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´╗┐Title: History of the United Netherlands, 1598
Author: Motley, John Lothrop
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the United Netherlands, 1598" ***

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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, 1598


     Mission of the States to Henry to prevent the consummation of peace
     with Spain--Proposal of Henry to elevate Prince Maurice to the
     sovereignty, of the States--Embarkation of the States' envoys for
     England--Their interview with Queen Elizabeth--Return of the envoys
     from England--Demand of Elizabeth for repayment of her advances to
     the republic--Second embassy to England--Final arrangement between
     the Queen and the States.

The great Advocate was now to start on his journey in order to make a
supreme effort both with Henry and with Elizabeth to prevent the
consummation of this fatal peace.  Admiral Justinus of Nassau, natural
son of William the Silent, was associated with Barneveld in the mission,
a brave fighting man, a staunch patriot, and a sagacious counsellor; but
the Advocate on this occasion, as in other vital emergencies of the
commonwealth, was all in all.

The instructions of the envoys were simple.  They were to summon the
king to fulfil his solemnly sworn covenants with the league.  The States-
General had never doubted, they said, that so soon as the enemy had begun
to feel the effects, of that league he would endeavour to make a
composition with one or other of the parties in order to separate them,
and to break up that united strength which otherwise he could never
resist.  The king was accordingly called upon to continue the war against
the common enemy, and the States-General offered, over and above the four
hundred and fifty thousand florins promised by them for the support of
the four thousand infantry for the year 1598, to bring their whole
military power, horse and foot, into the field to sustain his Majesty in
the war, whether separately or in conjunction, whether in the siege of
cities or in open campaigns.  Certainly they could hardly offer fairer
terms than these.

Henry had complained, and not unreasonably, that Elizabeth had made no
offers of assistance for carrying on the war either to Fonquerolles or to
Hurault de Maisse; but he certainly could make no reproach of that nature
against the republic, nor assign their lukewarmness as an excuse for his

The envoys were ready to take their departure for France on the last day
of January.

It might be a curious subject to consider how far historical events are
modified and the world's destiny affected by the different material
agencies which man at various epochs has had at his disposal.  The human
creature in his passions and ambitions, his sensual or sordid desires,
his emotional and moral nature, undergoes less change than might be hoped
from age to age.  The tyrant; the patriot, the demagogue, the voluptuary,
the peasant, the trader, the intriguing politician, the hair-splitting
diplomatist, the self-sacrificing martyr, the self-seeking courtier,
present essentially one type in the twelfth, the sixteenth, the
nineteenth, or any other century.  The human tragi-comedy seems ever
to repeat itself with the same bustle, with the same excitement for
immediate interests, for the development of the instant plot or passing
episode, as if the universe began and ended with each generation--as in
reality it would appear to do for the great multitude of the actors.
There seems but a change of masks, of costume, of phraseology, combined
with a noisy but eternal monotony.  Yet while men are produced and are
whirled away again in endless succession, Man remains, and to all
appearance is perpetual and immortal even on this earth.  Whatever
science acquires man inherits.  Whatever steadfastness is gained for
great moral truths which change not through the ages--however they may be
thought, in dark or falsely brilliant epochs, to resolve themselves into
elemental vapour--gives man a securer foothold in his onward and upward
progress.  The great, continuous history of that progress is not made up
of the reigns of kings or the lives of politicians, with whose names
history has often found it convenient to mark its epochs.  These are but
milestones on the turnpike.  Human progress is over a vast field, and it
is only at considerable intervals that a retrospective view enables us to
discern whether the movement has been slow or rapid, onward or

The record of our race is essentially unwritten.  What we call history is
but made up of a few scattered fragments, while it is scarcely given to
human intelligence to comprehend the great whole.  Yet it is strange to
reflect upon the leisurely manner in which great affairs were conducted
in the period with which we are now occupied, as compared with the fever
and whirl of our own times, in which the stupendous powers of steam and
electricity are ever-ready to serve the most sublime or the most vulgar
purposes of mankind.  Whether there were ever a critical moment in which
a rapid change might have been effected in royal or national councils,
had telegraphic wires and express trains been at the command of Henry,
or Burghley, or Barneveld, or the Cardinal Albert, need not and cannot
be decided.  It is almost diverting, however, to see how closely the
intrigues of cabinets, the movements of armies, the plans of patriots,
were once dependent on those natural elements over which man has now
gained almost despotic control.

Here was the republic intensely eager to prevent, with all speed, the
consummation of a treaty between its ally and its enemy--a step which it
was feared might be fatal to its national existence, and concerning which
there seemed a momentary hesitation.  Yet Barneveld and Justinus of
Nassau, although ready on the last day of January, were not able to sail
from the Brill to Dieppe until the 18th March, on account of a persistent
south-west wind.

After forty-six days of waiting, the envoys, accompanied by Buzanval,
Henry's resident at the Hague, were at last, on the 18th March, enabled
to set sail with a favourable breeze.  As it was necessary for travellers
in that day to provide themselves with every possible material for their
journey--carriages, horses, hosts of servants, and beds, fortunate enough
if they found roads and occasionally food--Barneveld and Nassau were
furnished with three ships of war, while another legation on its way to
England had embarked in two other vessels of the same class.  A fleet of
forty or fifty merchantmen sailed under their convoy.  Departing from the
Brill in this imposing manner, they sailed by Calais, varying the
monotony of the voyage by a trifling sea-fight with some cruisers from
that Spanish port, neither side receiving any damage.

Landing at Dieppe on the morning of the 20th, the envoys were received
with much ceremony at the city gates by the governor of the place, who
conducted them in a stately manner to a house called the king's mansion,
which he politely placed at their disposal.  "As we learned, however,"
says Barneveld, with grave simplicity; "that there was no furniture
whatever in that royal abode, we thanked his Excellency, and declared
that we would rather go to a tavern."

After three days of repose and preparation in Dieppe, they started at
dawn on their journey to Rouen, where they arrived at sundown.

On the next morning but one they set off again on their travels, and
slept that night at Louviers.  Another long day's journey brought them to
Evreux.  On the 27th they came to Dreux, on the 28th to Chartres, and on
the 29th to Chateaudun.  On the 30th, having started an hour before
sunrise, they were enabled after a toilsome journey to reach Blois at an
hour after dark.  Exhausted with fatigue, they reposed in that city for a
day, and on the 1st April proceeded, partly by the river Loire and partly
by the road, as far as Tours.  Here they were visited by nobody, said
Barneveld, but fiddlers and drummers, and were execrably lodged.
Nevertheless they thought the town in other respects agreeable, and
apparently beginning to struggle out of the general desolation of,
France.  On the end April they slept at Langeais, and on the night of the
3rd reached Saumur, where they were disappointed at the absence of the
illustrious Duplessis Mornay, then governor of that city.  A glance at
any map of France will show the course of the journey taken by the
travellers, which, after very hard work and great fatigue, had thus
brought them from Dieppe to Saumur in about as much time as is now
consumed by an average voyage from Europe to America.  In their whole
journey from Holland to Saumur, inclusive of the waiting upon the wind
and other enforced delays, more than two months had been consumed.
Twenty-four hours would suffice at present for the excursion.

At Saumur they received letters informing them that the king was
"expecting them with great devotion at Angiers."  A despatch from Cecil,
who was already with Henry, also apprised them that he found "matters
entirely arranged for a peace."  This would be very easily accomplished,
he said, for France and England, but the great difficulty was for the
Netherlands.  He had come to France principally for the sake of managing
affairs for the advantage of the States, but he begged the envoys not to
demean themselves as if entirely bent on war.

They arrived at Angiers next day before dark, and were met at a league's
distance from the gates by the governor of the castle, attended by young
Prince Frederic Henry of Nassau; followed by a long train of nobles and
mounted troops.  Welcomed in this stately manner on behalf of the king,
the envoys were escorted to the lodgings provided for them in the city.
The same evening they waited on the widowed princess of Orange, Louisa of
Coligny, then residing temporarily with her son in Angiera, and were
informed by her that the king's mind was irrevocably fixed on peace.  She
communicated, however, the advice of her step-son in law, the Duke of
Bouillon, that they should openly express their determination to continue
the war, notwithstanding that both their Majesties of England and France
wished to negotiate.  Thus the counsels of Bouillon to the envoys were
distinctly opposed to those of Cecil, and it was well known to them that
the duke was himself sincerely anxious that the king should refuse the
pacific offers of Spain.

Next morning, 5th April, they were received at the gates of the castle
by the governor of Anjou and the commandant of the citadel of Angiers,
attended by a splendid retinue, and were conducted to the king, who was
walking in the garden of the fortress.  Henry received them with great
demonstrations of respect, assuring them that he considered the States-
General the best and most faithful friends that he possessed in the
world, and that he had always been assisted by them in time of his
utmost need with resoluteness and affection.

The approach of the English ambassador, accompanied by the Chancellor of
France and several other persons, soon brought the interview to a
termination.  Barneveld then presented several gentlemen attached to the
mission, especially his son and Hugo Grotius, then a lad of fifteen, but
who had already gained such distinction at Leyden that Scaliger,
Pontanus; Heinsius, Dousa, and other professors, foretold that he would
become more famous than Erasmus.  They were all very cordially received
by the king, who subsequently bestowed especial marks of his
consideration upon the youthful Grotius.

The same day the betrothal of Monsieur Caesar with the daughter of the
Duke of Mercoeur was celebrated, and there was afterwards much dancing
and banqueting at the castle.  It was obvious enough to the envoys that
the matter of peace and war was decided.  The general of the Franciscans,
sent by the pope, had been flitting very busily for many months between
Rome, Madrid, Brussels, and Paris, and there could be little doubt that
every detail of the negotiations between France and Spain had been
arranged while Olden-Barneveld and his colleague had been waiting
for the head-wind to blow itself out at the Brill.

Nevertheless no treaty had as yet been signed, and it was the business of
the republican diplomatists to prevent the signature if possible.  They
felt, however, that they were endeavouring to cause water to run up hill.
Villeroy, De Maisse, and Buzanval came to them to recount, by the king's
order, everything that had taken place.  This favour was, however, the
less highly appreciated by them, as they felt that the whole world was
in a very short time to be taken as well into the royal confidence.

These French politicians stated that the king, after receiving the most
liberal offers of peace on the part of Spain, had communicated all the
facts to the queen, and had proposed, notwithstanding these most
profitable overtures, to continue the war as long as her Majesty and the
States-General would assist him in it.  De Maisse had been informed,
however, by the queen that she had no means to assist the king withal,
and was, on the contrary, very well disposed to make peace.  The lord
treasurer had avowed the same opinions as his sovereign, had declared
himself to be a man of peace, and had exclaimed that peace once made he
would sing "Nunc dimitte servum tuum Domine."  Thereupon, at the
suggestion of the legate, negotiations had begun at Vervins, and although
nothing was absolutely concluded, yet Sir Robert Cecil, having just been
sent as special ambassador from the queen, had brought no propositions
whatever of assistance in carrying on the war, but plenty of excuses
about armadas, Irish rebellions, and the want of funds.  There was
nothing in all this, they said, but want of good will.  The queen had
done nothing and would do nothing for the league herself, nor would she
solicit for it the adherence of other kings and princes.  The king, by
making peace, could restore his kingdom to prosperity, relieve the
distress of his subjects, and get back all his lost cities--Calais,
Ardres, Dourlens, Blavet, and many more--without any expense of treasure
or of blood.

Certainly there was cogency in this reasoning from the point of view of
the French king, but it would have been as well to state, when he was so
pompously making a league for offensive and defensive war, that his real
interests and his real purposes were peace.  Much excellent diplomacy,
much ringing of bells, firing of artillery, and singing of anthems in
royal chapels, and much disappointment to honest Dutchmen, might have
thus been saved.  It is also instructive to observe the difference
between the accounts of De Maisse's negotiations in England given by that
diplomatist himself, and those rendered by the queen to the States'

Of course the objurgations of the Hollanders that the king, in a very
fallacious hope of temporary gain to himself, was about to break his
solemn promises to his allies and leave them to their fate, drew but few
tears down the iron cheeks of such practised diplomatists as Villeroy and
his friends.

The envoys visited De Rosuy, who assured them that he was very much their
friend, but gave them to understand that there was not the slightest
possibility of inducing the king to break off the negotiations.

Before taking final leave of his Majesty they concluded, by advice of the
Princess of Orange and of Buzanval, to make the presents which they had
brought with them from the States-General.  Accordingly they sent,
through the hands of the princess, four pieces of damask linen and two
pieces of fine linen to the king's sister, Madame Catherine, two pieces
of linen to Villeroy, and two to the beautiful Gabrielle.  The two
remaining pieces were bestowed upon Buzanval for his pains in
accompanying them on the journey and on their arrival at court.

The incident shows the high esteem in which the Nethcrland fabrics were
held at that period.

There was a solemn conference at last between the leading counsellors of
the king, the chancellor, the Dukes of Espernon and Bouillon, Count
Schomberg, and De Sancy, Plessis, Buzanval, Maisse, the Dutch envoys, and
the English ambassador and commissioner Herbert.  Cecil presided, and
Barneveld once more went over the whole ground, resuming with his usual
vigour all the arguments by which the king's interest and honour were
proved to require him to desist from the peace negotiations.  And the
orator had as much success as is usual with those who argue against a
foregone conclusion.  Everyone had made up his mind.  Everyone knew that
peace was made.  It is unnecessary, therefore, to repeat the familiar
train of reasoning.  It is superfluous to say that the conference was
barren.  On the same evening Villeroy called on the States' envoys, and
informed them plainly, on the part of the king, that his Majesty had
fully made up his mind.

On the 23rd April--three mortal weeks having thus been wasted in
diplomatic trilling--Barneveld was admitted to his Majesty's dressing-
room.  The Advocate at the king's request came without his colleague,
and was attended only by his son.  No other persons were present in the
chamber save Buzanval and Beringen.  The king on this occasion confirmed
what had so recently been stated by Villeroy.  He had thoroughly
pondered, he said, all the arguments used by the States to dissuade him
from the negotiation, and had found them of much weight.  The necessities
of his kingdom, however, compelled him to accept a period of repose.  He
would not, however, in the slightest degree urge the States to join in
the treaty.  He desired their security, and would aid in maintaining it.
What had most vexed him was that the Protestants with great injustice
accused him of intending to make war upon them.  But innumerable and
amazing reports were flying abroad, both among his own subjects, the
English, and the enemies' spies, as to these secret conferences.  He then
said that he would tell the Duke of Bouillon to speak with Sir Robert
Cecil concerning a subject which now for the first time he would mention
privately to Olden-Barneveld.

The king then made a remarkable and unexpected suggestion.  Alluding
to the constitution of the Netherlands, he remarked that a popular
government in such emergencies as those then existing was subject to more
danger than monarchies were, and he asked the Advocate if he thought
there was no disposition to elect a prince.  Barneveld replied that the
general inclination was rather for a good republic.  The government,
however, he said, was not of the people, but aristocratic, and the state
was administered according to laws and charters by the principal
inhabitants, whether nobles or magistrates of cities.  Since the death
of the late Prince of Orange, and the offer made to the King of France,
and subsequently to the Queen of England, of the sovereignty, there had
been no more talk on that subject, and to discuss again so delicate a
matter might cause divisions and other difficulties in the State.

Henry then spoke of Prince Maurice, and asked whether, if he should be
supported by the Queen of England and the King of France, it would not be
possible to confer the sovereignty upon him.

Here certainly was an astounding question to be discharged like a pistol-
shot full in the face of a republican minister.

The answer of the Advocate was sufficiently adroit if not excessively

If your Majesty, said he, together with her Majesty the queen, think the
plan expedient, and are both willing on this footing to continue the war,
to rescue all the Netherlands from the hands of the Spaniards and their
adherents, and thus render the States eternally obliged to the sovereigns
and kingdoms of France and England, my lords the States-General would
probably be willing to accept this advice.

But the king replied by repeating that repose was indispensable to him.

Without inquiring for the present whether the project of elevating
Maurice to the sovereignty of the Netherlands, at the expense of the
republican constitution, was in harmony or not with the private opinions
of Barneveld at that period, it must be admitted that the condition he
thus suggested was a very safe one to offer.  He had thoroughly satisfied
himself during the period in which he had been baffled by the southwest
gales at the Brill and by the still more persistent head-winds which he
had found prevailing at the French court, that it was hopeless to strive
for that much-desired haven, a general war.  The admiral and himself
might as well have endeavoured to persuade Mahomet III. and Sigismund of
Poland to join the States in a campaign against Cardinal Albert, as to
hope for the same good offices from Elizabeth and Henry.

Having received exactly the answer which he expected, he secretly
communicated, next day, to Cecil the proposition thus made by the king.
Subsequently he narrated the whole conversation to the Queen of England.

On the 27th April both Barneveld and Nassau were admitted to the royal
dressing-room in Nantes citadel for a final audience.  Here, after the
usual common places concerning his affection for the Netherlands, and the
bitter necessity which compelled him to desert the alliance, Henry again
referred to his suggestion in regard to Prince Maurice; urging a change
from a republican to a monarchical form of government as the best means
of preserving the State.

The envoys thanked the king for all the honours conferred upon them, but
declared themselves grieved to the heart by his refusal to grant their
request.  The course pursued by his Majesty, they said, would be found
very hard of digestion by the States, both in regard to the whole force
of the enemy which would now come upon their throats, and because of the
bad example thus set for other powers.

They then took leave, with the usual exchange of compliments.
At their departure his Majesty personally conducted them through various
apartments until they came to the chamber of his mistress, the Duchess
of Beaufort, then lying in childbed.  Here he drew wide open the bed-
curtains, and bade them kiss the lady.  They complied, and begging the
duchess to use her influence in their behalf, respectfully bade her
farewell.  She promised not to forget their request, and thanked them
for the presents of damask and fine linen.

Such was the result of the mission of the great Advocate and his
colleague to Henry IV., from which so much had been hoped; and for
anything useful accomplished, after such an expenditure of time, money,
and eloquence, the whole transaction might have begun and ended in this
touching interview with the beautiful Gabrielle.

On the 19th of May the envoys embarked at Dieppe for England, and on the
25th were safely lodged with the resident minister of the republic, Noel
de Caron, at the village of Clapham.

Having so ill-succeeded in their attempts to prevent the treaty between
France and Spain, they were now engaged in what seemed also a forlorn
hope, the preservation of their offensive and defensive alliance with
England.  They were well aware that many of the leading counsellors of
Elizabeth, especially Burghley and Buckhurst, were determined upon peace.
They knew that the queen was also heartily weary of the war and of the
pugnacious little commonwealth which had caused her so much expense.  But
they knew, too, that Henry, having now secured the repose of his own
kingdom, was anything but desirous that his deserted allies should enjoy
the same advantage.  The king did not cease to assure the States that he
would secretly give them assistance in their warfare against his new
ally, while Secretary of State Villeroy, as they knew, would place every
possible impediment in the way of the queen's negotiations with Spain.

Elizabeth, on her part, was vexed with everybody.  What the States most
feared was that she might, in her anger or her avarice, make use of the
cautionary towns in her negotiations with Philip.  At any rate, said
Francis Aerssens, then States' minister in France, she will bring us to
the brink of the precipice, that we may then throw ourselves into
her arms in despair.

The queen was in truth resolved to conclude a peace if a peace could be
made.  If not, she was determined to make as good a bargain with the
States as possible, in regard to the long outstanding account of her
advances.  Certainly it was not unreasonable that she should wish to see
her exchequer reimbursed by people who, as she believed, were rolling in
wealth, the fruit of a contraband commerce which she denied to her own
subjects, and who were in honour bound to pay their debts to her now, if
they wished her aid to be continued.  Her subjects were impoverished and
panting for peace, and although, as she remarked, "their sense of duty
restrained them from the slightest disobedience to her absolute
commands," still she could not forgive herself for thus exposing them to
perpetual danger.

She preferred on the whole, however, that the commonwealth should consent
to its own dissolution; for she thought it unreasonable that--after this
war of thirty years, during fifteen of which she had herself actively
assisted them--these republican Calvinists should, refuse to return to
the dominion of their old tyrant and the pope.  To Barneveld, Maurice
of Nassau, and the States-General this did not seem a very logical
termination to so much hard fighting.

Accordingly, when on the 26th of May the two envoys fell on their knees--
as the custom was--before the great queen, and had been raised by her to
their feet again, they found her Majesty in marvellously ill-humour.
Olden-Barneveld recounted to her the results of their mission to France,
and said that from beginning to end it had been obvious that there could
be no other issue.  The king was indifferent, he had said, whether the
States preferred peace or war, but in making his treaty he knew that he
had secured a profit for himself, iuflicted damage on his enemy, and done
no harm to his friends.

Her Majesty then interrupted the speaker by violent invectives against
the French king for his treachery.  She had written with her own hand,
she said, to tell him that she never had believed him capable of doing
what secretaries and other servants had reported concerning him, but
which had now proved true.

Then she became very abusive to the Dutch envoys, telling them that they
were quite unjustifiable in not following Sir Robert Cecil's advice,
and in not engaging with him at once in peace negotiations; at least so
far as to discover what the enemy's intentions might be.  She added,
pettishly, that if Prince Maurice and other functionaries were left in
the enjoyment of their offices, and if the Spaniards were sent out of the
country, there seemed no reason why such terms should not be accepted.

Barneveld replied that such accommodation was of course impossible,
unless they accepted their ancient sovereign as prince.  Then came the
eternal two points--obedience to God, which meant submission to the pope;
and obedience to the king, that was to say, subjection to his despotic
authority.  Thus the Christian religion would be ruined throughout the
provinces, and the whole land be made a bridge and a ladder for Spanish

The queen here broke forth into mighty oaths, interrupting the envoy's
discourse, protesting over and over again by the living God that she
would not and could not give the States any further assistance; that she
would leave them to their fate; that her aid rendered in their war had
lasted much longer than the siege of Troy did, and swearing that she had
been a fool to help them and the king of France as she had done, for it
was nothing but evil passions that kept the States so obstinate.

The envoy endeavoured to soothe her, urging that as she had gained the
reputation over the whole world of administering her affairs with
admirable, yea with almost divine wisdom, she should now make use of that
sagacity in the present very difficult matter.  She ought to believe that
it was not evil passion, nor ambition, nor obstinacy that prevented the
States from joining in these negotiations, but the determination to
maintain their national existence, the Christian religion, and their
ancient liberties and laws.  They did not pretend, he said, to be wiser
than great monarch or their counsellors, but the difference between their
form of government and a monarchy must be their excuse.

Monarchs, when they made treaties, remained masters, and could protect
their realms and their subjects from danger.  The States-General could
not accept a prince without placing themselves under his absolute
authority, and the Netherlanders would never subject themselves to
their deadly enemy, whom they had long ago solemnly renounced.

Surely these remarks of the Advocate should have seemed entirely
unanswerable.  Surely there was no politician in Europe so ignorant as
not to know that any treaty of peace between Philip and the States meant
their unconditional subjugation and the complete abolition of the
Protestant religion.  Least of all did the Queen of England require
information on this great matter of state.  It was cruel trifling
therefore, it was inhuman insolence on her part, to suggest anything
like a return of the States to the dominion of Spain.

But her desire for peace and her determination to get back her money
overpowered at that time all other considerations.

The States wished to govern themselves, she said; why then could they not
make arrangements against all dangers, and why could they not lay down
conditions under which the king would not really be their master;
especially if France and England should guarantee them against any
infraction of their rights.  By the living God! by the living God! by the
living God! she swore over and over again as her anger rose, she would
never more have anything to do with such people; and she deeply regretted
having thrown away her money and the lives of her subjects in so stupid a

Again the grave and experienced envoy of the republic strove with calm
and earnest words to stay the torrent of her wrath; representing that her
money and her pains had by no means been wasted, that the enemy had been
brought to shame and his finances to confusion; and urging her, without
paying any heed to the course pursued by the King of France, to allow the
republic to make levies of troops, at its own expense, within her

But her Majesty was obdurate.  "How am I to defend myself?" she cried;
"how are the affairs of Ireland to be provided for? how am I ever to get
back my money?  who is to pay the garrisons of Brill and Flushing?"
And with this she left the apartment, saying that her counsellors
would confer with the envoys.'

From the beginning to the end of the interview the queen was in a very
evil temper, and took no pains to conceal her dissatisfaction with all
the world.

Now there is no doubt whatever that the subsidies furnished by England
to the common cause were very considerable, amounting in fourteen years,
according to the queen's calculation, to nearly fourteen hundred thousand
pounds sterling.  But in her interviews with the republican statesmen she
was too prone to forget that it was a common cause, to forget that the
man who had over and over again attempted her assassination, who had
repeatedly attempted the invasion of her realms with the whole strength
of the most powerful military organization in the world, whose dearest
wish on earth was still to accomplish her dethronement and murder, to
extirpate from England the religion professed by the majority of living
Englishmen, and to place upon her vacant throne a Spanish, German, or
Italian prince, was as much her enemy as he was the foe of his ancient
subjects in the Netherlands.  At that very epoch Philip was occupied in
reminding the pope that the two had always agreed as to the justice of
the claims of the Infanta Isabella to the English crown, and calling on
his Holiness to sustain those pretensions, now that she had been obliged,
in consequence of the treaty with the Prince of Bearne, to renounce her
right to reign over France.

Certainly it was fair enough for the queen and her, counsellors to stand
out for an equitable arrangement of the debt; but there was much to
dispute in the figures.  When was ever an account of fifteen years'
standing adjusted, whether between nations or individuals, without much
wrangling?  Meantime her Majesty held excellent security in two thriving
and most important Netherland cities.  But had the States consented to
re-establish the Spanish authority over the whole of their little
Protestant republic, was there an English child so ignorant of arithmetic
or of history as not to see how vast would be the peril, and how
incalculable the expense, thus caused to England?

Yet besides the Cecils and the lord high admiral, other less influential
counsellors of the crown--even the upright and accomplished Buckhurst,
who had so often proved his friendship for the States--were in favour of
negotiation.  There were many conferences with meagre results.  The
Englishmen urged that the time had come for the States to repay the
queen's advances, to relieve her from future subsidies, to assume the
payment of the garrisons in the cautionary towns, and to furnish a force
in defence of England when attacked.  Such was the condition of the
kingdom, they said--being, as it was, entirely without fortified cities--
that a single battle would imperil the whole realm, so that it was
necessary to keep the enemy out of it altogether.

These arguments were not unreasonable, but the inference was surely
illogical.  The special envoys from the republic had not been instructed
to treat about the debt.  This had been the subject of perpetual
negotiation.  It was discussed almost every day by the queen's
commissioners at the Hague and by the States' resident minister at
London.  Olden-Barneveld and the admiral had been sent forth by the
Staten in what in those days was considered great haste to prevent a
conclusion of a treaty between their two allies and the common enemy.
They had been too late in France, and now, on arriving in England, they
found that government steadily drifting towards what seemed the hopeless
shipwreck of a general peace.

What must have been the grief of Olden-Barneveld when he heard from the
lips of the enlightened Buckhurst that the treaty of 1585 had been
arranged to expire--according to the original limitation--with a peace,
and that as the States could now make peace and did not choose to do so,
her Majesty must be considered as relieved from her contract of alliance,
and as justified in demanding repayment of her advances!

To this perfidious suggestion what could the States' envoy reply but that
as a peace such as the treaty of 1585 presupposed--to wit, with security
for the Protestant religion and for the laws and liberties of the
provinces--was impossible, should the States now treat with the king or
the cardinal?

The envoys had but one more interview with, the queen, in which she was
more benignant in manner but quite as peremptory in her demands.  Let the
States either thoroughly satisfy her as to past claims and present
necessities, or let them be prepared for her immediate negotiation with
the enemy.  Should she decide to treat, she would not be unmindful of
their interests, she said, nor deliver them over into the enemy's hands.
She repeated, however, the absurd opinion that there were means enough of
making Philip nominal sovereign of all the Netherlands, without allowing
him to exercise any authority over them.  As if the most Catholic and
most absolute monarch that ever breathed could be tied down by the
cobwebs of constitutional or treaty stipulations; as if the previous
forty years could be effaced from the record of history.

She asked, too, in case the rumours of the intended transfer of the
Netherlands to the cardinal or the Infanta should prove true, which she
doubted, whether this arrangement would make any difference in the
sentiments of the States.

Barneveld replied that the transfer was still uncertain, but that they
had no more confidence in the cardinal or the Infants than in the King of
Spain himself.

On taking leave of the queen the envoys waited upon Lord Burghley, whom
they found sitting in an arm-chair in his bedchamber, suffering from the
gout and with a very fierce countenance.   He made no secret of his
opinions in favour of negotiation, said that the contracts made by
monarchs should always be interpreted reasonably, and pronounced a warm
eulogy on the course pursued by the King of France.  It was his Majesty's
duty, he said, to seize the best opportunity for restoring repose to his
subjects and his realms, and it was the duty of other sovereigns to do
the same.

The envoys replied that they were not disposed at that moment to sit in
judgment upon the king's actions.  They would content themselves with
remarking that in their opinion even kings and princes were bound by
their, contracts, oaths, and pledges before God and man; and with this
wholesome sentiment they took leave of the lord high treasurer.

They left London immediately, on the last day of May, without, passports.
or despatches of recal, and embarked at Gravesend in the midst of a gale
of wind.

Lord Essex, the sincere friend of the republic, was both surprised and
disturbed at their sudden departure, and sent a special courier, after
them to express his regrets at the unsatisfactory termination to their
mission: "My mistress knows very well," said he, "that she is an absolute
princess, and that, when her ministers have done their extreme duty, she
wills what she wills."

The negotiations between England and Spain were deferred, however, for a
brief space, and a special message was despatched to the Hague as to the
arrangement of the debt.  "Peace at once with Philip," said the queen,
"or else full satisfaction of my demands."

Now it was close dealing between such very thrifty and acute bargainers
as the queen and the Netherland republic.

Two years before, the States had offered to pay twenty thousand pounds a
year on her Majesty's birthday so long as the war should last, and after
a peace, eighty thousand pounds annually for four years.  The queen, on
her part, fixed the sum total of the debt at nearly a million and a half
sterling, and required instant payment of at least one hundred thousand
pounds on account, besides provision for a considerable annual refunding,
assumption by the States of the whole cost of the garrisons in the
cautionary towns, and assurance of assistance in case of an attack upon
England.  Thus there was a whole ocean between the disputants.

Vere and Gilpin were protocolling and marshalling accounts at the Hague,
and conducting themselves with much arrogance and bitterness, while,
meantime, Barneveld had hardly had time to set his foot on his native
shores before he was sent back again to England at the head of another
solemn legation.  One more effort was to be made to arrange this
financial problem and to defeat the English peace party.

The offer of the year 1596 just alluded to was renewed and instantly
rejected.  Naturally enough, the Dutch envoys were disposed, in the
exhausting warfare which was so steadily draining their finances, to pay
down as little as possible on the nail, while providing for what they
considered a liberal annual sinking fund.

The English, on the contrary, were for a good round sum in actual cash,
and held the threatened negotiation with Spain over the heads of the
unfortunate envoys like a whip.

So the queen's counsellors and the republican envoys travelled again and
again over the well-worn path.

On the 29th June, Buckhurst took Olden-Barneveld into his cabinet, and
opened his heart to him, not as a servant of her Majesty, he said, but
as a private Englishman.  He was entirely for peace.  Now that peace was
offered to her Majesty, a continuance of the war was unrighteous, and the
Lord God's blessing could not be upon it.  Without God's blessing no
resistance could be made by the queen nor by the States to the enemy,
who was ten times more powerful than her Majesty in kingdoms, provinces,
number of subjects, and money.  He had the pope, the emperor, the Dukes
of Savoy and Lorraine, and the republic of Genoa, for his allies.  He
feared that the war might come upon England, and that they might be fated
on one single day to win or lose all.  The queen possessed no mines, and
was obliged to carry on the war by taxing her people.  The king had ever-
flowing fountains in his mines; the queen nothing but a stagnant pool,
which, when all the water was pumped out, must in the end be dry.  He
concluded, therefore, that as her Majesty had no allies but the
Netherlands, peace was best for England, and advisable for the provinces.
Arrangements could easily be made to limit the absolute authority of

This highly figurative view of the subject--more becoming to the author
of Ferrex and Porrex than to so, experienced a statesman as Sackville had
become since his dramatic days--did not much impress Barneveld.  He
answered that, although the King of Spain was unquestionably very
powerful, the Lord God was still stronger; that England and the
Netherlands together could maintain the empire of the seas, which was
of the utmost importance, especially for England; but that if the
republic were to make her submission to Spain, and become incorporate
with that power, the control of the seas was lost for ever to England.

The Advocate added the unanswerable argument that to admit Philip as
sovereign, and then to attempt a limitation of his despotism was a
foolish dream.

Buckhurst repeated that the republic was the only ally of England, that
there was no confidence to be placed by her in any other power, and that
for himself, he was, as always, very much the friend of the States.

Olden-Barneveld might well have prayed, however, to be delivered from
such friends.  To thrust one's head into the lion's mouth, while one's
friends urge moderation on the noble animal, can never be considered a
cheerful or prudent proceeding.

At last, after all offers had been rejected which the envoys had ventured
to make, Elizabeth sent for Olden-Barneveld and Caron and demanded their
ultimatum within twenty-four hours.  Should it prove unsatisfactory, she
would at once make peace with Spain.

On the 1st August the envoys accordingly proposed to Cecil and the other
ministers to pay thirty thousand pounds a year, instead of twenty
thousand, so long as the war should last, but they claimed the right of
redeeming the cautionary towns at one hundred thousand pounds each.  This
seemed admissible, and Cecil and his colleagues pronounced the affair
arranged.  But they had reckoned without the queen after all.

Elizabeth sent for Caron as soon as she heard of the agreement, flew into
a great rage, refused the terms, swore that she would instantly make
peace with Spain, and thundered loudly against her ministers.

"They were great beasts," she said, "if they had stated that she would
not treat with the enemy.  She had merely intended to defer the

So the whole business was to be done over again.  At last the sum claimed
by the queen, fourteen hundred thousand pounds, was reduced by agreement
to eight hundred thousand, and one-half of this the envoys undertook on
the part of the States to refund in annual payments of thirty thousand
pounds, while the remaining four hundred thousand should be provided for
by some subsequent arrangement.  All attempts, however, to obtain a
promise from the queen to restore the cautionary towns to the republic in
case of a peace between Spain and England remained futile.

That was to be a bone of contention for many years.

It was further agreed by the treaty, which was definitely signed on the
16th August, that, in case England were invaded by the common enemy, the
States should send to the queen's assistance at least thirty ships of
war, besides five thousand infantry and five squadrons of horse.


     Negotiations between France and Spain--Conclusion of the treaty of
     peace--Purchase of the allegiance of the French nobles--Transfer of
     the Netherlands to Albert and Isabella--Marriage of the Infante and
     the Infanta--Illness of Philip II.--Horrible nature of his malady--
     His last hours and death--Review of his reign--Extent of the Spanish
     dominions--Causes of the greatness of Spain, and of its downfall--
     Philip's wars and their expenses--The Crown revenues of Spain--
     Character of the people--Their inordinate self-esteem--Consequent
     deficiency of labour--Ecclesiastical Government--Revenues of the
     Church--Characteristics of the Spanish clergy--Foreign commerce of
     Spain--Governmental system of Philip II.--Founded on the popular
     ignorance and superstition--Extinction of liberty in Spain--The Holy
     Inquisition--The work and character of Philip.

While the utterly barren conferences had been going on at Angiers and
Nantes between Henry IV. and the republican envoys, the negotiations had
been proceeding at Vervins.

President Richardot on behalf of Spain, and Secretary of State Villeroy
as commissioner of Henry, were the chief negotiators.

Two old acquaintances, two ancient Leaguers, two bitter haters of
Protestants and rebels, two thorough adepts in diplomatic chicane, they
went into this contest like gladiators who thoroughly understood and
respected each other's skill.

Richardot was recognized by all as the sharpest and most unscrupulous
politician in the obedient Netherlands.  Villeroy had conducted every
intrigue of France during a whole generation of mankind.  They scarcely
did more than measure swords and test each other's objects, before
arriving at a conviction as to the inevitable result of the encounter.

It was obvious at once to Villeroy that Philip was determined to make
peace with France in order that the triple alliance might be broken up.
It was also known to the French diplomatist that the Spanish king was
ready for, almost every concession to Henry, in order that this object
might be accomplished.

All that Richardot hoped to save out of the various conquests made by
Spain over France was Calais.

But Villeroy told him that it was useless to say a word on that subject.
His king insisted on the restoration of the place.  Otherwise he would
make no peace.  It was enough, he said, that his Majesty said nothing
about Navarre.

Richardot urged that at the time when the English had conquered Calais
it had belonged to Artois, not to France.  It was no more than equitable,
then, that it should be retained by its original proprietor.

The general of the Franciscans, who acted as a kind of umpire in the
transactions, then took each negotiator separately aside and whispered in
his ear.

Villeroy shook his head, and said he had given his ultimatum.  Richardot
acknowledged that he had something in reserve, upon which the monk said
that it was time to make it known.

Accordingly--the two being all ears--Richardot observed that what he was
about to state he said with fear and trembling.  He knew not what the
King of Spain would think of his proposition, but he would, nevertheless,
utter the suggestion that Calais should be handed over to the pope.

His Holiness would keep the city in pledge until the war with the rebels
was over, and then there would be leisure enough to make definite
arrangements on the subject.

Now Villeroy was too experienced a practitioner to be imposed upon, by
this ingenious artifice.  Moreover, he happened to have an intercepted
letter in his possession in which Philip told the cardinal that Calais
was to be given up if the French made its restitution a sine qua non.
So Villeroy did make it a sine qua non, and the conferences soon after
terminated in an agreement on the part of Spain to surrender all its
conquests in France.

Certainly no more profitable peace than this could have been made by the
French king under such circumstances, and Philip at the last moment had
consented to pay a heavy price for bringing discord between the three
friends.  The treaty was signed at Vervins on the 2nd May, and contained
thirty-five articles.  Its basis was that of the treaty of Cateau
Cambresis of 1559.  Restitution of all places conquered by either party
within the dominions of the other since the day of that treaty was
stipulated.  Henry recovered Calais, Ardres, Dourlens, Blavet, and many
other places, and gave up the country of Charolois.  Prisoners were to be
surrendered on both sides without ransom, and such of those captives of
war as had been enslaved at the galleys should be set free.

The pope, the emperor, all states, and cities under their obedience or
control, the Duke of Savoy, the King of Poland and Sweden, the Kings of
Denmark and Scotland, the Dukes of Lorraine and Tuscany, the Doge of
Venice, the republic of Genoa, and many lesser states and potentates,
were included in the treaty.  The famous Edict of Nantes in favour of
the Protestant subjects of the French king was drawn up and signed in
the city of which it bears the name at about the same time with these
negotiations.  Its publication was, however, deferred until after the
departure of the legate from France in the following year.

The treaty of Cateau Cambresis had been pronounced the most disgraceful
and disastrous one that had ever been ratified by a French monarch; and
surely Henry had now wiped away that disgrace and repaired that disaster.
It was natural enough that he should congratulate himself on the rewards
which he had gathered by deserting his allies.

He had now sufficient occupation for a time in devising ways and means,
with the aid of the indefatigable Bethune, to pay the prodigious sums
with which he had purchased the allegiance of the great nobles and lesser
gentlemen of France.  Thirty-two millions of livres were not sufficient
to satisfy the claims of these patriots, most of whom had been drawing
enormous pensions from the King of Spain up to the very moment, or beyond
it, when they consented to acknowledge the sovereign of their own
country.  Scarcely a, great name in the golden book of France but was
recorded among these bills of sale.

Mayenne, Lorraine, Guise, Nemours, Mercoeur, Montpensier, Joyeuse,
Epernon, Brissac, D'Arlincourt, Balagny, Rochefort, Villeroy, Villars,
Montespan, Leviston, Beauvillars, and countless others, figured in the
great financier's terrible account-book, from Mayenne, set down at the
cool amount of three and a half millions, to Beauvoir or Beauvillars at
the more modest price of a hundred and sixty thousand livres.  "I should
appal my readers," said De Bethune, "if I should show to them that this
sum makes but a very small part of the amounts demanded from the royal
treasury, either by Frenchmen or by strangers, as pay and pension, and
yet the total was thirty-two millions's."

And now the most Catholic king, having brought himself at last to
exchange the grasp of friendship with the great ex-heretic, and to
recognize the Prince of Bearne as the legitimate successor of St. Louis,
to prevent which consummation he had squandered so many thousands of
lives, so many millions of treasure, and brought ruin to so many
prosperous countries, prepared himself for another step which he had
long hesitated to take.

He resolved to transfer the Netherlands to his daughter Isabella and to
the Cardinal Archduke Albert, who, as the king had now decided, was to
espouse the Infanta.

The deed of cession was signed at Madrid on the 6th May, 1598.  It was
accompanied by a letter of the same date from the Prince Philip, heir
apparent to the crown.

On the 30th May the Infanta executed a procuration by which she gave
absolute authority to her future husband to rule over the provinces of
the Netherlands, Burgundy, and Charolois, and to receive the oaths of the
estates and of public functionaries.

     [See all the deeds and documents in Bor, IV.  461-466.  Compare
     Herrera, iii.  766-770.  Very elaborate provisions were made in
     regard to the children and grand-children to spring from this
     marriage, but it was generally understood at the time that no issue
     was to be expected.  The incapacity of the cardinal seems to have
     been revealed by an indiscretion of the General of Franciscans--
     diplomatist and father confessor--and was supported by much
     collateral evidence.  Hence all these careful stipulations were a
     solemn jest, like much of the diplomatic work of this reign.]

It was all very systematically done.  No transfer of real estate, no
'donatio inter vivos' of mansions and messuages, parks and farms, herds
and flocks, could have been effected in a more business-like manner than
the gift thus made by the most prudent king to his beloved daughter.

The quit-claim of the brother was perfectly regular.

So also was the power of attorney, by which the Infanta authorised the
middle-aged ecclesiastic whom she was about to espouse to take possession
in her name of the very desirable property which she had thus acquired.

It certainly never occurred, either to the giver or the receivers, that
the few millions of Netherlanders, male and female, inhabiting these
provinces in the North Sea, were entitled to any voice or opinion as to
the transfer of themselves and their native land to a young lady living
in a remote country.  For such was the blasphemous system of Europe at
that day.  Property had rights.  Kings, from whom all property emanated,
were enfeoffed directly from the Almighty; they bestowed certain
privileges on their vassals, but man had no rights at all.  He was
property, like the ox or the ass, like the glebe which he watered with
the sweat of his brow.

The obedient Netherlands acquiesced obediently in these new arrangements.
They wondered only that the king should be willing thus to take from his
crown its choicest jewels--for it is often the vanity of colonies and
dependencies to consider themselves gems.

The republican Netherlanders only laughed at these arrangements, and
treated the invitation to transfer themselves to the new sovereigns of
the provinces with silent contempt.

The cardinal-archduke left Brussels in September, having accomplished the
work committed to him by the power of attorney, and having left Cardinal
Andrew of Austria, bishop of Constantia, son of the Archduke Ferdinand,
to administer affairs during his absence.  Francis de Mendoza, Admiral of
Arragon, was entrusted with the supreme military command for the same

The double marriage of the Infante of Spain with the Archduchess Margaret
of Austria, and of the unfrocked Cardinal Albert of Austria with the
Infanta Clara Eugenia Isabella, was celebrated by proxy, with immense
pomp, at Ferrara, the pope himself officiating with the triple crown upon
his head.

Meantime, Philip II., who had been of delicate constitution all his life,
and who had of late years been a confirmed valetudinarian, had been
rapidly failing ever since the transfer of the Netherlands in May.
Longing to be once more in his favourite retirement of the Escorial,
he undertook the journey towards the beginning of June, and was carried
thither from Madrid in a litter borne by servants, accomplishing the
journey of seven leagues in six days.

When he reached the palace cloister, he was unable to stand.  The gout,
his life-long companion, had of late so tortured him in the hands and
feet that the mere touch of a linen sheet was painful to him.  By the
middle of July a low fever had attacked him, which rapidly reduced his
strength.  Moreover, a new and terrible symptom of the utter
disintegration of his physical constitution had presented itself.
Imposthumes, from which he had suffered on the breast and at the joints,
had been opened after the usual ripening applications, and the result was
not the hoped relief, but swarms of vermin, innumerable in quantities,
and impossible to extirpate, which were thus generated and reproduced in
the monarch's blood and flesh.

The details of the fearful disorder may have attraction for the
pathologist, but have no especial interest for the general reader.  Let
it suffice, that no torture ever invented by Torquemada or Peter Titelman
to serve the vengeance of Philip and his ancestors or the pope against
the heretics of Italy or Flanders, could exceed in acuteness the agonies
which the most Catholic king was now called upon to endure.  And not one
of the long line of martyrs, who by decree of Charles or Philip had been
strangled, beheaded, burned, or buried alive, ever faced a death of
lingering torments with more perfect fortitude, or was sustained by more
ecstatic visions of heavenly mercy, than was now the case with the great
monarch of Spain.

That the grave-worms should do their office before soul and body were
parted, was a torment such as the imagination of Dante might have
invented for the lowest depths of his "Inferno."

     [A great English poet has indeed expressed the horrible thought:--

                   "It is as if the dead could feel
                    The icy worm about them steal:"--BYRON.]

On the 22nd July, the king asked Dr. Mercado if his sickness was likely
to have a fatal termination.  The physician, not having the courage at
once to give the only possible reply, found means to evade the question.
On the 1st August his Majesty's confessor, father Diego de Yepes, after
consultation with Mercado, announced to Philip that the only issue to his
malady was death.  Already he had been lying for ten days on his back, a
mass of sores and corruption, scarcely able to move, and requiring four
men to turn him in his bed.

He expressed the greatest satisfaction at the sincerity which had now
been used, and in the gentlest and most benignant manner signified his
thanks to them for thus removing all doubts from his mind, and for giving
him information which it was of so much importance for his eternal
welfare to possess.

His first thought was to request the papal nuncio, Gaetano, to despatch a
special courier to Rome to request the pope's benediction.  This was
done, and it was destined that the blessing of his Holiness should arrive
in time.

He next prepared himself to make a general confession, which lasted three
days, father Diego having drawn up at his request a full and searching
interrogatory.  The confession may have been made the more simple,
however, by the statement which he made to the priest, and subsequently
repeated to the Infante his son, that in all his life he had never
consciously done wrong to any one.  If he had ever committed an act of
injustice, it was unwittingly, or because he had been deceived in the
circumstances.  This internal conviction of general righteousness was
of great advantage to him in the midst of his terrible sufferings, and
accounted in great degree for the gentleness, thoughtfulness for others,
and perfect benignity, which, according to the unanimous testimony of
many witnesses, characterised his conduct during this whole sickness.

After he had completed his long general confession, the sacrament of the
Lord's Supper was administered to him.  Subsequently, the same rites were
more briefly performed every few days.

His sufferings were horrible, but no saint could have manifested in them
more gentle resignation or angelic patience.  He moralized on the
condition to which the greatest princes might thus be brought at last by
the hand of God, and bade the prince observe well his father's present
condition, in order that, when he too should be laid thus low, he might
likewise be sustained by a conscience void of offence.  He constantly
thanked his assistants and nurses for their care, insisted upon their
reposing themselves after their daily fatigues, and ordered others to
relieve them in their task.

He derived infinite consolation from the many relics of saints, of which,
as has been seen, he had made plentiful prevision during his long reign.
Especially a bone of St. Alban, presented to him by Clement VIII., in
view of his present straits, was of great service.  With this relic, and
with the arm of St. Vincent of Ferrara, and the knee-bone of St.
Sebastian, he daily rubbed his sores, keeping the sacred talismans ever
in his sight on the altar, which was not far from his bed.  He was much
pleased when the priests and other bystanders assured him that the
remains of these holy men would be of special efficacy to him, because he
had cherished and worshipped them in times when misbelievers and heretics
had treated them with disrespect.

On a sideboard in his chamber a human skull was placed, and upon this
skull--in ghastly mockery of royalty, in truth, yet doubtless in the
conviction that such an exhibition showed the superiority of anointed
kings even over death--he ordered his servants to place a golden crown.
And thus, during the whole of his long illness, the Antic held his state,
while the poor mortal representative of absolute power lay living still,
but slowly mouldering away.

With perfect composure, and with that minute attention to details which
had characterised the king all his lifetime, and was now more evident
than ever, he caused the provisions for his funeral obsequies to be read
aloud one day by Juan Ruys de Velasco, in order that his children, his
ministers, and the great officers of state who were daily in attendance
upon him, might thoroughly learn their lesson before the time came for
performing the ceremony.

"Having governed my kingdom for forty years," said he, "I now give it
back, in the seventy-first year of my age, to God Almighty, to whom it
belongs, recommending my soul into His blessed hands, that His Divine
Majesty may do what He pleases therewith."

He then directed that after his body should have been kept as long as the
laws prescribed, it should be buried thus:--

The officiating bishop was to head the procession, bearing the crucifix,
and followed by the clergy.

The Adelantado was to come next, trailing the royal standard along the
ground.  Then the Duke of Novara was to appear, bearing the crown on an
open salver, covered with a black cloth, while the Marquis of Avillaer
carried the sword of state.

The coffin was to be borne by eight principal grandees, clad in mourning
habiliments, and holding lighted torches.

The heir apparent was to follow, attended by Don Garcia de Loyasa, who
had just been consecrated, in the place of Cardinal Albert, as Archbishop
of Toledo.

The body was to be brought to the church, and placed in the stately tomb
already prepared for its reception.  "Mass being performed," said the
king, "the prelate shall place me in the grave which shall be my last
house until I go to my eternal dwelling.  Then the prince, third king of
my name, shall go into the cloister of St. Jerome at Madrid, where he
shall keep nine days mourning.  My daughter, and her aunt--my sister,
the ex-empress--shall for the same purpose go to the convent of the grey

The king then charged his successor to hold the Infanta in especial
affection and consideration; "for," said he, "she has been my mirror,
yea; the light of my eyes."  He also ordered that the Marquis of Mondejar
be taken from prison and set free, on condition never to show himself at
Court.  The wife of Antonio Perez was also to be released from prison, in
order that she might be immured in a cloister, her property being
bestowed upon her daughters.

As this unfortunate lady's only crime consisted in her husband's intrigue
with the king's mistress, Princess Eboli, in which she could scarcely be
considered an accomplice, this permission to exchange one form of
incarceration for another did not seem an act of very great benignity.

Philip further provided that thirty thousand masses should be said for
his soul, five hundred slaves liberated from the galleys, and five
hundred maidens provided with marriage portions.

After these elaborate instructions had been read, the king ordered a
certain casket to be brought to him and opened in his presence.  From
this he took forth a diamond of great price and gave it to the Infanta,
saying that it had belonged to her mother, Isabella of France.  He asked
the prince if he consented to the gift.  The prince answered in the

He next took from the coffer a written document, which he handed to his
son, saying, "Herein you will learn how to govern your kingdoms."

Then he produced a scourge, which he said was the instrument with which
his father, the emperor, had been in the habit of chastising himself
during his retreat at the monastery of Juste.  He told the by-standers to
observe the imperial blood by which the lash was still slightly stained.

As the days wore on he felt himself steadily sinking, and asked to
receive extreme unction.  As he had never seen that rite performed he
chose to rehearse it beforehand, and told Ruys Velasco; who was in
constant attendance upon him, to go for minute instructions on the
subject to the Archbishop of Toledo.  The sacrament having been duly.
administered; the king subsequently, on the 1st September, desired to
receive it once more.  The archbishop, fearing that the dying monarch's
strength would be insufficient for the repetition of the function,
informed him that the regulations of the Church required in such cases
only a compliance with certain trifling forms, as the ceremony had been
already once thoroughly carried out.  But the king expressed himself as
quite determined that the sacrament should be repeated in all its parts;
that he should once more--be anointed--to use the phrase of brother
Francis Neyen--with the oil which holy athletes require in their wrestle
with death.

This was accordingly done in the presence of his son and daughter, and,
of his chief secretaries, Christopher de Moura and John de Idiaquez,
besides the Counts Chinchon, Fuensalido, and several other conspicuous
personages.  He was especially desirous that his son should be present,
in order that; when he too should come to die, he might not find himself,
like his father, in ignorance of the manner in which this last sacrament
was to be performed.

When it was finished he described himself as infinitely consoled, and as
having derived even more happiness from the rite than he had dared to

Thenceforth he protested that he would talk no more of the world's
affairs.  He had finished with all things below, and for the days or
hours still remaining to him he would keep his heart exclusively fixed
upon Heaven.  Day by day as he lay on his couch of unutterable and almost
unexampled misery, his confessors and others read to him from religious
works, while with perfect gentleness he would insist that one reader
should relieve another, that none might be fatigued.

On the 11th September he dictated these words to Christopher de Moura,
who was to take them to Diego de Yepes, the confessor:--

"Father Confessor, you are in the place of God, and I protest thus
before His presence that I will do all that you declare necessary for my
salvation.  Thus upon you will be the, responsibility for my omissions,
because I am ready to do all."

Finding that the last hour was approaching, he informed Don Fernando de
Toledo where: he could find some candles of our lady of Montserrat, one
of which he desered to keep in his hand at the supreme moment.  He also
directed Ruys de Velasco to take from a special shrine--which he had
indicated to him six years before--a crucifix which the emperor his
father had held upon his death-bed.  All this was accomplished according
to his wish.

He had already made arrangements for his funeral procession, and had
subsequently provided all the details of his agony.  It was now necessary
to give orders as to the particulars of his burial.

He knew that decomposition had made such progress even while he was still
living as to render embalming impossible: He accordingly instructed Don
Christopher to see his body wrapped in a shroud just as it lay, and to
cause it to be placed in a well-soldered metallic coffin already
provided.  The coffin of state, in which the leaden one was to be
enclosed, was then brought into the chamber by his command, that he might
see if it was entirely to his taste.  Having examined it, he ordered that
it should be lined with white satin and ornamented with gold nails and
lace-work.  He also described a particular brocade of black and gold, to
be found in the jewelroom, which he desired for the pall.

Next morning he complained to Don Christopher that the Sacrament of the
Lord's Supper had not been administered to him for several days.  It was
urged that his strength was deemed insufficient, and that, as he had
received that rite already four times during his illness, and extreme
unction twice, it was thought that the additional fatigue might be spared
him.  But as the king insisted, the sacrament was once more performed and
prayers were read.  He said with great fervour many times, "Pater, non
mea voluntas, sed tux fiat."  He listened, too, with much devotion to the
Psalm, "As the hart panteth for the water-brooks;" and he spoke faintly
at long intervals of the Magdalen, of the prodigal son, and of the

When these devotional exercises had been concluded, father Diego
expressed the hope to him that he might then pass away, for it would be a
misfortune by temporary convalescence to fall from the exaltation of
piety which he had then reached.  The remark was heard by Philip with an
expression of entire satisfaction.

That day both the Infanta and the prince came for the last time to his
bedside to receive his blessing.  He tenderly expressed his regret to his
daughter that he had not been permitted to witness her marriage, but
charged her never to omit any exertion to augment and sustain the holy
Roman Catholic religion in the Netherlands.  It was in the interest of
that holy Church alone that he had endowed her with those provinces, and
he now urged it upon her with his dying breath to impress upon her future
husband these his commands to both.

His two children took leave of him with tears and sobs: As the prince
left the chamber he asked Don Christopher who it was that held the key to
the treasury.

The secretary replied, "It is I, Sir."  The prince demanded that he
should give it into his hands.  But Don Christopher excused himself,
saying that it had been entrusted to him by the king, and that without
his consent he could not part with it.  Then the prince returned to the
king's chamber, followed by the secretary, who narrated to the dying
monarch what had taken place.

"You have done wrong," said Philip; whereupon Don Christopher, bowing to
the earth, presented the key to the prince.

The king then feebly begged those about his bedside to repeat the dying
words of our Saviour on the cross, in order that he might hear them and
repeat them in his heart as his soul was taking flight.

His father's crucifix was placed in his hands, and he said distinctly,
"I die like a good Catholic, in faith and obedience to the holy Roman
Church."  Soon after these last words had been spoken, a paroxysm,
followed by faintness, came over him, and he lay entirely still.

They had covered his face with a cloth, thinking that he had already
expired, when he suddenly started, with great energy, opened his eyes,
seized the crucifix again from the hand of Don Fernando de Toledo, kissed
it, and fell back again into agony.

The archbishop and the other priests expressed the opinion that he must
have had, not a paroxysm, but a celestial vision, for human powers would
not have enabled him to arouse himself so quickly and so vigorously as he
had done at that crisis.

He did not speak again, but lay unconsciously dying for some hours, and
breathed his last at five in the morning of Sunday the 13th September.

His obsequies were celebrated according to the directions which he had so
minutely given.


These volumes will have been written in vain if it be now necessary to
recal to my readers the leading events in the history of the man who had
thus left the world where, almost invisible himself, he had so long
played a leading part.  It may not be entirely useless, however, to throw
a parting glance at a character which it has been one of the main objects
of this work, throughout its whole course, to pourtray.  My theme has
been the reign of Philip II., because, as the less is included in the
greater, the whole of that reign, with the exception of a few episodes,
is included in the vast movement out of which the Republic of the United
Netherlands was born and the assailed independence of France and England
consolidated.  The result of Philip's efforts to establish a universal
monarchy was to hasten the decline of the empire which he had inherited,
by aggravating the evils which had long made that downfall inevitable.

It is from no abstract hatred to monarchy that I have dwelt with emphasis
upon the crimes of this king, and upon the vices of the despotic system,
as illustrated during his lifetime.  It is not probable that the
military, monarchical system--founded upon conquests achieved by
barbarians and pirates of a distant epoch over an effete civilization and
over antique institutions of intolerable profligacy--will soon come to an
end in the older world.  And it is the business of Europeans so to deal
with the institutions of their inheritance or their choice as to ensure
their steady melioration and to provide for the highest interests of the
people.  It matters comparatively little by what name a government is
called, so long as the intellectual and moral development of mankind, and
the maintenance of justice among individuals, are its leading principles.
A government, like an individual, may remain far below its ideal; but,
without an ideal, governments and individuals are alike contemptible.
It is tyranny only--whether individual or popular--that utters its feeble
sneers at the ideologists, as if mankind were brutes to whom instincts
were all in all and ideas nothing.  Where intellect and justice are
enslaved by that unholy trinity--Force; Dogma, and Ignorance--the
tendency of governments, and of those subjected to them, must of
necessity be retrograde and downward.

There can be little doubt to those who observe the movements of mankind
during the course of the fourteen centuries since the fall of the Roman
Empire--a mere fragment of human history--that its progress, however
concealed or impeded, and whether for weal or woe, is towards democracy;
for it is the tendency of science to liberate and to equalize the
physical and even the intellectual forces of humanity.  A horse and a
suit of armour would now hardly enable the fortunate possessor of such
advantages to conquer a kingdom, nor can wealth and learning be
monopolised in these latter days by a favoured few.  Yet veneration for a
crown and a privileged church--as if without them and without their close
connection with each other law and religion were impossible--makes
hereditary authority sacred to great masses of mankind in the old world.
The obligation is the more stringent, therefore, on men thus set apart
as it were by primordial selection for ruling and instructing their
fellow-creatures, to keep their edicts and their practice in harmony with
divine justice.  For these rules cannot be violated with impunity during
along succession of years, and it is usually left for a comparatively
innocent generation, to atone for the sins of their forefathers.  If
history does not teach this it teaches nothing, and as the rules of
morality; whether for individuals or for nations, are simple and devoid
of mystery; there is the less excuse for governments which habitually and
cynically violate the eternal law.

Among self-evident truths not one is more indisputable than that which,
in the immortal words of our Declaration of Independence, asserts the
right of every human being to life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness; but the only happiness that can be recognised by a true
statesman as the birthright of mankind is that which comes from
intellectual and moral development, and from the subjugation of the
brutal instincts.

A system according to which clowns remain clowns through all the ages,
unless when extraordinary genius or fortunate accident enables an
exceptional individual to overleap the barrier of caste, necessarily
retards the result to which the philosopher looks forward with perfect

For us, whose business it is to deal with, and, so far as human
fallibility will permit, to improve our inevitable form of government-
which may degenerate into the most intolerable of polities unless we are
ever mindful that it is yet in its rudimental condition; that, although
an immense step has been taken in the right direction by the abolition of
caste, the divorce of Church and State, and the limitation of intrusion
by either on the domain of the individual, it is yet only a step from
which, without eternal vigilance, a falling back is very easy; and that
here, more than in other lands, ignorance of the scientific and moral
truths on--which national happiness and prosperity depend, deserves
bitter denunciation--for us it is wholesome to confirm our faith in
democracy, and to justify our hope that the People will prove itself
equal to the awful responsibility of self-government by an occasional
study of the miseries which the opposite system is capable of producing.
It is for this reason that the reign of the sovereign whose closing
moments have just been recorded is especially worthy of a minute
examination, and I still invite a parting glance at the spectacle thus
presented, before the curtain falls.

The Spanish monarchy in the reign of Philip II.  was not only the most
considerable empire then existing, but probably the most powerful and
extensive empire that had ever been known.  Certainly never before had so
great an agglomeration of distinct and separate sovereignties been the
result of accident.  For it was owing to a series of accidents--in the
common acceptation of that term--that Philip governed so mighty a realm.
According to the principle that vast tracts: of the earth's surface, with
the human beings feeding upon: them, were transferable in fee-simple from
one man or woman to another by marriage, inheritance, or gift, a
heterogeneous collection of kingdoms, principalities, provinces, and:
wildernesses had been consolidated, without geographical continuity, into
an artificial union--the populations differing from each other as much as
human beings can differ, in race, language, institutions, and historical
traditions, and resembling each other in little, save in being the
property alike of the same fortunate individual.

Thus the dozen kingdoms of Spain, the seventeen provinces of the
Netherlands, the kingdoms of the Two Sicilies, the duchy of Milan, and
certain fortresses and districts of Tuscany, in Europe; the kingdom of
Barbary, the coast of Guinea, and an indefinite and unmeasured expanse.
of other territory, in Africa; the controlling outposts and cities all
along the coast of the two Indian peninsulas, with as much of the country
as it seemed good to occupy, the straits and the, great archipelagoes, so
far as they had--been visited'by Europeans, in Asia; Peru, Brazil,
Mexico, the Antilles--the whole recently discovered fourth quarter of the
world in short, from the "Land of Fire" in the South to the frozen
regions of the North--as much territory as the Spanish and Portuguese
sea-captains could circumnavigate and the pope in the plentitude of his
power and his generosity could bestow on his fortunate son, in America;
all this enormous proportion of the habitable globe was the private
property, of Philip; who was the son of Charles, who was the son of
Joanna, who was the daughter of Isabella, whose husband was Ferdinand.
By what seems to us the most whimsical of political arrangements, the
Papuan islander, the Calabrian peasant, the Amsterdam merchant, the semi-
civilized Aztec, the Moor of Barbary, the Castilian grandee, the roving
Camanche, the Guinea negro, the Indian Brahmin, found themselves--could
they but have known it--fellow-citizens of one commonwealth.  Statutes of
family descent, aided by fraud, force, and chicane, had annexed the
various European sovereignties to the crown of Spain; the genius of a
Genoese sailor had given to it the New World, and more recently the
conquest of Portugal, torn from hands not strong enough to defend the
national independence, had vested in the same sovereignty those Oriental
possessions which were due to the enterprise of Vasco de Gama, his
comrades and successors.  The, voyager, setting forth from the straits of
Gibraltar, circumnavigating the African headlands and Cape Comorin, and
sailing through the Molucca channel and past the isles which bore the
name of Philip in the Eastern sea, gave the hand at last to his
adventurous comrade, who, starting from the same point, and following
westward in the track of Magellaens and under the Southern Cross, coasted
the shore of Patagonia, and threaded his path through unmapped and
unnumbered clusters of islands in the Western Pacific; and during this
spanning of the earth's whole circumference not an inch of land or water
was traversed that was not the domain of Philip.

For the sea, too, was his as well as the dry land.

From Borneo to California the great ocean was but a Spanish lake, as much
the king's private property as his fish-ponds at the Escorial with their
carp and perch.  No subjects but his dared to navigate those sacred
waters.  Not a common highway of the world's commerce, but a private path
for the gratification of one human being's vanity, had thus been laid out
by the bold navigators of the sixteenth century.

It was for the Dutch rebels to try conclusions upon this point, as they
had done upon so many others, with the master of the land and sea.  The
opening scenes therefore in the great career of maritime adventure and
discovery by which these republicans were to make themselves famous will
soon engage the reader's attention.

Thus the causes of what is called the greatness of Spain are not far to
seek.  Spain was not a nation, but a temporary and factitious conjunction
of several nations, which it was impossible to fuse into a permanent
whole, but over whose united resources a single monarch for a time
disposed.  And the very concentration of these vast and unlimited,
powers, fortuitous as it was, in this single hand, inspiring the
individual, not unnaturally, with a consciousness of superhuman grandeur;
impelled him to those frantic and puerile efforts to achieve the
impossible which resulted, in the downfall of Spain.  The man who
inherited so much material greatness believed himself capable of
destroying the invisible but omnipotent spirit of religious and political
liberty in the Netherlands, of trampling out the national existence of
France and of England, and of annexing those realms to his empire: It has
been my task to relate, with much minuteness, how miserably his efforts

But his resources were great.  All Italy was in his hands, with the
single exception of the Venetian republic; for the Grand Duke of Florence
and the so-called republic of Genoa were little more than his vassals,
the pope was generally his other self, and the Duke of Savoy was his son-
in-law.  Thus his armies, numbering usually a hundred thousand men, were
supplied from the best possible sources.  The Italians were esteemed the
best soldiers for siege; assault, light skirmishing.  The German heavy
troopers and arquebuseers were the most effective for open field-work,
and these were to be purchased at reasonable prices and to indefinite
amount from any of the three or four hundred petty sovereigns to whom
what was called Germany belonged.  The Sicilian and Neapolitan pikemen,
the Milanese light-horse, belonged exclusively to Philip, and were used,
year after year, for more than a generation of mankind, to fight battles
in which they had no more interest than had their follow-subjects in the
Moluccas or in Mexico, but which constituted for them personally as
lucrative a trade on the whole as was afforded them at that day by
any branch of industry.

Silk, corn, wine, and oil were furnished in profusion from these favoured
regions, not that the inhabitants might enjoy life, and, by accumulating
wealth, increase the stock of human comforts and contribute to
intellectual and scientific advancement, but in order that the proprietor
of the soil might feed those eternal armies ever swarming from the south
to scatter desolation over the plains of France, Burgundy, Flanders, and
Holland, and to make the crown of Spain and the office of the Holy
Inquisition supreme over the world.  From Naples and Sicily were derived
in great plenty the best materials and conveniences for ship-building and
marine equipment.  The galleys and the galley-slaves furnished by these
subject realms formed the principal part of the royal navy.  From distant
regions, a commerce which in Philip's days had become oceanic supplied
the crown with as much revenue as could be expected in a period of gross
ignorance as to the causes of the true grandeur and the true wealth of
nations.  Especially from the mines of Mexico came an annual average of
ten or twelve millions of precious metals, of which the king took twenty-
five per cent. for himself.

It would be difficult and almost superfluous to indicate the various
resources placed in the hands of this one personage, who thus controlled
so large a portion of the earth.  All that breathed or grew belonged to
him, and most steadily was the stream of blood and treasure poured
through the sieve of his perpetual war.  His system was essentially a
gigantic and perpetual levy of contributions in kind, and it is only in
this vague and unsatisfactory manner that the revenues of his empire can
be stated.  A despot really keeps no accounts, nor need to do so, for he
is responsible to no man for the way in which he husbands or squanders
his own.  Moreover, the science of statistics had not a beginning of
existence in those days, and the most common facts can hardly be
obtained, even by approximation.  The usual standard of value, the
commodity which we call money--gold or silver--is well known to be at
best a fallacious guide for estimating the comparative wealth--of
individuals or of nations at widely different epochs.  The dollar of
Philip's day was essentially the same bit of silver that it is in our
time in Spain, Naples, Rome, or America, but even should an elaborate
calculation be made as to the quantity of beef, or bread or broadcloth to
be obtained for that bit of silver in this or that place in the middle of
the sixteenth century, the result, as compared with prices now prevalent,
would show many remarkable discrepancies.  Thus a bushel of wheat at
Antwerp during Philip's reign might cost a quarter of a dollar, in
average years, and there have been seasons in our own time when two
bushels of wheat could have been bought for a quarter of a dollar in
Illinois.  Yet if, notwithstanding this, we should allow a tenfold value
in exchange to the dollar of Philip's day, we should be surprised at the
meagreness of his revenues, of his expenditures, and of the debts which
at the close of his career brought him to bankruptcy; were the sums
estimated in coin.

Thus his income was estimated by careful contemporary statesmen at what
seemed to them the prodigious annual amount of sixteen millions of
dollars.  He carried on a vast war without interruption during the whole
of his forty-three years' reign against the most wealthy and military
nations of Christendom not recognising his authority, and in so doing he
is said to have expended a sum total of seven hundred millions of
dollars--a statement which made men's hair stand on their heads.  Yet the
American republic, during its civil war to repress the insurrection of
the slaveholders, has spent nominally as large a sum as this every year;
and the British Empire in time of profound peace spends half as much
annually.  And even if we should allow sixteen millions to have
represented the value of a hundred and sixty millions--a purely arbitrary
supposition--as compared with our times, what are a hundred and sixty,
millions of dollars, or thirty-three millions of pounds sterling--as the
whole net revenue of the greatest empire that had ever existed in the
world, when compared with the accumulated treasures over which civilized
and industrious countries can now dispose?  Thus the power of levying men
and materials in kind constituted the chief part of the royal power, and,
in truth, very little revenue in money was obtained from Milan or Naples,
or from any of the outlying European possessions of the crown.

Eight millions a year were estimated as the revenue from the eight
kingdoms incorporated under the general name of Castile, while not more
than six hundred thousand came from the three kingdoms which constituted
Arragon.  The chief sources of money receipts were a tax of ten per cent.
upon sales, paid by the seller, called Alcavala, and the Almoxarifalgo or
tariff upon both imports and exports.  Besides these imposts he obtained
about eight hundred thousand dollars a year by selling to his subjects
the privilege of eating eggs upon fast-days, according to the permission
granted him by the pope, in the bull called the Cruzada.  He received
another annual million from the Sussidio and the Excusado.  The first was
a permission originally given by the popes to levy six hundred thousand
dollars a year upon ecclesiastical property for equipment of a hundred
war-galleys against the Saracens, but which had more recently established
itself as a regular tax to pay for naval hostilities against Dutch and
English heretics--a still more malignant species of unbelievers in the
orthodox eyes of the period.  The Excusado was the right accorded to the
king always to select from the Church possessions a single benefice and
to appropriate its fruit--a levy commuted generally for four hundred
thousand dollars a year.  Besides these regular sources of income, large
but irregular amounts of money were picked up by his Majesty in small
sums, through monks sent about the country simply as beggars, under no
special license, to collect alms from rich and poor for sustaining the
war against the infidels of England and Holland.  A certain Jesuit,
father Sicily by name, had been industrious enough at one period in
preaching this crusade to accumulate more than a million and a half, so
that a facetious courtier advised his sovereign to style himself
thenceforth king, not of the two, but of the three Sicilies, in honour of
the industrious priest.

It is worthy of remark that at different periods during Philip's reign,
and especially towards its close, the whole of his regular revenue was
pledged to pay the interest, on his debts, save only the Sussidio and the
Cruzada.  Thus the master of the greatest empire of the earth had at
times no income at his disposal except the alma he could solicit from his
poorest subjects to maintain his warfare against foreign miscreants, the
levy on the Church for war-galleys; and the proceeds of his permission to
eat meat on Fridays.  This sounds like an epigram, but it is a plain,
incontestable fact.

Thus the revenues of his foreign dominions being nearly consumed by their
necessary expenses, the measure of his positive wealth was to be found in
the riches of Spain.  But Spain at that day was not an opulent country.
It was impossible that it should be rich, for nearly every law, according
to which the prosperity of a country becomes progressive; was habitually
violated.  It is difficult to state even by approximation the amount of
its population, but the kingdoms united under the crown of Castile were
estimated by contemporaries to contain eight millions, while the kingdom
of Portugal, together with those annexed to Arragon and the other
provinces of the realm, must have numbered half as many.  Here was a
populous nation in a favoured land, but the foundation of all wealth was
sapped by a perverted moral sentiment.

Labour was esteemed dishonourable.  The Spaniard, from highest to lowest,
was proud, ignorant, and lazy.  For a people endowed by nature with many
noble qualities--courage, temperance, frugality, endurance, quickness of
perception; a high sense of honour, a reverence for law--the course of
the national history had proved as ingeniously bad a system of general
education as could well be invented.

The eternal contests, century after century, upon the soil of Spain
between the crescent and the cross, and the remembrance of the ancient
days in which Oriental valour and genius had almost extirpated Germanic
institutions and Christian faith from the peninsula, had inspired one
great portion of the masses with a hatred, amounting almost to insanity,
towards every form of religion except the Church of Rome, towards every
race of mankind except the Goths and Vandals.  Innate reverence for
established authority had expanded into an intensity of religious emotion
and into a fanaticism of loyalty which caused the anointed monarch
leading true believers against infidels to be accepted as a god.  The
highest industrial and scientific civilization that had been exhibited
upon Spanish territory was that of Moors and Jews.  When in the course of
time those races had been subjugated, massacred, or driven into exile,
not only was Spain deprived of its highest intellectual culture and its
most productive labour, but intelligence, science, and industry were
accounted degrading, because the mark of inferior and detested peoples.

The sentiment of self-esteem, always a national characteristic, assumed
an almost ludicrous shape.  Not a ragged Biscayan muleteer, not a
swineherd of Estremadura, that did not imagine himself a nobleman because
he was not of African descent.  Not a half-starved, ignorant brigand,
gaining his living on the highways and byways by pilfering or
assassination, that did not kneel on the church pavement and listen to
orisons in an ancient tongue, of which he understood not a syllable, with
a sentiment of Christian self-complacency to which Godfrey of Bouillon
might have been a stranger.  Especially those born towards the northern
frontier, and therefore farthest removed from Moorish contamination, were
proudest of the purity of their race.  To be an Asturian or a Gallician,
however bronzed by sun and wind, was to be furnished with positive proof
against suspicion of Moorish blood; but the sentiment was universal
throughout the peninsula.

It followed as a matter of course that labour of any kind was an
impeachment against this gentility of descent.  To work was the province
of Moors, Jews, and other heretics; of the Marani or accursed, miscreants
and descendants of miscreants; of the Sanbeniti or infamous, wretches
whose ancestors had been convicted by the Holy Inquisition of listening,
however secretly, to the Holy Scriptures as expounded by other lips than
those of Roman priests.  And it is a remarkable illustration of this
degradation of labour and of its results, that in the reign of Philip
twenty-five thousand individuals of these dishonoured and comparatively
industrious classes, then computed at four millions in number in the
Castilian kingdoms alone, had united in a society which made a formal
offer to the king to pay him two thousand dollars a head if the name and
privileges of hidalgo could be conferred upon them.  Thus an
inconsiderable number of this vilest and most abject of the population--
oppressed by taxation which was levied exclusively upon the low, and from
which not only the great nobles but mechanics and other hidalgos were,
exempt--had been able to earn and to lay by enough to offer the monarch
fifty millions of dollars to purchase themselves out of semi-slavery into
manhood, and yet found their offer rejected by an almost insolvent king.
Nothing could exceed the idleness and the frivolity of the upper classes,
as depicted by contemporary and not unfriendly observers.  The nobles
were as idle and as ignorant as their inferiors.  They were not given to
tournays nor to the delights of the chase and table, but were fond of
brilliant festivities, dancing, gambling, masquerading, love-making, and
pompous exhibitions of equipage, furniture, and dress.  These diversions
--together with the baiting of bulls and the burning of Protestants--made
up their simple round of pleasures.  When they went to the wars they
scorned all positions but that of general, whether by land or sea, and as
war is a trade which requires an apprenticeship; it is unnecessary to
observe that these grandees were rarely able to command, having never
learned to obey.  The poorer Spaniards were most honourably employed
perhaps--so far as their own mental development was concerned--when they
were sent with pike and arquebus to fight heretics in France and
Flanders.  They became brave and indomitable soldiers when exported to
the seat of war, and thus afforded proof--by strenuously doing the
hardest physical work that human beings can be called upon to perform,
campaigning year after year amid the ineffable deprivations, dangers, and
sufferings which are the soldier's lot--that it was from no want of
industry or capacity that the lower masses of Spaniards in that age were
the idle, listless, dice-playing, begging, filching vagabonds into which
cruel history and horrible institutions had converted them at home.

It is only necessary to recal these well-known facts to understand why
one great element of production--human labour--was but meagrely supplied.
It had been the deliberate policy of the Government for ages to extirpate
the industrious classes, and now that a great portion of Moors and Jews
were exiles and outcasts, it was impossible to supply their place by
native workmen.  Even the mechanics, who condescended to work with their
hands in the towns, looked down alike upon those who toiled in the field
and upon those who, attempted to grow rich by traffic.  A locksmith or a
wheelwright who could prove four descents of western, blood called
himself a son of somebody--a hidalgo--and despised the farmer and the
merchant.  And those very artisans were careful not to injure themselves
by excessive industry, although not reluctant by exorbitant prices to
acquire in one or-two days what might seem a fair remuneration for a
week, and to impress upon their customers that it was rather by way of
favour that they were willing to serve them at all.

Labour being thus deficient, it is obvious that there could hardly have
been a great accumulation, according to modern ideas, of capital.  That
other chief element of national wealth, which is the result of
generations of labour and of abstinence, was accordingly not abundant.
And even those accretions of capital, which in the course of centuries
had been inevitable, were as clumsily and inadequately diffused as the
most exquisite human perverseness could desire.  If the object of civil
and political institutions had been to produce the greatest ill to the
greatest number, that object had been as nearly attained at last in Spain
as human imperfection permits; the efforts of government and of custom
coming powerfully to the aid of the historical evils already indicated.

It is superfluous to say that the land belonged not to those who lived
upon it--but subject to the pre-eminent right of the crown--to a small
selection of the human species.  Moderate holdings, small farms, peasant
proprietorship's, were unknown.  Any kind of terrestrial possession; in
short, was as far beyond the reach of those men who held themselves so
haughtily and esteemed themselves so inordinately, as were the mountains
in the moon.

The great nobles--and of real grandees of Spain there were but forty-
nine, although the number of titled families was much larger--owned all
the country, except that vast portion of it which had reposed for ages in
the dead-hand of the Church.  The law of primogeniture, strictly
enforced, tended with every generation to narrow the basis of society.
Nearly every great estate was an entail, passing from eldest son to
eldest son, until these were exhausted, in which case a daughter
transferred the family possessions to a new house.  Thus the capital of
the country--meagre at best in comparison with what it might have been,
had industry been honoured instead of being despised, had the most
intelligent and most diligent classes been cherished rather than hunted
to death or into obscure dens like vermin--was concentrated in very few
hands.  Not only was the accumulation less than it should have been, but
the slenderness of its diffusion had nearly amounted to absolute
stagnation.  The few possessors of capital wasted their revenues in
unproductive consumption.  The millions of the needy never dreamed of the
possibility of deriving benefit from the capital of the rich, nor would
have condescended to employ it, nor known how to employ it, had its use
in any form been vouchsafed to them.  The surface of Spain, save only
around the few royal residences, exhibited no splendour of architecture,
whether in town or country, no wonders of agricultural or horticultural
skill, no monumentsof engineering and constructive genius in roads,
bridges, docks, warehouses, and other ornamental and useful fabrics, or
in any of the thousand ways in which man facilitates intercourse among
his kind and subdues nature to his will.

Yet it can never be too often repeated that it, is only the Spaniard of
the sixteenth century, such as extraneous circumstances had made him,
that is here depicted; that he, even like his posterity and his
ancestors, had been endowed by Nature with some of her noblest gifts.
Acuteness of intellect, wealth of imagination, heroic qualities of heart,
and hand, and brain, rarely surpassed in any race, and manifested on a
thousand battle-fields, and in the triumphs of a magnificent and most
original literature, had not been able to save a whole nation from the
disasters and the degradation which the mere words Philip II, and the
Holy Inquisition suggest to every educated mind.

Nor is it necessary for my purpose to measure exactly the space which
separated Spain from the other leading monarchies of the day.  That the
standard of civilization was a vastly higher one in England, Holland, or
even France--torn as they all were with perpetual civil war--no thinker
will probably deny; but as it is rather my purpose at this moment to
exhibit the evils which may spring from a perfectly bad monarchical
system, as administered by a perfectly bad king, I prefer not to wander
at present from the country which was ruled for almost half a century by
Philip II.

Besides the concentration of a great part of the capital of the country
in a very small number of titled families, still another immense portion
of the national wealth belonged, as already intimated, to the Church.

There were eleven archbishops, at the head of whom stood the Archbishop
of Toledo, with the enormous annual revenue of three hundred thousand
dollars.  Next to him came the Archbishop of Seville, with one hundred
and fifty thousand dollars yearly, while the income of the others varied
from fifty thousand to twenty thousand dollars respectively.

There were sixty-two bishops, with annual incomes ranging from fifty
thousand to six thousand dollars.  The churches, also, of these various
episcopates were as richly endowed as the great hierarchs themselves.
But without fatiguing the reader with minute details, it is sufficient to
say that one-third of the whole annual income of Spain and Portugal
belonged to the ecclesiastical body.  In return for this enormous
proportion of the earth's fruits, thus placed by the caprice of destiny
at their disposal, these holy men did very little work in the world.
They fed their flocks neither with bread nor with spiritual food.
They taught little, preached little, dispensed little in charity.
Very few of the swarming millions of naked and hungry throughout the land
were clothed or nourished out of these prodigious revenues of the Church.
The constant and avowed care of those prelates was to increase their
worldly, possessions, to build up the fortunes of their respective
families, to grow richer and richer at the expense of the people whom for
centuries they had fleeced.  Of gross crime, of public ostentatious
immorality, such as had made the Roman priesthood of that and preceding
ages loathsome in the sight of man and God, the Spanish Church-
dignitaries were innocent.  Avarice; greediness, and laziness were
their characteristics.  It is almost superfluous to say that, while the
ecclesiastical princes were rolling in this almost fabulous wealth, the
subordinate clergy, the mob of working priests, were needy, half-starved

From this rapid survey of the condition of the peninsula it will seem
less surprising than it might do at first glance that the revenue of the
greatest monarch of the world was rated at the small amount--even after
due allowance for the difference of general values between the sixteenth
and nineteenth centuries--of sixteen millions of dollars.  The King of
Spain was powerful and redoubtable at home and abroad, because accident
had placed the control of a variety of separate realms in his single
hand.  At the same time Spain was poor and weak, because she had lived
for centuries in violation of the principles on which the wealth and
strength of nations depend.  Moreover, every one of those subject and
violently annexed nations hated Spain with undying fervour, while an
infernal policy--the leading characteristics of which were to sow
dissensions among the nobles, to confiscate their property on all
convenient occasions, and to bestow it upon Spaniards and other
foreigners; to keep the discontented masses in poverty, but to deprive
them of the power or disposition to unite with their superiors in rank
in demonstrations against the crown--had sufficed to suppress any
extensive revolt in the various Italian states united under Philip's
sceptre.  Still more intense than the hatred of the Italians was the
animosity which was glowing in every Portuguese breast against the
Spanish sway; while even the Arragonese were only held in subjection by
terror, which, indeed, in one form or another, was the leading instrument
of Philip's government.

It is hardly necessary to enlarge upon the regulations of Spain's foreign
commerce; for it will be enough to repeat the phrase that in her eyes the
great ocean from east to west was a Spanish lake, sacred to the ships of
the king's subjects alone.  With such a simple code of navigation coming
in aid of the other causes which impoverished the land, it may be
believed that the maritime traffic of the country would dwindle into the
same exiguous proportions which characterised her general industry.

Moreover, it should never be forgotten that, although the various
kingdoms of Spain were politically conjoined by their personal union
under one despot, they were commercially distinct.  A line of custom-
houses separated each province from the rest, and made the various
inhabitants of the peninsula practically strangers to each other.  Thus
there was less traffic between Castile, Biscay, and Arragon than there
was between any one of them and remote foreign nations.  The Biscayans,
for example, could even import and export commodities to and from remote
countries by sea, free of duty, while their merchandize to and from
Castile was crushed by imposts.  As this ingenious perversity of positive
arrangements came to increase the negative inconveniences caused by the
almost total absence of tolerable roads, canals, bridges, and other means
of intercommunication, it may be imagined that internal traffic--the very
life-blood of every prosperous nation--was very nearly stagnant in Spain.
As an inevitable result, the most thriving branch of national industry
was that of the professional smuggler, who, in the pursuit of his
vocation, did his best to aid Government in sapping the wealth of the

The whole accumulated capital of Spain, together with the land--in the
general sense which includes not only the soil but the immovable property
of a country being thus exclusively owned by the crown, the church, and
a very small number of patrician families, while the supply of labour
owing to the special causes which had converted the masses of the people
into paupers ashamed to work but not unwilling to beg or to rob--was
incredibly small, it is obvious that, so long as the same causes
continued in operation, the downfall of the country was a logical result
from which there was no escape.  Nothing but a general revolution of mind
and hand against the prevalent system, nothing but some great destructive
but regenerating catastrophe, could redeem the people.

And it is the condition of the people which ought always to be the
prominent subject of interest to those who study the records of the Past.
It is only by such study that we can derive instruction from history,
and enable ourselves, however dimly and feebly, to cast the horoscope
of younger nations.  Human history, so far as it has been written, is at
best a mere fragment; for the few centuries or year-thousands of which
there is definite record are as nothing compared to the millions of
unnumbered years during which man has perhaps walked the earth.  It may
be as practicable therefore to derive instruction from a minute
examination in detail of a very limited period of time and space, and
thus to deduce general rules for the infinite future, during which our
species may be destined to inhabit this planet, as by a more extensive
survey, which must however be at best a limited one.  Men die, but Man is
immortal, and it would be a sufficiently forlorn prospect for humanity if
we were not able to discover causes in operation which would ultimately
render the system of Philip II. impossible in any part of the globe.
Certainly, were it otherwise, the study of human history would be the
most wearisome and unprofitable of all conceivable occupations.  The
festivities of courts, the magnificence of an aristocracy, the sayings
and doings of monarchs and their servants, the dynastic wars, the solemn
treaties; the Ossa upon Pelion of diplomatic and legislative rubbish by
which, in the course of centuries, a few individuals or combinations of
individuals have been able to obstruct the march of humanity, and have
essayed to suspend the operation of elemental laws--all this contains but
little solid food for grown human beings.  The condition of the brave and
quickwitted Spanish people in the latter half of the sixteenth century
gives more matter for reflection and possible instruction.

That science is the hope of the world, that ignorance is the real
enslaver of mankind, and therefore the natural ally of every form of
despotism, may be assumed as an axiom, and it was certainly the ignorance
and superstition of the people upon which the Philippian policy was

A vast mass, entirely uneducated, half fed, half clothed, unemployed; and
reposing upon a still lower and denser stratum--the millions namely of
the "Accursed," of the Africans, and last and vilest of all, the
"blessed" descendants of Spanish protestants whom the Holy Office had
branded with perpetual infamy because it had burned their progenitors--
this was the People; and it was these paupers and outcasts, nearly the
whole nation, that paid all the imposts of which the public revenue was
composed.  The great nobles, priests, and even the hidalgos, were exempt
from taxation.  Need more be said to indicate the inevitable ruin of both
government and people?

And it was over such a people, and with institutions like these, that
Philip II. was permitted to rule during forty-three years.  His power was
absolute.  With this single phrase one might as well dismiss any attempt
at specification.  He made war or peace at will with foreign nations.
He had power of life and death over all his subjects.  He had unlimited
control of their worldly goods.  As he claimed supreme jurisdiction over
their religious opinions also, he was master of their minds, bodies, and
estates.  As a matter of course, he nominated and removed at will every
executive functionary, every judge, every magistrate, every military or
civil officer; and moreover, he not only selected, according to the
license tacitly conceded to him by the pontiff, every archbishop, bishop,
and other Church dignitary, but, through his great influence at Rome,
he named most of the cardinals, and thus controlled the election of the
popes.  The whole machinery of society, political, ecclesiastical,
military, was in his single hand.  There was a show of provincial
privilege here and there in different parts of Spain, but it was but the
phantom of that ancient municipal liberty which it had been the especial
care of his father and his great-grandfather to destroy.  Most patiently
did Philip, by his steady inactivity, bring about the decay of the
last ruins of free institutions in the peninsula.  The councils and
legislative assemblies were convoked and then wearied out in waiting
for that royal assent to their propositions and transactions, which was
deferred intentionally, year after year, and never given.  Thus the time
of the deputies was consumed in accomplishing infinite nothing, until the
moment arrived when the monarch, without any violent stroke of state,
could feel safe in issuing decrees and pragmatic edicts; thus reducing
the ancient legislative and consultative bodies to nullity, and
substituting the will of an individual for a constitutional fabric.  To
criticise the expenses of government or to attempt interference with the
increase of taxation became a sorry farce.  The forms remained in certain
provinces after the life had long since fled.  Only in Arragon had the
ancient privileges seemed to defy the absolute authority of the monarch;
and it was reserved for Antonio Perez to be the cause of their final
extirpation.  The grinning skulls of the Chief Justice of that kingdom
and of the boldest and noblest advocates and defenders of the national
liberties, exposed for years in the market-place, with the record of
their death-sentence attached, informed the Spaniards, in language which
the most ignorant could read, that the crime of defending a remnant of
human freedom and constitutional law was sure to draw down condign
punishment.  It was the last time in that age that even the ghost of
extinct liberty was destined to revisit the soil of Spain.  It mattered
not that the immediate cause for pursuing Perez was his successful amour
with the king's Mistress, nor that the crime of which he was formally
accused was the deadly offence of Calvinism, rather than his intrigue
with the Eboli and his assassination of Escovedo; for it was in the
natural and simple sequence of events that the last vestige of law or
freedom should be obliterated wherever Philip could vindicate his sway.
It must be admitted, too, that the king seized this occasion to strike a
decisive blow with a promptness very different from his usual artistic
sluggishness.  Rarely has a more terrible epigram been spoken by man than
the royal words which constituted the whole trial and sentence of the
Chief Justice of Arragon, for the crime of defending the law of his
country: "You will take John of Lanuza, and you will have his head cut
off."  This was the end of the magistrate and of the constitution which
he had defended.

His power, was unlimited.  A man endowed with genius and virtue, and
possessing the advantages of a consummate education, could have perhaps
done little more than attempt to mitigate the general misery, and to
remove some of its causes.  For it is one of the most pernicious dogmas
of the despotic system, and the one which the candid student of history
soonest discovers to be false, that the masses of mankind are to look to
any individual, however exalted by birth or intellect, for their
redemption.  Woe to the world if the nations are never to learn that
their fate is and ought to be in their own hands; that their
institutions, whether liberal or despotic, are the result of the
national biography and of the national character, not the work of a few
individuals whose names have been preserved by capricious Accident as
heroes and legislators.  Yet there is no doubt that, while comparatively
powerless for good, the individual despot is capable of almost infinite
mischief.  There have been few men known to history who have been able to
accomplish by their own exertions so vast an amount of evil as the king
who had just died.  If Philip possessed a single virtue it has eluded the
conscientious research of the writer of these pages.  If there are vices
--as possibly there are from which he was exempt, it is because it is not
permitted to human nature to attain perfection even in evil.  The only
plausible explanation--for palliation there is none--of his infamous
career is that the man really believed himself not a king but a god.  He
was placed so high above his fellow-creatures as, in good faith perhaps,
to believe himself incapable of doing wrong; so that, whether indulging
his passions or enforcing throughout the world his religious and
political dogmas, he was ever conscious of embodying divine inspirations
and elemental laws.  When providing for the assassination of a monarch,
or commanding the massacre of a townfill of Protestants; when trampling
on every oath by which a human being can bind himself; when laying
desolate with fire and sword, during more than a generation, the
provinces which he had inherited as his private property, or in carefully
maintaining the flames of civil war in foreign kingdoms which he hoped to
acquire; while maintaining over all Christendom a gigantic system of
bribery, corruption, and espionage, keeping the noblest names of England
and Scotland on his pension-lists of traitors, and impoverishing his
exchequer with the wages of iniquity paid in France to men of all
degrees, from princes of blood like Guise and Mayenne down to the
obscurest of country squires, he ever felt that these base or bloody
deeds were not crimes, but the simple will of the godhead of which he was
a portion.  He never doubted that the extraordinary theological system
which he spent his life in enforcing with fire and sword was right, for
it was a part of himself.  The Holy Inquisition, thoroughly established
as it was in his ancestral Spain, was a portion of the regular working
machinery by which his absolute kingship and his superhuman will
expressed themselves.  A tribunal which performed its functions with a
celerity, certainty, and invisibility resembling the attributes of
Omnipotence; which, like the pestilence, entered palace or hovel at will,
and which smote the wretch guilty or suspected of heresy with a precision
against which no human ingenuity or sympathy could guard--such an
institution could not but be dear to his heart.  It was inevitable that
the extension and perpetuation of what he deemed its blessings throughout
his dominions should be his settled purpose.  Spain was governed by an
established terrorism.  It is a mistake to suppose that Philip was
essentially beloved in his native land, or that his religious and
political system was heartily accepted because consonant to the national
character.  On the contrary, as has been shown, a very large proportion
of the inhabitants were either secretly false to the Catholic faith, or
descended at least from those who had expiated their hostility to it with
their lives.  But the Grand Inquisitor was almost as awful a personage;
as the king or the pope.  His familiars were in every village and at
every fireside, and from their fangs there was no escape.  Millions of
Spaniards would have rebelled against the crown or accepted the reformed
religion, had they not been perfectly certain of being burned or hanged
at the slightest movement in such a direction.  The popular force in the
course of the political combinations of centuries seemed at last to have
been eliminated.  The nobles, exempt from taxation, which crushed the
people to the earth, were the enemies rather than the chieftains and
champions of the lower classes in any possible struggle with a crown to
which they were united by ties of interest as well as of affection, while
the great churchmen, too, were the immediate dependants and of course the
firm supporters of the king.  Thus the people, without natural leaders,
without organisation, and themselves divided into two mutually hostile
sections, were opposed by every force in the State.  Crown, nobility, and
clergy; all the wealth and all that there was of learning, were banded
together to suppress the democratic principle.  But even this would
hardly have sufficed to extinguish every spark of liberty, had it not
been for the potent machinery of the Inquisition; nor could that
perfection of terrorism have become an established institution but for
the extraordinary mixture of pride and superstition of which the national
character had been, in the course of the national history, compounded.
The Spanish portion of the people hated the nobles, whose petty exactions
and oppressions were always visible; but they had a reverential fear of
the unseen monarch, as the representative both of the great unsullied
Christian nation to which the meanest individual was proud to belong, and
of the God of wrath who had decreed the extermination of all unbelievers.
The "accursed" portion of the people were sufficiently disloyal at heart,
but were too much crushed by oppression and contempt to imagine
themselves men.  As to the Netherlanders, they did not fight originally
for independence.  It was not until after a quarter of a century of
fighting that they ever thought of renouncing their allegiance to Philip.
They fought to protect themselves against being taxed by the king without
the consent of those constitutional assemblies which he had sworn to
maintain, and to save themselves and their children from being burned
alive if they dared to read the Bible.  Independence followed after
nearly a half-century of fighting, but it would never have been obtained,
or perhaps demanded, had those grievances of the people been redressed.

Of this perfect despotism Philip was thus the sole administrator.
Certainly he looked upon his mission with seriousness, and was
industrious in performing his royal functions.  But this earnestness and
seriousness were, in truth, his darkest vices; for the most frivolous
voluptuary that ever wore a crown would never have compassed a thousandth
part of the evil which was Philip's life-work.  It was because he was a
believer in himself, and in what he called his religion, that he was
enabled to perpetrate such a long catalogue of crimes.  When an humble
malefactor is brought before an ordinary court of justice, it is not
often, in any age or country, that he escapes the pillory or the gallows
because, from his own point of view, his actions, instead of being
criminal, have been commendable, and because the multitude and continuity
of his offences prove him to have been sincere.  And because anointed
monarchs are amenable to no human tribunal, save to that terrible assize
which the People, bursting its chain from time to time in the course of
the ages, sets up for the trial of its oppressors, and which is called
Revolution, it is the more important for the great interests of humanity
that before the judgment-seat of History a crown should be no protection
to its wearer.  There is no plea to the jurisdiction of history, if
history be true to itself.

As for the royal criminal called Philip II., his life is his arraignment,
and these volumes will have been written in vain if a specification is
now required.

Homicide such as was hardly ever compassed before by one human being was
committed by Philip when in the famous edict of 1568 he sentenced every
man, woman, and child in the Netherlands to death.  That the whole of
this population, three millions or more, were not positively destroyed
was because no human energy could suffice to execute the diabolical
decree.  But Alva, toiling hard, accomplished much of this murderous
work.  By the aid of the "Council of Blood," and of the sheriffs and
executioners of the Holy Inquisition, he was able sometimes to put eight
hundred human beings to death in a single week for the crimes of
Protestantism or of opulence, and at the end of half a dozen years he
could boast of having strangled, drowned, burned, or beheaded somewhat
more than eighteen thousand of his fellow-creatures.  These were some of
the non-combatant victims; for of the tens of thousands who perished
during his administration alone, in siege and battle, no statistical
record has been preserved.

In face of such wholesale crimes, of these forty years of bloodshed, it
is superfluous to refer to such isolated misdeeds as his repeated
attempts to procure the assassination of the Prince of Orange, crowned at
last by the success of Balthazar Gerard, nor to his persistent efforts to
poison the Queen of England; for the enunciation of all these murders or
attempts at murder would require a repetition of the story which it has
been one of the main purposes of these volumes to recite.

For indeed it seems like mere railing to specify his crimes.  Their very
magnitude and unbroken continuity, together with their impunity, give
them almost the appearance of inevitable phenomena.  The horrible
monotony of his career stupefies the mind until it is ready to accept the
principle of evil as the fundamental law of the world.

His robberies, like his murders, were colossal.  The vast, system of
confiscation set up in the Netherlands was sufficient to reduce
unnumbered innocent families to beggary, although powerless to break
the spirit of civil and religious liberty or to pay the expenses of
subjugating a people.  Not often in the world's history have so many
thousand individual been plundered by a foreign tyrant for no crime, save
that they were rich enough to be worth robbing.  For it can never be too
often repeated that those confiscations and extortions were perpetrated
upon Catholics as well as Protestants, monarchists as well as rebels; the
possession of property making proof of orthodoxy or of loyalty well-nigh

Falsehood was the great basis of the king's character, which perhaps
derives its chief importance, as a political and psychological study,
from this very fact.  It has been shown throughout the whole course of
this history, by the evidence of his most secret correspondence, that he
was false, most of all, to those to whom he gave what he called his
heart.  Granvelle, Alva, Don John, Alexander Farnese, all those, in
short, who were deepest in his confidence experienced in succession his
entire perfidy, while each in turn was sacrificed to his master's
sleepless suspicion.  The pope himself was often as much the dupe of the
Catholic monarch's faithlessness as the vilest heretic had ever been.
Could the great schoolmaster of iniquity for the sovereigns and
politicians of the south have lived to witness the practice of the
monarch who had most laid to heart the precepts of the "Prince," he would
have felt that he had not written in vain, and that his great paragon of
successful falsehood, Ferdinand of Arragon, had been surpassed by the
great grandson.  For the ideal perfection of perfidy, foreshadowed by the
philosopher who died in the year of Philip's birth, was thoroughly
embodied at last by this potentate.  Certainly Nicholas Macchiavelli
could have hoped for no more docile pupil.  That all men are vile, that
they are liars; scoundrels, poltroons, and idiots alike--ever ready to
deceive and yet easily to be duped, and that he only is fit to be king
who excels his kind in the arts of deception; by this great maxim of the
Florentine, Philip was ever guided.  And those well-known texts of
hypocrisy, strewn by the same hand, had surely not fallen on stony ground
when received into Philip's royal soul.

"Often it is necessary, in order to maintain power, to act contrary to
faith, contrary to charity, contrary to humanity, contrary to religion
.  .  .  .  .  .  A prince ought therefore to have great care that from
his mouth nothing should ever come that is not filled with those five
qualities, and that to see and hear him he should appear all piety, all
faith, all integrity, all humanity, all religion.  And nothing is more
necessary than to seem to have this last-mentioned quality.  Every one
sees what you seem, few perceive what you are."

Surely this hand-book of cant had been Philip's 'vade mecum' through his
life's pilgrimage.

It is at least a consolation to reflect that a career controlled by such
principles came to an ignominious close.  Had the mental capacity of this
sovereign been equal to his criminal intent, even greater woe might have
befallen the world.  But his intellect was less than mediocre.  His
passion for the bureau, his slavery to routine, his puerile ambition
personally to superintend details which could have been a thousand times
better administered by subordinates, proclaimed every day the narrowness
of his mind.  His diligence in reading, writing, and commenting upon
despatches may excite admiration only where there has been no opportunity
of judging of his labours by personal inspection.  Those familiar with
the dreary displays of his penmanship must admit that such work could
have been at least as well done by a copying clerk of average capacity.
His ministers were men of respectable ability, but he imagined himself,
as he advanced in life, far superior to any counsellor that he could
possibly select, and was accustomed to consider himself the first
statesman in the world.

His reign was a thorough and disgraceful failure.  Its opening scene was
the treaty of Catean Cambresis, by which a triumph over France had been
achieved for him by the able generals and statesmen of his father, so
humiliating and complete as to make every French soldier or politician
gnash his teeth.  Its conclusion was the treaty of Vervins with the same
power, by which the tables were completely turned, and which was as
utterly disgraceful to Spain as that of Cateau Cambresis had been to
France.  He had spent his life in fighting with the spirit of the age--
that invincible power of which he had not the faintest conception--while
the utter want of adaptation of his means to his ends often bordered, not
on the ludicrous, but the insane.

He attempted to reduce the free Netherlands to slavery and to papacy.
Before his death they had expanded into an independent republic, with a
policy founded upon religious toleration and the rights of man.  He had
endeavoured all his life to exclude the Bearnese from his heritage and
to place himself or his daughter on the vacant throne; before his death
Henry IV. was the most powerful and popular sovereign that had ever
reigned in France.  He had sought to invade and to conquer England, and
to dethrone and assassinate its queen.  But the queen outwitted,
outgeneralled, and outlived, him; English soldiers and sailors, assisted.
by their Dutch comrades in arms, accomplished on the shores of Spain what
the Invincible Armada had in vain essayed against England and Holland;
while England, following thenceforth the opposite system to that of
absolutism and the Inquisition, became, after centuries of struggles
towards the right, the most powerful, prosperous, and enlightened kingdom
in the world.

His exchequer, so full when he ascended the throne as to excite the awe
of contemporary financiers, was reduced before his death to a net income
of some four millions of dollars.  His armies; which had been the wonder
of the age in the earlier period of his reign for discipline, courage,
and every quality on which military efficiency depends, were in his later
years a horde of starving, rebellious brigands, more formidable to their
commanders than to the foe.  Mutiny was the only organised military
institution that was left in his dominions, while the Spanish
Inquisition, which it was the fell purpose of his life from youth upwards
to establish over the world, became a loathsome and impossible nuisance
everywhere but in its natal soil.

If there be such a thing as historical evidence, then is Philip II.,
convicted before the tribunal of impartial posterity of every crime
charged in his indictment.  He lived seventy-one years and three months,
he reigned forty-three years.  He endured the martyrdom of his last
illness with the heroism of a saint, and died in the certainty of
immortal bliss as the reward of his life of evil.


A despot really keeps no accounts, nor need to do so
All Italy was in his hands
Every one sees what you seem, few perceive what you are
God of wrath who had decreed the extermination of all unbeliever
Had industry been honoured instead of being despised
History is but made up of a few scattered fragments
Hugo Grotius
Idle, listless, dice-playing, begging, filching vagabonds
Ignorance is the real enslaver of mankind
Innocent generation, to atone for the sins of their forefathers
Intelligence, science, and industry were accounted degrading
Labour was esteemed dishonourable
Man had no rights at all  He was property
Matters little by what name a government is called
Moral nature, undergoes less change than might be hoped
Names history has often found it convenient to mark its epochs
National character, not the work of a few individuals
Proceeds of his permission to eat meat on Fridays
Rarely able to command, having never learned to obey
Rich enough to be worth robbing
Seems but a change of masks, of costume, of phraseology
Selling the privilege of eating eggs upon fast-days
Sentiment of Christian self-complacency
Spain was governed by an established terrorism
That unholy trinity--Force; Dogma, and Ignorance
The great ocean was but a Spanish lake
The most thriving branch of national industry (Smuggler)
The record of our race is essentially unwritten
Thirty thousand masses should be said for his soul
Those who argue against a foregone conclusion
Three or four hundred petty sovereigns (of Germany)
Utter want of adaptation of his means to his ends
While one's friends urge moderation
Whole revenue was pledged to pay the interest, on his debts

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the United Netherlands, 1598" ***

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