bordering on Germany; while Antwerp,
the commercial capital of Brabant, and the great mart of all nations,
was filled with sectaries of every description. Even the Jew, the butt
of persecution in the Middle Ages, is said to have lived there
unmolested. For such a state of things, it is clear that very different
legislation was demanded than for that which existed under Charles the
Fifth. It was one thing to eradicate a few noxious weeds, and quite
another to crush the sturdy growth of heresy, which in every direction
now covered the land.

A further reason for the aversion to Philip, and one that cannot be too
often repeated, was that he was a foreigner. Charles was a native
Fleming; and much may be forgiven in a countryman. But Philip was a
Spaniard,--one of a nation held in greatest aversion by the men of the
Netherlands. It should clearly have been his policy, therefore, to cover
up this defect in the eyes of the inhabitants by consulting their
national prejudices, and by a show, at least, of confidence in their
leaders. Far from this, Philip began with placing a Spanish army on
their borders in time of peace. The administration he committed to the
hands of a foreigner. And while he thus outraged the national feeling at
home, it was remarked that into the royal council at Madrid, where the
affairs of the Low Countries, as of the other provinces, were settled in
the last resort, not a Fleming was admitted.[606] The public murmured.
The nobles remonstrated and resisted. Philip was obliged to retrace his
steps. He made first one concession, then another. He recalled his
troops, removed his minister. The nobles triumphed, and the
administration of the country passed into their hands. People thought
the troubles were at an end. They were but begun. Nothing had been done
towards the solution of the great problem of the rights of conscience.
On this the king and the country were at issue as much as ever. All that
had been done had only cleared the way to the free discussion of this
question, and to the bloody contest that was to follow.

On the departure of Granvelle, the discontented lords, as we have seen,
again took their seats in the council of state. They gave the most
earnest assurances of loyalty to the king, and seemed as if desirous to
make amends for the past by an extraordinary devotion to public
business. Margaret received these advances in the spirit in which they
were made; and the confidence which she had formerly bestowed on
Granvelle, she now transferred in full measure to his successful

It is amusing to read her letters at this period, and to compare them
with those which she wrote to Philip the year preceding. In the new
coloring given to the portraits it is hard to recognize a single
individual. She cannot speak too highly of the services of the
lords,--of the prince of Orange, and Egmont above all,--of their
devotion to the public weal and the interests of the sovereign. She begs
her brother again and again to testify his own satisfaction by the most
gracious letters to those nobles that he can write.[608] The suggestion
seems to have met with little favor from Philip. No language, however,
is quite strong enough to express Margaret's disgust with the character
and conduct of her former minister, Granvelle. It is he that has so long
stood betwixt the monarch and the love of the people. She cannot feel
easy that he should still remain so near the Netherlands. He should be
sent to Rome.[609] She distrusts his influence, even now, over the
cabinet at Madrid. He is perpetually talking, she understands, of the
probability of his speedy return to Brussels. The rumor of this causes
great uneasiness in the country. Should he be permitted to return, it
would undoubtedly be the signal for an insurrection.[610]--It is clear
the duchess had sorely suffered from the tyranny of Granvelle.[611]


But notwithstanding the perfect harmony which subsisted between Margaret
and the principal lords, it was soon seen that the wheels of government
were not destined to run on too smoothly. Although the cardinal was
gone, there still remained a faction of _Cardinalists_, who represented
his opinions, and who, if few in number, made themselves formidable by
the strength of their opposition. At the head of these were the viscount
de Barlaimont and the President Viglius.

The former, head of the council of finance, was a Flemish noble of the
first class,--yet more remarkable for his character than for his rank.
He was a man of unimpeachable integrity, stanch in his loyalty both to
the Church and to the crown, with a resolute spirit not to be shaken,
for it rested on principle.

His coadjutor, Viglius, was an eminent jurist, an able writer, a
sagacious statesman. He had been much employed by the emperor in public
affairs, which he managed with a degree of caution that amounted almost
to timidity. He was the personal friend of Granvelle, had adopted his
views, and carried on with him a constant correspondence, which is among
our best sources of information. He was frugal and moderate in his
habits, not provoking criticism, like that minister, by his ostentation
and irregularities of life. But he was nearly as formidable, from the
official powers with which he was clothed, and the dogged tenacity with
which he clung to his purposes. He filled the high office of president
both of the privy council and of the council of state, and was also
keeper of the great seal. It was thus obviously in his power to oppose a
great check to the proceedings of the opposite party. That he did thus
often thwart them is attested by the reiterated complaints of the
duchess. "The president," she tells her brother, "makes me endure the
pains of hell by the manner in which he traverses my measures."[612] His
real object, like that of Granvelle and of their followers, she says on
another occasion, is to throw the country into disorder. They would find
their account in fishing in the troubled waters. They dread a state of
tranquillity, which would afford opportunity for exposing their corrupt
practices in the government.[613]

To these general charges of delinquency the duchess added others, of a
more vulgar peculation. Viglius, who had taken priest's orders for the
purpose, was provost of the church of St. Bavon. Margaret openly accused
him of purloining the costly tapestries, the plate, the linen, the
jewels, and even considerable sums of money belonging to the
church.[614] She insisted on the impropriety of allowing such a man to
hold office under the government.

Nor was the president silent on his part, and in his correspondence with
Granvelle he retorts similar accusations in full measure on his enemies.
He roundly taxes the great nobles with simony and extortion. Offices,
both ecclesiastical and secular, were put up for sale in a shameless
manner, and disposed of to the highest bidder. It was in this way that
the bankrupt nobles paid their debts, by bestowing vacant places on
their creditors. Nor are the regent's hands, he intimates, altogether
clean from the stain of these transactions.[615] He accuses the lords,
moreover, of using their authority to interfere perpetually with the
course of justice. They had acquired an unbounded ascendancy over
Margaret, and treated her with a deference which, he adds, "is ever sure
to captivate the sex."[616] She was more especially under the influence
of her secretary, Armenteros, a creature of the nobles, who profited by
his position to fill his own coffers at the expense of the
exchequer.[617] For himself, he is in such disgrace for his resistance
to these disloyal proceedings, that the duchess excludes him as far as
possible from the management of affairs, and treats him with undisguised
coldness. Nothing but the desire to do his duty would induce him to
remain a day longer in a post like this, from which his only wish is
that his sovereign would release him.[618]

The president seems never to have written directly to Philip. It would
only expose him, he said, to the suspicions and the cavils of his
enemies. The wary statesman took warning by the fate of Granvelle. But
as his letters to the banished minister were all forwarded to Philip,
the monarch, with the despatches of his sister before him, had the means
of contemplating both sides of the picture, and of seeing that, to
whichever party he intrusted the government, the interests of the
country were little likely to be served. Had it been his father, the
emperor, who was on the throne, such knowledge would not have been in
his possession four and twenty hours, before he would have been on his
way to the Netherlands. But Philip was of a more sluggish temper. He was
capable, indeed, of much passive exertion,--of incredible toil in the
cabinet,--and from his palace, as was said, would have given law to
Christendom. But rather than encounter the difficulties of a voyage, he
was willing, it appears, to risk the loss of the finest of his


Yet he wrote to his sister to encourage her with the prospect of his
visiting the country as soon as he could be released from a war in which
he was engaged with the Turks. He invited her, at the same time, to
send him further particulars of the misconduct of Viglius, and expressed
the hope that some means might be found of silencing his

It is not easy at this day to strike the balance between the hostile
parties, so as to decide on the justice of these mutual accusations, and
to assign to each the proper share of responsibility for the
mismanagement of the government. That it was mismanaged is certain. That
offices were put up for sale is undeniable; for the duchess frankly
discusses the expediency of it, in a letter to her brother. This, at
least, absolves the act from the imputation of secrecy. The conflict of
the council of state with the two other councils often led to disorders,
since the decrees passed by the privy council, which had cognizance of
matters of justice, were frequently frustrated by the amnesties and
pardons granted by the council of state. To remedy this, the nobles
contended that it was necessary to subject the decrees of the other
councils to the revision of the council of state, and, in a word, to
concentrate in this last body the whole authority of government.[621]
The council of state, composed chiefly of the great aristocracy, looked
down with contempt on those subordinate councils, made up for the most
part of men of humbler condition, pledged by their elevation to office
to maintain the interests of the crown. They would have placed the
administration of the country in the hands of an oligarchy, made up of
the great Flemish nobles. This would be to break up that system of
distribution into separate departments established by Charles the Fifth
for the more perfect despatch of business. It would, in short, be such a
change in the constitution of the country as would of itself amount to a

In the state of things above described, the Reformation gained rapidly
in the country. The nobles generally, as has been already intimated,
were loyal to the Roman Catholic Church. Many of the younger nobility,
however, who had been educated at Geneva, returned tinctured with
heretical doctrines from the school of Calvin.[622] But whether Catholic
or Protestant, the Flemish aristocracy looked with distrust on the
system of persecution, and held the Inquisition in the same abhorrence
as did the great body of the people. It was fortunate for the
Reformation in the Netherlands, that at its outset it received the
support even of the Catholics, who resisted the Inquisition as an
outrage on their political liberties.

Under the lax administration of the edicts, exiles who had fled abroad
from persecution now returned to Flanders. Calvinist ministers and
refugees from France crossed the borders, and busied themselves with the
work of proselytism. Seditious pamphlets were circulated, calling on the
regent to confiscate the ecclesiastical revenues, and apply them to the
use of the state, as had been done in England.[623] The Inquisition
became an object of contempt, almost as much as of hatred. Two of the
principal functionaries wrote to Philip, that, without further support,
they could be of no use in a situation which exposed them only to
derision and danger.[624] At Bruges and at Brussels the mob entered the
prisons, and released the prisoners. A more flagrant violation of
justice occurred at Antwerp. A converted friar, named Fabricius, who had
been active in preaching and propagating the new doctrines, was tried
and sentenced to the stake. On the way to execution, the people called
out to him, from the balconies and the doorways, to "take courage, and
endure manfully to the last."[625] When the victim was bound to the
stake, and the pile was kindled, the mob discharged such a volley of
stones at the officers as speedily put them to flight. But the unhappy
man, though unscathed by the fire, was stabbed to the heart by the
executioner, who made his escape in the tumult. The next morning,
placards written in blood were found affixed to the public buildings,
threatening vengeance on all who had any part in the execution of
Fabricius; and one of the witnesses against him, a woman, hardly escaped
with life from the hands of the populace.[626]

The report of these proceedings caused a great sensation at Madrid; and
Philip earnestly called on his sister to hunt out and pursue the
offenders. This was not easy, where most, even of those who did not join
in the act, fully shared in the feeling which led to it. Yet Philip
continued to urge the necessity of enforcing the laws for the
preservation of the Faith, as the thing dearest to his heart. He would
sometimes indicate in his letters the name of a suspicious individual,
his usual dress, his habits, and appearance,--descending into details
which may well surprise us, considering the multitude of affairs of a
weightier character that pressed upon his mind.[627] One cannot doubt
that Philip was at heart an inquisitor.

Yet the fires of persecution were not permitted wholly to slumber. The
historian of the Reformation enumerates seventeen who suffered capitally
for their religious opinions in the course of the year 1564.[628] This,
though pitiable, was a small number--if indeed it be the whole
number--compared with the thousands who are said to have perished in the
same space of time in the preceding reign. It was too small to produce
any effect as a persecution, while the sight of the martyr, singing
hymns in the midst of the flames, only kindled a livelier zeal in the
spectators, and a deeper hatred for their oppressors.


The finances naturally felt the effects of the general disorder of the
country. The public debt, already large, as we have seen, was now so
much increased, that the yearly deficiency in the revenue, according to
the regent's own statement, amounted to six hundred thousand
florins;[629] and she knew of no way of extricating the country from its
embarrassments, unless the king should come to its assistance. The
convocation of the states-general was insisted on as the only remedy for
these disorders. That body alone, it was contended, was authorized to
vote the requisite subsidies, and to redress the manifold grievances of
the nation.--Yet, in point of fact, its powers had hitherto been little
more than to propose the subsidies for the approbation of the several
provinces, and to _remonstrate_ on the grievances of the nation. To
invest the states-general with the power of _redressing_ these
grievances would bestow on them legislative functions which they had
rarely, if ever, exercised. This would be to change the constitution of
the country, by the new weight it would give to the popular element; a
change which the great lords, who had already the lesser nobles entirely
at their disposal,[630] would probably know well how to turn to
account.[631] Yet Margaret had now so entirely resigned herself to their
influence, that, notwithstanding the obvious consequences of these
measures, she recommended to Philip both to assemble the states-general
and to remodel the council of state;[632]--and this to a monarch more
jealous of his authority than any other prince in Europe!

To add to the existing troubles, orders were received from the court of
Madrid to publish the decrees of the Council of Trent throughout the
Netherlands. That celebrated council had terminated its long session in
1563, with the results that might have been expected,--those of widening
the breach between Protestant and Catholic, and of enlarging, or at
least more firmly establishing, the authority of the pope. One good
result may be mentioned, that of providing for a more strict supervision
of the morals and discipline of the clergy;--a circumstance which caused
the decrees to be in extremely bad odor with that body.

It was hoped that Philip would imitate the example of France, and reject
decrees which thus exalted the power of the pope. Men were led to expect
this the more, from the mortification which the king had lately
experienced from a decision of the pontiff on a question of precedence
between the Castilian and French ambassadors at his court. This delicate
matter, long pending, had been finally determined in favor of France by
Pius the Fifth, who may have thought it more politic to secure a fickle
ally than to reward a firm one. The decision touched Philip to the
quick. He at once withdrew his ambassador from Rome, and refused to
receive an envoy from his holiness.[633] It seemed that a serious
rupture was likely to take place between the parties. But it was not in
the nature of Philip to be long at feud with the court of Rome. In a
letter to the duchess of Parma, dated August 6, 1564, he plainly
intimated that in matters of faith he was willing at all times to
sacrifice his private feelings to the public weal.[634] He subsequently
commanded the decrees of the Council of Trent to be received as law
throughout his dominions, saying that he could make no exception for the
Netherlands, when he made none for Spain.[635]

The promulgation of the decrees was received, as had been anticipated,
with general discontent. The clergy complained of the interference with
their immunities. The men of Brabant stood stoutly on the chartered
rights secured to them by the "_Joyeuse Entrée_". And the people
generally resisted the decrees, from a vague idea of their connection
with the Inquisition; while, as usual when mischief was on foot, they
loudly declaimed against Granvelle as being at the bottom of it.

In this unhappy condition of affairs, it was determined by the council
of state to send some one to Madrid to lay the grievances of the nation
before the king, and to submit to him what in their opinion would be the
most effectual remedy. They were the more induced to this by the
unsatisfactory nature of the royal correspondence. Philip, to the great
discontent of the lords, had scarcely condescended to notice their
letters.[636] Even to Margaret's ample communications he rarely
responded, and when he did, it was in vague and general terms, conveying
little more than the necessity of executing justice and watching over
the purity of the Faith.

The person selected for the unenviable mission to Madrid was Egmont,
whose sentiments of loyalty, and of devotion to the Catholic faith, it
was thought, would recommend him to the king; while his brilliant
reputation, his rank, and his popular manners would find favor with the
court and the people. Egmont himself was the less averse to the mission,
that he had some private suits of his own to urge with the monarch.

This nomination was warmly supported by William, between whom and the
count a perfectly good understanding seems to have subsisted, in spite
of the efforts of the Cardinalists to revive their ancient feelings of
jealousy. Yet these feelings still glowed in the bosoms of the wives of
the two nobles, as was evident from the warmth with which they disputed
the question of precedence with each other. Both were of the highest
rank, and, as there was no umpire to settle the delicate question, it
was finally arranged by the two ladies appearing in public always arm in
arm,--an equality which the haughty dames were careful to maintain, in
spite of the ridiculous embarrassments to which they were occasionally
exposed by narrow passages and doorways.[637] If the question of
precedence had related to character, it would have been easily settled.
The troubles from the misconduct of Anne of Saxony bore as heavily on
the prince, her husband, at this very time, as the troubles of the


Before Egmont's departure, a meeting of the council of state was called,
to furnish him with the proper instructions. The president, Viglius,
gave it as his opinion, that the mission was superfluous; and that the
great nobles had only to reform their own way of living to bring about
the necessary reforms in the country. Egmont was instructed by the
regent to represent to the king the deplorable condition of the land,
the prostration of public credit, the decay of religion, and the
symptoms of discontent and disloyalty in the people. As the most
effectual remedy for these evils, he was to urge the king to come in
person, and that speedily, to Flanders. "If his majesty does not approve
of this," said Margaret, "impress upon him the necessity of making
further remittances, and of giving me precise instructions as to the
course I am to pursue."[639]

The prince of Orange took part in the discussion with a warmth he had
rarely shown. It was time, he said, that the king should be disabused of
the errors under which he labored with respect to the Netherlands. The
edicts must be mitigated. It was not possible, in the present state of
feeling, either to execute the edicts or to maintain the
Inquisition.[640] The Council of Trent was almost equally odious; nor
could they enforce its decrees in the Netherlands while the countries on
the borders rejected them. The people would no longer endure the
perversion of justice, and the miserable wrangling of the
councils.--This last blow was aimed at the president.--The only remedy
was to enlarge the council of state, and to strengthen its authority.
For his own part, he concluded, he could not understand how any prince
could claim the right of interfering with the consciences of his
subjects in matters of religion.[641]--The impassioned tone of his
eloquence, so contrary to the usually calm manner of William the Silent,
and the boldness with which he avowed his opinions, caused a great
sensation in the assembly.[642] That night was passed by Viglius, who
gives his own account of the matter, in tossing on his bed, painfully
ruminating on his forlorn position in the council, with scarcely one to
support him in the contest which he was compelled to wage, not merely
with the nobles, but with the regent herself. The next morning, while
dressing, he was attacked by a fit of apoplexy, which partially deprived
him of the use of both his speech and his limbs.[643] It was some time
before he could resume his place at the board. This new misfortune
furnished him with a substantial argument for soliciting the king's
permission to retire from office. In this he was warmly seconded by
Margaret, who, while she urged the president's incapacity, nothing
touched by his situation, eagerly pressed her brother to call him to
account for his delinquencies, and especially his embezzlement of the
church property.[644]

Philip, who seems to have shunned any direct intercourse with his
Flemish subjects, had been averse to have Egmont, or any other envoy,
sent to Madrid. On learning that the mission was at length settled, he
wrote to Margaret that he had made up his mind to receive the count
graciously, and to show no discontent with the conduct of the lords.
That the journey, however, was not without its perils, may be inferred
from a singular document that has been preserved to us. It is signed by
a number of Egmont's personal friends, each of whom traced his signature
in his own blood. In this paper the parties pledge their faith, as true
knights and gentlemen, that if any harm be done to Count Egmont during
his absence, they will take ample vengeance on Cardinal Granvelle, or
whoever might be the author of it.[645] The cardinal seems to have been
the personification of evil with the Flemings of every degree. This
instrument, which was deposited with the Countess Egmont, was subscribed
with the names of seven nobles, most of them afterwards conspicuous in
the troubles of the country. One might imagine that such a document was
more likely to alarm than to reassure the wife to whom it was

In the beginning of January, Egmont set out on his journey. He was
accompanied for some distance by a party of his friends, who at Cambray
gave him a splendid entertainment. Among those present was the
archbishop of Cambray, a prelate who had made himself unpopular by the
zeal he had shown in the persecution of the Reformers. As the wine-cup
passed freely round, some of the younger guests amused themselves with
frequently pledging the prelate, and endeavoring to draw him into a
greater degree of conviviality than was altogether becoming his station.
As he at length declined their pledges, they began openly to taunt him;
and one of the revellers, irritated by the archbishop's reply, would
have thrown a large silver dish at his head, had not his arm been
arrested by Egmont. Another of the company, however, succeeded in
knocking off the prelate's cap;[647] and a scene of tumult ensued, from
which the archbishop was extricated, not without difficulty, by the more
sober and considerate part of the company. The whole affair--mortifying
in the extreme to Egmont--is characteristic of the country at this
period; when business of the greatest importance was settled at the
banquet, as we often find in the earlier history of the revolution.


Egmont's reception at Madrid was of the most flattering kind. Philip's
demeanor towards his great vassal was marked by unusual benignity; and
the courtiers, readily taking their cue from their sovereign, vied with
one another in attentions to the man whose prowess might be said to have
won for Spain the great victories of Gravelines and St. Quentin. In
fine, Egmont, whose brilliant exterior and noble bearing gave additional
lustre to his reputation, was the object of general admiration during
his residence of several weeks at Madrid. It seemed as if the court of
Castile was prepared to change its policy, from the flattering
attentions it thus paid to the representative of the Netherlands.

During his stay, Egmont was admitted to several audiences, in which he
exposed to the monarch the evils that beset the country, and the
measures proposed for relieving them. As the two most effectual, he
pressed him to mitigate the edicts, and to reorganize the council of
state.[648] Philip listened with much benignity to these suggestions of
the Flemish noble; and if he did not acquiesce, he gave no intimation to
the contrary, except by assuring the count of his determination to
maintain the integrity of the Catholic faith. To Egmont personally he
showed the greatest indulgence, and the count's private suits sped as
favorably as he could have expected. But a remarkable anecdote proves
that Philip, at this very time, with all this gracious demeanor, had not
receded one step from the ground he had always occupied.

Not long after Egmont's arrival, Philip privately called a meeting of
the most eminent theologians in the capital. To this conclave he
communicated briefly the state of the Low Countries, and their demand to
enjoy freedom of conscience in matters of religion. He concluded by
inquiring the opinion of his auditors on the subject. The reverend body,
doubtless supposing that the king only wanted their sanction to
extricate himself from the difficulties of his position, made answer,
"that, considering the critical situation of Flanders, and the imminent
danger, if thwarted, of its disloyalty to the crown and total defection
from the Church, he might be justified in allowing the people freedom of
worshipping in their own way." To this Philip sternly replied, "He had
not called them to learn whether he _might_ grant this to the Flemings,
but whether he _must_ do so."[649] The flexible conclave, finding they
had mistaken their cue, promptly answered in the negative; on which
Philip, prostrating himself on the ground before a crucifix, exclaimed,
"I implore thy divine majesty, Ruler of all things, that thou keep me in
the mind that I am in, never to allow myself either to become or to be
called the lord of those who reject thee for their Lord."[650]--The
story was told to the historian who records it by a member of the
assembly, filled with admiration at the pious zeal of the monarch! From
that moment the doom of the Netherlands was sealed.

Yet Egmont had so little knowledge of the true state of things, that he
indulged in the most cheerful prognostications for the future. His frank
and cordial nature readily responded to the friendly demonstrations he
received, and his vanity was gratified by the homage universally paid to
him. On leaving the country, he made a visit to the royal residences of
Segovia and of the Escorial,--the magnificent pile already begun by
Philip, and which continued to occupy more or less of his time during
the remainder of his reign. Egmont, in a letter addressed to the king,
declares himself highly delighted with what he has seen at both these
places, and assures his sovereign that he returns to Flanders the most
contented man in the world.[651]

When arrived there, early in April, 1565, the count was loud in his
profession of the amiable dispositions of the Castilian court towards
the Netherlands. Egmont's countrymen--William of Orange and a few
persons of cooler judgment alone excepted--readily indulged in the same
dream of sanguine expectation, flattering themselves with the belief
that a new policy was to prevail at Madrid, and that their country was
henceforth to thrive under the blessings of religious toleration.--It
was a pleasing illusion, destined to be of no long duration.



Philip's Duplicity.--His Procrastination.--Despatches from
Segovia.--Effect on the Country.--The Compromise.--Orange and Egmont.

1565, 1566.

Shortly after Egmont's return to Brussels, Margaret called a meeting of
the council of state, at which the sealed instructions brought by the
envoy from Madrid were opened and read. They began by noticing the
count's demeanor in terms so flattering as showed the mission had proved
acceptable to the king. Then followed a declaration, strongly expressed
and sufficiently startling. "I would rather lose a hundred thousand
lives, if I had so many," said the monarch, "than allow a single change
in matters of religion."[652] He, however, recommended that a commission
be appointed, consisting of three bishops with a number of jurists, who
should advise with the members of the council as to the best mode of
instructing the people, especially in their spiritual concerns. It might
be well, moreover, to substitute some secret methods for the public
forms of execution, which now enabled the heretic to assume to himself
the glory of martyrdom, and thereby produce a mischievous impression on
the people.[653] No other allusion was made to the pressing grievances
of the nation, though, in a letter addressed at the same time to the
duchess, Philip said that he had come to no decision as to the council
of state, where the proposed change seemed likely to be attended with


This, then, was the result of Egmont's mission to Madrid! This the
change so much vaunted in the policy of Philip! "The count has been the
dupe of Spanish cunning," exclaimed the prince of Orange. It was too
true; and Egmont felt it keenly, as he perceived the ridicule to which
he was exposed by the confident tone in which he had talked of the
amiable dispositions of the Castilian court, and by the credit he had
taken to himself for promoting them.[655]

A greater sensation was produced among the people; for their
expectations had been far more sanguine than those entertained by
William, and the few who, like him, understood the character of Philip
too well to place great confidence in the promises of Egmont. They
loudly declaimed against the king's insincerity, and accused their envoy
of having shown more concern for his private interests than for those of
the public. This taunt touched the honor of that nobleman, who bitterly
complained that it was an artifice of Philip to destroy his credit with
his countrymen; and the better to prove his good faith, he avowed his
purpose of throwing up at once all the offices he held under

The spirit of persecution, after a temporary lull, now again awakened.
But everywhere the inquisitors were exposed to insult, and met with the
same resistance as before; while their victims were cheered with
expressions of sympathy from those who saw them led to execution. To
avoid the contagion of example, the executions were now conducted
secretly in the prisons.[657] But the mystery thus thrown around the
fate of the unhappy sufferer only invested it with an additional horror.
Complaints were made every day to the government by the states, the
magistrates, and the people, denouncing the persecutions to which they
were exposed. Spies, they said, were in every house, watching looks,
words, gestures. No man was secure, either in person or property. The
public groaned under an intolerable slavery.[658] Meanwhile, the
Huguenot emissaries were busy as ever in propagating their doctrines;
and with the work of reform was mingled the seed of revolution.

The regent felt the danger of this state of things, and her impotence to
relieve it. She did all she could in freely exposing it to Philip,
informing him at the same time of Egmont's disgust, and the general
discontent of the nation, at the instructions from Spain. She ended, as
usual, by beseeching her brother to come himself, if he would preserve
his authority in the Netherlands.[659] To these communications the royal
answers came but rarely; and, when they did come, were for the most part
vague and unsatisfactory.

"Everything goes on with Philip," writes Chantonnay, formerly minister
to France, to his brother Granvelle,--"Everything goes on from
to-morrow to to-morrow; the only resolution is, to remain
irresolute.[660] The king will allow matters to become so entangled in
the Low Countries, that, if he ever should visit them, he will find it
easier to conform to the state of things than to mend it. The lords
there are more of kings than the king himself.[661] They have all the
smaller nobles in leading-strings. It is impossible that Philip should
conduct himself like a man.[662] His only object is to cajole the
Flemish nobles, so that he may be spared the necessity of coming to

"It is a pity," writes the secretary, Perez, "that the king will manage
affairs as he does, now taking counsel of this man, and now of that;
concealing some matters from those he consults, and trusting them with
others, showing full confidence in no one. With this way of proceeding,
it is no wonder that despatches should be contradictory in their

It is doubtless true, that procrastination and distrust were the
besetting sins of Philip, and were followed by their natural
consequences. He had, moreover, as we have seen, a sluggishness of
nature, which kept him in Madrid when he should have been in
Brussels,--where his father, in similar circumstances, would long since
have been, seeing with his own eyes what Philip saw only with the eyes
of others. But still his policy, in the present instance, may be
referred quite as much to deliberate calculation as to his natural
temper. He had early settled it as a fixed principle never to concede
religious toleration to his subjects. He had intimated this pretty
clearly in his different communications to the government of Flanders.
That he did not announce it in a more absolute and unequivocal form may
well have arisen from the apprehension, that, in the present irritable
state of the people, this might rouse their passions into a flame. At
least, it might be reserved for a last resort. Meanwhile, he hoped to
weary them out by maintaining an attitude of cold reserve; until,
convinced of the hopelessness of resistance, they would cease altogether
to resist. In short, he seemed to deal with the Netherlands like a
patient angler, who allows the trout to exhaust himself by his own
efforts, rather than by a violent movement risk the loss of him
altogether. It is clear Philip did not understand the character of the
Netherlander,--as dogged and determined as his own.

Considering the natural bent of the king's disposition, there seems no
reason to charge Granvelle, as was commonly done in the Low Countries,
with having given a direction to his policy. It is, however, certain,
that, on all great questions, the minister's judgment seems to have
perfectly coincided with that of his master. "If your majesty mitigates
the edicts," writes the cardinal, "affairs will become worse in Flanders
than they are in France."[664] No change should be allowed in the
council of state.[665] A meeting of the states-general would inflict an
injury which the king would feel for thirty years to come![666]
Granvelle maintained a busy correspondence with his partisans in the Low
Countries, and sent the results of it--frequently the original letters
themselves--to Madrid. Thus Philip, by means of the reports of the
great nobles on the one hand, and of the Cardinalists on the other, was
enabled to observe the movements in Flanders from the most opposite
points of view.


The king's replies to the letters of the minister were somewhat scanty,
to judge from the complaints which Granvelle made of his neglect. With
all this, the cardinal professes to be well pleased that he is rid of so
burdensome an office as that of governing the Netherlands. "Here," he
writes to his friend Viglius, "I make good cheer, busying myself with my
own affairs, and preparing my despatches in quiet, seldom leaving the
house, except to take a walk, to attend church, or to visit my
mother."[667] In this simple way of life, the philosophic statesman
seems to have passed his time to his own satisfaction, though it is
evident, notwithstanding his professions, that he cast many a longing
look back to the Netherlands, the seat of his brief authority. "The
hatred the people of Flanders bear me," he writes to Philip, "afflicts
me sorely; but I console myself that it is for the service of God and my
king."[668] The cardinal, amid his complaints of the king's neglect,
affected the most entire submission to his will. "I would go anywhere,"
he writes,--"to the Indies, anywhere in the world,--would even throw
myself into the fire, did you desire it."[669] Philip, not long after,
put these professions to the test. In October, 1565, he yielded to the
regent's importunities, and commanded Granvelle to transfer his
residence to Rome. The cardinal would not move. "Anywhere," he wrote to
his master, "but to Rome. That is a place of ceremonies and empty show,
for which I am nowise qualified. Besides, it would look too much like a
submission on your part. My diocese of Mechlin has need of me; now, if I
should go to Spain, it would look as if I went to procure the aid which
it so much requires."[670] But the cabinet of Madrid were far from
desiring the presence of so cunning a statesman to direct the royal
counsels. The orders were reiterated, to go to Rome. To Rome,
accordingly, the reluctant minister went; and we have a letter from him
to the king, dated from that capital, the first of February, 1566, in
which he counsels his master by no means to think of introducing the
Spanish Inquisition into the Netherlands.[671] It might seem as if,
contrary to the proverb, change of climate had wrought some change in
the disposition of the cardinal.--From this period, Granvelle, so long
the terror of the Low Countries, disappears from the management of their
affairs. He does not, however, disappear from the political theatre. We
shall again meet with the able and ambitious prelate, first as viceroy
of Naples, and afterwards at Madrid occupying the highest station in the
councils of his sovereign.

Early in July, 1565, the commission of reform appointed by Philip
transmitted its report to Spain. It recommended no change in the present
laws, except so far as to authorize the judges to take into
consideration the age and sex of the accused, and in case of penitence
to commute the capital punishment of the convicted heretic for
banishment. Philip approved of the report in all particulars,--except
the only particular that involved a change, that of mercy to the
penitent heretic.[672]

At length, the king resolved on such an absolute declaration of his will
as should put all doubts on the matter at rest, and relieve him from
further importunity. On the seventeenth of October, 1565, he addressed
that memorable letter to his sister, from the Wood of Segovia, which may
be said to have determined the fate of the Netherlands. Philip, in this,
intimates his surprise that his letters should appear to Egmont
inconsistent with what he had heard from his lips at Madrid. His desire
was not for novelty in anything. He would have the Inquisition conducted
by the inquisitors, as it had hitherto been, and as by right, divine and
human, belonged to them.[673] For the edicts, it was no time in the
present state of religion to make any change; both his own and those of
his father must be executed. The Anabaptists--a sect for which, as the
especial butt of persecution, much intercession had been made--must be
dealt with according to the rigor of the law. Philip concluded by
conjuring the regent and the lords in the council faithfully to obey his
commands, as in so doing they would render the greatest service to the
cause of religion and of their country,--which last, he adds, without
the execution of these ordinances, would be of little worth.[674]

In a private letter to the regent of nearly the same date with these
public despatches, Philip speaks of the proposed changes in the council
of state as a subject on which he had not made up his mind.[675] He
notices also the proposed convocation of the states-general as a thing,
in the present disorders of the country, altogether
inexpedient.[676]--Thus the king's despatches covered nearly all the
debatable ground on which the contest had been so long going on between
the crown and the country. There could be no longer any complaint of
ambiguity or reserve in the expression of the royal will. "God knows,"
writes Viglius, "what wry faces were made in the council on learning the
absolute will of his majesty!"[677] There was not one of its members,
not even the president or Barlaimont, who did not feel the necessity of
bending to the tempest so far as to suspend, if not to mitigate, the
rigor of the law. They looked to the future with gloomy apprehension.
Viglius strongly urged, that the despatches should not be made public
till some further communication should be had with Philip to warn him of
the consequences. In this he was opposed by the prince of Orange. "It
was too late," he said, "to talk of what was expedient to be done. Since
the will of his majesty was so unequivocally expressed, all that
remained for the government was to execute it."[678] In vain did Viglius
offer to take the whole responsibility of the delay on himself.
William's opinion, supported by Egmont and Hoorne, prevailed with the
regent, too timid, by such an act of disobedience, to hazard the
displeasure of her brother. As, late in the evening, the council broke
up, William was heard to exclaim, "Now we shall see the beginning of a
fine tragedy!"[679]


In the month of December, the regent caused copies of the despatches,
with extracts from the letters to herself, to be sent to the governors
and the councils of the several provinces, with orders that they should
see to their faithful execution. Officers, moreover, were to be
appointed, whose duty it was to ascertain the manner in which these
orders were fulfilled, and to report thereon to the government.

The result was what had been foreseen. The publication of the
despatches--to borrow the words of a Flemish writer--created a sensation
throughout the country little short of what would have been caused by a
declaration of war.[680] Under every discouragement, men had flattered
themselves, up to this period, with the expectation of some change for
the better. The constantly increasing number of the Reformers, the
persevering resistance to the Inquisition, the reiterated remonstrances
to the government, the general persuasion that the great nobles, even
the regent, were on their side, had all combined to foster the hope that
toleration, to some extent, would eventually be conceded by Philip.[681]
This hope was now crushed. Whatever doubts had been entertained were
dispelled by these last despatches, which came like a hurricane,
sweeping away the mists that had so long blinded the eyes of men, and
laying open the policy of the crown, clear as day, to the dullest
apprehension. The people passed to the extremity of despair. The Spanish
Inquisition, with its train of horrors, seemed to be already in the
midst of them. They called to mind all the tales of woe they had heard
of it. They recounted the atrocities perpetrated by the Spaniards in the
New World, which, however erroneously, they charged on the Holy Office.
"Do they expect," they cried, "that we shall tamely wait here, like the
wretched Indians, to be slaughtered by millions?"[682] Men were seen
gathering into knots, in the streets and public squares, discussing the
conduct of the government, and gloomily talking of secret associations
and foreign alliances. Meetings were stealthily held in the woods, and
in the suburbs of the great towns, where the audience listened to
fanatical preachers, who, while discussing the doctrines of religious
reform, darkly hinted at resistance. Tracts were printed, and widely
circulated, in which the reciprocal obligations of lord and vassal were
treated, and the right of resistance was maintained; and, in some
instances, these difficult questions were handled with decided ability.
A more common form was that of satire and scurrilous lampoon,--a
favorite weapon with the early Reformers. Their satirical sallies were
levelled indifferently at the throne and the Church. The bishops were an
obvious mark. No one was spared. Comedies were written to ridicule the
clergy. Never since the discovery of the art of printing--more than a
century before--had the press been turned into an engine of such
political importance as in the earlier stages of the revolution in the
Netherlands. Thousands of the seditious pamphlets thus thrown off were
rapidly circulated among a people, the humblest of whom possessed what
many a noble in other lands, at that day, was little skilled in,--the
art of reading. Placards were nailed to the doors of the magistrates, in
some of the cities, proclaiming that Rome stood in need of her Brutus.
Others were attached to the gates of Orange and Egmont, calling on them
to come forth and save their country.[683]

Margaret was filled with alarm at these signs of disaffection throughout
the land. She felt the ground trembling beneath her. She wrote again and
again to Philip, giving full particulars of the state of the public
sentiment, and the seditious spirit which seemed on the verge of
insurrection. She intimated her wish to resign the government.[684] She
besought him to allow the states-general to be summoned, and, at all
events, to come in person and take the reins from her hands, too weak to
hold them.--Philip coolly replied, that "he was sorry the despatches
from Segovia had given such offence. They had been designed only for the
service of God and the good of the country."[685]

In this general fermentation, a new class of men came on the stage,
important by their numbers, though they had taken no part as yet in
political affairs. These were the lower nobility of the country; men of
honorable descent, and many of them allied by blood or marriage with the
highest nobles of the land. They were too often men of dilapidated
fortunes, fallen into decay through their own prodigality, or that of
their progenitors. Many had received their education abroad, some in
Geneva, the home of Calvin, where they naturally imbibed the doctrines
of the great Reformer. In needy circumstances, with no better possession
than the inheritance of honorable traditions, or the memory of better
days, they were urged by a craving, impatient spirit, which naturally
made them prefer any change to the existing order of things. They were,
for the most part, bred to arms; and, in the days of Charles the Fifth,
had found an ample career opened to their ambition under the imperial
banners. But Philip, with less policy than his father, had neglected to
court this class of his subjects, who, without fixed principles or
settled motives of action, seemed to float on the surface of events,
prepared to throw their weight, at any moment, into the scale of


Some twenty of these cavaliers, for the most part young men, met
together in the month of November, in Brussels, at the house of Count
Culemborg, a nobleman attached to the Protestant opinions. Their avowed
purpose was to listen to the teachings of a Flemish divine, named
Junius, a man of parts and learning, who had been educated in the school
of Calvin, and who, having returned to the Netherlands, exercised, under
the very eye of the regent, the dangerous calling of the missionary. At
this meeting of the discontented nobles, the talk naturally turned on
the evils of the land, and the best means of remedying them. The result
of the conferences was the formation of a league, the principal objects
of which are elaborately set forth in a paper known as the

This celebrated document declares that the king had been induced by evil
counsellors,--for the most part foreigners,--in violation of his oath,
to establish the Inquisition in the country; a tribunal opposed to all
law, divine and human, surpassing in barbarity anything ever yet
practised by tyrants,[687] tending to bring the land to utter ruin, and
the inhabitants to a state of miserable bondage. The confederates,
therefore, in order not to become the prey of those who, under the name
of religion, seek only to enrich themselves at the expense of life and
property,[688] bind themselves by a solemn oath to resist the
establishment of the Inquisition, under whatever form it may be
introduced, and to protect each other against it with their lives and
fortunes. In doing this, they protest that, so far from intending
anything to the dishonor of the king, their only intent is to maintain
the king in his estate, and to preserve the tranquillity of the realm.
They conclude with solemnly invoking the blessing of the Almighty on
this their lawful and holy confederation.

Such are some of the principal points urged in this remarkable
instrument, in which little mention is made of the edicts, every other
grievance being swallowed up in that of the detested Inquisition.
Indeed, the translations of the "Compromise," which soon appeared, in
various languages, usually bore the title of "League of the Nobles of
Flanders against the Spanish Inquisition."[689]

It will hardly be denied that those who signed this instrument had
already made a decided move in the game of rebellion. They openly
arrayed themselves against the execution of the law and the authority of
the crown. They charged the king with having violated his oath, and they
accused him of abetting a persecution which, under the pretext of
religion, had no other object than the spoil of its victims. It was of
little moment that all this was done under professions of loyalty. Such
professions are the decent cover with which the first approaches are
always made in a revolution.--The copies of the instrument differ
somewhat from each other. One of these, before me, as if to give the
edge of personal insult to their remonstrance, classes in the same
category "the vagabond, the priest, and the _Spaniard_."[690]

Among the small company who first subscribed the document, we find names
that rose to eminence in the stormy scenes of the revolution. There was
Count Louis of Nassau, a younger brother of the prince of Orange, the
"_bon chevalier_," as William used to call him,--a title well earned by
his generous spirit and many noble and humane qualities. Louis was bred
a Lutheran, and was zealously devoted to the cause of reform, when his
brother took but a comparatively languid interest in it. His ardent,
precipitate temper was often kept in check, and more wisely directed, by
the prudent counsels of William; while he amply repaid his brother by
his devoted attachment, and by the zeal and intrepidity with which he
carried out his plans. Louis, indeed, might be called the right hand of

Another of the party was Philip de Marnix, lord of St. Aldegonde. He was
the intimate friend of William of Orange. In the words of a Belgian
writer, he was one of the beautiful characters of the time;[691]
distinguished alike as a soldier, a statesman, and a scholar. It is to
his pen that the composition of the "Compromise" has generally been
assigned. Some critics have found its tone inconsistent with the sedate
and tranquil character of his mind. Yet St. Aldegonde's device, "_Repos
ailleurs_,"[692] would seem to indicate a fervid imagination and an
impatient spirit of activity.

But the man who seems to have entered most heartily into these first
movements of the revolution was Henry, viscount of Brederode. He sprung
from an ancient line, boasting his descent from the counts of Holland.
The only possession that remained to him, the lordship of Viana, he
still claimed to hold as independent of the king of Spain, or any other
potentate. His patrimony had been wasted in a course of careless
indulgence, and little else was left than barren titles and
pretensions,--which, it must be owned, he was not diffident in vaunting.
He was fond of convivial pleasures, and had a free, reckless humor, that
took with the people, to whom he was still more endeared by his sturdy
hatred of oppression. Brederode was, in short, one of those busy,
vaporing characters, who make themselves felt at the outset of a
revolution, but are soon lost in the course of it; like those ominous
birds which with their cries and screams herald in the tempest that soon
sweeps them out of sight for ever.

Copies of the "Compromise," with the names attached to it, were soon
distributed through all parts of the country, and eagerly signed by
great numbers, not merely of the petty nobility and gentry, but of
substantial burghers and wealthy merchants, men who had large interests
at stake in the community. Hames, king-at-arms of the Golden Fleece, who
was a zealous confederate, boasted that the names of two thousand such
persons were on his paper.[693] Among them were many Roman Catholics;
and we are again called to notice, that in the outset this Protestant
revolution received important support from the Catholics themselves, who
forgot all religious differences in a common hatred of arbitrary power.


Few, if any, of the great nobles seem to have been among the number of
those who signed the "Compromise,"--certainly none of the council of
state. It would hardly have done to invite one of the royal
councillors--in other words, one of the government--to join the
confederacy, when they would have been bound by the obligations of their
office to disclose it to the regent.

But if the great lords did not become actual parties to the league, they
showed their sympathy with the object of it, by declining to enforce the
execution of the laws against which it was directed. On the
twenty-fourth of January, 1566, the prince of Orange addressed, from
Breda, a letter to the regent, on the occasion of her sending him the
despatches from Segovia, for the rule of his government in the
provinces. In this remarkable letter, William exposes, with greater
freedom than he was wont, his reasons for refusing to comply with the
royal orders. "I express myself freely and frankly," he says, "on a
topic on which I have not been consulted; but I do so, lest by my
silence I may incur the responsibility of the mischief that must ensue."
He then briefly, and in a decided tone, touches on the evils of the
Inquisition,--introduced, as he says, contrary to the repeated pledges
of the king,--and on the edicts. Great indulgence had been of late shown
in the interpretation of these latter; and to revive them on a sudden,
so as to execute them with their ancient rigor, would be most
disastrous. There could not be a worse time than the present, when the
people were sorely pressed by scarcity of food, and in a critical state
from the religious agitations on their borders. It might cost the king
his empire in the Netherlands, and throw it into the hands of his

"For my own part," he concludes, "if his majesty insists on the
execution of these measures, rather than incur the stain which must rest
on me and my house by attempting it, I will resign my office into the
hands of some one better acquainted with the humors of the people, and
who will be better able to maintain order in the country."[695]

In the same tone several of the other provincial governors replied to
Margaret, declaring that they could never coolly stand by and see fifty
or sixty thousand of their countrymen burned to death for errors of
religion.[696] The regent was sorely perplexed by this desertion of the
men on whom she most relied. She wrote to them in a strain of
expostulation, and besought the prince, in particular, not to add to the
troubles of the time, by abandoning his post, where the attachment of
the people gave him such unbounded influence.[697]

The agitations of the country, in the mean time, continued to increase.
There was a scarcity of bread,--so often the forerunner of
revolution,--and this article had risen to an enormous price. The people
were menaced with famine, which might have led to serious consequences,
but for a temporary relief from Spain.[698]

Rumors now began to be widely circulated of the speedy coming of Philip,
with a large army, to chastise his vassals; and the rumors gained easy
credit with those who felt they were already within the pale of
rebellion. Duke Eric of Brunswick was making numerous levies on the
German borders, and it was generally believed that their destination was
Flanders. It was in vain that Margaret, who ascertained the falsehood of
the report, endeavored to undeceive the people.[699]


A short time previously, in the month of June, an interview had taken
place, at Bayonne, between the queen-mother, Catherine de Medicis, and
her daughter, Isabella of Spain. Instead of her husband, Isabella was
accompanied at this interview by the counsellor in whom he most trusted,
the duke of Alva. The two queens were each attended by a splendid
retinue of nobles. The meeting was prolonged for several days, amidst a
succession of balls, tourneys, and magnificent banquets, at which the
costly dress and equipage of the French nobility contrasted strangely
enough with the no less ostentatious simplicity of the Spaniards. This
simplicity, so contrary to the usual pomp of the Castilian, was in
obedience to the orders of Philip, who, foreseeing the national
emulation, forbade the indulgence of it at a foolish cost, which in the
end was severely felt by the shattered finances of France.

Amid the brilliant pageants which occupied the public eye, secret
conferences were daily carried on between Catherine and the duke of
Alva. The results were never published, but enough found its way into
the light to show that the principal object was the extermination of
heresy in France and the Netherlands. The queen-mother was for milder
measures,--though slower not less sure. But the iron-hearted duke
insisted that to grant liberty of conscience was to grant unbounded
licence. The only way to exterminate the evil was by fire and sword! It
was on this occasion that, when Catherine suggested that it was easier
to deal with the refractory commons than with the nobles, Alva replied,
"True, but ten thousand frogs are not worth the head of a single
salmon."[700]--an ominous simile, which was afterwards remembered
against its author, when he ruled over the Netherlands.[701]

The report of these dark conferences had reached the Low Countries,
where it was universally believed that the object of them was to secure
the coöperation of France in crushing the liberties of Flanders.[702]


In the panic thus spread throughout the country, the more timid or
prudent, especially of those who dwelt in the seaports, began to take
measures for avoiding these evils by emigration. They sought refuge in
Protestant states, and especially in England, where no less than thirty
thousand, we are told by a contemporary, took shelter under the sceptre
of Elizabeth.[703] They swarmed in the cities of London and Sandwich,
and the politic queen assigned them also the seaport of Norwich as their
residence. Thus Flemish industry was transferred to English soil. The
course of trade between the two nations now underwent a change. The silk
and woollen stuffs, which had formerly been sent from Flanders to
England, became the staple of a large export-trade from England to
Flanders. "The Low Countries," writes the correspondent of Granvelle,
"are the Indies of the English, who make war on our purses, as the
French, some years since, made war on our towns."[704]

Some of the Flemish provinces, instead of giving way to despondency,
appealed sturdily to their charters, to rescue them from the arbitrary
measures of the crown. The principal towns of Brabant, with Antwerp at
their head, intrenched themselves behind their _Joyeuse Entrée_. The
question was brought before the council; a decree was given in favor of
the applicants, and ratified by the regent; and the free soil of Brabant
was no longer polluted by the presence of the Inquisition.[705]

The gloom now became deeper round the throne of the regent. Of all in
the Netherlands, the person least to be envied was the one who ruled
over them. Weaned from her attachment to Granvelle by the influence of
the lords, Margaret now found herself compelled to resume the arbitrary
policy which she disapproved, and to forfeit the support of the very
party to which of late she had given all her confidence. The lords in
the council withdrew from her, the magistrates in the provinces thwarted
her, and large masses of the population were arrayed in actual
resistance against the government. It may seem strange that it was not
till the spring of 1566 that she received positive tidings of the
existence of the league, when she was informed of it by Egmont, and some
others of the council of state.[706] As usual, the rumor went beyond the
truth. Twenty or thirty thousand men were said to be in arms, and half
that number to be prepared to march on Brussels, and seize the person of
the regent, unless she complied with their demands.[707]

For a moment Margaret thought of taking refuge in the citadel. But she
soon rallied, and showed the spirit to have been expected in the
daughter of Charles the Fifth. She ordered the garrisons to be
strengthened in the fortresses throughout the country. She summoned the
companies of _ordonnance_ to the capital, and caused them to renew their
oaths of fidelity to the king. She wrote to the Spanish ministers at the
neighboring courts, informed them of the league, and warned them to
allow no aid to be sent to it from the countries where they resided.
Finally, she called a meeting of the knights of the Golden Fleece and
the council of state, for the twenty-seventh of March, to deliberate on
the perilous situation of the country. Having completed these
arrangements, the duchess wrote to her brother, informing him exactly of
the condition of things, and suggesting what seemed to her counsellors
the most effectual remedy. She wrote the more freely, as her love of
power had yielded to a sincere desire to extricate herself from the
trials and troubles which attended it.[708]

There were but two courses, she said, force or concession.[709] The
former, to say nothing of the ruin it would bring on the land, was
rendered difficult by want of money to pay the troops, and by the want
of trustworthy officers, to command them. Concessions must consist in
abolishing the Inquisition,--a useless tribunal where sectaries swarmed
openly in the cities,--in modifying the edicts, and in granting a free
pardon to all who had signed the Compromise, provided they would return
to their duty.[710] On these terms, the lords of the council were
willing to guaranty the obedience of the people. At all events, they
promised Margaret their support in enforcing it. She would not express
her own preference for either of the alternatives presented to Philip;
but would faithfully execute his commands, whatever they might be, to
the best of her ability.--Without directly expressing her preference, it
was pretty clear on which side it lay. Margaret concluded by earnestly
beseeching her brother to return an immediate answer to her despatches
by the courier who bore them.


The person who seems to have enjoyed the largest share of Margaret's
confidence, at this time, was Egmont. He remained at Brussels, and still
kept his seat in council after William had withdrawn to his estates in
Breda. Yet the prince, although he had left Brussels in disgust, had not
taken part with the confederates; much less--as was falsely rumored, and
to his great annoyance--put himself at their head.[711] His brother, it
is true, and some of his particular friends, had joined the league. But
Louis declares that he did so without the knowledge of William. When the
latter, a fortnight afterwards, learned the existence of the league, he
expressed his entire disapprobation of it.[712] He even used his
authority, we are told, to prevent the confederates from resorting to
some violent measures, among others the seizure of Antwerp, promising
that he would aid them to accomplish their ends in a more orderly
way.[713] What he desired was, to have the states-general called
together by the king. But he would not assume a hostile attitude, like
that of the confederates, to force him into this unpalatable
measure.[714] When convened, he would have had the legislature, without
transcending its constitutional limits, remonstrate, and lay the
grievances of the nation before the throne.

This temperate mode of proceeding did not suit the hot blood of the
younger confederates. "Your brother," writes Hames to Louis, "is too
slow and lukewarm. He would have us employ only remonstrance against
these hungry wolves; against enemies who do nothing in return but
behead, and banish, and burn us. We are to do the talking, and they the
acting. We must fight with the pen, while they fight with the

The truth was, that William was not possessed of the fiery zeal which
animated most of the Reformers. In his early years, as we have seen, he
had been subjected to the influence of the Protestant religion at one
period, and of the Roman Catholic at another. If the result of this had
been to beget in him something like a philosophical indifference to the
great questions in dispute, it had proved eminently favorable to a
spirit of toleration. He shrunk from that system of persecution which
proscribed men for their religious opinions. Soon after the arrival of
the despatches from Segovia, William wrote to a friend: "The king
orders, not only obstinate heretics, but even the penitent, to be put to
death. I know not how I can endure this. It does not seem to me that
such measures are either Christian-like or practicable."[716] In another
letter he says: "I greatly fear these despatches will drive men into
rebellion. I should be glad, if I could, to save my country from ruin,
and so many innocent persons from slaughter. But when I say anything in
the council, I am sure to be misinterpreted. So I am greatly perplexed;
since speech and silence are equally bad."[717]

Acting with his habitual caution, therefore, he spoke little, and seldom
expressed his sentiments in writing. "The less one puts in writing," he
said to his less prudent brother, "the better."[718] Yet when the
occasion demanded it, he did not shrink from a plain avowal of his
sentiments, both in speaking and writing. Such was the speech he
delivered in council before Egmont's journey to Spain; and in the same
key was the letter which he addressed to the regent on receiving the
despatches from Segovia. But, whatever might be his reserve, his real
opinions were not misunderstood. He showed them too plainly by his
actions. When Philip's final instructions were made known to him by
Margaret, the prince, as he had before done under Granvelle, ceased to
attend the meetings of the council, and withdrew from Brussels.[719] He
met in Breda, and afterwards in Hoogstraten, in the spring of 1566, a
number of the principal nobles, under cover, as usual, of a banquet.
Discussions took place on the state of the country, and some of the
confederates who were present at the former place were for more violent
measures than William approved. As he could not bring them over to his
own temperate policy, he acquiesced in the draft of a petition, which,
as we shall see in the ensuing chapter, was presented to the
regent.[720] On the whole, up to the period at which we are arrived, the
conduct of the prince of Orange must be allowed to have been wise and
consistent. In some respects it forms a contrast to that of his more
brilliant rival, Count Egmont.

This nobleman was sincerely devoted to the Roman Catholic faith. He was
stanch in his loyalty to the king. At the same time he was ardently
attached to his country, and felt a generous indignation at the wrongs
she suffered from her rulers. Thus Egmont was acted on by opposite
feelings; and, as he was a man of impulse, his conduct, as he yielded
sometimes to the one and sometimes to the other of these influences,
might be charged with inconsistency. None charged him with insincerity.

There was that in Egmont's character which early led the penetrating
Granvelle to point him out to Philip as a man who by politic treatment
might be secured to the royal cause.[721] Philip and his sister, the
regent, both acted on this hint. They would hardly have attempted as
much with William. Egmont's personal vanity made him more accessible to
their approaches. It was this, perhaps, quite as much as any feeling of
loyalty, which, notwithstanding the affront put on him, as he conceived,
by the king, induced him to remain at Brussels, and supply the place in
the councils of the regent which William had left vacant. Yet we find
one of Granvelle's correspondents speaking of Egmont as too closely
united with the lords to be detached from them. "To say truth," says the
writer, "he even falters in his religion; and whatever he may say to-day
on this point, he will be sure to say the contrary to-morrow."[722] Such
a man, who could not be true to himself, could hardly become the leader
of others.


"They put Egmont forward," writes the regent's secretary, "as the
boldest, to say what other men dare not say."[723] This was after the
despatches had been received. "He complains bitterly," continues the
writer, "of the king's insincerity. The prince has more _finesse_. He
has also more credit with the nation. If you could gain him, you will
secure all."[724] Yet Philip did not try to gain him. With all his
wealth, he was not rich enough to do it. He knew this, and he hated
William with the hatred which a despotic monarch naturally bears to a
vassal of such a temper. He perfectly understood the character of
William. The nation understood it too; and, with all their admiration
for the generous qualities of Egmont, it was to his greater rival that
they looked to guide them in the coming struggle of the revolution.



Design of the Confederates.--They enter Brussels.--The Petition.--The


The party of the malecontents in the Netherlands comprehended persons of
very different opinions, who were by no means uniformly satisfied with
the reasonable objects proposed by the compromise. Some demanded entire
liberty of conscience. Others would not have stopped short of a
revolution that would enable the country to shake off the Spanish yoke.
And another class of men without principle of any kind--such as are too
often thrown up in strong political fermentations--looked to these
intestine troubles as offering the means of repairing their own fortunes
out of the wreck of their country's. Yet, with the exception of the
last, there were few who would not have been content to accept the
compromise as the basis of their demands.

The winter had passed away, however, and the confederacy had wrought no
change in the conduct of the government. Indeed, the existence of the
confederacy would not appear to have been known to the regent till the
latter part of February, 1566. It was not till the close of the
following month that it was formally disclosed to her by some of the
great lords.[725] If it was known to her before, Margaret must have
thought it prudent to affect ignorance, till some overt action on the
part of the league called for her notice.

It became, then, a question with the members of the league what was next
to be done. It was finally resolved to present a petition, in the name
of the whole body, to the regent, a measure which, as already intimated,
received the assent, if not the approbation, of the prince of Orange.
The paper was prepared, as it would seem, in William's own house at
Brussels, by his brother Louis; and was submitted, we are told, to the
revision of the prince, who thus had it in his power to mitigate, in
more than one instance the vehemence, or rather violence, of the

To give greater effect to the petition, it was determined that a large
deputation from the league should accompany its presentation to the
regent. Notice was given to four hundred of the confederates to assemble
at the beginning of April. They were to come well-mounted and armed,
prepared at once to proceed to Brussels. Among the number thus enrolled,
we find three gentlemen of Margaret's own household, as well as some
members of the companies of _ordonnance_ commanded by the prince, and by
the Counts Egmont, Hoorne, and other great lords.[727]

The duchess, informed of these proceedings, called a meeting of the
council of state and the knights of the Golden Fleece, to determine on
the course to be pursued. The discussion was animated, as there was much
difference of opinion. Some agreed with Count Barlaimont in regarding
the measure in the light of a menace. Such a military array could have
no other object than to overawe the government, and was an insult to the
regent. In the present excited state of the people, it would be attended
with the greatest danger to allow their entrance into the capital.[728]

The prince of Orange, who had yielded to Margaret's earnest entreaties
that he would attend this meeting, took a different view of the matter.
The number of the delegates, he said, only proved the interest taken in
the petition. They were men of rank, some of them kinsmen or personal
friends of those present. Their characters and position in the country
were sufficient sureties that they meditated no violence to the state.
They were the representatives of an ancient order of nobility; and it
would be strange indeed, if they were to be excluded from the right of
petition, enjoyed by the humblest individual.--In the course of the
debate, William made some personal allusions to his own situation,
delivering himself with great warmth. His enemies, he said, had the
royal ear, and would persuade the king to kill him and confiscate his
property.[729] He was even looked upon as the head of the confederacy.
It was of no use for him to give his opinion in the council, where it
was sure to be misinterpreted. All that remained for him was to ask
leave to resign his offices, and withdraw to his estates.[730] Count
Hoorne followed in much the same key, inveighing bitterly against the
ingratitude of Philip. The two nobles yielded, at length, so far to
Margaret's remonstrances, as to give their opinions on the course to be
pursued. But when she endeavored to recall them to their duty by
reminding them of their oaths to the king, they boldly replied, they
would willingly lay down their lives for their country, but would never
draw sword for the edicts or the Inquisition.[731]--William's views in
regard to the admission of the confederates into Brussels were supported
by much the greater part of the assembly, and finally prevailed with the


On the third of April, 1566, two hundred of the confederates entered the
gates of Brussels. They were on horseback, and each man was furnished
with a brace of pistols in his holsters, wearing in other respects only
the usual arms of a private gentleman. The Viscount Brederode and Louis
of Nassau rode at their head.[732] They prudently conformed to William's
advice, not to bring any foreigners in their train, and to enter the
city quietly, without attempting to stir the populace by any military
display, or the report of fire-arms.[733] Their coming was welcomed with
general joy by the inhabitants, who greeted them as a band of patriots
ready to do battle for the liberties of the country. They easily found
quarters in the houses of the principal citizens; and Louis and
Brederode were lodged in the mansion of the prince of Orange.[734]

On the following day a meeting of the confederates was held at the hotel
of Count Culemborg, where they listened to a letter which Brederode had
just received from Spain, informing him of the death of Morone, a
Flemish nobleman well known to them all, who had perished in the flames
of the Inquisition.[735] With feelings exasperated by this gloomy
recital, they renewed, in the most solemn manner, their oaths of
fidelity to the league. An application was then made to Margaret for
leave to lay their petition before her. The day following was assigned
for the act; and at noon, on the fifth of April, the whole company
walked in solemn procession through the streets of Brussels to the
palace of the regent. She received them, surrounded by the lords, in the
great hall adjoining the council-chamber. As they defiled before her,
the confederates ranged themselves along the sides of the apartment.
Margaret seems to have been somewhat disconcerted by the presence of so
martial an array within the walls of her palace. But she soon recovered
herself, and received them graciously.[736]

Brederode was selected to present the petition, and he prefaced it by a
short address. They had come in such numbers, he said, the better to
show their respect to the regent, and the deep interest they took in the
cause. They had been accused of opening a correspondence with foreign
princes, which he affirmed to be a malicious slander, and boldly
demanded to be confronted with the authors of it.[737]--Notwithstanding
this stout denial, it is very possible the audience did not place
implicit confidence in the assertions of the speaker. He then presented
the petition to the regent, expressing the hope that she would approve
of it, as dictated only by their desire to promote the glory of the king
and the good of the country. If this was its object, Margaret replied,
she doubted not she should be content with it.[738] The following day
was named for them again to wait on her, and receive her answer.

The instrument began with a general statement of the distresses of the
land, much like that in the Compromise, but couched in more respectful
language. The petitioners had hoped that the action of the great lords,
or of the states-general, would have led to some reform. But finding
these had not moved in the matter, while the evil went on increasing
from day to day, until ruin was at the gate, they had come to beseech
her highness to lay the subject herself before the king, and implore his
majesty to save the country from perdition by the instant abolition of
both the Inquisition and the edicts. Far from wishing to dictate laws to
their sovereign, they humbly besought her to urge on him the necessity
of convoking the states-general, and devising with them some effectual
remedy for the existing evils. Meanwhile they begged of her to suspend
the further execution of the laws in regard to religion until his
majesty's pleasure could be known. If their prayer were not granted,
they at least were absolved from all responsibility as to the
consequences, now that they had done their duty as true and loyal
subjects.[739]--The business-like character of this document forms a
contrast to the declamatory style of the Compromise; and in its
temperate tone, particularly, we may fancy we recognize the touches of
the more prudent hand of the prince of Orange.

On the sixth, the confederates again assembled in the palace of the
regent, to receive her answer. They were in greater force than before,
having been joined by a hundred and fifty of their brethren, who had
entered the city the night previous, under the command of Counts
Culemborg and Berg. They were received by Margaret in the same courteous
manner as on the preceding day, and her answer was made to them in
writing, being endorsed on their own petition.

She announced in it her purpose of using all her influence with her
royal brother to persuade him to accede to their wishes. They might rely
on his doing all that was conformable to his _natural and accustomed
benignity_.[740] She had herself, with the advice of her council and the
knights of the Golden Fleece, prepared a scheme for moderating the
edicts, to be laid before his majesty, which she trusted would satisfy
the nation. They must however, be aware, that she herself had no power
to suspend the execution of the laws. But she would send instructions to
the inquisitors to proceed with all discretion in the exercise of their
functions, until they should learn the king's pleasure.[741] She trusted
that the confederates would so demean themselves as not to make it
necessary to give different orders. All this she had done with the
greater readiness, from her conviction that they had no design to make
any innovation in the established religion of the country, but desired
rather to uphold it in all its vigor.

To this reply, as gracious in its expressions, and as favorable in its
import, as the league could possibly have expected, they made a formal
answer in writing, which they presented in a body to the duchess, on the
eighth of the month. They humbly thanked her for the prompt attention
she had given to their petition, but would have been still more
contented if her answer had been more full and explicit. They knew the
embarrassments under which she labored, and they thanked her for the
assurance she had given,--which, it may be remarked, she never did
give,--that all proceedings connected with the Inquisition and the
edicts should be stayed until his majesty's pleasure should be
ascertained. They were most anxious to conform to whatever the king,
_with the advice and consent of the states-general_, duly assembled,
should determine in matters of religion,[742] and they would show their
obedience by taking such order for their own conduct as should give
entire satisfaction to her highness.


To this the duchess briefly replied, that, if there were any cause for
offence hereafter, it would be chargeable, not on her, but on them. She
prayed the confederates henceforth to desist from their secret
practices, and to invite no new member to join their body.[743]

This brief and admonitory reply seems not to have been to the taste of
the petitioners, who would willingly have drawn from Margaret some
expression that might be construed into a sanction of their proceedings.
After a short deliberation among themselves, they again addressed her by
the mouth of one of their own number, the lord of Kerdes. The speaker,
after again humbly thanking the regent for her favorable answer, said
that it would have given still greater satisfaction to his associates,
if she would but have declared, in the presence of the great lords
assembled, that she took the union of the confederates in good part and
for the service of the king;[744] and he concluded with promising that
they would henceforth do all in their power to give contentment to her

To all this the duchess simply replied, she had no doubt of it. When
again pressed by the persevering deputy to express her opinion of this
assembly, she bluntly answered, she could form no judgment in the
matter.[745]--She gave pretty clear evidence, however, of her real
opinion, soon after, by dismissing the three gentlemen of her household
whom we have mentioned as having joined the league.[746]

As Margaret found that the confederates were not altogether satisfied
with her response to their petition, she allowed Count Hoogstraten, one
of her councillors, to inform some of them, privately, that she had
already written to the provinces to have all processes in affairs of
religion stayed until Philip's decision should be known. To leave no
room for distrust, the count was allowed to show them copies of the

The week spent by the league in Brussels was a season of general
jubilee. At one of the banquets given at Culemborg House, where three
hundred confederates were present, Brederode presided. During the repast
he related to some of the company, who had arrived on the day after the
petition was delivered, the manner in which it had been received by the
duchess. She seemed at first disconcerted, he said, by the number of the
confederates, but was reassured by Barlaimont, who told her "they were
nothing but a crowd of beggars."[748] This greatly incensed some of the
company,--with whom, probably, it was too true for a jest. But
Brederode, taking it more good-humoredly, said that he and his friends
had no objection to the name, since they were ready at any time to
become beggars for the service of their king and country.[749] This
sally was received with great applause by the guests, who, as they drank
to one another, shouted forth, "_Vivent les Gueux!_"--"Long live the

Brederode, finding the jest took so well,--an event, indeed, for which
he seems to have been prepared,--left the room, and soon returned with a
beggar's wallet, and a wooden bowl, such as was used by the mendicant
fraternity in the Netherlands. Then, pledging the company in a bumper,
he swore to devote his life and fortune to the cause. The wallet and the
bowl went round the table; and, as each of the merry guests drank in
turn to his confederates, the shout arose of "_Vivent les Gueux!"_ until
the hall rang with the mirth of the revellers.[750]

It happened that at the time the prince of Orange and the Counts Egmont
and Hoorne were passing by on their way to the council. Their attention
was attracted by the noise, and they paused a moment, when William, who
knew well the temper of the jovial company, proposed that they should go
in, and endeavor to break up their revels. "We may have some business of
the council to transact with these men this evening," he said, "and at
this rate they will hardly be in a condition for it." The appearance of
the three nobles gave a fresh impulse to the boisterous merriment of the
company; and as the new-comers pledged their friends in the wine-cup, it
was received with the same thundering acclamations of "_Vivent les
Gueux!_"[751] This incident, of so little importance in itself, was
afterwards made of consequence by the turn that was given to it in the
prosecution of the two unfortunate noblemen who accompanied the prince
of Orange.

Every one knows the importance of a popular name to a faction,--a _nom
de guerre_, under which its members may rally and make head together as
an independent party. Such the name of "_Gueux_" now became to the
confederates. It soon was understood to signify those who were opposed
to the government, and, in a wiser sense, to the Roman Catholic
religion. In every language in which the history of these acts has been
recorded,--the Latin, German, Spanish, or English,--the French term
_Gueux_ is ever employed to designate this party of malecontents in the

[Sidenote: THE GUEUX.]

It now became common to follow out the original idea by imitations of
the different articles used by mendicants. Staffs were procured, after
the fashion of those in the hands of the pilgrims, but more elaborately
carved. Wooden bowls, spoons, and knives became in great request, though
richly inlaid with silver, according to the fancy or wealth of the
possessor. Medals resembling those stuck by the beggars in their bonnets
were worn as a badge; and the "Gueux penny," as it was called,--a gold
or silver coin,--was hung from the neck, bearing on one side the effigy
of Philip, with the inscription, "_Fidèles au roi_;" and on the other,
two hands grasping a beggar's wallet, with the further legend, "_jusques
à porter la besace_;"--"Faithful to the king, even to carrying the
wallet."[753] Even the garments of the mendicant were affected by the
confederates, who used them as a substitute for their family liveries;
and troops of their retainers, clad in the ash-gray habiliments of the
begging friars, might be seen in the streets of Brussels and the other
cities of the Netherlands.[754]

On the tenth of April, the confederates quitted Brussels, in the orderly
manner in which they had entered it; except that, on issuing from the
gate, they announced their departure by firing a salute in honor of the
city which had given them so hospitable a welcome.[755] Their visit to
Brussels had not only created a great sensation in the capital itself,
but throughout the country. Hitherto the league had worked in darkness,
as it were, like a band of secret conspirators. But they had now come
forward into the light of day, boldly presenting themselves before the
regent, and demanding redress of the wrongs under which the nation was
groaning. The people took heart, as they saw this broad ægis extended
over them to ward off the assaults of arbitrary power. Their hopes grew
stronger, as they became assured of the interposition of the regent and
the great lords in their favor; and they could hardly doubt that the
voice of the country, backed as it was by that of the government, would
make itself heard at Madrid, and that Philip would at length be
compelled to abandon a policy which menaced him with the loss of the
fairest of his provinces.--They had yet to learn the character of their



The Edicts suspended.--The Sectaries.--The Public Preachings.--Attempt
to suppress them.--Meeting at St. Trond.--Philip's Concessions.


On quitting Brussels, the confederates left there four of their number
as a sort of committee to watch over the interests of the league. The
greater part of the remainder, with Brederode at their head, took the
road to Antwerp. They were hardly established in their quarters in that
city, when the building was surrounded by thousands of the inhabitants,
eager to give their visitors a tumultuous welcome. Brederode came out on
the balcony, and, addressing the crowd, told them that he had come
there, at the hazard of his life, to rescue them from the miseries of
the Inquisition. He called on his audience to take him as their leader
in this glorious work; and as the doughty champion pledged them in a
goblet of wine which he had brought with him from the table, the mob
answered by such a general shout as was heard in the furthest corners of
the city.[756] Thus a relation was openly established between the
confederates and the people, who were to move forward together in the
great march of the revolution.

Soon after the departure of the confederates from Brussels, the regent
despatched an embassy to Madrid to acquaint the king with the recent
proceedings, and to urge his acquiescence in the reforms solicited by
the league. The envoys chosen were the baron de Montigny--who had taken
charge, it may be remembered, of a similar mission before--and the
marquis of Bergen, a nobleman of liberal principles, but who stood high
in the regard of the regent.[757] Neither of the parties showed any
alacrity to undertake a commission which was to bring them so closely in
contact with the dread monarch in his capital. Bergen found an apology
for some time in a wound from a tennis-ball, which disabled his leg; an
ominous accident, interpreted by the chroniclers of the time into an
intimation from Heaven of the disastrous issue of the mission.[758]
Montigny reached Madrid some time before his companion, on the
seventeenth of June, and met with a gracious reception from Philip, who
listened with a benignant air to the recital of the measures suggested
for the relief of the country, terminating, as usual, with an
application for a summons of the states-general, as the most effectual
remedy for the disorders. But although the envoy was admitted to more
than one audience, he obtained no more comfortable assurance, than that
the subject should receive the most serious consideration of his


Meanwhile the regent was busy in digesting the plan of compromise to
which she had alluded in her reply to the confederates. When concluded,
it was sent to the governors of the several provinces, to be laid before
their respective legislatures. Their sanction, it was hoped, would
recommend its adoption to the people at large. It was first submitted to
some of the smaller states, as Artois, Namur, and Luxemburg, as most
likely to prove subservient to the wishes of the government. It was then
laid before several of the larger states, as Brabant and Flanders, whose
determination might be influenced by the example of the others. Holland,
Zealand, Utrecht, and one or two other provinces, where the spirit of
independence was highest, were not consulted at all. Yet this politic
management did not entirely succeed; and although some few gave an
unconditional assent, most of the provinces coupled their acquiescence
with limitations that rendered it of little worth.[760]

This was not extraordinary. The scheme was one which, however large the
concessions it involved on the part of the government, fell far short of
those demanded by the people. It denounced the penalty of death on all
ministers and teachers of the reformed religion, and all who harbored
them; and while it greatly mitigated the punishment of other offenders,
its few sanguinary features led the people sneeringly to call it,
instead of "moderation," the act of "_murderation_."[761] It fared,
indeed, with this compromise of the regent, as with most other half-way
measures. It satisfied neither of the parties concerned in it. The king
thought it as much too lenient as the people thought it too severe. It
never received the royal sanction, and of course never became a law. It
would therefore hardly have deserved the time I have bestowed on it,
except as evidence of the conciliatory spirit of the regent's

In the same spirit Margaret was careful to urge the royal officers to
give a liberal interpretation to the existing edicts, and to show the
utmost discretion in their execution. These functionaries were not slow
in obeying commands, which released them from so much of the odium that
attached to their ungrateful office. The amiable temper of the
government received support from a singular fraud which took place at
this time. An instrument was prepared, purporting to have come from the
knights of the Golden Fleece, in which this body guarantied to the
confederates that no one in the Low Countries should be molested on
account of his religion until otherwise determined by the king and the
states-general. This document, which carried its spurious origin on its
face, was nevertheless eagerly caught up and circulated among the
people, ready to believe what they most desired. In vain the regent, as
soon as she heard of it, endeavored to expose the fraud. It was too
late; and the influence of this imposture combined with the tolerant
measures of the government to inspire a confidence in the community
which was soon visible in its results. Some who had gone into exile
returned to their country. Many, who had cherished the new doctrines in
secret, openly avowed them; while others who were wavering, now that
they were relieved from all fear of consequences, became fixed in their
opinions. In short, the Reformation, in some form or other, was making
rapid advances over the country.[762]

Of the three great sects who embraced it, the Lutherans, the least
numerous, were the most eminent for their rank. The Anabaptists, far
exceeding them in number, were drawn almost wholly from the humbler
classes of the people. It is singular that this sect, the most quiet and
inoffensive of all, should have been uniformly dealt with by the law
with peculiar rigor. It may, perhaps, be attributed to the bad name
which attached to them from the excesses committed by their brethren,
the famous Anabaptists of Münster. The third denomination, the
Calvinists, far out-numbered both of the other two. They were also the
most active in the spirit of proselytism. They were stimulated by
missionaries trained in the schools of Geneva; and as their doctrines
spread silently over the land, not only men of piety and learning, but
persons of the highest social position, were occasionally drawn within
the folds of the sect.

The head-quarters of the Calvinists were in Flanders, Hainault, Artois,
and the provinces contiguous to France. The border land became the
residence of French Huguenots, and of banished Flemings, who on this
outpost diligently labored in the cause of the Reformation. The press
teemed with publications,--vindications of the faith, polemical tracts,
treatises, and satires against the Church of Rome and its errors,--those
spiritual missiles, in short, which form the usual magazine for
controversial warfare. These were distributed by means of peddlers and
travelling tinkers, who carried them, in their distant wanderings, to
the humblest firesides throughout the country. There they were left to
do their work; and the ground was thus prepared for the laborers whose
advent forms an epoch in the history of the Reformation.[763]

These were the ministers or missionaries, whose public preaching soon
caused a great sensation throughout the land. They first made their
appearance in Western Flanders, before small audiences gathered together
stealthily in the gloom of the forest and in the silence of night. They
gradually emerged into the open plains, thence proceeding to the
villages, until, growing bolder with impunity, they showed themselves in
the suburbs of the great towns and cities. On these occasions, thousands
of the inhabitants, men, women, and children, in too great force for the
magistrates to resist them, poured out of the gates to hear the
preacher. In the centre of the ground a rude staging was erected, with
an awning to protect him from the weather. Immediately round the rude
pulpit was gathered the more helpless part of the congregation, the
women and children. Behind them stood the men,--those in the outer
circle usually furnished with arms,--swords, pikes, muskets,--any weapon
they could pick up for the occasion. A patrol of horse occupied the
ground beyond, to protect the assembly and prevent interruption. A
barricade of wagons and other vehicles was thrown across the avenues
that led to the place, to defend it against the assaults of the
magistrates or the military. Persons stationed along the high roads
distributed religious tracts, and invited the passengers to take part in
the services.[764]


The preacher was frequently some converted priest or friar, accustomed
to speak in public, who, having passed the greater part of his life in
battling for the Church, now showed equal zeal in overturning it. It
might be, however, that the orator was a layman; some peasant or
artisan, who, gifted with more wit, or possibly more effrontery, than
his neighbors, felt himself called on to assume the perilous vocation of
a preacher. The discourse was in French or Flemish, whichever might be
the language spoken in the neighborhood. It was generally of the homely
texture suited both to the speaker and his audience. Yet sometimes he
descanted on the woes of the land with a pathos which drew tears from
every eye; and at others gave vent to a torrent of fiery eloquence, that
kindled the spirit of the ancient martyr in the bosoms of his hearers.

These lofty flights were too often degraded by coarse and scurrilous
invectives against the pope, the clergy, and the Inquisition,--themes,
peculiarly grateful to his audience, who testified their applause by as
noisy demonstrations as if they had been spectators in a theatre. The
service was followed by singing some portion of the Psalms in the French
version of Marot, or in a Dutch translation which had recently appeared
in Holland,[765] and which, although sufficiently rude, passed with the
simple people for a wonderful composition. After this, it was common for
those who attended to present their infants for baptism; and many
couples profited by the occasion to have the marriage ceremony performed
with the Calvinistic rites. The exercises were concluded by a collection
for the poor of their own denomination. In fine, these meetings,
notwithstanding the occasional licence of the preacher, seem to have
been conducted with a seriousness and decorum which hardly merit the
obloquy thrown on them by some of the Catholic writers.

The congregation, it is true, was made up of rather motley materials.
Some went out merely to learn what manner of doctrine it was that was
taught; others, to hear the singing, where thousands of voices blended
together in rude harmony under the canopy of heaven; others, again, with
no better motive than amusement, to laugh at the oddity--perhaps the
buffoonery--of the preacher. But far the larger portion of the audience
went with the purpose of joining in the religious exercises, and
worshipping God in their own way.[766] We may imagine what an influence
must have been exercised by these meetings, where so many were gathered
together, under a sense of common danger, to listen to the words of the
teacher, who taught them to hold all human law as light in comparison
with the higher law of conscience seated in their own bosoms. Even of
those who came to scoff, few there were, probably, who did not go away
with some food for meditation, or, it may be, the seeds of future
conversion implanted in their breasts.

The first of these public preachings--which began as early as May--took
place in the neighborhood of Ghent. Between six and seven thousand
persons were assembled. A magistrate of the city, with more valor than
discretion, mounted his horse, and, armed with sword and pistol, rode in
among the multitude, and undertook to arrest the minister. But the
people hastened to his rescue, and dealt so roughly with the unfortunate
officer, that he barely escaped with life from their hands.[767]

From Ghent the preachings extended to Ypres, Bruges, and other great
towns of Flanders,--always in the suburbs,--to Valenciennes, and to
Tournay, in the province of Hainault, where the Reformers were strong
enough to demand a place of worship within the walls. Holland was ready
for the Word. Ministers of the _new religion_, as it was called, were
sent both to that quarter and to Zealand. Gatherings of great multitudes
were held in the environs of Amsterdam, the Hague, Haarlem, and other
large towns, at which the magistrates were sometimes to be found mingled
with the rest of the burghers.

But the place where these meetings were conducted on the greatest scale
was Antwerp, a city containing then more than a hundred thousand
inhabitants, and the most important mart for commerce in the
Netherlands. It was the great resort of foreigners. Many of these were
Huguenots, who, under the pretext of trade, were much more busy with the
concerns of their religion. At the meetings without the walls, it was
not uncommon for thirteen or fourteen thousand persons to assemble.[768]
Resistance on the part of the magistrates was ineffectual. The mob got
possession of the keys of the city; and, as most of the Calvinists were
armed, they constituted a formidable force. Conscious of their strength,
they openly escorted their ministers back to town, and loudly demanded
that some place of worship should be appropriated to them within the
walls of Antwerp. The quiet burghers became alarmed. As it was known
that in the camp of the Reformers were many reckless and disorderly
persons, they feared the town might be given over to pillage. All trade
ceased. Many of the merchants secreted their effects, and some prepared
to make their escape as speedily as possible.[769]

The magistrates, in great confusion, applied to the regent, and besought
her to transfer her residence to Antwerp, where her presence might
overawe the spirit of sedition. But Margaret's council objected to her
placing herself in the hands of so factious a population; and she
answered the magistrates by inquiring what guaranty they could give her
for her personal safety. They then requested that the prince of Orange,
who held the office of _burgrave_ of Antwerp, and whose influence with
the people was unbounded, might be sent to them. Margaret hesitated as
to this; for she had now learned to regard William with distrust, as
assuming more and more an unfriendly attitude towards her brother.[770]
But she had no alternative, and she requested him to transfer his
residence to the disorderly capital, and endeavor to restore it to
tranquillity. The prince, on the other hand, disgusted with the course
of public affairs, had long wished to withdraw from any share in their
management. It was with reluctance he accepted the commission.


As he drew near to Antwerp the people flocked out by thousands to
welcome him. It would seem as if they hailed him as their deliverer; and
every window, verandah, and roof was crowded with spectators as he rode
through the gates of the capital.[771] The people ran up and down the
streets, singing psalms, or shouting, "_Vivent les Gueux!_" while they
thronged round the prince's horse in so dense a mass that it was
scarcely possible for him to force a passage.[772] Yet these
demonstrations of his popularity were not altogether satisfactory; and
he felt no pleasure at being thus welcomed as a chief of the league,
which, as we have seen, he was far from regarding with approbation.
Waving his hand repeatedly to those around him, he called on them to
disperse, impatiently exclaiming, "Take heed what you do, or, by Heaven,
you will have reason to rue it."[773] He rode straight to the hall where
the magistrates were sitting, and took counsel with them as to the best
means of allaying the popular excitement, and of preventing the wealthy
burghers from quitting the city. During the few weeks he remained there,
the prince conducted affairs so discreetly, as to bring about a better
understanding between the authorities and the citizens. He even
prevailed on the Calvinists to lay aside their arms. He found more
difficulty in persuading them to relinquish the design of appropriating
to themselves some place of worship within the walls. It was not till
William called in the aid of the military to support him, that he
compelled them to yield.[774]

Thus the spirit of reform was rapidly advancing in every part of the
country,--even in presence of the court, under the very eye of the
regent. In Brussels the people went through the streets by night,
singing psalms, and shouting the war-cry of _Vivent les Gueux!_ The
merchants and wealthy burghers were to be seen with the insignia of the
confederates on their dress.[775] Preparations were made for a public
preaching without the walls; but the duchess at once declared, that in
that event she would make one of the company at the head of her guard,
seize the preacher, and hang him up at the gates of the city![776] This
menace had the desired effect.

During these troublous times, Margaret, however little she may have
accomplished, could not be accused of sleeping on her post. She caused
fasts to be observed, and prayers to be offered in all the churches, to
avert the wrath of Heaven from the land. She did not confine herself to
these spiritual weapons, but called on the magistrates of the towns to
do their duty, and on all good citizens to support them. She commanded
foreigners to leave Antwerp, except those only who were there for
traffic. She caused placards to be everywhere posted up, reciting the
terrible penalties of the law against heretical teachers and those who
abetted them; and she offered a reward of six hundred florins to whoever
should bring any such offender to punishment.[777] She strengthened the
garrisoned towns, and would have levied a force to overawe the
refractory; but she had not the funds to pay for it. She endeavored to
provide these by means of loans from the great clergy and the principal
towns; but with indifferent success. Most of them were already creditors
of the government, and they liked the security too little to make
further advances. In her extremity, Margaret had no resource but the one
so often tried,--that of invoking the aid of her brother. "I have no
refuge," she wrote, "but in God and your majesty. It is with anguish
and dismay I must admit that my efforts have wholly failed to prevent
the public preaching, which has spread over every quarter of the
country."[778] She bitterly complains, in another letter, that, after
"so many pressing applications, she should be thus left, without aid and
without instructions, to grope her way at random."[779] She again
beseeches Philip to make the concessions demanded, in which event the
great lords assure her of their support in restoring order.

It was the policy of the cabinet of Madrid not to commit itself. The
royal answers were brief, vague, never indicating a new measure,
generally intimating satisfaction with the conduct of the regent, and
throwing as far as possible all responsibility on her shoulders.

But besides his sister's letters, the king was careful to provide
himself with other sources of information respecting the state of the
Netherlands. From some of these the accounts he received of the conduct
of the great lords were even less favorable than hers. A letter from the
secretary, Armenteros, speaks of the difficulty he finds in fathoming
the designs of the prince of Orange,--a circumstance which he attributes
to his probable change of religion. "He relies much," says the writer,
"on the support he receives in Germany, on his numerous friends at home,
and on the general distrust entertained of the king. The prince is
making preparations in good season," he concludes, "for defending
himself against your majesty."[780]

Yet Philip did not betray any consciousness of this unfriendly temper in
the nobles. To the prince of Orange, in particular, he wrote: "You err
in imagining that I have not entire confidence in you. Should any one
seek to do you an ill office with me, I should not be so light as to
give ear to him, having had so large experience of your loyalty and your
services."[781] "This is not the time," he adds, "for men like you to
withdraw from public affairs." But William was the last man to be duped
by these fair words. When others inveighed against the conduct of the
regent, William excused her by throwing the blame on Philip. "Resolved
to deceive all," he said, "he begins by deceiving his sister."[782]


It was about the middle of July that an event occurred which caused
still greater confusion in the affairs of the Netherlands. This was a
meeting of the confederates at St. Trond, in the neighborhood of Liege.
They assembled, two thousand in number, with Count Louis and Brederode
at their head. Their great object was to devise some means for their
personal security. They were aware that they were held responsible, to
some extent, for the late religious movements among the people.[783]
They were discontented with the prolonged silence of the king, and they
were alarmed by rumors of military preparations, said to be designed
against them. The discussions of the assembly, long and animated, showed
some difference of opinion. All agreed to demand some guaranty from the
government for their security. But the greater part of the body, no
longer halting at the original limits of their petition, were now for
demanding absolute toleration in matters of religion. Some few of the
number, stanch Catholics at heart, who for the first time seem to have
had their eyes opened to the results to which they were inevitably
tending, now, greatly disgusted, withdrew from the league. Among these
was the younger Count Mansfeldt,--a name destined to become famous in
the annals of the revolution.

Margaret, much alarmed by these new demonstrations, sent Orange and
Egmont to confer with the confederates, and demand why they were thus
met in an unfriendly attitude towards the government which they had so
lately pledged themselves to support in maintaining order. The
confederates replied by sending a deputation of their body to submit
their grievances anew to the regent.

The deputies, twelve in number, and profanely nicknamed at Brussels "the
twelve apostles,"[784] presented themselves, with Count Louis at their
head, on the twenty-eighth of July, at the capital. Margaret, who with
difficulty consented to receive them in person, gave unequivocal signs
of her displeasure. In the plain language of Louis, "the regent was
ready to burst with anger."[785] The memorial, or rather remonstrance,
presented to her was not calculated to allay it.

Without going into details, it is only necessary to say, that the
confederates, after stating their grounds for apprehension, requested
that an assurance should be given by the government that no harm was
intended them. As to pardon for the past, they disclaimed all desire for
it. What they had done called for applause, not condemnation. They only
trusted that his majesty would be pleased to grant a convocation of the
states-general, to settle the affairs of the country. In the mean time,
they besought him to allow the concerns of the confederates to be placed
in the hands of the prince of Orange, and the Counts Egmont and Hoorne,
to act as their mediators with the crown, promising in all things to be
guided by their counsel. Thus would tranquillity be restored. But
without some guaranty for their safety, they should be obliged to
protect themselves by foreign aid.[786]

The haughty tone of this memorial forms a striking contrast with that of
the petition presented by the same body not four months before, and
shows with what rapid strides the revolution had advanced. The religious
agitations had revealed the amount of discontent in the country, and to
what extent, therefore, the confederates might rely on the sympathy of
the people. This was most unequivocally proved during the meeting of St.
Trond, where memorials were presented by the merchants, and by persons
of the Reformed religion, praying the protection of the league to secure
them freedom of worship, till otherwise determined by the
states-general. This extraordinary request was granted.[787] Thus the
two great parties leaned on each other for support, and gave mutual
confidence to their respective movements. The confederates, discarding
the idea of grace, which they had once solicited, now darkly intimated a
possible appeal to arms. The Reformers, on their side, instead of the
mitigation of penalties, now talked of nothing less than absolute
toleration. Thus political Revolution and religious Reform went hand in
hand together. The nobles and the commons, the two most opposite
elements of the body politic, were united closely by a common interest;
and a formidable opposition was organized to the designs of the monarch,
which might have made any monarch tremble on his throne.

An important fact shows that the confederates coolly looked forward,
even at this time, to a conflict with Spain. Louis of Nassau had a large
correspondence with the leaders of the Huguenots in France, and of the
Lutherans in Germany. By the former he had been offered substantial aid
in the way of troops. But the national jealousy entertained of the
French would have made it impolitic to accept it. He turned therefore to
Germany, where he had numerous connections, and where he subsidized a
force consisting of four thousand horse and forty companies of foot, to
be at the disposal of the league. This negotiation was conducted under
the eye, and, as it seems, partly through the agency, of his brother
William.[788] From this moment, therefore, if not before, the prince of
Orange may be identified with the party who were prepared to maintain
their rights by an appeal to arms.


These movements of the league could not be kept so close but that they
came to the knowledge of Margaret. Indeed, she had her secret agents at
St. Trond, who put her in possession of whatever was done, or even
designed, by the confederates.[789] This was fully exhibited in her
correspondence with Philip, while she again called his attention to the
forlorn condition of the government, without men, or money, or the means
to raise it.[790] "The sectaries go armed," she writes, "and are
organizing their forces. The league is with them. There remains nothing
but that they should band together, and sack the towns, villages, and
churches, of which I am in marvellous great fear."[791]--Her fears had
gifted her with the spirit of prophecy. She implores her brother, if he
will not come himself to Flanders, to convoke the states-general,
quoting the words of Egmont, that, unless summoned by the king they
would assemble of themselves, to devise some remedy for the miseries of
the land, and prevent its otherwise inevitable ruin.[792] At length came
back the royal answer to Margaret's reiterated appeals. It had at least
one merit, that of being perfectly explicit.

Montigny, on reaching Madrid, as we have seen, had ready access to
Philip. Both he and his companion, the marquis of Bergen, were allowed
to witness, it would seem, the deliberations of the council of state,
when the subject of their mission was discussed. Among the members of
that body, at this time, may be noticed the duke of Alva; Ruy Gomez de
Silva, prince of Eboli, who divided with Alva the royal favor; Figueroa,
count of Feria, a man of an acute and penetrating intellect, formerly
ambassador to England, in Queen Mary's time; and Luis de Quixada, the
major-domo of Charles the fifth. Besides these there were two or three
councillors from the Netherlands, among whose names we meet with that of
Hopper, the near friend and associate of Viglius. There was great
unanimity in the opinions of this loyal body, where none, it will be
readily believed, was disposed to lift his voice in favour of reform.
The course of events in the Netherlands, they agreed, plainly showed a
deliberate and well-concerted scheme of the great nobles to secure to
themselves the whole power of the country. The first step was the
removal of Granvelle, a formidable obstacle in their path. Then came the
attempt to concentrate the management of affairs in the hands of the
council of state. This was followed by assaults on the Inquisition and
the edicts, as the things most obnoxious to the people; by the cry in
favor of the states-general; by the league, the Compromise, the
petitions, the religious assemblies; and, finally, by the present
mission to Spain. All was devised by the great nobles, as part of a
regular system of hostility to the crown, the real object of which was
to overturn existing institutions, and to build up their own authority
on the ruins. While the council regarded these proceedings with the
deepest indignation, they admitted the necessity of bending to the
storm, and under present circumstances judged it prudent for the monarch
to make certain specified concessions to the people of the Netherlands.
Above all, they earnestly besought Philip, if he would still remain
master of this portion of his empire, to defer no longer his visit to
the country.[793]

The discussions occupied many and long-protracted sittings of the
council; and Philip deeply pondered, in his own closet, on the results,
after the discussions were concluded. Even those most familiar with his
habits were amazed at the long delay of his decision in the present
critical circumstances.[794] The haughty mind of the monarch found it
difficult to bend to the required concessions. At length his answer

The letter containing it was addressed to his sister, and was dated on
the thirty-first of July, 1566, at the Wood of Segovia,--the same place
from which he had dictated his memorable despatches the year preceding.
Philip began, as usual, with expressing his surprise at the continued
troubles of the country. He was not aware that any rigorous procedure
could be charged on the tribunals, or that any change had been made in
the laws since the days of Charles the Fifth. Still, as it was much more
agreeable to his nature to proceed with clemency and love than with
severity,[795] he would conform as far as possible to the desires of his

He was content that the Inquisition should be abolished in the
Netherlands, and in its place be substituted the inquisitorial powers
vested in the bishops. As to the edicts, he was not pleased with the
plan of Moderation devised by Margaret; nor did he believe that any plan
would satisfy the people short of perfect toleration. Still, he would
have his sister prepare another scheme, having due reference to the
maintenance of the Catholic faith and his own authority. This must be
submitted to him, and he would do all that he possibly could in the
matter.[796] Lastly, in respect to a general pardon, as he abhorred
rigor where any other course would answer the end,[797] he was content
that it should be extended to whomever Margaret thought deserving of
it,--always excepting those already condemned, and under a solemn
pledge, moreover, that the nobles would abandon the league, and
henceforth give their hearty support to the government.

Four days after the date of these despatches, on the second of August,
Philip again wrote to his sister, touching the summoning of the
states-general, which she had so much pressed. He had given the subject,
he said, a most patient consideration, and was satisfied that she had
done right in refusing to call them together. She must not consent to
it. He never would consent to it.[798] He knew too well to what it must
inevitably lead. Yet he would not have her report his decision in the
absolute and peremptory terms in which he had given it to her, but as
intended merely for the present occasion; so that the people might
believe she was still looking for something of a different tenor, and
cherish the hope of obtaining their object at some future day![799]

The king also wrote, that he should remit a sufficient sum to Margaret
to enable her to take into her pay a body of ten thousand German foot
and three thousand horse, on which she could rely in case of extremity.
He further wrote letters with his own hand to the governors of the
provinces and the principal cities, calling on them to support the
regent in her efforts to enforce the laws and maintain order throughout
the country.[800]

Such were the concessions granted by Philip, at the eleventh hour, to
his subjects of the Netherlands!--concessions wrung from him by hard
necessity; doled out, as it were, like the scanty charity of the
miser,--too scanty and too late to serve the object for which it is
intended. But slight as these concessions were, and crippled by
conditions which rendered them nearly nugatory, it will hardly be
believed that he was not even sincere in making them! This is proved by
a revelation lately made of a curious document in the Archives of


While the ink was scarcely dry on the despatches to Margaret, Philip
summoned a notary into his presence, and before the duke of Alva and
two other persons, jurists, solemnly protested that the authority he had
given to the regent in respect to a general pardon was not of his own
free will. "He therefore did not feel bound by it, but reserved to
himself the right to punish the guilty, and especially the authors and
abettors of sedition in the Low Countries."[801] We feel ourselves at
once transported into the depths of the Middle Ages. This feeling will
not be changed when we learn the rest of the story of this admirable
piece of kingcraft.

The chair of St. Peter, at this time, was occupied by Pius the Fifth, a
pope who had assumed the same name as his predecessor, and who displayed
a spirit of fierce, indeed frantic intolerance, surpassing even that of
Paul the Fourth. At the accession of the new pope there were three
Italian scholars, inhabitants of Milan, Venice, and Tuscany, eminent for
their piety, who had done great service to the cause of letters in
Italy, but who were suspected of too liberal opinions in matters of
faith. Pius the Fifth demanded that these scholars should all be
delivered into his hands. The three states had the meanness to comply.
The unfortunate men were delivered up to the Holy Office, condemned, and
burned at the stake. This was one of the first acts of the new
pontificate. It proclaimed to Christendom that Pius the Fifth was the
uncompromising foe of heresy, the pope of the Inquisition. Every
subsequent act of his reign served to confirm his claim to this

Yet, as far as the interests of Catholicism were concerned, a character
like that of Pius the Fifth must be allowed to have suited the times.
During the latter part of the fifteenth century and the beginning of the
sixteenth, the throne had been filled by a succession of pontiffs
notorious for their religious indifference, and their carelessness, too
often profligacy, of life. This, as is well known, was one of the
prominent causes of the Reformation. A reaction followed. It was
necessary to save the Church. A race of men succeeded, of ascetic
temper, remarkable for their austere virtues, but without a touch of
sympathy for the joys or sorrows of their species, and wholly devoted to
the great work of regenerating the fallen Church. As the influence of
the former popes had opened a career to the Reformation, the influence
of these latter popes tended materially to check it; and long before the
close of the sixteenth century the boundary line was defined, which it
has never since been allowed to pass.

Pius, as may be imagined, beheld with deep anxiety the spread of the new
religion in the Low Countries. He wrote to the duchess of Parma,
exhorting her to resist to the utmost, and professing his readiness to
supply her, if need were, with both men and money. To Philip he also
wrote, conjuring him not to falter in the good cause, and to allow no
harm to the Catholic faith, but to march against his rebellious vassals
at the head of his army, and wash out the stain of heresy in the blood
of the heretic.[802]

The king now felt it incumbent on him to explain to the holy father his
late proceedings. This he did through Requesens, his ambassador at the
papal court. The minister was to inform his holiness that Philip would
not have moved in this matter without his advice, had there been time
for it. But perhaps it was better as it was; for the abolition of the
Inquisition in the Low Countries could not take effect, after all,
unless sanctioned by the pope, by whose authority it had been
established. This, however, was _to be said in confidence_.[803] As to
the edicts, Pius might be assured that his majesty would never approve
of any scheme which favored the guilty by diminishing in any degree the
penalties of their crimes. This also _was to be considered as
secret_.[804] Lastly, his holiness need not be scandalized by the grant
of a general pardon, since it referred only to what concerned the king
personally, where he had a right to grant it. In fine, the pope might
rest assured that the king would consent to nothing that could prejudice
the service of God or the interests of religion. He deprecated force, as
that would involve the ruin of the country. Still, he would march in
person, without regard to his own peril, and employ force, though it
should cost the ruin of the provinces, but he would bring his vassals to
submission. For he would sooner lose a hundred lives, and every rood of
empire, than reign a lord over heretics.[805]


Thus all the concessions of Philip, not merely his promises of grace,
but those of abolishing the Inquisition and mitigating the edicts, were
to go for nothing,--mere words, to amuse the people until some effectual
means could be decided on. The king must be allowed, for once at least,
to have spoken with candor. There are few persons who would not have
shrunk from acknowledging to their own hearts that they were acting on
so deliberate a system of perfidy as Philip thus confided in his
correspondence with another. Indeed, he seems to have regarded the pope
in the light of his confessor, to whom he was to unburden his bosom as
frankly as if he had been in the confessional. The shrift was not likely
to bring down a heavy penance from one who doubtless held to the
orthodox maxim of "No faith to be kept with heretics."

The result of these royal concessions was what might have been expected.
Crippled as they were by conditions, they were regarded in the Low
Countries with distrust, not to say contempt. In fact, the point at
which Philip had so slowly and painfully arrived had been long since
passed in the onward march of the revolution. The men of the Netherlands
now talked much more of recompense than of pardon. By a curious
coincidence, the thirty-first of July, the day on which the king wrote
his last despatches from Segovia, was precisely the date of those which
Margaret sent to him from Brussels, giving the particulars of the recent
troubles, of the meeting at St. Trond, the demand for a guaranty, and
for an immediate summons of the legislature.

But the fountain of royal grace had been completely drained by the late
efforts. Philip's reply at this time was prompt and to the point. As to
the guaranty, he said, that was superfluous when he had granted a
general pardon. For the states-general, there was no need to alter his
decision now, since he was so soon to be present in the country.[806]

This visit of the king to the Low Countries, respecting which so much
was said and so little was done, seems to have furnished some amusement
to the wits of the court. The prince of Asturias, Don Carlos, scribbled
one day on the cover of a blank book, as its title, "The Great and
Admirable Voyages of King Philip;" and within, for the contents, he
wrote, "From Madrid to the Pardo, from the Pardo to the Escorial, from
the Escorial to Aranjuez," &c., &c.[807] This jest of the graceless son
had an edge to it. We are not told how far it was relished by his royal



Cathedral of Antwerp sacked.--Sacrilegious Outrages.--Alarm at
Brussels.--Churches granted to Reformers.--Margaret repents her
Concessions.--Feeling at Madrid.--Sagacity of Orange.--His Religious


While Philip was thus tardily coming to concessions which even then were
not sincere, an important crisis had arrived in the affairs of the
Netherlands. In the earlier stages of the troubles, all orders, the
nobles, the commons, even the regent, had united in the desire to
obtain the removal of certain abuses, especially the Inquisition and the
edicts. But this movement, in which the Catholic joined with the
Protestant, had far less reference to the interests of religion than to
the personal rights of the individual. Under the protection thus
afforded, however, the Reformation struck deep root in the soil. It
nourished still more under the favor shown to it by the confederates,
who, as we have seen, did not scruple to guaranty security of religions
worship to some of the sectaries who demanded it.

But the element which contributed most to the success of the new
religion was the public preachings. These in the Netherlands were what
the Jacobin clubs were in France, or the secret societies in Germany and
Italy,--an obvious means for bringing together such as were pledged to a
common hostility to existing institutions, and thus affording them an
opportunity for consulting on their grievances, and for concerting the
best means of redress. The direct object of these meetings, it is true,
was to listen to the teachings of the minister. But that functionary,
far from confining himself to spiritual exercises, usually wandered to
more exciting themes, as the corruptions of the Church and the condition
of the land. He rarely failed to descant on the forlorn circumstances of
himself and his flock, condemned thus stealthily to herd together like a
band of outlaws, with ropes, as it were, about their necks, and to seek
out some solitary spot in which to glorify the Lord, while their
enemies, in all the pride of a dominant religion, could offer up their
devotions openly and without fear, in magnificent temples. The preacher
inveighed bitterly against the richly benefited clergy of the rival
Church, whose lives of pampered ease too often furnished an indifferent
commentary on the doctrines they inculcated. His wrath was kindled by
the pompous ceremonial of the Church of Rome, so dazzling and attractive
to its votaries, but which the Reformer sourly contrasted with the naked
simplicity of the Protestant service. Of all abominations, however, the
greatest in his eyes was the worship of images, which he compared to the
idolatry that in ancient times had so often brought down the vengeance
of Jehovah on the nations of Palestine; and he called on his hearers,
not merely to remove idolatry from their hearts, but the idols from
their sight.[808] It was not wonderful that, thus stimulated by their
spiritual leaders, the people should be prepared for scenes similar to
those enacted by the Reformers in France and in Scotland; or that
Margaret, aware of the popular feeling, should have predicted such an
outbreak. At length it came, and on a scale and with a degree of
violence not surpassed either by the Huguenots or the disciples of Knox.

On the fourteenth of August, the day before the festival of the
Assumption of the Virgin, a mob, some three hundred in number, armed
with clubs, axes, and other implements of destruction, broke into the
churches around St. Omer, in the province of Flanders, overturned the
images, defaced the ornaments, and in a short time demolished whatever
had any value or beauty in the buildings. Growing bolder from the
impunity which attended their movements, they next proceeded to Ypres,
and had the audacity to break into the cathedral, and deal with it in
the same ruthless manner. Strengthened by the accession of other
miscreants from the various towns, they proceeded along the banks of the
Lys, and fell upon the churches of Menin, Comines, and other places on
its borders. The excitement now spread over the country. Everywhere the
populace was in arms. Churches, chapels, and convents were involved in
indiscriminate ruin. The storm, after sweeping over Flanders, and
desolating the flourishing cities of Valenciennes and Tournay,
descended on Brabant. Antwerp, the great commercial capital of the
country, was its first mark.[809]


The usual population of the town happened to be swelled at this time by
an influx of strangers from the neighboring country, who had come up to
celebrate the great festival of the Assumption of the Virgin.
Fortunately the prince of Orange was in the place, and by his presence
prevented any molestation to the procession, except what arose from the
occasional groans and hisses of the more zealous spectators among the
Protestants. The priests, however, on their return, had the discretion
to deposit the image in the chapel, instead of the conspicuous station
usually assigned to it in the cathedral, to receive there during the
coming week the adoration of the faithful.

On the following day, unluckily, the prince was recalled to Brussels. In
the evening some boys, who had found their way into the church, called
out to the Virgin, demanding "why little Mary had gone so early to her
nest, and whether she were afraid to show her face in public."[810] This
was followed by one of the party mounting into the pulpit, and there
mimicking the tones and gestures of the Catholic preacher. An honest
waterman who was present, a zealous son of the Church, scandalized by
this insult to his religion, sprang into the pulpit, and endeavored to
dislodge the usurper. The lad resisted. His comrades came to his rescue;
and a struggle ensued, which ended in both the parties being expelled
from the building by the officers.[811] This scandalous proceeding, it
may be thought, should have put the magistrates of the city on their
guard, and warned them to take some measures of defence for the
cathedral. But the admonition was not heeded.

On the following day a considerable number of the reformed party entered
the building, and were allowed to continue there after vespers, when the
rest of the congregation had withdrawn. Left in possession, their first
act was to break forth into one of the Psalms of David. The sound of
their own voices seemed to rouse them to fury. Before the chant had died
away, they rushed forward as by a common impulse, broke open the doors
of the chapel, and dragged forth the image of the Virgin. Some called on
her to cry, "_Vivent les Gueux!_" while others tore off her embroidered
robes, and rolled the dumb idol in the dust, amidst the shouts of the

This was the signal for havoc. The rioters dispersed in all directions
on the work of destruction. Nothing escaped their rage. High above the
great altar was an image of the Saviour, curiously carved in wood, and
placed between the effigies of the two thieves crucified with him. The
mob contrived to get a rope round the neck of the statue of Christ, and
dragged it to the ground. They then fell upon it with hatchets and
hammers, and it was soon broken into a hundred fragments. The two
thieves, it was remarked, were spared, as if to preside over the work of
rapine below.

Their fury now turned against the other statues, which were quickly
overthrown from their pedestals. The paintings that lined the walls of
the cathedral were cut into shreds. Many of these were the choicest
specimens of Flemish art, even then, in its dawn, giving promise of the
glorious day which was to shed a lustre over the land.

But the pride of the cathedral, and of Antwerp, was the great organ,
renowned throughout the Netherlands, not more for its dimensions than
its perfect workmanship. With their ladders the rioters scaled the lofty
fabric, and with their implements soon converted it, like all else they
laid their hands on, into a heap of rubbish.

The ruin was now universal. Nothing beautiful, nothing holy, was spared.
The altars--and there were no less than seventy in the vast
edifice--were overthrown one after another; their richly embroidered
coverings rudely rent away; their gold and silver vessels appropriated
by the plunderers. The sacramental bread was trodden under foot; the
wine was quaffed by the miscreants, in golden chalices, to the health of
one another, or of the Gueux; and the holy oil was profanely used to
anoint their shoes and sandals. The sculptured tracery on the walls, the
costly offerings that enriched the shrines, the screens of gilded
bronze, the delicately carved wood-work of the pulpit, the marble and
alabaster ornaments, all went down under the fierce blows of the
iconoclasts. The pavement was strewed with the ruined splendors of a
church, which in size and magnificence was perhaps second only to St.
Peter's among the churches of Christendom.

As the light of day faded, the assailants supplied its place with such
light as they could obtain from the candles which they snatched from the
altars. It was midnight before the work of destruction was completed.
Thus toiling in darkness, feebly dispelled by tapers the rays of which
could scarcely penetrate the vaulted distances of the cathedral, it is a
curious circumstance--if true--than no one was injured by the heavy
masses of timber, stone, and metal that were everywhere falling around
them.[812] The whole number engaged in this work is said not to have
exceeded a hundred men, women, and boys,--women of the lowest
description, dressed in men's attire.

When their task was completed, they sallied forth in a body from the
doors of the cathedral, some singing the Psalms of David, others roaring
out the fanatical war-cry of "_Vivent les Gueux!_" Flushed with success,
and joined on the way by stragglers like themselves, they burst open the
doors of one church after another; and by the time morning broke, the
principal temples in the city had been dealt with in the same ruthless
manner as the cathedral.[813]

No attempt all this time was made to stop these proceedings on the part
of magistrates or citizens. As they beheld from their windows the bodies
of armed men hurrying to and fro by the gleam of their torches, and
listened to the sounds of violence in the distance, they seem to have
been struck with a panic. The Catholics remained within doors, fearing a
general rising of the Protestants. The Protestants feared to move
abroad, lest they should be confounded with the rioters. Some imagined
their own turn might come next, and appeared in arms at the entrances of
their houses, prepared to defend them against the enemy.


When gorged with the plunder of the city, the insurgents poured out at
the gates, and fell with the same violence on the churches, convents,
and other religious edifices in the suburbs. For three days these dismal
scenes continued, without resistance on the part of the inhabitants.
Amidst the ruin in the cathedral, the mob had alone spared the royal
arms and the escutcheons of the knights of the Golden Fleece, emblazoned
on the walls. Calling this to mind, they now returned into the city to
complete the work. But some of the knights, who were at Antwerp,
collected a handful of their followers, and, with a few of the citizens,
forced their way into the cathedral, arrested ten or twelve of the
rioters, and easily dispersed the remainder; while a gallows erected on
an eminence admonished the offenders of the fate that awaited them. The
facility with which the disorders were repressed by a few resolute men
naturally suggests the inference, that many of the citizens had too much
sympathy with the authors of the outrages to care to check them, still
less to bring the culprits to punishment. An orthodox chronicler of the
time vents his indignation against a people who were so much more ready
to stand by their hearths than by their altars.[814]

The fate of Antwerp had its effect on the country. The flames of
fanaticism, burning fiercer than ever, quickly spread over the northern,
as they had done over the western provinces. In Holland, Utrecht,
Friesland,--everywhere, in short, with a few exceptions on the southern
borders,--mobs rose against the churches. In some places, as Rotterdam,
Dort, Haarlem, the magistrates were wary enough to avert the storm by
delivering up the images, or at least by removing them from the
buildings.[815] It was rare that any attempt was made at resistance. Yet
on one or two occasions this so far succeeded that a handful of troops
sufficed to rout the iconoclasts. At Anchyn, four hundred of the rabble
were left dead on the field. But the soldiers had no relish for their
duty, and on other occasions, when called on to perform it, refused to
bear arms against their countrymen.[816] The leaven of heresy was too
widely spread among the people.

Thus the work of plunder and devastation went on vigorously throughout
the land. Cathedral and chapel, monastery and nunnery, religious houses
of every description, even hospitals, were delivered up to the tender
mercies of the Reformers. The monks fled, leaving behind them treasures
of manuscripts and well-stored cellars, which latter the invaders soon
emptied of their contents, while they consigned the former to the
flames. The terrified nuns, escaping half naked, at dead of night, from
their convents, were too happy to find a retreat among their friends and
kinsmen in the city.[817] Neither monk nor nun ventured to go abroad in
the conventual garb. Priests might be sometimes seen hurrying away with
some relic or sacred treasure under their robes, which they were eager
to save from the spoilers. In the general sack not even the abode of the
dead was respected; and the sepulchres of the counts of Flanders were
violated, and laid open to the public gaze![818]

The deeds of violence perpetrated by the iconoclasts were accompanied by
such indignities as might express their contempt for the ancient faith.
They snatched the wafer, says an eye-witness, from the altar, and put it
into the mouth of a parrot. Some huddled the images of the saints
together, and set them on fire, or covered them with bits of armor, and,
shouting "_Vivent les Gueux!_" tilted rudely against them. Some put on
the vestments stolen from the churches, and ran about the streets with
them in mockery. Some basted the books with butter, that they might burn
the more briskly.[819] By the scholar, this last enormity will not be
held light among their transgressions. It answered their purpose, to
judge by the number of volumes that were consumed. Among the rest, the
great library of Vicogne, one of the noblest collections in the
Netherlands, perished in the flames kindled by these fanatics.[820]

The amount of injury inflicted during this dismal period it is not
possible to estimate. Four hundred churches were sacked by the
insurgents in Flanders alone.[821] The damage to the cathedral of
Antwerp, including its precious contents, was said to amount to not less
than four hundred thousand ducats![822] The loss occasioned by the
plunder of gold and silver plate might be computed. The structures so
cruelly defaced might be repaired by the skill of the architect. But who
can estimate the irreparable loss occasioned by the destruction of
manuscripts, statuary, and paintings? It is a melancholy fact, that the
earliest efforts of the Reformers were everywhere directed against those
monuments of genius which had been created and cherished by the generous
patronage of Catholicism. But if the first step of the Reformation was
on the ruins of art, it cannot be denied that a compensation has been
found in the good which it has done by breaking the fetters of the
intellect, and opening a free range in those domains of science to which
all access had been hitherto denied.

The wide extent of the devastation was not more remarkable than the time
in which it was accomplished. The whole work occupied less than a
fortnight. It seemed as if the destroying angel had passed over the
land, and at a blow had consigned its noblest edifices to ruin! The
method and discipline, if I may so say, in the movements of the
iconoclasts, were as extraordinary as their celerity. They would seem to
have been directed by some other hands than those which met the vulgar
eye. The quantity of gold and silver plate purloined from the churches
and convents was immense. Though doubtless sometimes appropriated by
individuals, it seems not unfrequently to have been gathered in a heap,
and delivered to the minister, who, either of himself, or by direction
of the consistory, caused it to be melted down, and distributed among
the most needy of the sectaries.[823] We may sympathize with the
indignation of a Catholic writer of the time, who exclaims, that in this
way the poor churchmen were made to pay for the scourges with which they
had been beaten.[824]


The tidings of the outbreak fell heavily on the ears of the court of
Brussels, where the regent, notwithstanding her prediction of the
event, was not any the better prepared for it. She at once called her
counsellors together and demanded their aid in defending the religion of
the country against its enemies. But the prince of Orange and his
friends discouraged a resort to violent measures, as little likely to
prevail in the present temper of the people. "First," said Egmont, "let
us provide for the security of the state. It will be time enough then to
think of religion." "No," said Margaret, warmly; "the service of God
demands our first care; for the ruin of religion would be a greater evil
than the loss of the country."[825] "Those who have anything to lose in
it," replied the count, somewhat coolly, "will probably be of a
different opinion,"[826]--an answer that greatly displeased the duchess.

Rumors now came thick on one another of the outrages committed by the
image-breakers. Fears were entertained that their next move would be on
the capital itself. Hitherto the presence of the regent had preserved
Brussels, notwithstanding some transient demonstrations among the
people, from the spirit of reform which had convulsed the rest of the
country. No public meetings had been held either in the city or the
suburbs; for Margaret had declared she would hang up, not only the
preacher, but all those who attended him.[827] The menace had its
effect. Thus keeping aloof from the general movement of the time, the
capital was looked on with an evil eye by the surrounding country; and
reports were rife, that the iconoclasts were preparing to march in such
force on the place, as should enable them to deal with it as they had
done with Antwerp and the other cities of Brabant.

The question now arose as to the course to be pursued in the present
exigency. The prince of Orange and his friends earnestly advised that
Margaret should secure the aid of the confederates by the concessions
they had so strenuously demanded; in the next place, that she should
conciliate the Protestants by consenting to their religious meetings. To
the former she made no objection. But the latter she peremptorily
refused. "It would be the ruin of our holy religion," she said. It was
in vain they urged, that two hundred thousand sectaries were in arms;
that they were already in possession of the churches; that, if she
persisted in her refusal, they would soon be in Brussels, and massacre
every priest and Roman Catholic before her eyes![828] Notwithstanding
this glowing picture of the horrors in store for her, Margaret remained
inflexible. But her agitation was excessive: she felt herself alone in
her extremity. The party of Granvelle she had long since abandoned. The
party of Orange seemed now ready to abandon her. "I am pressed by
enemies within and without," she wrote to Philip; "there is no one on
whom I can rely for counsel or for aid."[829] Distrust and anxiety
brought on a fever, and for several days and nights she lay tossing
about, suffering equally from distress of body and anguish of

Thus sorely perplexed, Margaret felt also the most serious apprehensions
for her personal safety. With the slight means of defence at her
command, Brussels seemed no longer a safe residence, and she finally
came to the resolution to extricate herself from the danger and
difficulties of her situation by a precipitate flight. After a brief
consultation with Barlaimont, Arschot, and others of the party opposed
to the prince of Orange, and hitherto little in her confidence, she
determined to abandon the capital, and seek a refuge in Mons,--a strong
town in Hainault, belonging to the duke of Arschot, which, from its
sturdy attachment to the Romish faith, had little to fear from the

Having completed her preparations with the greatest secrecy, on the day
fixed for her flight Margaret called her council together to communicate
her design. It met with the most decided opposition, not merely from the
lords with whom she had hitherto acted, but from the president Viglius.
They all united in endeavoring to turn her from a measure which would
plainly intimate such a want of confidence on the part of the duchess as
must dishonor them in the eyes of the world. The preparations for
Margaret's flight had not been conducted so secretly but that some rumor
of them had taken wind; and the magistrates of the city now waited on
her in a body, and besought her not to leave them, defenceless as they
were, to the mercy of their enemies.

The prince was heard to say, that, if the regent thus abandoned the
government, it would be necessary to call the states-general together at
once, to take measures for the protection of the country.[831] And
Egmont declared that, if she fled to Mons, he would muster forty
thousand men, and besiege Mons in person.[832] The threat was not a vain
one, for no man in the country could have gathered such a force under
his banner more easily than Egmont. The question seems to have been
finally settled by the magistrates causing the gates of the town to be
secured, and a strong guard placed over them, with orders to allow no
passage either to the duchess or her followers.--Thus a prisoner in her
own capital, Margaret conformed to necessity, and, with the best grace
she could, consented to relinquish her scheme of departure.[833]


The question now recurred as to the course to be pursued; and the more
she pondered on the embarrassments of her position, the more she became
satisfied that no means of extricating herself remained but that
proposed by the nobles. Yet, in thus yielding to necessity, she did so
protesting that she was acting under compulsion.[834] On the
twenty-third of August, Margaret executed an instrument, by which she
engaged that no harm should come to the members of the league for
anything hitherto done by them. She further authorized the lords to
announce to the confederates her consent to the religious meetings of
the Reformed, in places where they had been hitherto held, until his
majesty and the states-general should otherwise determine. It was on the
condition, however, that they should go there unarmed, and nowhere offer
disturbance to the Catholics.

On the twenty-fifth of the month the confederate nobles signed an
agreement on their part and solemnly swore that they would aid the
regent to the utmost in suppressing the disorders of the country, and in
bringing their authors to justice; agreeing, moreover, that, so long as
the regent should be true to the compact, the league should be
considered as null and void.[835]

The feelings of Margaret, in making the concessions required of her, may
be gathered from the perusal of her private correspondence with her
brother. No act in her public life ever caused her so deep a
mortification; and she never forgave the authors of it. "It was forced
upon me," she writes to Philip; "but, happily, you will not be bound by
it." And she beseeches him to come at once, in such strength as would
enable him to conquer the country for himself, or to give her the means
of doing so.[836]--Margaret, in early life, had been placed in the hands
of Ignatius Loyola. More than one passage in her history proves that the
lessons of the Jesuit had not been thrown away.

During these discussions the panic had been such, that it was thought
advisable to strengthen the garrison under command of Count Mansfeldt,
and keep the greater part of the citizens under arms day and night. When
this arrangement was concluded, the great lords dispersed on their
mission to restore order in their several governments. The prince went
first to Antwerp, where, as we have seen, he held the office of
burgrave. He made strict investigation into the causes of the late
tumult, hung three of the ringleaders, and banished three others. He
found it, however, no easy matter to come to terms with the sectaries,
who had possession of all the churches, from which they had driven the
Catholics. After long negotiation, it was arranged that they should be
allowed to hold six, and should resign the rest to the ancient
possessors. The arrangement gave general satisfaction, and the principal
citizens and merchants congratulated William on having rescued them from
the evils of anarchy.

Not so the regent. She knew well that the example of Antwerp would
become a precedent for the rest of the country. She denounced the
compact, as compromising the interests of Catholicism, and openly
accused the prince of having transcended his powers, and betrayed the
trust reposed in him. Finally, she wrote, commanding him at once to
revoke his concessions.

William, in answer, explained to her the grounds on which they had been
made, and their absolute necessity, in order to save the city from
anarchy. It is a strong argument in his favor, that the Protestants, who
already claimed the prince as one of their own sect, accused him, in
this instance, of sacrificing their cause to that of their enemies; and
caricatures of him were made, representing him with open hands and a
double face.[837] William, while thus explaining his conduct, did not
conceal his indignation at the charges brought against him by the
regent, and renewed his request for leave to resign his offices, since
he no longer enjoyed her confidence. But whatever disgust she may have
felt at his present conduct, William's services were too important to
Margaret in this crisis to allow her to dispense with them; and she
made haste to write to him in a conciliatory tone, explaining away as
far as possible what had been offensive in her former letters. Yet from
this hour the consciousness of mutual distrust raised a barrier between
the parties never to be overcome.[838]

William next proceeded to his governments of Utrecht and Holland, which,
by a similar course of measures to that pursued at Antwerp, he soon
restored to order. While in Utrecht, he presented to the states of the
province a memorial, in which he briefly reviewed the condition of the
country. He urged the necessity of religious toleration, as demanded by
the spirit of the age, and as particularly necessary in a country like
that, the resort of so many foreigners, and inhabited by sects of such
various denominations. He concluded by recommending them to lay a
petition to that effect before the throne,--not, probably, from any
belief that such a petition would be heeded by the monarch, but from the
effect it would have in strengthening the principles of religious
freedom in his countrymen. William's memorial is altogether a remarkable
paper for the time, and in the wise and liberal tenor of its arguments
strikingly contrasts with the intolerant spirit of the court of

The regent proved correct in her prediction that the example of Antwerp
would be made a precedent for the country. William's friends, the Counts
Hoorne and Hoogstraten, employed the same means for conciliating the
sectaries in their own governments. It was otherwise with Egmont. He was
too stanch a Catholic at heart to approve of such concessions. He
carried matters, therefore, with a high hand in his provinces of
Flanders and Artois, where his personal authority was unbounded. He made
a severe scrutiny into the causes of the late tumult, and dealt with its
authors so sternly, as to provoke a general complaint among the reformed
party, some of whom, indeed, became so far alarmed for their own safety,
that they left the provinces and went beyond sea.

Order now seemed to be reëstablished in the land, through the efforts of
the nobles, aided by the confederates, who seem to have faithfully
executed their part of the compact with the regent. The Protestants took
possession of the churches assigned to them, or busied themselves with
raising others on the ground before reserved for their meetings. All
joined in the good work; the men laboring at the building, the women
giving their jewels and ornaments to defray the cost of the materials. A
calm succeeded,--a temporary lull after the hurricane; and Lutheran and
Calvinist again indulged in the pleasing illusion, that, however
distasteful it might be to the government, they were at length secure of
the blessings of religious toleration.

During the occurrence of these events a great change had taken place in
the relations of parties. The Catholic members of the league, who had
proposed nothing beyond the reform of certain glaring abuses, and, least
of all, anything prejudicial to their own religion, were startled as
they saw the inevitable result of the course they were pursuing. Several
of them, as we have seen, had left the league before the outbreak of the
iconoclasts; and after that event, but very few remained in it. The
confederates, on the other hand, lost ground with the people, who looked
with distrust on their late arrangement with the regent, in which they
had so well provided for their own security. The confidence of the
people was not restored by the ready aid which their old allies seemed
willing to afford the great nobles in bringing to justice the authors
of the recent disorders.[840] Thus deserted by many of its own members,
distrusted by the Reformers, and detested by the regent, the league
ceased from that period to exert any considerable influence on the
affairs of the country.


A change equally important had taken place in the politics of the court.
The main object with Margaret, from the first, had been to secure the
public tranquillity. To effect this she had more than once so far
deferred to the judgment of William and his friends, as to pursue a
policy not the most welcome to herself. But it had never been her
thought to extend that policy to the point of religious toleration. So
far from it, she declared that, even though the king should admit two
religions in the state, she would rather be torn in pieces than consent
to it.[841] It was not till the coalition of the nobles, that her eyes
were opened to the path she was treading. The subsequent outrages of the
iconoclasts made her comprehend she was on the verge of a precipice. The
concessions wrung from her, at that time, by Orange and his friends,
filled up the measure of her indignation. A great gulf now opened
between her and the party by whom she had been so long directed. Yet
where could she turn for support? One course only remained; and it was
with a bitter feeling that she felt constrained to throw herself into
the arms of the very party which she had almost estranged from her
counsels. In her extremity she sent for the president Viglius, on whose
head she had poured out so many anathemas in her correspondence with
Philip,--whom she had not hesitated to charge with the grossest

Margaret sent for the old councillor, and, with tears in her eyes,
demanded his advice in the present exigency. The president naturally
expressed his surprise at this mark of confidence from one who had so
carefully excluded him from her counsels for the last two years.
Margaret, after some acknowledgment of her mistake, intimated a hope
that this would be no impediment to his giving her the counsel she now
so much needed. Viglius answered by inquiring whether she were prepared
faithfully to carry out what she knew to be the will of the king. On
Margaret's replying in the affirmative, he recommended that she should
put the same question to each member of her cabinet. "Their answers,"
said the old statesman, "will show you whom you are to trust." The
question--the touchstone of loyalty--was accordingly put; and the
minister, who relates the anecdote himself, tells us that three only,
Mansfeldt, Barlaimont, and Arschot, were prepared to stand by the regent
in carrying out the policy of the crown. From that hour the regent's
confidence was transferred from the party with which she had hitherto
acted, to their rivals.[842]

It is amusing to trace the change of Margaret's sentiments in her
correspondence of this period with her brother. "Orange and Hoorne prove
themselves, by word and by deed, enemies of God and the king."[843] Of
Egmont she speaks no better. "With all his protestations of loyalty,"
she fears he is only plotting mischief to the state. "He has openly
joined the Gueux, and his eldest daughter is reported to be a
Huguenot."[844] Her great concern is for the safety of Viglius, "almost
paralyzed by his fears, as the people actually threaten to tear him in
pieces."[845] The factious lords conduct affairs according to their own
pleasure in the council; and it is understood they are negotiating at
the present moment to bring about a collision between the Protestants of
Germany, France, and England, hoping in the end to drive the house of
Austria from the throne, to shake off the yoke of Spain from the
Netherlands, and divide the provinces among themselves and their
friends![846] Margaret's credulity seems to have been in proportion to
her hatred, and her hatred in proportion to her former friendship. So it
was in her quarrel with Granvelle, and she now dealt the same measure to
the men who had succeeded that minister in her confidence.

The prince of Orange cared little for the regent's estrangement. He had
long felt that his own path lay wide asunder from that of the
government, and, as we have seen, had more than once asked leave to
resign his offices, and withdraw into private life. Hoorne viewed the
matter with equal indifference. He had also asked leave to retire,
complaining that his services had been poorly requited by the
government. He was a man of a bold, impatient temper. In a letter to
Philip he told him that it was not the regent, but his majesty, of whom
he complained, for compelling him to undergo the annoyance of dancing
attendance at the court of Brussels![847] He further added, that he had
not discussed his conduct with the duchess, as it was not his way to
treat of affairs of honor with ladies![848] There was certainly no want
of plain-dealing in this communication with majesty.

Count Egmont took the coolness of the regent in a very different manner.
It touched his honor, perhaps his vanity, to be thus excluded from her
confidence. He felt it the more keenly as he was so loyal at heart, and
strongly attached to the Romish faith. On the other hand, his generous
nature was deeply sensible to the wrongs of his countrymen. Thus drawn
in opposite directions, he took the middle course,--by no means the
safest in politics. Under these opposite influences he remained in a
state of dangerous irresolution. His sympathy with the cause of the
confederates lost him the confidence of the government. His loyalty to
the government excluded him from the councils of the confederates. And
thus, though perhaps the most popular man in the Netherlands, there was
no one who possessed less real influence in public affairs.[849]


The tidings of the tumults in the Netherlands, which travelled with the
usual expedition of evil news, caused as great consternation at the
court of Castile as it had done at that of Brussels. Philip, on
receiving his despatches, burst forth, it is said, into the most violent
fit of anger, and, tearing his beard, he exclaimed, "It shall cost them
dear; by the soul of my father I swear it, it shall cost them
dear!"[850] The anecdote, often repeated, rests on the authority of
Granvelle's correspondent, Morillon. If it be true, it affords a
solitary exception to the habitual self-command--displayed in
circumstances quite as trying--of the "prudent" monarch. The account
given by Hopper, who was with the court at the time, is the more
probable of the two. According to that minister, the king, when he
received the tidings, lay ill of a tertian fever at Segovia. As letter
after letter came to him with particulars of the tumult, he maintained
his usual serenity, exhibiting no sign of passion or vexation. Though
enfeebled by his malady, he allowed himself no repose, but gave
unremitting attention to business.[851] He read all the despatches; made
careful notes of their contents, sending such information as he deemed
best to his council, for their consideration; and, as his health mended,
occasionally attended in person the discussions of that body.

One can feel but little doubt as to the light in which the proceedings
in the Netherlands were regarded by the royal council of Castile. Yet it
did not throw the whole, or even the chief blame, on the iconoclasts.
They were regarded as mere tools in the hands of the sectaries. The
sectaries, on their part, were, it was said, moved by the confederates,
on whom they leaned for protection. The confederates, in their turn,
made common cause with the great lords, to whom many of them were bound
by the closest ties of friendship and of blood. By this ingenious chain
of reasoning, all were made responsible for the acts of violence; but
the chief responsibility lay on the heads of the great nobles, on whom
all in the last resort depended. It was against them that the public
indignation should be directed, not against the meaner offenders, over
whom alone the sword of justice had been hitherto suspended. But the
king should dissemble his sentiments until he was in condition to call
these great vassals to account for their misdeeds. All joined in
beseeching Philip to defer no longer his visit to Flanders; and most of
them recommended that he should go in such force as to look down
opposition, and crush the rebellion in its birth.

Such was the counsel of Alva, in conformity with that which he had
always given on the subject. But although all concurred in urging the
king to expedite his departure, some of the councillors followed the
prince of Eboli in advising Philip that, instead of this warlike
panoply, he should go in peaceable guise, accompanied only by such a
retinue as befitted the royal dignity. Each of the great rivals
recommended the measures most congenial with his own temper, the
direction of which would no doubt be intrusted to the man who
recommended them. It is not strange that the more violent course should
have found favor with the majority.[852]

Philip's own decision he kept, as usual, locked in his own bosom. He
wrote indeed to his sister, warning her not to allow the meeting of the
legislature, and announcing his speedy coming,--all as usual; and he
added, that, in repressing the disorders of the country, he should use
no other means than those of gentleness and kindness, under the sanction
of the states.[853] These gentle professions weighed little with those
who, like the prince of Orange, had surer means of arriving at the
king's intent than what were afforded by the royal correspondence.
Montigny, the Flemish envoy, was still in Madrid, held there, sorely
against his will, in a sort of honorable captivity by Philip. In a
letter to his brother, Count Hoorne, he wrote: "Nothing can be in worse
odor than our affairs at the court of Castile. The great lords, in
particular, are considered as the source of all the mischief. Violent
counsels are altogether in the ascendant, and the storm may burst on you
sooner than you think. Nothing remains but to fly from it like a prudent
man, or to face it like a brave one!"[854]

William had other sources of intelligence, the secret agents whom he
kept in pay at Madrid. From them he learned, not only what was passing
at the court, but in the very cabinet of the monarch; and extracts,
sometimes full copies, of the correspondence of Philip and Margaret,
were transmitted to the prince. Thus the secrets which the most jealous
prince in Europe supposed to be locked in his own breast were often in
possession of his enemies; and William, as we are told, declared that
there was no word of Philip's, public or private, but was reported to
his ears![855]


This secret intelligence, on which the prince expended large sums of
money, was not confined to Madrid. He maintained a similar system of
espionage in Paris, where the court of Castile was busy with its
intrigues for the extermination of heresy. Those who look on these
trickish proceedings as unworthy of the character of the prince of
Orange and the position which he held, should consider that it was in
accordance with the spirit of the age. It was but turning Philip's own
arts against himself, and using the only means by which William could
hope to penetrate the dark and unscrupulous policy of a cabinet whose
chief aim, as he thought, was to subvert the liberties of his country.

It was at this time that his agents in France intercepted a letter from
Alava, the Spanish minister at the French court. It was addressed to the
duchess of Parma. Among other things, the writer says it is well
understood at Madrid, that the great nobles are at the bottom of the
troubles of Flanders. The king is levying a strong force, with which he
will soon visit the country, and call the three lords to a heavy
reckoning. In the mean time the duchess must be on her guard not by any
change in her deportment to betray her consciousness of this

Thus admonished from various quarters, the prince felt that it was no
longer safe for him to remain in his present position; and that in the
words of Montigny, he must be prepared to fight or to fly. He resolved
to take counsel with some of those friends who were similarly situated
with himself. In a communication made to Egmont in order to persuade him
to a conference, William speaks of Philip's military preparations as
equally to be dreaded by Catholic and Protestant; for under the pretext
of religion, Philip had no other object in view than to enslave the
nation. "This has been always feared by us," he adds;[857] "and I cannot
stay to witness the ruin of my country."

The parties met at Dendermonde on the third of October. Besides the two
friends and Count Hoorne, there were William's brother, Louis, and a few
other persons of consideration. Little is actually known of the
proceedings at this conference, notwithstanding the efforts of more than
one officious chronicler to enlighten us. Their contradictory accounts,
like so many cross lights on his path, serve only to perplex the eye of
the student. It seems probable, however, that the nobles generally,
including the prince, considered the time had arrived for active
measures; and that any armed intrusion on the part of Philip into the
Netherlands should be resisted by force. But Egmont, with all his causes
of discontent, was too loyal at heart not to shrink from the attitude of
rebellion. He had a larger stake than most of the company, in a numerous
family of children, who, in case of a disastrous revolution, would be
thrown helpless on the world. The benignity with which he had been
received by Philip on his mission to Spain, and which subsequent slights
had not effaced from his memory, made him confide, most unhappily, in
the favorable dispositions of the monarch. From whatever motives, the
count refused to become a party to any scheme of resistance; and as his
popularity with the troops made his coöperation of the last importance,
the conference broke up without coming to a determination.[858]

Egmont at once repaired to Brussels, whither he had been summoned by the
regent to attend the council of state. Orange and Hoorne received, each,
a similar summons, to which neither of them paid any regard. Before
taking his seat at the board, Egmont showed the duchess Alava's letter,
upbraiding her, at the same time, with her perfidious conduct towards
the nobles. Margaret, who seems to have given way to temper or to tears,
as the exigency demanded, broke forth into a rage, declaring it "an
impudent forgery, and the greatest piece of villany in the world!"[859]
The same sentiment she repeats in a letter addressed soon after to her
brother, in which she asserts her belief that no such letter as that
imputed to Alava had ever been written by him. How far the duchess was
honest in her declaration it is impossible at this day to determine.
Egmont, after passing to other matters, concludes with a remark which
shows, plainly enough, his own opinion of her sincerity. "In fine, she
is a woman educated in Rome. There is no faith to be given to her."[860]

In her communication above noticed Margaret took occasion to complain to
Philip of his carelessness in regard to her letters. The contents of
them, she said, were known in Flanders almost as soon as at Madrid; and
not only copies, but the original autographs, were circulating in
Brussels. She concludes by begging her brother, if he cannot keep her
letters safe, to burn them.[861]

The king, in answer, expresses his surprise at her complaints, assuring
Margaret that it is impossible any one can have seen her letters, which
are safely locked up, with the key in his own pocket.[862] It is amusing
to see Philip's incredulity in regard to the practice of those arts on
himself which he had so often practised on others. His sister, however,
seems to have relied henceforth more on her own precautions than on his,
as we find her communications from this time frequently shrouded in

Rumors of Philip's warlike preparations were now rife in the
Netherlands; and the Protestants began to take counsel as to the best
means of providing for their own defence. One plan suggested was to send
thirty thousand Calvinistic tracts to Seville for distribution among the
Spaniards.[863] This would raise a good crop of heresy, and give the
king work to do in his own dominions. It would, in short, be carrying
the war into the enemy's country. The plan, it must be owned, had the
merit of novelty.


In Holland the nobles and merchants mutually bound themselves to stand
by one another in asserting the right of freedom of conscience.[864]
Levies went forward briskly in Germany, under the direction of Count
Louis of Nassau. It was attempted, moreover, to interest the Protestant
princes of that country so far in the fate of their brethren in the
Netherlands as to induce them to use their good offices with Philip to
dissuade him from violent measures. The emperor had already offered
privately his own mediation to the king, to bring about, if possible, a
better understanding with his Flemish subjects.[865] The offer made in
so friendly a spirit, though warmly commended by some of the council,
seems to have found no favor in the eyes of their master.[866]

The princes of Germany who had embraced the Reformation were Lutherans.
They had almost as little sympathy with the Calvinists as with the
Catholics. Men of liberal minds in the Netherlands, like William and his
brother, would gladly have seen the two great Protestant parties which
divided their country united on some common basis. They would have had
them, in short, in a true Christian spirit, seek out the points on which
they could agree rather than those on which they differed,--points of
difference which, in William's estimation, were after all of minor
importance. He was desirous that the Calvinists should adopt a
confession of faith accommodated in some degree to the "Confession of
Augsburg,"--a step which would greatly promote their interests with the
princes of Germany.[867]

But the Calvinists were altogether the dominant party in the Low
Countries. They were thoroughly organized, and held their consistories,
composed of a senate and a sort of lower house, in many of the great
towns, all subordinate to the great consistory at Antwerp. They formed,
in short, what the historian well calls an independent Protestant
republic.[868] Strong in their power, sturdy in their principles, they
refused to bend in any degree to circumstances, or to make any
concession, or any compromise with the weaker party. The German princes,
disgusted with this conduct, showed no disposition to take any active
measures in their behalf, and, although they made some efforts in favor
of the Lutherans, left their Calvinistic brethren in the Netherlands to
their fate.

It was generally understood, at this time, that the prince of Orange had
embraced Lutheran opinions. His wife's uncle, the landgrave of Hesse,
pressed him publicly to avow his belief. To this the prince objected,
that he should thus become the open enemy of the Catholics, and probably
lose his influence with the Calvinists, already too well disposed to
acts of violence.[869] Yet not long after we find William inquiring of
the landgrave if it would not be well to advise the king, in terms as
little offensive as possible, of his change of religion, asking the
royal permission at the same time, to conform his worship to it.[870]

William's father had been a Lutheran, and in that faith had lived and
died. In that faith he had educated his son. When only eleven years old,
the latter, as we have seen, was received into the imperial household.
The plastic mind of boyhood readily took its impressions from those
around, and without much difficulty, or indeed examination, William
conformed to the creed fashionable at the court of Castile. In this
faith--if so it should be called--the prince remained during the
lifetime of the emperor. Then came the troubles of the Netherlands; and
William's mind yielded to other influences. He saw the workings of
Catholicism under a terrible aspect. He beheld his countrymen dragged
from their firesides, driven into exile, thrown into dungeons, burned at
the stake; and all this for no other cause than dissent from the dogmas
of the Romish Church. His soul sickened at these enormities, and his
indignation kindled at this invasion of the inalienable right of private
judgment. Thus deeply interested for the oppressed Protestants, it was
natural that William should feel a sympathy for their cause. His wife
too was of the Lutheran persuasion. So was his mother, still surviving.
So were his brothers and sisters, and indeed all those nearest akin to
him. Under these influences, public and domestic, it was not strange,
that he should have been led to review the grounds of his own belief;
that he should have gradually turned to the faith of his parents,--the
faith in which he had been nurtured in childhood.[871] At what precise
period the change in his opinions took place we are not informed. But
his letter to the landgrave of Hesse, in November, 1566, affords, so far
as I am aware, the earliest evidence that exists, under his own hand,
that he had embraced the doctrines of the Reformation.



Reaction.--Appeal to Arms.--Tumult in Antwerp.--Siege of
Valenciennes.--The Government triumphant.

1566, 1567.

The excesses of the iconoclasts, like most excesses, recoiled on the
heads of those who committed them. The Roman Catholic members of the
league withdrew, as we have seen, from an association which connected
them, however remotely, with deeds so atrocious. Other Catholics, who
had looked with no unfriendly eye on the revolution, now that they saw
it was to go forward over the ruins of their religion, were only eager
to show their detestation of it, and their loyalty to the government.
The Lutherans, who, as already noticed, had never moved in much harmony
with the Calvinists, were anxious to throw the whole blame of the
excesses on the rival sect; and thus the breach, growing wider and wider
between the two great divisions of the Protestants, worked infinite
prejudice to the common cause of reform. Lastly, men like Egmont, who
from patriotic motives had been led to dally with the revolution in its
infancy, seeming indeed almost ready to embrace it, now turned coldly
away, and hastened to make their peace with the regent.

[Sidenote: REACTION.]

Margaret felt the accession of strength she was daily deriving from
these divisions of her enemies, and she was not slow to profit by it. As
she had no longer confidence in those on whom she had hitherto relied
for support, she was now obliged to rely more exclusively on herself.
She was indefatigable in her application to business. "I know not,"
writes her secretary, Armenteros, "how the regent contrives to live,
amidst the disgusts and difficulties which incessantly beset her. For
some months she has risen before dawn. Every morning and evening,
sometimes oftener, she calls her council together. The rest of the day
and night she is occupied with giving audiences, or with receiving
despatches and letters, or in answering them."[872]

Margaret now bent all her efforts to retrace the humiliating path into
which she had been led, and to reëstablish the fallen authority of the
crown. If she did not actually revoke the concessions wrung from her,
she was careful to define them so narrowly that they should be of little
service to any one. She wrote to the governors of the provinces, that
her license for public preaching was to be taken literally, and was by
no means intended to cover the performance of other religious rites, as
those of baptism, marriage, and burial, which she understood were freely
practised by the reformed ministers. She published an edict reciting the
terrible penalties of the law against all offenders in this way, and she
enjoined the authorities to enforce the execution of it to the

The Protestants loudly complained of what they termed a most perfidious
policy on the part of the regent. The right of public preaching, they
said, naturally included that of performing the other religious
ceremonies of the Reformed Church. It was a cruel mockery to allow men
to profess a religion, and yet not to practise the rites which belong to
it.--The construction given by Margaret to her edict must be admitted to
savor somewhat of the spirit of that given by Portia to Shylock's
contract. The pound of flesh might indeed be taken; but if so much as a
drop of blood followed, woe to him that took it!

This measure was succeeded by others on the part of the government of a
still more decisive character. Instead of the civil magistracy, Margaret
now showed her purpose to call in the aid of a strong military force to
execute the laws. She ordered into the country the levies lately raised
for her in Germany. These she augmented by a number of Walloon
regiments; and she placed them under the command of Aremberg, Megen, and
other leaders in whom she confided. She did not even omit the prince of
Orange, for though Margaret had but little confidence in William, she
did not care to break with him. To the provincial governors she wrote to
strengthen themselves as much as possible by additional recruits; and
she ordered them to introduce garrisons into such places as had shown
favor to the new doctrines.

The province of Hainault was that which gave the greatest uneasiness to
the regent. The spirit of independence was proverbially high amongst the
people; and the neighborhood of France gave easy access to the Huguenot
ministers, who reaped an abundant harvest in the great towns of that
district. The flourishing commercial city of Valenciennes was
particularly tainted with heresy. Margaret ordered Philip de
Noircarmes, governor of Hainault, to secure the obedience of the place
by throwing into it a garrison of three companies of horse and as many
of foot.

When the regent's will was announced to the people of Valenciennes, it
met at first with no opposition. But among the ministers in the town was
a Frenchman named La Grange, a bold enthusiast, gifted with a stirring
eloquence, which gave him immense ascendancy over the masses. This man
told the people, that to receive a garrison would be the death-blow to
their liberties, and that those of the reformed religion would be the
first victims. Thus warned, the citizens were now even more unanimous in
refusing a garrison than they had before been in their consent to admit
one. Noircarmes, though much surprised by this sudden change, gave the
inhabitants some days to consider the matter before placing themselves
in open resistance to the government. The magistrates and some of the
principal persons in the town were willing to obey his requisition, and
besought La Grange to prevail on the people to consent to it. "I would
rather," replied the high-spirited preacher, "that my tongue should
cleave to the roof of my mouth, and that I should become dumb as a fish,
than open my lips to persuade the people to consent to so cruel and
outrageous an act."[874] Finding the inhabitants still obstinate, the
general, by Margaret's orders, proclaimed the city to be in a state of
rebellion,--proscribed the persons of the citizens as traitors to their
sovereign, and confiscated their property. At the same time, active
preparations were begun for laying siege to the place, and proclamation
was made in the regent's name prohibiting the people of the Netherlands
from affording any aid, by counsel, arms, or money, to the rebellious
city, under the penalties incurred by treason.

But the inhabitants of Valenciennes, sustained by the promises of their
preacher, were nothing daunted by these measures, nor by the formidable
show of troops which Noircarmes was assembling under their walls. Their
town was strongly situated, tolerably well victualled for a siege, and
filled with a population of hardy burghers devoted to the cause, whose
spirits were raised by the exhortations of the consistories in the
neighboring provinces to be of good courage, as their brethren would
speedily come to their relief.

The high-handed measures of the government caused great consternation
through the country, especially amongst those of the reformed religion.
A brisk correspondence went on between the members of the league and the
consistories. Large sums were raised by the merchants well affected to
the cause, in order to levy troops in Germany, and were intrusted to
Brederode for the purpose. It was also determined that a last effort
should be made to soften the duchess by means of a petition, which that
chief, at the head of four hundred knights, was to bear to Brussels. But
Margaret had had enough of petitions, and she bluntly informed
Brederode, that, if he came in that guise, he would find the gates of
Brussels shut against him.

Still the sturdy cavalier was not to be balked in his purpose; and, by
means of an agent, he caused the petition to be laid before the regent.
It was taken up mainly with a remonstrance on the course pursued by
Margaret, so much at variance with her promises. It particularly
enlarged on the limitation of her license for public preaching. In
conclusion, it besought the regent to revoke her edict, to disband her
forces, to raise the siege of Valenciennes, and to respect the agreement
she had made with the league; in which case they were ready to assure
her of their support in maintaining order.

[Sidenote: APPEAL TO ARMS.]

Margaret laid the document before her council, and on the sixteenth of
February, 1567, an answer which might be rather said to be addressed to
the country at large than to Brederode, was published. The duchess
intimated her surprise that any mention should be made of the league, as
she had supposed that body had ceased to exist, since so many of its
members had been but too glad, after the late outrages, to make their
peace with the government. As to her concession of public preaching, it
could hardly be contended that that was designed to authorize the
sectaries to lay taxes, levy troops, create magistrates, and to perform,
among other religious rites, that of marriage, involving the transfer of
large amounts of property. She could hardly be thought mad enough to
invest them with powers like these. She admonished the petitioners not
to compel their sovereign to forego his native benignity of disposition.
It would be well for them, she hinted, to give less heed to public
affairs, and more to their own; and she concluded with the assurance,
that she would take good care that the ruin which they so confidently
predicted for the country should not be brought about by them.[875]

The haughty tone of the reply showed too plainly that the times were
changed; that Margaret was now conscious of her strength, and meant to
use it. The confederates felt that the hour had come for action. To
retrace their steps was impossible. Yet their present position was full
of peril. The rumor went that King Philip was soon to come, at the head
of a powerful force, to take vengeance on his enemies. To remain as they
were, without resistance, would be to offer their necks to the stroke of
the executioner. An appeal to arms was all that was left to them. This
was accordingly resolved on. The standard of revolt was raised. The drum
beat to arms in the towns and villages, and recruits were everywhere
enlisted. Count Louis was busy in enforcing levies in Germany.
Brederode's town of Viana was named as the place of rendezvous. That
chief was now in his element. His restless spirit delighted in scenes of
tumult. He had busied himself in strengthening the works of Viana, and
in furnishing it with artillery and military stores. Thence he had
secretly passed over to Amsterdam, where he was occupied in organizing
resistance among the people, already, by their fondness for the new
doctrines, well disposed to it.

Hostilities first broke out in Brabant, where Count Megen was foiled in
an attempt on Bois-le-Duc, which had refused to receive a garrison. He
was more fortunate in an expedition against the refractory city of
Utrecht, which surrendered without a struggle to the royalist chief.

In other quarters the insurgents were not idle. A body of some two
thousand men, under Marnix, lord of Thoulouse, brother of the famous St.
Aldegonde, made a descent on the island of Walcheren, where it was
supposed Philip would land. But they were baffled in their attempts on
this place by the loyalty and valor of the inhabitants. Failing in this
scheme, Thoulouse was compelled to sail up the Scheldt, until he reached
the little village of Austruweel, about a league from Antwerp. There he
disembarked his whole force, and took up his quarters in the dwellings
of the inhabitants. From this place he sallied out, making depredations
on the adjoining country, burning the churches, sacking the convents,
and causing great alarm to the magistrates of Antwerp by the confidence
which his presence gave to the reformed party in that city.

Margaret saw the necessity of dislodging the enemy without delay from
this dangerous position. She despatched a body of Walloons on the
service, under command of an experienced officer named Launoy. Her
orders show the mood she was in. "They are miscreants," she said, "who
have placed themselves beyond the pale of mercy. Show them no mercy
then, but exterminate with fire and sword!"[876] Launoy, by a rapid
march, arrived at Austruweel. Though taken unawares, Thoulouse and his
men made a gallant resistance; and a fierce action took place almost
under the walls of Antwerp.

The noise of the musketry soon brought the citizens to the ramparts; and
the dismay of the Calvinists was great, as they beheld the little army
of Thoulouse thus closely beset by their enemies. Furious at the
spectacle, they now called on one another to rush to the rescue of their
friends. Pouring down from the ramparts, they hurried to the gates of
the city. But the gates were locked. This had been done by the order of
the prince of Orange, who had moreover caused a bridge across the
Scheldt to be broken down to cut off all communication between the city
and the camp of Thoulouse.

The people now loudly called on the authorities to deliver up the keys,
demanding for what purpose the gates were closed. Their passions were
kindled to madness by the sight of the wife--now, alas! the widow--of
Thoulouse, who, with streaming eyes and dishevelled hair, rushing wildly
into the crowd, besought them piteously to save her husband and their
own brethren from massacre.

It was too late. After a short though stout resistance, the insurgents
had been driven from the field, and taken refuge in their defences.
These were soon set on fire. Thoulouse, with many of his followers,
perished in the flames. Others, to avoid this dreadful fate, cut their
way through the enemy, and plunged into the Scheldt, which washes the
base of the high land occupied by the village. There they miserably
perished in the waters, or were pierced by the lances of the enemy, who
hovered on its borders. Fifteen hundred were slain. Three hundred, who
survived, surrendered themselves prisoners. But Launoy feared an attempt
at rescue from the neighboring city; and, true to the orders of the
regent, he massacred nearly all of them on the spot![877]

While this dismal tragedy was passing, the mob imprisoned within the
walls of Antwerp was raging and bellowing like the waves of the ocean
chafing wildly against the rocks that confine them. With fierce cries,
they demanded that the gates should be opened, calling on the
magistrates with bitter imprecations to deliver up the keys. The
magistrates had no mind to face the infuriated populace. But the prince
of Orange fortunately, at this crisis, did not hesitate to throw himself
into the midst of the tumult, and take on himself the whole
responsibility of the affair. It was by his command that the gates had
been closed, in order that the regent's troops, if victorious, might not
enter the city, and massacre those of the reformed religion. This
plausible explanation did not satisfy the people. Some called out that
the true motive was, not to save the Calvinists in the city, but to
prevent their assisting their brethren in the camp. One man, more
audacious than the rest, raised a musket to the prince's breast,
saluting him, at the same time, with the epithet of "traitor!" But the
fellow received no support from his companions, who, in general,
entertained too great respect for William to offer any violence to his


Unable to appease the tumult, the prince was borne along by the tide,
which now rolled back from the gates to the Meer Bridge, where it soon
received such accessions that the number amounted to more than ten
thousand. The wildest schemes were then agitated by the populace, among
whom no one appeared to take the lead. Some were for seizing the _Hôtel
de Ville_, and turning out the magistrates. Others were for sacking the
convents, and driving their inmates, as well as all priests, from the
city. Meanwhile, they had got possession of some pieces of artillery
from the arsenal, with which they fortified the bridge. Thus passed the
long night;--the armed multitude gathered together like a dark cloud,
ready at any moment to burst in fury on the city, while the defenceless
burghers, especially those who had any property at stake, were filled
with the most dismal apprehensions.

Yet the Catholics contrived to convey some casks of powder, it is said,
under the Meer Bridge, resolving to blow it into the air with all upon
it, as soon as their enemies should make a hostile movement.

All eyes were now turned on the prince of Orange as the only man at all
capable of extricating them from their perilous situation. William had
stationed a guard over the mint, and another at the _Hôtel de Ville_, to
protect these buildings from the populace. A great part of this anxious
night he spent in endeavoring to bring about such an understanding
between the two great parties of the Catholics and the Lutherans as
should enable them to act in concert. This was the less difficult, on
account of the jealousy which the latter sect entertained of the
Calvinists. The force thus raised was swelled by the accession of the
principal merchants and men of substance, as well as most of the
foreigners resident in the city, who had less concern for spiritual
matters than for the security of life and fortune. The following morning
beheld the mob of Calvinists formed into something like a military
array, their green and white banners bravely unfurled, and the cannon
which they had taken from the arsenal posted in front. On the opposite
side of the great square before the _Hôtel de Ville_ were gathered the
forces of the prince of Orange, which, if wanting artillery, were
considerably superior in numbers to their adversaries. The two hosts now
stood face to face, as if waiting only the signal to join in mortal
conflict. But no man was found bold enough to give the signal--for
brother to lift his hand against brother.

At this juncture William, with a small guard, and accompanied by the
principal magistrates, crossed over to the enemy's ranks, and demanded
an interview with the leaders. He represented to them the madness of
their present course; which, even if they were victorious, must work
infinite mischief to the cause. It would be easy for them to obtain by
fair means all they could propose by violence; and for his own part, he
concluded, however well disposed to them he now might be, if a single
drop of blood were shed in this quarrel, he would hold them from that
hour as enemies.

The remonstrance of the prince, aided by the conviction of their own
inferiority in numbers, prevailed over the stubborn temper of the
Calvinists. They agreed to an accommodation, one of the articles of
which was, that no garrison should be admitted within the city. The
prince of Orange subscribed and swore to the treaty, on behalf of his
party: and it is proof of the confidence that even the Calvinists
reposed in him, that they laid down their arms sooner than either the
Lutherans or the Catholics. Both these, however, speedily followed their
example. The martial array, which had assumed so menacing an aspect,
soon melted away. The soldier of an hour, subsiding into the quiet
burgher, went about his usual business; and tranquillity and order once
more reigned within the walls of Antwerp.--Thus, by the coolness and
discretion of a single man, the finest city in the Netherlands was saved
from irretrievable ruin.[878]

It was about the middle of March, 1567, that the disturbances occurred
at Antwerp. During this time Noircarmes was enforcing the blockade of
Valenciennes, but with little prospect of bringing it to a speedy issue.
The inhabitants, confident in their strength, had made more than one
successful sally, burning the cloisters in which the general had lodged
part of his troops, and carrying back considerable booty into the city.
It was evident that to reduce the place by blockade would be a work of
no little time.

Margaret wrote to her brother to obtain his permission to resort to more
vigorous measures, and, without further delay, to bombard the place. But
Philip peremptorily refused. It was much to his regret, he said, that
the siege of so fair a city had been undertaken. Since it had been,
nothing remained but to trust to a blockade for its reduction.[879]

At this time an army of the confederates, some three or four thousand
strong, appeared in the neighborhood of Tournay, designed partly to
protect that town, which had refused a garrison, and partly to create a
diversion in favor of Valenciennes. No sooner had Noircarmes got tidings
of this, than, leaving a sufficient detachment to carry on the blockade,
he made a rapid march with the rest of his forces, came suddenly on the
enemy, engaged him in a pitched battle, completely routed him, and drove
his scattered legions up to the walls of Tournay. That city, now
incapable of resistance, opened its gates at once, and submitted to the
terms of the conqueror, who soon returned, with his victorious army, to
resume the siege of Valenciennes.

But the confidence of the inhabitants was not shaken. On the contrary,
under the delusive promises of their preacher, it seemed to rise higher
than ever, and they rejected with scorn every invitation to surrender.
Again the regent wrote to her brother, that, unless he allowed more
active operations, there was great danger the place would be relieved by
the Huguenots on the frontier, or by the _Gueux_, whose troops were
scattered through the country.

Urged by the last consideration, Philip yielded a reluctant assent to
his sister's wishes. But in his letter, dated on the thirteenth of
March, he insisted that, before resorting to violence, persuasion and
menace should be first tried; and that, in case of an assault, great
care should be had that no harm came to the old and infirm, to women or
children, to any, in short, who were not found actually in arms against
the government.[880]--The clemency shown by Philip on this occasion
reflects infinite credit on him; and if it be disposed of by some as
mere policy, it must be allowed to be a policy near akin to humanity. It
forms a striking contrast with the ferocious mood in which Margaret
indulged at this time, when she seems to have felt that a long arrear of
vengeance was due for the humiliations she had been compelled to endure.


The regent lost no time in profiting by the royal license. She first,
however, proposed, in obedience to her instructions, to see what could
be done by milder measures. She sent two envoys, Count Egmont and the
duke of Arschot, to Valenciennes, in order to expostulate with the
citizens, and if possible bring them to reason. The two nobles
represented to the people the folly of attempting to cope, thus
single-handed, as it were, with the government. Their allies had been
discomfited one after another. With the defeat before Tournay must have
faded the last ray of hope. They besought the citizens to accept, while
there was time, the grace proffered them by the duchess, who was
willing, if the town submitted, that such as chose to leave it might
take their effects and go wherever they listed.

But the people of Valenciennes, fortified by the promises of their
leaders, and with a blind confidence in their own resources, which had
hitherto proved effectual, held lightly both the arguments and offers of
the envoys, who returned to the camp of Noircarmes greatly disgusted
with the ill-success of their mission. There was no room for further
delay, and preparations were made for reducing the place by more active

Valenciennes stands on the crest of an eminence that sweeps down by a
gradual slope towards the river Scheldt, which, washing the walls of the
city, forms a good defence on that quarter. The ramparts encompassing
the town, originally strong and of great thickness, were now somewhat
impaired by age. They were protected by a wide ditch, which in some
places was partially choked up with rubbish. The walls were well lined
with artillery, and the magazines provided with ammunition. In short,
the place was one which, in earlier days, from the strength of its works
as well as its natural position, might have embarrassed an army more
formidable than that which now lay before it.

The first step of Noircarmes was to contract his lines, and closely to
invest the town. He next availed himself of a dark and stormy night to
attack one of the suburbs, which he carried after a sharp engagement,
and left in the charge of some companies of Walloons.

The following day these troops opened a brisk fire on the soldiers who
defended the ramparts, which was returned by the latter with equal
spirit. But while amusing the enemy in this quarter, Noircarmes ordered
a battery to be constructed, consisting at first of ten, afterwards of
twenty, heavy guns and mortars, besides some lighter pieces. From this
battery he opened a well-directed and most disastrous fire on the city,
demolishing some of the principal edifices, which, from their size,
afforded a prominent mark. The great tower of St. Nicholas, on which
some heavy ordnance was planted, soon crumbled, under this fierce
cannonade, and its defenders were buried in its ruins. At length, at the
end of four hours, the inhabitants, unable longer to endure the storm of
shot and shells which penetrated every quarter of the town, so far
humbled their pride as to request a parley. To this Noircarmes assented,
but without intermitting his fire for a moment.

The deputies informed the general, that the city was willing to
capitulate on the terms before proposed by the Flemish nobles. But
Noircarmes contemptuously told them that "things were not now as they
then were, and it was not his wont to talk of terms with a fallen
enemy."[881] The deputies, greatly discomfited by the reply, returned to
report the failure of their mission to their townsmen.

Meanwhile the iron tempest continued with pitiless fury. The wretched
people could find no refuge from it in their dwellings, which filled the
streets with their ruins. It was not, however, till two-and-thirty hours
more had passed away that a practicable breach was made in the walls;
while the rubbish which had tumbled into the fosse from the crumbling
ramparts afforded a tolerable passage for the besiegers, on a level
nearly with the breach itself. By this passage Noircarmes now prepared
to march into the city, through the open breach, at the head of his

The people of Valenciennes too late awoke from their delusion. They were
no longer cheered by the voice of their fanatical leader, for he had
provided for his own safety by flight; and, preferring any fate to that
of being delivered over to the ruthless soldiery of Noircarmes, they
offered at once to surrender the town at discretion, throwing themselves
on the mercy of their victor. Six-and-thirty hours only had elapsed
since the batteries of the besiegers had opened their fire, and during
that time three thousand bombs had been thrown into the city;[882] which
was thought scarcely less than a miracle in that day.

On the second of April, 1567, just four months after the commencement of
the siege, the victorious army marched into Valenciennes. As it defiled
through the long and narrow streets, which showed signs of the dismal
fray in their shattered edifices, and in the dead and dying still
stretched on the pavement, it was met by troops of women and young
maidens bearing green branches in their hands, and deprecating with
tears and piteous lamentations the wrath of the conquerors. Noircarmes
marched at once to the town-house, where he speedily relieved the
municipal functionaries of all responsibility, by turning them out of
office. His next care was to seize the persons of the zealous ministers
and the other leaders. Many had already contrived to make their escape.
Most of these were soon after taken, the preacher La Grange among the
rest, and to the number of thirty-six were sentenced either to the
scaffold or the gallows.[883] The general then caused the citizens to be
disarmed, and the fortifications, on which were mounted eighty pieces of
artillery, to be dismantled. The town was deprived of its privileges and
immunities, and a heavy fine imposed on the inhabitants to defray the
charges of the war. The Protestant worship was abolished, the churches
were restored to their former occupants, and none but the Roman Catholic
service was allowed henceforth to be performed in the city. The bishop
of Arras was invited to watch over the spiritual concerns of the
inhabitants, and a strong garrison of eight battalions was quartered in
the place, to secure order and maintain the authority of the cr


The keys of Valenciennes, it was commonly said, opened to the regent the
gates of all the refractory cities of the Netherlands. Maestricht,
Tornhut, Ghent, Ypres, Oudenarde, and other places which had refused to
admit a garrison within their walls, now surrendered, one after
another, to Margaret, and consented to receive her terms. In like manner
Megen established the royal authority in the province of Gueldres, and
Aremberg, after a more prolonged resistance, in Gröningen and Friesland.
In a few weeks, with the exception of Antwerp and some places in
Holland, the victorious arms of the regent had subdued the spirit of
resistance in every part of the country.[885] The movement of the
insurgents had been premature.



Oath imposed by Margaret.--Refused by Orange.--He leaves the
Netherlands.--Submission of the Country.--New Edict.--Order restored.


The perplexities in which the regent had been involved had led her to
conceive a plan, early in January, 1567, the idea of which may have been
suggested by the similar plan of Viglius. This was to require an oath
from the great nobles, the knights of the Golden Fleece, and those in
high stations, civil or military, that they would yield implicit and
unqualified obedience to the commands of the king, of whatever nature
they might be. Her object in this measure was not to secure a test of
loyalty. She knew full well who were the friends and who were the foes
of the government. But she wished a decent apology for ridding herself
of the latter; and it was made a condition, that those who refused to
take the oath were to be dismissed from office.

The measure seems to have met with no opposition when first started in
the council; where Mansfeldt, Arschot, Megen, Barlaimont, all signified
their readiness to sign the oath. Egmont indeed raised some scruples.
After the oath of allegiance he had once taken, a new one seemed
superfluous. The bare word of a man of honor and a chevalier of the
Toison ought to suffice.[886] But after a short correspondence on the
subject, his scruples vanished before the arguments or persuasions of
the regent.

Brederode, who held a military command, was not of so accommodating a
temper. He indignantly exclaimed, that it was a base trick of the
government, and he understood the drift of it. He refused to subscribe
the oath, and at once threw up his commission. The Counts Hoorne and
Hoogstraten declined also, but in more temperate terms, and resigning
their employments, withdrew to their estates in the country.

The person of most importance was the prince of Orange; and it was
necessary to approach him with the greatest caution. Margaret, it is
true, had long since withdrawn from him her confidence. But he had too
much consideration and authority in the country for her to wish to break
with him. Nor would she willingly give him cause of disgust. She
accordingly addressed him a note, couched in the most insinuating terms
she had at her command.

She could not doubt he would be ready to set a good example, when his
example would be so important in the perplexed condition of the country.
Rumors had been circulated to the prejudice of his loyalty. She did not
give them credit. She could not for a moment believe that he would so
far dishonor his great name and his illustrious descent as to deserve
such a reproach; and she had no doubt he would gladly avail himself of
the present occasion to wipe away all suspicion.[887]

The despatch inclosed a form of the oath, by which the party was to bind
himself to "serve the king, and act for or against whomever his majesty
might command, without restriction or limitation,"[888] on pain of being
dismissed from office.

William was not long in replying to a requisition, to obey which would
leave him less freedom than might be claimed by the meanest peasant in
the country. On the twenty-eighth of April, the same day on which he
received the letter, he wrote to the regent, declining in the most
positive terms to take the oath. Such an act, he said, would of itself
imply that he had already violated the oath he had previously taken. Nor
could he honorably take it, since it might bind him to do what would be
contrary to the dictates of his own conscience, as well as to what he
conceived to be the true interests of his majesty and the country.[889]
He was aware that such a demand on the regent's part was equivalent to a
dismissal from office. He begged her, therefore, to send some one fully
empowered to receive his commissions, since he was ready forthwith to
surrender them. As for himself, he should withdraw from the Netherlands,
and wait until his sovereign had time to become satisfied of his
fidelity. But wherever he might be, he should ever be ready to devote
both life and property to the service of the king and the common weal of
the country.[890]

Whatever hesitation the prince of Orange may have before felt as to the
course he was to take, it was clear the time had now come for decisive
action. Though the steady advocate of political reform, his policy, as
we have seen, had been to attempt this by constitutional methods, not by
violence. But all his more moderate plans had been overthrown by the
explosion of the iconoclasts. The outrages then perpetrated had both
alienated the Catholics and disgusted the more moderate portion of the
Protestants; while the divisions of the Protestants among themselves had
so far paralyzed their action, that the whole strength of the party of
reform had never been fairly exerted in the conflict. That conflict,
unprepared as the nation was for it, had been most disastrous.
Everywhere the arms of the regent had been victorious. It was evident
the hour for resistance had not yet come.


Yet for William to remain in his present position was hazardous in the
extreme. Rumors had gone abroad that the duke of Alva would soon be in
the Netherlands, at the head of a force sufficient to put down all
opposition. "Beware of Alva," said his wife's kinsman, the landgrave of
Hesse, to William; "I know him well."[891] The prince of Orange also
knew him well,--too well to trust him. He knew the hard, inexorable
nature of the man who was now coming with an army at his back, and
clothed with the twofold authority of judge and executioner. The first
blow would, he knew, be aimed at the highest mark. To await Alva's
coming would be to provoke his fate. Yet the prince felt all the
dreariness of his situation. "I am alone," he wrote to the Landgrave
William of Hesse, "with dangers menacing me on all sides, yet without
one trusty friend to whom I can open my heart."[892]

Margaret seems to have been less prepared than might have been expected
for the decision of Orange. Yet she determined not to let him depart
from the country without an effort to retain him. She accordingly sent
her secretary, Berty, to the prince at Antwerp, to enter into the matter
more freely, and, if possible, prevail on him to review the grounds of
his decision. William freely, and at some length, stated his reasons for
declining the oath. "If I thus blindly surrender myself to the will of
the king, I may be driven to do what is most repugnant to my principles,
especially in the stern mode of dealing with the sectaries. I may be
compelled to denounce some of my own family, even my wife, as Lutherans,
and to deliver them into the hands of the executioner. Finally," said
he, "the king may send some one in his royal name to rule over us, to
whom it would be derogatory for me to submit." The name of "Alva"
escaped, as if involuntarily, from his lips,--and he was silent.[893]

Berty endeavored to answer the objections of the prince, but the latter,
interrupting him before he had touched on the duke of Alva, bluntly
declared that the king would never be content while one of his great
vassals was wedded to a heretic. It was his purpose, therefore, to leave
the country at once, and retire to Germany; and with this remark he
abruptly closed the conference.

The secretary, though mortified at his own failure, besought William to
consent to an interview, before his departure, with Count Egmont, who,
Berty trusted, might be more successful. To this William readily
assented. This celebrated meeting took place at Willbroek, a village
between Antwerp and Brussels. Besides the two lords there were only
present Count Mansfeldt and the secretary.

After some discussion, in which each of the friends endeavored to win
over the other to his own way of thinking, William expressed the hope
that Egmont would save himself in time from the bloody tempest that, he
predicted, was soon to fall on the heads of the Flemish nobles.[894] "I
trust in the clemency of my sovereign," answered the count; "he cannot
deal harshly with men who have restored order to the country." "This
clemency you so extol," replied William, "will be your ruin. Much I fear
that the Spaniards will make use of you as a bridge to effect their
entrance into the country!"[895] With this ominous prediction on his
lips, he tenderly embraced the count, with tears in his eyes, bidding
him a last farewell. And thus the two friends parted, like men who were
never to meet again.

The different courses pursued by the two nobles were such as might be
expected from the difference of both their characters and their
circumstances. Egmont, ardent, hopeful, and confiding, easily
surrendered himself to the illusions of his own fancy, as if events were
to shape themselves according to his wishes. He had not the far-seeing
eye of William, which seemed to penetrate into events as it did into
characters. Nor had Egmont learned, like William, not to put his trust
in princes. He was, doubtless, as sincerely attached to his country as
the prince of Orange, and abhorred, like him, the system of persecution
avowed by the government. But this persecution fell upon a party with
whom he had little sympathy. William, on the other hand, was a member of
that party. A blow aimed at them was aimed also at him. It is easy to
see how different were the stakes of the two nobles in the coming
contest, both in respect to their sympathies and their interests. Egmont
was by birth a Fleming. His estates were in Flanders, and there, too,
were his hopes of worldly fortune. Exile to him would have been beggary
and ruin. But a large, if not the larger part of William's property, lay
without the confines of the Netherlands. In withdrawing to Germany, he
went to his native land. His kindred were still there. With them he had
maintained a constant correspondence, and there he would be welcomed by
troops of friends. It was a home, and no place of exile, that William
was to find in Germany.

Shortly after this interview, the prince went to his estates at Breda,
there to remain a few days before quitting the country.[896] From Breda
he wrote to Egmont, expressing the hope that, when he had weighed them
in his mind, he would be contented with the reasons assigned for his
departure. The rest he would leave to God, who would order all for his
own glory. "Be sure," he added, "you have no friend more warmly devoted
to you than myself; for the love of you is too deeply rooted in my heart
to be weakened either by time or distance."[897] It is pleasing to see
that party spirit had not, as in the case of more vulgar souls, the
power to rend asunder the ties which had so long bound these great men
to each other; to see them still turning back, with looks of accustomed
kindness, when they were entering the paths that were to lead in such
opposite directions.

William wrote also to the king, acquainting him with what he had done,
and explaining the grounds of it; at the same time renewing the
declaration that, wherever he might be, he trusted never to be found
wanting to the obligations of a true and faithful vassal. Before leaving
Breda, the prince received a letter from the politic regent, more
amiable in its import than might have been expected. Perhaps it was not
wholly policy that made her unwilling to part with him in anger. She
expressed her readiness to do him any favor in her power. She had always
felt for him, she said, the same affection as for her own son, and
should ever continue to do so.[898]


On the last of April, William departed for Germany. He took with him all
his household except his eldest son, the count of Buren, then a boy
thirteen years old, who was pursuing his studies at the university of
Louvain.[899] Perhaps William trusted to the immunities of Brabant, or
to the tender age of the youth, for his protection. If so, he grievously
miscalculated. The boy would serve as too important a hostage for his
father, and Philip caused him to be transferred to Madrid; where, under
the monarch's eye, he was educated in religious as well as in political
sentiments very little in harmony with those of the prince of Orange.
Fortunately, the younger brother, Maurice, who inherited the genius of
his father, and was to carry down his great name to another generation,
was allowed to receive his training under the paternal roof.[900]

Besides his family, William was accompanied by a host of friends and
followers, some of them persons of high consideration, who preferred
banishment with him to encountering the troubles that awaited them at
home. Thus attended, he fixed his residence at Dillemburg, in Nassau,
the seat of his ancestors, and the place of his own birth. He there
occupied himself with studying the Lutheran doctrine under an
experienced teacher of that persuasion;[901] and, while he kept a
watchful eye on the events passing in his unhappy country, he endeavored
to make himself acquainted with the principles of that glorious
Reformation, of which, in connection with political freedom, he was one
day to become the champion.

The departure of the prince of Orange caused general consternation in
the Netherlands. All who were in anyway compromised by the late
disturbances watched more anxiously than ever the signs of the coming
tempest, as they felt they had lost the pilot who alone could enable
them to weather it. Thousands prepared to imitate his example by
quitting the country before it was too late. Among those who fled were
the Counts Culemborg, Berg, Hoogstraten, Louis of Nassau, and others of
inferior note, who passed into Germany, where they gathered into a
little circle round the prince, waiting, like him, for happier days.

Some of the great lords, who had held out against the regent, now left
alone, intimated their willingness to comply with her demands. "Count
Hoorne," she writes to Philip, "has offered his services to me, and
declares his readiness to take the oath. If he has spoken too freely, he
says, it was not from any disaffection to the government, but from a
momentary feeling of pique and irritation. I would not drive him to
desperation, and from regard to his kindred I have consented that he
should take his seat in the council again."[902] The haughty tone of
the duchess shows that she felt herself now so strongly seated as to be
nearly indifferent whether the person she dealt with were friend or

Egmont, at this time, was endeavoring to make amends for the past by
such extraordinary demonstrations of loyalty as should efface all
remembrance of it. He rode through the land at the head of his troops,
breaking up the consistories, arresting the rioters, and everywhere
reëstablishing the Catholic worship. He loudly declared that those who
would remain his friends must give unequivocal proofs of loyalty to the
crown and the Roman Catholic faith. Some of those with whom he had been
most intimate, disgusted with, this course, and distrusting, perhaps,
such a deposit for their correspondence, sent back the letters they had
received from him, and demanded their own in return.[904]

At Brussels Egmont entered into all the gayeties of the court,
displaying his usual magnificence in costly fêtes and banquets, which
the duchess of Parma sometimes honored with her presence. The count's
name appears among those which she mentions to Philip as of persons well
affected to the government. "It is impossible," she says, "not to be
satisfied with his conduct."[905] Thus elated by the favor of the
regent--next in importance to that of royalty itself--the ill-fated
nobleman cherished the fond hope that the past would now be completely
effaced from the memory of his master,--a master who might forget a
benefit, but who was never known to forgive an injury.

The great towns throughout the land had now generally intimated their
willingness to submit to the requisitions of Margaret, and many of them
had admitted garrisons within their walls. Antwerp only, of the cities
of Brabant, remained intractable. At length it yielded to the general
impulse, and a deputation was sent to the regent to sue for her
forgiveness, and to promise that the leaders in the late disturbances
should be banished from the city. This was a real triumph to the royal
party, considering the motley character of the population, in which
there was so large an infusion of Calvinism. But Margaret, far from
showing her satisfaction, coolly answered that they must first receive a
garrison; then she would intercede for them with the king, and would
herself consent to take up her residence in the city. In this the
inhabitants, now well humbled, affected willingly to acquiesce; and soon
after Count Mansfeldt, at the head of sixteen companies of foot, marched
into Antwerp in battle array, and there quartered his soldiers as in a
conquered capital.

[Sidenote: NEW EDICT.]

A day was fixed for the regent's entry, which was to be made with all
becoming pomp. Detachments of troops were stationed in the principal
avenues, and on the thirtieth of April Margaret rode into Antwerp,
escorted by twelve hundred Walloons, and accompanied by the knights of
the Golden Fleece, the great lords, and the provincial magistrates. As
the glittering procession passed through the files of the soldiery,
along the principal streets, it was greeted with the huzzas of the
fickle populace. Thus cheered on her way, the regent proceeded first to
the cathedral, where _Te Deum_ was chanted, and on her knees she
returned thanks to the Almighty, that this great city had been restored
without battle or bloodshed to the king and the true faith.[906] As her
eyes wandered over the desecrated altars and the walls despoiled of
their ornaments, their rich sculpture and paintings, by the rude hand of
violence, Margaret could not restrain her tears. Her first care was to
recover, as far as possible, the stolen property, and repair the
injuries to the building; the next, to punish the authors of these
atrocities; and the execution in the market-place of four of the
ringleaders proclaimed to the people of Antwerp that the reign of
anarchy was over.

Margaret next caused the churches of the reformed party to be levelled
with the ground. Those of the Romish faith, after being purified, and
the marks of violence, as far as practicable, effaced, were restored to
their ancient occupants. The Protestant schools were everywhere closed.
The children who had been baptized with Protestant rites were now
re-baptized after the Catholic.[907] In fine, the reformed worship was
interdicted throughout the city, and that of the Romish church, with its
splendid ritual, was established in its place.

On occupying Antwerp, Margaret had allowed all who were not implicated
in the late riots to leave the city with their effects. Great numbers
now availed themselves of this permission, and the streets presented the
melancholy spectacle of husbands parting from their wives, parents from
their children, or, it might be, taking their families along with them
to some kinder land, where they would be allowed to worship God
according to the dictates of their own consciences.

But even this glimmering of a tolerant spirit,--if so it can be
called,--which Margaret exhibited at the outset, soon faded away before
the dark spirit of the Inquisition. On the twenty-fourth of May, she
published an edict, written in the characters of blood which
distinguished the worst times of Charles and of Philip. By this edict,
all who had publicly preached, or who had performed the religions
exercises after the Protestant manner, all who had furnished the places
of meeting, or had harbored or aided the preachers, all printers of
heretical tracts, or artists who with their pencil had brought ridicule
on the Church of Rome,--all, in short, who were guilty of these or
similar iniquities, were to be punished with death and confiscation of
property. Lighter offences were to be dealt with according to the
measure of their guilt. The edict containing these humane provisions is
of considerable length, and goes into a large specification of offences,
from which few, if any, of the reformed could have been entirely
exempt.[908] When this ordinance of the regent was known at Madrid, it
caused great dissatisfaction. The king pronounced it "indecorous,
illegal, and altogether repugnant to the true spirit of
Christianity;"[909] and he ordered Margaret forthwith to revoke the
edict. It was accordingly repealed on the twenty-third of July
following. The reader who may be disposed to join heartily in the
malediction may not be prepared to learn that the cause of the royal
indignation was not that the edict was too severe, but that it was too
lenient! It nowhere denounced the right of private worship. A man might
still be a heretic at heart and at his own fireside, so long as he did
not obtrude it on the public. This did not suit the Inquisition, whose
jealous eye penetrated into the houses and the hearts of men, dragging
forth their secret thoughts into open day, and punishing these like
overt acts. Margaret had something yet to learn in the school of

While at Antwerp, the regent received an embassy from the elector of
Saxony, the landgrave of Hesse, and other Protestant princes of Germany,
interceding for the oppressed Lutherans, and praying that she would not
consent to their being so grievously vexed by the Catholic government.
Margaret, who was as little pleased with the plain terms in which this
remonstrance was conveyed as with the object of it, coldly replied, that
the late conduct of the Flemish Protestants doubtless entitled them to
all this sympathy from the German princes; but she advised the latter to
busy themselves with their own affairs, and leave the king of Spain to
manage his as he thought best.[911]

Of all the provinces, Holland was the only one which still made
resistance to the will of the regent. And here, as we have already seen,
was gathered a military array of some strength. The head-quarters were
at Brederode's town of Viana. But that chief had left his followers for
the present, and had been secretly introduced into Amsterdam, where, as
before noticed, he was busy in rousing a spirit of resistance in the
citizens, already well prepared for it by their Protestant preachers.
The magistrates, sorely annoyed, would gladly have rid themselves of
Brederode's presence, but he had too strong a hold on the people. Yet,
as hour after hour brought fresh tidings of the disasters of his party,
the chief himself became aware that all hopes of successful resistance
must be deferred to another day. Quitting the city by night, he
contrived, with the aid of his friends, to make his escape into Germany.
Some months he passed in Westphalia, occupied with raising forces for a
meditated invasion of the Netherlands, when, in the summer of 1568, he
was carried off by a fever, brought on, it is said, by his careless,
intemperate way of life.[912]

Brederode was a person of a free and fearless temper,--with the defects,
and the merits too, that attach to that sort of character. The
friendship with which he seems to have been regarded by some of the most
estimable persons of his party--Louis of Nassau, especially--speaks well
for his heart. The reckless audacity of the man is shown in his
correspondence; and the free manner in which he deals with persons and
events makes his letters no less interesting than important for the
light they throw on these troubled times. Yet it cannot be denied that,
after all, Brederode is indebted much more to the circumstances of his
situation than to his own character for the space he occupies in the
pages of history.[913]


Thus left without a leader, the little army which Brederode had gathered
under his banner soon fell to pieces. Detachments, scattering over the
country, committed various depredations, plundering the religious houses
and engaging in encounters with the royal troops under Megen and
Aremberg, in which the insurgents fared the worst. Thus broken on all
sides, those who did not fall into the enemy's hands, or on the field,
were too glad to make their escape into Germany. One vessel, containing
a great number of fugitives, was wrecked, and all on board were made
prisoners. Among them were two brothers, of the name of Battenberg; they
were of a noble family, and prominent members of the league. They were
at once, with their principal followers, thrown into prison, to await
their doom from the bloody tribunal of Alva.

Deprived of all support from without, the city of Amsterdam offered no
further resistance, but threw open its gates to the regent, and
consented to accept her terms. These were the same that had been imposed
on all the other refractory towns. The immunities of the city were
declared to be forfeited, a garrison was marched into the place, and
preparations were made for building a fortress, to guard against future
commotions. Those who chose--with the customary exceptions--were allowed
to leave the city. Great numbers availed themselves of the permission.
The neighboring dikes were crowded with fugitives from the territory
around, as well as from the city, anxiously waiting for vessels to
transport them to Embden, the chief asylum of the exiles. There they
stood, men, women, and children, a melancholy throng, without food,
almost without raiment or any of the common necessaries of life,
exciting the commiseration of even their Catholic adversaries.[914]

The example of Amsterdam was speedily followed by Delft, Haarlem,
Rotterdam, Leyden, and the remaining towns of Holland, which now seemed
to vie with one another in demonstrations of loyalty to the government.
The triumph of the regent was complete. Her arms had been everywhere
successful, and her authority was fully recognized throughout the whole
extent of the Netherlands. Doubtful friends and open foes, Catholics and
Reformers, were alike prostrate at her feet.[915] With the hour of
triumph came also the hour of vengeance. And we can hardly doubt that
the remembrance of past humiliation gave a sharper edge to the sword of
justice. Fortresses, to overawe the inhabitants, were raised in the
principal towns;[916] and the expense of their construction, as well as
of maintaining their garrison, was defrayed by fines laid on the
refractory cities.[917] The regent's troops rode over the country, and
wherever the reformed were gathered to hear the word, they were charged
by the troopers, who trampled them under their horses' hoofs, shooting
them down without mercy, or dragging them off by scores to execution. No
town was so small that fifty at least did not perish in this way, while
the number of the victims sometimes rose to two or even three
hundred.[918] Everywhere along the road-side the traveller beheld the
ghastly spectacle of bodies swinging from gibbets, or met with troops of
miserable exiles flying from their native land.[919] Confiscation
followed, as usual, in the train of persecution. At Tournay, the
property of a hundred of the richest merchants was seized and
appropriated by the government. Even the populace, like those animals
who fall upon and devour one of their own number when wounded, now
joined in the cry against the Reformers. They worked with the same
alacrity as the soldiers in pulling down the Protestant churches; and
from the beams, in some instances, formed the very gallows from which
their unhappy victims were suspended.[920] Such is the picture, well
charged with horrors, left to us by Protestant writers. We may be quite
sure that it lost nothing of its darker coloring under their hands.

So strong was now the tide of emigration, that it threatened to
depopulate some of the fairest provinces of the country. The regent, who
at first rejoiced in this as the best means of ridding the land of its
enemies, became alarmed, as she saw it was drawing off so large a
portion of the industrious population. They fled to France, to Germany,
and very many to England, where the wise Elizabeth provided them with
homes, knowing well that, though poor, they brought with them a skill in
the mechanic arts which would do more than gold and silver for the
prosperity of her kingdom.

Margaret would have stayed this tide of emigration by promises of grace,
if not by a general amnesty for the past. But though she had power to
punish, Philip had not given her the power to pardon. And indeed
promises of grace would have availed little with men flying from the
dread presence of Alva.[921] It was the fear of him which gave wings to
their flight, as Margaret herself plainly intimated in a letter to the
duke, in which she deprecated his coming with an army, when nothing more
was needed than a vigilant police.[922]


In truth, Margaret was greatly disgusted by the intended mission of the
duke of Alva, of which she had been advised by the king some months
before. She knew well the imperious temper of the man, and that, however
high-sounding might be her own titles, the power would be lodged in his
hands. She felt this to be a poor requital for her past services,--a
personal indignity, no less than an injury to the state. She gave free
vent to her feelings on the subject in more than one letter to her

In a letter of the fifth of April she says: "You have shown no regard
for my wishes or my reputation. By your extraordinary restrictions on my
authority, you have prevented my settling the affairs of the country
entirely to my mind. Yet, seeing things in so good a state, you are
willing to give all the credit to another, and leave me only the fatigue
and danger.[923] But I am resolved, instead of wasting the remainder of
my days, as I have already done my health, in this way, to retire and
dedicate myself to a tranquil life in the service of God." In another
letter, dated four weeks later, on the third of May, after complaining
that the king withdraws his confidence more and more from her, she asks
leave to withdraw, as the country is restored to order, and the royal
authority more assured than in the time of Charles the Fifth.[924]

In this assurance respecting the public tranquillity, Margaret was no
doubt sincere; as are also the historians who have continued to take the
same view of the matter, down to the present time, and who consider the
troubles of the country to have been so far composed by the regent,
that, but for the coming of Alva, there would have been no revolution in
the Netherlands. Indeed, there might have seemed to be good ground for
such a conclusion. The revolt had been crushed. Resistance had
everywhere ceased. The authority of the regent was recognized throughout
the land. The league, which had raised so bold a front against the
government, had crumbled away. Its members had fallen in battle, or lay
waiting their sentence in dungeons, or were wandering as miserable
exiles in distant lands. The name of _Gueux_, and the insignia of the
bowl and the beggar's scrip, which they had assumed in derision, were
now theirs by right. It was too true for a jest.

The party of reform had disappeared, as if by magic. Its worship was
everywhere proscribed. On its ruins the Catholic religion had risen in
greater splendor than ever. Its temples were restored, its services
celebrated with more than customary pomp. The more austere and
uncompromising of the Reformers had fled the country. Those who remained
purchased impunity by a compulsory attendance on mass; or the wealthier
sort, by the aid of good cheer or more substantial largesses, bribed the
priest to silence.[925] At no time since the beginning of the
Reformation had the clergy been treated with greater deference, or
enjoyed a greater share of authority in the land. The dark hour of
revolution seemed, indeed, to have passed away.

Yet a Fleming of that day might well doubt whether the prince of Orange
were a man likely to resign his fair heritage and the land so dear to
his heart without striking one blow in their defence. One who knew the
wide spread of the principles of reform, and the sturdy character of the
reformer, might distrust the permanence of a quiet which had been
brought about by so much violence. He might rather think that, beneath
the soil he was treading, the elements were still at work, which, at no
distant time perhaps, would burst forth with redoubled violence, and
spread ruin over the land!




Alva's Appointment.--His remarkable March.--He arrives at
Brussels.--Margaret disgusted.--Policy of the Duke.--Arrest of Egmont
and Hoorne.


While Margaret was thus successful in bringing the country to a state of
at least temporary tranquillity, measures were taken at the court of
Madrid for shifting the government of the Netherlands into other hands,
and for materially changing its policy.

We have seen how actively the rumors had been circulated, throughout the
last year, of Philip's intended visit to the country. These rumors had
received abundant warrant from his own letters, addressed to the regent
and to his ministers at the different European courts. Nor did the king
confine himself to professions. He applied to the French government to
allow a free passage for his army through its territories. He caused a
survey to be made of that part of Savoy through which his troops would
probably march, and a map of the proposed route to be prepared. He
ordered fresh levies from Germany to meet him on the Flemish frontier.
And finally, he talked of calling the cortes together, to provide for
the regency during his absence.

Yet whoever else might be imposed on, there was one potentate in Europe
whose clear vision was not to be blinded by the professions of Philip,
nor by all this bustle of preparation. This was the old pontiff, Pius
the Fifth, who had always distrusted the king's sincerity. Pius had
beheld with keen anguish the spread of heresy in the Low Countries. Like
a true son of the Inquisition as he was, he would gladly have seen its
fires kindled in every city of this apostate land. He had observed with
vexation the apathy manifested by Philip. And he at length resolved to
despatch a special embassy to Spain, to stimulate the monarch, if
possible, to more decided action.

The person employed was the bishop of Ascoli, and the good father
delivered his rebuke in such blunt terms as caused a sensation at the
court of Madrid. In a letter to his ambassador at Rome, Philip
complained that the pope should have thus held him up to Christendom as
one slack in the performance of his duty. The envoy had delivered
himself in so strange a manner, Philip added, that, but for the respect
and love he bore his holiness, he might have been led to take precisely
the opposite course to the one he intended.[926]


Yet notwithstanding this show of indignation, had it not been for the
outbreak of the iconoclasts, it is not improbable that the king might
still have continued to procrastinate, relying on his favorite maxim,
that "Time and himself were a match for any other two."[927] But the
event which caused such a sensation throughout Christendom roused every
feeling of indignation in the royal bosom,--and this from the insult
offered to the crown as well as to the Church. Contrary to his wont, the
king expressed himself with so much warmth on the subject, and so
openly, that the most sceptical began at last to believe that the long
talked of visit was at hand. The only doubt was as to the manner in
which it should be made; whether the king should march at the head of an
army, or attended only by so much of a retinue as was demanded by his
royal state.

The question was warmly discussed in the council. Ruy Gomez, the courtly
favorite of Philip, was for the latter alternative. A civil war he
deprecated, as bringing ruin even to the victor.[928] Clemency was the
best attribute of a sovereign, and the people of Flanders were a
generous race, more likely to be overcome by kindness than by arms.[929]
In these liberal and humane views the prince of Eboli was supported by
the politic secretary, Antonio Perez, and by the duke of Feria, formerly
ambassador to London, a man who to polished manners united a most
insinuating eloquence.

But very different opinions, as might be expected, were advanced by the
duke of Alva. The system of indulgence, he said, had been that followed
by the regent, and its fruits were visible. The weeds of heresy were not
to be extirpated by a gentle hand; and his majesty should deal with his
rebellious vassals as Charles the Fifth had dealt with their rebel
fathers at Ghent.[930] These stern views received support from the
Cardinal Espinosa, who held the office of president of the council, as
well as of grand inquisitor, and who doubtless thought the insult
offered to the Inquisition not the least of the offences to be charged
on the Reformers.

Each of the great leaders recommended the measures most congenial with
his own character, and which, had they been adopted, would probably
have required his own services to carry them into execution. Had the
pacific course been taken, Feria, or more probably Ruy Gomez, would have
been intrusted with the direction of affairs. Indeed, Montigny and
Bergen, still detained in reluctant captivity at Madrid, strongly urged
the king to send the prince of Eboli, as a man, who, by his popular
manners and known discretion, would be most likely to reconcile opposite
factions.[931] Were violent measures, on the other hand, to be adopted,
to whom could they be so well intrusted as to the duke himself, the most
experienced captain of his time?

The king, it is said, contrary to his custom, was present at the meeting
of the council, and listened to the debate. He did not intimate his
opinion. But it might be conjectured to which side he was most likely to
lean, from his habitual preference for coercive measures.[932]

Philip came to a decision sooner than usual. In a few days he summoned
the duke, and told him that he had resolved to send him forthwith, at
the head of an army, to the Netherlands. It was only, however, to
prepare the way for his own coming, which would take place as soon as
the country was in a state sufficiently settled to receive him.

All was now alive with the business of preparation in Castile. Levies
were raised throughout the country. Such was the zeal displayed, that
even the Inquisition and the clergy advanced a considerable sum towards
defraying the expenses of an expedition which they seemed to regard in
the light of a crusade.[933] Magazines of provisions were ordered to be
established at regular stations on the proposed line of march. Orders
were sent, that the old Spanish garrisons in Lombardy, Naples, Sicily,
and Sardinia, should be transported to the place of rendezvous in
Piedmont, to await the coming of the duke, who would supply their places
with the fresh recruits brought with him from Castile.

Philip meanwhile constantly proclaimed that Alva's departure was only
the herald of his own. He wrote this to Margaret, assuring her of his
purpose to go by water, and directing her to have a squadron of eight
vessels in readiness to convoy him to Zealand, where he proposed to
land. The vessels were accordingly equipped. Processions were made, and
prayers put up in all the churches, for the prosperous passage of the
king. Yet there were some in the Netherlands who remarked that prayers
to avert the dangers of the sea were hardly needed by the monarch in his
palace at Madrid![934] Many of those about the royal person soon
indulged in the same scepticism in regard to the king's sincerity, as
week after week passed away, and no arrangements were made for his
departure. Among the contradictory rumors at court in respect to the
king's intention, the pope's nuncio wrote, it was impossible to get at
the truth.[935] It was easy to comprehend the general policy of Philip,
but impossible to divine the particular plans by which, it was to be
carried out. If such was the veil which hid the monarch's purposes even
from the eyes of those who had nearest access to his person, how can we
hope at this distance of time to penetrate it? Yet the historian of the
nineteenth century is admitted to the perusal of many an authentic
document revealing the royal purpose, which never came under the eye of
the courtier of Madrid.


With all the light thus afforded, it is still difficult to say whether
Philip ever was sincere in his professions of visiting the Netherlands.
If he were so at any time, it certainly was not after he had decided on
the mission of Alva. Philip widely differed from his father in a
sluggishness of body which made any undertaking that required physical
effort exceedingly irksome. He shrunk from no amount of sedentary labor,
would toil from morning till midnight in his closet, like the humblest
of his secretaries. But a journey was a great undertaking. After his
visits, during his father's lifetime, to England and the Low Countries,
he rarely travelled farther, as his graceless son satirically hinted,
than from Madrid to Aranjuez, or Madrid to the Escorial. A thing so
formidable as an expedition to Flanders, involving a tedious journey
through an unfriendly land, or a voyage through seas not less
unfriendly, was what, under ordinary circumstances, the king would have
never dreamed of.

The present aspect of affairs, moreover, had nothing in it particularly
inviting,--especially to a prince of Philip's temper. Never was there a
prince more jealous of his authority; and the indignities to which he
might have been exposed, in the disorderly condition of the country,
might well have come to the aid of his constitutional sluggishness to
deter him from the visit.

Under these circumstances, it is not strange that Philip, if he had ever
entertained a vague project of a journey to the Netherlands, should have
yielded to his natural habit of procrastination. The difficulties of a
winter's voyage, the necessity of summoning the cortes and settling the
affairs of the kingdom, his own protracted illness, furnished so many
apologies for postponing the irksome visit, until the time had passed
when such a visit could be effectual.

That he should so strenuously have asserted his purpose of going to the
Netherlands may be explained by a desire in some sort to save his credit
with those who seemed to think that the present exigency demanded he
should go. He may have also thought it politic to keep up the idea of a
visit to the Low Countries, in order to curb--as it no doubt had the
effect in some degree of curbing--the licence of the people, who
believed they were soon to be called to a reckoning for their misdeeds
by their prince in person. After all, the conduct of Philip on this
occasion, and the motives assigned for his delay in his letters to
Margaret, must be allowed to afford a curious coincidence with those
ascribed, in circumstances not dissimilar, by the Roman historian to

On the fifteenth of April, 1567, Alva had his last audience of Philip at
Aranjuez. He immediately after departed for Carthagena, where a fleet of
thirty-six vessels, under the Genoese Admiral Doria, lay riding at
anchor to receive him. He was detained some time for the arrival of the
troops, and while there he received despatches from court containing his
commission of captain-general, and particular instructions as to the
course he was to pursue in the Netherlands. They were so particular,
that, notwithstanding the broad extent of his powers, the duke wrote to
his master complaining of his want of confidence, and declaring that he
had never been hampered by instructions so minute, even under the
emperor.[937] One who has studied the character of Philip will find no
difficulty in believing it.

On the twenty-seventh of April, the fleet weighed anchor; but in
consequence of a detention of some days at several places on the Catalan
coast, it did not reach the Genoese port of Savona till the seventeenth
of the next month. The duke had been ill when he went on board; and his
gouty constitution received no benefit from the voyage. Yet he did not
decline the hospitalities offered by the Genoese nobles, who vied with
the senate in showing the Spanish commander every testimony of respect.
At Asti he was waited on by Albuquerque, the Milanese viceroy, and by
ambassadors from different Italian provinces, eager to pay homage to the
military representative of the Spanish monarch. But the gout under which
Alva labored was now aggravated by an attack of tertian ague, and for a
week or more he was confined to his bed.

Meanwhile the troops had assembled at the appointed rendezvous; and the
duke, as soon as he had got the better of his disorder, made haste to
review them. They amounted in all to about ten thousand men, of whom
less than thirteen hundred were cavalry. But though small in amount, it
was a picked body of troops, such as was hardly to be matched in Europe.
The infantry, in particular, were mostly Spaniards,--veterans who had
been accustomed to victory under the banner of Charles the Fifth, and
many of them trained to war under the eye of Alva himself. He preferred
such a body, compact and well disciplined as it was, to one which,
unwieldy from its size, would have been less fitted for a rapid march
across the mountains.[938]


Besides those of the common file, there were many gentlemen and
cavaliers of note, who, weary of repose, came as volunteers to gather
fresh laurels under so renowned a chief as the duke of Alva. Among these
was Vitelli, marquis of Cetona, a Florentine soldier of high repute in
his profession, but who, though now embarked in what might be called a
war of religion, was held so indifferent to religion of any kind, that a
whimsical epitaph on the sceptic denies him the possession of a
soul.[939] Another of these volunteers was Mondragone, a veteran of
Charles the Fifth, whose character for chivalrous exploit was unstained
by those deeds of cruelty and rapine which were so often the reproach of
the cavalier of the sixteenth century. The duties of the commissariat,
particularly difficult in a campaign like the present, were intrusted to
an experienced Spanish officer named Ibarra. To the duke of Savoy Alva
was indebted for an eminent engineer named Paciotti, whose services
proved of great importance in the construction of fortresses in the
Netherlands. Alva had also brought with him his two sons, Frederic and
Ferdinand de Toledo,--the latter an illegitimate child, for whom the
father showed as much affection as it was in his rugged nature to feel
for any one. To Ferdinand was given the command of the cavalry, composed
chiefly of Italians.[940]

Having reviewed his forces, the duke formed them into three divisions.
This he did in order to provide the more easily for their subsistence on
his long and toilsome journey. The divisions were to be separated from
one another by a day's march; so that each would take up at night the
same quarters which had been occupied by the preceding division on the
night before. Alva himself led the van.[941]

He dispensed with artillery, not willing to embarrass his movements in
his passage across the mountains. But he employed what was then a
novelty in war. Each company of foot was flanked by a body of soldiers,
carrying heavy muskets with rests attached to them. This sort of
fire-arms, from their cumbrous nature, had hitherto been used only in
the defence of fortresses. But with these portable rests, they were
found efficient for field service, and as such came into general use
after this period.[942] Their introduction by Alva may be regarded,
therefore, as an event of some importance in the history of military

The route that Alva proposed to take was that over Mount Cenis, the
same, according to tradition, by which Hannibal crossed the great
barrier some eighteen centuries before.[943] If less formidable than in
the days of the Carthaginian, it was far from being the practicable
route so easily traversed, whether by trooper or tourist, at the present
day. Steep rocky heights, shaggy with forests, where the snows of winter
still lingered in the midst of June; fathomless ravines, choked up with
the _débris_ washed down by the mountain torrent; paths scarcely worn by
the hunter and his game, affording a precarious footing on the edge of
giddy precipices; long and intricate defiles, where a handful of men
might hold an army at bay, and from the surrounding heights roll down
ruin on their heads;--these were the obstacles which Alva and his
followers had to encounter, as they threaded their toilsome way through
a country where the natives bore no friendly disposition to the

Their route lay at no great distance from Geneva, that stronghold of the
Reformers; and Pius the Fifth would have persuaded the duke to turn from
his course, and exterminate this "nest of devils and
apostates,"[944]--as the Christian father was pleased to term them. The
people of Geneva, greatly alarmed at the prospect of an invasion,
applied to their Huguenot brethren for aid. The prince of Condé and the
Admiral Coligni--the leaders of that party--offered their services to
the French monarch to raise fifty thousand men, fall upon his old
enemies, the Spaniards, and cut them off in the passes of the mountains.
But Charles the Ninth readily understood the drift of this proposal.
Though he bore little love to the Spaniards, he bore still less to the
Reformers. He therefore declined this offer of the Huguenot chiefs,
adding that he was able to protect France without their assistance.[945]
The Genevans were accordingly obliged to stand to their own defence,
though they gathered confidence from the promised support of their
countrymen of Berne; and the whole array of these brave mountaineers was
in arms, ready to repel any assault of the Spaniards on their own
territory or on that of their allies, in their passage through the
country. But this was unnecessary. Though Alva passed within six leagues
of Geneva, and the request of the pontiff was warmly seconded by the
duke of Savoy, the Spanish general did not deem it prudent to comply
with it, declaring that his commission extended no further than to the
Netherlands. Without turning to the right or to the left he held on,
therefore, straight towards the mark, anxious only to extricate himself
as speedily as possible from the perilous passes where he might be taken
at so obvious disadvantage by an enemy.

Yet such were the difficulties he had to encounter, that a fortnight
elapsed before he was able to set foot on the friendly plains of
Burgundy,--that part of the ancient duchy which acknowledged the
authority of Spain. Here he received the welcome addition to his ranks
of four hundred horse, the flower of the Burgundian chivalry. On his way
across the country he was accompanied by a French army of observation,
some six thousand strong, which moved in a parallel direction, at the
distance of six or seven leagues only from the line of march pursued by
the Spaniards,--though without offering them any molestation.


Soon after entering Lorraine, Alva was met by the duke of that province,
who seemed desirous to show him every respect, and entertained him with
princely hospitality. After a brief detention, the Spanish general
resumed his journey, and on the 8th of August crossed the frontiers of
the Netherlands.[946]

His long and toilsome march had been accomplished without an untoward
accident, and with scarcely a disorderly act on the part of the
soldiers. No man's property had been plundered. No peasant's hut had
been violated. The cattle had been allowed to graze unmolested in the
fields, and the flocks to wander in safety over their mountain pastures.
One instance only to the contrary is mentioned,--that of three troopers,
who carried off one or two straggling sheep as the army was passing
through Lorraine. But they were soon called to a heavy reckoning for
their transgression. Alva, on being informed of the fact, sentenced them
all to the gallows. At the intercession of the duke of Lorraine, the
sentence was so far mitigated by the Spanish commander, that one only of
the three, selected by lot, was finally executed.[947]

The admirable discipline maintained among Alva's soldiers was the more
conspicuous in an age when the name of soldier was synonymous with that
of marauder. It mattered little whether it were a friendly country or
that of a foe through which lay the line of march. The defenceless
peasant was everywhere the prey of the warrior; and the general winked
at the outrages of his followers, as the best means of settling their

What made the subordination of the troops, in the present instance,
still more worthy of notice, was the great number of camp followers,
especially courtesans, who hung on the skirts of the army. These latter
mustered in such force, that they were divided into battalions and
companies, marching each under its own banner, and subjected to a sort
of military organization, like the men.[948] The duke seems to have been
as careless of the morals of his soldiers as he was careful of their
discipline; perhaps willing by his laxity in the one to compensate for
his severity in the other.

It was of the last importance to Alva that his soldiers should commit no
trespass, nor entangle him in a quarrel with the dangerous people
through the midst of whom he was to pass; and who, from their superior
knowledge of the country, as well as their numbers, could so easily
overpower him. Fortunately, he had received such intimations before his
departure as put him on his guard. The result was, that he obtained such
a mastery over his followers, and enforced so perfect a discipline, as
excited the general admiration of his contemporaries, and made his march
to the Low Countries one of the most memorable events of the

At Thionville the duke was waited on by Barlaimont and Noircarmes, who
came to offer the salutations of the regent, and at the same time to
request to see his powers. At the same place, and on the way to the
capital, the duke was met by several of the Flemish nobility, who came
to pay their respects to him; among the rest, Egmont, attended by forty
of his retainers. On his entering Alva's presence, the duke exclaimed to
one of his officers, "Here comes a great heretic!" The words were
overheard by Egmont, who hesitated a moment, naturally disconcerted by
what would have served as an effectual warning to any other man. But
Alva made haste to efface the impression caused by his heedless
exclamation, receiving Egmont with so much cordiality as reassured the
infatuated nobleman, who, regarding the words as a jest, before his
departure presented the duke with two beautiful horses.--Such is the
rather singular story which comes down to us on what must be admitted to
be respectable authority.[950]

Soon after he had entered the country, the duke detached the greater
part of his forces to garrison some of the principal cities, and relieve
the Walloon troops on duty there, less to be trusted than his Spanish
veterans. With the Milanese brigade he took the road to Brussels, which
he entered on the twenty-second of August. His cavalry he established at
ten leagues' distance from the capital, and the infantry he lodged in
the suburbs. Far from being greeted by acclamations, no one came out to
welcome him as he entered the city, which seemed like a place deserted.
He went straight to the palace, to offer his homage to the regent. An
altercation took place on the threshold between his halberdiers and
Margaret's body-guard of archers, who disputed the entrance of the
Spanish soldiers. The duke himself was conducted to the bed-chamber of
the duchess, where she was in the habit of giving audience. She was
standing, with a few Flemish nobles by her side; and she remained in
that position, without stirring a single step to receive her visitor.
Both parties continued standing during the interview, which lasted half
an hour; the duke during the greater part of the time with his hat in
his hand, although Margaret requested him to be covered. The curious
spectators of this conference amused themselves by contrasting the
courteous and even deferential manners of the haughty Spaniard with the
chilling reserve and stately demeanor of the duchess.[951] At the close
of the interview Alva withdrew to his own quarters at Culemborg
House,--the place, it will be remembered, where the Gueux held their
memorable banquet on their visit to Brussels.


The following morning, at the request of the council of state, the duke
of Alva furnished that body with a copy of his commission. By this he
was invested with the title of captain-general, and in that capacity was
to exercise supreme control in all military affairs.[952] By another
commission, dated two months later, these powers were greatly enlarged.
The country was declared in a state of rebellion; and, as milder means
had failed to bring it to obedience, it was necessary to resort to arms.
The duke was therefore commanded to levy war on the refractory people,
and reduce them to submission. He was moreover to inquire into the
causes of the recent troubles, and bring the suspected parties to trial,
with full authority to punish or to pardon as he might judge best for
the public weal.[953] Finally, a third commission, of more startling
import than the two preceding, and which, indeed, might seem to
supersede them altogether, was dated on the first of March, 1567. In the
former instruments the duke was so far required to act in subordination
to the regent, that her authority was declared to be unimpaired. But by
virtue of this last commission he was invested with supreme control in
civil as well as military affairs; and persons of every degree,
including the regent herself, were enjoined to render obedience to his
commands, as to those of the king.[954] Such a commission, which placed
the government of the country in the hands of Alva, was equivalent to a
dismissal of Margaret. The title of "regent," which still remained to
her, was an empty mockery; nor could it be thought that she would be
content to retain a barren sceptre in the country over which she had so
long ruled.

It is curious to observe the successive steps by which Philip had raised
Alva from the rank of captain-general of the army to supreme authority
in the country. It would seem as if the king were too tenacious of power
readily to part with it; and that it was only by successive efforts, as
the conviction of the necessity of such a step pressed more and more on
his mind, that he determined to lodge the government in the hands of

Whether the duke acquainted the council with the full extent of his
powers, or, as seems more probable, communicated to that body only his
first two commissions, it is impossible to say. At all events, the
members do not appear to have been prepared for the exhibition of powers
so extensive, and which, even in the second of the commissions,
transcended those exercised by the regent herself. A consciousness that
they did so had led Philip, in more than one instance, to qualify the
language of the instrument, in such a manner as not to rouse the
jealousy of his sister,--an artifice so obvious, that it probably
produced a contrary effect. At any rate, Margaret did not affect to
conceal her disgust, but talked openly of the affront put on her by the
king, and avowed her determination to throw up the government.[955]

She gave little attention to business, passing most of her days in
hunting, of which masculine sport she was excessively fond. She even
threatened to amuse herself with journeying about from place to place,
leaving public affairs to take care of themselves, till she should
receive the king's permission to retire.[956] From this indulgence of
her spleen she was dissuaded by her secretary, Armenteros, who, shifting
his sails to suit the breeze, showed, soon after Alva's coming, his
intention to propitiate the new governor. There were others of
Margaret's adherents less accommodating. Some high in office intimated
very plainly their discontent at the presence of the Spaniards, from
which they boded only calamity to the country.[957] Margaret's
confessor, in a sermon preached before the regent, did not scruple to
denounce the Spaniards as so many "knaves, traitors, and
ravishers."[958] And although the remonstrance of the loyal Armenteros
induced the duchess to send back the honest man to his convent, it was
plain, from the warm terms in which she commended the preacher, that she
was far from being displeased with his discourse.

The duke of Alva cared little for the hatred of the Flemish lords.[959]
But he felt otherwise towards the regent. He would willingly have
soothed her irritation; and he bent his haughty spirit to show, in spite
of her coldness, a deference in his manner that must have done some
violence to his nature. As a mark of respect, he proposed at once to pay
her another visit, and in great state, as suited her rank. But Margaret,
feigning or feeling herself too ill to receive him, declined his visit
for some days, and at last, perhaps to mortify him the more, vouchsafed
him only a private audience in her own apartment.

Yet at this interview she showed more condescension than before, and
even went so far as to assure the duke that there was no one whose
appointment would have been more acceptable to her.[960] She followed
this, by bluntly demanding why he had been sent at all. Alva replied,
that, as she had often intimated her desire for a more efficient
military force, he had come to aid her in the execution of her measures,
and to restore peace to the country before the arrival of his
majesty.[961]--The answer could hardly have pleased the duchess, who
doubtless considered she had done that without his aid, already.


The discourse fell upon the mode of quartering the troops. Alva proposed
to introduce a Spanish garrison into Brussels. To this Margaret objected
with great energy. But the duke on this point was inflexible. Brussels
was the royal residence, and the quiet of the city could only be secured
by a garrison. "If people murmur," he concluded, "you can tell them I am
a headstrong man, bent on having my own way. I am willing to take all
the odium of the measure on myself."[962] Thus thwarted, and made to
feel her inferiority when any question of real power was involved,
Margaret felt the humiliation of her position even more keenly than
before. The appointment of Alva had been from the first, as we have
seen, a source of mortification to the duchess. In December, 1566, soon
after Philip had decided on sending the duke, with the authority of
captain-general, to the Low Countries, he announced it in a letter to
Margaret. He had been as much perplexed, he said, in the choice of a
commander, as she could have been; and it was only at her suggestion of
the necessity of some one to take the military command, that he had made
such a nomination. Alva was, however, only to prepare the way for him,
to assemble a force on the frontier, establish the garrisons, and
enforce discipline among the troops till he came.[963] Philip was
careful not to alarm his sister by any hint of the extraordinary powers
to be conferred on the duke, who thus seemed to be sent only in
obedience to her suggestion, and in subordination to her
authority.--Margaret knew too well that Alva was not a man to act in
subordination to any one. But whatever misgivings she may have had, she
hardly betrayed them in her reply to Philip, in the following February,
1567, when she told the king she "was sure he would never be so unjust,
and do a thing so prejudicial to the interests of the country, as to
transfer to another the powers he had vested in her."[964]

The appointment of Alva may have stimulated the regent to the
extraordinary efforts she then made to reduce the country to order. When
she had achieved this, she opened her mind more freely to her brother,
in a letter dated July 12, 1567. "The name of Alva was so odious in the
Netherlands that it was enough to make the whole Spanish nation
detested.[965] She could never have imagined that the king would make
such an appointment without consulting her." She then, alluding to
orders lately received from Madrid, shows extreme repugnance to carry
out the stern policy of Philip;[966]--a repugnance, it must be
confessed, that seems to rest less on the character of the measures than
on the difficulty of their execution.

When the duchess learned that Alva was in Italy, she wrote also to him,
hoping at this late hour to arrest his progress by the assurance that
the troubles were now at an end, and that his appearance at the head of
an army would only serve to renew them. But the duke was preparing for
his march across the Alps, and it would have been as easy to stop the
avalanche in its descent, as to stay the onward course of this "man of

The state of Margaret's feelings was shown by the chilling reception she
gave the duke on his arrival in Brussels. The extent of his powers, so
much beyond what she had imagined, did not tend to soothe the irritation
of the regent's temper; and the result of the subsequent interview
filled up the measure of her indignation. However forms might be
respected, it was clear the power had passed into other hands. She wrote
at once to Philip, requesting, or rather requiring, his leave to
withdraw without delay from the country. "If he had really felt the
concern he professed for her welfare and reputation, he would have
allowed her to quit the government before being brought into rivalry
with a man like the duke of Alva, who took his own course in everything,
without the least regard to her. It afflicted her to the bottom of her
soul to have been thus treated by the king."[967]

It may have given some satisfaction to Margaret, that in her feelings
towards the duke she had the entire sympathy of the nation. In earlier
days, in the time of Charles the Fifth, Alva had passed some time both
in Germany and in the Netherlands, and had left there no favorable
impression of his character. In the former country, indeed, his haughty
deportment on a question of etiquette had caused some embarrassment to
his master. Alva insisted on the strange privilege of the Castilian
grandee to wear his hat in the presence of his sovereign. The German
nobles, scandalized by this pretension in a subject, asserted that their
order had as good a right to it as the Spaniards. It was not without
difficulty that the proud duke was content to waive the contested
privilege till his return to Spain.[968]

Another anecdote of Alva had left a still more unfavorable impression of
his character. He had accompanied Charles on his memorable visit to
Ghent, on occasion of its rebellion. The emperor asked the duke's
counsel as to the manner in which he should deal with his refractory
capital. Alva instantly answered, "Raze it to the ground!" Charles,
without replying, took the duke with him to the battlements of the
castle; and as their eyes wandered over the beautiful city spread out
far and wide below, the emperor asked him, with a pun on the French name
of Ghent (_Gand_), how many Spanish hides it would take to make such a
_glove_ (_gant_). Alva, who saw his master's displeasure, received the
rebuke in silence. The story, whether true or not, was current among the
people of Flanders, on whom it produced its effect.[969]

Alva was now sixty years old. It was not likely that age had softened
the asperity of his nature. He had, as might be expected, ever shown
himself the uncompromising enemy of the party of reform in the Low
Countries. He had opposed the concession made to the nation by the
recall of Granvelle. The only concessions he recommended to Philip were
in order to lull the suspicions of the great lords, till he could bring
them to a bloody reckoning for their misdeeds.[970] The general drift of
his policy was perfectly understood in the Netherlands, and the duchess
had not exaggerated when she dwelt on the detestation in which he was
held by the people.

His course on his arrival was not such as to diminish the fears of the
nation. His first act was to substitute in the great towns his own
troops, men who knew no law but the will of their chief, for the Walloon
garrisons, who might naturally have some sympathy with their countrymen.
His next was to construct some fortresses, under the direction of one of
the ablest engineers in Europe. The hour had come when, in the language
of the prince of Orange, his countrymen were to be bridled by the


The conduct of Alva's soldiers underwent an ominous change. Instead of
the discipline observed on the march, they now indulged in the most
reckless licence. "One hears everywhere," writes a Fleming of the time,
"of the oppressions of the Spaniards. Confiscation is going on to the
right and left. If a man has anything to lose, they set him down at
once as a heretic."[971] If the writer may be thought to have borrowed
something from his fears,[972] it cannot be doubted that the panic was
general in the country. Men emigrated by thousands and tens of
thousands, carrying with them to other lands the arts and manufactures
which had so long been the boast and the source of prosperity of the
Netherlands.[973] Those who remained were filled with a dismal
apprehension,--a boding of coming evil, as they beheld the heavens
darkening around them, and the signs of the tempest at hand.

A still deeper gloom lay upon Brussels, once the gayest city in the
Netherlands,--now the residence of Alva. All business was suspended.
Places of public resort were unfrequented. The streets were silent and
deserted. Several of the nobles and wealthier citizens had gone to their
estates in the country, to watch there the aspect of events.[974] Most
of the courtiers who remained--the gilded insects that loved the
sunshine--had left the regent's palace, and gone to pay their homage to
her rival at Culemborg House. There everything went merrily as in the
gayest time of Brussels. For the duke strove, by brilliant
entertainments and festivities, to amuse the nobles and dissipate the
gloom of the capital.[975]

In all this Alva had a deeper motive than met the public eye. He was
carrying out the policy which he had recommended to Philip. By courteous
and conciliatory manners he hoped to draw around him the great nobles,
especially such as had been at all mixed up with the late revolutionary
movements. Of these, Egmont was still at Brussels; but Hoorne had
withdrawn to his estates at Weert.[976] Hoogstraten was in Germany with
the prince of Orange. As to the latter, Alva, as he wrote to the king,
could not flatter himself with the hope of his return.[977]

The duke and his son Ferdinand both wrote to Count Hoorne in the most
friendly terms, inviting him to come to Brussels.[978] But this
distrustful nobleman still kept aloof. Alva, in a conversation with the
count's secretary, expressed the warmest solicitude for the health of
his master. He had always been his friend, he said, and had seen with
infinite regret that the count's services were no better appreciated by
the king.[979] But Philip was a good prince, and if slow to recompense,
the count would find him not ungrateful. Could the duke but see the
count, he had that to say which would content him. He would find he was
not forgotten by his friends.[980] This last assurance had a terrible
significance. Hoorne yielded at length to an invitation couched in terms
so flattering. With Hoogstraten, Alva was not so fortunate. His good
genius, or the counsel of Orange, saved him from the snare, and kept him
in Germany.[981]

Having nothing further to gain by delay, Alva determined to proceed at
once to the execution of his scheme. On the ninth of September the
council of state was summoned to meet at Culemborg House. Egmont and
Hoorne were present; and two or three of the officers, among them
Paciotti, the engineer, were invited to discuss a plan of fortification
for some of the Flemish cities. In the mean time, strong guards had been
posted at all the avenues of the house, and cavalry drawn together from
the country and established in the suburbs.

The duke prolonged the meeting until information was privately
communicated to him of the arrest of Backerzele, Egmont's secretary, and
Van Stralen, the burgomaster of Antwerp. The former was a person of
great political sagacity, and deep in the confidence of Egmont; the
latter, the friend of Orange, with whom he was still in constant
correspondence. The arrest of Backerzele, who resided in Brussels, was
made without difficulty, and possession was taken of his papers. Van
Stralen was surrounded by a body of horse, as he was driving out of
Antwerp in his carriage; and both of the unfortunate gentlemen were
brought prisoners to Culemborg House.


As soon as these tidings were conveyed to Alva, he broke up the meeting
of the council. Then, entering into conversation with Egmont, he
strolled with him through the adjoining rooms, in one of which was a
small body of soldiers. As the two nobles entered the apartment, Sancho
Davila, the captain of the duke's guard, went up to Egmont, and in the
king's name demanded his sword, telling him at the same time he was his
prisoner.[982] The count, astounded by the proceeding, and seeing
himself surrounded by soldiers, made no attempt at resistance, but
calmly, and with much dignity in his manner, gave up his sword, saying
at the same time, "It has done the king service more than once."[983]
And well might he say so; for with that sword he had won the fields of
Gravelines and St. Quentin.[984]

Hoorne fell into a similar ambuscade, in another part of the palace,
whither he was drawn while conversing with the duke's son Ferdinand de
Toledo, who, according to his father's account, had the whole merit of
arranging this little drama.[985] Neither did the admiral make any
resistance; but, on learning Egmont's fate, yielded himself up, saying
"he had no right to expect to fare better than his friend."[986]

It now became a question as to the disposal of the prisoners. Culemborg
House was clearly no fitting place for their confinement. Alva caused
several castles in the neighborhood of Brussels to be examined, but they
were judged insecure. He finally decided on Ghent. The strong fortress
of this city was held by one of Egmont's own partisans; but an order was
obtained from the count requiring him to deliver up the keys into the
hands of Ulloa, one of Alva's most trusted captains, who, at the head of
a corps of Spanish veterans, marched to Ghent, and relieved the Walloon
garrison of their charge. Ulloa gave proof of his vigilance, immediately
on his arrival, by seizing a heavy wagon loaded with valuables belonging
to Egmont, as it was leaving the castle gate.[987]

Having completed these arrangements, the duke lost no time in sending
the two lords, under a strong military escort, to Ghent. Two companies
of mounted arquebusiers rode in the front. A regiment of Spanish
infantry, which formed the centre, guarded the prisoners; one of whom,
Egmont, was borne in a litter carried by mules, while Hoorne was in his
own carriage. The rear was brought up by three companies of light horse.

Under this strong guard the unfortunate nobles were conducted through
the province where Egmont had lately ruled "with an authority," writes
Alva's secretary, "greater even than that of the king."[988] But no
attempt was made at a rescue; and as the procession entered the gates of
Ghent, where Egmont's popularity was equal to his power, the people
gazed in stupefied silence on the stern array that was conducting their
lord to the place of his confinement.[989]

The arrest of Egmont and Hoorne was known, in a few hours after it took
place, to every inhabitant of Brussels; and the tidings soon spread to
the furthest parts of the country. "The imprisonment of the lords,"
writes Alva to the king, "has caused no disturbance. The tranquillity is
such that your majesty would hardly credit it."[990] True; but the
tranquillity was that of a man stunned by a heavy blow. If murmurs were
not loud, however, they were deep. Men mourned over the credulity of the
two counts, who had so blindly fallen into the snare, and congratulated
one another on the forecast of the prince of Orange, who might one day
have the power to avenge them.[991] The event gave a new spur to
emigration. In the space of a few weeks no loss than twenty thousand
persons are said to have fled the country.[992] And the exiles were not
altogether drawn from the humbler ranks; for no one, however high, could
feel secure when he saw the blow aimed at men like Egmont and Hoorne,
the former of whom, if he had given some cause of distrust, had long
since made his peace with the government.

Count Mansfeldt made haste to send his son out of the country, lest the
sympathy he had once shown for the confederates, notwithstanding his
recent change of opinion, might draw on him the vengeance of Alva. The
old count, whose own loyalty could not be impeached, boldly complained
of the arrest of the lords as an infringement on the rights of the
_Toison d'Or_, which body alone had cognizance of the causes that
concerned their order, intimating, at the same time, his intention to
summon a meeting of the members. But he was silenced by Alva, who
plainly told him, that, if the chevaliers of the order did meet, and
said so much as the _credo_, he would bring them to a heavy reckoning
for it. As to the rights of the _Toison_, his majesty has pronounced on
them, said the duke, and nothing remains for you but to submit.[993]

The arrest and imprisonment of the two highest nobles in the land,
members of the council of state, and that without any communication with
her, was an affront to the regent which she could not brook. It was in
vain that Alva excused it by saying it had been done by the order of the
king, who wished to spare his sister the unpopularity which must attach
to such a proceeding. Margaret made no reply. She did not complain. She
was too deeply wounded to complain. But she wrote to Philip, asking him
to consider "whether it could be advantageous to him, or decorous for
her, whom he did not disdain to call his sister, that she should remain
longer in a place of which the authority was so much abridged, or rather
annihilated."[994] She sent her secretary, Machiavelli, with her
despatches, requesting an immediate reply from Philip, and adding that,
if it were delayed, she should take silence for assent, and forthwith
leave the country.


The duke of Alva was entirely resigned to the proposed departure of
Margaret. However slight the restraint her presence might impose on his
conduct, it exacted more deference than was convenient, and compelled
him to consult appearances. Now that he had shown his hand, he was
willing to play it out boldly to the end. His first step, after the
arrest of the lords, was to organize that memorable tribunal for
inquiring into the troubles of the country, which has no parallel in
history save the revolutionary tribunal of the French republic. The duke
did not shrink from assuming the sole responsibility of his measures. He
said, "it was better for the king to postpone his visit to the
Netherlands, so that his ministers might bear alone the odium of these
rigorous acts. When these had been performed, he might come like a
gracious prince, dispensing promises and pardon."[995]

This admirable coolness must be referred in part to Alva's consciousness
that his policy would receive the unqualified sanction of his master.
Indeed, his correspondence shows that all he had done in the Low
Countries was in accordance with a plan preconcerted with Philip. The
arrest of the Flemish lords, accordingly, gave entire satisfaction at
the court of Madrid, where it was looked on as the first great step in
the measures of redress. It gave equal contentment to the court of Rome,
where it was believed that the root of heresy was to be reached only by
the axe of the executioner. Yet there was one person at that court of
more penetration than those around him, the old statesman, Granvelle,
who, when informed of the arrest of Egmont and Hoorne, inquired if the
duke had "also drawn into his net the _Silent one_,"--as the prince of
Orange was popularly called. On being answered in the negative, "Then,"
said the cardinal, "if he has not caught him, he has caught



The Council of Blood.--Its Organization.--General Prosecutions.--Civil
War in France.--Departure of Margaret.--Her administration reviewed.


"Thank God," writes the duke of Alva to his sovereign, on the
twenty-fourth of October, "all is tranquil in the Low Countries."[997]
It was the same sentiment he had uttered a few weeks before. All was
indeed tranquil. Silence reigned throughout the land. Yet it might have
spoken more eloquently to the heart than the murmurs of discontent, or
the loudest tumult of insurrection. "They say many are leaving the
country," he writes in another despatch. "It is hardly worth while to
arrest them. The repose of the nation is not to be brought about by
cutting off the heads of those who are led astray by others."[998]

Yet in less than a week after this, we find a royal ordinance, declaring
that, "whereas his majesty is averse to use rigor towards those who have
taken part in the late rebellion; and would rather deal with them in all
gentleness and mercy,[999] it is forbidden to any one to leave the land,
or to send off his effects, without obtaining a license from the
authorities, under pain of being regarded as having taken part in the
late troubles, and of being dealt with accordingly. All masters and
owners of vessels, who shall aid such persons in their flight, shall
incur the same penalties."[1000] The penalties denounced in this spirit
of "gentleness and mercy," were death and confiscation of property.

That the law was not a dead letter was soon shown by the arrest of ten
of the principal merchants of Tournay, as they were preparing to fly to
foreign parts, and by the immediate confiscation of their estates.[1001]
Yet Alva would have persuaded the world that he, as well as his master,
was influenced only by sentiments of humanity. To the Spanish ambassador
at Rome he wrote, soon after the seizure of the Flemish lords: "I might
have arrested more; but the king is averse to shedding the blood of his
people. I have the same disposition myself.[1002] I am pained to the
bottom of my soul by the necessity of the measure."

But now that the great nobles had come into the snare, it was hardly
necessary to keep up the affectation of lenity; and it was not long
before he threw away the mask altogether. The arm of justice--of
vengeance--was openly raised to strike down all who had offended by
taking part in the late disturbances.

The existing tribunals were not considered as competent to this work.
The regular forms of procedure were too dilatory, and the judges
themselves would hardly be found subservient enough to the will of Alva.
He created, therefore, a new tribunal, with extraordinary powers, for
the sole purpose of investigating the causes of the late disorders, and
for bringing the authors to punishment. It was called originally the
"Council of his Excellency." The name was soon changed for that of the
"Council of Tumults." But the tribunal is better known in history by the
terrible name it received from the people, of the "_Council of


It was composed of twelve judges, "the most learned, upright men, and of
the purest lives"--if we may take the duke's word for it--that were to
be found in the country.[1004] Among them were Noircarmes and
Barlaimont, both members of the council of state. The latter was a proud
noble, of one of the most ancient families in the land, inflexible in
his character, and stanch in his devotion to the crown. Besides these
there were the presidents of the councils of Artois and Flanders, the
chancellor of Gueldres, and several jurists of repute in the country.
But the persons of most consideration in the body were two lawyers who
had come in the duke's train from Castile. One of these, the doctor Del
Rio, though born in Bruges, was of Spanish extraction. His most
prominent trait seems to have been unlimited subserviency to the will of
his employer.[1005] The other, Juan de Vargas, was to play the most
conspicuous part in the bloody drama that followed. He was a Spaniard,
and ha