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´╗┐Title: History of the United Netherlands from the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce, 1609
Author: Motley, John Lothrop
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the United Netherlands from the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce, 1609" ***

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From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

History of the United Netherlands, 1609


     Vote of the States-General on the groundwork of the treaty--
     Meeting of the plenipotentiaries for arrangement of the truce--
     Signing of the twelve years' truce--Its purport--The negotiations
     concluded--Ratification by the States-General, the Archdukes, and
     the King of Spain--Question of toleration--Appeal of President
     Jeannin on behalf of the Catholics--Religious liberty the fruit of
     the war--Internal arrangements of the States under the rule of
     peace--Deaths of John Duke of Cleves and Jacob Arminius--Doctrines
     of Arminius and Gomarus--Theological warfare--Twenty years' truce
     between the Turkish and Roman empires--Ferdinand of Styria--
     Religious peace--Prospects of the future.

On the 11th January, 1609, the States-General decided by unanimous vote
that the first point in the treaty should be not otherwise fixed than,

"That the archdukes--to superfluity--declare, as well in their own name
as in that of the King of Spain, their willingness to treat with the
lords States of the United Provinces in the capacity of, and as holding
them for, free countries, provinces, and states, over which they have no
claim, and that they are making a treaty with them in those said names
and qualities."

It was also resolved not to permit that any ecclesiastical or secular
matters, conflicting with the above-mentioned freedom, should be
proposed; nor that any delay should be sought for, by reason of the
India navigation or any other point.

In case anything to the contrary should be attempted by the king or the
archdukes, and the deliberations protracted in consequence more than
eight days, it was further decided by unanimous vote that the
negotiations should at once be broken off, and the war forthwith renewed,
with the help, if possible, of the kings, princes, and states, friends of
the good cause.

This vigorous vote was entirely the work of Barneveld, the man whom his
enemies dared to denounce as the partisan of Spain, and to hold up as a
traitor deserving of death.  It was entirely within his knowledge that a
considerable party in the provinces had grown so weary of the war, and so
much alarmed at the prospect of the negotiations for truce coming to
nought, as to be ready to go into a treaty without a recognition of
the independence of the States.  This base faction was thought to be
instigated by the English Government, intriguing secretly with President
Richardot.  The Advocate, acting in full sympathy with Jeannin,
frustrated the effects of the manoeuvre by obtaining all the votes
of Holland and Zeeland for this supreme resolution.  The other five
provinces dared to make no further effort in that direction against
the two controlling states of the republic.

It was now agreed that the French and English ambassadors should delay
going to Antwerp until informed of the arrival in that city of Spinola
and his colleagues; and that they should then proceed thither, taking
with them the main points of the treaty, as laid down by themselves, and
accepted with slight alterations by the States.

When the Spanish commissioners had signed these points the
plenipotentiaries were to come to Antwerp in order to settle other
matters of less vital import.  Meantime, the States-General were to be
summoned to assemble in Bergen-op-Zoom, that they might be ready to deal
with difficulties, should any arise.

The first meeting took place on the 10th February, 1609.  The first
objection to the draught was made by the Spaniards.  It was about words
and wind.  They liked not the title of high and puissant lords which was
given to the States-General, and they proposed to turn the difficulty by
abstaining from giving any qualifications whatever, either to the
archdukes or the republican authorities.  The States refused to lower
these ensigns of their new-born power.  It was, however, at last agreed
that, instead of high and mighty, they should be called illustrious and

This point being comfortably adjusted, the next and most important one
was accepted by the Spaniards.  The independence of the States was
recognised according to the prescribed form.  Then came the great bone of
contention, over which there had been such persistent wrangling--the
India trade.

The Spanish Government had almost registered a vow in heaven that the
word India should not be mentioned in the treaty.  It was no less certain
that India was stamped upon the very heart of the republic, and could not
be torn from it while life remained.  The subtle diplomatists now
invented a phrase in which the word should not appear, while the thing
itself should be granted.  The Spaniards, after much altercation, at last

By the end of February, most of the plenipotentiaries thought it safe to
request the appearance of the States-General at Bergen-op-Zoom.

Jeannin, not altogether satisfied, however, with the language of the
Spaniards in regard to India, raised doubts as to the propriety of
issuing the summons.  Putting on his most reverend and artless expression
of countenance, he assured Richardot that he had just received a despatch
from the Hague, to the effect that the India point would, in all
probability, cause the States at that very moment to break off the
negotiations.  It was surely premature, therefore, to invite them to
Bergen.  The despatch from the Hague was a neat fiction on the part of
the president, but it worked admirably.  The other president, himself
quite as ready at inventions as Jeannin could possibly be, was
nevertheless taken in; the two ex-leaguers being, on the whole, fully
a match for each other in the art of intrigue.  Richardot, somewhat
alarmed, insisted that the States should send their plenipotentiaries to
Antwerp as soon as possible.  He would answer for it that they would not
go away again without settling upon the treaty.  The commissioners were
forbidden, by express order from Spain, to name the Indies in writing,
but they would solemnly declare, by word of mouth, that the States should
have full liberty to trade to those countries; the King of Spain having
no intention of interfering with such traffic during the period of the

The commissioners came to Antwerp.  The States-General assembled at
Bergen.  On the 9th April, 1609, the truce for twelve years was signed.
This was its purport:

The preamble recited that the most serene princes and archdukes, Albert
and Isabella Clara Eugenic, had made, on the 24th April, 1607, a truce
and cessation of arms for eight months with the illustrious lords the
States-General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, in quality of,
and as holding them for, states, provinces, and free countries, over
which they pretended to nothing; which truce was ratified by his Catholic
Majesty, as to that which concerned him, by letters patent of 18th
September, 1607; and that, moreover, a special power had been given to
the archdukes on the 10th January, 1608, to enable them in the king's
name as well as their own to do everything that they might think proper
to bring about a peace or a truce of many years.

It then briefly recited the rupture of the negotiations for peace, and
the subsequent, proposition, originated by the foreign ambassadors, to
renew the conference for the purpose of concluding a truce.  The articles
of the treaty thus agreed upon were:

That the archdukes declared, as well in their own name as that of the
king, that they were content to treat with the lords the States-General
of the United Provinces in quality of, and as holding them for,
countries, provinces, and free states, over which they pretended
to nothing, and to, make with them a truce on certain following
conditions--to wit:

That the truce should be good, firm, loyal, inviolable, and for the term
of twelve years, during which time there was to be cessation of all acts
of hostility between the king, archdukes, and States-General, as well by
sea and other waters as by land, in all their kingdoms, countries, lands,
and lordships, and for all their subjects and inhabitants of whatever
quality and condition, without exception of places or of persons.

That each party should remain seized of their respective possessions,
and be not troubled therein during the truce.

That the subjects and inhabitants of the respective countries should
preserve amity and good correspondence during the truce, without
referring to past offences, and should freely and securely entertain
communication and traffic with each other by land and sea.  This
provision, however, was to be expressly understood as limited by the king
to the kingdoms and countries possessed by him in Europe, and in other
places and seas where the subjects of other kings and princes, his
friends and allies, have amicable traffic.  In regard, however, to
places, cities, ports, and harbours which he possessed outside of those
limits, the States and their subjects were to exercise no traffic,
without express permission of the king.  They could, however, if they
chose, trade with the countries of all other princes, potentates, and
peoples who were willing to permit it; even outside those limits, without
any hindrance by the king;

That the truce should begin in regard to those distant countries after a
year from date, unless actual notification could be sooner served there
on those concerned;

That the subjects of the United Provinces should have the same liberty
and privilege within the States of the king and archdukes as had been
accorded to the subjects of the by the King of Great Britain, according
to the last treaty made with that sovereign;

That letters of marque and reprisal should not be granted during the
truce, except for special cause, and in cases permitted by the laws and
imperial constitutions, and according to the rules therein prescribed;

That those who had retired into neutral territory during the war were
also to enjoy the benefit of the truce, and could reside wherever they
liked without being deprived of their property;

That the treaty should be ratified by the archdukes and the States-
General within four days.  As to the ratification of the king, the
archdukes were bound to deliver it in good and due form within three
months, in order that the lords the States-General, their subjects and
inhabitants, might enjoy effectively the fruits of the treaty;

That the treaty should be published everywhere immediately after the
ratification of the archdukes and States-General.

This document was signed by the ambassadors of the Kings of France and
Great Britain, as mediators, and then by the deputies of the archdukes,
and afterwards by those of the lords the States-General.

There were thirty-eight articles in all, but the chief provisions
have been indicated.  The other clauses, relating to boundaries,
confiscations, regulations of duties, frontier fortifications,
the estates of the Nassau family, and other sequestrated property,
have no abiding interest.

There was also a secret and special treaty which was demanded of the King
of Spain by the States-General, and by him accorded.

This secret treaty consisted of a single clause.  That clause was made up
of a brief preamble and of a promise.  The preamble recited textually
article fourth of the public treaty relative to the India trade.  The
promise was to this effect.

For the period of the truce the Spanish commissioners pledged the faith
of the king and of his successors that his Majesty would cause no
impediment, whether by sea or land, to the States nor their subjects,
in the traffic that thereafter might be made in the countries of all
princes, potentates, and peoples who might permit the same, in whatever
place it might be, even without the limits designated, and everywhere
else, nor similarly to those carrying on such traffic with them, and that
the king and his successors would faithfully carry into effect everything
thus laid, down, so that the said traffic should be free and secure,
consenting even, in order that the clause might be the more authentic,
that it should be considered as inserted in the principal treaty, and as
making part thereof.

It will be perceived that the first article of all, and the last or
secret article, contained the whole marrow of the treaty.  It may be well
understood, therefore, with what wry faces the Spanish plenipotentiaries
ultimately signed the document.

After two years and a quarter of dreary negotiation, the republic had
carried all its points, without swerving a hair's breadth from the
principles laid down in the beginning.  The only concession made was that
the treaty was for a truce of twelve years, and not for peace.  But as
after all, in those days, an interval of twelve years might be almost
considered an eternity of peace, and as calling a peace perpetual can
never make it so, the difference was rather one of phraseology than of

On the other hand, the States had extorted from their former sovereign a
recognition of their independence.

They had secured the India trade.

They had not conceded Catholic worship.

Mankind were amazed at this result--an event hitherto unknown in
history.  When before had a sovereign acknowledged the independence of
his rebellious subjects, and signed a treaty with them as with equals?
When before had Spain, expressly or by implication, admitted that the
East and West Indies were not her private property, and that navigators
to those regions, from other countries than her own, were not to be
chastised as trespassers and freebooters?

Yet the liberty of the Netherlands was acknowledged in terms which
convinced the world that it was thenceforth an established fact.  And
India was as plainly expressed by the omission of the word, as if it had
been engrossed in large capitals in Article IV.

The King's Government might seek solace in syntax.  They might triumph in
Cardinal Bentivoglio's subtleties, and persuade themselves that to treat
with the republic as a free nation was not to hold it for a free nation
then and for ever.  But the whole world knew that the republic really was
free, and that it had treated, face to face, with its former sovereign,
exactly as the Kings of France or Great Britain, or the Grand Turk, might
treat with him.  The new commonwealth had taken its place among the
nations of the earth.  Other princes and potentates made not the
slightest difficulty in recognising it for an independent power and
entering into treaties and alliances with it as with any other realm.

To the republic the substantial blessing of liberty: to his Catholic
Majesty the grammatical quirk.  When the twelve years should expire,
Spain might reconquer the United Provinces if she could; relying upon the
great truth that an adverb was not a preposition.  And France or Great
Britain might attempt the same thing if either felt strong enough for the
purpose.  Did as plausible a pretext as that ever fail to a state
ambitious of absorbing its neighbours?

Jeannin was right enough in urging that this famous clause of recognition
ought to satisfy both parties.  If the United Provinces, he said,
happened not to have the best muskets and cannons on their side when it
should once more come to blows, small help would they derive from verbal
bulwarks and advantages in the text of treaties.

Richardot consoled himself with his quibbles; for quibbles were his daily
bread. "Thank God our truce is made," said he, "and we have only lost the
sovereignty for twelve years, if after that we have the means or the will
to resume the war--whatever Don Pedro de Toledo may say."

Barneveld, on his part, was devoutly and soberly pleased with the result.
"To-day we have concluded our negotiations for the truce," he wrote to
Aerssens.  "We must pray to the Lord God, and we must do our highest duty
that our work may redound to his honour and glory, and to the nation's
welfare.  It is certain that men will make their criticisms upon it
according to their humours.  But those who love their country, and all
honest people who know the condition of the land, will say that it is
well done."

Thus modestly, religiously, and sincerely spoke a statesman, who felt
that he had accomplished a great work, and that he had indeed brought the
commonwealth through the tempest at last.

The republic had secured the India trade.  On this point the negotiators
had taken refuge in that most useful figure of speech for hard-pressed
diplomatists and law-makers--the ellipsis.  They had left out the word
India, and his Catholic Majesty might persuade himself that by such
omission a hemisphere had actually been taken away from the Dutch
merchants and navigators.  But the whole world saw that Article IV.
really contained both the East and West Indies.  It hardly needed the
secret clause to make assurance doubly sure.

President Richardot was facetiously wont to observe that this point in
the treaty was so obscure that he did not understand it himself.  But he
knew better.  He understood it very well.  The world understood it very
well.  The United Provinces had throughout the negotiations ridiculde the
idea of being excluded from any part of the old world or, the new by
reason of the Borgian grant.  All the commissioners knew that the war
would be renewed if any attempt were to be seriously made to put up those
famous railings around the ocean, of which the Dutch diplomatists spoke
in such bitter scorn.  The Spanish plenipotentiaries, therefore, had
insisted that the word itself should be left out, and that the republic
should be forbidden access to territories subject to the crown of Spain.
So the Hollanders were thenceforth to deal directly with the kings of
Sumatra and the Moluccas, and the republics of Banda, and all the rich
commonwealths and principalities of nutmegs; cloves, and indigo, unless,
as grew every day more improbable, the Spaniards and Portuguese could
exclude them from that traffic by main force.   And the Orange flag of
the republic was to float with equal facility over all America, from the
Isle of Manhattan to the shores of Brazil and the Straits of Magellan,
provided Philip had not ships and soldiers to vindicate with the sword
that sovereignty which Spanish swords and Spanish genius had once

As for the Catholic worship, the future was to prove that liberty for the
old religion and for all forms of religion was a blessing more surely to
flow from the enlightened public sentiment of a free people emerging out
of the most tremendous war for liberty ever waged, than from the
stipulations of a treaty with a foreign power.

It was characteristic enough of the parties engaged in the great
political drama that the republic now requested from France and Great
Britain a written recognition of its independence, and that both France
and England refused.

It was strange that the new commonwealth, in the very moment of extorting
her freedom from the ancient tyranny, should be so unconscious of her
strength as to think free papers from neutral powers a boon.  As if the
sign-manual of James and Henry were a better guarantee than the trophies
of the Nassaus, of Heemskerk, of Matelieff, and of Olden-Barneveld!

It was not strange that the two sovereigns should decline the
proposition; for we well know the secret aspirations of each, and it
was natural that they should be unwilling to sign a formal quit-claim,
however improbable it might be that those dreams should ever become
a reality.

Both powers, however, united in a guarantee of the truce.

This was signed on the 17th June, and stipulated that, without their
knowledge and consent, the States should make no treaty during the period
of truce with the King of Spain or the archdukes.  On the other hand, in
case of an infraction of the truce by the enemy, the two kings agreed to
lend assistance to the States in the manner provided--by the treaties
concluded with the republic previously to the negotiation of the truce.

The treaty had been at once ratified by the States-General, assembled for
the purpose with an extraordinary number of deputies at Bergen-op-Zoom.
It was also ratified without delay by the archdukes.  The delivery of the
confirmation by his Catholic Majesty had been promised within three
months after the signatures of the plenipotentiaries.

It would however have been altogether inconsistent with the dignity and
the traditions of the Spanish court to fulfil this stipulation.  It was
not to be expected that "I the King" could be written either by the
monarch himself, or by his alter ego the Duke of Lerma, in so short a
time as a quarter of a year.

Several weeks accordingly went by after the expiration of the stated
period.  The ratification did not come, and the Netherlanders began to
be once more indignant.  Before the storm had risen very high, however,
the despatches arrived.  The king's signature was ante-dated 7th April,
being thus brought within the term of three months, and was a thorough
confirmation of what had been done by his plenipotentiaries.

His Majesty, however, expressed a hope that during the truce the States
would treat their Catholic subjects with kindness.

Certainly no exception could be taken to so reasonable an intimation as
this.  President Jeannin, too, just before his departure, handed in to
the States-General an eloquent appeal on behalf of the Catholics of the
Netherlands; a paper which was not immediately made public.

"Consider the great number of Catholics," he said, "in your territory,
both in the cities and the country.  Remember that they have worked with
you; spent their property, have been exposed to the same dangers, and
have always kept their fidelity to the commonwealth inviolate as long as
the war endured, never complaining that they did not enjoy liberty of
religious worship, believing that you had thus, ordained because the
public safety required such guaranty.  But they always promised
themselves, should the end of the war be happy, and should you be placed
in the enjoyment of entire freedom, that they too would have some part in
this good fortune, even as they had been sharers in the inconveniences,
the expenses, and the perils of the war.

"But those cannot be said to share in any enjoyment from whom has been
taken the power of serving God according to the religion in which they
were brought up.  On the contrary, no slavery is more intolerable nor
more exasperates the mind than such restraint.  You know this well, my
lords States; you know too that it was the principal, the most puissant
cause that made you fly to arms and scorn all dangers, in order to effect
your deliverance from this servitude.  You know that it has excited
similar movements in various parts of Christendom, and even in the
kingdom of France, with such fortunate success everywhere as to make it
appear that God had so willed it, in order to prove that religion ought
to be taught and inspired by the movements which come from the Holy
Ghost, and not by the force of man.  Thus kings and princes should be
induced by the evils and ruin which they and their subjects have suffered
from this cause, as by a sentiment of their own interest, to take more
care than has hitherto been taken to practise in good earnest those
remedies which were wont to be used at a time when the church was in
its greatest piety, in order to correct the abuses and errors which the
corruption of mankind had tried to introduce as being the true and sole
means of uniting all Christians in one and the same creed."

Surely the world had made progress in these forty years of war.  Was it
not something to gain for humanity, for intellectual advancement, for
liberty of thought, for the true interests of religion, that a Roman
Catholic, an ex-leaguer, a trusted representative of the immediate
successor of Charles IX. and Henry III., could stand up on the blood-
stained soil of the Netherlands and plead for liberty of conscience
for all mankind?

"Those cannot be said to share in, any enjoyment from whom has been taken
the power of serving God according to the religion in which they have
been brought up.  No slavery is more intolerable nor more exasperating to
the mind than such restraint."

Most true, O excellent president!  No axiom in mathematics is more
certain than this simple statement.  To prove its truth William the
Silent had lived and died.  To prove it a falsehood, emperors, and kings,
and priests, had issued bans, and curses, and damnable decrees.  To root
it out they had butchered, drowned, shot, strangled, poisoned, tortured,
roasted alive, buried alive, starved, and driven mad, thousands and tens
of thousands of their fellow creatures.  And behold there had been almost
a century of this work, and yet the great truth was not rooted out after
all; and the devil-worshippers, who had sought at the outset of the great
war to establish the Holy Inquisition in the Netherlands upon the ruins
of religious and political liberty, were overthrown at last and driven
back into the pit.  It was progress; it was worth all the blood and
treasure which had been spilled, that, instead of the Holy Inquisition,
there was now holy liberty of thought.

That there should have been a party, that there should have been an
individual here and there, after the great victory was won, to oppose the
doctrine which the Catholic president now so nobly advocated, would be
enough to cause every believer in progress to hide his face in the dust,
did we not know that the march of events was destined to trample such
opposition out of existence, and had not history proved to us that the
great lesson of the war was not to be rendered nought by the efforts of a
few fanatics.  Religious liberty was the ripened and consummate fruit,
and it could not but be gathered.

"Consider too," continued the president, "how much injury your refusal,
if you give it, will cause to those of your religion in the places where
they are the weakest, and where they are every day imploring with tears
and lamentations the grace of those Catholic sovereigns to whom they are
subject, to enable them to enjoy the same religious liberty which our
king is now demanding in favour of the Catholics among you.  Do not cause
it to come again into the minds of those sovereigns and their peoples,
whom an inconsiderate zeal has often driven into violence and ferocity
against protestants, that a war to compel the weakest to follow the
religion of the strongest is just and lawful."

Had not something been gained for the world when this language was held
by a Catholic on the very spot where less than a half century before the
whole population of the Netherlands, men, women, and children, had been
condemned to death by a foreign tyrant, for the simple reason that it was
just, legal, and a Christian duty to punish the weak for refusing to
follow the religion of the strong?

"As for the perils which some affect to fear," said Jeannin, further, "if
this liberty of worship is accorded, experience teaches us every day that
diversity of religion is not the cause of the ruin of states, and that a
government does not cease to be good, nor its subjects to live in peace
and friend ship with one another, rendering due obedience to the laws and
to their, rulers as well as if they had all been of the same religion,
without having another thought, save for the preservation of the dignity
and grandeur of the state in which God had caused them to be born.  The
danger is not in the permission, but in the prohibition of religious

All this seems commonplace enough to us on the western side of the
Atlantic, in the middle of the nineteenth century, but it would have been
rank blasphemy in New England in the middle of the seventeenth, many
years after Jeannin spoke.  It was a horrible sound, too, in the ears of
some of his audience.

To the pretence so often urged by the Catholic persecutors, and now set
up by their Calvinistic imitators; that those who still clung to the old
religion were at liberty to depart from the land, the president replied
with dignified scorn.

"With what justice," he asked, "can you drive into, exile people who have
committed no offence, and who have helped to conquer the very country
from which you would now banish them?  If you do drive them away, you
will make solitudes in your commonwealth, which will, be the cause of
evils such as I prefer that you should reflect upon without my declaring
them now.  Although these reasons," he continued, "would seem sufficient
to induce you to accord the free and public exercise of the Catholic
religion, the king, not hoping as much as that, because aware that you
are not disposed to go so far, is content to request only this grace in
behalf of the Catholics, that you will tolerate them, and suffer them to
have some exercise of their religion within their own households, without
interference or inquiry on that account, and without execution of the
rigorous decrees heretofore enforced against them."

Certainly if such wholesome, moderate, and modest counsels as these had
been rejected, it would have been sound doctrine to proclaim that the
world did not move.  And there were individuals enough, even an
influential party, prepared to oppose them for both technical and
practical reasons.  And the cause of intolerance derived much warmth
and comfort at this juncture from that great luminary of theology and
political philosophy, the King of Great Britain.  Direful and solemn were
the warnings uttered by James to the republic against permitting the old
religion, or any religion save his own religion, to obtain the slightest
foothold within her borders.

"Let the religion be taught and preached in its parity throughout your
provinces without the least mixture," said Sir Ralph Winwood, in the name
of his sovereign.

"On this foundation the justice of your cause is built.  There is but one
verity.  Those who are willing to tolerate any religion, whatever it may
be, and try to make you believe that liberty for both is necessary in
your commonwealth, are paving the way towards atheism."

Such were the counsels of King James to the united States of the
Netherlands against harbouring Catholics.  A few years later he was
casting forth Calvinists from his own dominions as if they had been
lepers; and they went forth on their weary pilgrimage to the howling
wilderness of North America, those exiled Calvinists, to build a greater
republic than had ever been dreamed of before on this planet; and they
went forth, not to preach, but in their turn to denounce toleration and
to hang heretics.  "He who would tolerate another religion that his own
may be tolerated, would if need be, hang God's bible at the devil's
girdle."  So spoke an early Massachusetts pilgrim, in the very spirit,
almost the very words of the royal persecutor; who had driven him into
outer darkness beyond the seas.  He had not learned the lesson of the
mighty movement in which he was a pioneer, any more than Gomarus or
Uytenbogaart had comprehended why the Dutch republic had risen.

Yet the founders of the two commonwealths, the United States of the
seventeenth and of the nineteenth centuries, although many of them
fiercely intolerant, through a natural instinct of resistance, not only
to the oppressor but to the creed of the oppressor, had been breaking out
the way, not to atheism, as King James believed, but to the only garden
in which Christianity can perennially flourish--religious liberty.

Those most ardent and zealous path-finders may be forgiven, in view of
the inestimable benefits conferred by them upon humanity, that they did
not travel on their own road.  It should be sufficient for us, if we make
due use of their great imperishable work ourselves; and if we never cease
rendering thanks to the Omnipotent, that there is at least one great
nation on the globe where the words toleration and dissenter have no
meaning whatever.

For the Dutch fanatics of the reformed church, at the moment of the
truce, to attempt to reverse the course of events, and to shut off the
mighty movement of the great revolt from its destined expanse, was as
hopeless a dream as to drive back the Rhine, as it reached the ocean,
into the narrow channel of the Rheinwald glacier whence it sprang.

The republic became the refuge for the oppressed of all nations, where
Jews and Gentiles, Catholics, Calvinists, and Anabaptistis, prayed after
their own manner to the same God and Father.  It was too much, however,
to hope that passions which had been so fiercely bubbling during fifty
years would subside at once, and that the most intense religious hatreds
that ever existed would exhale with the proclamation of truce.  The march
of humanity is rarely rapid enough to keep pace with the leaders in its
most sublime movements, and it often happens that its chieftains are
dwarfed in the estimation of the contemporaneous vulgar, by the very
distance at which they precede their unconscious followers.  But even if
the progress of the human mind towards the truth is fated to be a spiral
one, as if to remind us that mankind is of the earth, earthy--a worm in
the dust while inhabiting this lower sphere--it is at least a consolation
to reflect upon the gradual advancement of the intellect from age to age.

The spirit of Torquemada, of Charles, of Philip, of Titelmann, is even
now not extinct on this globe, but there are counter forces at work,
which must ultimately blast it into insignificance.  At the moment of the
great truce, that evil spirit was not exorcised from the human breast,
but the number of its victims and the intensity of its influence had
already miraculously diminished.

The truce was made and announced all over the Netherlands by the ringing
of bells, the happy discharge of innocent artillery, by illuminations, by
Te Deums in all the churches.  Papist and Presbyterian fell on their
knees in every grand cathedral or humblest village church, to thank God
that what had seemed the eternal butchery was over.  The inhabitants of
the united and of the obedient Netherlands rushed across the frontiers
into a fraternal embrace; like the meeting of many waters when the flood-
gates are lifted.  It was pity that the foreign sovereignty, established
at Brussels, could not then and there have been for ever swept away, and
self-government and beneficent union extended over all the seventeen
Netherlands, Walloon and Flemish, Catholic and reformed.  But it hardly
needs a word to show that the course of events had created a deeper chasm
between the two sections than the gravest physical catastrophe could have
produced.  The opposing cliffs which religious hatred had rent asunder,
and between which it seemed destined to flow for ever, seemed very close,
and yet eternally separated.

The great war had established the republic; and apparently doomed the
obedient Netherlands to perpetual servitude.

There were many details of minor importance to be settled between the
various governments involved in these great transactions; but this
history draws to its predestined close, and it is necessary to glide
rapidly over matters which rather belong to a later epoch than the one
now under consideration.

The treaty between the republic and the government of Great Britain,
according to which each was to assist the other in case of war with four
thousand troops and twenty ships of war, was confirmed in the treaty of
truce.  The debt of the United Provinces to the Crown of England was
definitely reckoned at 8,184,080 florins, and it was settled by the truce
that 200,000 florins should be paid semi-annually, to begin with the year
1611, until the whole debt should be discharged.

The army establishment of the republic was fixed during the truce at
thirty thousand infantry and three thousand horse.  This was a reduction
from the war footing of fifteen thousand men.  Of the force retained,
four thousand were a French legion maintained by the king, two thousand
other French at the expense of the States, and distributed among other
troops, two thousand Scotch, three thousand English, three thousand
Germans.  The rest were native Netherlanders, among whom, however, were
very few Hollanders and Zeelanders, from which races the navy, both
public and mercantile, was almost wholly supplied.

The revenue of the United Provinces was estimated at between seven and
eight millions of florins.

It is superfluous to call attention again to the wonderful smallness of
the means, the minuteness of the physical enginry, as compared with more
modern manifestations, especially in our own land and epoch, by which so
stupendous a result had been reached.  In the midst of an age in which
regal and sacerdotal despotism had seemed as omnipotent and irreversible
as the elemental laws of the universe, the republic had been reproduced.
A commonwealth of sand-banks, lagoons, and meadows, less than fourteen
thousand square miles in extent, had done battle, for nearly half a
century, with the greatest of existing powers, a realm whose territory
was nearly a third of the globe, and which claimed universal monarchy.
And this had been done with an army averaging forty-six thousand men,
half of them foreigners hired by the job, and by a sea-faring population,
volunteering into ships of every class and denomination, from a fly-boat
to a galleot of war.

And when the republic had won its independence, after this almost eternal
warfare, it owed four or five millions of dollars, and had sometimes an
annual revenue of nearly that amount.

It was estimated by Barneveld, at the conclusion of the truce, that the
interest on the public debt of Spain was about thrice the amount of the
yearly income of the republic, and it was characteristic of the financial
ideas of the period, that fears were entertained lest a total repudiation
of that burthen by the Spanish Government would enable it to resume the
war against the provinces with redoubled energy.

The annual salary of Prince Maurice, who was to see his chief occupation
gone by the cessation of the war, was fixed by the States at 120,000
florins.  It was agreed, that in case of his marriage he should receive
a further yearly sum of 25,000 florins, and this addition was soon
afterwards voted to him outright, it being obvious that the prince would
remain all his days a bachelor.

Count Frederic Henry likewise received a military salary of 25,000
florins, while the emoluments of Lewis William were placed at 36,000
florins a year.

It must be admitted that the republic was grateful.  70,000 dollars a
year, in the seventeenth century, not only for life, but to be inherited
afterwards by his younger brother, Frederic Henry, was surely a
munificent sum to be accorded from the puny exchequer of the States-
General to the chief magistrate of the nation.

The mighty transatlantic republic, with its population of thirty or forty
millions, and its revenue of five hundred millions of dollars, pays
25,000 dollars annually for its president during his four years of
office, and this in the second half of the nineteenth century, when a
dollar is worth scarcely one-fifth of its value two hundred and fifty
years ago.

Surely here is improvement, both in the capacity to produce and in the
power to save.

In the year 1609, died John, the last sovereign of Cleves and Juliers,
and Jacob Arminius, Doctor of Divinity at Leyden.  It would be difficult
to imagine two more entirely dissimilar individuals of the human family
than this lunatic duke and that theological professor.  And yet, perhaps,
the two names, more concisely than those of any other mortals, might
serve as an index to the ghastly chronicle over which a coming generation
was to shudder.  The death of the duke was at first thought likely to
break off the negotiations for truce.  The States-General at once
declared that they would permit no movements on the part of the Spanish
party to seize the inheritance in behalf of the Catholic claimants.
Prince Maurice, nothing loth to make use of so well-timed an event in
order to cut for ever the tangled skein at the Hague, was for marching
forthwith into the duchies.

But the archdukes gave such unequivocal assurances of abstaining from
interference, and the desire for peace was so strong both in the obedient
and in the United Provinces, that the question of the duchies was
postponed.  It was to serve as both torch and fuel for one of the longest
and most hideous tragedies that had ever disgraced humanity.  A thirty
years' war of demons was, after a brief interval, to succeed the forty
years' struggle between slaves and masters, which had just ended in the
recognition of Dutch independence.

The gentle Arminius was in his grave, but a bloody harvest was fast
ripening from the seeds which he had sown.  That evil story must find its
place in the melancholy chapter where the fortunes of the Dutch republic
are blended with the grim chronicle of the thirty years' war.  Until the
time arrives for retracing the course of those united transactions to
their final termination in the peace of Westphalia, it is premature to
characterize an epoch which, at the moment with which we are now
occupied, had not fairly begun.

The Gomarites accused the Arminians of being more lax than Papists, and
of filling the soul of man with vilest arrogance and confidence in good
works; while the Arminians complained that the God of the Gomarites was
an unjust God, himself the origin of sin.

The disputes on these themes had been perpetual in the provinces ever
since the early days of the Reformation.  Of late, however, the acrimony
of theological conflict had been growing day by day more intense.  It was
the eternal struggle of religious dogma to get possession of the State,
and to make use of political forces in order to put fetters on the human
soul; to condemn it to slavery where most it requires freedom.

The conflict between Gomarus and Arminius proceeded with such ferocity
in Leyden, that, since the days of the memorable siege, to which the
university owed its origin, men's minds had never been roused to such
feverish anxiety: The theological cannonades, which thundered daily from
the college buildings and caused all Holland to quake, seemed more
appalling to the burghers than the enginry of Valdez and Boisot had ever
seemed to their fathers.

The Gomarite doctrine gained most favour with the clergy, the Arminian
creed with the municipal magistracies.  The magistrates claimed that
decisions concerning religious matters belonged to the supreme authority.
The Gomarites contended that sacred matters should be referred to synods
of the clergy.  Here was the germ of a conflict which might one day shake
the republic to its foundations.

Barneveld, the great leader of the municipal, party, who loved political
power quite as well as he loved his country; was naturally a chieftain of
the Arminians; for church, matters were no more separated from political
matters in the commonwealth at that moment than they were in the cabinets
of Henry, James, or Philip.

It was inevitable therefore that the war party should pour upon his head
more than seven vials of theological wrath.  The religious doctrines
which he espoused were, odious not only because they were deemed vile in
themselves but because he believed in them.

Arminianism was regarded as a new and horrible epidemic, daily gaining
ground, and threatening to destroy the whole population.  Men deliberated
concerning the best means to cut off communication with the infected
regions, and to extirpate the plague even by desperate and heroic
remedies, as men in later days take measures against the cholera or the

Theological hatred was surely not extinct in the Netherlands.  It was a
consolation, however, that its influence was rendered less noxious by the
vastly increased strength of principles long dormant in the atmosphere.
Anna van der Hoven, buried alive in Brussels, simply because her
Calvinistic creed was a crime in the eyes of the monks who murdered her,
was the last victim to purely religious persecution.  If there were one
day to be still a tragedy or two in the Netherlands it was inevitable
that theological hatred would be obliged to combine with political party
spirit in its most condensed form before any deadly effect could be

Thus the year 1609 is a memorable one in the world's history.  It forms a
great landmark in human progress.  It witnessed the recognition of a
republic, powerful in itself, and whose example was destined to be most
influential upon the career of two mighty commonwealths of the future.
The British empire, just expanding for wider flight than it had hitherto
essayed, and about to pass through a series of vast revolutions,
gathering strength of wing as it emerged from cloud after cloud; and the
American republic, whose frail and obscure beginnings at that very
instant of time scarcely attracted a passing attention from the
contemporaneous world--both these political organisms, to which so much
of mankind's future liberties had been entrusted, were deeply indebted to
the earlier self-governing commonwealth.

The Dutch republic was the first free nation to put a girdle of
empire around the earth.  It had courage, enterprise, intelligence,
perseverance, faith in itself, the instinct of self-government and self-
help, hatred of tyranny, the disposition to domineer, aggressiveness,
greediness, inquisitiveness, insolence, the love of science, of liberty,
and of money--all this in unlimited extent.  It had one great defect, it
had no country.  Upon that meagre standing ground its hand had moved the
world with an impulse to be felt through all the ages, but there was not
soil enough in those fourteen thousand, square miles to form the
metropolis of the magnificent empire which the genius of liberty had
created beyond the seas.

That the political institutions bequeathed by the United States of the
seventeenth century have been vastly improved, both in theory and
practice, by the United States of the nineteenth, no American is likely
to gainsay.  That the elder Republic showed us also what to avoid, and
was a living example of the perils besetting a Confederacy which dared
not become a Union, is a lesson which we might take closely to heart.

But the year 1609 was not only memorable as marking an epoch in Dutch
history.  It was the beginning of a great and universal pause.  The world
had need of rest.  Disintegration had been going on too rapidly, and it
was absolutely necessary that there should be a new birth, if
civilization were not to vanish.

A twenty years' truce between the Turkish and Holy Roman empires was
nearly simultaneous with the twelve years' truce between Spain and the
United Provinces.  The Emperor Rudolph having refused to ratify the
treaty which his brother Matthias had made, was in consequence partially
discrowned.  The same archduke who, thirty years before, had slipped away
from Vienna in his nightgown; with his face blackened, to outwit and
outgeneral William the Silent at Brussels, was now--more successful in
his manoeuvres against his imperial brother.  Standing at the head of his
army in battle array, in the open fields before the walls of Prague, he
received--from the unfortunate Rudolph the crown and regalia of Hungary,
and was by solemn treaty declared sovereign of that ancient and
chivalrous kingdom.

His triumphal entrance into Vienna succeeded, where, surrounded by great
nobles and burghers, with his brother Maximilian at his side, with
immense pomp and with flowers strewn before his feet, he ratified that
truce with Ahmed which Rudolph had rejected.  Three months later he was
crowned at Pressburg, having first accepted the conditions proposed by
the estates of Hungary.  Foremost among these was the provision that the
exercise of the reformed religion should be free in all the cities and
villages beneath his sceptre, and that every man in the kingdom was to
worship God according to his conscience.

In the following March, at the very moment accordingly when the
conclusive negotiations were fast ripening at Antwerp, Matthias granted
religious peace for Austria likewise.  Great was the indignation of his
nephew Leopold, the nuncius, and the Spanish ambassador in consequence,
by each and all of whom the revolutionary mischief-maker, with his
brother's crown on his head, was threatened with excommunication.

As for Ferdinand of Styria, his wrath may well be imagined.  He refused
religious peace in his dominions with scorn ineffable.  Not Gomarus in
Leyden could have shrunk from Arminianism with more intense horror than
that with which the archduke at Gratz recoiled from any form of
Protestantism.  He wrote to his brother-in-law the King of Spain and to
other potentates--as if the very soul of Philip II. were alive within
him--that he would rather have a country without inhabitants than with a
single protestant on its soil.  He strongly urged upon his Catholic
Majesty--as if such urging were necessary at the Spanish court--the
necessity of extirpating heresy, root and branch.

Here was one man at least who knew what he meant, and on whom the dread
lessons of fifty years of bloodshed had been lost.  Magnificent was the
contempt which this pupil of the Jesuits felt for any little progress
made by the world since the days of Torquemada.  In Ferdinand's view Alva
was a Christian hero, scarcely second to Godfrey of Bouillon, Philip II.
a sainted martyr, while the Dutch republic had never been born.

And Ferdinand was one day to sit on the throne of the holy Roman Empire.
Might not a shudder come over the souls of men as coming events vaguely
shaped themselves to prophetic eyes?

Meantime there was religious peace in Hungary, in Austria, in Bohemia, in
France, in Great Britain, in the Netherlands.  The hangman's hands were
for a period at rest, so far as theology had need of them.  Butchery in
the name of Christ was suspended throughout Christendom.  The Cross and
the Crescent, Santiago and the Orange banner, were for a season in

There was a vast lull between two mighty storms.  The forty years' war
was in the past, the thirty years' war in the not far distant future.



Forth-three years had passed since the memorable April morning in which
the great nobles of the, Netherlands presented their "Request" to the
Regent Margaret at Brussels.

They had requested that the holy Spanish Inquisition might not be
established on their soil to the suppression of all their political and
religious institutions.

The war which those high-born "beggars" had then kindled, little knowing
what they were doing, had now come to a close, and the successor of
Philip II., instead of planting the Inquisition in the provinces, had
recognised them as an independent, sovereign, protestant republic.

In the ratification which he had just signed of the treaty of truce the
most Catholic king had in his turn made a Request.  He had asked the
States-General to deal kindly with their Catholic subjects.

That request was not answered with the age and faggot; with the avenging
sword of mercenary legions.  On the contrary, it was destined to be
granted.  The world had gained something in forty-three years.  It had at
least begun to learn that the hangman is not the most appropriate teacher
of religion.

During the period of apparent chaos with which this history of the great
revolt has been occupied, there had in truth been a great reorganization,
a perfected new birth.  The republic had once more appeared in the world.

Its main characteristics have been indicated in the course of the
narrative, for it was a polity which gradually unfolded itself out of the
decay and change of previous organisms.

It was, as it were, in their own despite and unwittingly that the United
Provinces became a republic at all.

In vain, after originally declaring their independence of the ancient
tyrant, had they attempted to annex themselves to France and to England.
The sovereignty had been spurned.  The magnificent prize which France for
centuries since has so persistently coveted, and the attainment of which
has been a cardinal point of her perpetual policy--the Low Countries and
the banks of the Rhine--was deliberately laid at her feet, and as
deliberately refused.

It was the secret hope of the present monarch to repair the loss which
the kingdom had suffered through the imbecility of his two immediate
predecessors.  But a great nation cannot with impunity permit itself to
be despotically governed for thirty years by lunatics.  It was not for
the Bearnese, with all his valour, his wit, and his duplicity, to obtain
the prize which Charles IX. and Henry III. had thrown away.  Yet to make
himself sovereign of the Netherlands was his guiding but most secret
thought during all the wearisome and tortuous negotiations which preceded
the truce; nor did he abandon the great hope with the signature of the
treaty of 1609.

Maurice of Nassau too was a formidable rival to Henry.  The stadholder-
prince was no republican.  He was a good patriot, a noble soldier, an
honest man.  But his father had been offered the sovereignty of Holland
and Zeeland, and the pistol of Balthasar Gerard had alone, in all human
probability, prevented the great prince from becoming constitutional
monarch of all the Netherlands, Batavian and Belgic.

Maurice himself asserted that not only had he been offered a million of
dollars, and large estates besides in Germany, if he would leave the
provinces to their fate, but that the archdukes had offered, would he
join his fortunes with theirs, to place him in a higher position over all
the Netherlands than he had ever enjoyed in the United Provinces, and
that they had even unequivocally offered him the sovereignty over the
whole land.

Maurice was a man of truth, and we have no right to dispute the accuracy
of the extraordinary statement.  He must however have reflected upon the
offer once made by the Prince of Darkness from the mountain top, and have
asked himself by what machinery the archdukes proposed to place him in
possession of such a kingdom.

There had, however, been serious question among leading Dutch
statesmen of making him constitutional, hereditary monarch of the United
Netherlands.  As late as 1602 a secret conference was held at the house
of Olden-Barneveld, in which the Advocate had himself urged the claims of
the prince to the sovereignty, and reminded his guests that the signed
and sealed documents--with the concurrence of the Amsterdam municipality
alone lacking--by which William the Silent had been invited to assume the
crown were still in the possession of his son.

Nothing came of these deliberations.  It was agreed that to stir in the
matter at that moment would be premature, and that the pursuit by Maurice
of the monarchy in the circumstances then existing would not only over-
burthen him with expense, but make him a more conspicuous mark than ever
for the assassin.  It is certain that the prince manifested no undue
anxiety at any period in regard to those transactions.

Subsequently, as Olden-Barneveld's personal power increased, and as the
negotiations for peace became more and more likely to prove successful,
the Advocate lost all relish for placing his great rival on a throne.
The whole project, with the documents and secret schemes therewith
connected, became mere alms for oblivion.  Barneveld himself, although of
comparatively humble birth and station, was likely with time to exercise
more real power in the State than either Henry or Maurice; and thus while
there were three individuals who in different ways aspired to supreme
power, the republic, notwithstanding, asserted and established itself.

Freedom of government and freedom, of religion were, on the whole,
assisted by this triple antagonism.  The prince, so soon as war was
over, hated the Advocate and his daily increasing power more and more.
He allied himself more closely than ever with the Gomarites and the
clerical party in general, and did his best to inflame the persecuting
spirit, already existing in the provinces, against the Catholics and the
later sects of Protestants.

Jeannin warned him that "by thus howling with the priests" he would be
suspected of more desperately ambitious designs than he perhaps really

On the other hand, Barneveld was accused of a willingness to wink at the
introduction, privately and quietly, of the Roman Catholic worship.  That
this was the deadliest of sins, there was no doubt whatever in the minds
of his revilers.  When it was added that he was suspected of the Arminian
leprosy, and that he could tolerate the thought that a virtuous man or
woman, not predestined from all time for salvation, could possibly find
the way to heaven, language becomes powerless to stigmatize his
depravity.  Whatever the punishment impending over his head in this world
or the next, it is certain that the cause of human freedom was not
destined on the whole to lose ground through the life-work of Barneveld.

A champion of liberties rather than of liberty, he defended his
fatherland with heart and soul against the stranger; yet the government
of that fatherland was, in his judgments to be transferred from the hand
of the foreigner, not to the self-governing people, but to the provincial
corporations.  For the People he had no respect, and perhaps little
affection.  He often spoke of popular rights with contempt.  Of popular
sovereignty he had no conception.  His patriotism, like his ambition, was
provincial.  Yet his perceptions as to eternal necessity in all healthy
governments taught him that comprehensible relations between the state
and the population were needful to the very existence of a free
commonwealth.  The United Provinces, he maintained, were not a republic,
but a league of seven provinces very loosely hung together, a mere
provisional organization for which it was not then possible to substitute
anything better.  He expressed this opinion with deep regret, just as the
war of independence was closing, and added his conviction that, without
some well-ordered government, no republic could stand.

Yet, as time wore on, the Advocate was destined to acquiesce more and
more in this defective constitution.  A settled theory there was none,
and it would have been difficult legally and historically to establish
the central sovereignty of the States-General as matter of right.

Thus Barneveld, who was anything but a democrat, became, almost
unwittingly, the champion of the least venerable or imposing of all
forms of aristocracy--an oligarchy of traders who imagined themselves
patricians.  Corporate rights, not popular liberty, seemed, in his view,
the precious gains made by such a prodigious expenditure of time, money,
and blood.  Although such acquisitions were practically a vast addition
to the stock of human freedom then existing in the world, yet torrents of
blood and millions of treasure were to be wasted in the coming centuries
before mankind was to convince itself that a republic is only to be made
powerful and perpetual by placing itself upon the basis of popular right
rather than on that of municipal privilege.

The singular docility of the Dutch people, combined with the simplicity,
honesty, and practical sagacity of the earlier burgher patricians, made
the defects of the system tolerable for a longer period than might have
been expected; nor was it until theological dissensions had gathered to
such intensity as to set the whole commonwealth aflame that the grave
defects in the political structure could be fairly estimated.

It would be anticipating a dark chapter in the history of the United
Provinces were the reader's attention now to be called to those fearful
convulsions.  The greatest reserve is therefore necessary at present in
alluding to the subject.

It was not to be expected that an imperious, energetic but somewhat
limited nature like that of Barneveld should at that epoch thoroughly
comprehend the meaning of religious freedom.  William the Silent alone
seems to have risen to that height.  A conscientious Calvinist himself,
the father of his country would have been glad to see Protestant and
Papist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Anabaptist living together in harmony
and political equality.  This was not to be.  The soul of the immortal
prince could not inspire the hearts of his contemporaries.  That
Barneveld was disposed to a breadth of religious sympathy unusual in
those days, seems certain.  It was inevitable, too, that the mild
doctrines of Arminius should be more in harmony with such a character
than were the fierce dogmas of Calvin.  But the struggle, either to force
Arminianism upon the Church which considered itself the established one
in the Netherlands, or to expel the Calvinists from it, had not yet
begun; although the seeds of religious persecution of Protestants by
Protestants had already been sown broadcast.

The day was not far distant when the very Calvinists, to whom, more than
to any other class of men, the political liberties of Holland, England,
and America are due, were to be hunted out of churches into farm-houses,
suburban hovels, and canal-boats by the arm of provincial sovereignty and
in the name of state-rights, as pitilessly as the early reformers had
been driven out of cathedrals in the name of emperor and pope; and when
even those refuges for conscientious worship were to be denied by the
dominant sect.  And the day was to come, too, when the Calvinists,
regaining ascendency in their turn, were to hunt the heterodox as they
had themselves been hunted; and this, at the very moment when their
fellow Calvinists of England were driven by the Church of that kingdom
into the American wilderness.

Toleration--that intolerable term of insult to all who love liberty--had
not yet been discovered.  It had scarcely occurred to Arminian or
Presbyterian that civil authority and ecclesiastical doctrine could be
divorced from each other.  As the individual sovereignty of the seven
states established itself more and more securely, the right of provincial
power to dictate religious dogmas, and to superintend the popular
conscience, was exercised with a placid arrogance which papal
infallibility could scarcely exceed.  The alternation was only between
the sects, each in its turn becoming orthodox, and therefore persecuting.
The lessened intensity of persecution however, which priesthood and
authority were now allowed to exercise, marked the gains secured.

Yet while we censure--as we have a right to do from the point of view
which we have gained after centuries--the crimes committed by bigotry
against liberty, we should be false, to our faith in human progress did
we not acknowledge our debt of gratitude to the hot gospellers of Holland
and England.

The doctrine of predestination, the consciousness of being chosen
soldiers of Christ, inspired those puritans, who founded the
commonwealths of England, of Holland, and of America, with a contempt
of toil, danger, and death which enabled them to accomplish things
almost supernatural.

No uncouthness of phraseology, no unlovely austerity of deportment,
could, except to vulgar minds, make that sublime enthusiasm ridiculous,
which on either side the ocean ever confronted tyranny with dauntless
front, and welcomed death on battle-field, scaffold, or rack with perfect

The early puritan at least believed.  The very intensity of his belief
made him--all unconsciously to himself, and narrowed as was his view of
his position--the great instrument by which the widest human liberty was
to be gained for all mankind.

The elected favourite of the King of kings feared the power of no earthly
king.  Accepting in rapture the decrees of a supernatural tyranny, he
rose on mighty wings above the reach of human wrath.  Prostrating himself
before a God of vengeance, of jealousy, and of injustice, be naturally
imitated the attributes which he believed to be divine.  It was
inevitable, therefore, that Barneveld, and those who thought with him,
when they should attempt to force the children of Belial into the company
of the elect and to drive the faithful out of their own churches, should
be detested as bitterly as papists had ever been.

Had Barneveld's intellect been broad enough to imagine in a great
republic the separation of Church and State, he would deserve a tenderer
sympathy, but he would have been far in advance of his age.  It is not
cheerful to see so powerful an intellect and so patriotic a character
daring to entrust the relations between man and his Maker to the decree
of a trading corporation.  But alas! the world was to wait for centuries
until it should learn that the State can best defend religion by letting
it alone, and that the political arm is apt to wither with palsy when it
attempts to control the human conscience.

It is not entirely the commonwealth of the United Netherlands that is of
importance in the epoch which I have endeavoured to illustrate.  History
can have neither value nor charm for those who are not impressed with a
conviction of its continuity.

More than ever during the period which we call modern history has this
idea of the continuousness of our race, and especially of the inhabitants
of Europe and America, become almost oppressive to the imagination.
There is a sense of immortality even upon earth when we see the
succession of heritages in the domains of science, of intellectual and
material wealth by which mankind, generation after generation, is
enriching itself.

If this progress be a dream, if mankind be describing a limited circle
instead of advancing towards the infinite; then no study can be more
contemptible than the study of history.

Few strides more gigantic have been taken in the march of humanity than
those by which a parcel of outlying provinces in the north of Europe
exchanged slavery to a foreign despotism and to the Holy Inquisition
for the position of a self-governing commonwealth, in the, front rank of
contemporary powers, and in many respects the foremost of the world.  It
is impossible to calculate the amount of benefit tendered to civilization
by the example of the Dutch republic.  It has been a model which has been
imitated, in many respects, by great nations.  It has even been valuable
in its very defects; indicating to the patient observer many errors most
important to avoid.

Therefore, had the little republic sunk for ever in the sea so soon as
the treaty of peace had been signed at Antwerp, its career would have
been prolific of good for all succeeding time.

Exactly at the moment when a splendid but decaying despotism, founded
upon wrong--upon oppression of the human body and the immortal soul, upon
slavery, in short, of the worst kind--was awaking from its insane dream
of universal empire to a consciousness of its own decay, the new republic
was recognised among the nations.

It would hardly be incorrect to describe the Holland of the beginning
of the seventeenth century as the exact reverse of Spain.  In, the
commonwealth labour was most honourable; in the kingdom it was vile.
In the north to be idle was accounted and punished as a crime.  In the
southern peninsula, to be contaminated with mechanical, mercantile,
commercial, manufacturing pursuits, was to be accursed.  Labour was for
slaves, and at last the mere spectacle of labour became so offensive that
even the slaves were expelled from the land.  To work was as degrading in
the south as to beg or to steal was esteemed unworthy of humanity in the
north.  To think a man's thought upon high matters of religion and
government, and through a thousand errors to pursue the truth; with the
aid of the Most High and with the best use of human reason, was a
privilege secured by the commonwealth, at the expense of two generations
of continuous bloodshed.  To lie fettered, soul and body, at the feet of
authority wielded by a priesthood in its last stage of corruption, and
monarchy almost reduced to imbecility, was the lot of the chivalrous,
genial; but much oppressed Spaniard.

The pictures painted of the republic by shrewd and caustic observers, not
inclined by nature or craft to portray freedom in too engaging colours,
seem, when contrasted with those revealed of Spain, almost like
enthusiastic fantasies of an ideal commonwealth.

During the last twenty years of the great war the material prosperity of
the Netherlands had wonderfully increased.  They had, become the first
commercial nation in the world.  They had acquired the supremacy of the
seas.  The population of Amsterdam had in twenty years increased from
seventy thousand to a hundred and thirty thousand, and was destined to be
again more than doubled in the coming decade.  The population of Antwerp
had sunk almost as rapidly as that of its rival had increased; having
lessened by fifty thousand during the same period.  The commercial
capital of the obedient provinces, having already lost much of its famous
traffic by the great changes in the commercial current of the world, was
unable to compete with the cities of the United Provinces in the vast
trade which the geographical discoveries of the preceding century had
opened to civilization.  Freedom of thought and action were denied, and
without such liberty it was impossible for oceanic commerce to thrive.
Moreover, the possession by the Hollanders of the Scheld forts below
Antwerp, and of Flushing at the river's mouth, suffocated the ancient
city, and would of itself have been sufficient to paralyze all its

In Antwerp the exchange, where once thousands of the great merchants of
the earth held their daily financial parliament, now echoed to the
solitary footfall of the passing stranger.  Ships lay rotting at the
quays; brambles grow in the commercial streets.  In Amsterdam the city
had been enlarged by two-thirds, and those who swarmed thither to seek
their fortunes could not wait for the streets to be laid out and houses
to be built, but established themselves in the environs, building
themselves hovels and temporary residences, although certain to find
their encampments swept away with the steady expanse of the city.  As
much land as could be covered by a man's foot was worth a ducat in gold.

In every branch of human industry these republicans took the lead.  On
that scrap of solid ground, rescued by human energy from the ocean, were
the most fertile pastures in the world.  On those pastures grazed the
most famous cattle in the world.  An ox often weighed more than two
thousand pounds.   The cows produced two and three calves at a time, the
sheep four and five lambs.  In a single village four thousand kine were
counted.  Butter and cheese were exported to the annual value of a
million, salted provisions to an incredible extent.  The farmers were
industrious, thriving, and independent.  It is an amusing illustration of
the agricultural thrift and republican simplicity of this people that on
one occasion a farmer proposed to Prince Maurice that he should marry his
daughter, promising with her a dowry of a hundred thousand florins.

The mechanical ingenuity of the Netherlanders, already celebrated by
Julius Caesar and by Tacitus, had lost nothing of its ancient fame.  The
contemporary world confessed that in many fabrics the Hollanders were at
the head of mankind.  Dutch linen, manufactured of the flax grown on
their own fields or imported from the obedient provinces, was esteemed a
fitting present for kings to make and to receive.  The name of the
country had passed into the literature of England as synonymous with the
delicate fabric itself.  The Venetians confessed themselves equalled, if
not outdone, by the crystal workers and sugar refiners of the northern
republic.  The tapestries of Arras--the name of which Walloon city had
become a household word of luxury in all modern languages--were now
transplanted to the soil of freedom, more congenial to the advancement of
art.  Brocades of the precious metals; splendid satins and velvets;
serges and homely fustians; laces of thread and silk; the finer and
coarser manufactures of clay and porcelain; iron, steel, and all useful
fabrics for the building and outfitting of ships; substantial broadcloths
manufactured of wool imported from Scotland--all this was but a portion
of the industrial production of the provinces.

They supplied the deficiency of coal, not then an article readily
obtained by commerce, with other remains of antediluvian forests long
since buried in the sea, and now recovered from its depths and made
useful and portable by untiring industry.  Peat was not only the fuel
for the fireside, but for the extensive fabrics of the country, and its
advantages so much excited the admiration of the Venetian envoys that
they sent home samples of it, in the hope that the lagunes of Venice
might prove as prolific of this indispensable article as the polders of

But the foundation of the national wealth, the source of the apparently
fabulous power by which the republic had at last overthrown her gigantic
antagonist, was the ocean.  The republic was sea-born and sea-sustained.

She had nearly one hundred thousand sailors, and three thousand ships.
The sailors were the boldest, the best disciplined, and the most
experienced in the-world, whether for peaceable seafaring or ocean
warfare.  The ships were capable of furnishing from out of their number
in time of need the most numerous and the best appointed navy then known
to mankind.

The republic had the carrying trade for all nations.  Feeling its very
existence dependent upon commerce, it had strode centuries in advance of
the contemporary world in the liberation of trade.  But two or three per
cent. ad valorem was levied upon imports; foreign goods however being
subject, as well as internal products, to heavy imposts in the way of
both direct and indirect taxation.

Every article of necessity or luxury known was to be purchased in
profusion and at reasonable prices in the warehouses of Holland.

A swarm of river vessels and fly-boats were coming daily through the
rivers of Germany, France and the Netherlands, laden with the
agricultural products and the choice manufactures of central and western
Europe.  Wine and oil, and delicate fabrics in thread and wool, came from
France, but no silks, velvets, nor satins; for the great Sully had
succeeded in persuading his master that the white mulberry would not grow
in his kingdom, and that silk manufactures were an impossible dream for
France.  Nearly a thousand ships were constantly employed in the Baltic
trade.   The forests of Holland were almost as extensive as those which
grew on Norwegian hills, but they were submerged.  The foundation of a
single mansion required a grove, and wood was extensively used in the
superstructure.  The houses, built of a framework of substantial timber,
and filled in with brick or rubble, were raised almost as rapidly as
tents, during the prodigious expansion of industry towards the end of the
war.  From the realms of the Osterlings, or shores of the Baltic, came
daily fleets laden with wheat and other grains so that even in time of
famine the granaries of the republic were overflowing, and ready to
dispense the material of life to the outer world.

Eight hundred vessels of lesser size but compact build were perpetually
fishing for herrings on the northern coasts.  These hardy mariners, the
militia of the sea, who had learned in their life of hardship and daring
the art of destroying Spanish and Portuguese armadas, and confronting the
dangers of either pole, passed a long season on the deep.  Commercial
voyagers as well as fishermen, they salted their fish as soon as taken
from the sea, and transported them to the various ports of Europe, thus
reducing their herrings into specie before their return, and proving that
a fishery in such hands was worth more than the mines of Mexico and Peru.

It is customary to speak of the natural resources of a country as
furnishing a guarantee of material prosperity.  But here was a republic
almost without natural resources, which had yet supplied by human
intelligence and thrift what a niggard nature had denied.  Spain was
overflowing with unlimited treasure, and had possessed half the world in
fee; and Spain was bankrupt, decaying, sinking into universal pauperism.
Holland, with freedom of thought, of commerce, of speech, of action,
placed itself, by intellectual power alone, in the front rank of

From Cathay, from the tropical coasts of Africa, and from farthest Ind,
came every drug, spice, or plant, every valuable jewel, every costly
fabric, that human ingenuity had discovered or created.  The Spaniards,
maintaining a frail tenure upon a portion of those prolific regions,
gathered their spice harvests at the point of the sword, and were
frequently unable to prevent their northern rivals from ravaging such
fields as they had not yet been able to appropriate.

Certainly this conduct of the Hollanders was barbarism and supreme
selfishness, if judged by the sounder political economy of our time.
Yet it should never be forgotten that the contest between Spain and
Holland in those distant regions, as everywhere else, was war to the
knife between superstition and freedom, between the spirits of progress
and of dogma.  Hard blows and foul blows were struck in such a fight, and
humanity, although gaining at last immense results, had much to suffer
and much to learn ere the day was won.

But Spain was nearly beaten out of those eastern regions, and the very
fact that the naval supremacy of the republic placed her ancient tyrant
at her mercy was the main reason for Spain to conclude the treaty of
truce.  Lest she should lose the India trade entirely, Spain consented to
the treaty article by which, without mentioning the word, she conceded
the thing.  It was almost pathetic to witness, as we have witnessed, this
despotism in its dotage, mumbling so long over the formal concession to
her conqueror of a portion of that India trade which would have been
entirely wrested from herself had the war continued.  And of this Spain
was at heart entirely convinced.  Thus the Portuguese, once the lords and
masters, as they had been the European discoverers, of those prolific
regions and of the ocean highways which led to them, now came with
docility to the republic which they had once affected to despise,
and purchased the cloves and the allspice, the nutmegs and the cinnamon,
of which they had held the monopoly; or waited with patience until the
untiring Hollanders should bring the precious wares to the peninsula

A Dutch Indianian would make her voyage to the antipodes and her return
in less time than was spent by a Portuguese or a Spaniard in the outward
voyage.  To accomplish such an enterprise in two years was accounted a
wonder of rapidity, and when it is remembered that inland navigation
through France by canal and river from the North Sea to the Mediterranean
was considered both speedier and safer, because the sea voyage between
the same points might last four or five months, it must be admitted that
two years occupied in passing from one end of the earth to the other and
back again might well seem a miracle.

The republic was among the wealthiest and the most powerful of organized
States.  Her population might be estimated at three millions and a half,
about equal to that of England at the same period.  But she was richer
than England.  Nowhere in the world was so large a production in
proportion to the numbers of a people.  Nowhere were so few unproductive
consumers.  Every one was at work.  Vagabonds, idlers, and do-nothings,
such as must be in every community, were caught up by the authorities and
made to earn their bread.  The devil's pillow, idleness, was smoothed for
no portion of the population.

There were no beggars, few paupers, no insolently luxurious and
ostentatiously idle class.  The modesty, thrift, and simple elegance of
the housekeeping, even among the wealthy, was noted by travellers with
surprise.  It will be remembered with how much amused wonder, followed by
something like contempt, the, magnificent household of Spinola, during
his embassy at the Hague, was surveyed by the honest burghers of Holland.
The authorities showed their wisdom in permitting the absurd exhibition,
as an example of what should be shunned, in spite of grave remonstrances
from many of the citizens.  Drunken Helotism is not the only form of
erring humanity capable of reading lessons to a republic.

There had been monasteries, convents, ecclesiastical establishments of
all kinds in the country, before the great war between Holland and the
Inquisition.  These had, as a matter of course, been confiscated as the
strife went on.  The buildings, farms, and funds, once the property of
the Church, had not, however, been seized upon, as in other Protestant
lands, by rapacious monarchs, and distributed among great nobles
according to royal caprice.  Monarchs might give the revenue of a
suppressed convent to a cook, as reward for a successful pudding; the
surface of Britain and the continent might be covered with abbeys and
monasteries now converted into lordly palaces--passing thus from the dead
hand of the Church into the idle and unproductive palm of the noble; but
the ancient ecclesiastical establishments of the free Netherlands were
changed into eleemosynary institutions, admirably organized and
administered with wisdom and economy, where orphans of the poor, widows
of those slain in the battles for freedom by land and sea, and the aged
and the infirm, who had deserved well of the republic in the days of
their strength, were educated or cherished at the expense of the public,
thus endowed from the spoils of the Church.

In Spain, monasteries upon monasteries were rising day by day, as if
there were not yet receptacles enough for monks and priests, while
thousands upon thousands of Spaniards were pressing into the ranks of
the priesthood, and almost forcing themselves into monasteries, that
they might be privileged to beg, because ashamed to work.  In the
United Netherlands the confiscated convents, with their revenues,
were appropriated for the good of those who were too young or too old to
labour, and too poor to maintain themselves without work.  Need men look
further than to this simple fact to learn why Spain was decaying while
the republic was rising?

The ordinary budget of the United Provinces was about equal to that of
England, varying not much from four millions of florins, or four hundred
thousand pounds.  But the extraordinary revenue was comparatively without
limits, and there had been years, during the war, when the citizens had
taxed themselves as highly as fifty per cent. on each individual income,
and doubled the receipts of the exchequer.  The budget was proposed once
a year, by the council of state, and voted by the States-General, who
assigned the quota of each province; that of Holland being always one-
half of the whole, that of Zeeland sixteen per cent., and that of the
other five of course in lesser proportions.  The revenue was collected
in the separate provinces, one-third of the whole being retained for
provincial expenses, and the balance paid into the general treasury.
There was a public debt, the annual interest of which amounted to 200,000
florins.  During the war, money had been borrowed at as high a rate as
thirty-six per cent., but at the conclusion of hostilities the States
could borrow at six per cent., and the whole debt was funded on that
basis.  Taxation was enormously heavy, but patriotism caused it to be
borne with cheerfulness, and productive industry made it comparatively
light.  Rents were charged twenty-five per cent.  A hundred per cent. was
levied upon beer, wine, meat, salt, spirits.  Other articles of necessity
and luxury were almost as severely taxed.  It is not easy to enumerate
the tax-list, scarcely anything foreign or domestic being exempted, while
the grave error was often committed of taxing the same article, in
different forms, four, five, and six times.

The people virtually taxed themselves, although the superstition
concerning the State, as something distinct from and superior to the
people, was to linger long and work infinite mischief among those seven
republics which were never destined to be welded theoretically and
legally into a union.  The sacredness of corporations had succeeded,
in a measure, to the divinity which hedges kings.  Nevertheless, those
corporations were so numerous as to be effectively open to a far larger
proportion of the population than, in those days, had ever dreamed before
of participating in the Government.  The magistracies were in general
unpaid and little coveted, being regarded as a burthen and a
responsibility rather than an object of ambition.  The jurisconsults,
called pensionaries, who assisted the municipal authorities, received,
however, a modest salary, never exceeding 1500 florins a year.

These numerous bodies, provincial and municipal, elected themselves
themselves by supplying their own vacancies.  The magistrates were
appointed by the stadholder, on a double or triple nomination from the
municipal board.  This was not impartial suffrage nor manhood suffrage.
The germ of a hateful burgher-oligarchy was in the system, but, as
compared with Spain, where municipal magistracies were sold by the crown
at public auction; or with France, where every office in church, law,
magistrature, or court was an object of merchandise disposed of in open
market, the system was purity itself, and marked a great advance in the
science of government.

It should never be forgotten, moreover, that while the presidents
and judges of the highest courts of judicature in other civilized lands
were at the mercy of an irresponsible sovereign, and held office--even
although it had been paid for in solid specie--at his pleasure, the
supreme justices of the high courts of appeal at the Hague were nominated
by a senate, and confirmed by a stadholder, and that they exercised their
functions for life, or so long as they conducted themselves virtuously in
their high office--'quamdiu se bene gesserint.'

If one of the great objects of a civilized community is to secure to all
men their own--'ut sua tenerent'--surely it must be admitted that the
republic was in advance of all contemporary States in the laying down of
this vital principle, the independence of judges.

As to the army and navy of the United Provinces, enough has been said,
in earlier chapters of these volumes, to indicate the improvements
introduced by Prince Maurice, and now carried to the highest point of
perfection ever attained in that period.  There is no doubt whatever,
that for discipline, experience, equipment, effectiveness of movement,
and general organization, the army of the republic was the model army of
Europe.  It amounted to but thirty thousand infantry and two thousand
five hundred cavalry, but this number was a large one for a standing army
at the beginning of the seventeenth century.  It was composed of a
variety of materials, Hollanders, Walloons, Flemings, Scotch, English,
Irish, Germans, but all welded together into a machine of perfect
regularity.  The private foot-soldier received twelve florins for a so-
called month of forty-two days, the drummer and corporal eighteen, the
lieutenant fifty-two, and the captain one hundred and fifty florins.
Prompt payment was made every week.  Obedience was implicit; mutiny, such
as was of periodical recurrence in the archduke's army, entirely unknown.
The slightest theft was punished with the gallows, and there was
therefore no thieving.

The most accurate and critical observers confessed, almost against their
will, that no army in Europe could compare with the troops of the States.
As to the famous regiments of Sicily, and the ancient legions of Naples
and Milan, a distinguished Venetian envoy, who had seen all the camps and
courts of Christendom, and was certainly not disposed to overrate the
Hollanders at the expense of the Italians, if any rivalry between them
had been possible, declared that every private soldier in the republic
was fit to be a captain in any Italian army; while, on the other hand,
there was scarcely an Italian captain who would be accepted as a private
in any company of the States.  So low had the once famous soldiery of
Alva, Don John, and Alexander Farnese descended.

The cavalry of the republic was even more perfectly organized than was
the infantry.  "I want words to describe its perfection," said Contarini.
The pay was very high, and very prompt.  A captain received four hundred
florins a month (of forty-two days), a lieutenant one hundred and eighty
florins, and other officers and privates in proportion.  These rates
would be very high in our own day.  When allowance is made for the
difference in the value of money at the respective epochs, the salaries
are prodigious; but the thrifty republic found its account in paying well
and paying regularly the champions on whom so much depended, and by whom
such splendid services had been rendered.

While the soldiers in the pay of Queen Elizabeth were crawling to her
palace gates to die of starvation before her eyes; while the veterans of
Spain and of Italy had organized themselves into a permanent military,
mutinous republic, on the soil of the so-called obedient Netherland,
because they were left by their masters without clothing or food; the
cavalry and infantry of the Dutch commonwealth, thanks to the organizing
spirit and the wholesome thrift of the burgher authorities, were
contented, obedient, well fed, well clothed, and well paid; devoted to
their Government, and ever ready to die in its defence.

Nor was it only on the regular army that reliance was placed.  On the
contrary, every able-bodied man in the country was liable to be called
upon to serve, at any moment, in the militia.  All were trained to arms,
and provided with arms, and there had been years during this perpetual
war in which one man out of three of the whole male population was ready
to be mustered at any moment into the field.

Even more could be said in praise of the navy than has been stated of the
armies of the republic; for the contemporary accounts of foreigners, and
of foreigners who were apt to be satirical, rather than enthusiastic,
when describing the institutions, leading personages, and customs of
other countries, seemed ever to speak of the United Provinces in terms of
eulogy.  In commerce, as in war, the naval supremacy of the republic was
indisputable.  It was easy for the States to place two thousand vessels
of war in commission, if necessary, of tonnage varying from four hundred
to twelve hundred tons, to man them with the hardiest and boldest sailors
in the world, and to despatch them with promptness to any quarter of the

It was recognised as nearly impossible to compel a war-vessel of the
republic to surrender.  Hardly an instance was on her naval record of
submission, even to far superior force, while it was filled with the
tragic but heroic histories of commanders who had blown their ships,
with every man on board, into the air, rather than strike their flag.
Such was the character, and such the capacity of the sea-born republic.

That republic had serious and radical defects, but the design remained to
be imitated and improved upon, centuries afterwards.  The history of the
rise and progress of the Dutch republic is a leading chapter in the
history of human liberty.

The great misfortune of the commonwealth of the United Provinces, next to
the slenderness of its geographical proportions, was the fact that it was
without a centre and without a head, and therefore not a nation capable
of unlimited vitality.  There were seven states.  Each claimed to be
sovereign.  The pretension on the part of several of them was ridiculous.
Overyssel, for example, contributed two and three-quarters per cent. of
the general budget.  It was a swamp of twelve hundred square miles in
extent, with some heath-spots interspered, and it numbered perhaps a
hundred thousand inhabitants.  The doughty Count of Embden alone could
have swallowed up such sovereignty, have annexed all the buckwheat
patches and cranberry marshes of Overyssel to his own meagre territories,
and nobody the wiser.

Zeeland, as we have seen, was disposed at a critical moment to set up
its independent sovereignty.  Zeeland, far more important than Overyssel,
had a revenue of perhaps five hundred thousand dollars,--rather a slender
budget for an independent republic, wedged in as it was by the most
powerful empires of the earth, and half drowned by the ocean, from which
it had scarcely emerged.

There was therefore no popular representation, and on the other hand no
executive head.  As sovereignty must be exercised in some way, however,
in all living commonwealths, and as a low degree of vitality was
certainly not the defect of those bustling provinces, the supreme
functions had now fallen into the hands of Holland.

While William the Silent lived, the management of war, foreign affairs,
and finance, for the revolted provinces, was in his control.  He was
aided by two council boards, but the circumstances of history and the
character of the man had invested him with an inevitable dictatorship.

After his death, at least after Leicester's time, the powers of the
state-council, the head of which, Prince Maurice, was almost always
absent at the wars, fell into comparative disuse.  The great functions
of the confederacy passed into the possession of the States-General.
That body now came to sit permanently at the Hague.  The number of its
members, deputies from the seven provinces-envoys from those seven
immortal and soulless sovereigns--was not large.  The extraordinary
assembly held at Bergen-op-Zoom for confirmation of the truce was
estimated by, Bentivoglio at eight hundred.  Bentivoglio, who was on the
spot, being then nuncius at Brussels, ought to have been able to count
them, yet it is very certain that the number was grossly exaggerated.

At any rate the usual assembly at the Hague rarely amounted to one
hundred members.  The presidency was changed once a week, the envoy of
each province taking his turn as chairman.

Olden-Barneveld, as member for Holland, was always present in the diet.
As Advocate-General of the leading province, and keeper of its great
seal, more especially as possessor of the governing intellect of the
whole commonwealth, be led the administration of Holland, and as the
estates of Holland contributed more than half of the whole budget of
the confederacy, it was a natural consequence of the actual supremacy of
that province, and of the vast legal hand political experience of the
Advocate, that Holland should, govern the confederacy, and that Barneveld
should govern Holland.

The States-General remained virtually supreme, receiving envoys from all
the great powers, sending abroad their diplomatic representatives, to
whom the title and rank of ambassador was freely accorded, and dealing
in a decorous and dignified way with all European affairs.  The ability
of the republican statesmen was as fully recognised all over the earth,
as was the genius of their generals and great naval commanders.

The People did not exist; but this was merely because, in theory, the
People had not been invented.  It was exactly because there was a People
--an energetic and intelligent People--that the republic was possible.

No scheme had yet been devised for laying down in primary assemblies
a fundamental national law, for distributing the various functions
of governmental power among selected servants, for appointing
representatives according to population or property, and for holding
all trustees responsible at reasonable intervals to the nation itself.

Thus government was involved, fold within fold, in successive and
concentric municipal layers.  The States-General were the outer husk,
of which the separate town-council was the kernel or bulb.  Yet the
number of these executive and legislative boards was so large, and the
whole population comparatively so slender, as to cause the original
inconveniences from so incomplete a system to be rather theoretic than
practical.  In point of fact, almost as large a variety of individuals
served the State as would perhaps have been the case under a more
philosophically arranged democracy.  The difficulty was rather in
obtaining a candidate for the post than in distributing the posts
among candidates.

Men were occupied with their own affairs.  In proportion to their
numbers, they were more productive of wealth than any other nation then
existing.  An excellent reason why the people were so, well governed, so
productive, and so enterprising, was the simple fact that they were an
educated people.  There was hardly a Netherlander--man, woman, or child--
that could not read and write.  The school was the common property of the
people, paid for among the municipal expenses.  In the cities, as well as
in the rural districts, there were not only common schools but classical
schools.  In the burgher families it was rare to find boys who had not
been taught Latin, or girls unacquainted with French.  Capacity to write
and speak several modern languages was very common, and there were many
individuals in every city, neither professors nor pedants, who had made
remarkable progress in science and classical literature.  The position,
too, of women in the commonwealth proved a high degree of civilization.
They are described as virtuous, well-educated, energetic, sovereigns
in their households, and accustomed to direct all the business at home.
"It would be ridiculous," said Donato, "to see a man occupying himself
with domestic house-keeping.  The women do it all, and command
absolutely."  The Hollanders, so rebellious against Church and
King, accepted with meekness the despotism of woman.

The great movement of emancipation from political and ecclesiastical
tyranny had brought with it a general advancement of the human intellect.
The foundation of the Leyden university in memory of the heroism
displayed by the burghers during the siege was as noble a monument
as had ever been raised by a free people jealous of its fame.  And the
scientific lustre of the university well sustained the nobility of its
origin.  The proudest nation on earth might be more proud of a seat of
learning, founded thus amidst carnage and tears, whence so much of
profound learning and brilliant literature had already been diffused.
The classical labours of Joseph Scaliger, Heinsius father and son the
elder Dousa, almost as famous with his pen in Latin poetry as his sword
had made him in the vernacular chronicle; of Dousa the son, whom Grotius
called "the crown and flower of all good learning, too soon snatched
away by envious death, than whom no man more skilled in poetry, more
consummate in acquaintance with ancient science and literature, had ever
lived;" of Hugo Grotius himself, who at the age of fifteen had taken his
doctor's degree at Leyden who as a member of Olden-Barneveld's important
legation to France and England very soon afterwards had excited the
astonishment of Henry IV. and Elizabeth, who had already distinguished
himself by editions of classic poets, and by original poems and dramas in
Latin, and was already, although but twenty-six years of age; laying the
foundation of that magnificent reputation as a jurist, a philosopher, a
historian, and a statesman, which was to be one of the enduring glories
of humanity, all these were the precious possessions of the high school
of Leyden.

The still more modern university of Franeker, founded amid the din
of perpetual warfare in Friesland, could at least boast the name of
Arminius, whose theological writings and whose expansive views were
destined to exert such influence over his contemporaries and posterity.

The great history of Hoofd, in which the splendid pictures and the
impassioned drama of the great war of independence were to be preserved
for his countrymen through all time, was not yet written.  It was soon
afterwards, however, to form not only a chief source of accurate
information as to the great events themselves, but a model of style
never since surpassed by any prose writer in either branch of the
German tongue.

Had Hoofd written for a wider audience, it would be difficult to name a
contemporary author of any nation whose work would have been more
profoundly studied or more generally admired.

But the great war had not waited to be chronicled by the classic and
impassioned Hoofd.  Already there were thorough and exhaustive narrators
of what was instinctively felt to be one of the most pregnant episodes of
human history.  Bor of Utrecht, a miracle of industry, of learning, of
unwearied perseverance, was already engaged in the production of those
vast folios in which nearly all the great transactions of the forty
years' war were conscientiously portrayed, with a comprehensiveness of
material and an impartiality of statement, such as might seem almost
impossible for a contemporary writer.  Immersed in attentive study and
profound contemplation, he seemed to lift his tranquil head from time to
time over the wild ocean of those troublous times, and to survey with
accuracy without being swayed or appalled by the tempest.  There was
something almost sublime in his steady, unimpassioned gaze.

Emanuel van Meteren, too, a plain Protestant merchant of Antwerp and
Amsterdam, wrote an admirable history of the war and of his own times,
full of precious details, especially rich in statistics--a branch of
science which he almost invented--which still, remains as one of the
leading authorities, not only for scholars, but for the general reader.

Reyd and Burgundius, the one the Calvinist private secretary of Lewis
William, the other a warm Catholic partisan, both made invaluable
contemporaneous contributions to the history of the war.

The trophies already secured by the Netherlanders in every department of
the fine arts, as well as the splendour which was to enrich the coming
epoch, are too familiar to the world to need more than a passing

But it was especially in physical science that the republic was taking a
leading part in the great intellectual march of the nations.

The very necessities of its geographical position had forced it to pre-
eminence in hydraulics and hydrostatics.  It had learned to transform
water into dry land with a perfection attained by no nation before or
since.  The wonders of its submarine horticulture were the despair of all
gardeners in the world.

And as in this gentlest of arts, so also in the dread science of war, the
republic had been the instructor of mankind.

The youthful Maurice and his cousin Lewis William had so restored
and improved the decayed intelligence of antique strategy, that the
greybeards of Europe became docile pupils in their school.  The
mathematical teacher of Prince Maurice amazed the contemporary world with
his combinations and mechanical inventions; the flying chariots of Simon
Stevinua seeming products of magical art.

Yet the character of the Dutch intellect was averse to sorcery.  The
small but mighty nation, which had emancipated itself from the tyranny of
Philip and of the Holy Inquisition, was foremost to shake off the fetters
of superstition.  Out of Holland came the first voice to rebuke one of
the hideous delusions of the age.  While grave magistrates and sages of
other lands were exorcising the devil by murdering his supposed victims,
John Wier, a physician of Grave, boldly denounced the demon which had
taken possession, not of the wizards, but of the judges.

The age was lunatic and sick, and it was fitting that the race which had
done so much for the physical and intellectual emancipation of the world,
should have been the first to apply a remedy for this monstrous madness.
Englishmen and their descendants were drowning and hanging witches in New
England, long after John Wier had rebuked and denounced the belief in

It was a Zeelander, too; who placed the instrument in the hand of Galileo
by which that daring genius traced the movements of the universe, and
who, by another wondrous invention, enabled future discoverers to study
the infinite life which lies all around us, hidden not by its remoteness
but it's minuteness.  Zacharias Jansens of Middelburg, in 1590, invented
both the telescope and the microscope.

The wonder-man of Alkmaar, Cornelius Drebbel, who performed such
astounding feats for the amusement of Rudolph of Germany and James of
Britain, is also supposed to have invented the thermometer and the
barometer.  But this claim has been disputed.  The inventions of Jansens
are proved.

Willebrod Snellius, mathematical professor of Leyden, introduced the true
method of measuring the degrees of longitude and latitude, and Huygens,
who had seen his manuscripts, asserted that Snellius had invented, before
Descartes, the doctrine of refraction.

But it was especially to that noble band of heroes and martyrs, the great
navigators and geographical discoverers of the republic, that science is
above all indebted.

Nothing is more sublime in human story than the endurance and audacity
with which those pioneers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
confronted the nameless horrors of either pole, in the interests of
commerce, and for the direct purpose of enlarging the bounds of the human

The achievements, the sufferings, and the triumphs of Barendz and Cordes,
Heemskerk, Van der Hagen, and many others, have been slightly indicated
in these pages.  The contributions to botany, mineralogy, geometry,
geography, and zoology, of Linschoten, Plancius, Wagenaar, and Houtmann,
and so many other explorers of pole and tropic, can hardly be overrated.

The Netherlanders had wrung their original fatherland out of the grasp of
the ocean.  They had confronted for centuries the wrath of that ancient
tyrant, ever ready to seize the prey of which he had been defrauded.

They had waged fiercer and more perpetual battle with a tyranny more
cruel than the tempest, with an ancient superstition more hungry than the
sea.  It was inevitable that a race, thus invigorated by the ocean,
cradled to freedom by their conflicts with its power, and hardened almost
to invincibility by their struggle against human despotism, should be
foremost among the nations in the development of political, religious,
and commercial freedom.

The writer now takes an affectionate farewell of those who have followed
him with an indulgent sympathy as he has attempted to trace the origin
and the eventful course of the Dutch commonwealth.  If by his labours
a generous love has been fostered for that blessing, without which
everything that this earth can afford is worthless--freedom of thought,
of speech, and of life--his highest wish has been fulfilled.


About equal to that of England at the same period
An unjust God, himself the origin of sin
Butchery in the name of Christ was suspended
Calling a peace perpetual can never make it so
Chieftains are dwarfed in the estimation of followers
Each in its turn becoming orthodox, and therefore persecuting
Exorcising the devil by murdering his supposed victims
Foremost to shake off the fetters of superstition
God of vengeance, of jealousy, and of injustice
Gomarites accused the Arminians of being more lax than Papists
Hangman is not the most appropriate teacher of religion
He often spoke of popular rights with contempt
John Wier, a physician of Grave
Necessity of extirpating heresy, root and branch
Nowhere were so few unproductive consumers
Paving the way towards atheism (by toleration)
Privileged to beg, because ashamed to work
Religious persecution of Protestants by Protestants
So unconscious of her strength
State can best defend religion by letting it alone
Taxed themselves as highly as fifty per cent
The People had not been invented
The slightest theft was punished with the gallows
Tolerate another religion that his own may be tolerated
Toleration--that intolerable term of insult
War to compel the weakest to follow the religion of the strongest

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the United Netherlands from the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce, 1609" ***

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