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´╗┐Title: History of the United Netherlands from the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce, 1607b
Author: Motley, John Lothrop
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the United Netherlands from the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce, 1607b" ***

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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, 1607


     Peace deliberations in Spain--Unpopularity of the project--
     Disaffection of the courtiers--Complaints against Spinola--
     Conference of the Catholic party--Position of Henry IV. towards the
     republic--State of France Further peace negotiations--Desire of King
     James of England for the restoration of the States to Spain--Arrival
     of the French commissioners President Jeannin before the States-
     General--Dangers of a truce with Spain--Dutch legation to England--
     Arrival of Lewis Verreyken at the Hague with Philip's ratification--
     Rejection of the Spanish treaty--Withdrawal of the Dutch fleet from
     the Peninsula--The peace project denounced by the party of Prince
     Maurice--Opposition of Maurice to the plans of Barneveld--Amended
     ratification presented to the States-General--Discussion of the
     conditions--Determination to conclude a peace--Indian trade--
     Exploits of Admiral Matelieff in the Malay peninsula--He lays siege
     to Malacca--Victory over the Spanish fleet--Endeavour to open a
     trade with China--Return of Matelieff to Holland.

The Marquis Spinola had informed the Spanish Government that if 300,000
dollars a month could be furnished, the war might be continued, but that
otherwise it would be better to treat upon the basis of 'uti possidetis,'
and according to the terms proposed by the States-General.  He had
further intimated his opinion that, instead of waiting for the king's
consent, it more comported with the king's dignity for the archdukes to
enter into negotiations, to make a preliminary and brief armistice with
the enemy, and then to solicit the royal approval of what had been done.

In reply, the king--that is to say the man who thought, wrote, and signed
in behalf of the king--had plaintively observed that among evils the
vulgar rule was to submit to the least.  Although, therefore, to grant to
the Netherland rebels not only peace and liberty, but to concede to them
whatever they had obtained by violence and the most abominable outrages,
was the worst possible example to all princes; yet as the enormous sum
necessary for carrying on the war was not to be had, even by attempting
to scrape it together from every corner of the earth, he agreed with the
opinion of the archdukes that it was better to put an end to this eternal
and exhausting war by peace or truce, even under severe conditions.  That
the business had thus far proceeded without consulting him, was publicly
known, and he expressed approval of the present movements towards a peace
or a long truce, assuring Spinola that such a result would be as grateful
to him as if the war had been brought to a successful issue.

When the Marquis sent formal notice of the armistice to Spain there were
many complaints at court.  Men said that the measure was beneath the
king's dignity, and contrary to his interests.  It was a cessation of
arms under iniquitous conditions, accorded to a people formerly subject
and now rebellious.  Such a truce was more fatal than any conflict, than
any amount of slaughter.  During this long and dreadful war, the king had
suffered no disaster so terrible as this, and the courtiers now declared
openly that the archduke was the cause of the royal and national
humiliation.  Having no children, nor hope of any, he desired only to
live in tranquillity and selfish indulgence, like the indolent priest
that he was, not caring what detriment or dishonour might accrue to the
crown after his life was over.

Thus murmured the parasites and the plunderers within the dominions of
the do-nothing Philip, denouncing the first serious effort to put an end
to a war which the laws of nature had proved to be hopeless on the part
of Spain.

Spinola too, who had spent millions of his own money, who had plunged
himself into debt and discredit, while attempting to sustain the
financial reputation of the king, who had by his brilliant services in
the field revived the ancient glory of the Spanish arms, and who now saw
himself exposed with empty coffers to a vast mutiny, which was likely to
make his future movements as paralytic as those of his immediate
predecessors--Spinola, already hated because he was an Italian, because
he was of a mercantile family, and because he had been successful, was
now as much the object of contumely with the courtiers as with the
archduke himself.

The splendid victory of Heemskerk had struck the government with dismay
and diffused a panic along the coast.  The mercantile fleets, destined
for either India, dared not venture forth so long as the terrible Dutch
cruisers, which had just annihilated a splendid Spanish fleet, commanded
by a veteran of Lepanto, and under the very guns of Gibraltar, were
supposed to be hovering off the Peninsula.  Very naturally, therefore,
there was discontent in Spain that the cessation of hostilities had not
originally been arranged for sea as well as land, and men said openly at
court that Spinola ought to have his head cut off for agreeing to such an
armistice.  Quite as reasonably, however, it was now felt to be necessary
to effect as soon as possible the recal of this very inconvenient Dutch
fleet from the coast of Spain.

The complaints were so incessant against Spinola that it was determined
to send Don Diego d'Ybarra to Brussels, charged with a general
superintendence of the royal interests in the present confused condition
of affairs.  He was especially instructed to convey to Spinola the most
vehement reproaches in regard to the terms of the armistice, and to
insist upon the cessation of naval hostilities, and the withdrawal of the

Spinola, on his part, was exceedingly irritated that the arrangements
which he had so carefully made with the archduke at Brussels should
be so contumaciously assailed, and even disavowed, at Madrid.  He was
especially irritated that Ybarra should now be sent as his censor and
overseer, and that Fuentes should have received orders to levy seven
thousand troops in the Milanese for Flanders, the arrival of which
reinforcements would excite suspicion, and probably break off

He accordingly sent his private secretary Biraga, posthaste to Spain with
two letters.  In number one he implored his Majesty that Ybarra might not
be sent to Brussels.  If this request were granted, number two was to be
burned.  Otherwise, number two was to be delivered, and it contained a
request to be relieved from all further employment in the king's service.
The marquis was already feeling the same effects of success as had been
experienced by Alexander Farnese, Don John of Austria, and other
strenuous maintainers of the royal authority in Flanders.  He was railed
against, suspected, spied upon, put under guardianship, according to the
good old traditions of the Spanish court.  Public disgrace or secret
poison might well be expected by him, as the natural guerdons of his
eminent deeds.

Biraga also took with him the draught of the form in which the king's
consent to the armistice and pending negotiations was desired, and he was
particularly directed to urge that not one letter or comma should be
altered, in order that no pretext might be afforded to the suspicious
Netherlanders for a rupture.

In private letters to his own superintendent Strata, to Don John of
Idiaquez, to the Duke of Lerma, and to Stephen Ybarra, Spinola enlarged
upon the indignity about to be offered him, remonstrated vehemently
against the wrong and stupidity of the proposed policy, and expressed his
reliance upon the efforts of these friends of his to prevent its
consummation.  He intimated to Idiaquez that a new deliberation would be
necessary to effect the withdrawal of the Dutch fleet--a condition not
inserted in the original armistice--but that within the three months
allowed for the royal ratification there would be time enough to procure
the consent of the States to that measure.  If the king really desired to
continue the war, he had but to alter a single comma in the draught, and,
out of that comma, the stadholder's party would be certain to manufacture
for him as long a war as he could possibly wish.

In a subsequent letter to the king, Spinola observed that he was well
aware of the indignation created in Spain by the cessation of land
hostilities without the recal of the fleet, but that nevertheless John
Neyen had confidentially represented to the archdukes the royal assent
as almost certain.  As to the mission of Ybarra, the marquis reminded
his master that the responsibility and general superintendence of the
negotiations had been almost forced upon him.  Certainly he had not
solicited them.  If another agent were now interposed, it was an
advertisement to the world that the business had been badly managed.
If the king wished a rupture, he had but to lift his finger or his pen;
but to appoint another commissioner was an unfit reward for his faithful
service.  He was in the king's hands.  If his reputation were now to be
destroyed, it was all over with him and his affairs.  The man, whom
mortals had once believed incapable, would be esteemed incapable until
the end of his days.

It was too late to prevent the mission of Ybarra, who, immediately after
his arrival in Brussels, began to urge in the king's name that the words
in which the provinces had been declared free by the archdukes might be
expunged.  What could be more childish than such diplomacy?  What greater
proof could be given of the incapacity of the Spanish court to learn the
lesson which forty years had been teaching?  Spinola again wrote a most
earnest remonstrance to the king, assuring him that this was simply to
break off the negotiation.  It was ridiculous to suppose, he said, that
concessions already made by the archdukes, ratification of which on the
part of the king had been guaranteed, could now be annulled.  Those
acquainted with Netherland obstinacy knew better.  The very possibility
of the king's refusal excited the scorn of the States-General.

Ybarra went about, too, prating to the archdukes and to others of
supplies to be sent from Spain sufficient to carry on the war for many
years, and of fresh troops to be forwarded immediately by Fuentes.  As
four millions of crowns a year were known to be required for any
tolerable campaigning, such empty vaunts as these were preposterous.  The
king knew full well, said Spinola, and had admitted the fact in his
letters, that this enormous sum could not be furnished.  Moreover, the
war cost the Netherlanders far less in proportion.  They had river
transportation, by which they effected as much in two days as the
Catholic army could do in a fortnight, so that every siege was managed
with far greater rapidity and less cost by the rebels than by their
opponents.  As to sending troops from Milan, he had already stated that
their arrival would have a fatal effect.  The minds of the people were
full of suspicion.  Every passing rumour excited a prodigious sensation,
and the war party was already gaining the upper hand.  Spinola warned the
king, in the most solemn manner, that if the golden opportunity were now
neglected the war would be eternal.  This, he said, was more certain than
certain.  For himself, he had strained every nerve, and would continue to
do his best in the interest of peace.  If calamity must come, he at least
would be held blameless.

Such vehement remonstrances from so eminent a source produced the needful
effect.  Royal letters were immediately sent, placing full powers of
treating in the hands of the marquis, and sending him a ratification of
the archduke's agreement.  Government moreover expressed boundless
confidence in Spinola, and deprecated the idea that Ybarra's mission was
in derogation of his authority.  He had been sent, it was stated, only to
procure that indispensable preliminary to negotiations, the withdrawal of
the Dutch fleet, but as this had now been granted, Ybarra was already

Spinola now determined to send the swift and sure-footed friar, who had
made himself so useful in opening the path to discussion, on a secret
mission to Spain.  Ybarra objected; especially because it would be
necessary for him to go through France, where he would be closely
questioned by the king.  It would be equally dangerous, he said,
for the Franciscan in that case to tell the truth or to conceal it.
But Spinola replied that a poor monk like him could steal through France
undiscovered.  Moreover, he should be disguised as a footman, travelling
in the service of Aurelio Spinola, a relative of the marquis, then
proceeding to Madrid.  Even should Henry hear of his presence and send
for him, was it to be supposed that so practised a hand would not easily
parry the strokes of the French king--accomplished fencer as he
undoubtedly was?  After stealing into and out of Holland as he had so
recently done, there was nothing that might not be expected of him.  So
the wily friar put on the Spinola livery, and, without impediment,
accompanied Don Aurelio to Madrid.

Meantime, the French commissioners--Pierre Jeannin, Buzanval, regular
resident at the Hague, and De Russy, who was destined to succeed that
diplomatist--had arrived in Holland.

The great drama of negotiation, which was now to follow the forty years'
tragedy, involved the interests and absorbed the attention of the great
Christian powers.  Although serious enough in its substance and its
probable consequences, its aspect was that of a solemn comedy.  There was
a secret disposition on the part of each leading personage--with a few
exceptions--to make dupes of all the rest.  Perhaps this was a necessary
result of statesmanship, as it had usually been taught at that epoch.

Paul V., who had succeeded Clement VIII. in 1605, with the brief
interlude of the twenty-six days of Leo XI.'s pontificate, was zealous,
as might be supposed, to check the dangerous growth of the pestilential
little republic of the north.  His diplomatic agents, Millino at Madrid,
Barberini at Paris, and the accomplished Bentivoglio, who had just been
appointed to the nunciatura at Brussels, were indefatigable in their
efforts to suppress the heresy and the insolent liberty of which the
upstart commonwealth was the embodiment.

Especially Barberini exerted all the powers at his command to bring about
a good understanding between the kings of France and Spain.  He pictured
to Henry, in darkest colours, the blight that would come over religion
and civilization if the progress of the rebellious Netherlands could not
be arrested.  The United Provinces were becoming dangerous, if they
remained free, not only to the French kingdom, but to the very existence
of monarchy throughout the world.

No potentate was ever more interested, so it was urged, than Henry IV.
to bring down the pride of the Dutch rebels.  There was always sympathy
of thought and action between the Huguenots of France and their co-
religionists in Holland.  They were all believers alike in Calvinism--
a sect inimical not less to temporal monarchies than to the sovereign
primacy of the Church--and the tendency and purposes of the French rebels
were already sufficiently manifest in their efforts, by means of the so-
called cities of security, to erect a state within a state; to introduce,
in short, a Dutch republic into France.

A sovereign remedy for the disease of liberty, now threatening to become
epidemic in Europe, would be found in a marriage between the second son
of the King of Spain and a daughter of France.  As the archdukes were
childless, it might be easily arranged that this youthful couple should
succeed them--the result of which would of course be the reduction of all
the Netherlands to their ancient obedience.

It has already been seen, and will become still farther apparent, that
nostrums like this were to be recommended in other directions.  Meantime,
Jeannin and his colleagues made their appearance at the Hague.

If there were a living politician in Europe capable of dealing with
Barneveld on even terms, it was no doubt President Jeannin.  An ancient
Leaguer, an especial adherent of the Duke of Mayenne, he had been deep in
all the various plots and counter-plots of the Guises, and often employed
by the extinct confederacy in various important intrigues.  Being
secretly sent to Spain to solicit help for the League after the disasters
of Ivry and Arques, he found Philip II. so sincerely imbued with the
notion that France was a mere province of Spain, and so entirely bent
upon securing the heritage of the Infanta to that large property, as to
convince him that the maintenance of the Roman religion was with that
monarch only a secondary condition.  Aid and assistance for the
confederacy were difficult of attainment, unless coupled with the
guarantee of the Infanta's rights to reign in France.

The Guise faction being inspired solely by religious motives of the
loftiest kind, were naturally dissatisfied with the lukewarmness of
his most Catholic Majesty.  When therefore the discomfited Mayenne
subsequently concluded his bargain with the conqueror of Ivry, it was a
matter of course that Jeannin should also make his peace with the
successful Huguenot, now become eldest son of the Church.  He was very
soon taken into especial favour by Henry, who recognised his sagacity,
and who knew his hands to be far cleaner than those of the more exalted
Leaguers with whom he had dealt.  The "good old fellow," as Henry
familiarly called him, had not filled his pockets either in serving or
when deserting the League.  Placed in control of the exchequer at a later
period, he was never accused of robbery or peculation.  He was a hard-
working, not overpaid, very intelligent public functionary.  He was made
president of the parliament, or supreme tribunal of Burgundy, and
minister of state, and was recognised as one of the ablest jurists and
most skilful politicians in the kingdom.  An elderly man, with a tall,
serene forehead, a large dark eye and a long grey beard, he presented an
image of vast wisdom and reverend probity.  He possessed--an especial
treasure for a statesman in that plotting age--a singularly honest
visage.  Never was that face more guileless, never was his heart more
completely worn upon his sleeve, than when he was harbouring the deepest
or most dangerous designs.  Such was the "good fellow," whom that skilful
reader of men, Henry of France, had sent to represent his interests and
his opinions at the approaching conferences.  What were those opinions?
Paul V. and his legates Barberini, Millino, and the rest, were well
enough aware of the secret strings of the king's policy, and knew how to
touch them with skill.  Of all things past, Henry perhaps most regretted
that not he, but the last and most wretched of the Valois line, was
sovereign of France when the States-General came to Paris with that
offer of sovereignty which had been so contumaciously refused.

If the object were attainable, the ex-chief of the Huguenots still
meant to be king of the Netherlands as sincerely as Philip II. had
ever intended to be monarch of France.  But Henry was too accurate
a calculator of chances, and had bustled too much in the world of
realities, to exhaust his strength in striving, year after year, for
a manifest impossibility.  The enthusiast, who had passed away at last
from the dreams of the Escorial into the land of shadows, had spent a
lifetime, and melted the wealth of an empire; but universal monarchy had
never come forth from his crucible.  The French king, although possessed
likewise of an almost boundless faculty for ambitious visions, was
capable of distinguishing cloud-land from substantial empire.
Jeannin, as his envoy, would at any rate not reveal his master's secret
aspirations to those with whom he came to deal, as openly as Philip had
once unveiled himself to Jeannin.

There could be no doubt that peace at this epoch was the real interest of
France.  That kingdom was beginning to flourish again, owing to the very
considerable administrative genius of Bethune, an accomplished financier
according to the lights of the age, and still more by reason of the
general impoverishment of the great feudal houses and of the clergy.
The result of the almost interminable series of civil and religious wars
had been to cause a general redistribution of property.  Capital was
mainly in the hands of the middle and lower classes, and the consequence
of this general circulation of wealth through all the channels of society
was precisely what might have been expected, an increase of enterprise
and of productive industry in various branches.  Although the financial
wisdom of the age was doing its best to impede commerce, to prevent the
influx of foreign wares, to prohibit the outflow of specie--in obedience
to the universal superstition, which was destined to survive so many
centuries, that gold and silver alone constituted wealth--while,
at the same time, in deference to the idiotic principle of sumptuary
legislation, it was vigorously opposing mulberry culture, silk
manufactures, and other creations of luxury, which, in spite of the
hostility of government sages, were destined from that time forward to
become better mines of wealth for the kingdom than the Indies had been
for Spain, yet on the whole the arts of peace were in the ascendant in

The king, although an unscrupulous, self-seeking despot and the coarsest
of voluptuaries, was at least a man of genius.  He had also too much
shrewd mother-wit to pursue such schemes as experience had shown to
possess no reality.  The talisman "Espoir," emblazoned on his shield, had
led him to so much that it was natural for him at times to think all
things possible.

But he knew how to renounce as well as how to dare.  He had abandoned his
hope to be declared Prince of Wales and successor to the English crown,
which he had cherished for a brief period, at the epoch of the Essex
conspiracy; he had forgotten his magnificent dream of placing the crown
of the holy German empire upon his head, and if he still secretly
resolved to annex the Netherlands to his realms, and to destroy his
excellent ally, the usurping, rebellious, and heretic Dutch republic,
he had craft enough to work towards his aim in the dark, and the common
sense to know that by now throwing down the mask he would be for ever
baffled of his purpose.

The history of France, during the last three-quarters of a century, had
made almost every Frenchman, old enough to bear arms, an accomplished
soldier.  Henry boasted that the kingdom could put three hundred thousand
veterans into the field--a high figure, when it is recollected that its
population certainly did not exceed fifteen millions.  No man however
was better aware than he, that in spite, of the apparent pacification
of parties, the three hundred thousand would not be all on one side, even
in case of a foreign war.  There were at least four thousand great feudal
lords as faithful to the Huguenot faith and cause as he had been false to
both; many of them still wealthy, notwithstanding the general ruin which
had swept over the high nobility, and all of them with vast influence and
a splendid following, both among the lesser gentry and the men of lower

Although he kept a Jesuit priest ever at his elbow, and did his best
to persuade the world and perhaps himself that he had become a devout
Catholic, in consequence of those memorable five hours' instruction from
the Bishop of Bourges, and that there was no hope for France save in
its return to the bosom of the Church, he was yet too politic and too
farseeing to doubt that for him to oppress the Protestants would
be not only suicidal, but, what was worse in his eyes, ridiculous.

He knew, too, that with thirty or forty thousand fighting-men in the
field, with seven hundred and forty churches in the various provinces for
their places of worship, with all the best fortresses in France in their
possession, with leaders like Rohan, Lesdiguieres, Bouillon, and many
others, and with the most virtuous, self-denying, Christian government,
established and maintained by themselves, it would be madness for him
and his dynasty to deny the Protestants their political and religious
liberty, or to attempt a crusade against their brethren in the

France was far more powerful than Spain, although the world had not yet
recognised the fact.  Yet it would have been difficult for both united to
crush the new commonwealth, however paradoxical such a proposition seemed
to contemporaries.

Sully was conscientiously in favour of peace, and Sully was the one great
minister of France.  Not a Lerma, certainly; for France was not Spain,
nor was Henry IV. a Philip III.  The Huguenot duke was an inferior
financier to his Spanish contemporary, if it were the height of financial
skill for a minister to exhaust the resources of a great kingdom in
order to fill his own pocket.  Sully certainly did not neglect his own
interests, for be had accumulated a fortune of at least seventy thousand
dollars a year, besides a cash capital estimated at a million and a half.
But while enriching himself, he had wonderfully improved the condition of
the royal treasury.  He had reformed many abuses and opened many new
sources of income.  He had, of course, not accomplished the whole Augean
task of purification.  He was a vigorous Huguenot, but no Hercules, and
demigods might have shrunk appalled at the filthy mass of corruption
which great European kingdoms everywhere presented to the reformer's eye.
Compared to the Spanish Government, that of France might almost have been
considered virtuous, yet even there everything was venal.

To negotiate was to bribe right and left, and at every step.  All the
ministers and great functionaries received presents, as a matter of
course, and it was necessary to pave the pathway even of their ante-
chambers with gold.

The king was fully aware of the practice, but winked at it, because
his servants, thus paid enormous sums by the public and by foreign
Governments, were less importunate for rewards and salaries from himself.

One man in the kingdom was said to have clean hands, the venerable and
sagacious chancellor, Pomponne de Bellievre.  His wife, however, was less
scrupulous, and readily disposed of influence and court-favour for a
price, without the knowledge, so it was thought, of the great judge.

Jeannin, too, was esteemed a man of personal integrity, ancient Leaguer
and tricky politician though he were.

Highest offices of magistracy and judicature, Church and State, were
objects of a traffic almost as shameless as in Spain.  The ermine was
sold at auction, mitres were objects of public barter, Church preferments
were bestowed upon female children in their cradles.  Yet there was hope
in France, notwithstanding that the Pragmatic Sanction of St. Louis, the
foundation of the liberties of the Gallican Church, had been annulled by
Francis, who had divided the seamless garment of Church patronage with

Those four thousand great Huguenot lords, those thirty thousand hard-
fighting weavers, and blacksmiths, and other plebeians, those seven
hundred and forty churches, those very substantial fortresses in every
province of the kingdom, were better facts than the Holy Inquisition to
preserve a great nation from sinking into the slough of political

Henry was most anxious that Sully should convert himself to the ancient
Church, and the gossips of the day told each other that the duke had
named his price for his conversion.  To be made high constable of France,
it was said would melt the resolve of the stiff Huguenot.  To any other
inducement or blandishment he was adamant.  Whatever truth may have been
in such chatter, it is certain that the duke never gratified his master's
darling desire.

Yet it was for no lack of attempts and intrigues on the part of the king,
although it is not probable that he would have ever consented to bestow
that august and coveted dignity upon a Bethune.

The king did his best by intrigue, by calumny, by talebearing, by
inventions, to set the Huguenots against each other, and to excite the
mutual jealousy of all his most trusted adherents, whether Protestant or
Catholic.  The most good-humoured, the least vindictive, the most
ungrateful, the falsest of mankind, he made it his policy, as well as his
pastime, to repeat, with any amount of embroidery that his most florid
fancy could devise, every idle story or calumny that could possibly
create bitter feeling and make mischief among those who surrounded him.
Being aware that this propensity was thoroughly understood, he only
multiplied fictions, so cunningly mingled with truths, as to leave his
hearers quite unable to know what to believe and what to doubt.  By
such arts, force being impossible, he hoped one day to sever the band
which held the conventicles together, and to reduce Protestantism to
insignificance.  He would have cut off the head of D'Aubigne or Duplessis
Mornay to gain an object, and have not only pardoned but caressed and
rewarded Biron when reeking from the conspiracy against his own life and
crown, had he been willing to confess and ask pardon for his stupendous
crime.  He hated vindictive men almost as much as he despised those who
were grateful.

He was therefore far from preferring Sully to Villeroy or Jeannin, but he
was perfectly aware that, in financial matters at least, the duke was his
best friend and an important pillar of the state.

The minister had succeeded in raising the annual revenue of France
to nearly eleven millions of dollars, and in reducing the annual
expenditures to a little more than ten millions.  To have a balance on
the right side of the public ledger was a feat less easily accomplished
in those days even than in our own.  Could the duke have restrained his
sovereign's reckless extravagance in buildings, parks, hunting
establishments, and harems, he might have accomplished even greater
miracles.  He lectured the king roundly, as a parent might remonstrate
with a prodigal son, but it was impossible even for a Sully to rescue
that hoary-headed and most indomitable youth from wantonness and riotous
living.  The civil-list of the king amounted to more than one-tenth of
the whole revenue.

On the whole, however, it was clear, as France was then constituted and
administered, that a general peace would be, for the time at least, most
conducive to its interests, and Henry and his great minister were
sincerely desirous of bringing about that result.

Preliminaries for a negotiation which should terminate this mighty war
were now accordingly to be laid down at the Hague.  Yet it would seem
rather difficult to effect a compromise.  Besides the powers less
interested, but which nevertheless sent representatives to watch the
proceedings--such as Sweden, Denmark, Brandenburg, the Elector Palatine
--there were Spain, France, England, the republic, and the archdukes.

Spain knew very well that she could not continue the war; but she hoped
by some quibbling recognition of an impossible independence to recover
that authority over her ancient vassals which the sword had for the time
struck down.  Distraction in councils, personal rivalries, the well-
known incapacity of a people to govern itself, commercial greediness,
provincial hatreds, envies and jealousies, would soon reduce that jumble
of cities and villages, which aped the airs of sovereignty, into
insignificance and confusion.  Adroit management would easily re-assert
afterwards the sovereignty of the Lord's anointed.  That a republic of
freemen, a federation of independent states, could take its place among
the nations did not deserve a serious thought.

Spain in her heart preferred therefore to treat.  It was however
indispensable that the Netherlands should reestablish the Catholic
religion throughout the land, should abstain then and for ever from all
insolent pretences to trade with India or America, and should punish such
of their citizens as attempted to make voyages to the one or the other.
With these trifling exceptions, the court of Madrid would look with
favour on propositions made in behalf of the rebels.

France, as we have seen, secretly aspired to the sovereignty of all the
Netherlands, if it could be had.  She was also extremely in favour of
excluding the Hollanders from the Indies, East and West.  The king, fired
with the achievements of the republic at sea, and admiring their great
schemes for founding empires at the antipodes by means of commercial
corporations, was very desirous of appropriating to his own benefit the
experience, the audacity, the perseverance, the skill and the capital of
their merchants and mariners.  He secretly instructed his commissioners,
therefore, and repeatedly urged it upon them, to do their best to procure
the renunciation, on the part of the republic, of the Indian trade,
and to contrive the transplantation into France of the mighty trading
companies, so successfully established in Holland and Zeeland.

The plot thus to deprive the provinces of their India trade was supposed
by the statesmen of the republic to have been formed in connivance with
Spain.  That power, finding itself half pushed from its seat of power in
the East by the "grand and infallible society created by the United
Provinces,"--[Memoir of Aerssens, ubi sup]--would be but too happy to
make use of this French intrigue in order to force the intruding Dutch
navy from its conquests.

Olden-Barneveld, too politic to offend the powerful and treacherous ally
by a flat refusal, said that the king's friendship was more precious than
the India trade.  At the same time he warned the French Government that,
if they ruined the Dutch East India Company, "neither France nor any
other nation would ever put its nose into India again."

James of England, too, flattered himself that he could win for England
that sovereignty of the Netherlands which England as well as France had
so decidedly refused.  The marriage of Prince Henry with the Spanish
Infanta was the bait, steadily dangled before him by the politicians of
the Spanish court, and he deluded himself with the thought that the
Catholic king, on the death of the childless archdukes, would make his
son and daughter-in-law a present of the obedient Netherlands.  He
already had some of the most important places in the United Netherlands-
the famous cautionary towns in his grasp, and it should go hard but he
would twist that possession into a sovereignty over the whole land.  As
for recognising the rebel provinces as an independent sovereignty, that
was most abhorrent to him.  Such a tampering with the great principles of
Government was an offence against all crowned heads, a crime in which he
was unwilling to participate.

His instinct against rebellion seemed like second sight.  The king might
almost be imagined to have foreseen in the dim future those memorable
months in which the proudest triumph of the Dutch commonwealth was to be
registered before the forum of Christendom at the congress of Westphalia,
and in which the solemn trial and execution of his own son and successor,
with the transformation of the monarchy of the Tudors and Stuarts into a
British republic, were simultaneously to startle the world.  But it
hardly needed the gift of prophecy to inspire James with a fear of

He was secretly desirous therefore, sustained by Salisbury and his other
advisers, of effecting the restoration of the provinces to the dominion
of his most Catholic Majesty.  It was of course the interest of England
that the Netherland rebels should renounce the India trade.  So would
James be spared the expense and trouble of war; so would the great
doctrines of divine right be upheld; so would the way be paved towards
the ultimate absorption of the Netherlands by England.  Whether his
theological expositions would find as attentive pupils when the pope's
authority had been reestablished over all his neighbours; whether the
Catholic rebels in Ireland would become more tranquil by the subjugation
of the Protestant rebels in Holland; whether the principles of Guy Fawkes
might not find more effective application, with no bulwark beyond the
seas against the incursion of such practitioners--all this he did not
perhaps sufficiently ponder.

Thus far had the discursive mind of James wandered from the position
which it occupied at the epoch of Maximilian de Bethune's memorable
embassy to England.

The archdukes were disposed to quiet.  On them fell the burthen of the
war.  Their little sovereignty, where--if they could only be allowed
to expend the money squeezed from the obedient provinces in court
diversions, stately architecture, splendid encouragement of the fine
arts, and luxurious living, surrounded by a train of great nobles, fit
to command regiments in the field or assist in the counsels of state, but
chiefly occupied in putting dishes on the court table, handing ewers and
napkins to their Highnesses, or in still more menial offices--so much
enjoyment might be had, was reduced to a mere parade ground for Spanish
soldiery.  It was ridiculous, said the politicians of Madrid, to suppose
that a great empire like Spain would not be continually at war in one
direction or another, and would not perpetually require the use of large
armies.  Where then could there be a better mustering place for their
forces than those very provinces, so easy of access, so opulent, so
conveniently situate in the neighbourhood of Spain's most insolent
enemies?  It was all very fine for the archduke, who knew nothing of war,
they declared, who had no hope of children, who longed only for a life
of inglorious ease, such as he could have had as archbishop, to prate of
peace and thus to compromise the dignity of the realm.  On the contrary
by making proper use of the Netherlands, the repose and grandeur of the
monarchy would be secured, even should the war become eternal.

This prospect, not agreeable certainly for the archdukes or their
subjects, was but little admired outside the Spanish court.

Such then were the sentiments of the archdukes, and such the schemes and
visions of Spain, France, and England.  On two or three points, those
great powers were mainly, if unconsciously, agreed.  The Netherlands
should not be sovereign; they should renounce the India navigation; they
should consent to the re-establishment of the Catholic religion.

On the other hand, the States-General knew their own minds, and made not
the slightest secret of their intentions.

They would be sovereign, they would not renounce the India trade, they
would not agree to the re-establishment of the Catholic religion.

Could the issue of the proposed negotiations be thought hopeful, or was
another half century of warfare impending?

On the 28th May the French commissioners came before the States-General.

There had been many wild rumours flying through the provinces in regard
to the king's secret designs upon the republic, especially since the
visit made to the Hague a twelvemonth before by Francis Aerssens, States'
resident at the French court.  That diplomatist, as we know, had been
secretly commissioned by Henry to feel the public pulse in regard to the
sovereignty, so far as that could be done by very private and delicate
fingering.  Although only two or three personages had been dealt with--
the suggestions being made as the private views of the ambassadors only
--there had been much gossip on the subject, not only in the Netherlands,
but at the English and Spanish courts.  Throughout the commonwealth there
was a belief that Henry wished to make himself king of the country.

As this happened to be the fact, it was natural that the President,
according to the statecraft of his school, should deny it at once, and
with an air of gentle melancholy.

Wearing therefore his most ingenuous expression, Jeannin addressed the

He assured the States that the king had never forgotten how much
assistance he had received from them when he was struggling to conquer
the kingdom legally belonging to him, and at a time when they too were
fighting in their own country for their very existence.

The king thought that he had given so many proofs of his sincere
friendship as to make doubt impossible; but he had found the contrary,
for the States had accorded an armistice, and listened to overtures of
peace, without deigning to consult him on the subject.  They had proved,
by beginning and concluding so important a transaction without his
knowledge, that they regarded him with suspicion, and had no respect for
his name.  Whence came the causes of that suspicion it was difficult to
imagine, unless from certain false rumours of propositions said to have
been put forward in his behalf, although he had never authorised anyone
to make them, by which men had been induced to believe that he aspired to
the sovereignty of the provinces.

"This falsehood," continued the candid President, "has cut our king to
the heart, wounding him more deeply than anything else could have done.
To make the armistice without his knowledge showed merely your contempt
for him, and your want of faith in him.  But he blamed not the action in
itself, since you deemed it for your good, and God grant that you may not
have been deceived.  But to pretend that his Majesty wished to grow great
at your expense, this was to do a wrong to his reputation, to his good
faith, and to the desire which he has always shown to secure the
prosperity of your state."  Much more spoke Jeannin, in this vein,
assuring the assembly that those abominable falsehoods proceeded from
the enemies of the king, and were designed expressly to sow discord and
suspicion in the provinces.  The reader, already aware of the minute and
detailed arrangements made by Henry and his ministers for obtaining the
sovereignty of the United Provinces and destroying their liberties, will
know how to appreciate the eloquence of the ingenuous President.

After the usual commonplaces concerning the royal desire to protect his
allies against wrong and oppression, and to advance their interests, the
President suggested that the States should forthwith communicate the
pending deliberations to all the kings and princes who had favoured their
cause, and especially to the King of England, who had so thoroughly
proved his desire to promote their welfare.

As Jeannin had been secretly directed to pave the way by all possible
means for the king's sovereignty over the provinces; as he was not long
afterwards to receive explicit instructions to expend as much money as
might be necessary in bribing Prince Maurice, Count Lewis William,
Barneveld and his son, together with such others as might seem worth
purchasing, in order to assist Henry in becoming monarch of their
country; and as the English king was at that moment represented in
Henry's private letters to the commissioners as actually loathing the
liberty, power, and prosperity of the provinces, it must be conceded that
the President had acquitted himself very handsomely in his first oration.

Such was the virtue of his honest face.

Barneveld answered with generalities and commonplaces.  No man knew
better than the Advocate the exact position of affairs; no man had more
profoundly fathomed the present purposes of the French king; no man had
more acutely scanned his character.  But he knew the critical position of
the commonwealth.  He knew that, although the public revenue might be
raised by extraordinary and spasmodic exertion to nearly a million
sterling, a larger income than had ever been at the disposition of the
great Queen of England, the annual deficit might be six millions of
florins--more than half the revenue--if the war continued, and that there
was necessity of peace, could the substantial objects of the war be now
obtained.  He was well aware too of the subtle and scheming brain which
lay hid beneath that reverend brow of the President, although he felt
capable of coping with him in debate or intrigue.  Doubtless he was
inspired with as much ardour for the intellectual conflict as Henry
might have experienced on some great field-day with Alexander Farnese.

On this occasion, however, Barneveld preferred to glide gently over the
rumours concerning Henry's schemes.  Those reports had doubtless
emanated, he said, from the enemies of Netherland prosperity.  The
private conclusion of the armistice he defended on the ground of
necessity, and of temporary financial embarrassment, and he promised
that deputies should at once be appointed to confer with the royal
commissioners in regard to the whole subject.

In private, he assured Jeannin that the communications of Aerssens had
only been discussed in secret, and had not been confided to more than
three or four persons.

The Advocate, although the leader of the peace party, was by no means
over anxious for peace.

The object of much insane obloquy, because disposed to secure that
blessing for his country on the basis of freedom and independence, he was
not disposed to trust in the sincerity of the archdukes, or the Spanish
court, or the French king.  "Timeo Danaos etiam dona ferentes," he had
lately said to Aerssens.  Knowing that the resistance of the Netherlands
had been forty years long the bulwark of Europe against the designs of
the Spaniard for universal empire, he believed the republic justified in
expecting the support of the leading powers in the negotiations now
proposed.  "Had it not been for the opposition of these provinces," he
said, "he might, in the opinion of the wisest, have long ago been monarch
of all Europe, with small expense of men, money, or credit."  He was far
from believing therefore that Spain, which had sacrificed, according to
his estimate, three hundred thousand soldiers and two hundred million
ducats in vain endeavours to destroy the resistance of the United
Provinces, was now ready to lay aside her vengeance and submit to a
sincere peace.  Rather he thought to see "the lambkins, now frisking so
innocently about the commonwealth, suddenly transform themselves into
lions and wolves."  It would be a fatal error, he said, to precipitate
the dear fatherland into the net of a simulated negotiation, from unwise
impatience for peace.  The Netherlanders were a simple, truthful people
and could hope for no advantage in dealing with Spanish friars, nor
discover all the danger and deceit lurking beneath their fair words.
Thus the man, whom his enemies perpetually accused of being bought by
the enemy, of wishing peace at any price, of wishing to bring back the
Catholic party and ecclesiastical influence to the Netherlands, was
vigorously denouncing a precipitate peace, and warning his countrymen
of the danger of premature negotiations.

"As one can hardly know the purity and value of gold," he said, "without
testing it, so it is much more difficult to distinguish a false peace
from a genuine one; for one can never touch it nor taste it; and one
learns the difference when one is cheated and lost.  Ignorant people
think peace negotiations as simple as a private lawsuit.  Many sensible
persons even think that; the enemy once recognising us for a free,
sovereign state, we shall be in the same position as England and France,
which powers have lately made peace with the archdukes and with Spain.
But we shall find a mighty difference.  Moreover, in those kingdoms the
Spanish king has since the peace been ever busy corrupting their officers
of state and their subjects, and exciting rebellion and murder within
their realms, as all the world must confess.  And the English merchants
complain that they have suffered more injustice, violence, and wrong from
the Spaniards since the peace than they did during the war."

The Advocate also reminded his countrymen that the archduke, being a
vassal of Spain, could not bind that power by his own signature, and that
there was no proof that the king would renounce his pretended rights to
the provinces.  If he affected to do so, it would only be to put the
republic to sleep.  He referred, with much significance, to the late
proceedings of the Admiral of Arragon at Emmerich, who refused to release
that city according to his plighted word, saying roundly that whatever he
might sign and seal one day he would not hesitate absolutely to violate
on the next if the king's service was thereby to be benefited.

With such people, who had always learned law-doctors and ghostly
confessors to strengthen and to absolve them, they could never expect
anything but broken faith and contempt for treaties however solemnly

Should an armistice be agreed upon and negotiations begun, the Advocate
urged that the work of corruption and bribery would not be a moment
delayed, and although the Netherlanders were above all nations a true and
faithful race, it could hardly be hoped that no individuals would be
gained over by the enemy.

"For the whole country," said Barneveld, "would swarm with Jesuits,
priests, and monks, with calumnies and corruptions--the machinery by
which the enemy is wont to produce discord, relying for success upon the
well-known maxim of Philip of Macedon, who considered no city impregnable
into which he could send an ass laden with gold."

The Advocate was charged too with being unfriendly to the India trade,
especially to the West India Company.

He took the opportunity, however, to enlarge with emphasis and eloquence
upon that traffic as constituting the very lifeblood of the country.

"The commerce with the East Indies is going on so prosperously," he said,
"that not only our own inhabitants but all strangers are amazed.  The
West India Company is sufficiently prepared, and will cost the
commonwealth so little, that the investment will be inconsiderable in
comparison with the profits.  And all our dangers and difficulties have
nearly vanished since the magnificent victory of Gibraltar, by which the
enemy's ships, artillery, and sailors have been annihilated, and proof
afforded that the Spanish galleys are not so terrible as they pretend to
be.  By means of this trade to both the Indies, matters will soon be
brought into such condition that the Spaniards will be driven out of all
those regions and deprived of their traffic.  Thus will the great wolf's
teeth be pulled out, and we need have no farther fear of his biting
again.  Then we may hope for a firm and assured peace, and may keep the
Indies, with the whole navigation thereon depending, for ourselves,
sharing it freely and in common with our allies."

Certainly no statesman could more strongly depict the dangers of a
pusillanimous treaty, and the splendid future of the republic, if she
held fast to her resolve for political independence, free religion, and
free trade, than did the great Advocate at this momentous epoch of
European history.

Had he really dreamed of surrendering the republic to Spain, that
republic whose resistance ever since the middle of the previous century
had been all that had saved Europe, in the opinion of learned and
experienced thinkers, from the universal empire of Spain--had the
calumnies, or even a thousandth part of the calumnies, against him been
true--how different might have been the history of human liberty!

Soon afterwards, in accordance with the suggestions of the French king
and with their own previous intentions, a special legation was despatched
by the States to England, in order to notify the approaching conferences
to the sovereign of that country, and to invite his participation in the

The States' envoys were graciously received by James, who soon appointed
Richard Spencer and Ralph Winwood as commissioners to the Hague, duly
instructed to assist at the deliberations, and especially to keep a sharp
watch upon French intrigues.  There were also missions and invitations to
Denmark and to the Electors Palatine and of Brandenburg, the two latter
potentates having, during the past three years, assisted the States with
a hundred thousand florins annually.

The news of the great victory at Gibraltar had reached the Netherlands
almost simultaneously with the arrival of the French commissioners.
It was thought probable that John Neyen had received the weighty
intelligence some days earlier, and the intense eagerness of the
archdukes and of the Spanish Government to procure the recal of the Dutch
fleet was thus satisfactorily explained.  Very naturally this magnificent
success, clouded though it was by the death of the hero to whom it was
due, increased the confidence of the States in the justice of their cause
and the strength of their position.

Once more, it is not entirely idle to consider the effect of scientific
progress on the march of human affairs, as so often exemplified in
history.  Whether that half-century of continuous war would have been
possible with the artillery, means of locomotion, and other machinery of
destruction and communication now so terribly familiar to the world, can
hardly be a question.  The preterhuman prolixity of negotiation which
appals us in the days when steam and electricity had not yet annihilated
time and space, ought also to be obsolete.  At a period when the news
of a great victory was thirty days on its travels from Gibraltar to
Flushing, aged counsellors justified themselves in a solemn consumption
of time such as might have exasperated Jared or Methuselah in his
boyhood.  Men fought as if war was the normal condition of humanity, and
negotiated as if they were all immortal.  But has the art political kept
pace with the advancement of physical science?  If history be valuable
for the examples it furnishes both for imitation and avoidance, then the
process by which these peace conferences were initiated and conducted may
be wholesome food for reflection.

John Neyen, who, since his secret transactions already described at the
Hague and Fort Lillo, had been speeding back and forth between Brussels,
London, and Madrid, had once more returned to the Netherlands, and had
been permitted to reside privately at Delft until the king's ratification
should arrive from Spain.

While thus established, the industrious friar had occupied his leisure in
studying the situation of affairs.  Especially he had felt inclined to
renew some of those little commercial speculations which had recently
proved so comfortable in the case of Dirk van der Does.  Recorder
Cornelius Aerssens came frequently to visit him, with the private consent
of the Government, and it at once struck the friar that Cornelius would
be a judicious investment.  So he informed the recorder that the
archdukes had been much touched with his adroitness and zeal in
facilitating the entrance of their secret agent into the presence of the
Prince and the Advocate.  Cruwel, in whose company the disguised Neyen
had made his first journey to the Hague, was a near relative of Aerssena,
The honest monk accordingly, in recognition of past and expected
services, begged one day the recorder's acceptance of a bill, drawn by
Marquis Spinola on Henry Beckman, merchant of Amsterdam, for eighty
thousand ducats.  He also produced a diamond ring, valued at ten thousand
florins, which he ventured to think worthy the acceptance of Madame
Aerssens.  Furthermore, he declared himself ready to pay fifteen thousand
crowns in cash, on account of the bill, whenever it might be, desired,
and observed that the archdukes had ordered the house which the recorder
had formerly occupied in Brussels to be reconveyed to him.  Other good
things were in store, it was delicately hinted, as soon as they had been

Aerssens expressed his thanks for the house, which, he said, legally
belonged to him according to the terms of the surrender of Brussels.
He hesitated in regard to the rest, but decided finally to accept the
bill of exchange and the diamond, apprising Prince Maurice and Olden-
Barneveld of the fact, however, on his return to the Hague.  Being
subsequently summoned by Neyen to accept the fifteen thousand crowns,
he felt embarrassed at the compromising position in which he had placed
himself.  He decided accordingly to make a public statement of the affair
to the States-General.  This was done, and the States placed the ring and
the bill in the hands of their treasurer, Joris de Bie.

The recorder never got the eighty thousand ducats, nor his wife the
diamond; but although there had been no duplicity on his part, he got
plenty of slander.  His evil genius had prompted him, not to listen
seriously to the temptings of the monk, but to deal with him on his own
terms.  He was obliged to justify himself against public suspicion with
explanations and pamphlets, but some taint of the calumny stuck by him
to the last.

Meantime, the three months allotted for the reception of Philip's
ratification had nearly expired.  In March, the royal Government had
expressly consented that the archdukes should treat with the rebels on
the ground of their independence.  In June that royal permission had been
withdrawn, exactly because the independence could never be acknowledged.
Albert, naturally enough indignant at such double-dealing, wrote to the
king that his disapprobation was incomprehensible, as the concession of
independence had been made by direct command of Philip.  "I am much
amazed," he said, "that, having treated with the islanders on condition
of leaving them free, by express order of your Majesty (which you must
doubtless very well remember), your Majesty now reproves my conduct, and
declares your dissatisfaction."  At last, on the 23rd July, Spinola
requested a safe conduct for Louis Verreyken, auditor of the council at
Brussels, to come to the Hague.

On the 23rd of July that functionary accordingly arrived.  He came before
Prince Maurice and fifty deputies of the States-General, and exhibited
the document.  At the same time he urged them, now that the long-desired
ratification had been produced, to fulfil at once their promise, and to
recal their fleet from the coast of Spain.

Verreyken was requested to withdraw while the instrument was examined.
When recalled, he was informed that the States had the most staight-
forward intention to negotiate, but that the royal document did not at
all answer their expectation.  As few of the delegates could read
Spanish, it would first of all be necessary to cause it to be translated.

When that was done they would be able to express their opinion concerning
it and come to a decision in regard to the recal of the fleet.  This
ended the proceedings on that occasion.

Next day Prince Maurice invited Verreyken and others to dine.  After
dinner the stadholder informed him that the answer of the States might
soon be expected; at the same time expressing his regret that the king
should have sent such an instrument.  It was very necessary, said the
prince, to have plain speaking, and he, for one, had never believed that
the king would send a proper ratification.  The one exhibited was not at
all to the purpose.  The king was expected to express himself as clearly
as the archdukes had done in their instrument.  He must agree to treat
with the States-General as with people entirely free, over whom he
claimed no authority.  If the king should refuse to make this public
declaration, the States would at once break off all negotiations.

Three days afterwards, seven deputies conferred with Verreyken.
Barneveld, as spokesman, declared that, so far as the provinces were
concerned, the path was plain and open to an honest, ingenuous, lasting
peace, but that the manner of dealing on the other side was artificial
and provocative of suspicion.  A most important line, which had been
placed by the States at the very beginning of the form suggested by them,
was wanting in the ratification now received.  This hardly seemed an
accidental omission.  The whole document was constrained and defective.
It was necessary to deal with Netherlanders in clear and simple language.
The basis of any possible negotiation was that the provinces were to be
treated with as and called entirely free.  Unless this was done
negotiations were impossible.  The States-General were not so unskilled
in affairs as to be ignorant that the king and the archdukes were quite
capable, at a future day, of declaring themselves untrammelled by any
conditions.  They would boast that conventions with rebels and pledges to
heretics were alike invalid.  If Verreyken had brought no better document
than the one presented, he had better go at once.  His stay in the
provinces was superfluous.

At a subsequent interview Barneveld informed Verreyken that the king's
confirmation had been unanimously rejected by the States-General as
deficient both in form and substance.  He added that the people of the
provinces were growing very lukewarm in regard to peace, that Prince
Maurice opposed it, that many persons regretted the length to which the
negotiations had already gone.  Difficult as it seemed to be to recede,
the archdukes might be certain that a complete rupture was imminent.

All these private conversations of Barneveld, who was known to be the
chief of the peace party, were duly reported by Verreyken in secret notes
to the archduke and to Spinola.  Of course they produced their effect.
It surely might have been seen that the tricks and shifts of an
antiquated diplomacy were entirely out of place if any wholesome result
were desired.  But the habit of dissimulation was inveterate.  That the
man who cannot dissemble is unfit to reign, was perhaps the only one of
his father's golden rules which Philip III. could thoroughly comprehend,
even if it be assumed that the monarch was at all consulted in regard to
this most important transaction of his life.  Verreyken and the friar
knew very well when they brought the document that it would be spurned by
the States, and yet they were also thoroughly aware that it was the
king's interest to, begin the negotiations as soon as possible.  When
thus privately and solemnly assured by the Advocate that they were really
wasting their time by being the bearers of these royal evasions, they
learned therefore nothing positively new, but were able to assure their
employers that to thoroughly disgust the peace party was not precisely
the mode of terminating the war.

Verreyken now received public and formal notification that a new
instrument must be procured from the king.  In the ratification which had
been sent, that monarch spoke of the archdukes as princes and sovereign
proprietors of all the Netherlands.  The clause by which, according to
the form prescribed by the States, and already adopted by the archdukes,
the United Provinces were described as free countries over which no
authority was claimed had been calmly omitted, as if, by such a
subterfuge, the independence of the republic could be winked out
of existence.  Furthermore, it was objected that the document was in
Spanish, that it was upon paper instead of parchment, that it was not
sealed with the great, but with the little seal, and that it was

"I the King."  This signature might be very appropriate for decrees
issued by a monarch to his vassals, but could not be rightly appended,
it was urged, to an instrument addressed to a foreign power.  Potentates,
treating with the States-General of the United Provinces, were expected
to sign their names.

Whatever may be thought of the technical requirements in regard to the
parchment, the signature, and the seal, it would be difficult to
characterize too strongly the polity of the Spanish Government in the
most essential point.  To seek relief from the necessity of recognising-
at least in the sense of similitude, according to the subtlety of
Bentivoglio--the freedom of the provinces, simply by running the pen
through the most important line of a most important document, was
diplomacy in its dotage.  Had not Marquis Spinola, a man who could use
his brains and his pen as well as his sword, expressly implored the
politicians of Madrid not to change even a comma in the form of
ratification which he sent to Spain?

Verreyken, placed face to face with plain-spoken, straightforward,
strong-minded men, felt the dreary absurdity of the position.  He
could only stammer a ridiculous excuse about the clause, having been
accidentally left out by a copying secretary.  To represent so important
an omission as a clerical error was almost as great an absurdity as the
original device; but it was necessary for Verreyken to say something.

He promised, however, that the form prescribed by the States should
be again transmitted to Madrid, and expressed confidence that the
ratification would now be sent as desired.  Meantime he trusted that
the fleet would be at once recalled.

This at once created a stormy debate which lasted many days, both within
the walls of the House of Assembly and out of doors.  Prince Maurice
bitterly denounced the proposition, and asserted the necessity rather of
sending out more ships than of permitting their cruisers to return.  It
was well known that the Spanish Government, since the destruction of
Avila's fleet, had been straining every nerve to procure and equip other
war-vessels, and that even the Duke of Lerma had offered a small portion
of his immense plunderings to the crown in aid of naval armaments.

On the other hand, Barneveld urged that the States, in the preliminary
armistice, had already agreed to send no munitions nor reinforcements to
the fleet already cruising on the coasts of the peninsula.  It would be
better, therefore, to recal those ships than to leave them where they
could not be victualled nor strengthened without a violation of good

These opinions prevailed, and on the 9th August, Verreyken was summoned
before the Assembly, and informed by Barneveld that the States had
decided to withdraw the fleet, and to declare invalid all prizes made
six weeks after that date.

This was done, it was said, out of respect to the archdukes, to whom no
blame was imputed for the negligence displayed in regard to the
ratification.  Furthermore, the auditor was requested to inform his
masters that the documents brought from Spain were not satisfactory, and
he was furnished with a draught, made both in Latin and French.  With
this form, it was added, the king was to comply within six weeks, if he
desired to proceed further in negotiations with the States.

Verreyken thanked the States-General, made the best of promises, and
courteously withdrew.

Next day, however, just as his preparations for departure had been made,
he was once more summoned before the Assembly to meet with a somewhat
disagreeable surprise.  Barneveld, speaking as usual in behalf of the
States-General, publicly produced Spinola's bill of exchange for eighty
thousand ducats, the diamond ring intended for Madame Aerssens, and the
gold chain given to Dirk van der Does, and expressed the feelings of the
republican Government in regard to those barefaced attempts of Friar John
at bribery and corruption, in very scornful language?  Netherlanders were
not to be bought--so the agent of Spain and of the archdukes was
informed--and, even if the citizens were venal, it would be necessary
in a popular Government to buy up the whole nation.  "It is not in our
commonwealth as in despotisms," said the Advocate, "where affairs of
state are directed by the nod of two or three individuals, while the
rest of the inhabitants are a mob of slaves.  By turns, we all govern
and are governed.  This great council, this senate--should it seem not
sufficiently fortified against your presents-could easily be enlarged.
Here is your chain, your ring, your banker's draught.  Take them all back
to your masters.  Such gifts are not necessary to ensure a just peace,
while to accept them would be a crime against liberty, which we are
incapable of committing."

Verreyken, astonished and abashed, could answer little save to mutter a
few words about the greediness of monks, who, judging everyone else by
themselves, thought no one inaccessible to a bribe.  He protested the
innocence of the archdukes in the matter, who had given no directions to
bribe, and who were quite ignorant that the attempt had been made.

He did not explain by whose authority the chain, the ring, and the
draught upon Beckman had been furnished to the friar.

Meantime that ecclesiastic was cheerfully wending his way to Spain in
search of the new ratification, leaving his colleague vicariously to
bide the pelting of the republican storm, and to return somewhat
weather-beaten to Brussels.

During the suspension, thus ridiculously and gratuitously caused, of
preliminaries which had already lasted the better portion of a year,
party-spirit was rising day by day higher, and spreading more widely
throughout the provinces.  Opinions and sentiments were now sharply
defined and loudly announced.  The clergy, from a thousand pulpits,
thundered against the peace, exposing the insidious practices, the
faithless promises, the monkish corruptions, by which the attempt was
making to reduce the free republic once more into vassalage to Spain.
The people everywhere listened eagerly and applauded.  Especially the
mariners, cordwainers, smiths, ship-chandlers, boatmen, the tapestry
weavers, lace-manufacturers, shopkeepers, and, above all, the India
merchants and stockholders in the great commercial companies for the East
and West, lifted up their voices for war.  This was the party of Prince
Maurice, who made no secret of his sentiments, and opposed, publicly and
privately, the resumption of negotiations.  Doubtless his adherents were
the most numerous portion of the population.

Barneveld, however, was omnipotent with the municipal governments, and
although many individuals in those bodies were deeply interested in the
India navigation and the great corporations, the Advocate turned them as
usual around his finger.

Ever since the memorable day of Nieuport there had been no love lost
between the stadholder and the Advocate.  They had been nominally
reconciled to each other, and had, until lately, acted with tolerable
harmony, but each was thoroughly conscious of the divergence of their
respective aims.

Exactly at this period the long-smothered resentment of Maurice against
his old preceptor, counsellor, and, as he believed, betrayer, flamed
forth anew.  He was indignant that a man, so infinitely beneath him in
degree, should thus dare to cross his plans, to hazard, as he believed,
the best interests of the state, and to interfere with the course of his
legitimate ambition.  There was more glory for a great soldier to earn in
future battle-fields, a higher position before the world to be won.  He
had a right by birth, by personal and family service, to claim admittance
among the monarchs of Europe.  The pistol of Balthasar Gerard had alone
prevented the elevation of his father to the sovereignty of the
provinces.  The patents, wanting only a few formalities, were still in
possession of the son.  As the war went on--and nothing but blind belief
in Spanish treachery could cause the acceptance of a peace which would be
found to mean slavery--there was no height to which he might not climb.
With the return of peace and submission, his occupation would be gone,
obscurity and poverty the sole recompense for his life long services and
the sacrifices of his family.  The memory of the secret movements twice
made but a few years before to elevate him to the sovereignty, and which
he believed to have been baffled by the Advocate, doubtless rankled in
his breast.  He did not forget that when the subject had been discussed
by the favourers of the scheme in Barneveld's own house, Barneveld
himself had prophesied that one day or another "the rights would burst
out which his Excellency had to become prince of the provinces, on
strength of the signed and sealed documents addressed to the late Prince
of Orange; that he had further alluded to the efforts then on foot to
make him Duke of Gelderland; adding with a sneer, that Zeeland was all
agog on the subject, while in that province there were individuals very
desirous of becoming children of Zebedee."

Barneveld, on his part, although accustomed to speak in public of his
Excellency Prince Maurice in terms of profoundest respect, did not fail
to communicate in influential quarters his fears that the prince was
inspired by excessive ambition, and that he desired to protract the war,
not for the good of the commonwealth, but for the attainment of greater
power in the state.  The envoys of France, expressly instructed on that
subject by the king, whose purposes would be frustrated if the ill-blood
between these eminent personages could not be healed, did their best to
bring about a better understanding, but with hardly more than an apparent

Once more there were stories flying about that the stadholder had called
the Advocate liar, and that he had struck him or offered to strike him--
tales as void of truth, doubtless, as those so rife after the battle of
Nieuport, but which indicated the exasperation which existed.

When the news of the rejection of the King's ratification reached Madrid,
the indignation of the royal conscience-keepers was vehement.

That the potentate of so large a portion of the universe should be
treated by those lately his subjects with less respect than that due from
equals to equals, seemed intolerable.  So thoroughly inspired, however,
was the king by the love of religion and the public good--as he informed
Marquis Spinola by letter--and so intense was his desire for the
termination of that disastrous war, that he did not hesitate indulgently
to grant what had been so obstinately demanded.  Little was to be
expected, he said, from the stubbornness of the provinces, and from their
extraordinary manner of transacting business, but looking, nevertheless,
only to divine duty, and preferring its dictates to a selfish regard for
his own interests, he had resolved to concede that liberty to the
provinces which had been so importunately claimed.  He however imposed
the condition that the States should permit free and public exercise of
the Catholic religion throughout their territories, and that so long as
such worship was unobstructed, so long and no longer should the liberty
now conceded to the provinces endure.

"Thus did this excellent prince," says an eloquent Jesuit, "prefer
obedience to the Church before subjection to himself, and insist that
those, whom he emancipated from his own dominions, should still be loyal
to the sovereignty of the Pope."

Friar John, who had brought the last intelligence from the Netherlands,
might have found it difficult, if consulted, to inform the king how many
bills of exchange would be necessary to force this wonderful condition on
the Government of the provinces.  That the republic should accept that
liberty as a boon which she had won with the red right hand, and should
establish within her domains as many agents for Spanish reaction as
there were Roman priests, monks, and Jesuits to be found, was not very
probable.  It was not thus nor then that the great lesson of religious
equality and liberty for all men--the inevitable result of the Dutch
revolt--was to be expounded.  The insertion of such a condition in the
preamble to a treaty with a foreign power would have been a desertion on
the part of the Netherlands of the very principle of religious or civil

The monk, however, had convinced the Spanish Government that in six
months after peace had been made the States would gladly accept the
dominion of Spain once more, or, at the very least, would annex
themselves to the obedient Netherlands under the sceptre of the

Secondly, he assured the duke that they would publicly and totally
renounce all connection with France.

Thirdly, he pledged himself that the exercise of the Catholic religion
would be as free as that of any other creed.

And the duke of Lerma believed it all: such and no greater was his
capacity for understanding the course of events which he imagined himself
to be directing.  Certainly Friar John did not believe what he said.

"Master Monk is not quite so sure of his stick as he pretends to be,"
said Secretary-of-State Villeroy.  Of course, no one knew better the
absurdity of those assurances than Master Monk himself.

"It may be that he has held such language," said Jeannin, "in order to
accomplish his object in Spain.  But 'tis all dreaming and moonshine,
which one should laugh at rather than treat seriously.  These people here
mean to be sovereign for ever and will make no peace except on that
condition.  This grandeur and vanity have entered so deeply into their
brains that they will be torn into little pieces rather than give it up."

Spinola, as acute a politician as he was a brilliant commander, at once
demonstrated to his Government the impotence of such senile attempts.
No definite agreements could be made, he wrote, except by a general
convention.  Before a treaty of peace, no permission would be given by
the States to the public exercise of the Catholic religion, for fear of
giving offence to what were called the Protestant powers.  Unless they
saw the proper ratification they would enter into no negotiations at all.
When the negotiations had produced a treaty, the Catholic worship might
be demanded.  Thus peace might be made, and the desired conditions
secured, or all parties would remain as they had been.

The Spanish Government replied by sending a double form of ratification.
It would not have been the Spanish Government, had one simple,
straightforward document been sent.  Plenty of letters came at the same
time, triumphantly refuting the objections and arguments of the States-
General.  To sign "Yo el Rey" had been the custom of the king's ancestors
in dealing with foreign powers.  Thus had Philip II. signed the treaty of
Vervins.  Thus had the reigning king confirmed the treaty of Vervins.
Thus had he signed the recent treaty with England as well as other
conventions with other potentates.  If the French envoys at the Hague
said the contrary they erred from ignorance or from baser reasons.  The
provinces could not be declared free until Catholic worship was conceded.
The donations must be mutual and simultaneous and the States would gain a
much more stable and diuturnal liberty, founded not upon a simple
declaration, but lawfully granted them as a compensation for a just and
pious work performed.  To this end the king sent ratification number one
in which his sentiments were fully expressed.  If, however, the provinces
were resolved not to defer the declaration so ardently desired and to
refuse all negotiation until they had received it, then ratification
number two, therewith sent and drawn up in the required form, might be
used.  It was, however, to be exhibited but not delivered.  The provinces
would then see the clemency with which they were treated by the king, and
all the world might know that it was not his fault if peace were not

Thus the politicians of Madrid; speaking in the name of their august
sovereign and signing "Yo el Rey" for him without troubling him even to
look at the documents.

When these letters arrived, the time fixed by the States for accepting
the ratification had run out, and their patience was well-nigh exhausted.
The archduke held council with Spinola, Verreyken, Richardot, and others,
and it was agreed that ratification number two, in which the Catholic
worship was not mentioned, should be forthwith sent to the States.
Certainly no other conclusion could have been reached, and it was
fortunate that a lucid interval in the deliberations of the 'lunati ceat'
Madrid had furnished the archduke with an alternative.  Had it been
otherwise and had number one been presented, with all the accompanying
illustrations, the same dismal comedy might have gone on indefinitely
until the Dutchmen hissed it away and returned to their tragic business
once more.

On the 25th October, Friar John and Verreyken came before the States-
General, more than a hundred members being present, besides Prince
Maurice and Count Lewis William.

The monk stated that he had faithfully represented to his Majesty at
Madrid the sincere, straightforward, and undissembling proceedings of
their lordships in these negotiations.  He had also explained the
constitution of their Government and had succeeded in obtaining from his
royal Majesty the desired ratification, after due deliberation with the
council.  This would now give the assurance of a firm and durable peace,
continued Neyen, even if his Majesty should come one day to die--being
mortal.  Otherwise, there might be inconveniences to fear.  Now, however,
the document was complete in all its parts, so far as regarded what was
principal and essential, and in conformity with the form transmitted by
the States-General.  "God the Omnipotent knows," proceeded the friar,
"how sincere is my intention in this treaty of peace as a means of
delivering the Netherlands from the miseries of war, as your lordships
will perceive by the form of the agreement, explaining itself and making
manifest its pure and undissembling intentions, promising nothing and
engaging to nothing which will not be effectually performed.  This would
not be the case if his Majesty were proceeding by finesse or deception.
The ratification might be nakedly produced as demanded, without any other
explanation.  But his Majesty, acting in good faith, has now declared his
last determination in order to avoid anything that might be disputed at
some future day, as your lordships will see more amply when the auditor
has exhibited the document."

When the friar had finished Verreyken spoke.

He reminded them of the proofs already given by the archdukes of their
sincere desire to change the long and sanguinary war into a good and
assured peace.  Their lordships the States had seen how liberally,
sincerely, and roundly their Highnesses had agreed to all demands and had
procured the ratification of his Majesty, even although nothing had been
proposed in that regard at the beginning of the negotiations.

He then produced the original document, together with two copies, one in
French the other in Flemish, to be carefully collated by the States.

"It is true," said the auditor, "that the original is not made out in
Latin nor in French as your lordships demanded, but in Spanish, and in
the same form and style as used by his Majesty in treating with all the
kings, potentates, and republics of Christendom.  To tell you the truth,
it has seemed strange that there should be a wish to make so great and
puissant a king change his style, such demand being contrary to all
reason and equity, and more so as his Majesty is content with the style
which your lordships have been pleased to adopt."

The ratification was then exhibited.

It set forth that Don Philip, by grace of God King of Castile, Leon,
Arragon, the Two Sicilies, Portugal, Navarre, and of fourteen or fifteen
other European realms duly enumerated; King of the Eastern and Western
Indies and of the continents on terra firma adjacent, King of Jerusalem,
Archduke of Antioch, Duke of Burgundy, and King of the Ocean, having seen
that the archdukes were content to treat with the States-General of the
United Provinces in quality of, and as holding them for, countries,
provinces, and free states over which they pretended to no authority;
either by way of a perpetual peace or for a truce or suspension of arms
for twelve, fifteen, or twenty years, at the choice of the said States,
and knowing that the said most serene archdukes had promised to deliver
the king's ratification; had, after ripe deliberation with his council,
and out of his certain wisdom and absolute royal power, made the present
declarations, similar to the one made by the archdukes, for the
accomplishment of the said promise so far as it concerned him:

"And we principally declare," continued the King of Spain, Jerusalem,
America, India, and the Ocean, "that we are content that in our name, and
on our part, shall be treated with the said States in the quality of, and
as held by us for, free countries, provinces, and states, over which we
make no pretensions.  Thus we approve and ratify every point of the said
agreement, promising on faith and word of a king to guard and accomplish
it as entirely as if we had consented to it from the beginning."

"But we declare," said the king, in conclusion, "that if the treaty for a
peace or a truce of many years, by which the pretensions of both parties
are to be arranged--as well in the matter of religion as all the surplus
--shall not be concluded, then this ratification shall be of no effect
and as if it never had been made and, in virtue of it, we are not to lose
a single point of our right, nor the United Provinces to acquire one, but
things are to remain, so far as regards the rights of the two parties,
exactly as they what to each shall seem best."

Such were the much superfluous verbiage lopped away--which had been
signed "I the King" at Madrid on the 18th September, and the two copies
of which were presented to the States-General on the 25th October, the
commissioners retaining the original.

The papers were accepted, with a few general commonplaces by Barneveld
meaning nothing, and an answer was promised after a brief delay.

A committee of seven, headed by the Advocate as chairman and spokesman,
held a conference with the ambassadors of France and England, at four
o'clock in the afternoon of the same day and another at ten o'clock next

The States were not very well pleased with the ratification.  What
especially moved their discontent was the concluding clause, according to
which it was intimated that if the pretensions of Spain in regard to
religion were not fulfilled in the final treaty, the ratification was
waste-paper and the king would continue to claim all his rights.

How much more loudly would they have vociferated, could they have looked
into Friar John's wallet and have seen ratification number one!  Then
they would have learned that, after nearly a year of what was called
negotiation, the king had still meant to demand the restoration of the
Catholic worship before he would even begin to entertain the little
fiction that the provinces were free.

As to the signature, the paper, and the Spanish language, those were
minor matters.  Indeed, it is difficult to say why the King of Spain
should not issue a formal document in Spanish.  It is doubtful whether,
had he taken a fancy to read it, he could have understood it in any other
tongue.  Moreover, Spanish would seem the natural language for Spanish
state-papers.  Had he, as King of Jerusalem, America, or India, chosen
the Hebrew, Aztec, or Sanscrit, in his negotiations with the United
Provinces, there might have been more cause for dissatisfaction.

Jeannin, who was of course the leading spirit among the foreign
members of the conference, advised the acceptance of the ratification.
Notwithstanding the technical objections to its form, he urged that in
substance it was in sufficient conformity to the draught furnished by the
States.  Nothing could be worse, in his opinion, for the provinces than
to remain any longer suspended between peace and war.  They would do
well, therefore, to enter upon negotiations so soon as they had agreed
among themselves upon three points.

They must fix the great indispensable terms which they meant to hold,
and from which no arguments would ever induce them to recede.  Thus they
would save valuable time and be spared much frivolous discourse.

Next, they ought to establish a good interior government.

Thirdly, they should at once arrange their alliances and treaties with
foreign powers, in order to render the peace to be negotiated a durable

As to the first and second of these points, the Netherlanders needed no
prompter.  They had long ago settled the conditions without which they
would make no treaty at all, and certainly it was not the States-General
that had thus far been frivolously consuming time.

As to the form of government, defective though it was, the leaders of the
republic knew very well in whose interests such sly allusions to their
domestic affairs were repeatedly ventured by the French envoys.  In
regard to treaties with foreign powers it was, of course, most desirable
for the republic to obtain the formal alliance of France and England.
Jeannin and his colleagues were ready to sign such a treaty, offensive
and defensive, at once, but they found it impossible to induce the
English ambassadors, with whom there was a conference on the 26th
October, to come into any written engagement on the subject.  They
expressed approbation of the plan individually and in words, but
deemed it best to avoid any protocol, by which their sovereign could
be implicated in a promise.  Should the negotiations for peace be broken
off, it would be time enough to make a treaty to protect the provinces.
Meantime, they ought to content themselves with the general assurance,
already given them, that in case of war the monarchs of France and
England would not abandon them, but would provide for their safety,
either by succour or in some other way, so that they would be placed out
of danger.

Such promises were vague without being magnificent, and, as James had
never yet lifted his finger to assist the provinces, while indulging them
frequently with oracular advice, it could hardly be expected that either
the French envoys or the States-General would reckon very confidently on
assistance from Great Britain, should war be renewed with Spain.

On the whole, it was agreed to draw up a paper briefly stating the
opinion of the French and English plenipotentiaries that the provinces
would do well to accept the ratification.

The committee of the States, with Barneveld as chairman, expressed
acquiescence, but urged that they could not approve the clause in that
document concerning religion.  It looked as if the King of Spain wished
to force them to consent by treaty that the Catholic religion should be
re-established in their country.  As they were free and sovereign,
however, and so recognised by himself, it was not for him to meddle
with such matters.  They foresaw that this clause would create
difficulties when the whole matter should be referred to the separate
provinces, and that it would, perhaps, cause the entire rejection of the

The envoys, through the voice of Jeannin, remonstrated against such a
course.  After all, the objectionable clause, it was urged, should be
considered only as a demand which the king was competent to make and it
was not reasonable, they said, for the States to shut his mouth and
prevent him from proposing what he thought good to propose.

On the other hand, they were not obliged to acquiesce in the proposition.
In truth, it would be more expedient that the States themselves should
grant this grace to the Catholics, thus earning their gratitude, rather
than that it should be inserted in the treaty.

A day or two later there was an interview between the French envoys and
Count Lewis William, for whose sage, dispassionate, and upright character
they had all a great respect.  It was their object--in obedience to the
repeated instructions of the French king--to make use of his great
influence over Prince Maurice in favour of peace.  It would be better,
they urged, that the stadholder should act more in harmony with the
States than he had done of late, and should reflect that, the
ratification being good, there was really no means of preventing a peace,
except in case the King of Spain should refuse the conditions necessary
for securing it.  The prince would have more power by joining with the
States than in opposing them.  Count Lewis expressed sympathy with these
views, but feared that Maurice would prefer that the ratification should
not be accepted until the states of the separate provinces had been
heard; feeling convinced that several of those bodies would reject that
instrument on account of the clause relating to religion.

Jeannin replied that such a course would introduce great discord into
the provinces, to the profit of the enemy, and that the King of France
himself--so far from being likely to wish the ratification rejected
because of the clause--would never favour the rupture of negotiations
if it came on account of religion.  He had always instructed them to use
their efforts to prevent any division among the States, as sure to lead
to their ruin.  He would certainly desire the same stipulation as the one
made by the King of Spain, and would support rather than oppose the
demand thus made, in order to content the Catholics.  To be sure, he
would prefer that the States should wisely make this provision of their
own accord rather than on the requisition of Spain, but a rupture of the
pending negotiations from the cause suggested would be painful to him and
very damaging to his character at Rome.

On the 2nd November the States-General gave their formal answer to the
commissioners, in regard to the ratification.

That instrument, they observed, not only did not agree with the form as
promised by the archdukes in language and style, but also in regard to
the seal, and to the insertion and omission of several words.  On this
account, and especially by reason of the concluding clause, there might
be inferred the annulment of the solemn promise made in the body of the
instrument.  The said king and archdukes knew very well that these
States-General of free countries and provinces, over which the king and
archdukes pretended to no authority, were competent to maintain order in
all things regarding the good constitution and government of their land
and its inhabitants.  On this subject, nothing could be pretended or
proposed on the part of the king and archdukes without, violation of
formal and solemn promises.

"Nevertheless," continued the States-General, "in order not to retard a
good work, already begun, for the purpose of bringing the United
Provinces out of a long and bloody war into a Christian and assured
peace, the letters of ratification will be received in respect that
they contain the declaration, on part of both the king and the archdukes,
that they will treat for a peace or a truce of many years with the
States-General of the United Provinces, in quality of, and as holding
them to be, free countries, provinces, and states, over which they make
no pretensions."

It was further intimated, however, that the ratification was only
received for reference to the estates of each of the provinces, and it
was promised that, within six weeks, the commissioners should be informed
whether the provinces would consent or refuse to treat.  It was moreover
declared that, neither at that moment nor at any future time, could any
point in the letters of ratification be accepted which, directly or
indirectly, might be interpreted as against that essential declaration
and promise in regard to the freedom of the provinces.  In case the
decision should be taken to enter into negotiation upon the basis of that
ratification, or any other that might meantime arrive from Spain, then
firm confidence was expressed by the States that, neither on the part of
the king nor that of the archdukes would there be proposed or pretended,
in contravention of that promise, any point touching the good
constitution, welfare, state, or government of the United Provinces,
and of the inhabitants.  The hope was furthermore expressed that, within
ten days after the reception of the consent of the States to treat,
commissioners would be sent by the archdukes to the Hague, fully
authorised and instructed to declare, roundly their intentions, in order
to make short work of the whole business.  In that case, the States would
duly authorize and instruct commissioners to act in their behalf.

Thus in the answer especial warning was given against any possible
attempt to interfere with the religious question.  The phraseology could
not be mistaken.

At this stage of the proceedings, the States demanded that the original
instrument of ratification should be deposited with them.  The two
commissioners declared that they were without power to consent to this.
Hereupon the Assembly became violent, and many members denounced the
refusal as equivalent to breaking off the negotiations.  Everything
indicated, so it was urged, a desire on the Spanish side to spin delays
out of delays, and, meantime, to invent daily some new trap for
deception.  Such was the vehemence upon this point that the industrious
Franciscan posted back to Brussels, and returned with the archduke's
permission to deliver the document.  Three conditions, however, were laid
down.  The States must give a receipt for the ratification.  They must
say in that receipt that the archdukes, in obtaining the paper from
Spain, had fulfilled their original promise.  If peace should not be
made, they were to return the document.

When these conditions were announced, the indignation of the republican
Government at the trifling of their opponents was fiercer than ever.  The
discrepancies between the form prescribed and the ratification obtained
had always been very difficult of digestion, but, although willing to
pass them by, the States stoutly refused to accept the document on these

Tooth and nail Verreyken and Neyen fought out the contest and were
worsted.  Once more the nimble friar sped back and forth between the
Hague and his employer's palace, and at last, after tremendous
discussions in cabinet council, the conditions were abandoned.

"Nobody can decide," says the Jesuit historian, "which was greater--the
obstinacy of the federal Government in screwing out of the opposite party
everything it deemed necessary, or the indulgence of the archdukes in
making every possible concession."

Had these solemn tricksters of an antiquated school perceived that, in
dealing with men who meant what they said and said what they meant, all
these little dilatory devices were superfluous, perhaps the wholesome
result might have sooner been reached.  In a contest of diplomacy against
time it generally happens that time is the winner, and on this occasion,
time and the republic were fighting on the same side.

On the 13th December the States-General re-assembled at the Hague, the
separate provinces having in the interval given fresh instructions to
their representatives.  It was now decided that no treaty should be made,
unless the freedom of the commonwealth was recognized in phraseology
which, after consultation with the foreign ambassadors, should be deemed
satisfactory.  Farther it was agreed that, neither in ecclesiastical nor
secular matters, should any conditions be accepted which could be
detrimental to freedom.  In case the enemy should strive for the
contrary, the world would be convinced that he alone was responsible for
the failure of the peace negotiations.  Then, with the support of other
powers friendly to the republic, hostilities could be resumed in such a
manner as to ensure a favourable issue for an upright cause.

The armistice, begun on the 4th of May, was running to an end, and it was
now renewed at the instance of the States.  That Government, moreover, on
the 23rd December formally notified to the archdukes that, trusting to
their declarations, and to the statements of Neyen and Verreyken, it was
willing to hold conferences for peace.  Their Highnesses were accordingly
invited to appoint seven or eight commissioners at once, on the same
terms as formally indicated.

The original understanding had been that no envoys but Netherlanders
should come from Brussels for these negotiations.

Barneveld and the peace party, however, were desirous that Spinola, who
was known to be friendly to a pacific result, should be permitted to form
part of the mission.  Accordingly the letters, publicly drawn up in the
Assembly, adhered to the original arrangement, but Barneveld, with the
privity of other leading personages, although without the knowledge of
Maurice, Lewis William, and the State-Council, secretly enclosed a little
note in the principal despatch to Neyen and Verreyken.  In this billet
it was intimated that, notwithstanding the prohibition in regard to
foreigners, the States were willing--it having been proposed that one or
two who were not Netherlanders should be sent--that a single Spaniard,
provided he were not one of the principal military commanders, should
make part of the embassy.

The phraseology had a double meaning.  Spinola was certainly the chief
military commander, but he was not a Spaniard.  This eminent personage
might be supposed to have thus received permission to come to the
Netherlands, despite all that had been urged by the war-party against the
danger incurred, in case of a renewal of hostilities, by admitting so
clear-sighted an enemy into the heart of the republic.  Moreover, the
terms of the secret note would authorize the appointment of another
foreigner--even a Spaniard--while the crafty president Richardot might
creep into the commission, on the ground that, being a Burgundian, he
might fairly call himself a Netherlander.

And all this happened.

Thus, after a whole year of parley, in which the States-General had held
firmly to their original position, while the Spanish Government had crept
up inch by inch, and through countless windings and subterfuges, to the
point on which they might have all stood together at first, and thus have
saved a twelvemonth, it was finally settled that peace conferences should

Barneveld had carried the day.  Maurice and his cousin Lewis William had
uniformly, deliberately, but not factiously, used all their influence
against any negotiations.  The prince had all along loudly expressed his
conviction that neither the archdukes nor Spain would ever be brought to
an honourable peace.  The most to be expected of them was a truce of
twelve or fifteen years, to which his consent at least should never be
given, and during which cessation of hostilities, should it be accorded,
every imaginable effort would be made to regain by intrigue what the king
had lost by the sword.   As for the King of England and his counsellors,
Maurice always denounced them as more Spanish than Spaniards, as doing
their best to put themselves on the most intimate terms with his Catholic
Majesty, and as secretly desirous--insane policy as it seemed--of forcing
the Netherlands back again under the sceptre of that monarch.

He had at first been supported in his position by the French ambassadors,
who had felt or affected disinclination for peace, but who had
subsequently, thrown the whole of their own and their master's influence
on the side of Barneveld.  They had done their best--and from time to
time they had been successful--to effect at least a superficial
reconciliation between those two influential personages.  They had
employed all the arguments at their disposal to bring the prince over to
the peace party.  Especially they had made use of the 'argumentum ad
crumenam,' which that veteran broker in politics, Jeannin, had found so
effective in times past with the great lords of the League.  But Maurice
showed himself so proof against the golden inducements suggested by the
President that he and his king both arrived at the conclusion that there
were secret motives at work, and that Maurice was not dazzled by the
brilliant prospects held out to him by Henry, only because his eyes were
stedfastly fixed upon some unknown but splendid advantage, to be gained
through other combinations.  It was naturally difficult for Henry to
imagine the possibility of a man, playing a first part in the world's
theatre, being influenced by so weak a motive as conviction.

Lewis William too--that "grave and wise young man," as Lord Leicester
used to call him twenty years before--remained steadily on the side of
the prince.  Both in private conversation and in long speeches to the
States-General, he maintained that the Spanish court was incapable of
sincere negotiations with the commonwealth, that to break faith with
heretics and rebels would always prove the foundation of its whole
policy, and that to deceive them by pretences of a truce or a treaty, and
to triumph afterwards over the results of its fraud, was to be expected
as a matter of course.

Sooner would the face of nature be changed than the cardinal maxim of
Catholic statesmanship be abandoned.

But the influence of the Nassaus, of the province of Zeeland,
of the clergy, and of the war-party in general, had been overbalanced by
Barneveld and the city corporations, aided by the strenuous exertions of
the French ambassadors.

The decision of the States-General was received with sincere joy at
Brussels.  The archdukes had something to hope from peace, and little but
disaster and ruin to themselves from a continuance of the war.  Spinola
too was unaffectedly in favour of negotiations.  He took the ground that
the foreign enemies of Spain, as well as her pretended friends, agreed in
wishing her to go on with the war, and that this ought to open her eyes
as to the expediency of peace.  While there was a general satisfaction in
Europe that the steady exhaustion of her strength in this eternal contest
made her daily less and less formidable to other nations, there were on
the other hand puerile complaints at court that the conditions prescribed
by impious and insolent rebels to their sovereign were derogatory to the
dignity of monarchy.  The spectacle of Spain sending ambassadors to the
Hague to treat for peace, on the basis of Netherland independence, would
be a humiliation such as had never been exhibited before.  That the
haughty confederation should be allowed thus to accomplish its ends, to
trample down all resistance to its dictation, and to defy the whole world
by its insults to the Church and to the sacred principle, of monarchy,
was most galling to Spanish pride.  Spinola, as a son of Italy, and not
inspired by the fervent hatred to Protestantism which was indigenous to
the other peninsula, steadily resisted those arguments.  None knew better
than he the sternness of the stuff out of which that republic was made,
and he felt that now or never was the time to treat, even as, five years
before, 'jam ant nunquam' had been inscribed on his banner outside
Ostend.  But he protested that his friends gave him even harder work than
his enemies had ever done, and he stoutly maintained that a peace against
which all the rivals of Spain seemed to have conspired from fear of
seeing her tranquil and disembarrassed, must be advantageous to Spain.
The genial and quick-wined Genoese could not see and hear all the secret
letters and private conversations of Henry and James and their
ambassadors, and he may be pardoned for supposing that, notwithstanding
all the crooked and incomprehensible politics of Greenwich and Paris, the
serious object of both England and France was to prolong the war.  In his
most private correspondence he expressed great doubts as to a favourable
issue to the pending conferences, but avowed his determination that if
they should fail it would be from no want of earnest effort on his part
to make them succeed.  It should never be said that he preferred his own
private advantage to the duty of serving the best interests of the crown.

Meantime the India trade, which was to form the great bone of contention
in the impending conferences, had not been practically neglected of late
by the enterprising Hollanders.  Peter Verhoeff, fresh from the victory
of Gibraltar, towards which he had personally so much contributed by the
splendid manner in which he had handled the AEolus after the death of
Admiral Heemskerk, was placed in command of a fleet to the East Indies,
which was to sail early in the spring.

Admiral Matelieff, who had been cruising in those seas during the three
years past, was now on his way home.  His exploits had been worthy the
growing fame of the republican navy.  In the summer of 1606 he had laid
siege to the town and fortress of Malacca, constructed by the Portuguese
at the southmost extremity of the Malay peninsula.  Andreas Hurtado de
Mendoza commanded the position, with a force of three thousand men, among
whom were many Indians.  The King or Sultan of Johore, at the south-
eastern extremity of the peninsula, remained faithful to his Dutch
allies, and accepted the proposition of Matelieff to take part in the
hostilities now begun.  The admiral's fleet consisted of eleven small
ships, with fourteen hundred men.  It was not exactly a military
expedition.  To the sailors of each ship were assigned certain shares of
the general profits, and as it was obvious that more money was likely to
be gained by trade with the natives, or by the capture of such stray
carracks and other, merchantmen of the enemy as were frequently to be met
in these regions, the men were not particularly eager to take part in
sieges of towns or battles with cruisers.  Matelieff, however, had
sufficient influence over his comrades to inflame their zeal on this
occasion for the fame of the republic, and to induce them to give the
Indian princes and the native soldiery a lesson in Batavian warfare.

A landing was effected on the peninsula, the sailors and guns were
disembarked, and an imposing auxiliary force, sent, according to promise,
after much delay, by the Sultan of Johore, proceeded to invest Malacca.
The ground proved wet, swampy, and impracticable for trenches, galleries,
covered ways, and all the other machinery of a regular siege.  Matelieff
was not a soldier nor a naval commander by profession, but a merchant-
skipper, like so many other heroes whose achievements were to be the
permanent glory of their fatherland.  He would not, however, have been a
Netherlander had he not learned something of the science which Prince
Maurice had so long been teaching, not only to his own countrymen but
to the whole world.  So moveable turrets, constructed of the spice-trees
which grew in rank luxuriance all around, were filled with earth and
stones, and advanced towards the fort.  Had the natives been as docile to
learn as the Hollanders were eager to teach a few easy lessons in the
military art, the doom of Andreas Hurtado de Mendoza would have been
sealed.  But the great truths which those youthful pedants, Maurice and
Lewis William, had extracted twenty years before from the works of the
Emperor Leo and earlier pagans, amid the jeers of veterans, were not easy
to transplant to the Malayan peninsula.

It soon proved that those white-turbaned, loose-garmented, supple
jointed, highly-picturesque troops of the sultan were not likely to
distinguish themselves for anything but wonderful rapidity in retreat.
Not only did they shrink from any advance towards the distant forts, but
they were incapable of abiding an attack within or behind their towers,
and, at every random shot from the enemy's works, they threw down their
arms and fled from their stations in dismay.  It was obvious enough that
the conquest and subjugation of such feeble warriors by the Portuguese
and Spaniards were hardly to be considered brilliant national trophies.
They had fallen an easy prey to the first European invader.  They had no
discipline, no obedience, no courage; and Matelieff soon found that to
attempt a scientific siege with such auxiliaries against a well-
constructed stone fortress, garrisoned with three thousand troops,
under an experienced Spanish soldier, was but midsummer madness.

Fevers and horrible malaria, bred by the blazing sun of the equator out
of those pestilential jungles, poisoned the atmosphere.  His handful of
troops, amounting to not much more than a hundred men to each of his
ships, might melt away before his eyes.  Nevertheless, although it was
impossible for him to carry the place by regular approach, he would not
abandon the hope of reducing it by famine.  During four months long,
accordingly, he kept every avenue by land or sea securely invested.  In
August, however, the Spanish viceroy of India, Don Alphonso de Castro,
made his appearance on the scene.  Coming from Goa with a splendid fleet,
numbering fourteen great galleons, four galleys, and sixteen smaller
vessels, manned by three thousand seven hundred Portuguese and other
Europeans, and an equal number of native troops, he had at first directed
his course towards Atchen, on the north-west point of Sumatra.  Here,
with the magnificent arrogance which Spanish and Portuguese viceroys were
accustomed to manifest towards the natives of either India, he summoned
the king to surrender his strongholds, to assist in constructing a
fortress for the use of his conquerors, to deliver up all the
Netherlanders within his domains, and to pay the expenses of the
expedition which had thus been sent to chastise him.  But the King of
Atchen had not sent ambassadors into the camp of Prince Maurice before
the city of Grave in vain.  He had learned that there were other white
skins besides the Spaniards at the antipodes, and that the republic whose
achievements in arts and arms were conspicuous trophies of Western
civilization, was not, as it had been represented to him, a mere nest of
pirates.  He had learned to prefer an alliance with Holland to slavery
under Spain.  Moreover, he had Dutch engineers and architects in his
service, and a well-constructed system of Dutch fortifications around his
capital.  To the summons to surrender himself and his allies he returned
a defiant answer.  The viceroy ordered an attack upon the city.  One fort
was taken.  From before the next he was repulsed with great loss.  The
Sumatrans had derived more profit from intercourse with Europeans than
the inhabitants of Johore or the Moluccas had done.  De Castro abandoned
the siege.  He had received intelligence of the dangerous situation of
Malacca, and moved down upon the place with his whole fleet.  Admiral
Matelieff, apprised by scouts of his approach, behaved with the readiness
and coolness of a veteran campaigner.  Before De Castro could arrive in
the roadstead of Malacca, he had withdrawn all his troops from their
positions, got all his artillery reshipped, and was standing out in the
straits, awaiting the enemy.

On the 17th August, the two fleets, so vastly disproportionate in number,
size, equipment, and military force--eighteen galleons and galleys, with
four or five thousand fighting men, against eleven small vessels and
twelve or fourteen hundred sailors--met in that narrow sea.  The action
lasted all day.  It was neither spirited nor sanguinary.  It ought to
have been within the power of the Spaniard to crush his diminutive
adversary.  It might have seemed a sufficient triumph for Matelieff to
manoeuvre himself out of harm's way.  No vessel on either side was
boarded, not one surrendered, but two on each side were set on fire and
destroyed.  Eight of the Dutchmen were killed--not a very sanguinary
result after a day's encounter with so imposing an armada.  De Castro's
losses were much greater, but still the battle was an insignificant one,
and neither fleet gained a victory.  Night put an end to the cannonading,
and the Spaniards withdrew to Malacca, while Matelieff bore away to
Johore.  The siege of Malacca was relieved, and the Netherlanders now
occupied themselves with the defence of the feeble sovereign at the other
point of the peninsula.

Matelieff lay at Johore a month, repairing damages and laying in
supplies.  While still at the place, he received information that a large
part of the Spanish armada had sailed from Malacca.  Several of his own
crew, who had lost their shares in the adventure by the burning of the
ships to which they belonged in the action of 17th August, were reluctant
and almost mutinous when their admiral now proposed to them a sudden
assault on the portion of the Spanish fleet still remaining within reach.
They had not come forth for barren glory, many protested, but in search
of fortune; they were not elated by the meagre result of the expedition.
Matelieff succeeded, however, at last in inspiring all the men of his
command with an enthusiasm superior to sordid appeals, and made a few
malcontents.  On the 21st September, he sailed to Malacca, and late in
the afternoon again attacked the Spaniards.  Their fleet consisted of
seven great galleons and three galleys lying in a circle before the town.
The outermost ship, called the St. Nicholas, was boarded by men from
three of the Dutch galleots with sudden and irresistible fury.  There was
a brief but most terrible action, the Netherlanders seeming endowed with
superhuman vigour.  So great was the panic that there was hardly an
effort at defence, and within less than an hour nearly every Spaniard on
board the St. Nicholas had been put to the sword.  The rest of the armada
engaged the Dutch fleet with spirit, but one of the great galleons was
soon set on fire and burned to the water's edge.  Another, dismasted and
crippled, struck her flag, and all that remained would probably have been
surrendered or destroyed had not the sudden darkness of a tropical
nightfall put an end to the combat at set of sun.  Next morning another
galleon, in a shattered and sinking condition, was taken possession of
and found filled with dead and dying.  The rest of the Spanish ships made
their escape into the harbour of Malacca.  Matelieff stood off and on in
the straits for a day or two, hesitating for fear of shallows to follow
into the roadstead.  Before he could take a decision, he had the
satisfaction of seeing the enemy, panic-struck, save him any further
trouble.  Not waiting for another attack, the Spaniards set fire to every
one of their ships, and retired into their fortress, while Matelieff and
his men enjoyed the great conflagration as idle spectators.  Thus the
enterprising Dutch admiral had destroyed ten great war-ships of the
enemy, and, strange to relate, had scarcely lost one man of his whole
squadron.  Rarely had a more complete triumph been achieved on the water
than in this battle in the straits of Malacca.  Matelieff had gained much
glory but very little booty.  He was also encumbered with a great number
of prisoners.

These he sent to Don Alphonso, exchanging them for a very few
Netherlanders then in Spanish hands, at the rate of two hundred Spaniards
for ten Dutchmen--thus showing that he held either the enemy very cheap,
or his own countrymen very dear.  The captured ships he burned as useless
to him, but retained twenty-four pieces of artillery.

It was known to Matelieff that the Spanish viceroy had received
instructions to inflict chastisement on all the oriental potentates and
their subjects who had presumed of late to trade and to form alliances
with the Netherlanders.  Johore, Achem, Paham, Patane, Amboyna, and
Bantam, were the most probable points of attack.  Johore had now been
effectually defended, Achem had protected itself.  The Dutch fleet
proceeded at first to Bantams for refreshment, and from this point
Matelieff sent three of his ships back to Holland.  With the six
remaining to him, he sailed for the Moluccas, having heard of various
changes which had taken place in that important archipelago.  Pausing at
the great emporium of nutmegs and all-spice, Amboyna, he took measures
for strengthening the fortifications of the place, which was well
governed by Frederick Houtman, and then proceeded to Ternate and Tidor.

During the absence of the Netherlanders, after the events on those
islands recorded in a previous chapter, the Spaniards had swept down upon
them from the Philippines with a fleet of thirty-seven ships, and had
taken captive the Sultan of Ternate; while the potentate of Tidor, who
had been left by Stephen van der Hagen in possession of his territories
on condition of fidelity to the Dutch, was easily induced to throw aside
the mask, and to renew his servitude to Spain.  Thus both the coveted
clove-islands had relapsed into the control of the enemy.  Matelieff
found it dangerous, on account of quicksands and shallows, to land on
Tydore, but he took very energetic measures to recover possession of
Ternate.  On the southern side of the island, the Spaniards had built a
fort and a town.  The Dutch admiral disembarked upon the northern side,
and, with assistance of the natives, succeeded in throwing up substantial
fortifications at a village called Malaya.  The son of the former sultan,
who was a Spanish prisoner at the Philippines, was now formally inducted
into his father's sovereignty, and Matelieff established at Malaya for
his protection a garrison of forty-five Hollanders and a navy of four
small yachts.  Such were the slender means with which Oriental empires
were founded in those days by the stout-hearted adventurers of the little
Batavian republic.

With this miniature army and navy, and by means of his alliance with the
distant commonwealth, of whose power this handful of men was a symbol,
the King of Ternate was thenceforth to hold his own against the rival
potentate on the other island, supported by the Spanish king.  The same
convention of commerce and amity was made with the Ternatians as the one
which Stephen van der Hagen had formerly concluded with the Bandians; and
it was agreed that the potentate should be included in any treaty of
peace that might be made between the republic and Spain.

Matelieff, with three ships and a cutter, now sailed for China, but lost
his time in endeavouring to open trade with the Celestial empire.  The
dilatory mandarins drove him at last out of all patience, and, on turning
his prows once more southward, he had nearly brought his long expedition
to a disastrous termination.  Six well-armed, well-equipped Portuguese
galleons sailed out of Macao to assail him.  It was not Matelieff's
instinct to turn his back on a foe, however formidable, but on this
occasion discretion conquered instinct.  His three ships were out of
repair; he had a deficiency of powder; he was in every respect unprepared
for a combat; and he reflected upon the unfavourable impression which
would be made on the Chinese mind should the Hollanders, upon their first
appearance in the flowery regions, be vanquished by the Portuguese.  He
avoided an encounter, therefore, and, by skilful seamanship, eluded all
attempts of the foe at pursuit.  Returning to Ternate, he had the
satisfaction to find that during his absence the doughty little garrison
of Malaya had triumphantly defeated the Spaniards in an assault on the
fortifications of the little town.  On the other hand, the King of
Johore, panic-struck on the departure of his Dutch protectors, had burned
his own capital, and had betaken himself with all his court into the

Commending the one and rebuking the other potentate, the admiral provided
assistance for both, some Dutch trading, vessels having meantime arrived
in the archipelago.  Matelieff now set sail for Holland, taking with him
some ambassadors from the King of Siam and five ships well laden with
spice.  On his return he read a report of his adventures to the States-
General, and received the warm commendations of their High Mightinesses.
Before his departure from the tropics, Paul van Kaarden, with eight war-
ships, had reached Bantam.  On his arrival in Holland the fleet of Peter
ver Hoef was busily fitting out for another great expedition to the East.
This was the nation which Spanish courtiers thought to exclude for ever
from commerce with India and America, because the Pope a century before
had divided half the globe between Ferdinand the Catholic and Emmanuel
the Fortunate.

It may be supposed that the results of Matelieff's voyage were likely to
influence the pending negotiations for peace.


A sovereign remedy for the disease of liberty
All the ministers and great functionaries received presents
Because he had been successful (hated)
But the habit of dissimulation was inveterate
By turns, we all govern and are governed
Contempt for treaties however solemnly ratified
Despised those who were grateful
Idiotic principle of sumptuary legislation
Indulging them frequently with oracular advice
Justified themselves in a solemn consumption of time
Man who cannot dissemble is unfit to reign
Men fought as if war was the normal condition of humanity
Men who meant what they said and said what they meant
Negotiated as if they were all immortal
Philip of Macedon, who considered no city impregnable
To negotiate was to bribe right and left, and at every step
Unwise impatience for peace

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the United Netherlands from the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce, 1607b" ***

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