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´╗┐Title: History of the United Netherlands, 1598-99
Author: Motley, John Lothrop
Language: English
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HISTORY OF THE UNITED NETHERLANDS
From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley



History of the United Netherlands, 1598-1599



CHAPTER XXXVI.

     Commercial prospects of Holland--Travels of John Huygen van
     Linschoten Their effect on the trade and prosperity of the
     Netherlands--Progress of nautical and geographical science--Maritime
     exploration--Fantastic notions respecting the polar regions--State
     of nautical science--First arctic expedition--Success of the
     voyagers--Failure of the second expedition--Third attempt to
     discover the north-east passage--Discovery of Spitzbergen--
     Scientific results of the voyage--Adventures in the frozen regions--
     Death of William Barendz--Return of the voyagers to Amsterdam--
     Southern expedition against the Spanish power--Disasters attendant
     upon it--Extent of Dutch discovery.

During a great portion of Philip's reign the Netherlanders, despite their
rebellion, had been permitted to trade with Spain.  A spectacle had thus
been presented of a vigorous traffic between two mighty belligerents, who
derived from their intercourse with each other the means of more
thoroughly carrying on their mutual hostilities.  The war fed their
commerce, and commerce fed their war.  The great maritime discoveries at
the close of the fifteenth century had enured quite as much to the
benefit of the Flemings and Hollanders as to that of the Spaniards and
Portuguese, to whom they were originally due.  Antwerp and subsequently
Amsterdam had thriven on the great revolution of the Indian trade which
Vasco de Gama's voyage around the Cape had effected.  The nations of the
Baltic and of farthest Ind now exchanged their products on a more
extensive scale.  and with a wider sweep across the earth than when the
mistress of the Adriatic alone held the keys of Asiatic commerce.  The
haughty but intelligent oligarchy of shopkeepers, which had grown so rich
and attained so eminent a political position from its magnificent
monopoly, already saw the sources of its grandeur drying up before its
eyes, now that the world's trade--for the first time in human history--
had become oceanic.

In Holland, long since denuded of forests, were great markets of timber,
whither shipbuilders and architects came from all parts of the world to
gather the utensils for their craft.  There, too, where scarcely a pebble
had been deposited in the course of the geological transformations of our
planet, were great artificial quarries of granite, and marble, and
basalt.  Wheat was almost as rare a product of the soil as cinnamon, yet
the granaries of Christendom, and the Oriental magazines of spices and
drugs, were found chiefly on that barren spot of earth.  There was the
great international mart where the Osterling, the Turk, the Hindoo, the
Atlantic and the Mediterranean traders stored their wares and negotiated
their exchanges; while the curious and highly-prized products of
Netherland skill--broadcloths, tapestries, brocades, laces, substantial
fustians, magnificent damasks, finest linens--increased the mass of
visible wealth piled mountains high upon that extraordinary soil which
produced nothing and teemed with everything.

After the incorporation of Portugal with Spain however many obstacles
were thrown in the way of the trade from the Netherlands to Lisbon and
the Spanish ports.  Loud and bitter were the railings uttered, as we
know, by the English sovereign and her statesmen against the nefarious
traffic which the Dutch republic persisted in carrying on with the common
enemy.  But it is very certain that although the Spanish armadas would
have found it comparatively difficult to equip themselves without the tar
and the timber, the cordage, the stores, and the biscuits furnished by
the Hollanders, the rebellious commonwealth, if excluded from the world's
commerce, in which it had learned to play so controlling a part, must
have ceased to exist.  For without foreign navigation the independent
republic was an inconceivable idea.  Not only would it have been
incapable of continuing the struggle with the greatest monarch in the
world, but it might as well have buried itself once and for ever beneath
the waves from which it had scarcely emerged.  Commerce and Holland were
simply synonymous terms.  Its morsel of territory was but the wharf to
which the republic was occasionally moored; its home was in every ocean
and over all the world.  Nowhere had there ever existed before so large a
proportion of population that was essentially maritime.  They were born
sailors--men and women alike--and numerous were the children who had
never set foot on the shore.  At the period now treated of the republic
had three times as many ships and sailors as any one nation in the world.
Compared with modern times, and especially with the gigantic commercial
strides of the two great Anglo-Saxon families, the statistics both of
population and of maritime commerce in that famous and most vigorous
epoch would seem sufficiently meagre.  Yet there is no doubt that in the
relative estimate of forces then in activity it would be difficult to
exaggerate the naval power of the young commonwealth.  When therefore,
towards the close of Philip II.'s reign, it became necessary to renounce
the carrying trade with Spain and Portugal, by which the communication
with India and China was effected, or else to submit to the confiscation
of Dutch ships in Spanish ports, and the confinement of Dutch sailors in
the dungeons of the Inquisition, a more serious dilemma was presented to
the statesmen of the Netherlands than they had ever been called upon to
solve.

For the splendid fiction of the Spanish lake was still a formidable fact.
Not only were the Portuguese and Spaniards almost the only direct traders
to the distant East, but even had no obstacles been interposed by
Government, the exclusive possession of information as to the course of
trade, the pre-eminent practical knowledge acquired by long experience of
that dangerous highway around the world at a time when oceanic navigation
was still in its infancy, would have given a monopoly of the traffic to
the descendants of the bold discoverers who first opened the great path
to the world's commerce.

The Hollanders as a nation had never been engaged in the direct trade
around the Cape of Good Hope.  Fortunately however at this crisis in
their commercial destiny there was a single Hollander who had thoroughly
learned the lesson which it was so necessary that all his countrymen
should now be taught.  Few men of that period deserve a more kindly and
more honourable remembrance by posterity for their contributions to
science and the progress of civilization than John Huygen van Linschoten,
son of a plain burgher of West Friesland.  Having always felt a strong
impulse to study foreign history and distant nations and customs; he
resolved at the early age of seventeen "to absent himself from his
fatherland, and from the conversation of friends and relatives," in order
to gratify this inclination for self-improvement.  After a residence of
two years in Lisbon he departed for India in the suite of the Archbishop
of Goa, and remained in the East for nearly thirteen years.  Diligently
examining all the strange phenomena which came under his observation and
patiently recording the results of his researches day by day and year by
year, he amassed a fund of information which he modestly intended for the
entertainment of his friends when he should return to his native country.
It was his wish that "without stirring from their firesides or counting-
houses" they might participate with him in the gratification and
instruction to be derived fiom looking upon a world then so strange, and
for Europeans still so new.  He described the manners and customs, the
laws, the religions, the social and political institutions, of the
ancient races who dwelt in either peninsula of India.  He studied the
natural history, the botany, the geography of all the regions which he
visited.  Especially the products which formed the material of a great
traffic; the system of culture, the means of transportation, and the
course of commerce, were examined by him with minuteness, accuracy, and
breadth of vision.  He was neither a trader nor a sailor, but a man of
letters, a scientific and professional traveller.  But it was obvious
when he returned, rich with the spoils of oriental study during thirteen
years of life, that the results of his researches were worthy of a wider
circulation than that which he had originally contemplated.  His work was
given to the public in the year 1596, and was studied with avidity not
only by men of science but by merchants and seafarers.  He also added to
the record of his Indian experiences a practical manual for navigators.
He described the course of the voyage from Lisbon to the East, the
currents, the trade-winds and monsoons, the harbours, the islands, the
shoals, the sunken rocks and dangerous quicksands, and he accompanied
his work with various maps and charts, both general and special, of land
and water, rarely delineated before his day, as well as by various
astronomical and mathematical calculations.  Already a countryman of
his own, Wagenaar of Zeeland, had laid the mariners of the world under
special obligation by a manual which came into such universal use that
for centuries afterwards the sailors of England and of other countries
called their indispensable 'vade-mecum' a Wagenaar.  But in that text-
book but little information was afforded to eastern voyagers, because,
before the enterprise of Linschoten, little was known of the Orient
except to the Portuguese and Spaniards, by whom nothing was communicated.

The work of Linschoten was a source of wealth, both from the scientific
treasures which it diffused among an active and intelligent people, and
the impulse which it gave to that direct trade between the Netherlands
and the East which had been so long deferred, and which now came to
relieve the commerce of the republic, and therefore the republic itself,
from the danger of positive annihilation.

It is not necessary for my purpose to describe in detail the series of
voyages by way of the Cape of Good Hope which, beginning with the
adventures of the brothers Houtmann at this period, and with the
circumnavigation of the world by Olivier van Noord, made the Dutch for
a long time the leading Christian nation in those golden regions, and
which carried the United Netherlands to the highest point of prosperity
and power.  The Spanish monopoly of the Indian and the Pacific Ocean was
effectually disposed of, but the road was not a new road, nor did any
striking discoveries at this immediate epoch illustrate the enterprise of
Holland in the East.  In the age just opening the homely names most dear
to the young republic were to be inscribed on capes, islands, and
promontories, seas, bays, and continents.  There was soon to be a "Staten
Island" both in the frozen circles of the northern and of the southern
pole, as well as in that favoured region where now the mighty current of
a worldwide commerce flows through the gates of that great metropolis of
the western world, once called New Amsterdam.  Those well-beloved words,
Orange and Nassau, Maurice and William, intermingled with the names of
many an ancient town and village, or with the simple patronymics of hardy
navigators or honoured statesmen, were to make the vernacular of the new
commonwealth a familiar sound in the remotest corners of the earth; while
a fifth continent, discovered by the enterprise of Hollanders, was soon
to be fitly baptized with the name of the fatherland.  Posterity has been
neither just nor grateful, and those early names which Dutch genius and
enterprise wrote upon so many prominent points of the earth's surface,
then seen for the first time by European eyes, are no longer known.

The impulse given to the foreign trade of the Netherlands by the
publication of Linschoten's work was destined to be a lasting one.
Meantime this most indefatigable and enterprising voyager--one of those
men who had done nothing in his own estimation so long as aught remained
to do--was deeply pondering the possibility of a shorter road to the
opulent kingdoms of Cathay and of China than the one which the genius of
De Gama had opened to his sovereigns.  Geography as a science was
manifesting the highest activity at that period, but was still in a
rudimentary state.  To the Hollanders especially much of the progress
already made by it was owing.  The maps of the world by Mercator of
Leyden, published on a large scale, together with many astronomical and
geographical charts, delineations of exploration, and other scientific
works, at the magnificent printing establishment of William Blaeuw, in
Amsterdam, the friend and pupil of Tycho Brahe, and the first in that
line of typographers who made the name famous, constituted an epoch in
cosmography.  Another ardent student of geography lived in Amsterdam,
Peter Plancius by name, a Calvinist preacher, and one of the most zealous
and intolerant of his cloth.  In an age and a country which had not yet
thoroughly learned the lesson taught by hundreds of thousands of murders
committed by an orthodox church, he was one of those who considered the
substitution of a new dogma and a new hierarchy, a new orthodoxy and a
new church, in place of the old ones, a satisfactory result for fifty,
years of perpetual bloodshed.  Nether Torquemada nor Peter Titelmann
could have more thoroughly abhorred a Jew or a Calvinist than Peter
Plancius detested a Lutheran, or any other of the unclean tribe of
remonstranta.  That the intolerance of himself and his comrades was
confined to fiery words, and was not manifested in the actual burning
alive of the heterodox, was a mark of the advance made by the mass of
mankind in despite of bigotry.  It was at any rate a solace to those who
believed in human progress; even in matters of conscience, that no other
ecclesiastical establishment was ever likely to imitate the matchless
machinery for the extermination of heretical vermin which the Church of
Rome had found in the Spanish Inquisition.  The blasts of denunciation
from the pulpit of Plancius have long since mingled with empty air and
been forgotten, but his services in the cause of nautical enterprise and
geographical science, which formed, as it were, a relaxation to what he
deemed the more serious pursuits of theology, will endear his name for
ever to the lovers of civilization.

Plancius and Dr. Francis Maalzoon--the enlightened pensionary of
Enkhuizen--had studied long and earnestly the history and aspects of the
oceanic trade, which had been unfolding itself then for a whole century,
but was still comparatively new, while Barneveld, ever ready to assist in
the advancement of science, and to foster that commerce which was the
life of the commonwealth, was most favourably disposed towards projects
of maritime exploration.  For hitherto, although the Hollanders had been
among the hardiest and the foremost in the art of navigation they had
contributed but little to actual discovery.  A Genoese had led the way to
America, while one Portuguese mariner had been the first to double the
southern cape of Africa, and another, at the opposite side of the world,
had opened what was then supposed the only passage through the vast
continent which, according to ideas then prevalent, extended from the
Southern Pole to Greenland, and from Java to Patagonia.  But it was
easier to follow in the wake of Columbus, Gama, or Magellan, than to
strike out new pathways by the aid of scientific deduction and audacious
enterprise.  At a not distant day many errors, disseminated by the
boldest of Portuguese navigators, were to be corrected by the splendid
discoveries of sailors sent forth by the Dutch republic, and a rich
harvest in consequence was to be reaped both by science and commerce.  It
is true, too, that the Netherlanders claimed to have led the way to the
great voyages of Columbus by their discovery of the Azores.  Joshua van
den Berg, a merchant of Bruges, it was vigorously maintained, had landed
in that archipelago in the year 1445.  He had found there, however, no
vestiges of the human race, save that upon the principal island, in the
midst of the solitude, was seen--so ran the tale--a colossal statue of a
man on horseback, wrapped in a cloak, holding the reins of his steed in
his left hand, and solemnly extending his right arm to the west.  This
gigantic and solitary apparition on a rock in the ocean was supposed
to indicate the existence of a new world, and the direction in which it
was to be sought, but it is probable that the shipwrecked Fleeting was
quite innocent of any such magnificent visions.  The original designation
of the Flemish Islands, derived from their first colonization by
Netherlanders, was changed to Azores by Portuguese mariners, amazed at
the myriads of hawks which they found there.  But if the Netherlanders
had never been able to make higher claims as discoverers than the
accidental and dubious landing upon an unknown shore of a tempest-tost
mariner, their position in the records of geographical exploration would
not be so eminent as it certainly is.

Meantime the eyes of Linschoten, Plancius, Maalzoon, Barneveld, and of
many other ardent philosophers and patriots, were turned anxiously
towards the regions of the North Pole.  Two centuries later--and still
more recently in our own day and generation--what heart has not thrilled
with sympathy and with pride at the story of the magnificent exploits,
the heroism, the contempt of danger and of suffering which have
characterized the great navigators whose names are so familiar to the
world; especially the arctic explorers of England and of our own country?
The true chivalry of an advanced epoch--recognizing that there can be no
sublimer vocation for men of action than to extend the boundary of human
knowledge in the face of perils and obstacles more formidable and more
mysterious than those encountered by the knights of old in the cause of
the Lord's sepulchre or the holy grail--they have thus embodied in a form
which will ever awaken enthusiasm in imaginative natures, the noble
impulses of our latter civilization.  To win the favour of that noblest
of mistresses, Science; to take authoritative possession, in her name,
of the whole domain of humanity; to open new pathways to commerce; to
elevate and enlarge the human intellect, and to multiply indefinitely the
sum of human enjoyments; to bring the inhabitants of the earth into
closer and more friendly communication, so that, after some yet
unimagined inventions and discoveries, and after the lapse of many years,
which in the sight of the Omnipotent are but as one day, the human race
may form one pacific family, instead of being broken up, as are the most
enlightened of peoples now, into warring tribes of internecine savages,
prating of the advancement of civilization while coveting each other's
possessions, intriguing against each other's interests, and thoroughly in
earnest when cutting each other's throats; this is truly to be the
pioneers of a possible civilization, compared to which our present
culture may seem but a poor barbarism.  If the triumphs and joys of the
battle-field have been esteemed among the noblest themes for poet,
painter, or chronicler, alike in the mists of antiquity and in the full
glare of later days, surely a still more encouraging spectacle for those
who believe in the world's progress is the exhibition of almost infinite
valour, skill, and endurance in the cause of science and humanity.

It was believed by the Dutch cosmographers that some ten thousand miles
of voyaging might be saved, could the passage to what was then called the
kingdoms of Cathay be effected by way of the north.  It must be
remembered that there were no maps of the unknown regions lying beyond
the northern headlands of Sweden.  Delineations of continents, islands,
straits, rivers, and seas, over which every modern schoolboy pores, were
not attempted even by the hand of fancy.  It was perhaps easier at the
end of the sixteenth century than it is now, to admit the possibility of
a practical path to China and India across the pole; for delusions as to
climate and geographical configuration then prevalent have long since
been dispelled.  While, therefore, at least as much heroism was required
then as now to launch into those unknown seas, in hope to solve the dread
mystery of the North; there was even a firmer hope than can ever be
cherished again of deriving an immediate and tangible benefit from the
enterprise.  Plancius and Maalzoon, the States-General and Prince
Maurice, were convinced that the true road to Cathay would be found by
sailing north-east.  Linschoten, the man who knew India and the beaten
paths to India better than any other living Christian, was so firmly
convinced of the truth of this theory, that he volunteered to take the
lead in the first expedition.  Many were the fantastic dreams in which
even the wisest thinkers of the age indulged as to the polar regions.
Four straits or channels, pierced by a magic hand, led, it was thought,
from the interior of Muscovy towards the arctic seas.  According to some
speculators, however, those seas enclosed a polar continent where
perpetual summer and unbroken daylight reigned, and whose inhabitants,
having obtained a high degree of culture; lived in the practice of every
virtue and in the enjoyment of every blessing.  Others peopled these
mysterious regions with horrible savages, having hoofs of horses and
heads of dogs, and with no clothing save their own long ears coiled
closely around their limbs and bodies; while it was deemed almost certain
that a race of headless men, with eyes in their breasts, were the most
enlightened among those distant tribes.  Instead of constant sunshine,
it was believed by such theorists that the wretched inhabitants of that
accursed zone were immersed in almost incessant fogs or tempests, that
the whole population died every winter and were only recalled to
temporary existence by the advent of a tardy and evanescent spring.
No doubt was felt that the voyager in those latitudes would have to
encounter volcanoes of fire and mountains of ice, together with land and
sea monsters more ferocious than the eye of man had ever beheld; but it
was universally admitted that an opening, either by strait or sea, into
the desired Indian haven would reveal itself at last.

The instruments of navigation too were but rude and defective compared to
the beautiful machinery with which modern art and science now assist
their votaries along the dangerous path of discovery.  The small yet
unwieldy, awkward, and, to the modern mind, most grotesque vessels in
which such audacious deeds were performed in the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries awaken perpetual astonishment.  A ship of a hundred
tons burden, built up like a tower, both at stem and stern, and
presenting in its broad bulbous prow, its width of beam in proportion to
its length, its depression amidships, and in other sins against symmetry,
as much opposition to progress over the waves as could well be imagined,
was the vehicle in which those indomitable Dutchmen circumnavigated the
globe and confronted the arctic terrors of either pole.  An astrolabe--
such as Martin Beheim had invented for the Portuguese, a clumsy
astronomical ring of three feet in circumference--was still the chief
machine used for ascertaining the latitude, and on shipboard a most
defective one.  There were no logarithms, no means of determining at sea
the variations of the magnetic needle, no system of dead reckoning by
throwing the log and chronicling the courses traversed.  The firearms
with which the sailors were to do battle with the unknown enemies that
might beset their path were rude and clumsy to handle.  The art of
compressing and condensing provisions was unknown.  They had no tea nor
coffee to refresh the nervous system in its terrible trials; but there
was one deficiency which perhaps supplied the place of many positive
luxuries.  Those Hollanders drank no ardent spirits.  They had beer
and wine in reasonable quantities, but no mention is ever made in the
journals of their famous voyages of any more potent liquor; and to
this circumstance doubtless the absence of mutinous or disorderly
demonstrations, under the most trying circumstances, may in a great
degree be attributed.

Thus, these navigators were but slenderly provided with the appliances
with which hazardous voyages have been smoothed by modern art; but they
had iron hearts, faith in themselves, in their commanders, in their
republic, and in the Omnipotent; perfect discipline and unbroken
cheerfulness amid toil, suffering, and danger.  No chapter of history
utters a more beautiful homily an devotion to duty as the true guiding
principle of human conduct than the artless narratives which have been
preserved of many of these maritime enterprises.  It is for these noble
lessons that they deserve to be kept in perpetual memory.

And in no individual of that day were those excellent qualities more
thoroughly embodied than in William Barendz, pilot and burgher of
Amsterdam.  It was partly under his charge that the first little
expedition set forth on the 5th of June, 1594, towards those unknown
arctic seas, which no keel from Christendom had ever ploughed, and to
those fabulous regions where the foot of civilized men had never trod.
Maalzoon, Plancius, and Balthaser Moucheron, merchant of Middelburg, were
the chief directors of the enterprise; but there was a difference of
opinion between them.

The pensionary was firm in the faith that the true path to China would be
found by steering through the passage which was known to exist between
the land of Nova Zembla and the northern coasts of Muscovy, inhabited by
the savage tribes called Samoyedes.  It was believed that, after passing
those straits, the shores of the great continent would be found to trend
in a south-easterly direction, and that along that coast it would
accordingly be easy to make the desired voyage to the eastern ports of
China.  Plancius, on the contrary, indicated as the most promising
passage the outside course, between the northern coast of Nova Zembla and
the pole.  Three ships and a fishing yacht were provided by the cities of
Enkhuizen, Amsterdam, and by the province of Zeeland respectively.
Linschoten was principal commissioner on board the Enkhuizen vessel,
having with him an experienced mariner, Brandt Ijsbrantz by name, as
skipper.  Barendz, with the Amsterdam ship and the yacht, soon parted
company with the others, and steered, according to the counsels of
Plancius and his own convictions; for the open seas of the north.  And in
that memorable summer, for the first time in the world's history, the
whole desolate region of Nova Zembla was visited, investigated, and
thoroughly mapped out.  Barendz sailed as far as latitude 77 deg. and to
the extreme north-eastern point of the island.  In a tremendous storm off
a cape, which he ironically christened Consolationhook (Troost-hoek), his
ship, drifting under bare poles amid ice and mist and tempest, was nearly
dashed to pieces; but he reached at last the cluster of barren islets
beyond the utmost verge of Nova Zembla, to which he hastened to affix the
cherished appellation of Orange.  This, however, was the limit of his
voyage.  His ship was ill-provisioned, and the weather had been severe
beyond expectation.  He turned back on the 1st of August, resolving to
repeat his experiment early in the following year.

Meantime Linschoten, with the ships Swan and Mercury, had entered the
passage which they called the Straits of Nassau, but which are now
known to all the world as the Waigats.  They were informed by the
Samoyedes of the coast that, after penetrating the narrow channel, they
would find themselves in a broad and open sea.  Subsequent discoveries
showed the correctness of the statement, but it was not permitted to the
adventurers on this occasion to proceed so far.  The strait was already
filled with ice-drift, and their vessels were brought to a standstill,
after about a hundred and fifty English miles of progress beyond the
Waigats; for the whole sea of Tartary, converted into a mass of ice-
mountains and islands, and lashed into violent agitation by a north
easterly storm, seemed driving down upon the doomed voyagers.  It was
obvious that the sunny clime of Cathay was not thus to be reached, at
least upon that occasion.  With difficulty they succeeded in extricating
themselves from the dangers surrounding them, and emerged at last from
the Waigats.

On the 15th of August, in latitude 69 deg. 15', they met the ship of
Barendz and returned in company to Holland, reaching Amsterdam on the
16th of September.  Barendz had found the seas and coasts visited by him
destitute of human inhabitants, but swarming with polar bears, with
seals, with a terrible kind of monsters, then seen for the first time, as
large as oxen, with almost human faces and with two long tusks protruding
from each grim and grotesque visage.  These mighty beasts, subsequently
known as walrusses or sea-horses, were found sometimes in swarms of two
hundred at a time, basking in the arctic sun, and seemed equally at home
on land, in the sea, and on icebergs.  When aware of the approach of
their human visitors, they would slide off an iceblock into the water,
holding their cubs in their arms, and ducking up and down in the sea as
if in sport.  Then tossing the young ones away, they would rush upon the
boats, and endeavour to sink the strangers, whom they instinctively
recognised as their natural enemies.  Many were the severe combats
recorded by the diarist of that voyage of Barendz with the walrusses and
the bears.

The chief result of this first expedition was the geographical
investigation made, and, with unquestionable right; these earliest arctic
pilgrims bestowed the names of their choice upon the regions first
visited by themselves.  According to the unfailing and universal impulse
on such occasions, the names dear to the fatherland were naturally
selected.  The straits were called Nassau, the island at its mouth became
States or Staten Island; the northern coasts of Tartary received the
familiar appellations of New Holland, New Friesland, New Walcheren; while
the two rivers, beyond which Linschoten did not advance, were designated
Swan and Mercury respectively, after his two ships.  Barendz, on his
part, had duly baptized every creek, bay, islet, and headland of Nova
Zembla, and assuredly Christian mariner had never taken the latitude of
77 deg. before.  Yet the antiquary, who compares the maps soon afterwards
published by William Blaeuw with the charts now in familiar use, will
observe with indignation the injustice with which the early geographical
records have been defaced, and the names rightfully bestowed upon those
terrible deserts by their earliest discoverers rudely torn away.  The
islands of Orange can still be recognized, and this is almost the only
vestige left of the whole nomenclature.  But where are Cape Nassau,
William's Island, Admiralty Island, Cape Plancius, Black-hook, Cross-
hook, Bear's-hook, Ice-hook, Consolation-hook, Cape Desire, the Straits
of Nassau, Maurice Island, Staten Island, Enkhuizen Island, and many
other similar appellations.

The sanguine Linschoten, on his return, gave so glowing an account of the
expedition that Prince Maurice and Olden-Barneveld, and prominent members
of the States-General, were infected with his enthusiasm.  He considered
the north-east passage to China discovered and the problem solved.  It
would only be necessary to fit out another expedition on a larger scale
the next year, provide it with a cargo of merchandize suitable for the
China market, and initiate the direct polar-oriental trade without
further delay.  It seems amazing that so incomplete an attempt to
overcome such formidable obstacles should have been considered a decided
success.  Yet there is no doubt of the genuineness of the conviction by
which Linschoten was actuated.  The calmer Barendz, and his friend and
comrade Gerrit de Veer, were of opinion that the philosopher had made
"rather a free representation" of the enterprise of 1594 and of the
prospects for the future.

Nevertheless, the general Government, acting on Linschoten's suggestion,
furnished a fleet of seven ships: two from Enkhuizen, two from Zeeland,
two from Amsterdam; and a yacht which was to be despatched homeward with
the news, so soon as the expedition should have passed through the
straits of Nassau, forced its way through the frozen gulf of Tartary,
doubled Cape Tabin, and turned southward on its direct course to China.
The sublime credulity which accepted Linschoten's hasty solution of the
polar enigma as conclusive was fairly matched by the sedateness with
which the authorities made the preparations for the new voyage.  So
deliberately were the broadcloths, linens, tapestries, and other assorted
articles for this first great speculation to Cathay, via the North Pole,
stowed on board the fleet, that nearly half the summer had passed before
anchor was weighed in the Meuse.  The pompous expedition was thus
predestined to an almost ridiculous failure.  Yet it was in the hands of
great men, both on shore and sea.  Maurice, Barneveld, and Maalzoon had
personally interested themselves in the details of its outfitting,
Linschoten sailed as chief commissioner, the calm and intrepid Barendz
was upper pilot of the whole fleet, and a man who was afterwards destined
to achieve an immortal name in the naval history of his country, Jacob
Heemskerk, was supercargo of the Amsterdam ship.  In obedience to the
plans of Linschoten and of Maalzoon, the passage by way of the Waigats
was of course attempted.  A landing was effected on the coast of Tartary.
Whatever geographical information could be obtained from such a source
was imparted by the wandering Samoyedes.  On the 2nd of September a party
went ashore on Staten Island and occupied themselves in gathering some
glistening pebbles which the journalist of the expedition describes with
much gravity as a "kind of diamonds, very plentiful upon the island."
While two of the men were thus especially engaged in a deep hollow, one
of them found himself suddenly twitched from behind.  "What are you
pulling at me for, mate?"  he said, impatiently to his comrade as he
supposed.  But his companion was a large, long, lean white bear, and in
another instant the head of the unfortunate diamond-gatherer was off and
the bear was sucking his blood.  The other man escaped to his friends,
and together a party of twenty charged upon the beast.  Another of the
combatants was killed and half devoured by the hungry monster before a
fortunate bullet struck him in the head.  But even then the bear
maintained his grip upon his two victims, and it was not until his brains
were fairly beaten out with the butt end of a snaphance by the boldest of
the party that they were enabled to secure the bodies of their comrades
and give them a hurried kind of Christian burial.  They flayed the bear
and took away his hide with them, and this, together with an ample supply
of the diamonds of Staten Island, was the only merchandize obtained upon
the voyage for which such magnificent preparations had been made.  For,
by the middle of September, it had become obviously hopeless to attempt
the passage of the frozen sea that season, and the expedition returned,
having accomplished nothing.  It reached Amsterdam upon the 18th of
November, 1595.

The authorities, intensely disappointed at this almost ridiculous result,
refused to furnish direct assistance to any farther attempts at arctic
explorations.  The States-General however offered a reward of twenty-five
thousand florins to any navigators who might succeed in discovering the
northern passage, with a proportionate sum to those whose efforts in that
direction might be deemed commendable, even if not crowned with success.

Stimulated by the spirit of adventure and the love of science far more
than by the hope of gaining a pecuniary prize, the undaunted Barendz, who
was firm in the faith that a pathway existed by the north of Nova Zembla
and across the pole to farthest Ind, determined to renew the attempt the
following summer.  The city of Amsterdam accordingly, early in the year
1596, fitted out two ships.  Select crews of entirely unmarried men
volunteered for the enterprise.  John Cornelisz van der Ryp, an
experienced sea-captain, was placed in charge of one of the vessels,
William Barendz was upper pilot of the other, and Heemskerk, "the man who
ever steered his way through ice or iron," was skipper and supercargo.

The ships sailed from the Vlie on the 18th May.  The opinions of Peter
Plancius prevailed in this expedition at last; the main object of both
Ryp and Barendz being to avoid the fatal, narrow, ice-clogged Waigats.
Although identical in this determination, their views as to the
configuration of the land and sea, and as to the proper course to be
steered, were conflicting.  They however sailed in company mainly in a
N.E.  by N. direction, although Barendz would have steered much more to
the east.

On the 5th June the watch on deck saw, as they supposed, immense flocks
of white swans swimming towards the ships, and covering the sea as far as
the eye could reach.  All hands came up to look at the amazing spectacle,
but the more experienced soon perceived that the myriads of swans were
simply infinite fields of ice, through which however they were able to
steer their course without much impediment, getting into clear sea beyond
about midnight, at which hour the sun was one degree above the horizon.

Proceeding northwards two days more they were again surrounded by ice,
and, finding the "water green as grass, they believed themselves to be
near Greenland."  On the 9th June they discovered an island in latitude,
according to their observation, 74 deg. 30', which seemed about five
miles long.  In this neighbourhood they remained four days, having on one
occasion a "great fight which lasted four glasses" with a polar bear, and
making a desperate attempt to capture him in order to bring him as a show
to Holland.  The effort not being successful, they were obliged to take
his life to save their own; but in what manner they intended, had they
secured him alive, to provide for such a passenger in the long voyage
across the North Pole to China, and thence back to Amsterdam, did not
appear.  The attempt illustrated the calmness, however, of those hardy
navigators.  They left the island on the 13th June, having baptised it
Bear Island in memory of their vanquished foe, a name which was
subsequently exchanged for the insipid appellation of Cherry Island, in
honour of a comfortable London merchant who seven years afterwards sent a
ship to those arctic regions.

Six days later they saw land again, took the sun, and found their
latitude 80 deg. 11'.  Certainly no men had ever been within less than
ten degrees of the pole before.  On the longest day of the year they
landed on this newly discovered country, which they at first fancied to
be a part of Greenland.  They found its surface covered with eternal
snow, broken into mighty glaciers, jagged with precipitous ice-peaks; and
to this land of almost perpetual winter, where the mercury freezes during
ten months in the year, and where the sun remains four months beneath the
horizon, they subsequently gave the appropriate and vernacular name of
Spitzbergen.  Combats with the sole denizens of these hideous abodes,
the polar bears, on the floating ice, on the water, or on land, were
constantly occurring, and were the only events to disturb the monotony of
that perpetual icy sunshine, where no night came to relieve the almost
maddening glare.  They rowed up a wide inlet on the western coast, and
came upon great numbers of wild-geese sitting on their eggs.  They proved
to be the same geese that were in the habit of visiting Holland in vast
flocks every summer, and it had never before been discovered where they
laid and hatched their eggs.  "Therefore," says the diarist of the
expedition, "some voyagers have not scrupled to state that the eggs grow
on trees in Scotland, and that such of the fruits of those trees as fall
into the water become goslings, while those which drop on the ground
burst in pieces and come to nothing.  We now see that quite the contrary
is the case," continues De Veer, with perfect seriousness, "nor is it to
be wondered at, for nobody has ever been until now where those birds lay
their eggs.  No man, so far as known, ever reached the latitude of eighty
degrees before.  This land was hitherto unknown."

The scientific results of this ever-memorable voyage might be deemed
sufficiently meagre were the fact that the eggs of wild geese did not
grow on trees its only recorded discovery.  But the investigations made
into the dread mysteries of the north, and the actual problems solved,
were many, while the simplicity of the narrator marks the infantine
character of the epoch in regard to natural history.  When so illustrious
a mind as Grotius was inclined to believe in a race of arctic men whose
heads grew beneath their shoulders; the ingenuous mariner of Amsterdam
may be forgiven for his earnestness in combating the popular theory
concerning goslings.

On the 23rd June they went ashore again, and occupied themselves, as well
as the constant attacks of the bears would permit, in observing the
variation of the needle, which they ascertained to be sixteen degrees.
On the same day, the ice closing around in almost infinite masses, they
made haste to extricate themselves from the land and bore southwards
again, making Bear Island once more on the 1st July.  Here Cornelius Ryp
parted company with Heemskerk and Barendz, having announced his intention
to sail northward again beyond latitude 80 deg. in search of the coveted
passage.  Barendz, retaining his opinion that the true inlet to the
circumpolar sea, if it existed, would be found N.E. of Nova Zembla,
steered in that direction.  On the 13th July they found themselves by
observation in latitude 73 deg., and considered themselves in the
neighbourhood of Sir Hugh Willoughby's land.  Four days later they were
in Lomms' Bay, a harbour of Nova Zembla, so called by them from the
multitude of lomms frequenting it, a bird to which they gave the
whimsical name of arctic parrots.  On the 20th July the ice obstructed
their voyage; covering the sea in all directions with floating mountains
and valleys, so that they came to an anchor off an islet where on a
former voyage the Hollanders had erected the precious emblem of Christian
faith, and baptised the dreary solitude Cross Island.  But these
pilgrims, as they now approached the spot, found no worshippers there,
while, as if in horrible mockery of their piety, two enormous white bears
had reared themselves in an erect posture, in order the better to survey
their visitors, directly at the foot of the cross.  The party which had
just landed were unarmed, and were for making off as fast as possible to
their boats.  But Skipper Heemskerk, feeling that this would be death to
all of them, said simply, "The first man that runs shall have this boat-
hook of mine in his hide.  Let us remain together and face them off."  It
was done.  The party moved slowly towards their boats, Heemskerlk
bringing up the rear, and fairly staring the polar monsters out of
countenance, who remained grimly regarding them, and ramping about the
cross.

The sailors got into their boat with much deliberation, and escaped to
the ship, "glad enough," said De Veer, "that they were alive to tell the
story, and that they had got out of the cat-dance so fortunately."

Next day they took the sun, and found their latitude 76 deg. 15', and the
variation of the needle twenty-six degrees.

For seventeen days more they were tossing about in mist and raging snow-
storms, and amidst tremendous icebergs, some of them rising in steeples
and pinnacles to a hundred feet above the sea, some grounded and
stationary, others drifting fearfully around in all directions,
threatening to crush them at any moment or close in about them and
imprison them for ever.  They made fast by their bower anchor on the
evening of 7th August to a vast iceberg which was aground, but just as
they had eaten their supper there was a horrible groaning, bursting, and
shrieking all around them, an indefinite succession of awful, sounds
which made their hair stand on end, and then the iceberg split beneath
the water into more than four hundred pieces with a crash "such as no
words could describe."  They escaped any serious damage, and made their
way to a vast steepled and towered block like a floating cathedral, where
they again came to anchor.

On the 15th August they reached the isles of Orange, on the extreme
north-eastern verge of Nova Zembla.  Here a party going ashore climbed to
the top of a rising ground, and to their infinite delight beheld an open
sea entirely free from ice, stretching to the S. E.  and E.S.E.  as far
as eye could reach.  At last the game was won, the passage to Cathay was
discovered.  Full of joy, they pulled back in their boat to the ship,
"not knowing how to get there quick enough to tell William Barendz."
Alas!  they were not aware of the action of that mighty ocean river, the
Gulf-stream, which was sweeping around those regions with its warm
dissolving current.

Three days later they returned baffled in their sanguine efforts to sail
through the open sea.  The ice had returned upon them, setting
southwardly in obedience to the same impulse which for a moment had
driven it away, and they found themselves imprisoned again near the "Hook
of Desire."

On the 25th August they had given up all the high hopes by which they had
been so lately inspired, and, as the stream was again driving the ice
from the land, they trusted to sail southward and westward back towards
the Waigats.  Having passed by Nova Zembla, and found no opening into the
seas beyond, they were disposed in the rapidly waning summer to effect
their retreat by the south side of the island, and so through the Straits
of Nassau home.  In vain.  The catastrophe was upon them.  As they
struggled slowly past the "Ice-haven," the floating mountains and
glaciers, impelled by the mighty current, once more gathered around and
forced them back to that horrible harbour.  During the remaining days of
August the ship struggled, almost like a living creature, with the perils
that, beset her; now rearing in the air, her bows propped upon mighty
blocks, till she absolutely sat erect upon her stern, now lying prostrate
on her side, and anon righting again as the ice-masses would for a moment
float away and leave her breathing space and room to move in.  A blinding
snow-storm was raging the while, the ice was cracking and groaning in all
directions, and the ship was shrieking, so that the medley of awful
sights and sounds was beyond the power of language.  "'Twas enough to
make the hair stand on end," said Gerrit de Veer, "to witness the hideous
spectacle."

But the agony was soon over.  By the 1st September the ship was hard and
fast.  The ice was as immoveable as the dry land, and she would not move
again that year even if she ever floated.  Those pilgrims from the little
republic were to spend the winter in their arctic harbour.  Resigning
themselves without a murmur to their inevitable fate, they set about
their arrangements with perfect good humour and discipline.  Most
fortunately a great quantity of drift wood, masses of timber, and great
trees torn away with their roots from distant shores, lay strewn along
the coast, swept thither by the wandering currents.  At once they
resolved to build a house in which they might shelter themselves from the
wild beasts, and from their still more cruel enemy, the cold.  So
thanking God for the providential and unexpected supply of building
material and fuel, they lost no time in making sheds, in hauling timber,
and in dragging supplies from the ship before the dayless winter should
descend upon them.

Six weeks of steady cheerful labour succeeded.  Tremendous snow-storms,
accompanied by hurricanes of wind, often filled the atmosphere to
suffocation, so that no human being could move a ship's length without
perishing; while, did any of their number venture forth, as the tempest
subsided, it was often to find himself almost in the arms of a polar bear
before the dangerous snow-white form could be distinguished moving
sluggishly through the white chaos.

For those hungry companions never left them so long as the sun remained
above the horizon, swarming like insects and birds in tropical lands.
When the sailors put their meat-tubs for a moment out upon the ice a
bear's intrusive muzzle would forthwith be inserted to inspect the
contents.  Maddened by hunger, and their keen scent excited by the salted
provisions, and by the living flesh and blood of these intruders upon
their ancient solitary domains, they would often attempt to effect their
entrance into the ship.

On one such occasion, when Heemskerk and two companions were the whole
garrison, the rest being at a distance sledding wood, the future hero of
Gibraltar was near furnishing a meal to his Nova Zembla enemies.  It was
only by tossing sticks and stones and marling-spikes across the ice,
which the bears would instantly turn and pursue, like dogs at play with
children, that the assault could be diverted until a fortunate shot was
made.

Several were thus killed in the course of the winter, and one in
particular was disembowelled and set frozen upon his legs near their
house, where he remained month after month with a mass of snow and ice
accumulated upon him, until he had grown into a fantastic and gigantic
apparition, still wearing the semblance of their mortal foe.

By the beginning of October the weather became so intensely cold that it
was almost impossible to work.  The carpenter died before the house was
half completed.  To dig a grave was impossible, but they laid him in a
cleft of the ice, and he was soon covered with the snow.  Meantime the
sixteen that were left went on as they best might with their task, and on
October 2nd they had a house-raising.  The frame-work was set up, and in
order to comply with the national usage in such cases, they planted,
instead of the May-pole with its fluttering streamers, a gigantic icicle
before their new residence.  Ten days later they moved into the house and
slept there for the first time, while a bear, profiting by their absence,
passed the night in the deserted ship.

On the 4th November the sun rose no more, but the moon at first shone day
and night, until they were once in great perplexity to know whether it
were midday or midnight.  It proved to be exactly noon.  The bears
disappeared with the sun, but white foxes swarmed in their stead, and all
day and night were heard scrambling over their roof.  These were caught
daily in traps and furnished them food, besides furs for raiment.  The
cold became appalling, and they looked in each other's faces sometimes in
speechless amazement.  It was obvious that the extreme limit of human
endurance had been reached.  Their clothes were frozen stiff.  Their
shoes were like iron, so that they were obliged to array themselves from
head to foot in the skins of the wild foxes.  The clocks stopped.  The
beer became solid.  The Spanish wine froze and had to be melted in
saucepans.  The smoke in the house blinded them.  Fire did not warm them,
and their garments were often in a blaze while their bodies were half
frozen.  All through the month of December an almost perpetual snow-
deluge fell from the clouds.  For days together they were unable to
emerge, and it was then only by most vigorous labour that they could
succeed in digging a passage out of their buried house.  On the night of
the 7th December sudden death had nearly put an end to the sufferings of
the whole party.  Having brought a quantity of seacoal from the ship,
they had made a great fire, and after the smoke was exhausted, they had
stopped up the chimney and every crevice of the house.  Each man then
turned into his bunk for the night, "all rejoicing much in the warmth and
prattling a long time with each other."  At last an unaccustomed
giddiness and faintness came over them, of which they could not guess the
cause, but fortunately one of the party had the instinct, before he lost
consciousness, to open the chimney, while another forced open the door
and fell in a swoon upon the snow.  Their dread enemy thus came to their
relief, and saved their lives.

As the year drew to a close, the frost and the perpetual snow-tempest
became, if that were possible, still more frightful.  Their Christmas was
not a merry one, and for the first few days of the new year, it was
impossible for them to move from the house.  On the 25th January, the
snow-storms having somewhat abated, they once more dug themselves as it
were out of their living grave, and spent the whole day in hauling wood
from the shore.  As their hour-glasses informed them that night was
approaching, they bethought themselves that it was Twelfth Night, or
Three Kings' Eve.  So they all respectfully proposed to Skipper
Heemskerk, that, in the midst of their sorrow they might for once have a
little diversion.  A twelfth-night feast was forthwith ordained.  A
scanty portion of the wine yet remaining to them was produced.  Two
pounds weight of flour, which they had brought to make paste with for
cartridges, was baked into pancakes with a little oil, and a single hard
biscuit was served out to each man to be sopped in his meagre allowance
of wine.  "We were as happy," said Gerrit de veer, with simple pathos,
"as if we were having a splendid banquet at home.  We imagined ourselves
in the fatherland with all our friends, so much did we enjoy our repast."

That nothing might be omitted, lots were drawn for king, and the choice
fell on the gunner, who was forthwith proclaimed monarch of Nova Zembla.
Certainly no men, could have exhibited more undaunted cheerfulness amid
bears and foxes, icebergs and cold--such as Christians had never
conceived of before--than did these early arctic pilgrims.  Nor did
Barendz neglect any opportunity of studying the heavens.  A meridian was
drawn near the house, on which the compass was placed, and observations
of various stars were constantly made, despite the cold, with
extraordinary minuteness.  The latitude, from concurrent measurement of
the Giant, the Bull, Orion, Aldebaran, and other constellations--in the
absence of the sun--was ascertained to be a little above seventy-six
degrees, and the variations of the needle were accurately noted.

On the 24th January it was clear weather and comparatively mild, so that
Heemskerk, with De Veer and another, walked to the strand.  To their
infinite delight and surprise they again saw the disk of the sun on the
edge of the horizon, and they all hastened back with the glad tidings.
But Barendz shook his head.  Many days must elapse, he said, before the
declination of the sun should be once more 14 deg., at which point in the
latitude of 76 deg. they had lost sight of the luminary on the 4th
November, and at which only it could again be visible.  This, according
to his calculations, would be on the 10th February.  Two days of mirky
and stormy atmosphere succeeded, and those who had wagered in support of
the opinion of Barendz were inclined to triumph over those who believed
in the observation of Heemskerk.  On the 27th January there was, however,
no mistake.  The sky was bright, and the whole disk of the sun was most
distinctly seen by all, although none were able to explain the
phenomenon, and Barendz least of all.  They had kept accurate diaries
ever since their imprisonment, and although the clocks sometimes had
stopped, the hour-glasses had regularly noted the lapse of time.
Moreover, Barendz knew from the Ephemerides for 1589 to 1600, published
by Dr. Joseph Scala in Venice, a copy of which work he had brought with
him, that on the 24th January, 1597, the moon would be seen at one
o'clock A.M. at Venice, in conjunction with Jupiter.  He accordingly took
as good an observation as could be done with the naked eye and found that
conjunction at six o'clock A.M. Of the same day, the two bodies appearing
in the same vertical line in the sign of Taurus.  The date was thus
satisfactorily established, and a calculation of the longitude of the
house was deduced with an accuracy which in those circumstances was
certainly commendable.  Nevertheless, as the facts and the theory of
refraction were not thoroughly understood, nor Tycho Brahe's tables of
refraction generally known, pilot Barendz could not be expected to be
wiser than his generation.

The startling discovery that in the latitude of 76 deg. the sun
reappeared on the 24th January, instead of the 10th February, was
destined to awaken commotion throughout the whole scientific world,
and has perhaps hardly yet been completely explained.

But the daylight brought no mitigation of their sufferings.  The
merciless cold continued without abatement, and the sun seemed to mock
their misery.  The foxes disappeared, and the ice-bears in their stead
swarmed around the house, and clambered at night over the roof.  Again
they constantly fought with them for their lives.  Daily the grave
question was renewed whether the men should feed on the bears or the
bears on the men.  On one occasion their dead enemy proved more dangerous
to them than in life, for three of their number, who had fed on bear's
liver, were nearly poisoned to death.  Had they perished, none of the
whole party would have ever left Nova Zembla.  "It seemed," said the
diarist, "that the beasts had smelt out that we meant to go away, and had
just begin to have a taste for us."

And thus the days wore on.  The hour-glass and the almanac told them
that winter had given place to spring, but nature still lay in cold
obstruction.  One of their number, who had long been ill, died.  They
hollowed a grave for him in the frozen snow, performing a rude burial
service, and singing a psalm; but the cold had nearly made them all
corpses before the ceremony was done.

At last, on the 17th April, some of them climbing over the icebergs to
the shore found much open sea.  They also saw a small bird diving in the
water, and looked upon it as a halcyon and harbinger of better fortunes.
The open weather continuing, they began to hanker for the fatherland.  So
they brought the matter, "not mutinously but modestly and reasonably,
before William Barendz; that he might suggest it to Heemskerk, for they
were all willing to submit to his better judgment."  It was determined to
wait through the month of May.  Should they then be obliged to abandon
the ship they were to make the voyage in the two open boats, which had
been carefully stowed away beneath the snow.  It was soon obvious that
the ship was hard and fast, and that she would never float again, except
perhaps as a portion of the icebergs in which she had so long been
imbedded, when they should be swept off from the shore.

As they now set to work repairing and making ready the frail skiffs which
were now their only hope, and supplying them with provisions and even
with merchandize from the ship, the ravages made by the terrible winter
upon the strength of the men became painfully apparent.  But Heemskerk
encouraged them to persevere; "for," said he, "if the boats are not got
soon under way we must be content to make our graves here as burghers of
Nova Zembla."

On the 14th June they launched the boats, and "trusting themselves to
God," embarked once more upon the arctic sea.  Barendz, who was too ill
to walk, together with Claas Anderson, also sick unto death, were dragged
to the strand in sleds, and tenderly placed on board.

Barendz had, however, despite his illness, drawn up a triple record of
their voyage; one copy being fastened to the chimney of their deserted
house, and one being placed in each of the boats.  Their voyage was full
of danger as they slowly retraced their way along the track by which they
reached the memorable Ice Haven, once more doubling the Cape of Desire
and heading for the Point of Consolation--landmarks on their desolate
progress, whose nomenclature suggests the immortal apologue so familiar
to Anglo-Saxon ears.

Off the Ice-hook, both boats came alongside each other, and Skipper
Heemskerk called out to William Barendz to ask how it was with him.

"All right, mate," replied Barendz, cheerfully; "I hope to be on my legs
again before we reach the Ward-huis."  Then' he begged De Veer to lift
him up, that he might look upon the Ice-hook once more.  The icebergs
crowded around them, drifting this way and that, impelled by mighty
currents and tossing on an agitated sea.  There was "a hideous groaning
and bursting and driving of the ice, and it seemed every moment as if the
boats were to be dashed into a hundred pieces."  It was plain that their
voyage would now be finished for ever, were it not possible for some one
of their number to get upon the solid ice beyond and make fast a line.
"But who is to bell the cat?" said Gerrit de Veer, who soon, however,
volunteered himself, being the lightest of all.  Leaping from one
floating block to another at the imminent risk of being swept off into
space, he at last reached a stationary island, and fastened his rope.
Thus they warped themselves once more into the open sea.

On the 20th June William Barendz lay in the boat studying carefully the
charts which they had made of the land and ocean discovered in their
voyage.  Tossing about in an open skiff upon a polar sea, too weak to sit
upright, reduced by the unexampled sufferings of that horrible winter
almost to a shadow, he still preserved his cheerfulness, and maintained
that he would yet, with God's help, perform his destined task.  In his
next attempt he would steer north-east from the North Cape, he said, and
so discover the passage.

While he was "thus prattling," the boatswain of the other boat came on
board, and said that Claas Anderson would hold out but little longer.

"Then," said William Barendz, "methinks I too shall last but a little
while.  Gerrit, give me to drink."  When he had drunk, he turned his eyes
on De Veer and suddenly breathed his last.

Great was the dismay of his companions, for they had been deceived by
the dauntless energy of the man, thus holding tenaciously to his great
purpose, unbaffled by danger and disappointment, even to the last instant
of life.  He was their chief pilot and guide, "in whom next to God they
trusted."

And thus the hero, who for vivid intelligence, courage, and perseverance
amid every obstacle, is fit to be classed among the noblest of maritime
adventurers, had ended his career.  Nor was it unmeet that the man who
had led those three great although unsuccessful enterprises towards the
North Pole, should be laid at last to rest--like the soldier dying in a
lost battle--upon the field of his glorious labours.

Nearly six weeks longer they struggled amid tempestuous seas.  Hugging
the shore, ever in danger of being dashed to atoms by the ice, pursued by
their never-failing enemies the bears, and often sailing through enormous
herds of walrusses, which at times gave chase to the boats, they at last
reached the Schanshoek on the 28th July.

Here they met with some Russian fishermen, who recognised Heemskerk and
De Veer, having seen them on their previous voyage.  Most refreshing it
was to see other human faces again, after thirteen months' separation
from mankind, while the honest Muscovites expressed compassion for the
forlorn and emaciated condition of their former acquaintance.  Furnished
by them with food and wine, the Hollanders sailed in company with the
Russians as far as the Waigats.

On the 18th August they made Candenoes, at the mouth of the White Sea,
and doubling that cape stood boldly across the gulf for Kildin.  Landing
on the coast they were informed by the Laps that there were vessels from
Holland at Kola.

On the 25th August one of the party, guided by a Lap, set forth on foot
for that place.  Four days later the guide was seen returning without
their comrade; but their natural suspicion was at once disarmed as the
good-humoured savage straightway produced a letter which he handed to
Heemakerk.

Breaking the seal, the skipper found that his correspondent expressed
great surprise at the arrival of the voyagers, as he he had supposed them
all to be long since dead.  Therefore he was the more delighted with
their coming, and promised to be with them soon, bringing with him plenty
of food and drink.

The letter was signed--
                              "By me, JAN CORNELISZ RYP."

The occurrence was certainly dramatic, but, as one might think,
sufficiently void of mystery.  Yet, astonishing to relate, they all fell
to pondering who this John Ryp might be who seemed so friendly and
sympathetic.  It was shrewdly suggested by some that it might perhaps be
the sea-captain who had parted company with them off Bear Island fourteen
months before in order to sail north by way of Spitzbergen.  As his
Christian name and surname were signed in full to the letter, the
conception did not seem entirely unnatural, yet it was rejected on the
ground that they had far more reasons to believe that he had perished
than he for accepting their deaths as certain.  One might imagine it to
have been an every day occurrence for Hollanders to receive letters by a
Lapland penny postman in those, desolate regions.  At last Heemskerk
bethought himself that among his papers were several letters from their
old comrade, and, on comparison, the handwriting was found the same as
that of the epistle just received.  This deliberate avoidance of any
hasty jumping at conclusions certainly inspires confidence in the general
right accuracy of the adventurers, and we have the better right to
believe that on the 24th January the sun's disk was really seen by them
in the ice harbour--a fact long disputed by the learned world--when the
careful weighing of evidence on the less important matter of Ryp's letter
is taken into account.

Meantime while they were slowly admitting the identity of their friend
and correspondent, honest John Cornelius Ryp himself arrived--no
fantastic fly-away Hollander, but in full flesh and blood, laden with
provisions, and greeting them heartily.

He had not pursued his Spitzbergen researches of the previous year, but
he was now on a trading voyage in a stout vessel, and he conveyed them
all by way of the Ward-huis, where he took in a cargo, back to the
fatherland.

They dropped anchor in the Meuse on the 29th October, and on the 1st
November arrived at Amsterdam.  Here, attired in their robes and caps of
white fox-skin which they had worn while citizens of Nova Zembla, they
were straightway brought before the magistrates to give an account of
their adventures.

They had been absent seventeen months, they had spent a whole autumn,
winter, and spring--nearly ten months--under the latitude of 76 deg. in a
frozen desert, where no human beings had ever dwelt before, and they had
penetrated beyond 80 deg. north--a farther stride towards the pole than
had ever been hazarded.  They had made accurate geographical,
astronomical, and meteorological observations of the regions visited.
They had carefully measured latitudes and longitudes and noted the
variations of the magnet.  They had thoroughly mapped out, described, and
designated every cape, island, hook, and inlet of those undiscovered
countries, and more than all, they had given a living example of courage,
endurance, patience under hardship, perfect discipline, fidelity, to
duty, and trust in God, sufficient to inspire noble natures with
emulation so long as history can read moral lessons to mankind.

No farther attempt was made to discover the north-eastern passage.  The
enthusiasm of Barendz had died with him, and it may be said that the
stern negation by which this supreme attempt to solve the mystery of the
pole was met was its best practical result.  Certainly all visions of a
circumpolar sea blessed with a gentle atmosphere and eternal
tranquillity, and offering a smooth and easy passage for the world's
commerce between Europe and Asia, had been for ever dispelled.

The memorable enterprise of Barendz and Heemskerk has been thought worthy
of a minute description because it was a voyage of discovery, and
because, however barren of immediate practical results it may, seem to
superficial eyes, it forms a great landmark in the history of human
progress and the advancement of science.

Contemporaneously with these voyages towards the North Pole, the
enlightened magistrates of the Netherland municipalities, aided by
eminent private citizens, fitted out expeditions in the opposite
direction.  It was determined to measure strength with the lord of the
land and seas, the great potentate against whom these republicans had
been so long in rebellion, in every known region of the globe.  Both from
the newly discovered western world, and from the ancient abodes of
oriental civilization, Spanish monopoly had long been furnishing the
treasure to support Spanish tyranny, and it was the dearest object of
Netherland ambition to confront their enemy in both those regions, and
to clip both those overshadowing wings of his commerce at once.

The intelligence, enthusiasm, and tenacity in wrestling against immense
obstacles manifested by the young republic at this great expanding era of
the world's history can hardly be exaggerated.  It was fitting that the
little commonwealth, which was foremost among the nations in its hatred
of tyranny, its love of maritime adventure, and its aptitude for foreign
trade, should take the lead in the great commercial movements which
characterized the close of the sixteenth and the commencement of the
seventeenth centuries.

While Barendz and Heemskerk were attempting to force the frozen gates
which were then supposed to guard the northern highway of commerce,
fleets were fitting out in Holland to storm the Southern Pole, or at
least to take advantage of the pathways already opened by the genius and
enterprise of the earlier navigators of the century.  Linschoten had
taught his countrymen the value of the technical details of the Indian
trade as then understood.  The voyages of the brothers Houtmann, 1595-
1600, the first Dutch expeditions to reach the East by doubling the Cape
of Good Hope, were undertaken according to his precepts, and directed by
the practical knowledge obtained by the Houtmanns during a residence in
Portugal, but were not signalized by important discoveries.  They are
chiefly memorable as having laid the foundation of the vast trade out of
which the republic was to derive so much material power, while at the
same time they mark the slight beginnings of that mighty monopoly, the
Dutch East India Company, which was to teach such tremendous lessons in
commercial restriction to a still more colossal English corporation,
that mercantile tyrant only in our own days overthrown.

At the same time and at the other side of the world seven ships, fitted
out from Holland by private enterprise, were forcing their way to the
South Sea through the terrible strait between Patagonia and Fire Land;
then supposed the only path around the globe.  For the tortuous mountain
channel, filled with whirlpools and reefs, and the home of perpetual
tempest, which had been discovered in the early part of the century by
Magellan, was deemed the sole opening pierced by nature through the
mighty southern circumpolar continent.  A few years later a daring
Hollander was to demonstrate the futility of this theory, and to give his
own name to a broader pathway, while the stormy headland of South
America, around which the great current of universal commerce was
thenceforth to sweep, was baptized by the name of the tranquil town in
West Friesland where most of his ship's company were born.

Meantime the seven ships under command of Jacob Mahu, Simon de Cordes,
and Sebald de Weerdt; were contending with the dangers of the older
route.  The expedition sailed from Holland in June, 1598, but already the
custom was forming itself of directing those navigators of almost unknown
seas by explicit instructions from those who remained on shore, and who
had never navigated the ocean at all.  The consequence on this occasion
was that the voyagers towards the Straits of Magellan spent a whole
summer on the coast of Africa, amid pestiferous heats and distracting
calms, and reached the straits only in April of the following year.
Admiral Mahu and a large proportion of the crew had meantime perished of
fevers contracted by following the course marked out for them by their
employers, and thus diminished in numbers, half-stripped of provisions,
and enfeebled by the exhausting atmosphere of the tropics, the survivors
were ill prepared to confront the antarctic ordeal which they were
approaching.  Five months longer the fleet, under command of Admiral de
Cordes, who had succeeded to the command, struggled in those straits,
where, as if in the home of Eolus, all the winds of heaven seemed holding
revel; but indifference to danger, discipline, and devotion to duty
marked the conduct of the adventurers, even as those qualities had just
been distinguishing their countrymen at the other pole.  They gathered no
gold, they conquered no kingdoms, they made few discoveries, they
destroyed no fleets, yet they were the first pioneers on a path on which
thereafter were to be many such achievements by the republic.

At least one heroic incident, which marked their departure from the
straits, deserves to be held in perpetual remembrance.  Admiral de Cordes
raised on the shore, at the western mouth of the channel, a rude memorial
with an inscription that the Netherlanders were the first to effect this
dangerous passage with a fleet of heavy ships.  On the following day, in
commemoration of the event, he founded an order of knighthood.  The chief
officers of the squadron were the knights-commanders, and the most
deserving of the crew were the knights-brethren.  The members of the
fraternity made solemn oath to De Cordes, as general, and to each other,
that "by no danger, no necessity, nor by the fear of death, would they
ever be moved to undertake anything prejudicial to their honour, to, the
welfare of the fatherland, or to the success of the enterprise in which
they were engaged; pledging themselves to stake their lives in order,
consistently with honour, to inflict every possible damage on the
hereditary enemy, and to plant the banner of Holland in all those
territories whence the King of Spain gathered the treasures with which he
had carried on this perpetual war against the Netherlands."

Thus was instituted on the desolate shores of Fire Land the order of
Knights of the Unchained Lion, with such rude solemnities as were
possible in those solitudes.  The harbour where the fleet was anchored
was called the Chevaliers' Bay, but it would be in vain to look on modern
maps for that heroic appellation.  Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego
know the honest knights of the Unchained Lion no more; yet to an
unsophisticated mind no stately brotherhood of sovereigns and patricians
seems more thoroughly inspired with the spirit of Christian chivalry than
were those weather-beaten adventurers.  The reefs and whirlwinds of
unknown seas, polar cold, Patagonian giants, Spanish cruisers, a thousand
real or fabulous dangers environed them.  Their provisions were already
running near exhaustion; and they were feeding on raw seal-flesh, on
snails and mussels, and on whatever the barren rocks and niggard seas
would supply, to save them from absolutely perishing, but they held their
resolve to maintain their honour unsullied, to be true to each other and
to the republic, and to circumnavigate the globe to seek the proud enemy
of their fatherland on every sea, and to do battle with him in every
corner of the earth.  The world had already seen, and was still to see,
how nobly Netherlanders could keep their own.  Meantime disaster on
disaster descended on this unfortunate expedition.  One ship after
another melted away and was seen no more.  Of all the seven, only one,
that of Sebald de Weerdt, ever returned to the shores of Holland.
Another reached Japan, and although the crew fell into hostile hands, the
great trade with that Oriental empire was begun.  In a third--the Blyde
Boodachaft, or Good News--Dirk Gerrits sailed nearer the South Pole than
man had ever been before, and discovered, as he believed, a portion of
the southern continent, which he called, with reason good, Gerrit's Land.
The name in course of time faded from maps and charts, the existence of
the country was disputed, until more than two centuries later the
accuracy of the Dutch commander was recognised.  The rediscovered land
however no longer bears his name, but has been baptized South Shetland.

Thus before the sixteenth century had closed, the navigators of Holland
had reached almost the extreme verge of human discovery at either pole.



CHAPTER XXXVII.

     Military Operations in the Netherlands--Designs of the Spanish
     Commander--Siege of Orsoy--Advance upon Rheinberg--Murder of the
     Count of Broeck and his garrison--Capture of Rees and Emmerich--
     Outrages of the Spanish soldiers in the peaceful provinces--
     Inglorious attempt to avenge the hostilities--State of trade in the
     Provinces--Naval expedition under van der Does--Arrival of Albert
     and Isabella at Brussels--Military operations of Prince Maurice--
     Negotiation between London and Brussels--Henry's determination to
     enact the Council of Trent--His projected marriage--Queen Elizabeth
     and Envoy Caron--Peace proposals of Spain to Elizabeth--Conferences
     at Gertruydenberg--Uncertain state of affairs.

The military operations in the Netherlands during the whole year 1598
were on a comparatively small scale and languidly conducted.  The States
were exhausted by the demands made upon the treasury, and baffled by the
disingenuous policy of their allies.  The cardinal-archduke, on the other
hand, was occupied with the great events of his marriage, of his father-
in-law's death, and of his own succession in conjunction with
his wife to the sovereignty of the provinces.

In the autumn, however, the Admiral of Arragon, who, as has been stated,
was chief military commander during the absence of Albert, collected an
army of twenty-five thousand foot and two thousand cavalry, crossed the
Meuse at Roermond, and made his appearance before a small town called
Orsoy, on the Rhine.  It was his intention to invade the duchies of
Clever, Juliers, and Berg, taking advantage of the supposed madness of
the duke, and of the Spanish inclinations of his chief counsellors, who
constituted a kind of regency.  By obtaining possession of these
important provinces--wedged as they were between the territory of the
republic, the obedient Netherlands, and Germany--an excellent military
position would be gained for making war upon the rebellious districts
from the east, for crushing Protestantism in the duchies, for holding
important passages of the Rhine, and for circumventing the designs of the
Protestant sons-in-law and daughters of the old Duke of Cleves.  Of
course, it was the determination of Maurice and the States-General to
frustrate these operations.  German and Dutch Protestantism gave battle
on this neutral ground to the omnipotent tyranny of the papacy and Spain.

Unfortunately, Maurice had but a very slender force that autumn at his
command.  Fifteen hundred horse and six thousand infantry were all his
effective troops, and with these he took the field to defend the borders
of the republic, and to out-manceuvre, so far as it might lie in his
power, the admiral with his far-reaching and entirely unscrupulous
designs.

With six thousand Spanish veterans, two thousand Italians, and many
Walloon and German regiments under Bucquoy, Hachincourt, La Bourlotte,
Stanley, and Frederic van den Berg, the admiral had reached the frontiers
of the mad duke's territory.  Orsoy was garrisoned by a small company of
"cocks' feathers," or country squires, and their followers.

Presenting himself in person before the walls of the town, with a priest
at his right hand and a hangman holding a bundle of halters at the other,
he desired to be informed whether the governor would prefer to surrender
or to hang with his whole garrison.  The cock feathers surrendered.
The admiral garrisoned and fortified Orsoy as a basis and advanced upon
Rheinberg, first surprising the Count of Broeck in his castle, who was at
once murdered in cold blood with his little garrison.

He took Burik on the 11th October, Rheinberg on the 15th of the same
month, and compounded with Wesel for a hundred and twenty thousand
florins.  Leaving garrisons in these and a few other captured places, he
crossed the Lippe, came to Borhold, and ravaged the whole country side.
His troops being clamorous for pay were only too eager to levy black-mail
on this neutral territory.  The submission of the authorities to this
treatment brought upon them a reproach of violation of neutrality by the
States-General; the Governments of Munster and of the duchies being
informed that, if they aided and abetted the one belligerent, they must
expect to be treated as enemies by the other.

The admiral took Rees on the 30th October, and Emmerich on the 2nd
November--two principal cities of Cleves.  On the 8th November he crossed
into the territory of the republic and captured Deutekom, after a very
short siege.  Maurice, by precaution, occupied Sevenaer in Cleves.  The
prince--whose difficult task was to follow up and observe an enemy by
whom he was outnumbered nearly four to one, to harass him by skirmishes,
to make forays on his communications, to seize important points before he
could reach them, to impose upon him by an appearance of far greater
force than the republican army could actually boast, to protect the
cities of the frontier like Zutphen, Lochem, and Doesburg, and to prevent
him from attempting an invasion of the United Provinces in force, by
crossing any of the rivers, either in the autumn or after the winter's
ice had made them passable for the Spanish army-succeeded admirably in
all his strategy.  The admiral never ventured to attack him, for fear of
risking a defeat of his whole army by an antagonist whom he ought to have
swallowed at a mouthful, relinquished all designs upon the republic,
passed into Munster, Cleves, and Berg, and during the whole horrible
winter converted those peaceful provinces into a hell.  No outrage which
even a Spanish army could inflict was spared the miserable inhabitants.
Cities and villages were sacked and burned, the whole country was placed
under the law of black-mail.  The places of worship, mainly Protestant,
were all converted at a blow of the sword into Catholic churches.  Men
were hanged, butchered, tossed in sport from the tops of steeples,
burned, and buried alive.  Women of every rank were subjected by
thousands to outrage too foul and too cruel for any but fiends or Spanish
soldiers to imagine.

Such was the lot of thousands of innocent men and women at the hands of
Philip's soldiers in a country at peace with Philip, at the very moment
when that monarch was protesting with a seraphic smile on his expiring
lips that he had never in his whole life done injury to a single human
being.

In vain did the victims call aloud upon their sovereign, the Emperor
Rudolph.  The Spaniards laughed the feeble imperial mandates to scorn,
and spurned the word neutrality.  "Oh, poor Roman Empire!" cried John
Fontanus, "how art thou fallen!  Thy protector has become thy despoiler,
and, although thy members see this and know it, they sleep through it
all.  One day they may have a terrible awakening from their slumbers
.  .  .  .  .  .  .  The Admiral of Arragon has entirely changed the
character of the war, recognizes no neutrality, saying that there must be
but one God, one pope, and one king, and that they who object to this
arrangement must be extirpated with fire and sword, let them be where
they may."

The admiral, at least, thoroughly respected the claims of the dead Philip
to universal monarchy.

Maurice gained as much credit by the defensive strategy through which he
saved the republic from the horrors thus aficting its neighbours, as he
had ever done by his most brilliant victories.  Queen Elizabeth was
enchanted with the prowess of the prince, and with the sagacious
administration of those republican magistrates whom she never failed to
respect, even when most inclined to quarrel with them.  "Never before was
it written or heard of," said the queen, "that so great an extent of
country could be defended with so few troops, that an invasion of so
superior a hostile force could be prevented, especially as it appeared
that all the streams and rivers were frozen."  This, she added, was owing
to the wise and far-seeing counsels of the States-General, and to the
faithful diligence of their military commander, who now, as she declared,
deserved the title of the first captain of all Christendom.

A period of languor and exhaustion succeeded.  The armies of the States
had dwindled to an effective force of scarcely four or five thousand men,
while the new levies came in but slowly.  The taxation, on the other
hand, was very severe.  The quotas for the provinces had risen to the
amount of five million eight hundred thousand florins for the year 1599,
against an income of four millions six hundred thousand, and this deficit
went on increasing, notwithstanding a new tax of one-half per cent. on
the capital of all estates above three thousand florins in value, and
another of two and a half per cent. on all sales of real property.  The
finances of the obedient provinces were in a still worse condition, and
during the absence of the cardinal-archduke an almost universal mutiny,
occasioned by the inability of the exchequer to provide payment for the
troops, established itself throughout Flanders and Brabant.  There was
much recrimination on the subject of the invasion of the Rhenish duchies,
and a war of pamphlets and manifestos between the archduke's Government
and the States-General succeeded to those active military operations by
which so much misery had been inflicted on the unfortunate inhabitants of
that border land.  There was a slight attempt on the part of the Princes
of Brunswick, Hesse, and Brandenburg to counteract and to punish the
hostilities of the Spanish troops committed upon German soil.  An army
--very slowly organized, against the wishes of the emperor, the bishops,
and the Catholic party--took the field, and made a feeble demonstration
upon Rheinberg and upon Rees entirely without result and then disbanded
itself ingloriously.

Meantime the admiral had withdrawn from German territory, and was amusing
himself with a variety of blows aimed at vital points of the republic.
An excursion into the Isle of Bommel was not crowned with much success.
The assault on the city was repulsed.  The fortress of Crevecoeur was,
however, taken, and the fort of St. Andrew constructed--in spite of the
attempts of the States to frustrate the design--at a point commanding the
course of both the Waal and the Meuse.  Having placed a considerable
garrison in each of those strongholds, the admiral discontinued his
labours and went into winter-quarters.

The States-General for political reasons were urgent that Prince Maurice
should undertake some important enterprise, but the stadholder, sustained
by the opinion of his cousin Lewis William, resisted the pressure.  The
armies of the Commonwealth were still too slender in numbers and too
widely scattered for active service on a large scale, and the season for
active campaigning was wisely suffered to pass without making any attempt
of magnitude during the year.

The trade of the provinces, moreover, was very much hampered, and their
revenues sadly diminished by the severe prohibitions which had succeeded
to the remarkable indulgence hitherto accorded to foreign commerce.
Edicts in the name of the King of Spain and of the Archdukes Albert and
Isabella, forbidding all intercourse between the rebellious provinces and
the obedient Netherlands or any of the Spanish possessions, were met by
countervailing decrees of the States-General.  Free trade with its
enemies and with all the world, by means of which the commonwealth had
prospered in spite of perpetual war, was now for a season destroyed, and
the immediate results were at once visible in its diminished resources.
To employ a portion of the maritime energies of the Hollanders and
Zeelanders, thus temporarily deprived of a sufficient field, a naval
expedition of seventy-five war vessels under Admiral van der Does was
fitted out, but met with very trifling success.  They attacked and
plundered the settlements and forts of the Canary Islands, inflicted much
damage on the inhabitants, sailed thence to the Isle of St. Thomas, near
the equator, where the towns and villages were sacked and burned, and
where a contagious sickness broke out in the fleet, sweeping off in a
very brief period a large proportion of the crew.  The admiral himself
fell a victim to the disease and was buried on the island.  The fleet put
to sea again under Admiral Storm van Wena, but the sickness pursued the
adventurers on their voyage towards Brazil, one thousand of them dying at
sea in fifteen days.  At Brazil they accomplished nothing, and, on their
homeward voyage, not only the new commander succumbed to the same
contagion, but the mortality continued to so extraordinary an extent
that, on the arrival of the expedition late in the winter in Holland,
there were but two captains left alive, and, in many of the vessels, not
more than six sound men to each.  Nothing could be more wretched than
this termination of a great and expensive voyage, which had occasioned
such high hopes throughout the provinces; nothing more dismal than the
political atmosphere which surrounded the republic during the months
which immediately ensued.  It was obvious to Barneveld and the other
leading personages, in whose hands was the administration of affairs,
that a great military success was absolutely indispensable, if the
treacherous cry of peace, when peace was really impossible, should
not become universal and fatal.

Meantime affairs were not much more cheerful in the obedient provinces.
Archduke Albert arrived with his bride in the early days of September,
1599, at Brussels, and was received with great pomp and enthusiastic
rejoicings.  When are pomp and enthusiasm not to be obtained by imperial
personages, at brief notice and in vast quantities, if managers
understand their business?  After all, it may be doubted whether the
theatrical display was as splendid as that which marked the beginning of
the Ernestian era.  Schoolmaster Houwaerts had surpassed himself on that
occasion, and was no longer capable of deifying the new sovereign as
thoroughly as he had deified his brother.

Much real discontent followed close upon the fictitious enthusiasm.  The
obedient provinces were poor and forlorn, and men murmured loudly at the
enormous extravagance of their new master's housekeeping.  There were one
hundred and fifty mules, and as many horses in their sovereign's stables,
while the expense of feeding the cooks; lackeys, pages, and fine
gentlemen who swelled the retinue of the great household, was estimated,
without, wages or salaries, at two thousand florins a day.  Albert
had wished to be called a king, but had been unable to obtain the
gratification of his wish.  He had aspired to be emperor, and he was at
least sufficiently imperial in his ideas of expense.  The murmurers were
loftily rebuked for their complaints, and reminded of the duty of
obedient provinces to contribute at least as much for the defence of
their masters as the rebels did in maintenance of their rebellion.
The provincial estates were summoned accordingly to pay roundly for the
expenses of the war as well as of the court, and to enable the new
sovereigns to suppress the military mutiny, which amid the enthusiasm
greeting their arrival was the one prominent and formidable fact.

The archduke was now thirty-nine years of age, the Infanta Isabella six
years younger.  She was esteemed majestically beautiful by her courtiers,
and Cardinal Bentivoglio, himself a man of splendid intellect, pronounced
her a woman of genius, who had grown to be a prodigy of wisdom, under the
tuition of her father, the most sagacious statesman of the age.  In
attachment to the Roman faith and ritual, in superhuman loftiness of
demeanour, and in hatred of heretics, she was at least a worthy child of
that sainted sovereign.  In a moral point of view she was his superior.
The archdukes--so Albert and Isabella were always designated--were a
singularly attached couple, and their household, if extravagant and
imperial, was harmonious.  They loved each other--so it was believed--
as sincerely as they abhorred heretics and rebels, but it does not appear
that they had a very warm affection for their Flemish subjects.  Every
characteristic of their court was Spanish.  Spanish costume, Spanish
manners, the Spanish tongue, were almost exclusively predominant, and
although the festivals, dances, banquets, and tourneys, were all very
magnificent, the prevailing expression of the Brabantine capital
resembled that of a Spanish convent, so severely correct, so stately, and
so grim, was the demeanour of the court.

The earliest military operations of the stadholder in the first year of
the new century were successful.  Partly by menace; but more effectually
by judicious negotiation.  Maurice recovered Crevecoeur, and obtained the
surrender of St. Andrew, the fort which the admiral had built the
preceding year in honour of Albert's uncle.  That ecclesiastic, with whom
Mendoza had wrangled most bitterly during the whole interval of Albert's
absence, had already taken his departure for Rome, where he soon
afterwards died.  The garrisons of the forts, being mostly Walloon
soldiers, forsook the Spanish service for that of the States, and were
banded together in a legion some twelve hundred strong, which became
known as the "New Beggars," and were placed under the nominal command of
Frederick Henry of Nassau, youngest child of William the Silent.  The
next military event of the year was a mad combat, undertaken by formal
cartel, between Breaute, a young Norman noble in the service of the
republic, and twenty comrades, with an equal number of Flemish warriors
from the obedient provinces, under Grobbendonck.  About one half of the
whole number were killed, including the leaders, but the encounter,
although exciting much interest at the time, had of course no permanent
importance.

There was much negotiation, informal and secret, between Brussels and
London during this and a portion of the following year.  Elizabeth,
naturally enough, was weary of the war, but she felt, after all, as did
the Government of France, that a peace between the United Netherlands and
Spain would have for its result the restoration of the authority of his
most Catholic Majesty over all the provinces.  The statesmen of France
and England, like most of the politicians of Europe, had but slender
belief in the possibility of a popular government, and doubted therefore
the continued existence of the newly-organized republic.  Therefore they
really deprecated the idea of a peace which should include the States,
notwithstanding that from time to time the queen or some of her
counsellors had so vehemently reproached the Netherlanders with their
unwillingness to negotiate.  "At the first recognition that these people
should make of the mere shadow of a prince," said Buzanval, the keenly
observing and experienced French envoy at the Hague, "they lose the form
they have.  All the blood of the body would flow to the head, and the
game would be who should best play the valet. . . . . The house of
Nassau would lose its credit within a month in case of peace."  As such
statesmen could not imagine a republic, they ever dreaded the restoration
in the United Provinces of the subverted authority of Spain.

France and England were jealous of each other, and both were jealous of
Spain.  Therefore even if the republican element, the strength and
endurance of which was so little suspected, had been as trifling a factor
in the problem, as was supposed, still it would have been difficult for
any one of these powers to absorb the United Netherlands.  As for
France, she hardly coveted their possession.  "We ought not to flatter
ourselves," said Buzanval, "that these maritime peoples will cast
themselves one day into our nets, nor do I know that it would be
advisable to pull in the net if they should throw themselves in."

Henry was full of political schemes and dreams at this moment--as much as
his passion for Mademoiselle d'Entraigues, who had so soon supplanted the
image of the dead Gabrielle in his heart, would permit.  He was very well
disposed to obtain possession of the Spanish Netherlands, whenever he
should see his way to such an acquisition, and was even indulging in
visions of the imperial crown.

He was therefore already, and for the time at least, the most intense
of papists.  He was determined to sacrifice the Huguenot chiefs, and
introduce the Council of Trent, in order, as he told Du Plessis, that all
might be Christians.  If he still retained any remembrance of the ancient
friendship between himself and the heretic republic, it was not likely
to exhibit itself, notwithstanding his promises and his pecuniary
liabilities to her, in anything more solid than words.  "I repeat it,"
said the Dutch envoy at Paris; "this court cares nothing for us, for all
its cabals tend to close union with Rome, whence we can expect nothing
but foul weather.  The king alone has any memory of our past services."
But imperturbable and self-confident as ever, Henry troubled himself
little with fears in regard to the papal supremacy, even when his
Parliament professed great anxiety in regard to the consequences of the
Council of Trent, if not under him yet under his successors.  "I will so
bridle the popes," said he, cheerfully, "that they will never pass my
restrictions. My children will be still more virtuous and valiant than I.
If I have none, then the devil take the hindmost.  Nevertheless I choose
that the council shall be enacted.  I desire it more ardently than I
pressed the edict for the Protestants."  Such being the royal humour at
the moment, it may well be believed that Duplessis Mornay would find but
little sunshine from on high on the occasion of his famous but forgotten
conferences with Du Perron, now archbishop of Evreux, before the king and
all the court at Fontainebleau.  It was natural enough that to please the
king the king's old Huguenot friend should be convicted of false
citations from the fathers; but it would seem strange, were the motives
unknown, that Henry should have been so intensely interested in this most
arid and dismal of theological controversies.  Yet those who had known
and observed the king closely for thirty years, declared that he had
never manifested so much passion, neither on the eve of battles nor of
amorous assignations, as he then did for the demolition of Duplessis and
his deductions.  He had promised the Nuncius that the Huguenot should be
utterly confounded, and with him the whole fraternity, "for," said the
king, "he has wickedly and impudently written against the pope, to whom I
owe as much as I do to God."

These were not times in which the Hollanders, battling as stoutly against
Spain and the pope as they had done during the years when the republic
stood shoulder to shoulder with Henry the Huguenot, could hope for aid
and comfort from their ancient ally.

It is very characteristic of that age of dissimulation and of reckless
political gambling, that at the very moment when Henry's marriage with
Marie de Medicis was already arranged, and when that princess was soon
expected in Lyons, a cabal at the king's court was busy with absurd
projects to marry their sovereign to the Infanta of Spain.  It is true
that the Infanta was already the wife of the cardinal-archduke, but it
was thought possible--for reasons divulged through the indiscretions or
inventions of the father confessor--to obtain the pope's dispensation on
the ground of the nullity of the marriage.  Thus there were politicians
at the French court seriously occupied in an attempt to deprive the
archduke of his wife, of his Netherland provinces, and of the crown of,
the holy Roman empire, which he still hoped to inherit.  Yet the ink was
scarcely dry with which Henry had signed the treaty of amity with Madrid
and Brussels.

The Queen of England, on the other hand--although often listenting to
secret agents from Brussels and Madrid who offered peace, and although
perfectly aware that the great abject of Spain in securing peace with
England was to be able to swoop down at once upon the republic, thus
deprived of any allies was beside herself with rage, whenever she
suspected, with or without reason, that Brussels or Madrid had been
sending peace emissaries to the republic.

"Before I could get into the room," said Caron, on one such occasion,
"she called out, 'Have you not always told me that the States never
could, would, or should treat for peace with the enemy?  Yet now it
is plain enough that they have proceeded only too far in negotiations.'
And she then swore a big oath that if the States were to deceive her she
meant to take such vengeance that men should talk of it for ever and
ever."  It was a long time before the envoy could induce her to listen
to a single word, although the, perfect sincerity of the States in their
attitude to the queen and to Spain was unquestionable, and her ill-humour
on the subject continued long after it had been demonstrated how much she
had been deceived.

Yet it was impossible in the nature of things for the States to play her
false, even if no reliance were to be placed on their sagacity and their
honour.  Even the recent naval expedition of the republic against the
distant possessions of Spain--which in its result had caused so much
disappointment to the States, and cost them so many lives, including that
of the noble admiral whom every sailor in the Netherlands adored had been
of immense advantage to England.  The queen acknowledged that the Dutch
Navy had averted the storm which threatened to descend upon her kingdom
out of Spain, the Spanish ships destined for the coast of Ireland having
been dispersed and drawn to the other aide of the world by these
demonstrations of her ally.  For this she vowed that she would be
eternally grateful, and she said as much in "letters full of sugar and
honey"--according to the French envoy--which she sent to the States by
Sir Francis Vere.  She protested, in short, that she had been better and
more promptly served in her necessities by the Netherlands than by her
own subjects.

All this sugar and honey however did not make the mission of Envoy
Edmonds less bitter to the States.  They heard that he was going about
through half the cities of the obedient Netherlands in a sort of
triumphal procession, and it was the general opinion of the politicians
and financiers of the continent that peace between Spain and England was
as good as made.  Naturally therefore, notwithstanding the exuberant
expressions of gratitude on the part of Elizabeth, the republican
Government were anxious to know what all this parleying meant.  They
could not believe that people would make a raree-show of the English
envoy except for sufficient reason.  Caron accordingly presented himself
before the queen, with respectful inquiries on the subject.  He found her
in appearance very angry, not with him, but with Edmonds, from whom she
had received no advices.  "I don't know what they are doing with him,"
said her Majesty, "I hear from others that they are ringing the church
bells wherever he goes, and that they have carried him through a great
many more places than was necessary.  I suppose that they think him a
monster, and they are carrying him about to exhibit him.  All this is
done," she continued, "to throw dust in the eyes of the poor people, and
to put it into their heads that the Queen of England is suing for peace,
which is very wide of the mark."

She further observed that, as the agents of the Spanish Government had
been perpetually sending to her, she had been inclined once for all to
learn what they had to say.  Thus she should make manifest to all the
world that she was not averse to a treaty such as might prove a secure
peace for herself and for Christendom; otherwise not.

It subsequently appeared that what they had to say was that if the queen
would give up to the Spanish Government the cautionary towns which she
held as a pledge for her advances to the republic, forbid all traffic and
intercourse between her subjects and the Netherlanders, and thenceforth
never allow an Englishman to serve in or with the armies of the States,
a peace might be made.

Surely it needed no great magnanimity on the queen's part to spurn such
insulting proposals, the offer of which showed her capable, in the
opinion of Verreycken, the man who made them, of sinking into the very
depths of dishonour.  And she did spurn them.  Surely, for the ally, the
protrectress, the grateful friend of the republic, to give its chief
seaports to its arch-enemy, to shut the narrow seas against its ships,
so that they never more could sail westward, and to abandon its whole
population to their fate, would be a deed of treachery such as history,
full of human baseness as it is, has rarely been obliged to record.

Before these propositions had been made by Verreycken Elizabeth protested
that, should he offer them, she would send him home with such an answer
that people should talk of it for some time to come.  "Before I consent
to a single one of those points," said the queen, "I wish myself taken
from this world.  Until now I have been a princess of my word, who would
rather die than so falsely deceive such good people as the States." And
she made those protestations with such expression and attitude that the
Dutch envoy believed her incapable at that moment of dissimulation.

Nevertheless her indignation did not carry her so far as to induce her to
break off the negotiations.  The answer of which mankind was to talk in
time to come was simply that she would not send her commissioners to
treat for peace unless the Spanish Government should recede from the
three points thus offered by Verreycken.  This certainly was not a very
blasting reply, and the Spanish agents were so far from losing heart in
consequence that the informal conferences continued for a long time, much
to the discomfort of the Netherlanders.

For more than an hour and a half on one occasion of an uncommonly hot
afternoon in April did Noel de Caron argue with her Majesty against these
ill-boding negotiations, and ever and anon, oppressed by the heat of the
weather and the argument, did the queen wander from one room of the
palace to the other in search of cool air, still bidding the envoy follow
her footsteps.  "We are travelling about like pilgrims," said Elizabeth,
"but what is life but a pilgrimage?"

Yet, notwithstanding this long promenade and these moral reflections,
Caron could really not make out at the end of the interview whether or no
she intended to send her commissioners.  At last he asked her the
question bluntly.

"Hallo!  Hallo!"  she replied.  "I have only spoken to my servant once,
and I must obtain more information and think over the matter before I
decide.  Be assured however that I shall always keep you informed of the
progress of the negotiations, and do you inform the States that they may
build upon me as upon a rock."

After the envoy had taken his leave, the queen said to him in Latin,
"Modicae fidei quare dubitasti?"  Caron had however so nearly got out
of the door that he did not hear this admonition.

This the queen perceived, and calling him by name repeated, "O Caron!
modicae fidei quare dubitasti?" adding the injunction that he should
remember this dictum, for he well knew what she meant by it.

Thus terminated the interview, while the negotiations with Spain, not for
lack of good-will on her part, and despite the positive assertions to the
contrary of Buzanval and other foreign agents, were destined to come to
nothing.

At a little later period, at the time of certain informal and secret
conferences at Gertruydenberg, the queen threatened the envoy with her
severest displeasure, should the States dare to treat with Spain without
her permission.  "Her Majesty called out to me," said Caron, "as soon as
I entered the room, that I had always assured her that the States neither
would nor could make peace with the enemy.  Yet it was now looking very
differently, she continued, swearing with a mighty oath that if the
States should cheat her in that way she meant to revenge herself in such
a fashion that men would talk of it through all eternity."

The French Government was in a similar state of alarm in consequence of
the Gertruydenberg conferences.

The envoy of the archdukes, Marquis d'Havre, reported on the other
hand that all attempts to negotiate had proved fruitless, that Olden-
Barneveld, who spoke for all his colleagues, was swollen with pride, and
made it but too manifest that the States had no intention to submit to
any foreign jurisdiction, but were resolved to maintain themselves in the
form of a republic.



ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

Children who had never set foot on the shore
Done nothing so long as aught remained to do
Fed on bear's liver, were nearly poisoned to death
Inhabited by the savage tribes called Samoyedes





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