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´╗┐Title: History of the United Netherlands from the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce, 1608b
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, 1608b" ***

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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, 1608


     Designs of Henry IV.--New marriage project between France and Spain
     Formal proposition of negotiating for a truce between the States and
     Spain--Exertions of Prince Maurice to counteract the designs of
     Barneveld--Strife between the two parties in the republic--Animosity
     of the people against Barneveld--Return of the Spanish
     commissioners--Further trifling--Dismissal of the commissioners--
     Close of the negotiations--Accidental discovery of the secret
     instructions of the archdukes to the commissioners--Opposing
     factions in the republic--Oration of President Jeannin before the
     States-General--Comparison between the Dutch and Swiss republics--
     Calumnies against the Advocate--Ambassador Lambert in France--
     Henry's letter to Prince Maurice--Reconciliation of Maurice and
     Barneveld--Agreement of the States to accept a truce.

President Jeannin had long been prepared for this result.  It was also by
no means distasteful to him.  A peace would not have accorded with the
ulterior and secretly cherished schemes of his sovereign, and during his
visit to Paris, he had succeeded in persuading Henry that a truce would
be far the most advantageous solution of the question, so far as his
interests were concerned.

For it had been precisely during that midsummer vacation of the President
at Paris that Henry had completed his plot against the liberty of the
republic, of which he professed himself the only friend.  Another phase
of Spanish marriage-making had excited his ever scheming and insidious
brain.  It had been proposed that the second son of the Spanish king
should espouse one of Henry's daughters.

The papal Nuncius asked what benefit the King of Spain would receive for
his share, in case of the marriage.  The French king replied by plainly
declaring to the Nuncius that the United States should abstain from and
renounce all navigation to and commerce with the Indies, and should
permit public exercise of the Catholic religion.  If they refused, would
incontinently abandon them to their fate.  More than this, he said, could
not honestly be expected of him.

Surely this was enough.  Honestly or dishonestly, what more could Spain
expect of the republic's best ally, than that he should use all his
efforts to bring her back into Spanish subjection, should deprive her of
commerce with three-quarters of the world, and compel her to re-establish
the religion which she believed, at that period, to be incompatible with
her constitutional liberties?  It is difficult to imagine a more
profligate or heartless course than the one pursued at this juncture
by Henry.  Secretly, he was intriguing, upon the very soil of the
Netherlands, to filch from them that splendid commerce which was the
wonder of the age, which had been invented and created by Dutch
navigators and men of science, which was the very foundation of their
State, and without which they could not exist, in order that he might
appropriate it to himself, and transfer the East India Company to France;
while at Paris he was solemnly engaging himself in a partnership with
their ancient and deadly enemy to rob them of their precious and nobly
gained liberty.  Was better proof ever afforded that God alone can
protect us against those whom we trust?  Who was most dangerous to the
United Provinces during those memorable peace negotiations, Spain the
avowed enemy, or France the friend?

The little republic had but her own sword, her own brain, and her own
purse to rely upon.  Elizabeth was dead, and James loved Spain better
than he did the Netherlands, and quiet better than Spain.  "I have told
you often," said Caron, "and I say it once more, the Spaniard is lucky
that he has such a peaceable king as this to deal with in England."

The details of the new marriage project were arranged at Paris between
the Nuncius, the Spanish ambassador, Don Pedro de Toledo, the diplomatic
agent of the archdukes, and Henry's ministers, precisely as if there had
been no negotiations going on between the States and Spain.  Yet the
French king was supposed to be the nearest friend of the States, and was
consulted by them on every occasion, while his most intimate and trusted
counsellor, the ingenuous Jeannin, whose open brow was stamped with
sincerity, was privy to all their most secret deliberations.

But the statesman thus dealing with the Hollanders under such a mask of
friendly candour, knew perfectly well the reason why his Government
preferred a truce to a peace.  During a prolonged truce, the two royal
children would grow old enough for the consummation of marriage, and the
States--so it was hoped--would be corrupted and cajoled into renouncing
their liberty.  All the Netherlands would be then formed into a
secundogeniture for Spain, and the first sovereign would be the husband
of a French princess.  Even as an object of ambition, the prize to be
secured by so much procrastination and so much treachery was paltry.

When the Spanish commissioners came to the French and English ambassadors
accordingly, complaining of the abrupt and peremptory tone of the States'
reply, the suggestion of conferences for truce, in place of fruitless
peace negotiations, was made at once, and of course favourably received.
It was soon afterwards laid before the States-General.  To this end, in
truth, Richardot and his colleagues had long been secretly tending.
Moreover, the subject had been thoroughly but secretly discussed long
before between Jeannin and Barneveld.

The French and English ambassadors, accordingly, on the 27th August, came
before the States-General, and made a formal proposition for the opening
of negotiations for a truce.  They advised the adoption of this course in
the strongest manner.  "Let the truce be made with you," they said, "as
with free States, over which the king and the archdukes have no
pretensions, with the understanding that, during the time of the truce
you are to have free commerce as well to the Indies as to Spain and the
obedient Netherlands, and to every part of the Spanish dominions; that
you are to retain all that you possess at present, and that such other
conditions are to be added as you may find it reasonable to impose.
During this period of leisure you will have time to put your affairs in
order, to pay your debts, and to reform your Government, and if you
remain united, the truce will change into an absolute peace."

Maurice was more indignant when the new scheme was brought to his notice
than he had ever been before, and used more violent language in opposing
a truce than he had been used to employ when striving against a peace.
To be treated with, as with a free State, and to receive permission to
trade with the outside world until the truce should expire, seemed to him
a sorry result for the republic to accept.

The state-council declared, by way of answer to the foreign ambassadors,
that the principal points and conditions which had been solemnly fixed,
before the States had consented to begin the negotiations, had been
disputed with infinite effrontery and shamelessness by the enemy.  The
pure and perfect sovereignty notoriously included religion and navigation
to any part of the world; and the republic would never consent to any
discussion of truce unless these points were confirmed beforehand with
the Spanish king's signature and seal.

This resolution of the council--a body which stood much under the
influence of the Nassaus--was adopted next day by the States-General, and
duly communicated to the friendly ambassadors.

The foreign commissioners, when apprised of this decision, begged for six
weeks' time; in order to be able to hear from Madrid.

Even the peace party was disgusted with this impertinence.  Maurice
boiled over with wrath.  The ambassadors recommended compliance with.
the proposal.  Their advice was discussed in the States-General, eighty
members being present, besides Maurice and Lewis William.  The stadholder
made a violent and indignant speech.

He was justified in his vehemence.  Nothing could exceed the perfidy of
their great ally.

"I know that the King of France calculates thus"--wrote Aerssens at that
moment from Paris--"'If the truce lasts seven years, my son will be old
enough to accomplish the proposed marriage, and they will be obliged to
fulfil their present offers.  Otherwise; I would break the truce in the
Netherlands, and my own peace with them, in order to take from the
Spaniard by force what he led me to hope from alliance.'  Thus it is,"
continued the States' envoy, "that his Majesty condescends to propose,
to us a truce, which may have a double interpretation, according to the
disposition of the strongest, and thus our commonwealth will be kept in
perpetual disquiet, without knowing whether it is sovereign or not.  Nor
will it be sovereign unless it shall so please our neighbour, who by this
means will always keep his foot upon our throat."

"To treat with the States as if they were free," said Henry to the
Nuncius soon afterwards, "is not to make them free.  This clause does no
prejudice to the rights of the King of Spain, except for the time of the
truce."  Aerssens taxed the king with having said this.  His Majesty
flatly denied it.  The republican envoy bluntly adduced the testimony of
the ambassadors of Venice and of Wirtemberg.  The king flew into a rage
on seeing that his secrets had been divulged, and burst out with these
words: "What you demand is not reasonable.  You wish the king of Spain to
renounce his rights in order to arrive at a truce.  You wish to dictate
the law to him.  If you had just gained four battles over him, you could
not demand more.  I have always held you for sovereigns, because I am
your friend, but if you would judge by equity and justice, you are not
sovereigns.  It is not reasonable that the king of Spain should quit the
sovereignty for always, and you ought to be satisfied with having it so
long as the treaty shall last."

Here was playing at sovereignty with a vengeance.  Sovereignty was a
rattle for the States to amuse themselves with, until the royal infants,
French and Spanish, should be grown old enough to take the sovereignty
for good.  Truly this was indeed keeping the republic under the king's
heel to be crushed at his pleasure, as Aerssens, with just bitterness,

Two days were passed at the Hague in vehement debate.  The deputies of
Zeeland withdrew.  The deputies from Holland were divided, but, on the
whole, it was agreed to listen to propositions of truce, provided the
freedom of the United Provinces--not under conditions nor during a
certain period, but simply and for all time--should be recognised

It was further decided on the 14th September to wait until the end of the
month for the answer from Spain.

After the 1st of October it was distinctly intimated to the Spanish
commissioners that they must at once leave the country unless the king
had then acknowledged the absolute independence of the provinces.

A suggestion which had been made by these diplomatists to prolong the
actually existing armistice into a truce of seven years, a step which
they professed themselves willing to take upon their own responsibility,
had been scornfully rejected by the States.  It was already carrying them
far enough away, they said, to take them away from a peace to a truce,
which was something far less secure than a peace, but the continuance of
this floating, uncertain armistice would be the most dangerous insecurity
of all.  This would be going from firm land to slippery ice, and from
slippery ice into the water.  By such a process, they would have neither
war nor peace--neither liberty of government nor freedom of commerce--and
they unanimously refused to listen to any such schemes.

During the fortnight which followed this provisional consent of the
States, the prince redoubled his efforts to counteract the Barneveld

He was determined, so far as in him lay, that the United Netherlands
should never fall back under the dominion of Spain.  He had long
maintained the impossibility of effecting their thorough independence
except by continuing the war, and had only with reluctance acquiesced in
the arguments of the French ambassadors in favour of peace negotiations.
As to the truce, he vehemently assured those envoys that it was but a
trap.  How could the Netherlanders know who their friends might be when
the truce should have expired, and under what unfavourable auspices they
might not be compelled to resume hostilities?

As if he had been actually present at the council boards in Madrid and
Valladolid, or had been reading the secret letters of Friar John to
Spinola, he affirmed that the only object of Spain was to recruit her
strength and improve her finances, now entirely exhausted.  He believed,
on the other hand, that the people of the provinces, after they should
have once become accustomed to repose; would shrink from exchanging their
lucrative pursuits for war, and would prefer to fall back under the yoke
of Spain.  During the truce they would object to the furnishing of
necessary contributions for garrison expenses, and the result would be
that the most important cities and strongholds, especially those on the
frontier, which were mainly inhabited by Catholics, would become
insecure.  Being hostile to a Government which only controlled them by
force, they would with difficulty be kept in check by diminished
garrisons, unless they should obtain liberty of Catholic worship.

It is a dismal proof of the inability of a leading mind, after half a
century's war, to comprehend the true lesson of the war--that toleration
of the Roman religion seemed to Maurice an entirely inadmissible idea.
The prince could not rise to the height on which his illustrious father
had stood; and those about him, who encouraged him in his hostility to
Catholicism, denounced Barneveld and Arminius as no better than traitors
and atheists.  In the eyes of the extreme party, the mighty war had been
waged, not to liberate human thought, but to enforce predestination; and
heretics to Calvinism were as offensive in their eyes as Jews and
Saracens had ever been to Torquemada.

The reasons were unanswerable for the refusal of the States to bind
themselves to a foreign sovereign in regard to the interior
administration of their commonwealth; but that diversity of religious
worship should be considered incompatible with the health of the young
republic--that the men who had so bravely fought the Spanish Inquisition
should now claim their own right of inquisition into the human
conscience--this was almost enough to create despair as to the
possibility of the world's progress.  The seed of intellectual
advancement is slow in ripening, and it is almost invariably the case
that the generation which plants--often but half conscious of the
mightiness of its work--is not the generation which reaps the harvest.
But all mankind at last inherits what is sown in the blood and tears of a
few.  That Government, whether regal or democratic, should dare to thrust
itself between man and his Maker--that the State, not with interfering in
a thousand superfluous ways with the freedom of individual human action
in the business of life, should combine with the Church to reduce human
thought to slavery in regard to the sacred interests of eternity, was one
day to be esteemed a blasphemous presumption in lands which deserved to
call themselves free.  But that hour had not yet come.

"If the garrisons should be weakened," said the prince, "nothing could be
expected from the political fidelity of the town populations in question,
unless they should be allowed the exercise of their own religion.  But
the States could hardly be disposed  to grant this voluntarily, for fear
of injuring the general insecurity and violating the laws of the
commonwealth, built as it is upon a foundation which cannot suffer this
diversity in the public exercise of religion.  Already," continued
Maurice, "there are the seeds of dissension in the provinces and in the
cities, sure to ripen in the idleness and repose of peace to an open
division.  This would give the enemy a means of intriguing with and
corrupting those who are already wickedly inclined."

Thus in the year 1608, the head of the Dutch republic, the son of William
the Silent, seemed to express himself in favour of continuing a horrible
war, not to maintain the political independence of his country, but to
prevent Catholics from acquiring the right of publicly worshipping God
according to the dictates of their conscience.

Yet it would be unjust to the prince, whose patriotism was as pure and
unsullied as his sword, to confound his motives with his end.  He was
firmly convinced that liberty of religious worship, to be acquired during
the truce, would inevitably cause the United Provinces to fall once more
under the Spanish yoke.  The French ambassador, with whom he conferred
every day, never doubted his sincerity.  Gelderland, Friesland,
Overyssel, Groningen, and Utrecht, five provinces out of the united
seven, the prince declared to be chiefly inhabited by Catholics.  They
had only entered the union, he said, because compelled by force.  They
could only be kept in the union by force, unless allowed freedom of
religion.  His inference from such a lamentable state of affairs was, not
that the experiment of religious worship should be tried, but that the
garrisons throughout the five provinces ought to be redoubled, and the
war with Spain indefinitely waged.  The President was likewise of opinion
that "a revolt of these five provinces against the union might be at any
moment expected, ill disposed as they were to recognise a sovereignty
which abolished their religion."  Being himself a Catholic, however, it
was not unnatural that he should make a different deduction from that of
the prince, and warmly recommend, not more garrisons, but more liberty of

Thus the very men who were ready to dare all, and to sacrifice all in
behalf of their country, really believed themselves providing for the
imperishable security of the commonwealth by placing it on the narrow
basis of religious intolerance.

Maurice, not satisfied with making these vehement arguments against the
truce in his conferences with the envoys of the French and British
sovereigns, employed the brief interval yet to elapse before definitely
breaking off or resuming the conferences with the Spanish commissioners
in making vigorous appeals to the country.

"The weal or woe of the United Provinces for all time," he said, "is
depending on the present transactions."  Weigh well the reasons we urge,
and make use of those which seem to you convincing.  You know that the
foe, according to his old deceitful manner, laid down very specious
conditions at the beginning, in order to induce my lords the States-
General to treat.

"If the king and the archdudes sincerely mean to relinquish absolutely
their pretensions to these provinces, they can certainly have no
difficulty in finding honest and convenient words to express their
intention.  As they are seeking other phrases than the usual and
straightforward ones, they give certain proof that they mean to keep back
from us the substance.  They are trying to cheat us with dark, dubious,
loosely-screwed terms, which secure nothing and bind to nothing.  If it
be wise to trust the welfare of our State to ambiguous words, you can
judge according to your own discretion.

"Recognition of our sovereignty is the foundation-stone of these

"Let every man be assured that, with such mighty enemies, we can do
nothing by halves.  We cannot afford to retract, mutilate, or moderate
our original determination.  He who swerves from the straight road at the
beginning is lost; he who stumbles at the first step is apt to fall down
the whole staircase.  If, on account of imaginable necessity, we postpone
that most vital point, the assurance of our freedom, we shall very easily
allow less important points to pass muster, and at last come tamely into
the path of reconciliation.  That was exactly the danger which our
ancestors in similar negotiations always feared, and against which we too
have always done our best to guard ourselves.

"Wherefore, if the preservation of our beloved fatherland is dear to you,
I exhort you to maintain that great fundamental resolution, at all times
and against all men, even if this should cause the departure of the
enemy's commissioners.  What can you expect from them but evil fruit?"

He then advised all the estates and magistracies which he was addressing
to instruct their deputies, at the approaching session of the States-
General, to hold on to the first article of the often-cited preliminary
resolution without allowing one syllable to be altered.  Otherwise
nothing could save the commonwealth from dire and notorious confusion.
Above all, he entreated them to act in entire harmony and confidence with
himself and his cousin, even as they had ever done with his illustrious

Certainly the prince fully deserved the confidence of the States, as well
for his own signal services and chivalrous self-devotion, as for the
unexampled sacrifices and achievements of William the Silent.  His words
had the true patriotic ring of his father's frequent and eloquent
appeals; and I have not hesitated to give these extracts from his
discourse, because comparatively few of such utterances of Maurice have
been preserved, and because it gives a vivid impression of the condition
of the republic and the state of parties at that momentous epoch.  It was
not merely the fate of the United Netherlands and the question of peace
or war between the little republic and its hereditary enemy that were
upon the issue.  The peace of all Christendom, the most considerable
material interests of civilization, and the highest political and moral
principles that can influence human action, were involved in those

There were not wanting many to impeach the purity of the stadholder's
motives.  As admiral or captain-general, he received high salaries,
besides a tenth part of all prize-money gained at sea by the fleets,
or of ransom and blackmail on land by the armies of the republic.  His
profession, his ambition, his delights, were those of a soldier.  As a
soldier in a great war, he was more necessary to his countrymen than he
could expect to be as a statesman in time of peace.  But nothing ever
appeared in public or in private, which threw a reasonable suspicion upon
his lofty patriotism.  Peace he had always believed to be difficult of
attainment.  It had now been proved impossible.  A truce he honestly
considered a pitfall of destruction, and he denounced it, as we have
seen, in the language of energetic conviction.  He never alluded to his
pecuniary losses in case peace should be made.  His disinterested
patriotism was the frequent subject of comment in the most secret letters
of the French ambassadors to the king.  He had repeatedly refused
enormous offers if he would forsake the cause of the republic.  The King
of France was ever ready to tempt him with bribes, such as had proved
most efficacious with men as highly born and as highly placed as a cadet
of the house of Orange-Nassau.  But there is no record that Jeannin
assailed him at this crisis with such temptations, although it has not
been pretended that the prince was obdurate to the influence of Mammon
when that deity could be openly approached.

That Maurice loved power, pelf, and war, can hardly be denied.  That he
had a mounting ambition; that he thought a monarchy founded upon the
historical institutions and charters of the provinces might be better
than the burgher-aristocracy which, under the lead of Barneveld, was
establishing itself in the country; that he knew no candidate so eligible
for such a throne as his father's son, all this is highly probable and
scarcely surprising.  But that such sentiments or aspirations caused him
to swerve the ninth part of a hair from what he considered the direct
path of duty; that he determined to fight out the great fight with Spain
and Rome until the States were free in form, in name, and in fact; only
that he might then usurp a sovereignty which would otherwise revert to
Philip of Spain or be snatched by Henry of Navarre--of all this there is
no proof whatever.

The language of Lewis William to the provinces under his government was
quite as vigorous as the appeals of Maurice.

During the brief interval remaining before the commissioners should
comply with the demands of the States or take their departure, the press
throughout the Netherlands was most active.  Pamphlets fell thick as
hail.  The peace party and the war party contended with each other,
over all the territory of the provinces, as vigorously as the troops
of Fuentes or Bucquoy had ever battled with the columns of Bax and
Meetkerke.  The types of Blaauw and Plantin were as effective during the
brief armistice, as pike and arquebus in the field, but unfortunately
they were used by Netherlanders against each other.  As a matter of
course, each party impeached the motives as well as the actions of its
antagonist.  The adherents of the Advocate accused the stadholder of
desiring the continuance of the war for personal aims.  They averred that
six thousand men for guarding the rivers would be necessary, in addition
to the forty-five thousand men, now kept constantly on foot.  They placed
the requisite monthly expenses, if  hostilities were resumed, at 800,000
florins, while they pointed to the 27,000,000 of debt over and above the
8,000,000 due to the British crown, as a burthen under which the republic
could scarcely stagger much longer.  Such figures seem modest enough, as
the price of a war of independence.

Familiar with the gigantic budgets of our own day, we listen with
something like wonder, now that two centuries and a half have passed,
to the fierce denunciations by the war party of these figures as wilful
fictions.  Science has made in that interval such gigantic strides.  The
awful intellect of man may at last make war impossible for his physical
strength.  He can forge but cannot wield the hammer of Thor; nor has
Science yet discovered the philosopher's stone.  Without it, what
exchequer can accept chronic warfare and escape bankruptcy?  After what
has been witnessed in these latest days, the sieges and battles of that
distant epoch seem like the fights of pigmies and cranes.  Already an
eighty years' war, such as once was waged, has become inconceivable.  Let
two more centuries pass away, and perhaps a three weeks' campaign may
exhaust an empire.

Meantime the war of words continued.  A proclamation with penalties was
issued by the States against the epidemic plague of pamphlets or "blue-
books," as those publications were called in Holland, but with little
result.  It was not deemed consistent with liberty by those republicans
to put chains on the press because its utterances might occasionally be
distasteful to magistrates.  The writers, printers, and sellers of the
"blue-books" remained unpunished and snapped their fingers at the

We have seen the strenuous exertions of the Nassaus and their adherents
by public appeals and private conversation to defeat all schemes of
truce.  The people were stirred by the eloquence of the two stadholders.
They were stung to fury against Spain and against Barneveld by the
waspish effusions of the daily press.  The magistrates remained calm,
and took part by considerable majorities with Barneveld.  That statesman,
while exercising almost autocratic influence in the estates, became more
and more odious to the humbler classes, to the Nassaus, and especially
to the Calvinist clergy.  He was denounced, as a papist, an atheist,
a traitor, because striving for an honourable peace with the foe, and
because admitting the possibility of more than one road to the kingdom of
Heaven.  To doubt the infallibility of Calvin was as heinous a crime, in
the eyes of his accusers, as to kneel to the host.  Peter Titelmann, half
a century earlier, dripping with the blood of a thousand martyrs, seemed
hardly a more loathsome object to all Netherlanders than the Advocate now
appeared to his political enemies, thus daring to preach religious
toleration, and boasting of, humble ignorance as the safest creed.
Alas! we must always have something to persecute, and individual man is
never so convinced of his own wisdom as when dealing with subjects beyond
human comprehension.

Unfortunately, however, while the great Advocate was clear in his
conscience he had scarcely clean hands.  He had very recently accepted a
present of twenty thousand florins from the King of France.  That this
was a bribe by which his services were to be purchased for a cause not in
harmony with his own convictions it would be unjust to say.  We of a
later generation, who have had the advantage of looking through the
portfolio of President Jeannin, and of learning the secret intentions of
that diplomatist and of his master, can fully understand however that
there was more than sufficient cause at the time for suspecting the
purity of the great Advocate's conduct.  We are perfectly aware that the
secret instructions of Henry gave his plenipotentiaries almost unlimited
power to buy up as many influential personages in the Netherlands as
could be purchased.  So they would assist in making the king master of
the United Provinces at the proper moment there was scarcely any price
that he was not willing to pay.

Especially Prince Maurice, his cousin, and the Advocate of Holland, were
to be secured by life pensions, property, offices, and dignities, all
which Jeannin might offer to an almost unlimited amount, if by such means
those great personages could possibly be induced to perform the king's

There is no record that the president ever held out such baits at this
epoch to the prince.  There could never be a doubt however in any one's
mind that if the political chief of the Orange-Nassau house ever wished
to make himself the instrument by which France should supplant Spain in
the tyranny of the Netherlands, he might always name his own price.
Jeannin never insulted him with any such trading propositions.  As for
Barneveld, he avowed long years afterwards that he had accepted the
twenty thousand florins, and that the king had expressly exacted secrecy
in regard to the transaction.  He declared however that the money was a
reward for public services rendered by him to the French Government ten
years before, in the course of his mission to France at the time of the
peace of Vervins.  The reward had been promised in 1598, and the pledge
was fulfilled in 1608.  In accepting wages fairly earned, however, he
protested that he had bound himself to no dishonourable service, and that
he had never exchanged a word with Jeannin or with any man in regard to
securing for Henry the sovereignty of the Netherlands.

His friends moreover maintained in his defence that there were no laws in
the Netherlands forbidding citizens to accept presents or pensions from
foreign powers.  Such an excuse was as bad as the accusation.  Woe to the
republic whose citizens require laws to prevent them from becoming
stipendiaries of foreign potentates!  If public virtue, the only
foundation of republican institutions, be so far washed away that laws in
this regard are necessary to save it from complete destruction, then
already the republic is impossible.  Many who bore illustrious names, and
occupied the highest social positions at, that day in France, England,
and the obedient provinces, were as venal as cattle at a fair.  Philip
and Henry had bought them over and over again, whenever either was rich
enough to purchase and strong enough to enforce the terms of sale.
Bribes were taken with both hands in overflowing measure; the difficulty
was only in obtaining the work for the wage.

But it would have been humiliating beyond expression had the new
commonwealth, after passing through the fiery furnace of its great war,
proved no purer than leading monarchies at a most corrupt epoch.  It was
no wonder therefore that men sought to wipe off the stain from the
reputation of Barneveld, and it is at least a solace that there was no
proof of his ever rendering, or ever having agreed to render, services
inconsistent with his convictions as to the best interests of the
commonwealth.  It is sufficiently grave that he knew the colour of the
king's money, and that in a momentous crisis of history he accepted a
reward for former professional services, and that the broker in the
transaction, President Jeannin, seriously charged him by Henry's orders
to keep the matter secret.  It would be still more dismal if Jeannin, in
his private letters, had ever intimated to Villeroy or his master that he
considered it a mercantile transaction, or if any effort had ever been
made by the Advocate to help Henry to the Batavian throne.  This however
is not the case.

In truth, neither Maurice nor Barneveld was likely to assist the French
king in his intrigues against the independence of their fatherland.  Both
had higher objects of ambition than to become the humble and well-paid
servants of a foreign potentate.  The stadholder doubtless dreamed of a
crown which might have been his father's, and which his own illustrious
services might be supposed to have earned for himself.  If that tempting
prize were more likely to be gained by a continuance of the war, it is
none the less certain that he considered peace, and still more truce, as
fatal to the independence of the provinces.

The Advocate, on the other hand, loved his country well.  Perhaps he
loved power even better.  To govern the city magistracies of Holland,
through them the provincial estates; and through them again the States-
General of the whole commonwealth; as first citizen of a republic to
wield; the powers of a king; as statesman, diplomatist, and financier, to
create a mighty empire out of those slender and but recently emancipated
provinces of Spain, was a more flattering prospect for a man of large
intellect, iron will, and infinite resources, than to sink into the
contemptible position of stipendiary to a foreign master.  He foresaw
change, growth, transformation in the existing condition of things.
Those great corporations the East and West India Companies were already
producing a new organism out of the political and commercial chaos which
had been so long brooding over civilization.  Visions of an imperial zone
extending from the little Batavian island around the earth, a chain of
forts and factories dotting the newly-discovered and yet undiscovered
points of vantage, on island or promontory, in every sea; a watery,
nebulous, yet most substantial empire--not fantastic, but practical--not
picturesque and mediaeval, but modern and lucrative--a world-wide
commonwealth with a half-submerged metropolis, which should rule the
ocean with its own fleets and, like Venice and Florence, job its land
wars with mercenary armies--all these dreams were not the cloudy pageant
of a poet but the practical schemes of a great creative mind.  They were
destined to become reality.  Had the geographical conditions been
originally more favourable than they were, had Nature been less a
stepmother to the metropolis of the rising Batavian realm, the creation
might have been more durable.  Barneveld, and the men who acted with him,
comprehended their age, and with slender materials were prepared to do
great things.  They did not look very far perhaps into futurity, but they
saw the vast changes already taking place, and felt the throb of forces
actually at work.

The days were gone when the iron-clad man on horseback conquered a
kingdom with his single hand.  Doubtless there is more of poetry and
romance in his deeds than in the achievements of the counting-house
aristocracy, the hierarchy of joint-stock corporations that was taking
the lead in the world's affairs.  Enlarged views of the social compact
and of human liberty, as compared with those which later generations
ought to take, standing upon the graves, heaped up mountains high, of
their predecessors, could hardly be expected of them.  But they knew how
to do the work before them.  They had been able to smite a foreign and
sacerdotal tyranny into the dust at the expense of more blood and more
treasure, and with sacrifices continued through a longer cycle of years,
than had ever been recorded by history.

Thus the Advocate believed that the chief fruits of the war--political
independence, religious liberty, commercial expansion--could be now
secured by diplomacy, and that a truce could be so handled as to become
equivalent to a peace.  He required no bribes therefore to labour for
that which he believed to be for his own interests and for those of the

First citizen of Holland, perpetual chairman of a board of ambitious
shopkeepers who purposed to dictate laws to the world from their
counting-house table, with an unerring eye for the interests of the
commonwealth and his own, with much vision, extraordinary eloquence,
and a magnificent will, he is as good a sample of a great burgher--an
imposing not a heroic figure--as the times had seen.

A vast stride had been taken in the world's progress.  Even monopoly was
freedom compared to the sloth and ignorance of an earlier epoch and of
other lands, and although the days were still far distant when the earth
was to belong to mankind, yet the modern republic was leading, half
unconsciously, to a period of wider liberty of government, commerce, and
above all of thought.

Meantime, the period assigned for the departure of the Spanish
commissioners, unless they brought a satisfactory communication from the
king, was rapidly approaching.

On the 24th September Verreyken returned from Brussels, but it was soon
known that he came empty handed.  He informed the French and English
ambassadors that the archdukes, on their own responsibility, now
suggested the conclusion of a truce of seven years for Europe only.  This
was to be negotiated with the States-General as with free people, over
whom no pretensions of authority were made, and the hope was expressed
that the king would give his consent to this arrangement.

The ambassadors naturally refused to carry the message to the States.  To
make themselves the mouthpieces of such childish suggestions was to bring
themselves and their masters into contempt.  There had been trifling
enough, and even Jeannin saw that the storm of indignation about to burst
forth would be irresistible.  There was no need of any attempt on the
part of the commissioners to prolong their stay if this was the result of
the fifteen days' grace which had so reluctantly been conceded to them.
To express a hope that the king might perhaps give his future approval to
a proceeding for which his signed and sealed consent had been exacted as
an indispensable preliminary, was carrying effrontery further than had
yet been attempted in these amazing negotiations.

Prince Maurice once more addressed the cities of Holland, giving vent to
his wrath in language with which there was now more sympathy than there
had been before.  "Verreyken has come back," he said, "not with a
signature, but with a hope.  The longer the enemy remains in the country
the more he goes back from what he had originally promised.  He is
seeking for nothing more than, in this cheating way and in this pretence
of waiting for the king's consent--which we have been expecting now for
more than eighteen months--to continue the ruinous armistice.  Thus he
keeps the country in a perpetual uncertainty, the only possible
consequence of which is our complete destruction.  We adjure you
therefore to send a resolution in conformity with our late address, in
order that through these tricks and snares the fatherland may not fall
into the clutch of the enemy, and thus into eternal and intolerable
slavery.  God save us all from such a fate!"

Neither Barneveld nor Jeannin attempted to struggle against the almost
general indignation.  The deputies of Zeeland withdrew from the assembly
of the States-General, protesting that they would never appear there
again so long as the Spanish commissioners remained in the country.  The
door was opened wide, and it was plain that those functionaries must take
their departure.  Pride would not allow them to ask permission of the
States to remain, although they intimated to the ambassadors their
intense desire to linger for ten or twelve days longer.  This was
obviously inadmissible, and on the 30th September they appeared before
the Assembly to take leave.

There were but three of them, the Genoese, the Spaniard, and the
Burgundian--Spinola, Mancicidor; and Richardot.  Of the two
Netherlanders, brother John was still in Spain, and Verreyken found it
convenient that day to have a lame leg.

President Richardot, standing majestically before the States-General,
with his robes wrapped around his tall, spare form, made a solemn
farewell speech of mingled sorrow, pity, and the resentment of injured
innocence.  They had come to the Hague, he said, sent by the King of
Spain and the archdukes to treat for a good and substantial peace,
according to the honest intention of his Majesty and their Highnesses.
To this end they had sincerely and faithfully dealt with the gentlemen
deputed for that purpose by their High Mightinesses the States, doing
everything they could think of to further the cause of peace.  They
lamented that the issue had not been such as they had hoped,
notwithstanding that the king and archdukes had so far derogated
from their reputation as to send their commissioners into the United
Netherlands, it having been easy enough to arrange for negotiations on
other soil.  It had been their wish thus to prove to the world how
straightforward were their intentions by not requiring the States to send
deputies to them.  They had accorded the first point in the negotiations,
touching the free state of the country.  Their High Mightinesses had
taken offence upon the second, regarding the restoration of religion in
the United Provinces.  Thereupon the father commissary had gone to Spain,
and had remained longer than was agreeable.  Nevertheless, they had
meantime treated of other points.  Coming back at last to the point of
religion, the States-General had taken a resolution, and had given them
their dismissal, without being willing to hear a word more, or to make a
single proposition of moderation or accommodation.

He could not refrain from saying that the commissioners had been treated
roughly.  Their High Mightinesses had fixed the time for their dismissal
more precisely than one would do with a servant who was discharged for
misconduct; for the lackey, if he asked for it, would be allowed at least
a day longer to pack his trunk for the journey.  They protested before
God and the assembly of the States that the king and princes had meant
most sincerely, and had dealt with all roundness and sincerity.  They at
least remained innocent of all the disasters and calamities to come from
the war.

"As for myself," said Richardot, "I am no prophet, nor the son of a
prophet; yet I will venture the prediction to you, my lords the States-
General, that you will bitterly rue it that you did not embrace the peace
thus presented, and which you might have had.  The blood which is
destined to flow, now that you have scorned our plan of reconciliation,
will be not on our heads but your own."

Barneveld replied by temperately but firmly repelling the charges brought
against the States in this artful oration of the president.  They had
proceeded in the most straightforward manner, never permitting themselves
to enter into negotiations except on the preliminary condition that their
freedom should be once for all conceded and recognised.  "You and you
only," he continued, "are to bear the blame that peace has not been
concluded; you who have not been willing or not been able to keep your
promises.  One might, with better reason, hold you guilty of all the
bloodshed; you whose edicts, bloodier and more savage than war itself,
long, ago forced these provinces into the inevitable necessity of waging
war; you whose cruelty, but yesterday exercised on the crews of
defenceless and innocent merchantmen and fishing-vessels,
has been fully exhibited to the world."

Spinola's countenance betrayed much emotion as he listened to the
exchange of bitter recriminations which took place on this farewell
colloquy.  It was obvious that the brave and accomplished soldier
honestly lamented the failure of the attempt to end the war.

But the rupture was absolute.  The marquis and the president dined that
day with Prince Maurice, by whom they were afterwards courteously
accompanied a part of the way on their journey to Brussels.

Thus ended the comedy which had lasted nearly two years.  The dismal
leave-taking, as the curtain fell, was not as, entertaining to the public
outside as the dramatic meeting between Maurice and Spinola had been at
the opening scene near Ryswyk.  There was no populace to throw up their
hats for the departing guests.  From the winter's night in which the
subtle Franciscan had first stolen into the prince's cabinet down to this
autumn evening, not a step of real progress could be recorded as the
result of the intolerable quantity of speech-making and quill-driving.
There were boat-loads of documents, protocols, and notes, drowsy and
stagnant as the canals on which they were floated off towards their tombs
in the various archives.  Peace to the dust which we have not wantonly
disturbed, believing it to be wholesome for the cause of human progress
that the art of ruling the world by doing nothing, as practised some
centuries since, should once and again be exhibited.

Not in vain do we listen to those long-bearded, venerable, very tedious
old presidents, advocates, and friars of orders gray, in their high
ruffs, taffety robes or gowns of frieze, as they squeak and gibber,
for a fleeting moment, to a world which knew them not.  It is something
to learn that grave statesmen, kings, generals, and presidents could
negotiate for two years long; and that the only result should be the
distinction between a conjunction, a preposition, and an adverb.  That
the provinces should be held as free States, not for free States--that
they should be free in similitude, not in substance--thus much and no
more had been accomplished.

And now to all appearance every chance of negotiation was gone.  The
half-century war, after this brief breathing space, was to be renewed
for another century or so, and more furiously than ever.  So thought the
public.  So meant Prince Maurice.  Richardot and Jeannin knew better.

The departure of the commissioners was recorded upon the register of the
resolutions of Holland, with the ominous note: "God grant that they may
not have sown, evil seed here; the effects of which will one day be
visible in the ruin of this commonwealth."

Hardly were the backs of the commissioners turned, before the
indefatigable Jeannin was ready with his scheme for repatching the
rupture.  He was at first anxious that the deputies of Zeeland should be
summoned again, now that the country was rid of the Spaniards.  Prince
Maurice, however, was wrathful when the president began to talk once more
of truce.  The proposition, he said, was simply the expression of a
wish to destroy the State.  Holland and Zeeland would never agree to any
such measure, and they would find means to compel the other provinces to
follow their example.  If there were but three or four cities in the
whole country to reject the truce, he would, with their assistance alone,
defend the freedom of the republic, or at least die an honourable death
in its defence.  This at least would be better than after a few months to
become slaves of Spain.  Such a result was the object of those who began
this work, but he would resist it at the peril of his life.

A singular incident now seemed to justify the wrath of the stadholder,
and to be likely to strengthen his party.  Young Count John of Nassau
happened to take possession of the apartments in Goswyn Meursken's
hostelry at the Hague, just vacated by Richardot.  In the drawer of a
writing-table was found a document, evidently left there by the
president.  This paper was handed by Count John to his cousin, Frederic
Henry, who at once delivered it to his brother Maurice.  The prince
produced it in the assembly of the States-General, members from each
province were furnished with a copy of it within two or three hours,
and it was soon afterwards printed, and published.  The document, being
nothing less than the original secret instructions of the archdukes to
their commissioners, was naturally read with intense interest by the
States-General, by the foreign envoys, and by the general public.

It appeared, from an inspection of the paper, that the commissioners had
been told that, if they should find the French, English, and Danish
ambassadors desirous of being present at the negotiations for the treaty,
they were to exclude them from all direct participation in the
proceedings.  They were to do this however so sweetly and courteously
that it would be impossible for those diplomats to take offence or to
imagine themselves distrusted.  On the contrary, the States-General were
to be informed that their communication in private on the general subject
with the ambassadors was approved by the archdukes, because they believed
the sovereigns of France, England, and Denmark, their sincere and
affectionate friends.  The commissioners were instructed to domesticate
themselves as much as possible with President Jeannin and to manifest the
utmost confidence in his good intentions.  They were to take the same
course with the English envoys, but in more general terms, and were very
discreetly to communicate to them whatever they already knew, and, on the
other hand, carefully to conceal from them all that was still a secret.

They were distinctly told to make the point of the Catholic religion
first and foremost in the negotiations; the arguments showing the
indispensable necessity of securing its public exercise in the United
Provinces being drawn up with considerable detail.  They were to insist
that the republic should absolutely renounce the trade with the East and
West Indies, and should pledge itself to chastise such of its citizens as
might dare to undertake those voyages, as disturbers of the peace and
enemies of the public repose, whether they went to the Indies in person
or associated themselves with men of other nations for that purpose,
under any pretext whatever.  When these points, together with many
matters of detail less difficult of adjustment, had been satisfactorily
settled, the commissioners were to suggest measures of union for the
common defence between the united and the obedient Provinces.  This
matter was to be broached very gently.  "In the sweetest terms possible,"
it was to be hinted that the whole body of the Netherlanders could
protect itself against every enemy, but if dismembered as it was about
to be, neither the one portion nor the ocher would be safe.  The
commissioners were therefore to request the offer of some proposition
from the States-General for the common defence.  In case they remained
silent, however, then the commissioners were to declare that the
archdukes had no wish to speak of sovereignty over the United Provinces,
however limited.  "Having once given them that morsel to swallow," said
their Highnesses, "we have nothing of the kind in our thoughts.  But if
they reflect, it is possible that they may see fit to take us for

The scheme was to be managed with great discreetness and delicacy, and
accomplished by hook or by crook, if the means could be found.  "You need
not be scrupulous as to the form or law of protection, provided the name
of protector can be obtained," continued the archdukes.

At least the greatest pains were to be taken that the two sections of the
Netherlands might remain friends.  "We are in great danger unless we rely
upon each other," it was urged.  "But touch this chord very gently, lest
the French and English hearing of it suspect some design to injure them.
At least we may each mutually agree to chastise such of our respective
subjects as may venture to make any alliance with the enemies of the

It was much disputed whether these instructions had been left purposely
or by accident in the table-drawer.  Jeannin could not make up his mind
whether it was a trick or not, and the vociferous lamentations of
Richardot upon his misfortunes made little impression upon his mind.
He had small confidence in any austerity of principle on the part of his
former fellow-leaguer that would prevent him from leaving the document by
stealth, and then protesting that he had been foully wronged by its
coming to light.  On the whole, he was inclined to think, however,
that the paper had been stolen from him.

Barneveld, after much inquiry, was convinced that it had been left in the
drawer by accident.

Richardot himself manifested rage and dismay when he found that a paper,
left by chance in his lodgings, had been published by the States.  Such a
proceeding was a violation, he exclaimed, of the laws of hospitality.
With equal justice, he declared it to be an offence against the religious
respect due to ambassadors, whose persons and property were sacred in
foreign countries.  "Decency required the States," he said, "to send the
document back to him, instead of showing it as a trophy, and he was ready
to die of shame and vexation at the unlucky incident."

Few honourable men will disagree with him in these complaints, although
many contemporaries obstinately refused to believe that the crafty and
experienced diplomatist could have so carelessly left about his most
important archives.  He was generally thought by those who had most dealt
with him, to prefer, on principle, a crooked path to a straight one.
"'Tis a mischievous old monkey," said Villeroy on another occasion, "that
likes always to turn its tail instead of going directly to the purpose."
The archduke, however, was very indulgent to his plenipotentiary.  "My
good master,"  said the, president, "so soon as he learned the loss of
that accursed paper, benignantly consoled, instead of chastising me; and,
after having looked over the draught, was glad that the accident had
happened; for thus his sincerity had been proved, and those who sought
profit by the trick had been confounded."  On the other hand, what good
could it do to the cause of peace, that these wonderful instructions
should be published throughout the republic?  They might almost seem a
fiction, invented by the war party to inspire a general disgust for any
further negotiation.  Every loyal Netherlander would necessarily be
qualmish at the word peace, now that the whole design of the Spanish
party was disclosed.

The public exercise of the Roman religion was now known to be the
indispensable condition--first, last, and always--to any possible peace.
Every citizen of the republic was to be whipped out of the East and West
Indies, should he dare to show his face in those regions.  The States-
General, while swallowing the crumb of sovereignty vouchsafed by the
archdukes, were to accept them as protectors, in order not to fall
a prey to the enemies whom they imagined to be their friends.

What could be more hopeless than such negotiations?  What more dreary
than the perpetual efforts of two lines to approach each other which were
mathematically incapable of meeting?  That the young republic, conscious
of her daily growing strength, should now seek refuge from her nobly won
independence in the protectorate of Albert, who was himself the vassal of
Philip, was an idea almost inconceivable to the Dutch mind.  Yet so
impossible was it for the archdukes to put themselves into human
relations with this new and popular Government, that in the inmost
recesses of their breasts they actually believed themselves, when making
the offer, to be performing a noble act of Christian charity.

The efforts of Jeannin and of the English ambassador were now
unremitting, and thoroughly seconded by Barneveld.  Maurice was almost
at daggers drawn, not only with the Advocate but with the foreign envoys.
Sir Ralph Winwood, who had, in virtue of the old treaty arrangements with
England, a seat in the state-council at the Hague, and who was a man of a
somewhat rough and insolent deportment, took occasion at a session of
that body, when the prince was present, to urge the necessity of at once
resuming the ruptured negotiations.  The King of Great Britain; he said,
only recommended a course which he was himself always ready to pursue.
Hostilities which were necessary, and no others, were just.  Such, and
such only, could be favoured by God or by pious kings.  But wars were not
necessary which could be honourably avoided.  A truce was not to be
despised, by which religious liberty and commerce were secured, and it
was not the part of wisdom to plunge into all the horrors of immediate
war in order to escape distant and problematical dangers; that might
arise when the truce should come to an end.  If a truce were now made,
the kings of both France and England would be guarantees for its faithful
observance.  They would take care that no wrong or affront was offered
to the States-General.

Maurice replied, with a sneer, to these sententious commonplaces
derived at second-hand from King James that great kings were often very
indifferent to injuries sustained by their friends.  Moreover, there was
an eminent sovereign, he continued, who was even very patient under
affronts directly offered to himself.  It was not very long since a
horrible plot had been discovered to murder the King of England, with his
wife, his children, and all the great personages of the realm.  That this
great crime had been attempted under the immediate instigation of the
King of Spain was notorious to the whole world, and certainly no secret
to King James.  Yet his Britannic Majesty had made haste to exonerate the
great criminal from all complicity in the crime; and had ever since been
fawning upon the Catholic king, and hankering for a family alliance with
him.  Conduct like this the prince denounced in plain terms as cringing
and cowardly, and expressed the opinion that guarantees of Dutch
independence from such a monarch could hardly be thought very valuable.

These were terrible words for the representative of James to have hurled
in his face in full council by the foremost personage of the republic
Winwood fell into a furious passion, and of course there was a violent
scene, with much subsequent protesting and protocolling.

The British king insisted that the prince should make public amends for
the insult, and Maurice firmly refused to do anything of the kind.  The
matter was subsequently arranged by some amicable concessions made by the
prince in a private letter to James, but there remained for the time a
abate of alienation between England and the republic, at which the French
sincerely rejoiced.  The incident, however, sufficiently shows the point
of exasperation which the prince had reached, for, although choleric, he
was a reasonable man, and it was only because the whole course of the
negotiations had offended his sense of honour and of right that he had at
last been driven quite beyond self-control.

On the 13th of October, the envoys of France, England, Denmark, and
of the Elector Palatine, the Elector of Brandeburg, and other German
princes, came before the States-General.

Jeannin, in the name of all these foreign ministers, made a speech warmly
recommending the truce.

He repelled the insinuation that the measure proposed had been brought
about by the artifices of the enemy, and was therefore odious.  On the
contrary, it was originated by himself and the other good friends of the

In his opinion, the terms of the suggested truce contained sufficient
guarantees for the liberty of the provinces, not only during the truce,
but for ever.

No stronger recognition of their independence could be expected than
the one given.  It was entirely without example, argued the president,
that in similar changes brought about by force of arms, sovereigns after
having been despoiled of their states have been compelled to abandon
their rights shamefully by a public confession, unless they had
absolutely fallen into the hands of their enemies and were completely
at their mercy.  "Yet the princes who made this great concession,"
continued Jeannin, "are not lying vanquished at your feet, nor reduced
by dire necessity to yield what they have yielded."

He reminded the assembly that the Swiss enjoyed at that moment their
liberty in virtue of a simple truce, without ever having obtained from
their former sovereign a declaration such as was now offered to the
United Provinces.

The president argued, moreover, with much force and acuteness that
it was beneath the dignity of the States, and inconsistent with their
consciousness of strength, to lay so much stress on the phraseology by
which their liberty was recognised.  That freedom had been won by the
sword, and would be maintained against all the world by the sword.

"In truth," said the orator, "you do wrong to your liberty by calling it
so often in doubt, and in claiming with so much contentious anxiety from
your enemies a title-deed for your independence.  You hold it by your own
public decree.  In virtue of that decree, confirmed by the success of
your arms, you have enjoyed it long.  Nor could anything obtained from
your enemies be of use to you if those same arms with which you gained
your liberty could not still preserve it for you."

Therefore, in the opinion of the president, this persistence in demanding
a more explicit and unlimited recognition of independence was only a
pretext for continuing the war, ingeniously used by those who hated

Addressing himself more particularly to the celebrated circular letter of
Prince Maurice against the truce, the president maintained that the
liberty of the republic was as much acknowledged in the proposed articles
as if the words "for ever" had been added.  "To acknowledge liberty is an
act which, by its very nature, admits of no conditions," he observed,
with considerable force.

The president proceeded to say that in the original negotiations the
qualifications obtained had seemed to him enough.  As there was an ardent
desire, however, on the part of many for a more explicit phraseology, as
something necessary to the public safety, he had thought it worth

"We all rejoiced when you obtained it," continued Jeannin, "but not
when they agreed to renounce the names, titles, and arms of the United
Provinces; for that seemed to us shameful for them beyond all example.
That princes should make concessions so entirely unworthy of their
grandeur, excited at once our suspicion, for we could not imagine the
cause of an offer so specious. We have since found out the reason."

The archdukes being unable, accordingly, to obtain for the truce those
specious conditions which Spain had originally pretended to yield, it was
the opinion of the old diplomatist that the king should be permitted to
wear the paste substitutes about which so many idle words had been

It would be better, he thought, for the States to be contented with what
was precious and substantial, and not to lose the occasion of making a
good treaty of truce, which was sure to be converted with time into an
absolute peace.

"It is certain," he said, "that the princes with whom you are treating
will never go to law with you to get an exposition of the article in
question.  After the truce has expired, they will go to war with you if
you like, but they will not trouble themselves to declare whether they
are fighting you as rebels or as enemies, nor will it very much signify.
If their arms are successful, they will give you no explanations.  If you
are the conquerors, they will receive none.  The fortune of war will be
the supreme judge to decide the dispute; not the words of a treaty.
Those words are always interpreted to the disadvantage of the weak and
the vanquished, although they may be so perfectly clear that no man could
doubt them; never to the prejudice of those who have proved the validity
of their rights by the strength of their arms."

This honest, straightforward cynicism, coming from the lips of one
of the most experienced diplomatists of Europe, was difficult to gainsay.
Speaking as one having authority, the president told the States-General
in full assembly, that there was no law in Christendom, as between
nations, but the good old fist-law, the code of brute force.

Two centuries and a half have rolled by since that oration was
pronounced, and the world has made immense progress in science during
that period.  But there is still room for improvement in this regard in
the law of nations.  Certainly there is now a little more reluctance to
come so nakedly before the world.  But has the cause of modesty or
humanity gained very much by the decorous fig-leaves of modern diplomacy?

The president alluded also to the ungrounded fears that bribery and
corruption would be able to effect much, during the truce, towards the
reduction of the provinces under their repudiated sovereign.  After all,
it was difficult to buy up a whole people.  In a commonwealth, where the
People was sovereign, and the persons of the magistrates ever changing,
those little comfortable commercial operations could not be managed so
easily as in civilized realms like France and England.  The old Leaguer
thought with pensive regret, no doubt, of the hard, but still profitable
bargains by which the Guises and Mayennes and Mercoeurs, and a few
hundred of their noble adherents, had been brought over to the cause
of the king.  He sighed at the more recent memories of the Marquis de
Rosny's embassy in England, and his largess scattered broadcast among the
great English lords.  It would be of little use he foresaw--although the
instructions of Henry were in his portfolio, giving him almost unlimited
powers to buy up everybody in the Netherlands that could be bought--to
attempt that kind of traffic on a large scale in the Netherlands.

Those republicans were greedy enough about the navigation to the East and
West Indies, and were very litigious about the claim of Spain to put up
railings around the Ocean as her private lake, but they were less keen
than were their more polished contemporaries for the trade in human

"When we consider, "said Jeannin, "the constitution of your State, and
that to corrupt a few people among you does no good at all, because the,
frequent change of magistracies takes away the means of gaining over many
of them at the same time, capable by a long duration of their power to
conduct an intrigue against the commonwealth, this fear must appear
wholly vain."

And then the old Leaguer, who had always refused bribes himself, although
he had negotiated much bribery of others, warmed into sincere eloquence
as he spoke of the simple virtues on which the little republic, as should
be the case with all republics, was founded.  He did homage to the Dutch
love of liberty.

"Remember," he said, "the love of liberty which is engraved in the hearts
of all your inhabitants, and that there are few persons now living who
were born in the days of the ancient subjection, or who have not been
nourished and brought up for so long a time in liberty that they have a
horror for the very name of servitude.  You will then feel that there is
not one man in your commonwealth who would wish or dare to open his mouth
to bring you back to subjection, without being in danger of instant
punishment as a traitor to his country."

He again reminded his hearers that the Swiss had concluded a long and
perilous war with their ancient masters by a simple truce, during which
they had established so good a government that they were never more
attacked.  Honest republican principles, and readiness at any moment to
defend dearly won liberties, had combined with geographical advantages
to secure the national independence of Switzerland.

Jeannin paid full tribute to the maritime supremacy of the republic.

"You may have as much good fortune," he said, "as the Swiss, if you are
wise.  You have the ocean at your side, great navigable rivers enclosing
you in every direction, a multitude of ships, with sailors, pilots, and
seafaring men of every description, who are the very best soldiers in
battles at sea to be found in Christendom.  With these you will preserve
your military vigour and your habits of navigation, the long voyages to
which you are accustomed continuing as usual.  And such is the kind of
soldiers you require.  As for auxiliaries, should you need them you know
where to find them."

The president implored the States-General accordingly to pay no attention
to the writings which were circulated among the people to prejudice them
against the truce.

This was aimed directly at the stadholder, who had been making so many
direct personal appeals to the people, and who was now the more incensed,
recognising the taunt of the president as an arrow taken from Barneveld's
quiver.  There had long ceased to be any communication between the Prince
and the Advocate, and Maurice made no secret of his bitter animosity both
to Barneveld and to Jeannin.

He hesitated on no occasion to denounce the Advocate as travelling
straight on the road to Spain, and although he was not aware of the
twenty thousand florins recently presented by the French king, he had
accustomed himself, with the enormous exaggeration of party spirit, to
look upon the first statesman of his country and of Europe as a traitor
to the republic and a tool of the archdukes.  As we look back upon those
passionate days, we cannot but be appalled at the depths to which
theological hatred could descend.

On the very morning after the session of the assembly in which Jeannin
had been making his great speech, and denouncing the practice of secret
and incendiary publication, three remarkable letters were found on the
doorstep of a house in the Hague.  One was addressed to the States-
General, another to the Mates of Holland, and a third to the burgomaster
of Amsterdam.  In all these documents, the Advocate was denounced as an
infamous traitor, who was secretly intriguing to bring about a truce for
the purpose of handing over the commonwealth to the enemy.  A shameful
death, it was added, would be his fitting reward.

These letters were read in the Assembly of the States-General, and
created great wrath among the friends of Barneveld.  Even Maurice
expressed indignation, and favoured a search for the anonymous author, in
order that he might be severely punished.

It seems strange enough that anonymous letters picked up in the street
should have been deemed a worthy theme of discussion before their High
Mightinesses the States-General.  Moreover, it was raining pamphlets and
libels against Barneveld and his supporters every day, and the stories
which grave burghers and pious elders went about telling to each other,
and to everybody who would listen to them, about the Advocate's
depravity, were wonderful to hear.

At the end of September, just before the Spanish commissioners left the
Hague, a sledge of the kind used in the Dutch cities as drays stopped
before Barneveld's front-door one fine morning, and deposited several
large baskets, filled with money, sent by the envoys for defraying
certain expenses of forage, hire of servants, and the like, incurred by
them during their sojourn at the Hague, and disbursed by the States.  The
sledge, with its contents, was at once sent by order of the Advocate,
under guidance of Commissary John Spronsen, to the Receiver-General of
the republic.

Yet men wagged their beards dismally as they whispered this fresh proof
of Barneveld's venality.  As if Spinola and his colleagues were such
blunderers in bribing as to send bushel baskets full of Spanish dollars
on a sledge, in broad daylight, to the house of a great statesman whom
they meant to purchase, expecting doubtless a receipt in full to be
brought back by the drayman!  Well might the Advocate say at a later
moment, in the bitterness of his spirit, that his enemies, not satisfied
with piercing his heart with their false, injurious and honour-filching
libels and stories, were determined to break it.  "He begged God
Almighty," he said, "to be merciful to him, and to judge righteously
between him and them."

Party spirit has rarely run higher in any commonwealth than in Holland
during these memorable debates concerning a truce.  Yet the leaders both
of the war party and the truce party were doubtless pure, determined
patriots, seeking their country's good with all their souls and strength.

Maurice answered the discourse of Jeannin by a second and very elaborate
letter.  In this circular, addressed to the magistracies of Holland, he
urged his countrymen once more with arguments already employed by him,
and in more strenuous language than ever, to beware of a truce even more
than of a peace, and warned them not to swerve by a hair's breadth from
the formula in regard to the sovereignty agreed upon at the very
beginning of the negotiations.  To this document was appended a paper
of considerations, drawn up by Maurice and Lewis William, in refutation,
point by point, of all the arguments of President Jeannin in his late

It is not necessary to do more than allude to these documents, which were
marked by the close reasoning and fiery spirit which characterized all
the appeals of the prince and his cousin at this period, because the time
had now come which comes to all controversies when argument is exhausted
and either action or compromise begins.

Meantime, Barneveld, stung almost to madness by the poisonous though
ephemeral libels which buzzed so perpetually about him, had at last
resolved to retire from the public service.  He had been so steadily
denounced as being burthensome to his superiors in birth by the power
which he had acquired, and to have shot up so far above the heads of his
equals; that he felt disposed to withdraw from a field where his presence
was becoming odious.

His enemies, of course, considered this determination a trick by which
he merely wished to prove to the country how indispensable he was, and
to gain a fresh lease of his almost unlimited power by the alarm which
his proposed abdication would produce.  Certainly, however, if it were a
trick, and he were not indispensable, it was easy enough to prove it and
to punish him by taking him at his word.

On the morning after the anonymous letters had been found in the street
he came into the House of Assembly and made a short speech.  He spoke
simply of his thirty-one years of service, during which he believed
himself to have done his best for the good of the fatherland and for
the welfare of the house of Nassau.  He had been ready thus to go on
to the end, but he saw himself environed by enemies, and felt that his
usefulness had been destroyed.  He wished, therefore, in the interest of
the country, not from any fear for himself, to withdraw from the storm,
and for a time at least to remain in retirement.  The displeasure and
hatred of the great were nothing new to him, he said.  He had never
shrunk from peril when he could serve his fatherland; for against all
calumnies and all accidents he had worn the armour of a quiet conscience.
But he now saw that the truce, in itself an unpleasant affair, was made
still more odious by the hatred felt towards him.  He begged the
provinces, therefore, to select another servant less hated than
himself to provide for the public welfare.

Having said these few words with the dignity which was natural to him he
calmly walked out of the Assembly House.

The personal friends of Barneveld and the whole truce party were in
consternation.  Even the enemies of the Advocate shrank appalled at the
prospect of losing the services of the foremost statesman of the
commonwealth at this critical juncture.  There was a brief and animated
discussion as soon as his back was turned.  Its result was the
appointment of a committee of five to wait upon Barneveld and solemnly to
request him to reconsider his decision.  Their efforts were successful.
After a satisfactory interview with the committee he resumed his
functions with greater authority than ever.  Of course there were not
wanting many to whisper that the whole proceeding had been a comedy, and
that Barneveld would have been more embarrassed than he had ever been in
his life had his resignation been seriously accepted.  But this is easy
to say, and is always said, whenever a statesman who feels himself
aggrieved, yet knows himself useful, lays dawn his office.  The Advocate
had been the mark of unceasing and infamous calumnies.  He had incurred
the deadly hatred of the highest placed, the most powerful, and the most
popular man in the commonwealth.  He had more than once been obliged to
listen to opprobrious language from the prince, and it was even whispered
that he had been threatened with personal violence.  That Maurice was
perpetually denouncing him in public and private, as a traitor, a papist,
a Spanish partisan, was notorious.  He had just been held up to the
States of the union and of his own province by unknown voices as a
criminal worthy of death.  Was it to be wondered at that a man of sixty,
who had passed his youth, manhood, and old age in the service of the
republic, and was recognised by all as the ablest, the most experienced,
the most indefatigable of her statesmen, should be seriously desirous of
abandoning an office which might well seem to him rather a pillory than a
post of honour?

"As for neighbour Barneveld," said recorder Aerssens, little dreaming of
the foul witness he was to bear against that neighbour at a terrible
moment to come, "I do what I can and wish to help him with my blood.  He
is more courageous than I.  I should have sunk long ago, had I been
obliged to stand against such tempests.  The Lord God will, I hope, help
him and direct his understanding for the good of all Christendom, and for
his own honour.  If he can steer this ship into a safe harbour we ought
to raise a golden statue of him.  I should like to contribute my mite to
it.  He deserves twice much honour, despite all his enemies, of whom he
has many rather from envy than from reason.  May the Lord keep him in
health, or it will go hardly with us all."

Thus spoke some of his grateful countrymen when the Advocate was
contending at a momentous crisis with storms threatening to overwhelm
the republic.  Alas! where is the golden statue?

He believed that the truce was the most advantageous measure that the
country could adopt.  He believed this with quite as much sincerity as
Maurice held to his conviction that war was the only policy.  In the
secret letter of the French ambassador there is not a trace of suspicion
as to his fidelity to the commonwealth, not the shadow of proof of the
ridiculous accusation that he wished to reduce the provinces to the
dominion of Spain.  Jeannin, who had no motive for concealment in his
confidential correspondence with his sovereign, always rendered
unequivocal homage to the purity and patriotism of the Advocate and the

He returned to the States-General and to the discharge of his functions
as Advocate-General of Holland.  His policy for the time was destined to
be triumphant, his influence more extensive than ever.  But the end of
these calumnies and anonymous charges was not yet.

Meantime the opposition to the truce was confined to the States of
Zeeland and two cities of Holland.  Those cities were very important
ones, Amsterdam and Delft, but they were already wavering in their
opposition.  Zeeland stoutly maintained that the treaty of Utrecht
forbade a decision of the question of peace and war except by a unanimous
vote of the whole confederacy.  The other five provinces and the friends
of the truce began with great vehemence to declare that the question at
issue was now changed.  It was no longer to be decided whether there
should be truce or war with Spain, but whether a single member of the
confederacy could dictate its law to the other six States.  Zeeland, on
her part, talked loudly of seceding from the union, and setting up for an
independent, sovereign commonwealth.  She would hardly have been a very
powerful one, with her half-dozen cities, one prelate, one nobleman, her
hundred thousand burghers at most, bustling and warlike as they were, and
her few thousand mariners, although the most terrible fighting men that
had ever sailed on blue water.  She was destined ere long to abandon her
doughty resolution of leaving her sister provinces to their fate.

Maurice had not slackened in his opposition to the truce, despite the
renewed vigour with which Barneveld pressed the measure since his return
to the public councils.  The prince was firmly convinced that the kings
of France and England would assist the republic in the war with Spain so
soon as it should be renewed.  His policy had been therefore to force the
hand of those sovereigns, especially that of Henry, and to induce him to
send more stringent instructions to Jeannin than those with which he
believed him to be furnished.  He had accordingly despatched a secret
emissary to the French king, supplied with confidential and explicit
instructions.  This agent was a Captain Lambert.  Whether it was "Pretty
Lambert," "Dandy Lambert"--the vice-admiral who had so much distinguished
himself at the great victory of Gibraltar--does not distinctly appear.
If it were so, that hard-hitting mariner would seem to have gone into
action with the French Government as energetically as he had done
eighteen months before, when, as master of the Tiger, he laid himself
aboard the Spanish admiral and helped send the St. Augustine to the
bottom.  He seemed indisposed to mince matters in diplomacy.  He
intimated to the king and his ministers that Jeannin and his colleagues
were pushing the truce at the Hague much further and faster than his
Majesty could possibly approve, and that they were obviously exceeding
their instructions.  Jeannin, who was formerly so much honoured and
cherished throughout the republic, was now looked upon askance because
of his intimacy with Barneveld and his partisans.  He assured the king
that nearly all the cities of Holland, and the whole of Zeeland, were
entirely agreed with Maurice, who would rather die than consent to the
proposed truce.  The other provinces, added Lambert, would be obliged,
will ye nill ye, to receive the law from Holland and Zeeland.  Maurice,
without assistance from France or any other power, would give Spain and
the archdukes as much exercise as they could take for the next fifty
years before he would give up, and had declared that he would rather die
sword in hand than basely betray his country by consenting to such a
truce.  As for Barneveld, he was already discovering the blunders which
he had made, and was trying to curry favour with Maurice.  Barneveld and
both the Aprasens were traitors to the State, had become the objects of
general hatred and contempt, and were in great danger of losing their
lives, or at least of being expelled from office.

Here was altogether too much zeal on the part of Pretty Lambert; a
quality which, not for the first time, was thus proved to be less useful
in diplomatic conferences than in a sea-fight.  Maurice was obliged to
disavow his envoy, and to declare that his secret instructions had never
authorized him to hold such language.  But the mischief was done.  The
combustion in the French cabinet was terrible.  The Dutch admiral had
thrown hot shot into the powder-magazine of his friends, and had done no
more good by such tactics than might be supposed.  Such diplomacy was
denounced as a mere mixture of "indiscretion and impudence."  Henry was
very wroth, and forthwith indited an imperious letter to his cousin

"Lambert's talk to me by your orders," said the king, "has not less
astonished than scandalized me.  I now learn the new resolution which
you have taken, and I observe that you have begun to entertain suspicions
as to my will and my counsels on account of the proposition of truce."

Henry's standing orders to Jeannin, as we know, were to offer Maurice a
pension of almost unlimited amount, together with ample rewards to all
such of his adherents as could be purchased, provided they would bring
about the incorporation of the United Provinces into France.  He was
therefore full of indignation that the purity of his intentions and the
sincerity of his wish for the independence of the republic could be
called in question.

"People have dared to maliciously invent," he continued, "that I am the
enemy of the repose and the liberty of the United Provinces, and that I
was afraid lest they should acquire the freedom which had been offered
them by their enemies, because I derived a profit from their war, and
intended in time to deprive them of their liberty.  Yet these falsehoods
and jealousies have not been contradicted by you nor by anyone else,
although you know that the proofs of my sincerity and good faith have
been entirely without reproach or example.  You knew what was said,
written, and published everywhere, and I confess that when I knew this
malice, and that you had not taken offence at it, I was much amazed and
very malcontent."

Queen Elizabeth, in her most waspish moods, had not often lectured the
States-General more roundly than Henry now lectured his cousin Maurice.

The king once more alluded to the secret emissary's violent talk, which
had so much excited his indignation.

"If by weakness and want of means," he said, "you are forced to abandon
to your enemies one portion of your country in order to defend the other-
as Lambert tells me you are resolved to do, rather than agree to the
truce without recognition of your sovereignty for ever--I pray you to
consider how many accidents and reproaches may befal you.  Do you suppose
that any ally of the States, or of your family, would risk his reputation
and his realms in such a game, which would seem to be rather begun in
passion and despair than required by reason or necessity?"

Here certainly was plain speaking enough, and Maurice could no longer
expect the king for his partner, should he decide to risk once more the
bloody hazard of the die.

But Henry was determined to leave no shade of doubt on the subject.

"Lambert tells me," he said, "that you would rather perish with arms in
your hands than fall shamefully into inevitable ruin by accepting truce.
I have been and am of a contrary opinion.  Perhaps I am mistaken, not
knowing as well as you do the constitution of your country and the wishes
of your people.  But I know the general affairs of Christendom better
than you do, and I can therefore judge more soundly on the whole matter
than you can, and I know that the truce, established and guaranteed as
proposed, will bring you more happiness than you can derive from war."

Thus the king, in the sweeping, slashing way with which he could handle
an argument as well as a sword, strode forward in conscious strength,
cutting down right and left all opposition to his will.  He was
determined, once for all, to show the stadholder and his adherents that
the friendship of a great king was not to be had by a little republic on
easy terms, nor every day.  Above all, the Prince of Nassau was not to
send a loud-talking, free and easy Dutch sea-captain to dictate terms to
the King of France and Navarre.  "Lambert tells me"--and Maurice might
well wish that Pretty Lambert had been sunk in the bay of Gibraltar,
Tiger and all, before he had been sent on this diplomatic errand,
"Lambert tells me," continued his Majesty, "that you and the States-
General would rather that I should remain neutral, and let you make war
in your own fashion, than that I should do anything more to push on this
truce.  My cousin, it would be very easy for me, and perhaps more
advantageous for me and my kingdom than you think, if I could give you
this satisfaction, whatever might be the result.  If I chose to follow
this counsel, I am, thanks be to God, in such condition, that I have no
neighbour who is not as much in need of me as I can be of him, and who is
not glad to seek for and to preserve my friendship.  If they should all
conspire against me moreover, I can by myself, and with no assistance but
heaven's, which never failed me yet, wrestle with them altogether, and
fling them all, as some of my royal predecessors have done.  Know then,
that I do not favour war nor truce for the United Provinces because of
any need I may have of the one or the other for the defence of my own
sceptre.  The counsels and the succours, which you have so largely
received from me, were given because of my consideration for the good of
the States, and of yourself in particular, whom I have always favoured
and cherished, as I have done others of your house on many occasions."

The king concluded his lecture by saying, that after his ambassadors had
fulfilled their promise, and had spoken the last word of their master at
the Hague, he should leave Maurice and the States to do as they liked.

"But I desire," he said, "that you and the States should not do that
wrong to yourselves or to me as to doubt the integrity of my counsels nor
the actions of my ambassadors: I am an honest man and a prince of my
word, and not ignorant of the things of this world.  Neither the States
nor you, with your adherents, can permit my honour to be compromised
without tarnishing your own, and without being branded for ingratitude.
I say not this in order to reproach you for the past nor to make you
despair of the future, but to defend the truth.  I expect, therefore,
that you will not fall into this fault, knowing you as I do.  I pay more
heed to what you said in your letter than in all Lambert's fine talk,
and you will find out that nobody wishes your prosperity and that of
the States more sincerely than I do, or can be more useful to you
than I can."

     [I have abbreviated this remarkable letter, but of course the text
     of the passages cited is literally given.  J.L.M.]

There could be but little doubt in the mind of Prince Maurice, after this
letter had been well pondered, that Barneveld had won the game, and that
the peace party had triumphed.

To resume the war, with the French king not merely neutral but angry and
covertly hostile, and with the sovereign of Great Britain an almost open
enemy in the garb of an ally, might well seem a desperate course.

And Maurice, although strongly opposed to the truce, and confident in his
opinions at this crisis, was not a desperado.

He saw at once the necessity of dismounting from the high horse upon
which, it must be confessed, he had been inclined for more rough-riding
of late than the situation warranted.  Peace was unattainable, war was
impossible, truce was inevitable; Barneveld was master of the field.

The prince acquiesced in the result which the letter from the French king
so plainly indicated.  He was, however, more incensed than ever against
Barneveld; for he felt himself not only checkmated but humiliated by the
Advocate, and believed him a traitor, who was selling the republic to
Spain.  It was long since the two had exchanged a word.

Maurice now declared, on more than one occasion, that it was useless for
him any longer to attempt opposition to the policy of truce.  The States
must travel on the road which they had chosen, but it should not be under
his guidance, and he renounced all responsibility for the issue.

Dreading disunion, however, more than ought else that could befal the
republic, he now did his best to bring about the return of Zeeland to the
federal councils.  He was successful.  The deputies from that province
reappeared in the States-General on the 11th November.  They were still
earnest, however, in their opposition to the truce, and warmly
maintained, in obedience to instructions, that the Union of Utrecht
forbade the conclusion of a treaty except by unanimous consent of the
Seven Provinces.  They were very fierce in their remonstrances, and again
talked loudly of secession.

After consultation with Barneveld, the French envoys now thought it their
duty to take the recalcitrant Zeelanders in hand; Maurice having, as it
were, withdrawn from the contest.

On the 18th November, accordingly, Jeannin once more came very solemnly
before the States-General, accompanied by his diplomatic colleagues.

He showed the impossibility of any arrangement, except by the submission
of Zeeland to a vote of the majority.  "It is certain," he said, "that
six provinces will never be willing to be conquered by a single one, nor
permit her to assert that, according to a fundamental law of the
commonwealth, her dissent can prevent the others from forming a definite

"It is not for us," continued the president, "who are strangers in your
republic, to interpret your laws, but common sense teaches us that, if
such a law exist, it could only have been made in order to forbid a

"If any one wishes to expound it otherwise, to him we would reply,
in the words of an ancient Roman, who said of a law which seemed to him
pernicious, that at least the tablet upon which it was inscribed, if it
could not be destroyed, should be hidden out of sight.  Thus at least the
citizens might escape observing it, when it was plain that it would cause
detriment to the republic, and they might then put in its place the most
ancient of all laws, 'salus populi suprema lex.'"

The president, having suggested this ingenious expedient of the antique
Roman for getting rid of a constitutional provision by hiding the
statute-book, proceeded to give very practical reasons for setting, up
the supreme law of the people's safety on this occasion.  And, certainly,
that magnificent common-place, which has saved and ruined so many States,
the most effective weapon in the political arsenal, whether wielded by
tyrants or champions of freedom, was not unreasonably recommended at this
crisis to the States in their contest with the refractory Zeelanders.
It was easy to talk big, but after all it would be difficult for that
doughty little sandbank, notwithstanding the indomitable energy which it
had so often shown by land and sea, to do battle by itself with the whole
Spanish empire.  Nor was it quite consistent with republican principles
that the other six provinces should be plunged once more into war, when
they had agreed to accept peace and independence instead, only that
Zeeland should have its way.

The orator went on to show the absurdity, in his opinion, of permitting
one province to continue the war, when all seven united had not the means
to do it without the assistance of their allies.  He pointed out, too,
the immense blunders that would be made, should it be thought that the
Kings of France and England were so much interested in saving the
provinces from perdition as to feel obliged in any event to render them

"Beware of committing an irreparable fault," he said, "on so insecure a
foundation.  You are deceiving yourselves: And, in order that there may
be no doubt on the subject, we declare to you by express command that if
your adversaries refuse the truce, according to the articles presented to
you by us, it is the intention of our kings to assist you with armies and
subsidies, not only as during the past, but more powerfully than before.
If, on the contrary, the rupture comes from your side, and you despise
the advice they are giving you, you have no succour to expect from
them.  The refusal of conditions so honourable and advantageous to your
commonwealth will render the war a useless one, and they are determined
to do nothing to bring the reproach upon themselves."

The president then intimated; not without adroitness, that the republic
was placing herself in a proud position by accepting the truce, and that
Spain was abasing herself by giving her consent to it.  The world was
surprised that the States should hesitate at all.

There was much more of scholastic dissertation in the president's
address, but enough has been given to show its very peremptory character.

If the war was to go on it was to be waged mainly by Zeeland alone.  This
was now plain beyond all peradventure.  The other provinces had resolved
to accept the proposed treaty.  The cities of Delft and Amsterdam, which
had stood out so long among the estates of Holland, soon renounced their
opposition.  Prince Maurice, with praiseworthy patriotism, reconciled
himself with the inevitable, and now that the great majority had spoken,
began to use his influence with the factious minority.

On the day after Jeannin's speech he made a visit to the French
ambassadors.  After there had been some little discussion among them,
Barneveld made his appearance.  His visit seemed an accidental one, but
it had been previously arranged with the envoys.

The general conversation went on a little longer, when the Advocate,
frankly turning to the Prince, spoke of the pain which he felt at the
schism between them.  He defended himself with honest warmth against the
rumours circulated, in which he was accused of being a Spanish partisan.
His whole life had been spent in fighting Spain, and he was now more
determined than ever in his hostility to that monarchy.  He sincerely
believed that by the truce now proposed all the solid advantages of the
war would be secured, and that such a result was a triumphant one for the
republic.  He was also most desirous of being restored to the friendship
and good opinion of the house of Nassau; having proved during his whole
life his sincere attachment to their interests--a sentiment never more
lively in his breast than at that moment.

This advance was graciously met by the stadholder, and the two
distinguished personages were, for the time at least, reconciled.

It was further debated as to the number of troops that it be advisable
for the States to maintain during the truce and Barneveld expressed his
decided opinion that thirty thousand men, at least, would be required.
This opinion gave the prince at least as much pleasure as did the
personal devotion expressed by the Advocate, and he now stated his
intention of working with the peace party.

The great result was now certain.  Delft and Amsterdam withdrew from
their opposition to the treaty, so that Holland was unanimous before the
year closed; Zeeland, yielding to the influence of Maurice, likewise gave
in her adhesion to the truce.

The details of the mode in which the final arrangement was made are not
especially interesting.  The discussion was fairly at an end.  The
subject had been picked to the bones.  It was agreed that the French
ambassadors should go over the frontier, and hold a preliminary interview
with the Spanish commissioners at Antwerp.

The armistice was to be continued by brief and repeated renewals, until
it should be superseded by the truce of years:

Meantime, Archduke Albert sent his father confessor, Inigo Brizuela, to
Spain, in order to make the treaty posed by Jeannin palatable to the

The priest was to set forth to Philip, as only a ghostly confessor
could do with full effect, that he need not trouble himself about the
recognition by the proposed treaty of the independence of the United
Provinces.  Ambiguous words had been purposely made use of in this
regard, he was to explain, so that not only the foreign ambassadors were
of opinion that the rights of Spain were not curtailed, but the emptiness
of the imaginary recognition of Dutch freedom had been proved by the
sharp criticism of the States.

It is true that Richardot, in the name of the archduke, had three months
before promised the consent of the king, as having already been obtained.
But Richardot knew very well when he made the statement that it was
false.  The archduke, in subsequent correspondence with the ambassadors
in December, repeated the pledge.  Yet, not only had the king not given
that consent, but he had expressly refused it by a courier sent in

Philip, now convinced by Brother Inigo that while agreeing to treat with
the States-General as with a free commonwealth, over which he pretended
to no authority, he really meant that he was dealing with vassals over
whom his authority was to be resumed when it suited his convenience, at
last gave his consent to the, proposed treaty.  The royal decision was,
however, kept for a time concealed, in order that the States might become
more malleable.


A truce he honestly considered a pitfall of destruction
Alas! we must always have something to persecute
Argument is exhausted and either action or compromise begins
Beware of a truce even more than of a peace
Could handle an argument as well as a sword
God alone can protect us against those whom we trust
Humble ignorance as the safest creed
Man is never so convinced of his own wisdom
Peace was unattainable, war was impossible, truce was inevitable
Readiness at any moment to defend dearly won liberties
Such an excuse was as bad as the accusation
The art of ruling the world by doing nothing
To doubt the infallibility of Calvin was as heinous a crime
What exchequer can accept chronic warfare and escape bankruptcy
Words are always interpreted to the disadvantage of the weak

*** 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, 1608b" ***

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