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Title: History of the Revolt of the Netherlands — Volume 04
Author: Schiller, Friedrich
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the Revolt of the Netherlands — Volume 04" ***

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                                 BOOK IV.

                             THE ICONOCLASTS.

The springs of this extraordinary occurrence are plainly not to be
sought for so far back as many historians affect to trace them.  It is
certainly possible, and very probable, that the French Protestants did
industriously exert themselves to raise in the Netherlands a nursery for
their religion, and to prevent by all means in their power an amicable
adjustment of differences between their brethren in the faith in that
quarter and the King of Spain, in order to give that implacable foe of
their party enough to do in his own country.  It is natural, therefore,
to suppose that their agents in the provinces left nothing undone to
encourage their oppressed brethren with daring hopes, to nourish their
animosity against the ruling church, and by exaggerating the oppression
under which they sighed to hurry them imperceptibly into illegal
courses.  It is possible, too, that there were many among the
confederates who thought to help out their own lost cause by increasing
the number of their partners in guilt; who thought they could not
otherwise maintain the legal character of their league unless the
unfortunate results against which they had warned the king really came
to pass, and who hoped in the general guilt of all to conceal their own
individual criminality.  It is, however, incredible that the outbreak of
the Iconoclasts was the fruit of a deliberate plan, preconcerted, as it
is alleged, at the convent of St. Truyen.  It does not seem likely that
in a solemn assembly of so many nobles and warriors, of whom the greater
part were the adherents of popery, an individual should be found insane
enough to propose an act of positive infamy, which did not so much
injure any religious party in particular, as rather tread under foot all
respect for religion in general, and even all morality too, and which
could have been conceived only in the mind of the vilest reprobate.
Besides, this outrage was too sudden in its outbreak, too vehement in
its execution altogether, too monstrous to have been anything more than
the offspring of the moment in which it saw the light; it seemed to flow
so naturally from the circumstances which preceded it that it does not
require to be traced far back to remount to its origin.

A rude mob, consisting of the very dregs of the populace, made brutal by
harsh treatment, by sanguinary decrees which dogged them in every town,
scared from place to place and driven almost to despair, were compelled
to worship their God, and to hide like a work of darkness the universal,
sacred privilege of humanity.  Before their eyes proudly rose the
temples of the dominant church, in which their haughty brethren indulged
in ease their magnificent devotion, while they themselves were driven
from the walls, expelled, too, by the weaker number perhaps, and forced,
here in the wild woods, under the burning heat of noon, in disgraceful
secrecy to worship the same God; cast out from civil society into a
state of nature, and reminded in one dread moment of the rights of that
state!  The greater their superiority of numbers the more unnatural did
their lot appear; with wonder they perceive the truth.  The free heaven,
the arms lying ready, the frenzy in their brains and fury in their
hearts combine to aid the suggestions of some preaching fanatic; the
occasion calls; no premeditation is necessary where all eyes at once
declare consent; the resolution is formed ere yet the word is scarcely
uttered; ready for any unlawful act, no one yet clearly knows what,
the furious band rushes onwards.  The smiling prosperity of the hostile
religion insults the poverty of their own; the pomp of the authorized
temples casts contempt on their proscribed belief; every cross they set
up upon the highway, every image of the saints that they meet, is a
trophy erected over their own humiliation, and they all must be removed
by their avenging hands.  Fanaticism suggests these detestable
proceedings, but base passions carry them into execution.

1566.  The commencement of the attack on images took place in West
Flanders and Artois, in the districts between Lys and the sea.  A
frantic herd of artisans, boatmen, and peasants, mixed with prostitutes,
beggars, vagabonds, and thieves, about three hundred in number,
furnished with clubs, axes, hammers, ladders, and cords (a few only
were provided with swords or fire arms), cast themselves, with fanatical
fury, into the villages and hamlets near St. Omer, and breaking open the
gates of such churches and cloisters as they find locked, overthrow
everywhere the altars, break to pieces the images of the saints, and
trample them under foot.  With their excitement increased by its
indulgence, and reinforced by newcomers, they press on by the direct
road to Ypres, where they can count on the support of a strong body of
Calvinists.  Unopposed, they break into the cathedral, and mounting on
ladders they hammer to pieces the pictures, hew down with axes the
pulpits and pews, despoil the altars of their ornaments, and steal the
holy vessels.  This example was quickly followed in Menin, Comines,
Verrich, Lille, and Oudenard; in a few days the same fury spreads
through the whole of Flanders.  At the very time when the first tidings
of this occurrence arrived Antwerp was swarming with a crowd of
houseless people, which the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin had
brought together in that city.  Even the presence of the Prince of
Orange was hardly sufficient to restrain the licentious mob, who burned
to imitate the doings of their brethren in St. Omer; but an order from
the court which summoned him to Brussels, where the regent was just
assembling her council of state, in order to lay before them the royal
letters, obliged him to abandon Antwerp to the outrages of this band.
His departure was the signal for tumult.  Apprehensive of the lawless
violence of which, on the very first day of the festival, the mob had
given indications in derisory allusions, the priests, after carrying
about the image of the Virgin for a short time, brought it for safety
to the choir, without, as formerly, setting it up in the middle of the
church.  This incited some mischievous boys from among the people to pay
it a visit there, and jokingly inquire why she had so soon absented
herself from among them?  Others mounting the pulpit, mimicked the
preacher, and challenged the papists to a dispute.  A Roman Catholic
waterman, indignant at this jest, attempted to pull them down, and blows
were exchanged in the preacher's seat.  Similar scenes occurred on the
following evening.  The numbers increased, and many came already
provided with suspicious implements and secret weapons.  At last it came
into the head of one of them to cry, "Long live the Gueux!" immediately
the whole band took up the cry, and the image of the Virgin was called
upon to do the same.  The few Roman Catholics who were present, and who
had given up the hope of effecting anything against these desperadoes,
left the church after locking all the doors except one.  So soon as they
found themselves alone it was proposed to sing one of the psalms in the
new version, which was prohibited by the government.  While they were
yet singing they all, as at a given signal, rushed furiously upon the
image of the Virgin, piercing it with swords and daggers, and striking
off its head; thieves and prostitutes tore the great wax-lights from the
altar, and lighted them to the work.  The beautiful organ of the church,
a masterpiece of the art of that period, was broken to pieces, all the
paintings were effaced, the statues smashed to atoms.  A crucifix, the
size of life, which was set up between the two thieves, opposite the
high altar, an ancient and highly valued piece of workmanship, was
pulled to the ground with cords, and cut to pieces with axes, while the
two malefactors at its side were respectfully spared.  The holy wafers
were strewed on the ground and trodden under foot; in the wine used for
the Lord's Supper, which was accidentally found there, the health of the
Gueux was drunk, while with the holy oil they rubbed their shoes.  The
very tombs were opened, and the half-decayed corpses torn up and
trampled on.  All this was done with as much wonderful regularity as if
each had previously had his part assigned to him; every one worked into
his neighbor's hands; no one, dangerous as the work was, met with
injury; in the midst of thick darkness, which the tapers only served to
render more sensible, with heavy masses falling on all sides, and though
on the very topmost steps of the ladders, they scuffled with each other
for the honors of demolition--yet no one suffered the least injury.  In
spite of the many tapers which lighted them below in their villanous
work not a single individual was recognized.  With incredible rapidity
was the dark deed accomplished; a number of men, at most a hundred,
despoiled in a few hours a temple of seventy altars--after St. Peter's
at Rome, perhaps the largest and most magnificent in Christendom.

The devastation of the cathedral did not content them; with torches and
tapers purloined from it they set out at midnight to perform a similar
work of havoc on the remaining churches, cloisters, and chapels.  The
destructive hordes increased with every fresh exploit of infamy, and
thieves were allured by the opportunity.  They carried away whatever
they found of value--the consecrated vessels, altar-cloths, money, and
vestments; in the cellars of the cloisters they drank to intoxication;
to escape greater indignities the monks and nuns abandoned everything to
them.  The confused noises of these riotous acts had startled the
citizens from their first sleep; but night made the danger appear more
alarming than it really was, and instead of hastening to defend their
churches the citizens fortified themselves in their houses, and in
terror and anxiety awaited the dawn of morning.  The rising sun at
length revealed the devastation which had been going on during the
night; but the havoc did not terminate with the darkness.  Some churches
and cloisters still remained uninjured; the same fate soon overtook them
also.  The work of destruction lasted three whole days. Alarmed at last
lest the frantic mob, when it could no longer find anything sacred to
destroy, should make a similar attack on lay property and plunder their
ware houses; and encouraged, too, by discovering how small was the
number of the depredators, the wealthier citizens ventured to show
themselves in arms at the doors of their houses.  All the gates of the
town were locked but one, through which the Iconoclasts broke forth to
renew the same atrocities in the rural districts.  On one occasion only
during all this time did the municipal officers venture to exert their
authority, so strongly were they held in awe by the superior power of
the Calvinists, by whom, as it was believed, this mob of miscreants
was hired. The injury inflicted by this work of devastation was
incalculable.  In the church of the Virgin it was estimated at not less
than four hundred thousand gold florins.  Many precious works of art
were destroyed; many valuable manuscripts; many monuments of importance
to history and to diplomacy were thereby lost.  The city magistrate
ordered the plundered articles to be restored on pain of death; in
enforcing this restitution he was effectually assisted by the preachers
of the Reformers, who blushed for their followers.  Much was in this
manner recovered, and the ringleaders of the mob, less animated,
perhaps, by the desire of plunder than by fanaticism and revenge, or
perhaps being ruled by some unseen head, resolved for the future to
guard against these excesses, and to make their attacks in regular bands
and in better order.

The town of Ghent, meanwhile, trembled for a like destiny.  Immediately
on the first news of the outbreak of the Iconoclasts in Antwerp the
magistrate of the former town with the most eminent citizens had bound
themselves to repel by force the church spoilers; when this oath was
proposed to the commonalty also the voices were divided, and many
declared openly that they were by no means disposed to hinder so devout
a work.  In this state of affairs the Roman Catholic clergy found it
advisable to deposit in the citadel the most precious movables of their
churches, and private families were permitted in like manner to provide
for the safety of offerings which had been made by their ancestors.
Meanwhile all the services were discontinued, the courts of justice were
closed; and, like a town in momentary danger of being stormed by the
enemy, men trembled in expectation of what was to come.  At last an
insane band of rioters ventured to send delegates to the governor with
this impudent message: "They were ordered," they said, "by their chiefs
to take the images out of the churches, as had been done in the other
towns.  If they were not opposed it should be done quietly and with as
little injury as possible, but otherwise they would storm the churches;"
nay, they went so far in their audacity as to ask the aid of the
officers of justice therein.  At first the magistrate was astounded at
this demand; upon reflection, however, and in the hope that the presence
of the officers of law would perhaps restrain their excesses, he did not
scruple to grant their request.

In Tournay the churches were despoiled of their ornaments within sight
of the garrison, who could not be induced to march against the
Iconoclasts.  As the latter had been told that the gold and silver
vessels and other ornaments of the church were buried underground, they
turned up the whole floor, and exposed, among others, the body of the
Duke Adolph of Gueldres, who fell in battle at the head of the
rebellious burghers of Ghent, and had been buried herein Tournay.  This
Adolph had waged war against his father, and had dragged the vanquished
old man some miles barefoot to prison--an indignity which Charles the
Bold afterwards retaliated on him.  And now, again, after more than half
a century fate avenged a crime against nature by another against
religion; fanaticism was to desecrate that which was holy in order to
expose once more to execration the bones of a parricide.  Other
Iconoclasts from Valenciennes united themselves with those of Tournay to
despoil all the cloisters of the surrounding district, during which a
valuable library, the accumulation of centuries, was destroyed by fire.
The evil soon penetrated into Brabant, also Malines, Herzogenbusch,
Breda, and Bergen-op-Zoom experienced the same fate.  The provinces,
Namur and Luxemburg, with a part of Artois and of Hainault, had alone
the good fortune to escape the contagion of those outrages.  In the
short period of four or five days four hundred cloisters were plundered
in Brabant and Flanders alone.

The northern Netherlands were soon seized with the same mania which had
raged so violently through the southern.  The Dutch towns, Amsterdam,
Leyden, and Gravenhaag, had the alternative of either voluntarily
stripping their churches of their ornaments, or of seeing them violently
torn from there; the determination of their magistrates saved Delft,
Haarlem, Gouda, and Rotterdam from the devastation.  The same acts of
violence were practised also in the islands of Zealand; the town of
Utrecht and many places in Overyssel and Groningen suffered the same
storms.  Friesland was protected by the Count of Aremberg, and Gueldres
by the Count of Megen from a like fate. An exaggerated report of these
disturbances which came in from the provinces spread the alarm to
Brussels, where the regent had just made preparations for an
extraordinary session of the council of state.  Swarms of Iconoclasts
already penetrated into Brabant; and the metropolis, where they were
certain of powerful support, was threatened by them with a renewal of
the same atrocities then under the very eyes of majesty.  The regent, in
fear for her personal safety, which, even in the heart of the country,
surrounded by provincial governors and Knights of the Fleece, she
fancied insecure, was already meditating a flight to Mons, in Hainault,
which town the Duke of Arschot held for her as a place of refuge, that
she might not be driven to any undignified concession by falling into
the power of the Iconoclasts.  In vain did the knights pledge life and
blood for her safety, and urgently beseech her not to expose them to
disgrace by so dishonorable a flight, as though they were wanting in
courage or zeal to protect their princess; to no purpose did the town of
Brussels itself supplicate her not to abandon them in this extremity,
and vainly did the council of state make the most impressive
representations that so pusillanimous a step would not fail to encourage
still more the insolence of the rebels; she remained immovable in this
desperate condition.  As messenger after messenger arrived to warn her
that the Iconoclasts were advancing against the metropolis, she issued
orders to hold everything in readiness for her flight, which was to take
place quietly with the first approach of morning.  At break of day the
aged Viglius presented himself before her, whom, with the view of
gratifying the nobles, she had been long accustomed to neglect.  He
demanded to know the meaning of the preparations he observed, upon which
she at last confessed that she intended to make her escape, and assured
him that he would himself do well to secure his own safety by
accompanying her.  "It is now two years," said the old man to her, "that
you might have anticipated these results.  Because I have spoken more
freely than your courtiers you have closed your princely ear to me,
which has been open only to pernicious suggestions."  The regent allowed
that she had been in fault, and had been blinded by an appearance of
probity; but that she was now driven by necessity.  "Are you resolved,"
answered Viglius, "resolutely to insist upon obedience to the royal
commands?"  "I am," answered the duchess.  "Then have recourse to the
great secret of the art of government, to dissimulation, and pretend to
join the princes until, with their assistance, you have repelled this
storm.  Show them a confidence which you are far from feeling in your
heart.  Make them take an oath to you that they will make common cause
in resisting these disorders.  Trust those as your friends who show
themselves willing to do it; but be careful to avoid frightening away
the others by contemptuous treatment."  Viglius kept the regent engaged
in conversation until the princes arrived, who he was quite certain
would in nowise consent to her flight.  When they appeared he quietly
withdrew in order to issue commands to the town council to close the
gates of the city and prohibit egress to every one connected with the
court.  This last measure effected more than all the representations had
done.  The regent, who saw herself a prisoner in her own capital, now
yielded to the persuasions of the nobles, who pledged themselves to
stand by her to the last drop of blood.  She made Count Mansfeld
commandant of the town, who hastily increased the garrison and armed her
whole court.

The state council was now held, who finally came to a resolution that it
was expedient to yield to the emergency; to permit the preachings in
those places where they had already commenced; to make known the
abolition of the papal Inquisition; to declare the old edicts against
the heretics repealed, and before all things to grant the required
indemnity to the confederate nobles, without limitation or condition.
At the same time the Prince of Orange, Counts Egmont and Horn, with some
others, were appointed to confer on this head with the deputies of the
league.  Solemnly and in the most unequivocal terms the members of the
league were declared free from all responsibility by reason of the
petition which had been presented, and all royal officers and
authorities were enjoined to act in conformity with this assurance,
and neither now nor for the future to inflict any injury upon any
of the confederates on account of the said petition.  In return,
the confederates bound themselves to be true and loyal servants of
his majesty, to contribute to the utmost of their power to the
re-establishment of order and the punishment of the Iconiclasts,
to prevail on the people to lay down their arms, and to afford
active assistance to the king against internal and foreign enemies.
Securities, formally drawn up and subscribed by the plenipotentiaries
of both sides, were exchanged between them; the letter of indemnity, in
particular, was signed by the duchess with her own hand and attested by
her seal.  It was only after a severe struggle, and with tears in her
eyes, that the regent, as she tremblingly confessed to the king, was at
last induced to consent to this painful step.  She threw the whole blame
upon the nobles, who had kept her a prisoner in Brussels and compelled
her to it by force.  Above all she complained bitterly of the Prince of

This business accomplished, all the governors hastened to their
provinces; Egmont to Flanders, Orange to Antwerp.  In the latter city
the Protestants had seized the despoiled and plundered churches, and,
as if by the rights of war, had taken possession of them.  The prince
restored them to their lawful owners, gave orders for their repair, and
re-established in them the Roman Catholic form of worship.  Three of the
Iconoclasts, who had been convicted, paid the penalty of their sacrilege
on the gallows; some of the rioters were banished, and many others
underwent punishment.  Afterwards he assembled four deputies of each
dialect, or nations, as they were termed, and agreed with them that, as
the approaching winter made preaching in the open air impossible, three
places within the town should be granted then, where they might either
erect new churches, or convert private houses to that purpose.  That
they should there perform their service every Sunday and holiday, and
always at the same hour, but on no other days.  If, however, no holiday
happened in the week, Wednesday should be kept by them instead.  No
religious party should maintain more than two clergymen, and these must
be native Netherlanders, or at least have received naturalization from
some considerable town of the provinces.  All should take an oath to
submit in civil matters to the municipal authorities and the Prince of
Orange.  They should be liable, like the other citizens, to all imposts.
No one should attend sermons armed; a sword, however, should be allowed
to each.  No preacher should assail the ruling religion from the pulpit,
nor enter upon controverted points, beyond what the doctrine itself
rendered unavoidable, or what might refer to morals.  No psalm should be
sung by them out of their appointed district.  At the election of their
preachers, churchwardens, and deacons, as also at all their other
consistorial meetings, a person from the government should on each
occasion be present to report their proceedings to the prince and the
magistrate.  As to all other points they should enjoy the same
protection as the ruling religion.  This arrangement was to hold good
until the king, with consent of the states, should determine otherwise;
but then it should be free to every one to quit the country with his
family and his property.  From Antwerp the prince hastened to Holland,
Zealand, and Utrecht, in order to make there similar arrangements for
the restoration of peace; Antwerp, however, was, during his absence,
entrusted to the superintendence of Count Howstraten, who was a mild
man, and although an adherent of the league, had never failed in loyalty
to the king.  It is evident that in this agreement the prince had far
overstepped the powers entrusted to him, and though in the service of
the king had acted exactly like a sovereign lord.  But he alleged in
excuse that it would be far easier to the magistrate to watch these
numerous and powerful sects if he himself interfered in their worship,
and if this took place under his eyes, than if he were to leave the
sectarians to themselves in the open air.

In Gueldres Count Megen showed more severity, and entirely suppressed
the Protestant sects and banished all their preachers.  In Brussels the
regent availed herself of the advantage derived from her personal
presence to put a stop to the public preaching, even outside the town.
When, in reference to this, Count Nassau reminded her in the name of the
confederates of the compact which had been entered into, and demanded if
the town of Brussels had inferior rights to the other towns?  she
answered, if there were public preachings in Brussels before the treaty,
it was not her work if they were now discontinued.  At the same time,
however, she secretly gave the citizens to understand that the first who
should venture to attend a public sermon should certainly be hung.  Thus
she kept the capital at least faithful to her.

It was more difficult to quiet Tournay, which office was committed to
Count Horn, in the place of Montigny, to whose government the town
properly belonged.  Horn commanded the Protestants to vacate the
churches immediately, and to content themselves with a house of worship
outside the walls.  To this their preachers objected that the churches
were erected for the use of the people, by which terms, they said, not
the heads but the majority were meant.  If they were expelled from the
Roman Catholic churches it was at least fair that they should be
furnished with money for erecting churches of their own.  To this the
magistrate replied even if the Catholic party was the weaker it was
indisputably the better.  The erection of churches should not be
forbidden them; they could not, however, after the injury which the town
had already suffered from their brethren, the Iconoclasts, very well
expect that it should be further burdened by the erection of their
churches.  After long quarrelling on both sides, the Protestants
contrived to retain possession of some churches, which, for greater
security, they occupied with guards.  In Valenciennes, too, the
Protestants refused submission to the conditions which were offered to
them through Philip St. Aldegonde, Baron of Noircarmes, to whom, in the
absence of the Marquis of Bergen, the government of that place was
entrusted.  A reformed preacher, La Grange, a Frenchman by birth, who by
his eloquence had gained a complete command over them, urged them to
insist on having churches of their own within the town, and to threaten
in case of refusal to deliver it up to the Huguenots.  A sense of the
superior numbers of the Calvinists, and of their understanding with the
Huguenots, prevented the governor adopting forcible measures against

Count Egmont, also to manifest his zeal for the king's service, did
violence to his natural kind-heartedness.  Introducing a garrison into
the town of Ghent, he caused some of the most refractory rebels to be
put to death.  The churches were reopened, the Roman Catholic worship
renewed, and all foreigners, without exception, ordered to quit the
province.  To the Calvinists, but to them alone, a site was granted
outside the town for the erection of a church.  In return they were
compelled to pledge themselves to the most rigid obedience to the
municipal authorities, and to active co-operation in the proceedings
against the Iconoclasts.  He pursued similar measures through all
Flanders and Artois.  One of his noblemen, John Cassembrot, Baron of
Beckerzeel, and a leaguer, pursuing the Iconoclasts at the head of some
horsemen of the league, surprised a band of them just as they were about
to break into a town of Hainault, near Grammont, in Flanders, and took
thirty of them prisoners, of whom twenty-two were hung upon the spot,
and the rest whipped out of the province.

Services of such importance one would have thought scarcely deserved to
be rewarded with the displeasure of the king; what Orange, Egmont, and
Horn performed on this occasion evinced at least as much zeal and had
as beneficial a result as anything that was accomplished by Noircarmes,
Megen, and Aremberg, to whom the king vouchsafed to show his gratitude
both by words and deeds.  But their zeal, their services came too late.
They had spoken too loudly against his edicts, had been too vehement in
their opposition to his measures, had insulted him too grossly in the
person of his minister Granvella, to leave room for forgiveness.  No
time, no repentance, no atonement, however great, could efface this one
offence from the memory of their sovereign.

Philip lay sick at Segovia when the news of the outbreak of the
Iconoclasts and the uncatholic agreement entered into with the Reformers
reached him.  At the same time the regent renewed her urgent entreaty
for his personal visit, of which also all the letters treated, which the
President Viglius exchanged with his friend Hopper.  Many also of the
Belgian nobles addressed special letters to the king, as, for instance,
Egmont, Mansfeld, Megen, Aremberg, Noircarmes, and Barlaimont, in which
they reported the state of their provinces, and at once explained and
justified the arrangements they had made with the disaffected.  Just at
this period a letter arrived from the German Emperor, in which he
recommended Philip to act with clemency towards his Belgian subjects,
and offered his mediation in the matter.  He had also written direct to
the regent herself in Brussels, and added letters to the several leaders
of the nobility, which, however, were never delivered.  Having conquered
the first anger which this hateful occurrence had excited, the king
referred the whole matter to his council.

The party of Granvella, which had the preponderance in the council, was
diligent in tracing a close connection between the behavior of the
Flemish nobles and the excesses of the church desecrators, which showed
itself in similarity of the demands of both parties, and especially the
time which the latter chose for their outbreak.  In the same month,
they observed, in which the nobles had sent in their three articles of
pacification, the Iconoclasts had commenced their work; on the evening
of the very day that Orange quitted Antwerp the churches too were
plundered.  During the whole tumult not a finger was lifted to take up
arms; all the expedients employed were invariably such as turned to the
advantage of the sects, while, on the contrary, all others were
neglected which tended to the maintenance of the pure faith.  Many of
the Iconoclasts, it was further said, had confessed that all that they
had done was with the knowledge and consent of the princes; though
surely nothing was more natural, than for such worthless wretches to
seek to screen with great names a crime which they had undertaken solely
on their own account.  A writing also was produced in which the high
nobility were made to promise their services to the "Gueux," to procure
the assembly of the states general, the genuineness of which, however,
the former strenuously denied.  Four different seditious parties were,
they said, to be noticed in the Netherlands, which were all more or
less connected with one another, and all worked towards a common end.
One of these was those bands of reprobates who desecrated the churches;
a second consisted of the various sects who had hired the former to
perform their infamous acts; the "Gueux," who had raised themselves to
be the defenders of the sects were the third; and the leading nobles who
were inclined to the "Gueux" by feudal connections, relationship, and
friendship, composed the fourth.  All, consequently, were alike fatally
infected, and all equally guilty.  The government had not merely to
guard against a few isolated members; it had to contend with the whole
body.  Since, then, it was ascertained that the people were the seduced
party, and the encouragement to rebellion came from higher quarters, it
would be wise and expedient to alter the plan hitherto adopted, which
now appeared defective in several respects.  Inasmuch as all classes had
been oppressed without distinction, and as much of severity shown to the
lower orders as of contempt to the nobles, both had been compelled to
lend support to one another; a party had been given to the latter and
leaders to the former.  Unequal treatment seemed an infallible expedient
to separate them; the mob, always timid and indolent when not goaded by
the extremity of distress, would very soon desert its adored protectors
and quickly learn to see in their fate well-merited retribution if only
it was not driven to share it with them.  It was therefore proposed to
the king to treat the great multitude for the future with more leniency,
and to direct all measures of severity against the leaders of the
faction.  In order, however, to avoid the appearance of a disgraceful
concession, it was considered advisable to accept the mediation of the
Emperor, and to impute to it alone and not to the justice of their
demands, that the king out of pure generosity had granted to his Belgian
subjects as much as they asked.

The question of the king's personal visit to the provinces was now again
mooted, and all the difficulties which had formerly been raised on this
head appeared to vanish before the present emergency.  "Now," said
Tyssenacque and Hopper, "the juncture has really arrived at which the
king, according to his own declaration formerly made to Count Egmont,
will be ready to risk a thousand lives.  To restore quiet to Ghent
Charles V. had undertaken a troublesome and dangerous journey through an
enemy's country.  This was done for the sake of a single town; and now
the peace, perhaps even the possession, of all the United Provinces was
at stake."  This was the opinion of the majority; and the journey of the
king was looked upon as a matter from which he could not possibly any
longer escape.

The question now was, whether he should enter upon it with a numerous
body of attendants or with few; and here the Prince of Eboli and Count
Figueroa were at issue with the Duke of Alva, as their private interests
clashed.  If the king journeyed at the head of an army the presence of
the Duke of Alva would be indispensable, who, on the other hand, if
matters were peaceably adjusted, would be less required, and must make
room for his rivals.  "An army," said Figueroa, who spoke first, "would
alarm the princes through whose territories it must march, and perhaps
even be opposed by them; it would, moreover, unnecessarily burden the
provinces for whose tranquillization it was intended, and add a new
grievance to the many which had already driven the people to such
lengths.  It would press indiscriminately upon all of the king's
subjects, whereas a court of justice, peaceably administering its
office, would observe a marked distinction between the innocent and
the guilty.  The unwonted violence of the former course would tempt the
leaders of the faction to take a more alarming view of their behavior,
in which wantonness and levity had the chief share, and consequently
induce them to proceed with deliberation and union; the thought of
having forced the king to such lengths would plunge them into despair,
in which they would be ready to undertake anything.  If the king placed
himself in arms against the rebels he would forfeit the most important
advantage which he possessed over them, namely, his authority as
sovereign of the country, which would prove the more powerful in
proportion as he showed his reliance upon that alone.  He would place
himself thereby, as it were, on a level with the rebels, who on their
side would not be at a loss to raise an army, as the universal hatred of
the Spanish forces would operate in their favor with the nation.  By
this procedure the king would exchange the certain advantage which his
position as sovereign of the country conferred upon him for the
uncertain result of military operations, which, result as they might,
would of necessity destroy a portion of his own subjects.  The rumor of
his hostile approach would outrun him time enough to allow all who were
conscious of a bad cause to place themselves in a posture of defence,
and to combine and render availing both their foreign and domestic
resources.  Here again the general alarm would do them important
service; the uncertainty who would be the first object of this warlike
approach would drive even the less guilty to the general mass of the
rebels, and force those to become enemies to the king who otherwise
would never have been so.  If, however, he was coming among them without
such a formidable accompaniment; if his appearance was less that of a
sanguinary judge than of an angry parent, the courage of all good men
would rise, and the bad would perish in their own security.  They would
persuade themselves what had happened was unimportant; that it did not
appear to the king of sufficient moment to call for strong measures.
They wished if they could to avoid the chance of ruining, by acts of
open violence, a cause which might perhaps yet be saved; consequently,
by this quiet, peaceable method everything would be gained which by the
other would be irretrievably lost; the loyal subject would in no degree
be involved in the same punishment with the culpable rebel; on the
latter alone would the whole weight of the royal indignation descend.
Lastly, the enormous expenses would be avoided which the transport of a
Spanish army to those distant regions would occasion.

"But," began the Duke of Alva, "ought the injury of some few citizens to
be considered when danger impends over the whole?  Because a few of the
loyally-disposed may suffer wrong are the rebels therefore not to be
chastised?  The offence has been universal, why then should not the
punishment be the same?  What the rebels have incurred by their actions
the rest have incurred equally by their supineness.  Whose fault is it
but theirs that the former have so far succeeded?  Why did they not
promptly oppose their first attempts?  It is said that circumstances
were not so desperate as to justify this violent remedy; but who will
insure us that they will not be so by the time the king arrives,
especially when, according to every fresh despatch of the regent, all is
hastening with rapid strides to a-ruinous consummation?  Is it a hazard
we ought to run to leave the king to discover on his entrance into the
provinces the necessity of his having brought with him a military force?
It is a fact only too well-established that the rebels have secured
foreign succors, which stand ready at their command on the first signal;
will it then be time to think of preparing for war when the enemy pass
the frontiers?  Is it a wise risk to rely for aid upon the nearest
Belgian troops when their loyalty is so little to be depended upon?  And
is not the regent perpetually reverting in her despatches to the fact
that nothing but the want of a suitable military force has hitherto
hindered her from enforcing the edicts, and stopping the progress of the
rebels?  A well-disciplined and formidable army alone will disappoint
all their hopes of maintaining themselves in opposition to their lawful
sovereign, and nothing but the certain prospect of destruction will make
them lower their demands.  Besides, without an adequate force, the king
cannot venture his person in hostile countries; he cannot enter into any
treaties with his rebellious subjects which would not be derogatory to
his honor."

The authority of the speaker gave preponderance to his arguments, and
the next question was, when the king should commence his journey and
what road he should take.  As the voyage by sea was on every account
extremely hazardous, he had no other alternative but either to proceed
thither through the passes near Trent across.  Germany, or to penetrate
from Savoy over the Apennine Alps.  The first route would expose him to
the danger of the attack of the German Protestants, who were not likely
to view with indifference the objects of his journey, and a passage over
the Apennines was at this late season of the year not to be attempted.
Moreover, it would be necessary to send for the requisite galleys from
Italy, and repair them, which would take several months.  Finally, as
the assembly of the Cortes of Castile, from which he could not well be
absent, was already appointed for December, the journey could not be
undertaken before the spring.  Meanwhile the regent pressed for explicit
instructions how she was to extricate herself from her present
embarrassment, without compromising the royal dignity too far; and it
was necessary to do something in the interval till the king could
undertake to appease the troubles by his personal presence.  Two
separate letters were therefore despatched to the duchess; one public,
which she could lay before the states and the council chambers, and one
private, which was intended for herself alone.  In the first, the king
announced to her his restoration to health, and the fortunate birth of
the Infanta Clara Isabella Eugenia, afterwards wife of the Archduke
Albert of Austria and Princess of the Netherlands.  He declared to her
his present firm intention to visit the Netherlands in person, for which
he was already making the necessary preparations.  The assembling of the
states he refused, as he had previously done.  No mention was made in
this letter of the agreement which she had entered into with the
Protestants and with the league, because he did not deem it advisable at
present absolutely to reject it, and he was still less disposed to
acknowledge its validity.  On the other hand, he ordered her to
reinforce the army, to draw together new regiments from Germany, and to
meet the refractory with force.  For the rest, he concluded, he relied
upon the loyalty of the leading nobility, among whom he knew many who
were sincere in their attachment both to their religion and their king.
In the secret letter she was again enjoined to do all in her power to
prevent the assembling of the states; but if the general voice should
become irresistible, and she was compelled to yield, she was at least to
manage so cautiously that the royal dignity should not suffer, and no
one learn the king's consent to their assembly.

While these consultations were held in Spain the Protestants in the
Netherlands made the most extensive use of the privileges which had been
compulsorily granted to them.  The erection of churches wherever it was
permitted was completed with incredible rapidity; young and old, gentle
and simple, assisted in carrying stones; women sacrificed even their
ornaments in order to accelerate the work.  The two religious parties
established in several towns consistories, and a church council of their
own, the first move of the kind being made in Antwerp, and placed their
form of worship on a well-regulated footing.  It was also proposed to
raise a common fund by subscription to meet any sudden emergency of the
Protestant church in general.  In Antwerp a memorial was presented by
the Calvinists of that town to the Count of Hogstraten, in which they
offered to pay three millions of dollars to secure the free exercise of
their religion.  Many copies of this writing were circulated in the
Netherlands; and in order to stimulate others, many had ostentatiously
subscribed their names to large sums.  Various interpretations of this
extravagant offer were made by the enemies of the Reformers, and all had
some appearance of reason.  For instance, it was urged that under the
pretext of collecting the requisite sum for fulfilling this engagement
they hoped, without suspicion, to raise funds for military purposes; for
whether they should be called upon to contribute for or against they
would, it was thought, be more ready to burden themselves with a view of
preserving peace than for an oppressive and devasting war.  Others saw
in this offer nothing more than a temporary stratagem of the Protestants
by which they hoped to bind the court and keep it irresolute until they
should have gained sufficient strength to confront it.  Others again
declared it to be a downright bravado in order to alarm the regent, and
to raise the courage of their own party by the display of such rich
resources.  But whatever was the true motive of this proposition, its
originators gained little by it; the contributions flowed in scantily
and slowly, and the court answered the proposal with silent contempt.
The excesses, too, of the Iconoclasts, far from promoting the cause of
the league and advancing the Protestants interests, had done irreparable
injury to both.  The sight of their ruined churches, which, in the
language of Viglius, resembled stables more than houses of God, enraged
the Roman Catholics, and above all the clergy.  All of that religion,
who had hitherto been members of the league, now forsook it, alleging
that even if it had not intentionally excited and encouraged the
excesses of the Iconoclasts it had beyond question remotely led to them.
The intolerance of the Calvinists who, wherever they were the ruling
party, cruelly oppressed the Roman Catholics, completely expelled the
delusion in which the latter had long indulged, and they withdrew their
support from a party from which, if they obtained the upper hand, their
own religion had so much cause to fear.  Thus the league lost many of
its best members; the friends and patrons, too, which it had hitherto
found amongst the well-disposed citizens now deserted it, and its
character began perceptibly to decline.  The severity with which some of
its members had acted against the Iconoclasts in order to prove their
good disposition towards the regent, and to remove the suspicion of any
connection with the malcontents, had also injured them with the people
who favored the latter, and thus the league was in danger of ruining
itself with both parties at the same time.  The regent had no sooner
became acquainted with this change in the public mind than she devised a
plan by which she hoped gradually to dissolve the whole league, or at
least to enfeeble it through internal dissensions.  For this end she
availed herself of the private letters which the king had addressed to
some of the nobles, and enclosed to her with full liberty to use them at
her discretion.  These letters, which overflowed with kind expressions
were presented to those for whom they were intended, with an attempt at
secrecy, which designedly miscarried, so that on each occasion some one
or other of those who had received nothing of the sort got a hint of
them.  In order to spread suspicion the more widely numerous copies of
the letters were circulated.  This artifice attained its object.  Many
members of the league began to doubt the honesty of those to whom such
brilliant promises were made; through fear of being deserted by their
principal members and supporters, they eagerly accepted the conditions
which were offered them by the regent, and evinced great anxiety for a
speedy reconciliation with the court.  The general rumor of the
impending visit of the king, which the regent took care to have widely
circulated, was also of great service to her in this matter; many who
could not augur much good to themselves from the royal presence did not
hesitate to accept a pardon, which, perhaps, for what they could tell,
was offered them for the last time.  Among those who thus received
private letters were Egmont and Prince of Orange.  Both had complained
to the king of the evil reports with which designing persons in Spain
had labored to brand their names, and to throw suspicion on their
motives and intentions; Egmont, in particular, with the honest
simplicity which was peculiar to his character, had asked the monarch
only to point out to him what he most desired, to determine the
particular action by which his favor could be best obtained and zeal in
his service evinced, and it should, he assured him, be done.  The king
in reply caused the president, Von Tyssenacque, to tell him that he
could do nothing better to refute his traducers than to show perfect
submission to the royal orders, which were so clearly and precisely
drawn up, that no further exposition of them was required, nor any
particular instruction.  It was the sovereign's part to deliberate, to
examine, and to decide; unconditionally to obey was the duty of the
subject; the honor of the latter consisted in his obedence.  It did not
become a member to hold itself wiser than the head.  He was assuredly to
be blamed for not having done his utmost to curb the unruliness of his
sectarians; but it was even yet in his power to make up for past
negligence by at least maintaining peace and order until the actual
arrival of the king.  In thus punishing Count Egmont with reproofs like
a disobedient child, the king treated him in accordance with what he
knew of his character; with his friend he found it necessary to call in
the aid of artifice and deceit.  Orange, too, in his letter, had alluded
to the suspicions which the king entertained of his loyalty and
attachment, but not, like Egmont, in the vain hope of removing them; for
this, he had long given up; but in order to pass from these complaints
to a request for permission to resign his offices.  He had already
frequently made this request to the regent, but had always received from
her a refusal, accompanied with the strongest assurance of her regard.
The king also, to whom he now at last addressed a direct application,
returned him the same answer, graced with similar strong assurances of
his satisfaction and gratitude.  In particular he expressed the high
satisfaction he entertained of his services, which he had lately
rendered the crown in Antwerp, and lamented deeply that the private
affairs of the prince (which the latter had made his chief plea for
demanding his dismissal) should have fallen into such disorder; but
ended with the declaration that it was impossible for him to dispense
with his valuable services at a crisis which demanded the increase,
rather than diminution, of his good and honest servants.  He had
thought, he added, that the prince entertained a better opinion of him
than to suppose him capable of giving credit to the idle talk of certain
persons, who were friends neither to the prince nor to himself.  But, at
the same time, to give him a proof of his sincerity, he complained to
him in confidence of his brother, the Count of Nassau, pretended to ask
his advice in the matter, and finally expressed a wish to have the count
removed for a period from the Netherlands.

But Philip had here to do with a head which in cunning was superior to
his own.  The Prince of Orange had for a long time held watch over him
and his privy council in Madrid and Segovia, through a host of spies,
who reported to him everything of importance that was transacted there.
The court of this most secret of all despots had become accessible to
his intriguing spirit and his money; in this manner he had gained
possession of several autograph letters of the regent, which she had
secretly written to Madrid, and had caused copies to be circulated in
triumph in Brussels, and in a measure under her own eyes, insomuch that
she saw with astonishment in everybody's hands what she thought was
preserved with so much care, and entreated the king for the future to
destroy her despatches immediately they were read. William's vigilance
did not confine itself simply to the court of Spain; he had spies in
France, and even at more distant courts.  He is also charged with not
being over scrupulous as to the means by which he acquired his
intelligence.  But the most important disclosure was made by an
intercepted letter of the Spanish ambassador in France, Francis Von
Alava, to the duchess, in which the former descanted on the fair
opportunity which was now afforded to the king, through the guilt of
the Netherlandish people, of establishing an arbitrary power in that
country.  He therefore advised her to deceive the nobles by the very
arts which they had hitherto employed against herself, and to secure
them through smooth words and an obliging behavior.  The king, he
concluded, who knew the nobles to be the hidden springs of all the
previous troubles, would take good care to lay hands upon them at the
first favorable opportunity, as well as the two whom he had already in
Spain; and did not mean to let them go again, having sworn to make an
example in them which should horrify the whole of Christendom, even if
it should cost him his hereditary dominions.  This piece of evil news
was strongly corroborated by the letters which Bergen and Montigny wrote
from Spain, and in which they bitterly complained of the contemptuous
behavior of the grandees and the altered deportment of the monarch
towards them; and the Prince of Orange was now fully sensible what he
had to expect from the fair promises of the king.

The letter of the minister, Alava, together with some others from Spain,
which gave a circumstantial account of the approaching warlike visit of
the king, and of his evil intentions against the nobles, was laid by the
prince before his brother, Count Louis of Nassau, Counts Egmont, Horn,
and Hogstraten, at a meeting at Dendermonde in Flanders, whither these
five knights had repaired to confer on the measures necessary for their
security.  Count Louis, who listened only to his feelings of
indignation, foolhardily maintained that they ought, without loss of
time, to take up arms and seize some strongholds.  That they ought at
all risks to prevent the king's armed entrance into the provinces.  That
they should endeavor to prevail on the Swiss, the Protestant princes of
Germany, and the Huguenots to arm and obstruct his passage through their
territories; and if, notwithstanding, he should force his way through
these impediments, that the Flemings should meet him with an army on the
frontiers.  He would take upon himself to negotiate a defensive alliance
in France, in Switzerland, and in Germany, and to raise in the latter
empire four thousand horse, together with a proportionate body of
infantry.  Pretexts would not be wanting for collecting the requisite
supplies of money, and the merchants of the reformed sect would, he felt
assured, not fail them.  But William, more cautious and more wise,
declared himself against this proposal, which, in the execution, would
be exposed to numberless difficulties, and had as yet nothing to justify
it.  The Inquisition, he represented, was in fact abolished, the edicts
were nearly sunk into oblivion, and a fair degree of religious liberty
accorded.  Hitherto, therefore, there existed no valid or adequate
excuse for adopting this hostile method; he did not doubt, however,
that one would be presented to them before long, and in good time for
preparation.  His own opinion consequently was that they should await
this opportunity with patience, and in the meanwhile still keep a
watchful eye upon everything, and contrive to give the people a hint of
the threatened danger, that they might be ready to act if circumstances
should call for their co-operation.  If all present had assented to the
opinion of the Prince of Orange, there is no doubt but so powerful a
league, formidable both by the influence and the high character of its
members, would have opposed obstacles to the designs of the king which
would have compelled him to abandon them entirely.  But the
determination of the assembled knights was much shaken by the
declaration with which Count Egmont surprised them.  "Rather," said he,
"may all that is evil befall me than that I should tempt fortune so
rashly.  The idle talk of the Spaniard, Alava, does not move me; how
should such a person be able to read the mind of a sovereign so reserved
as Philip, and to decipher his secrets?  The intelligence which Montigny
gives us goes to prove nothing more than that the king has a very
doubtful opinion of our zeal for his service, and believes he has cause
to distrust our loyalty; and for this I for my part must confess that
we have given him only too much cause.  And it is my serious purpose,
by redoubling my zeal, to regain his good opinion, and by my future
behavior to remove, if possible, the distrust which my actions have
hitherto excited.  How could I tear myself from the arms of my numerous
and dependent family to wander as an exile at foreign courts, a burden
to every one who received me, the slave of every one who condescended to
assist me, a servant of foreigners, in order to escape a slight degree
of constraint at home?  Never can the monarch act unkindly towards a
servant who was once beloved and dear to him, and who has established a
well-grounded claim to his gratitude.  Never shall I be persuaded that
he who has expressed such favorable, such gracious sentiments towards
his Belgian subjects, and with his own mouth gave me such emphatic,
such solemn assurances, can be now devising, as it is pretended, such
tyrannical schemes against them.  If we do but restore to the country
its former repose, chastise the rebels, and re-establish the Roman
Catholic form of worship wherever it has been violently suppressed,
then, believe me, we shall hear no more of Spanish troops.  This is the
course to which I now invite you all by my counsel and my example, and
to which also most of our brethren already incline.  I, for my part,
fear nothing from the anger of the king.  My conscience acquits me.
I trust my fate and fortunes to his justice and clemency."  In vain did
Nassau, Horn, and Orange labor to shake his resolution, and to open his
eyes to the near and inevitable danger.  Egmont was really attached to
the king; the royal favors, and the condescension with which they were
conferred, were still fresh in his remembrance.  The attentions with
which the monarch had distinguished him above all his friends had not
failed of their effect.  It was more from false shame than from party
spirit that he had defended the cause of his countrymen against him;
more from temperament and natural kindness of heart than from tried
principles that he had opposed the severe measures of the government.
The love of the nation, which worshipped him as its idol, carried him
away.  Too vain to renounce a title which sounded so agreeable, he had
been compelled to do something to deserve it; but a single look at his
family, a harsher designation applied to his conduct, a dangerous
inference drawn from it, the mere sound of crime, terrified him from his
self-delusion, and scared him back in haste and alarm to his duty.

Orange's whole plan was frustrated by Egmont's withdrawal.  The latter
possessed the hearts of the people and the confidence of the army,
without which it was utterly impossible to undertake anything effective.
The rest had reckoned with so much certainty upon him that his
unexpected defection rendered the whole meeting nugatory.  They
therefore separated without coming to a determination.  All who had met
in Dendermonde were expected in the council of state in Brussels; but
Egmont alone repaired thither.  The regent wished to sift him on the
subject of this conference, but she could extract nothing further from
him than the production of the letter of Alava, of which he had
purposely taken a copy, and which, with the bitterest reproofs, he laid
before her.  At first she changed color at sight of it, but quickly
recovering herself, she boldly declared that it was a forgery.  "How can
this letter," she said, "really come from Alava, when I miss none?  And
would he who pretends to have intercepted it have spared the other
letters?  Nay, how can it be true, when not a single packet has
miscarried, nor a single despatch failed to come to hand?  How, too,
can it be thought likely that the king would have made Alava master
of a secret which he has not communicated even to me?"

                                CIVIL WAR

1566.  Meanwhile the regent hastened to take advantage of the schism
amongst the nobles to complete the ruin of the league, which was already
tottering under the weight of internal dissensions.  Without loss of
time she drew from Germany the troops which Duke Eric of Brunswick was
holding in readiness, augmented the cavalry, and raised five regiments
of Walloons, the command of which she gave to Counts Mansfeld, Megen,
Aremberg, and others.  To the prince, likewise, she felt it necessary to
confide troops, both because she did not wish, by withholding them
pointedly, to insult him, and also because the provinces of which he was
governor were in urgent need of them; but she took the precaution of
joining with him a Colonel Waldenfinger, who should watch all his steps
and thwart his measures if they appeared dangerous.  To Count Egmont the
clergy in Flanders paid a contribution of forty thousand gold florins
for the maintenance of fifteen hundred men, whom he distributed among
the places where danger was most apprehended.  Every governor was
ordered to increase his military force, and to provide himself with
ammunition.  These energetic preparations, which were making in all
places, left no doubt as to the measures which the regent would adopt in
future.  Conscious of her superior force, and certain of this important
support, she now ventured to change her tone, and to employ quite
another language with the rebels.  She began to put the most arbitrary
interpretation on the concessions which, through fear and necessity, she
had made to the Protestants, and to restrict all the liberties which she
had tacitly granted them to the mere permission of their preaching.  All
other religious exercises and rites, which yet appeared to be involved
in the former privilege, were by new edicts expressly forbidden, and all
offenders in such matters were to be proceeded against as traitors.  The
Protestants were permitted to think differently from the ruling church
upon the sacrament, but to receive it differently was a crime; baptism,
marriage, burial, after their fashion, were probibited under pain of
death.  It was a cruel mockery to allow them their religion, and forbid
the exercise of it; but this mean artifice of the regent to escape from
the obligation of her pledged word was worthy of the pusillanimity with
which she had submitted to its being extorted from her.  She took
advantage of the most trifling innovations and the smallest excesses to
interrupt the preachings; and some of the preachers, under the charge of
having performed their office in places not appointed to them, were
brought to trial, condemned, and executed.  On more than one occasion
the regent publicly declared that the confederates had taken unfair
advantage of her fears, and that she did not feel herself bound by an
engagement which had been extorted from her by threats.

Of all the Belgian towns which had participated in the insurrection of
the Iconoclasts none had caused the regent so much alarm as the town of
Valenciennes, in Hainault.  In no other was the party of the Calvinists
so powerful, and the spirit of rebellion for which the province of
Hainault had always made itself conspicuous, seemed to dwell here as in
its native place.  The propinquity of France, to which, as well by
language as by manners, this town appeared to belong, rather than to the
Netherlands, had from the first led to its being governed with great
mildness and forbearance, which, however, only taught it to feel its own
importance.  At the last outbreak of the church-desecrators it had been
on the point of surrendering to the Huguenots, with whom it maintained
the closest understanding.  The slightest excitement night renew this
danger.  On this account Valenciennes was the first town to which the
regent proposed, as soon as should be in her power, to send a strong
garrison.  Philip of Noircarmes, Baron of St. Aldegonde, Governor of
Hainault in the place of the absent Marquis of Bergen, had received this
charge, and now appeared at the head of an army before its walls.
Deputies came to meet him on the part of the magistrate from the town,
to petition against the garrison, because the Protestant citizens, who
were the superior number, had declared against it.  Noircarnes
acquainted them with the will of the regent, and gave them the choice
between the garrison or a siege.  He assured them that not more than
four squadrons of horse and six companies of foot should be imposed upon
the town; and for this he would give them his son as a hostage.  These
terms were laid before the magistrate, who, for his part, was much
inclined to accept them.  But Peregrine Le Grange, the preacher, and the
idol of the populace, to whom it was of vital importance to prevent a
submission of which he would inevitably become the victim, appeared at
the head of his followers, and by his powerful eloquence excited the
people to reject the conditions.  When their answer was brought to
Noircarmes, contrary to all law of nations, he caused the messengers to
be placed in irons, and carried them away with him as prisoners; he was,
however, by express command of the regent, compelled to set them free
again.  The regent, instructed by secret orders from Madrid to exercise
as much forbearance as possible, caused the town to be repeatedly
summoned to receive the garrison; when, however, it obstinately
persisted in its refusal, it was declared by public edict to be in
rebellion, and Noircarmes was authorized to commence the siege in form.
The other provinces were forbidden to assist this rebellious town with
advice, money, or arms.  All the property contained in it was
confiscated.  In order to let it see the war before it began in earnest,
and to give it time for rational reflection, Noircarmes drew together
troops from all Hainault and Cambray (1566), took possession of St.
Amant, and placed garrisons in all adjacent places.

The line of conduct adopted towards Valenciennes allowed the other towns
which were similarly situated to infer the fate which was intended for
them also, and at once put the whole league in motion.  An army of the
Gueux, between three thousand and four thousand strong, which was
hastily collected from the rabble of fugitives, and the remaining bands
of the Iconoclasts, appeared in the territories of Tournay and Lille, in
order to secure these two towns, and to annoy the enemy at Valenciennes.
The commandant of Lille was fortunate enough to maintain that place by
routing a detachment of this army, which, in concert with the Protestant
inhabitants, had made an attempt to get possession of it.  At the same
time the army of the Gueux, which was uselessly wasting its time at
Lannoy, was surprised by Noircarmes and almost entirely annihilated.
The few who with desperate courage forced their way through the enemy,
threw themselves into the town of Tournay, which was immediately
summoned by the victor to open its gates and admit a garrison.  Its
prompt obedience obtained for it a milder fate.  Noircarmes contented
himself with abolishing the Protestant consistory, banishing the
preachers, punishing the leaders of the rebels, and again
re-establishing the Roman Catholic worship, which he found almost
entirely suppressed.  After giving it a steadfast Roman Catholic as
governor, and leaving in it a sufficient garrison, he again returned
with his victorious army to Valenciennes to press the siege.

This town, confident in its strength, actively prepared for defence,
firmly resolved to allow things to come to extremes before it
surrendered.  The inhabitants had not neglected to furnish themselves
with ammunition and provisions for a long siege; all who could carry
arms (the very artisans not excepted), became soldiers; the houses
before the town, and especially the cloisters, were pulled down, that
the besiegers might not avail themselves of them to cover their attack.
The few adherents of the crown, awed by the multitude, were silent; no
Roman Catholic ventured to stir himself.  Anarchy and rebellion had
taken the place of good order, and the fanaticism of a foolhardy priest
gave laws instead of the legal dispensers of justice.  The male
population was numerous, their courage confirmed by despair, their
confidence unbounded that the siege would be raised, while their hatred
against the Roman Catholic religion was excited to the highest pitch.
Many had no mercy to expect; all abhorred the general thraldom of an
imperious garrison.  Noircarmes, whose army had become formidable
through the reinforcements which streamed to it from all quarters, and
was abundantly furnished with all the requisites for a long blockade,
once more attempted to prevail on the town by gentle means, but in vain.
At last he caused the trenches to be opened and prepared to invest the

In the meanwhile the position of the Protestants had grown as much worse
as that of the regent had improved.  The league of the nobles had
gradually melted away to a third of its original number.  Some of its
most important defenders, Count Egmont, for instance, had gone over to
the king; the pecuniary contributions which had been so confidently
reckoned upon came in but slowly and scantily; the zeal of the party
began perceptibly to cool, and the close of the fine season made it
necessary to discontinue the public preachings, which, up to this time,
had been continued.  These and other reasons combined induced the
declining party to moderate its demands, and to try every legal
expedient before it proceeded to extremities.  In a general synod of the
Protestants, which was held for this object in Antwerp, and which was
also attended by some of the confederates, it was resolved to send
deputies to the regent to remonstrate with her upon this breach of
faith, and to remind her of her compact.  Brederode undertook this
office, but was obliged to submit to a harsh and disgraceful rebuff, and
was shut out of Brussels.  He had now recourse to a written memorial, in
which,--in the name of the whole league, he complained that the duchess
had, by violating her word, falsified in sight of all the Protestants
the security given by the league, in reliance on which all of them had
laid down their arms; that by her insincerity she had undone all the
good which the confederates had labored to effect; that she had sought
to degrade the league in the eyes of the people, had excited discord
among its members, and had even caused many of them to be persecuted as
criminals.  He called upon her to recall her late ordinances, which
deprived the Protestants of the free exercise of their religion, but
above all to raise the siege of Valenciennes, to disband the troops
newly enlisted, and ended by assuring her that on these conditions and
these alone the league would be responsible for the general

To this the regent replied in a tone very different from her previous
moderation.  "Who these confederates are who address me in this memorial
is, indeed, a mystery to me.  The confederates with whom I had formerly
to do, for ought I know to the contrary, have dispersed.  All at least
cannot participate in this statement of grievances, for I myself know of
many, who, satisfied in all their demands, have returned to their duty.
But still, whoever he may be, who without authority and right, and
without name addresses me, he has at least given a very false
interpretation to my word if he asserts that I guaranteed to the
Protestants complete religious liberty.  No one can be ignorant how
reluctantly I was induced to permit the preachings in the places where
they had sprung up unauthorized, and this surely cannot be counted for a
concession of freedom in religion.  Is it likely that I should have
entertained the idea of protecting these illegal consistories, of
tolerating this state within a state?  Could I forget myself so far as
to grant the sanction of law to an objectionable sect; to overturn all
order in the church and in the state, and abominably to blaspheme my
holy religion?  Look to him who has given you such permission, but you
must not argue with me.  You accuse me of having violated the agreement
which gave you impunity and security.  The past I am willing to look
over, but not what may be done in future.  No advantage was to be taken
of you on account of the petition of last April, and to the best of my
knowledge nothing of the kind has as yet been done; but whoever again
offends in the same way against the majesty of the king must be ready to
bear the consequences of his crime.  In fine, how can you presume to
remind me of an agreement which you have been the first to break?  At
whose instigation were the churches plundered, the images of the saints
thrown down, and the towns hurried into rebellion?  Who formed alliances
with foregn powers, set on foot illegal enlistments, and collected
unlawful taxes from the subjects of the king?  These are the reasons
which have impelled me to draw together my troops, and to increase the
severity of the edicts.  Whoever now asks me to lay down my arms cannot
mean well to his country or his king, and if ye value your own lives,
look to it that your own actions acquit you, instead of judging mine."

All the hopes which the confederates might have entertained of an
amicable adjustment sank with this high-toned declaration.  Without
being confident of possessing powerful support, the regent would not,
they argued, employ such language.  An army was in the field, the enemy
was before Valenciennes, the members who were the heart of the league
had abandoned it, and the regent required unconditional submission.
Their cause was now so bad that open resistance could not make it worse.
If they gave themselves up defenceless into the hands of their
exasperated sovereign their fate was certain; an appeal to arms could at
least make it a matter of doubt; they, therefore, chose the latter, and
began seriously to take steps for their defence.  In order to insure the
assistance of the German Protestants, Louis of Nassau attempted to
persuade the towns of Amsterdam, Antwerp, Tournay, and Valenciennes to
adopt the confession of Augsburg, and in this manner to seal their
alliance with a religious union.  But the proposition was not
successful, because the hatred of the Calvinists to the Lutherans
exceeded, if possible, that which they bore to popery.  Nassau also
began in earnest to negotiate for supplies from France, the Palatinate,
and Saxony.  The Count of Bergen fortified his castles; Brederode threw
himself with a small force into his strong town of Vianne on the Leek,
over which he claimed the rights of sovereignty, and which he hastily
placed in a state of defense, and there awaited a reinforcement from the
league, and the issue of Nassua's negotiations.  The flag of war was now
unfurled, everywhere the drum was heard to beat; in all parts troops
were seen on the march, contributions collected, and soldiers enlisted.
The agents of each party often met in the same place, and hardly had the
collectors and recruiting officers of the regent quitted a town when it
had to endure a similar visit from the agents of the league.

From Valenciennes the regent directed her attention to Herzogenbusch,
where the Iconoclasts had lately committed fresh excesses, and the party
of the Protestants had gained a great accession of strength.  In order
to prevail on the citizens peaceably to receive a garrison, she sent
thither, as ambassador, the Chancellor Scheiff, from Brabant, with
counsellor Merode of Petersheim, whom she appointed governor of the
town; they were instructed to secure the place by judicious means, and
to exact from the citizens a new oath of allegiance.  At the same time
the Count of Megen, who was in the neighborhood with a body of troops,
was ordered to support the two envoys in effecting their commission,
and to afford the means of throwing in a garrison immediately.  But
Brederode, who obtained information of these movements in Viane, had
already sent thither one of his creatures, a certain Anton von Bomber,--
a hot Calvinist, but also a brave soldier, in order to raise the courage
of his party, and to frustrate the designs of the regent.  This Bomberg
succeeded in getting possession of the letters which the chancellor
brought with him from the duchess, and contrived to substitute in their
place counterfeit ones, which, by their harsh and imperious language,
were calculated to exasperate the minds of the citizens.  At the same
time he attempted to throw suspicion on both the ambassadors of the
duchess as having evil designs upon the town.  In this he succeeded so
well with the mob that in their mad fury they even laid hands on the
ambassadors and placed them in confinement.  He himself, at the head of
eight thousand men, who had adopted him as their leader, advanced
against the Count of Megen, who was moving in order of battle, and gave
him so warm a reception, with some heavy artillery, that he was
compelled to retire without accomplishing his object.  The regent now
sent an officer of justice to demand the release of her ambassadors, and
in case of refusal to threaten the place with siege; but Bomberg with
his party surrounded the town hall and forced the magistrate to deliver
to him the key of the town.  The messenger of the regent was ridiculed
and dismissed, and an answer sent through him that the treatment of the
prisoners would depend upon Brederode's orders.  The herald, who was
remaining outside before the town, now appeared to declare war against
her, which, however, the chancellor prevented.

After his futile attempt on Herzogenhusch the Count of Megen threw
himself into Utrecht in order to prevent the execution of a design which
Count Brederode had formed against that town.  As it had suffered much
from the army of the confederates, which was encamped in its immediate
neighborhood, near Viane, it received Megen with open arms as its
protector, and conformed to all the alterations which he made in the
religious worship.  Upon this he immediately caused a redoubt to be
thrown up on the bank of the Leek, which would command Viane.
Brederode, not disposed to await his attack, quitted that rendezvous
with the best part of his army and hastened to Amsterdam.

However unprofitably the Prince of Orange appeared to be losing his
time in Antwerp during these operations he was, nevertheless, busily
employed.  At his instigation the league had commenced recruiting, and
Brederode had fortified his castles, for which purpose he himself
presented him with three cannons which he had had cast at Utrecht.
His eye watched all the movements of the court, and he kept the league
warned of the towns which were next menaced with attack.  But his chief
object appeared to be to get possession of the principal places in the
districts under his own government, to which end he with all his power
secretly assisted Brederode's plans against Utrecht and Amsterdam.  The
most important place was the Island of Walcheren, where the king was
expected to land; and he now planned a scheme for the surprise of this
place, the conduct of which was entrusted to one of the confederate
nobles, an intimate friend of the Prince of Orange, John of Marnix,
Baron of Thoulouse, and brother of Philip of Aldegonde.

1567.  Thoulouse maintained a secret understanding with the late mayor
of Middleburg, Peter Haak, by which he expected to gain an opportunity
of throwing a garrison into Middleburg and Flushing.  The recruiting,
however, for this undertaking, which was set on foot in Antwerp, could
not be carried on so quietly as not to attract the notice of the
magistrate.  In order, therefore, to lull the suspicions of the latter,
and at the same time to promote the success of the scheme, the prince
caused the herald by public proclamation to order all foreign soldiers
and strangers who were in the service of the state, or employed in other
business, forthwith to quit the town.  He might, say his adversaries, by
closing the gates have easily made himself master of all these suspected
recruits; but be expelled them from the town in order to drive them the
more quickly to the place of their destination.  They immediately
embarked on the Scheldt, and sailed down to Rammekens; as, however, a
marketvessel of Antwerp, which ran into Flushing a little before them
had given warning of their design they were forbidden to enter the port.
They found the same difficulty at Arnemuiden, near Middleburg, although
the Protestants in that place exerted themselves to raise an
insurrection in their favor.  Thoulouse, therefore, without having
accomplished anything, put about his ships and sailed back down the
Scheldt as far as Osterweel, a quarter of a mile from Antwerp, where he
disembarked his people and encamped on the shore, with the hope of
getting men from Antwerp, and also in order to revive by his presence
the courage of his party, which had been cast down by the proceedings of
the magistrate.  By the aid of the Calvinistic clergy, who recruited for
him, his little army increased daily, so that at last he began to be
formidable to the Antwerpians, whose whole territory he laid waste.  The
magistrate was for attacking him here with the militia, which, however,
the Prince of Orange successfully opposed by the, pretext that it would
not be prudent to strip the town of soldiers.

Meanwhile the regent had hastily brought together a small army under the
command of Philip of Launoy, which moved from Brussels to Antwerp by
forced marches.  At the same time Count Megen managed to keep the army
of the Gueux shut up and employed at Viane, so that it could neither
hear of these movements nor hasten to the assistance of its
confederates.  Launoy, on his arrival attacked by surprise the dispersed
crowds, who, little expecting an enemy, had gone out to plunder, and
destroyed them in one terrible carnage.  Thoulouse threw himself with
the small remnant of his troops into a country house, which had served
him as his headquarters, and for a long time defended himself with the
courage of despair, until Launoy, finding it impossible to dislodge him,
set fire to the house.  The few who escaped the flames fell on the
swords of the enemy or were drowned in the Scheldt.  Thoulouse himself
preferred to perish in the flames rather than to fall into the hands of
the enemy.  This victory, which swept off more than a thousand of the
enemy, was purchased by the conqueror cheaply enough, for he did not
lose more than two men.  Three hundred of the leaguers who surrendered
were cut down without mercy on the spot, as a sally from Antwerp was
momentarily dreaded.

Before the battle actually commenced no anticipation of such an event
had been entertained at Antwerp.  The Prince of Orange, who had got
early information of it, had taken the precaution the day before of
causing the bridge which unites the town with Osterweel to be destroyed,
in order, as he gave out, to prevent the Calvinists within the town
going out to join the army of Thoulouse.  A more probable motive seems
to have been a fear lest the Catholics should attack the army of the
Gueux general in the rear, or lest Launoy should prove victorious, and
try to force his way into the town.  On the same pretext the gates of
the city were also shut by his orders, arnd the inhabitants, who did not
comprehend the meaning of all these movements, fluctuated between
curiosity and alarm, until the sound of artillery from Osterweel
announced to them what there was going on.  In clamorous crowds they all
ran to the walls and ramparts, from which, as the wind drove the smoke
from the contending armies, they commanded a full view of the whole
battle.  Both armies were so near to the town that they could discern
their banners, and clearly distinguish the voices of the victors and the
vanquished.  More terrible even than the battle itself was the spectacle
which this town now presented.  Each of the conflicting armies had its
friends and its enemies on the wall.  All that went on in the plain
roused on the ramparts exultation or dismay; on the issue of the
conflict the fate of each spectator seemed to depend.  Every movement on
the field could be read in the faces of the townsmen; defeat and
triumph, the terror of the conquered, and the fury of the conqueror.
Here a painful but idle wish to support those who are giving way, to
rally those who fly; there an equally futile desire to overtake them,
to slay them, to extirpate them.  Now the Gueux fly, and ten thousand
men rejoice; Thoulouse's last place and refuge is in flames, and the
hopes of twenty thousand citizens are consumed with him.

But the first bewilderment of alarm soon gave place to a frantic desire
of revenge.  Shrieking aloud, wringing her hands and with dishevelled
hair, the widow of the slain general rushed amidst the crowds to implore
their pity and help.  Excited by their favorite preacher, Hermann, the
Calvinists fly to arms, determined to avenge their brethren, or to
perish with them; without reflection, without plan or leader, guided by
nothing but their anguish, their delirium, they rush to the Red Gate of
the city which leads to the field of battle; but there is no egress, the
gate is shut and the foremost of the crowd recoil on those that follow.
Thousands and thousands collect together, a dreadful rush is made to the
Meer Bridge.  We are betrayed! we are prisoners! is the general cry.
Destruction to the papists, death to him who has betrayed us!--a sullen
murmur, portentous of a revolt, runs through the multitude.  They begin
to suspect that all that has taken place has been set on foot by the
Roman Catholics to destroy the Calvinists.  They had slain their
defenders, and they would now fall upon the defenceless.  With fatal
speed this suspicion spreads through the whole of Antwerp.  Now they
can, they think, understand the past, and they fear something still
worse in the background; a frightful distrust gains possession of every
mind.  Each party dreads the other; every one sees an enemy in his
neighbor; the mystery deepens the alarm and horror; a fearful condition
for a populous town, in which every accidental concourse instantly
becomes tumult, every rumor started amongst them becomes a fact, every
small spark a blazing flame, and by the force of numbers and collision
all passions are furiously inflamed.  All who bore the name of
Calvinists were roused by this report.  Fifteen thousand of them take
possession of the Meer Bridge, and plant heavy artillery upon it, which
they had taken by force from the arsenal; the same thing also happens at
another bridge; their number makes them formidable, the town is in their
hands; to escape an imaginary danger they bring all Antwerp to the brink
of ruin.

Immediately on the commencement of the tumult the Prince of Orange
hastened to the Meer Bridge, where, boldly forcing his way through the
raging crowd, he commanded peace and entreated to be heard.  At the
other bridge Count Hogstraten, accompanied by the Burgomaster Strahlen,
made the same attempt; but not possessing a sufficient share either of
eloquence or of popularity to command attention, he referred the
tumultuous crowd to the prince, around whom all Antwerp now furiously
thronged.  The gate, he endeavored to explain to them, was shut simply
to keep off the victor, whoever he might be, from the city, which would
otherwise become the prey of an infuriated soldiery.  In vain! the
frantic people would not listen, and one more daring than the rest
presented his musket at him, calling him a traitor.  With tumultuous
shouts they demanded the key of the Red Gate, which he was ultimately
forced to deliver into the hands of the preacher Hermann.  But, he added
with happy presence of mind, they must take heed what they were doing;
in the suburbs six hundred of the enemy's horse were waiting to receive
them.  This invention, suggested by the emergency, was not so far
removed from the truth as its author perhaps imagined; for no sooner had
the victorous general perceived the commotion in Antwerp than he caused
his whole cavalry to mount in the hope of being able, under favor of the
disturbance, to break into the town.  I, at least, continued the Prince
of Orange, shall secure my own safety in time, and he who follows my
example will save himself much future regret.  These words opportunely
spoken and immediately acted upon had their effect.  Those who stood
nearest followed him, and were again followed by the next, so that at
last the few who had already hastened out of the city when they saw no
one coming after them lost the desire of coping alone with the six
hundred horse.  All accordingly returned to the Meer Bridge, where they
posted watches and videttes, and the night was passed tumultuously under

The town of Antwerp was now threatened with fearful bloodshed and
pillage.  In this pressing emergency Orange assembled an extraordinary
senate, to which were summoned all the best-disposed citizens of the
four nations.  If they wished, said he, to repress the violence of the
Calvinists they must oppose them with an army strong enough and prepared
to meet them.  It was therefore resolved to arm with speed the Roman
Catholic inhabitants of the town, whether natives, Italians, or
Spaniards, and, if possible, to induce the Lutherans also to join them.
The haughtiness of the Calvinists, who, proud of their wealth and
confident in their numbers, treated every other religious party with
contempt, had long made the Lutherans their enemies, and the mutual
exasperation of these two Protestant churches was even more inmplacable
than their common hatred of the dominant church.  This jealousy the
magistrate had turned to advantage, by making use of one party to curb
the other, and had thus contrived to keep the Calvinists in check, who,
from their numbers and insolence, were most to be feared.  With this
view, he had tacitly taken into his protection the Lutherans, as the
weaker and more peaceable party, having moreover invited for them, from
Germany, spiritual teachers, who, by controversial sermons, might keep
up the mutual hatred of the two bodies.  He encouraged the Lutherans in
the vain idea that the king thought more favorably of their religious
creed than that of the Calvinists, and exhorted them to be careful how
they damaged their good cause by any understanding with the latter.  It
was not, therefore, difficult to bring about, for the moment, a union
with the Roman Catholics and the Lutherans, as its object was to keep
down their detested rivals.  At dawn of day an army was opposed to the
Calvinists which was far superior in force to their own.  At the head of
this army, the eloquence of Orange had far greater effect, and found far
more attention than on the preceding evening, unbacked by such strong
persuasion.  The Calvinists, though in possession of arms and artillery,
yet, alarmed at the superior numbers arrayed against them, were the
first to send envoys, and to treat for an amicable adjustment of
differences, which by the tact and good temper of the Prince of Orange,
he concluded to the satisfaction of all parties.  On the proclamation of
this treaty the Spaniards and Italians immdiately laid down their arms.
They were followed by the Calvinists, and these again by the Roman
Catholics; last of all the Lutherans disarmed.

Two days and two nights Antwerp had continued in this alarming state.
During the tumult the Roman Catholics had succeeded in placing barrels
of gunpowder under the Meer Bridge, and threatened to blow into the air
the whole army of the Calvinists, who had done the same in other places
to destroy their adversaries.  The destruction of the town hung on the
issue of a moment, and nothing but the prince's presence of mind saved

Noircarmes, with his army of Walloons, still lay before Valenciennes,
which, in firm reliance on being relieved by the Gueux, obstinately
refused to listen to all the representations of the regent, and rejected
every idea of surrender.  An order of the court had expressly forbidden
the royalist general to press the siege until he should receive
reinforcements from Germany.  Whether from forbearance or fear, the king
regarded with abhorrence the violent measure of storming the place, as
necessarily involving the innocent in the fate of the guilty, and
exposing the loyal subject to the same ill-treatment as the rebel.  As,
however, the confidence of the besieged augmented daily, and emboldened
by the inactivity of the besiegers, they annoyed him by frequent
sallies, and after burning the cloisters before the town, retired with
the plunder--as the time uselessly lost before this town was put to good
use by the rebels and their allies, Noircarmes besouht the duchess to
obtain immediate permission from the king to take it by storm.  The
answer arrived more quickly than Philip was ever before wont to reply.
As yet they must be content, simply to make the necessary preparations,
and then to wait awhile to allow terror to have its effect; but if upon
this they did not appear ready to capitulate, the storming might take
place, but, at the same time, with the greatest possible regard for the
lives of the inhabitants.  Before the regent allowed Noircarmes to
proceed to this extremity she empowered Count Egmont, with the Duke
Arschot, to treat once more with the rebels amicably.  Both conferred
with the deputies of the town, and omitted no argument calculated to
dispel their delusion.  They acquainted them with the defeat of
Thoulouse, their sole support, and with the fact that the Count of Megen
had cut off the army of the Gueux from the town, and assured them that
if they had held out so long they owed it entirely to the king's
forbearance.  They offered them full pardon for the past; every one was
to be free to prove his innocence before whatever tribunal he should
chose; such as did not wish to avail themselves of this privilege were
to be allowed fourteen days to quit the town with all their effects.
Nothing was required of the townspeople but the admission of the
garrison.  To give time to deliberate on these terms an armistice of
three days was granted.  When the deputies returned they found their
fellow-citizens less disposed than ever to an accommodation, reports of
new levies by the Gueux having, in the meantime, gained currency.
Thoulouse, it was pretended, had conquered, and was advancing with a
powerful army to relieve the place.  Their confidence went so far that
they even ventured to break the armistice, and to fire upon the
besiegers.  At last the burgomaster, with difficulty, succeeded in
bringing matters so far towards a peaceful settlement that twelve of the
town counsellors were sent into the camp with the following conditions:
The edict by which Valenciennes had been charged with treason and
declared an enemy to the country was required to be recalled, the
confiscation of their goods revoked, and the prisoners on both sides
restored to liberty; the garrison was not to enter the town before every
one who thought good to do so had placed himself and his property in
security; and a pledge to be given that the inhabitants should not be
molested in any manner, and that their expenses should be paid by the

Noircarmes was so indignant with these conditions that he was almost on
the point of ill-treating the deputies.  If they had not come, he told
them, to give up the place, they might return forthwith, lest he should
send them home with their hands tied behind their backs.  Upon this the
deputies threw the blame on the obstinacy of the Calvinists, and
entreated him, with tears in their eyes, to keep them in the camp, as
they did not, they said, wish to have anything more to do with their
rebellious townsmen, or to be joined in their fate.  They even knelt to
beseech the intercession of Egmont, but Noircarmes remained deaf to all
their entreaties, and the sight of the chains which he ordered to be
brought out drove them reluctantly enough back to Valenciennes.
Necessity, not severity, imposed this harsh procedure upon the general.
The detention of ambassadors had on a former occasion drawn upon him the
reprimand of the duchess; the people in the town would not have failed
to have ascribed the non-appearance of their present deputies to the
same cause as in the former case had detained them.  Besides, he was
loath to deprive the town of any out of the small residue of well-
disposed citizens, or to leave it a prey to a blind, foolhardy mob.
Egmont was so mortified at the bad report of his embassy that he the
night following rode round to reconnoitre its fortifications, and
returned well satisfied to have convinced himself that it was no longer

Valenciennes stretches down a gentle acclivity into the level plain,
being built on a site as strong as it is delightful.  On one side
enclosed by the Scheldt and another smaller river, and on the other
protected by deep ditches, thick walls, and towers, it appears capable
of defying every attack.  But Noircarmes had discovered a few points
where neglect had allowed the fosse to be filled almost up to the level
of the natural surface, and of these he determined to avail himself in
storming.  He drew together all the scattered corps by which he had
invested the town, and during a tempestuous night carried the suburb of
Berg without the loss of a single man.  He then assigned separate points
of attack to the Count of Bossu, the young Charles of Mansfeld, and the
younger Barlaimont, and under a terrible fire, which drove the enemy
from his walls, his troops were moved up with all possible speed.  Close
before the town, and opposite the gate under the eyes of the besiegers,
and with very little loss, a battery was thrown up to an equal height
with the fortifications.  From this point the town was bombarded with an
unceasing fire for four hours.  The Nicolaus tower, on which the
besieged had planted some artillery, was among the first that fell, and
many perished under its ruins.  The guns were directed against all the
most conspicuous buildings, and a terrible slaughter was made amongst
the inhabitants.  In a few hours their principal works were destroyed,
and in the gate itself so extensive a breach was made that the besieged,
despairing of any longer defending themselves, sent in haste two
trumpeters to entreat a parley.  This was granted, but the storm was
continued without intermission.  The ambassador entreated Noircarmes to
grant them the same terms which only two days before they had rejected.
But circumstances had now changed, and the victor would hear no more of
conditions.  The unceasing fire left the inhabitants no time to repair
the ramparts, which filled the fosse with their debris, and opened many
a breach for the enemy to enter by.  Certain of utter destruction, they
surrendered next morning at discretion after a bombardment of six-and-
thirty hours without intermission, and three thousand bombs had been
thrown into the city.  Noircarmes marched into the town with his
victorious army under the strictest discipline, and was received by a
crowd of women and children, who went to meet him, carrying green
boughs, and beseeching his pity.  All the citizens were immediately
disarmed, the commandant and his son beheaded; thirty-six of the most
guilty of the rebels, among whom were La Grange and another Calvinistic
preacher, Guido de Bresse, atoned for their obstinacy at the gallows;
all the municipal functionaries were deprived of their offices, and the
town of all its privileges.  The Roman Catholic worship was immediately
restored in full dignity, and the Protestant abolished.  The Bishop of
Arras was obliged to quit his residence in the town, and a strong
garrison placed in it to insure its future obedience.

The fate of Valenciennes, towards which all eyes had been turned, was a
warning to the other towns which had similarly offended.  Noircarmes
followed up his victory, and marched immediately against Maestricht,
which surrendered without a blow, and received a garrison.  From thence
he marched to Tornhut to awe by his presence the people of Herzogenbusch
and Antwerp.  The Gueux in this place, who under the command of Bomberg
had carried all things before them, were now so terrified at his
approach that they quitted the town in haste.  Noircarmes was received
without opposition.  The ambassadors of the duchess were immediately set
at liberty.  A strong garrison was thrown into Tornhut.  Cambray also
opened its gates, and joyfully recalled its archbishop, whom the
Calvinists had driven from his see, and who deserved this triumph as
he did not stain his entrance with blood.  Ghent, Ypres, and Oudenarde
submitted and received garrisons.  Gueldres was now almost entirely
cleared of the rebels and reduced to obedience by the Count of Megen.
In Friesland and Groningen the Count of Aremberg had eventually the same
success; but it was not obtained here so rapidly or so easily, since the
count wanted consistency and firmness, and these warlike republicans
maintained more pertinaciously their privileges, and were greatly
supported by the strength of their position.  With the exception of
Holland all the provinces had yielded before the victorious arms of the
duchess.  The courage of the disaffected sunk entirely, and nothing was
left to them but flight or submission.


Ever since the establishment of the Guesen league, but more perceptibly
since the outbreak of the Iconoclasts, the spirit of rebellion and
disaffection had spread so rapidly among all classes, parties had become
so blended and confused, that the regent had difficulty in
distinguishing her own adherents, and at last hardly knew on whom to
rely.  The lines of demarcation between the loyal and the disaffected
had grown gradually fainter, until at last they almost entirely
vanished.  The frequent alterations, too, which she had been obliged to
make in the laws, and which were at most the expedients and suggestions
of the moment, had taken from them their precision and binding force,
and had given full scope to the arbitrary will of every individual whose
office it was to interpret them.  And at last, amidst the number and
variety of the interpretations, the spirit was lost and the intention of
the lawgiver baffled.  The close connection which in many cases
subsisted between Protestants and Roman Catholics, between Gueux and
Royalists, and which not unfrequently gave them a common interest, led
the latter to avail themselves of the loophole which the vagueness of
the laws left open, and in favor of their Protestant friends and
associates evaded by subtle distinctions all severity in the discharge
of their duties.  In their minds it was enough not to be a declared
rebel, not one of the Gueux, or at least not a heretic, to be authorized
to mould their duties to their inclinations, and to set the most
arbitrary limits to their obedience to the king.  Feeling themselves
irresponsible, the governors of the provinces, the civil functionaries,
both high and low, the municipal officers, and the military commanders
had all become extremely remiss in their duty, and presuming upon this
impunity showed a pernicious indulgence to the rebels and their
adherents which rendered abortive all the regent's measures of coercion.
This general indifference and corruption of so many servants of the
state had further this injurious result, that it led the turbulent to
reckon on far stronger support than in reality they had cause for, and
to count on their own side all who were but lukewarm adherents of the
court.  This way of thinking, erroneous as it was, gave them greater
courage and confidence; it had the same effect as if it had been well
founded; and the uncertain vassals of the king became in consequence
almost as injurious to him as his declared enemies, without at the same
time being liable to the same measures of severity.  This was especially
the case with the Prince of Orange, Counts Egmont, Bergen, Hogstraten,
Horn, and several others of the higher nobility.  The regent felt the
necessity of bringing these doubtful subjects to an explanation, in
order either to deprive the rebels of a fancied support or to unmask the
enemies of the king.  And the latter reason was of the more urgent
moment when being obliged to send an army into the field it was of the
utmost importance to entrust the command of the troops to none but those
of whose fidelity she was fully assured.  She caused, therefore, an oath
to be drawn up which bound all who took it to advance the Roman Catholic
faith, to pursue and punish the Iconoclasts, and to help by every means
in their power in extirpating all kinds of heresy.  It also pledged them
to treat the king's enemies as their own, and to serve without
distinction against all whom the regent in the king's name should point
out.  By this oath she did not hope so much to test their sincerity, and
still less to secure them, as rather to gain a pretext for removing the
suspected parties if they declined to take it, and for wresting from
their hands a power which they abused, or a legitimate ground for
punishing them if they took it and broke it.  This oath was exacted from
all Knights of the Fleece, all civil functionaries and magistrates, all
officers of the army--from every one in short who held any appointment
in the state.  Count Mansfeld was the first who publicly took it in the
council of state at Brussels; his example was followed by the Duke of
Arschot, Counts Egmont, Megen, and Barlaimont.  Hogstraten and Horn
endeavored to evade the necessity.  The former was offended at a proof
of distrust which shortly before the regent had given him.  Under the
pretext that Malines could not safely be left any longer without its
governor, but that the presence of the count was no less necessary in
Antwerp, she had taken from him that province and given it to another
whose fidelity she could better reckon upon.  Hostraten expressed his
thanks that she had been pleased to release him from one of his burdens,
adding that she would complete the obligation if she would relieve him
from the other also.  True to his determination Count Horn was living
on one of his estates in the strong town of Weerdt, having retired
altogether from public affairs.  Having quitted the service of the
state, he owed, he thought, nothing more either to the republic or to
the king, and declined the oath, which in his case appears at last to
have been waived.

The Count of Brederode was left the choice of either taking the
prescribed oath or resigning the command of his squadron of cavalry.
After many fruitless attempts to evade the alternative, on the plea that
he did not hold office in the state, he at last resolved upon the latter
course, and thereby escaped all risk of perjuring himself.

Vain were all the attempts to prevail on the Prince of Orange to take
the oath, who, from the suspicion which had long attached to him,
required more than any other this purification; and from whom the great
power which it had been necessary to place in his hands fully justified
the regent in exacting it.  It was not, however, advisable to proceed
against him with the laconic brevity adopted towards Brederode and the
like; on the other hand, the voluntary resignation of all his offices,
which he tendered, did not meet the object of the regent, who foresaw
clearly enough how really dangerous he would become, as soon as he
should feel himself independent, and be no longer checked by any
external considerations of character or duty in the prosecution of his
secret designs.  But ever since the consultation in Dendermonde the
Prince of Orange had made up his mind to quit the service of the King of
Spain on the first favorable opportunity, and till better days to leave
the country itself.  A very disheartening experience had taught him how
uncertain are hopes built on the multitude, and how quickly their zeal
is cooled by the necessity of fulfilling its lofty promises.  An army
was already in the field, and a far stronger one was, he knew, on its
road, under the command of the Duke of Alva.  The time for remonstrauces
was past; it was only at the head of an army that an advantageous treaty
could now be concluded with the regent, and by preventing the entrance
of the Spanish general.  But now where was he to raise this army, in
want as he was of money, the sinews of warfare, since the Protestants
had retracted their boastful promises and deserted him in this pressing

     [How valiant the wish, and how sorry the deed was, is proved by the
     following instance amongst others.  Some friends of the national
     liberty, Roman Catholics as well as Protestants, had solemnly
     engaged in Amsterdam to subscribe to a common fund the hundredth
     penny of their estates, until a sum of eleven thousand florins
     should be collected, which was to be devoted to the common cause
     and interests.  An alms-box, protected by three locks, was prepared
     for the reception of these contributions.  After the expiration of
     the prescribed period it was opened, and a sum was found amounting
     to seven hundred florins, which was given to the hostess of the
     Count of Brederode, in part payment of his unliquidated score.
     Univ. Hist. of the N., vol. 3.]

Religious jealousy and hatred, moreover, separated the two Protestant
churches, and stood in the way of every salutary combination against
the common enemy of their faith.  The rejection of the Confession of
Augsburg by the Calvinists had exasperated all the Protestant princes of
Germany, so that no support was to be looked for from the empire.  With
Count Egmont the excellent army of Walloons was also lost to the cause,
for they followed with blind devotion the fortunes of their general, who
had taught them at St. Quentin and Gravelines to be invincible.  And
again, the outrages which the Iconoclasts had perpetrated on the
churches and convents had estranged from the league the numerous,
wealthy, and powerful class of the established clergy, who, before this
unlucky episode, were already more than half gained over to it; while,
by her intrigues, the regent daily contrived to deprive the league
itself of some one or other of its most influential members.

All these considerations combined induced the prince to postpone to
a more favorable season a project for which the present juncture was
little suited, and to leave a country where his longer stay could not
effect any advantage for it, but must bring certain destruction on
himself.  After intelligence gleaned from so many quarters, after so
many proofs of distrust, so many warnings from Madrid, he could be no
longer doubtful of the sentiments of Philip towards him.  If even he
had any doubt, his uncertainty would soon have been dispelled by the
formidable armament which was preparing in Spain, and which was to have
for its leader, not the king, as was falsely given out, but, as he was
better informed, the Duke of Alva, his personal enemy, and the very man
he had most cause to fear.  The prince had seen too deeply into Philip's
heart to believe in the sincerity of his reconciliation after having
once awakened his fears.  He judged his own conduct too justly to
reckon, like his friend Egmont, on reaping a gratitude from the king to
which he had not sown.  He could therefore expect nothing but hostility
from him, and prudence counselled him to screen himself by a timely
flight from its actual outbreak.  He had hitherto obstinately refused
to take the new oath, and all the written exhortations of the regent
had been fruitless.  At last she sent to him at Antwerp her private
secretary, Berti, who was to put the matter emphatically to his
conscience, and forcibly remind him of all the evil consequences which
so sudden a retirement from the royal service would draw upon the
country, as well as the irreparable injury it would do to his own fair
fame.  Already, she informed him by her ambassador, his declining the
required oath had cast a shade upon his honor, and imparted to the
general voice, which accused him of an understanding with the rebels, an
appearance of truth which this unconditional resignation would convert
to absolute certainty.  It was for the sovereign to discharge his
servants, but it did not become the servant to abandon his sovereign.
The envoy of the regent found the prince in his palace at Antwerp,
already, as it appeared, withdrawn from the public service, and entirely
devoted to his private concerns.  The prince told him, in the presence
of Hogstraten, that he had refused to take the required oath because he
could not find that such a proposition had ever before been made to a
governor of a province; because he had already bound himself, once for
all, to the king, and therefore, by taking this new oath, he would
tacitly acknowledge that he had broken the first.  He had also refused
because the old oath enjoined him to protect the rights and privileges
of the country, but he could not tell whether this new one might not
impose upon him duties which would contravene the first; because, too,
the clause which bound him to serve, if required, against all without
distinction, did not except even the emperor, his feudal lord, against
whom, however, he, as his vassal, could not conscientiously make war.
He had refused to take this oath because it might impose upon him the
necessity of surrendering his friends and relations, his children, nay,
even his wife, who was a Lutheran, to butchery.  According to it,
moreover, he must lend himself to every thing which it should occur to
the king's fancy or passion to demand.  But the king might thus exact
from him things which he shuddered even to think of, and even the
severities which were now, and had been all along, exercised upon the
Protestants, were the most revolting to his heart.  This oath, in short,
was repugnant to his feelings as a man, and he could not take it.  In
conclusion, the name of the Duke of Alva dropped from his lips in a tone
of bitterness, and he became immediately silent.

All these objections were answered, point by point, by Berti.  Certainly
such an oath had never been required from a governor before him, because
the provinces had never been similarly circumstanced.  It was not
exacted because the governors had broken the first, but in order to
remind them vividly of their former vows, and to freshen their activity
in the present emergency.  This oath would not impose upon him anything
which offended against the rights and privileges of the country, for the
king had sworn to observe these as well as the Prince of Orange.  The
oath did not, it was true, contain any reference to a war with the
emperor, or any other sovereign to whom the prince might be related; and
if he really had scruples on this point, a distinct clause could easily
be inserted, expressly providing against such a contingency.  Care would
be taken to spare him any duties which were repugnant to his feelings as
a man, and no power on earth would compel him to act against his wife or
against his children.  Berti was then passing to the last point, which
related to the Duke of Alva, but the prince, who did not wish to have
this part of his discourse canvassed, interrupted him.  "The king was
coming to the Netherlands," he said, "and he knew the king.  The king
would not endure that one of his servants should have wedded a Lutheran,
and he had therefore resolved to go with his whole family into voluntary
banishment before he was obliged to submit to the same by compulsion.
But," he concluded, "wherever he might be, he would always conduct
himself as a subject of the king."  Thus far-fetched were the motives
which the prince adduced to avoid touching upon the single one which
really decided him.

Berti had still a hope of obtaining, through Egmont's eloquence, what by
his own he despaired of effecting.  He therefore proposed a meeting with
the latter (1567), which the prince assented to the more willingly as he
himself felt a desire to embrace his friend once more before his
departure, and if possible to snatch the deluded man from certain
destruction.  This remarkable meeting, at which the private secretary,
Berti, and the young Count Mansfeld, were also present, was the last
that the two friends ever held, and took place in Villebroeck, a village
on the Rupel, between Brussels and Antwerp.  The Calvinists, whose last
hope rested on the issue of this conference, found means to acquaint
themselves of its import by a spy, who concealed himself in the chimney
of the apartment where it was held.  All three attempted to shake the
determination of the prince, but their united eloquence was unable to
move him from his purpose.  "It will cost you your estates, Orange, if
you persist in this intention," said the Prince of Gaure, as he took him
aside to a window.  "And you your life, Egmont, if you change not
yours," replied the former.  "To me it will at least be a consolation in
my misfortunes that I desired, in deed as well as in word, to help my
country and my friends in the hour of need; but you, my friend, you are
dragging friends and country with you to destruction."  And saying these
words, he once again exhorted him, still more urgently than ever, to
return to the cause of his country, which his arm alone was yet able to
preserve; if not, at least for his own sake to avoid the tempest which
was gathering against him from Spain.

But all the arguments, however lucid, with which a far-discerning
prudence supplied him, and however urgently enforced, with all the ardor
and animation which the tender anxiety of friendship could alone
inspire, did not avail to destroy the fatal confidence which still
fettered Egmont's better reason.  The warning of Orange seemed to come
from a sad and dispirited heart; but for Egmont the world still smiled.
To abandon the pomp and affluence in which he had grown up to youth and
manhood; to part with all the thousand conveniences of life which alone
made it valuable to him, and all this to escape an evil which his
buoyant spirit regarded as remote, if not imaginary; no, that was not a
sacrifice which could be asked from Egmont.  But had he even been less
given to indulgence than he was, with what heart could he have consigned
a princess, accustomed by uninterrupted prosperity to ease and comfort,
a wife who loved him as dearly as she was beloved, the children on whom
his soul hung in hope and fondness, to privations at the prospect of
which his own courage sank, and which a sublime philosophy alone can
enable sensuality to undergo.  "You will never persuade me, Orange,"
said Egmont, "to see things in the gloomy light in which they appear to
thy mournful prudence.  When I have succeeded in abolishing the public
preachings, and chastising the Iconoclasts, in crushing the rebels, and
restoring peace and order in the provinces, what can the king lay to my
charge?  The king is good and just; I have claims upon his gratitude,
and I must not forget what I owe to myself."  "Well, then," cried
Orange, indignantly and with bitter anguish, "trust, if you will, to
this royal gratitude; but a mournful presentiment tells me--and may
Heaven grant that I am deceived!--that you, Egmont, will be the bridge
by which the Spaniards will pass into our country to destroy it."  After
these words, he drew him to his bosom, ardently clasping him in his
arms.  Long, as though the sight was to serve for the remainder of his
life, did he keep his eyes fixed upon him; the tears fell; they saw each
other no more.

The very next day the Prince of Orange wrote his letter of resignation
to the regent, in which he assured her of his perpetual esteem, and once
again entreated her to put the best interpretation on his present step.
He then set off with his three brothers and his whole family for his own
town of Breda, where he remained only as long as was requisite to
arrange some private affairs.  His eldest son, Prince Philip William,
was left behind at the University of Louvain, where he thought him
sufficiently secure under the protection of the privileges of Brabant
and the immunities of the academy; an imprudence which, if it was really
not designed, can hardly be reconciled with the just estimate which, in
so many other cases, he had taken of the character of his adversary.  In
Breda the heads of the Calvinists once more consulted him whether there
was still hope for them, or whether all was irretrievably lost.  "He had
before advised them," replied the prince, "and must now do so again, to
accede to the Confession of Augsburg; then they might rely upon aid from
Germany.  If they would still not consent to this, they must raise six
hundred thousand florins, or more, if they could."  "The first," they
answered, "was at variance with their conviction and their conscience;
but means might perhaps be found to raise the money if he would only let
them know for what purpose he would use it."  "No!"  cried he, with the
utmost displeasure, "if I must tell you that, it is all over with the
use of it."  With these words he immediately broke off the conference
and dismissed the deputies.

The Prince of Orange was reproached with having squandered his fortune,
and with favoring the innovations on account of his debts; but he
asserted that he still enjoyed sixty thousand florins yearly rental.
Before his departure he borrowed twenty thousand florins from the states
of Holland on the mortgage of some manors.  Men could hardly persuade
themselves that he would have succumbed to necessity so entirely, and
without an effort at resistance given up all his hopes and schemes.  But
what he secretly meditated no one knew, no one had read in his heart.
Being asked how he intended to conduct himself towards the King of
Spain, "Quietly," was his answer, "unless he touches my honor or my
estates."  He left the Netherlands soon afterwards, and betook himself
in retirement to the town of Dillenburg, in Nassau, at which place he
was born.  He was accompanied to Germany by many hundreds, either as his
servants or as volunteers, and was soon followed by Counts Hogstraten,
Kuilemberg, and Bergen, who preferred to share a voluntary exile with
him rather than recklessly involve themselves in an uncertain destiny.
In his departure the nation saw the flight of its guardian angel; many
had adored, all had honored him.  With him the last stay of the
Protestants gave way; they, however, had greater hopes from this man
in exile than from all the others together who remained behind.  Even
the Roman Catholics could not witness his departure without regret.
Them also had he shielded from tyranny; he had not unfrequently
protected them against the oppression of their own church, and he had
rescued many of them from the sanguinary jealousy of their religious
opponents.  A few fanatics among the Calvinists, who were offended with
his proposal of an alliance with their brethren, who avowed the
Confession of Augsburg, solemnized with secret thanksgivings the day on
which the enemy left them.  (1567).


Immediately after taking leave of his friend, the Prince of Gaure
hastened back to Brussels, to receive from the regent the reward of his
firmness, and there, in the excitement of the court and in the sunshine
of his good fortune, to dispel the light cloud which the earnest
warnings of the Prince of Orange had cast over his natural gayety.
The flight of the latter now left him in possession of the stage.
He had now no longer any rival in the republic to dim his glory.  With
redoubled zeal he wooed the transient favor of the court, above which he
ought to have felt himself far exalted.  All Brussels must participate
in his joy.  He gave splendid banquets and public entertainments, at
which, the better to eradicate all suspicion from his mind, the regent
herself frequently attended.  Not content with having taken the required
oath, he outstripped the most devout in devotion; outran the most
zealous in zeal to extirpate the Protestant faith, and to reduce by
force of arms the refractory towns of Flanders.  He declared to his old
friend, Count Hogstraten, as also to the rest of the Gueux, that he
would withdraw from them his friendship forever if they hesitated any
longer to return into the bosom of the church, and reconcile themselves
with their king.  All the confidential letters which had been exchanged
between him and them were returned, and by this last step the breach
between them was made public and irreparable.  Egmont's secession, and
the flight of the Prince of Orange, destroyed the last hope of the
Protestants and dissolved the whole league of the Gueux.  Its members
vied with each other in readiness--nay, they could not soon enough
abjure the covenant and take the new oath proposed to them by the
government.  In vain did the Protestant merchants exclaim at this breach
of faith on the part of the nobles; their weak voice was no longer
listened to, and all the sums were lost with which they had supplied the

The most important places were quickly reduced and garrisoned; the
rebels had fled, or perished by the hand of the executioner; in the
provinces no protector was left.  All yielded to the fortune of the
regent, and her victorious army was advancing against Antwerp.  After a
long and obstinate contest this town had been cleared of the worst
rebels; Hermann and his adherents took to flight; the internal storms
had spent their rage.  The minds of the people became gradually
composed, and no longer excited at will by every furious fanatic, began
to listen to better counsels.  The wealthier citizens earnestly longed
for peace to revive commerce and trade, which had suffered severely from
the long reign of anarchy.  The dread of Alva's approach worked wonders;
in order to prevent the miseries which a Spanish army would inflict upon
the country, the people hastened to throw themselves on the gentler
mercies of the regent.  Of their own accord they despatched
plenipotentiaries to Brussels to negotiate for a treaty and to hear her
terms.  Agreeably as the regent was surprised by this voluntary step,
she did not allow herself to be hurried away by her joy.  She declared
that she neither could nor would listen to any overtures or
representations until the town had received a garrison.  Even this was
no longer opposed, and Count Mansfeld marched in the day after with
sixteen squadrons in battle array.  A solemn treaty was now made between
the town and duchess, by which the former bound itself to prohibit the
Calvinistic form of worship, to banish all preachers of that persuasion,
to restore the Roman Catholic religion to its former dignity, to
decorate the despoiled churches with their former ornaments, to
administer the old edicts as before, to take the new oath which the
other towns had sworn to, and, lastly, to deliver into the hands of
justice all who been guilty of treason, in bearing arms, or taking part
in the desecration of the churches.  On the other hand, the regent
pledged herself to forget all that had passed, and even to intercede for
the offenders with the king.  All those who, being dubious of obtaining
pardon, preferred banishment, were to be allowed a month to convert
their property into money, and place themselves in safety.  From this
grace none were to be excluded but such as had been guilty of a capital
offence, and who were excepted by the previous article.  Immediately
upon the conclusion of this treaty all Calvinist and Lutheran preachers
in Antwerp, and the adjoining territory, were warned by the herald to
quit the country within twenty-four hours.  All the streets and gates
were now thronged with fugitives, who for the honor of their God
abandoned what was dearest to them, and sought a more peaceful home for
their persecuted faith.  Here husbands were taking an eternal farewell
of their wives, fathers of their children; there whole families were
preparing to depart.  All Antwerp resembled a house of mourning;
wherever the eye turned some affecting spectacle of painful separation
presented itself.  A seal was set on the doors of the Protestant
churches; the whole worship seemed to be extinct.  The 10th of April
(1567) was the day appointed for the departure of the preachers.  In the
town hall, where they appeared for the last time to take leave of the
magistrate, they could not command their grief; but broke forth into
bitter reproaches.  They had been sacrificed, they exclaimed, they had
been shamefully betrayed; but a time would come when Antwerp would pay
dearly enough for this baseness.  Still more bitter were the complaints
of the Lutheran clergy, whom the magistrate himself had invited into the
country to preach against the Calvinists.  Under the delusive
representation that the king was not unfavorable to their religion they
had been seduced into a combination against the Calvinists, but as soon
as the latter had been by their co-operation brought under subjection,
and their own services were no longer required, they were left to bewail
their folly, which had involved themselves and their enemies in common

A few days afterwards the regent entered Antwerp in triumph, accompanied
by a thousand Walloon horse, the Knights of the Golden Fleece, all the
governors and counsellors, a number of municipal officers, and her whole
court.  Her first visit was to the cathedral, which still bore
lamentable traces of the violence of the Iconoclasts, and drew from her
many and bitter tears.  Immediately afterwards four of the rebels, who
had been overtaken in their flight, were brought in and executed in the
public market-place.  All the children who had been baptized after the
Protestant rites were rebaptized by Roman Catholic priests; all the
schools of heretics were closed, and their churches levelled to the
ground.  Nearly all the towns in the Netherlands followed the example of
Antwerp and banished the Protestant preachers.  By the end of April the
Roman Catholic churches were repaired and embellished more splendidly
than ever, while all the Protestant places of worship were pulled down,
and every vestige of the proscribed belief obliterated in the seventeen
provinces.  The populace, whose sympathies are generally with the
successful party, was now as active in accelerating the ruin of the
unfortunate as a short time before it had been furiously zealous in its
cause; in Ghent a large and beautiful church which the Calvinists had
erected was attacked, and in less than an hour had wholly disappeared.
From the beams of the roofless churches gibbets were erected for those
who had profaned the sanctuaries of the Roman Catholics.  The places of
execution were filled with corpses, the prisons with condemned victims,
the high roads with fugitives.  Innumerable were the victims of this
year of murder; in the smallest towns fifty at least, in several of the
larger as many as three hundred, were put to death, while no account was
kept of the numbers in the open country who fell into the hands of the
provost-marshal and were immediately strung up as miscreants, without
trial and without mercy.

The regent was still in Antwerp when ambassadors presented themselves
from the Electors of Brandenburg, Saxony, Hesse, Wurtemberg, and Baden
to intercede for their fugitive brethren in the faith.  The expelled
preachers of the Augsburg Confession had claimed the rights assured to
them by the religious peace of the Germans, in which Brabant, as part of
the empire, participated, and had thrown themselves on the protection of
those princes.  The arrival of the foreign ministers alarmed the regent,
and she vainly endeavored to prevent their entrance into Antwerp; under
the guise, however, of showing them marks of honor, she continued to
keep them closely watched lest they should encourage the malcontents in
any attempts against the peace of the town.  From the high tone which
they most unreasonably adopted towards the regent it might almost be
inferred that they were little in earnest in their demand.  "It was but
reasonable," they said, "that the Confession of Augsburg, as the only
one which met the spirit of the gospel, should be the ruling faith in
the Netherlands; but to persecute it by such cruel edicts as were in
force was positively unnatural and could not be allowed.  They therefore
required of the regent, in the name of religion, not to treat the people
entrusted to her rule with such severity."  She replied through the Count
of Staremberg, her minister for German affairs, that such an exordium
deserved no answer at all.  From the sympathy which the German princes
had shown for the Belgian fugitives it was clear that they gave less
credit to the letters of the king, in explanation of his measures, than
to the reports of a few worthless wretches who, in the desecrated
churches, had left behind them a worthier memorial of their acts and
characters.  It would far more become them to leave to the King of Spain
the care of his own subjects, and abandon the attempt to foster a spirit
of rebellion in foreign countries, from which they would reap neither
honor nor profit.  The ambassadors left Antwerp in a few days without
having effected anything.  The Saxon minister, indeed, in a private
interview with the regent even assured her that his master had most
reluctantly taken this step.

The German ambassadors had not quitted Antwerp when intelligence from
Holland completed the triumph of the regent.  From fear of Count Megen
Count Brederode had deserted his town of Viane, and with the aid of the
Protestants inhabitants had succeeded in throwing himself into
Amsterdam, where his arrival caused great alarm to the city magistrate,
who had previously found difficulty in preventing a revolt, while it
revived the courage of the Protestants.  Here Brederode's adherents
increased daily, and many noblemen flocked to him from Utrecht,
Friesland, and Groningen, whence the victorious arms of Megen and
Aremberg had driven them.  Under various disguises they found means to
steal into the city, where they gathered round Brederode, and served him
as a strong body-guard.  The regent, apprehensive of a new outbreak,
sent one of her private secretaries, Jacob de la Torre, to the council
of Amsterdam, and ordered them to get rid of Count Brederode on any
terms and at any risk.  Neither the magistrate nor de la Torre himself,
who visited Brederode in person to acquaint him with the will of the
duchess, could prevail upon him to depart.  The secretary was even
surprised in his own chamber by a party of Brederode's followers, and
deprived of all his papers, and would, perhaps, have lost his life also
if he had not contrived to make his escape.  Brederode remained in
Amsterdam a full month after this occurrence, a powerless idol of the
Protestants, and an oppressive burden to the Roman Catholics; while his
fine army, which he had left in Viane, reinforced by many fugitives from
the southern provinces, gave Count Megen enough to do without attempting
to harass the Protestants in their flight.  At last Brederode resolved
to follow the example of Orange, and, yielding to necessity, abandon a
desperate cause.  He informed the town council that he was willing to
leave Amsterdam if they would enable him to do so by furnishing him with
the pecuniary means.  Glad to get quit of him, they hastened to borrow
the money on the security of the town council.  Brederode quitted
Amsterdam the same night, and was conveyed in a gunboat as far as Vlie,
from whence he fortunately escaped to Embden.  Fate treated him more
mildly than the majority of those he had implicated in his foolhardy
enterprise; he died the year after, 1568, at one of his castles in
Germany, from the effects of drinking, by which he sought ultimately to
drown his grief and disappoint ments.  His widow, Countess of Moers in
her own right, was remarried to the Prince Palatine, Frederick III.  The
Protestant cause lost but little by his demise; the work which he had
commenced, as it had not been kept alive by him, so it did not die with

The little army, which in his disgraceful flight he had deserted, was
bold and valiant, and had a few resolute leaders.  It disbanded, indeed,
as soon as he, to whom it looked for pay, had fled; but hunger and
courage kept its parts together some time longer.  One body, under
command of Dietrich of Battenburgh, marched to Amsterdam in the hope of
carrying that town; but Count Megen hastened with thirteen companies of
excellent troops to its relief, and compelled the rebels to give up the
attempt.  Contenting themselves with plundering the neighboring
cloisters, among which the abbey of Egmont in particular was hardly
dealt with, they turned off towards Waaterland, where they hoped the
numerous swamps would protect them from pursuit.  But thither Count
Megen followed them, and compelled them in all haste to seek safety in
the Zuyderzee.  The brothers Van Battenburg, and two Friesan nobles,
Beima and Galama, with a hundred and twenty men and the booty they had
taken from the monasteries, embarked near the town of Hoorne, intending
to cross to Friesland, but through the treachery of the steersman, who
ran the vessel on a sand-bank near Harlingen, they fell into the hands
of one of Aremberg's captains, who took them all prisoners.  The Count
of Aremberg immediately pronounced sentence upon all the captives of
plebeian rank, but sent his noble prisoners to the regent, who caused
seven of them to be beheaded.  Seven others of the most noble, including
the brothers Van Battenburg and some Frieslanders, all in the bloom of
youth, were reserved for the Duke of Alva, to enable him to signalize
the commencement of his administration by a deed which was in every way
worthy of him.  The troops in four other vessels which set sail from
Medenhlick, and were pursued by Count Megen in small boats, were more
successful.  A contrary wind had forced them out of their course and
driven them ashore on the coast of Gueldres, where they all got safe to
land; crossing the Rhine, near Heusen, they fortunately escaped into
Cleves, where they tore their flags in pieces and dispersed.  In North
Holland Count Megen overtook some squadrons who had lingered too long in
plundering the cloisters, and completely overpowered them.  He
afterwards formed a junction with Noircarmes and garrisoned Amsterdam.
The Duke Erich of Brunswick also surprised three companies, the last
remains of the army of the Gueux, near Viane, where they were
endeavoring to take a battery, routed them and captured their leader,
Rennesse, who was shortly afterwards beheaded at the castle of
Freudenburg, in Utrecht.  Subsequently, when Duke Erich entered Viane,
he found nothing but deserted streets, the inhabitants having left it
with the garrison on the first alarm.  He immediately razed the
fortifications, and reduced this arsenal of the Gueux to an open town
without defences.  All the originators of the league were now dispersed;
Brederode and Louis of Nassau had fled to Germany, and Counts
Hogstraten, Bergen, and Kuilemberg had followed their example.
Mansfeld had seceded, the brothers Van Battenburg awaited in prison an
ignomonious fate, while Thoulouse alone had found an honorable death on
the field of battle.  Those of the confederates who had escaped the
sword of the enemy and the axe of the executioner had saved nothing but
their lives, and thus the title which they had assumed for show became
at last a terrible reality.

Such was the inglorious end of the noble league, which in its beginning
awakened such fair hopes and promised to become a powerful protection
against oppression.  Unanimity was its strength, distrust and internal
dissension its ruin.  It brought to light and developed many rare and
beautiful virtues, but it wanted the most indispensable of all, prudence
and moderation, without which any undertaking must miscarry, and all the
fruits of the most laborious industry perish.  If its objects had been
as pure as it pretended, or even had they remained as pure as they
really were at its first establishment, it might have defied the
unfortunate combination of circumstances which prematurely overwhelmed
it, and even if unsuccessful it would still have deserved an honorable
mention in history.  But it is too evident that the confederate nobles,
whether directly or indirectly, took a greater share in the frantic
excesses of the Iconoclasts than comported with the dignity and
blamelessness of their confederation, and many among them openly
exchanged their own good cause for the mad enterprise of these worthless
vagabonds.  The restriction of the Inquisition and a mitigation of the
cruel inhumanity of the edicts must be laid to the credit of the league;
but this transient relief was dearly purchased, at the cost of so many
of the best and bravest citizens, who either lost their lives in the
field, or in exile carried their wealth and industry to another quarter
of the world; and of the presence of Alva and the Spanish arms.  Many,
too, of its peaceable citizens, who without its dangerous temptations
would never have been seduced from the ranks of peace and order, were
beguiled by the hope of success into the most culpable enterprises, and
by their failure plunged into ruin and misery.  But it cannot be denied
that the league atoned in some measure for these wrongs by positive
benefits.  It brought together and emboldened many whom a selfish
pusillanimity kept asunder and inactive; it diffused a salutary public
spirit amongst the Belgian people, which the oppression of the
government had almost entirely extinguished, and gave unanimity and a
common voice to the scattered members of the nation, the absence of
which alone makes despots bold.  The attempt, indeed, failed, and the
knots, too carelessly tied, were quickly unloosed; but it was through
such failures that the nation was eventually to attain to a firm and
lasting union, which should bid defiance to change.

The total destruction of the Geusen army quickly brought the Dutch towns
also back to their obedience, and in the provinces there remained not a
single place which had not submitted to the regent; but the increasing
emigration, both of the natives and the foreign residents, threatened
the country with depopulation.  In Amsterdam the crowd of fugitives was
so great that vessels were wanting to convey them across the North Sea
and the Zuyderzee, and that flourishing emporium beheld with dismay the
approaching downfall of its prosperity.  Alarmed at this general flight,
the regent hastened to write letters to all the towns, to encourage the
citizens to remain, and by fair promises to revive a hope of better and
milder measures.  In the king's name she promised to all who would
freely swear to obey the state and the church complete indemnity, and by
public proclamation invited the fugitives to trust to the royal clemency
and return to their homes.  She engaged also to relieve the nation from
the dreaded presence of a Spanish army, even if it were already on the
frontiers; nay, she went so far as to drop hints that, if necessary,
means might be found to prevent it by force from entering the provinces,
as she was fully determined not to relinquish to another the glory of a
peace which it had cost her so much labor to effect.  Few, however,
returned in reliance upon her word, and these few had cause to repent it
in the sequel; many thousands had already quitted the country, and
several thousands more quickly followed them.  Germany and England were
filled with Flemish emigrants, who, wherever they settled, retained
their usages and manners, and even their costume, unwilling to come to
the painful conclusion that they should never again see their native
land, and to give up all hopes of return.  Few carried with them any
remains of their former affluence; the greater portion had to beg their
way, and bestowed on their adopted country nothing but industrious skill
and honest citizens.

And now the regent hastened to report to the king tidings such as,
during her whole administration, she had never before been able to
gratify him with.  She announced to him that she had succeeded in
restoring quiet throughout the provinces, and that she thought herself
strong enough to maintain it.  The sects were extirpated, and the Roman
Catholic worship re-established in all its former splendor; the rebels
had either already met with, or were awaiting in prison, the punishment
they deserved; the towns were secured by adequate garrisons.  There was
therefore no necessity for sending Spanish troops into the Netherlands,
and nothing to justify their entrance.  Their arrival would tend to
destroy the existing repose, which it had cost so much to establish,
would check the much-desired revival of commerce and trade, and, while
it would involve the country in new expenses, would at the same time
deprive them of the only means of supporting them.  The mere rumor of
the approach of a Spanish army had stripped the country of many
thousands of its most valuable citizens; its actual appearance would
reduce it to a desert.  As there was no longer any enemy to subdue, or
rebellion to suppress, the people would see no motive for the march of
this army but punishment and revenge, and under this supposition its
arrival would neither be welcomed nor honored.  No longer excused by
necessity, this violent expedient would assume the odious aspect of
oppression, would exasperate the national mind afresh, drive the
Protestants to desperation, and arm their brethren in other countries in
their defence.  The regent, she said, had in the king's name promised
the nation it should be relieved from this foreign army, and to this
stipulation she was principally indebted for the present peace; she
could not therefore guarantee its long continuance if her pledge was not
faithfully fulfilled.  The Netherlands would receive him as their
sovereign, the king, with every mark of attachment and veneration, but
he must come as a father to bless, not as a despot to chastise them.
Let him come to enjoy the peace which she had bestowed on the country,
but not to destroy it afresh.


But it was otherwise determined in the council at Madrid.  The minister,
Granvella, who, even while absent himself, ruled the Spanish cabinet by
his adherents; the Cardinal Grand Inquisitor, Spinosa, and the Duke of
Alva, swayed respectively by hatred, a spirit of persecution, or private
interest, had outvoted the milder councils of the Prince Ruy Gomes of
Eboli, the Count of Feria, and the king's confessor, Fresneda.  The
insurrection, it was urged by the former, was indeed quelled for the
present, but only because the rebels were awed by the rumor of the
king's armed approach; it was to fear of punishment alone, and not to
sorrow for their crime, that the present calm was to be ascribed, and
it would soon again be broken if that feeling were allowed to subside.
In fact, the offences of the people fairly afforded the king the
opportunity he had so long desired of carrying out his despotic views
with an appearance of justice.  The peaceable settlement for which the
regent took credit to herself was very far from according with his
wishes, which sought rather for a legitimate pretext to deprive the
provinces of their privileges, which were so obnoxious to his despotic

With an impenetrable dissimulation Philip had hitherto fostered the
general delusion that he was about to visit the provinces in person,
while all along nothing could have been more remote from his real
intentions.  Travelling at any time ill suited the methodical regularity
of his life, which moved with the precision of clockwork; and his narrow
and sluggish intellect was oppressed by the variety and multitude of
objects with which new scenes crowded it.  The difficulties and dangers
which would attend a journey to the Netherlands must, therefore, have
been peculiarly alarming to his natural timidity and love of ease.  Why
should he, who, in all that he did, was accustomed to consider himself
alone, and to make men accommodate themselves to his principles, not his
principles to men, undertake so perilous an expedition, when he could
see neither the advantage nor necessity of it.  Moreover, as it had ever
been to him an utter impossibility to separate, even for a moment, his
person from his royal dignity, which no prince ever guarded so
tenaciously and pedantically as himself, so the magnificence and
ceremony which in his mind were inseparably connected with such a
journey, and the expenses which, on this account, it would necessarily
occasion, were of themselves sufficient motives to account for his
indisposition to it, without its being at all requisite to call in the
aid of the influence of his favorite, Ruy Gomes, who is said to have
desired to separate his rival, the Duke of Alva, from the king.  Little,
however, as be seriously intended this journey, he still deemed it
advisable to keep up the expectation of it, as well with a view of
sustaining the courage of the loyal as of preventing a dangerous
combination of the disaffected, and stopping the further progress
of the rebels.

In order to carry on the deception as long as possible, Philip made
extensive preparations for his departure, and neglected nothing which
could be required for such an event.  He ordered ships to be fitted out,
appointed the officers and others to attend him.  To allay the suspicion
such warlike preparations might excite in all foreign courts, they were
informed through his ambassadors of his real design.  He applied to the
King of France for a passage for himself and attendants through that
kingdom, and consulted the Duke of Savoy as to the preferable route.  He
caused a list to be drawn up of all the towns and fortified places that
lay in his march, and directed all the intermediate distances to be
accurately laid down.  Orders were issued for taking a map and survey of
the whole extent of country between Savoy and Burgundy, the duke being
requested to furnish the requisite surveyors and scientific officers.
To such lengths was the deception carried that the regent was commanded
to hold eight vessels at least in readiness off Zealand, and to despatch
them to meet the king the instant she heard of his having sailed from
Spain; and these ships she actually got ready, and caused prayers to be
offered up in all the churches for the king's safety during the voyage,
though in secret many persons did not scruple to remark that in his
chamber at Madrid his majesty would not have much cause to dread the
storms at sea.  Philip played his part with such masterly skill that the
Belgian ambassadors at Madrid, Lords Bergen and Montigny, who at first
had disbelieved in the sincerity of his pretended journey, began at last
to be alarmed, and infected their friends in Brussels with similar
apprehensions.  An attack of tertian ague, which about this time the
king suffered, or perhaps feigned, in Segovia, afforded a plausible
pretence for postponing his journey, while meantime the preparations for
it were carried on with the utmost activity.  At last, when the urgent
and repeated solicitations of his sister compelled him to make a
definite explanation of his plans, he gave orders that the Duke of Alva
should set out forthwith with an army, both to clear the way before him
of rebels, and to enhance the splendor of his own royal arrival.  He did
not yet venture to throw off the mask and announce the duke as his
substitute.  He had but too much reason to fear that the submission
which his Flemish nobles would cheerfully yield to their sovereign would
be refused to one of his servants, whose cruel character was well known,
and who, moreover, was detested as a foreigner and the enemy of their
constitution.  And, in fact, the universal belief that the king was soon
to follow, which long survived Alva's entrance into the country,
restrained the outbreak of disturbances which otherwise would assuredly
have been caused by the cruelties which marked the very opening of the
duke's government.

The clergy of Spain, and especially the Inquisition, contributed richly
towards the expenses of this expedition as to a holy war.  Throughout
Spain the enlisting was carried on with the utmost zeal.  The viceroys
and governors of Sardinia, Sicily, Naples, and Milan received orders to
select the best of their Italian and Spanish troops in the garrisons and
despatch them to the general rendezvous in the Genoese territory, where
the Duke of Alva would exchange them for the Spanish recruits which he
should bring with him.  At the same time the regent was commanded to
hold in readiness a few more regiments of German infanty in Luxembourg,
under the command of the Counts Eberstein, Schaumburg, and Lodrona, and
also some squadrons of light cavalry in the Duchy of Burgundy to
reinforce the Spanish general immediately on his entrance into the
provinces.  The Count of Barlaimont was commissioned to furnish the
necessary provision for the armament, and a sum of two hundred thousand
gold florins was remitted to the regent to enable her to meet these
expenses and to maintain her own troops.

The French court, however, under pretence of the danger to be
apprehended from the Huguenots, had refused to allow the Spanish army to
pass through France.  Philip applied to the Dukes of Savoy and Lorraine,
who were too dependent upon him to refuse his request.  The former
merely stipulated that he should be allowed to maintain two thousand
infantry and a squadron of horse at the king's expense in order to
protect his country from the injuries to which it might otherwise be
exposed from the passage of the Spanish army.  At the same time he
undertook to provide the necessary supplies for its maintenance during
the transit.

The rumor of this arrangement roused the Huguenots, the Genevese, the
Swiss, and the Grisons.  The Prince of Conde and the Admiral Coligny
entreated Charles IX. not to neglect so favorable a moment of inflicting
a deadly blow on the hereditary foe of France.  With the aid of the
Swiss, the Genevese, and his own Protestant subjects, it would, they
alleged, be an easy matter to destroy the flower of the Spanish troops
in the narrow passes of the Alpine mountains; and they promised to
support him in this undertaking with an army of fifty thousand
Huguenots.  This advice, however, whose dangerous object was not easily
to be mistaken, was plausibly declined by Charles IX., who assured them
that he was both able and anxious to provide for the security of his
kingdom.  He hastily despatched troops to cover the French frontiers;
and the republics of Geneva, Bern, Zurich, and the Grisons followed his
example, all ready to offer a determined opposition to the dreaded enemy
of their religion and their liberty.

On the 5th of May, 1567, the Duke of Alva set sail from Carthagena with
thirty galleys, which had been furnished by Andrew Doria and the Duke
Cosmo of Florence, and within eight days landed at Genoa, where the four
regiments were waiting to join him.  But a tertian ague, with which he
was seized shortly after his arrival, compelled him to remain for some
days inactive in Lombardy--a delay of which the neighboring powers
availed themselves to prepare for defence.  As soon as the duke
recovered he held at Asti, in Montferrat, a review of all his troops,
who were more formidable by their valor than by their numbers, since
cavalry and infantry together did not amount to much above ten thousand
men.  In his long and perilous march he did not wish to encumber himself
with useless supernumeraries, which would only impede his progress and
increase the difficulty of supporting his army.  These ten thousand
veterans were to form the nucleus of a greater army, which, according as
circumstances and occasion might require, he could easily assemble in
the Netherlands themselves.

This array, however, was as select as it was small.  It consisted of the
remains of those victorious legions at whose head Charles V. had made
Europe tremble; sanguinary, indomitable bands, in whose battalions the
firmness of the old Macedonian phalanx lived again; rapid in their
evolutions from long practice, hardy and enduring, proud of their
leader's success, and confident from past victories, formidable by their
licentiousness, but still more so by their discipline; let loose with
all the passions of a warmer climate upon a rich and peaceful country,
and inexorable towards an enemy whom the church had cursed.  Their
fanatical and sanguinary spirit, their thirst for glory and innate
courage was aided by a rude sensuality, the instrument by which the
Spanish general firmly and surely ruled his otherwise intractable
troops.  With a prudent indulgence he allowed riot and voluptuousness
to reign throughout the camp.  Under his tacit connivance Italian
courtezans followed the standards; even in the march across the
Apennines, where the high price of the necessaries of life compelled him
to reduce his force to the smallest possible number, he preferred to
have a few regiments less rather than to leave behind these instruments
of voluptuousness.

     [The bacchanalian procession of this army contrasted strangely
     enough with the gloomy seriousness and pretended sanctity of his
     aim.  The number of these women was so great that to restrain the
     disorders and quarrelling among themselves they hit upon the
     expedient of establishing a discipline of their own.  They ranged
     themselves under particular flags, marched in ranks and sections,
     and in admirable military order, after each battalion, and classed
     themselves with strict etiquette according to their rank and pay.]

But industriously as Alva strove to relax the morals of his soldiers,
he enforced the more rigidly a strict military discipline, which was
interrupted only by a victory or rendered less severe by a battle.
For all this he had, he said, the authority of the Athenian General
Iphicrates, who awarded the prize of valor to the pleasure-loving and
rapacious soldier.  The more irksome the restraint by which the passions
of the soldiers were kept in check, the greater must have been the
vehemence with which they broke forth at the sole outlet which was left
open to them.

The duke divided his infantry, which was about nine thousand strong, and
chiefly Spaniards, into four brigades, and gave the command of them to
four Spanish officers.  Alphonso of Ulloa led the Neapolitan brigade of
nine companies, amounting to three thousand two hundred and thirty men;
Sancho of Lodogno commanded the Milan brigade, three thousand two
hundred men in ten companies; the Sicilian brigade, with the same number
of companies, and consisting of sixteen hundred men, was under Julian
Romero, an experienced warrior, who had already fought on Belgian

     [The same officer who commanded one of the Spanish regiments about
     which so much complaint had formerly been made in the States-

Gonsalo of Braccamonte headed that of Sardinia, which was raised by
three companies of recruits to the full complement of the former.  To
every company, moreover, were added fifteen Spanish musqueteers.  The
horse, in all twelve hundred strong, consisted of three Italian, two
Albanian, and seven Spanish squadrons, light and heavy cavalry, and the
chief command was held by Ferdinand and Frederick of Toledo, the two
sons of Alva.  Chiappin Vitelli, Marquis of Cetona, was field-marshal;
a celebrated general whose services had been made over to the King of
Spain by Cosmo of Florence; and Gabriel Serbellon was general of
artillery.  The Duke of Savoy lent Alva an experienced engineer, Francis
Pacotto, of Urbino, who was to be employed in the erection of new
fortifications.  His standard was likewise followed by a number of
volunteers, and the flower of the Spanish nobility, of whom the greater
part had fought under Charles V. in Germany, Italy, and before Tunis.
Among these were Christopher Mondragone, one of the ten Spanish heroes
who, near Mithlbehg, swam across the Elbe with their swords between
their teeth, and, under a shower of bullets from the enemy, brought over
from the opposite shore the boats which the emperor required for the
construction of a bridge.  Sancho of Avila, who had been trained to war
under Alva himself, Camillo of Monte, Francis Ferdugo, Karl Davila,
Nicolaus Basta, and Count Martinego, all fired with a noble ardor,
either to commence their military career under so eminent a leader, or
by another glorious campaign under his command to crown the fame they
had already won.  After the review the army marched in three divisions
across Mount Cenis, by the very route which sixteen centuries before
Hannibal is said to have taken.  The duke himself led the van; Ferdinand
of Toledo, with whom was associated Lodogno as colonel, the centre; and
the Marquis of Cetona the rear.  The Commissary General, Francis of
Ibarra, was sent before with General Serbellon to open the road for the
main body, and get ready the supplies at the several quarters for the
night.  The places which the van left in the morning were entered in the
evening by the centre, which in its turn made room on the following day
for the rear.  Thus the army crossed the Alps of Savoy by regular
stages, and with the fourteenth day completed that dangerous passage.
A French army of observation accompanied it side by side along the
frontiers of Dauphins, and the course of the Rhone, and the allied army
of the Genevese followed it on the right, and was passed by it at a
distance of seven miles.  Both these armies of observation carefully
abstained from any act of hostility, and were merely intended to cover
their own frontiers.  As the Spanish legions ascended and descended the
steep mountain crags, or while they crossed the rapid Iser, or file by
file wound through the narrow passes of the rocks, a handful of men
would have been sufficient to put an entire stop to their march, and to
drive them back into the mountains, where they would have been
irretrievably lost, since at each place of encampment supplies were
provided for no more than a single day, and for a third part only of the
whole force.  But a supernatural awe and dread of the Spanish name
appeared to have blinded the eyes of the enemy so that they did not
perceive their advantage, or at least did not venture to profit by it.
In order to give them as little opportunity as possible of remembering
it, the Spanish general hastened through this dangerous pass.

Convinced, too, that if his troops gave the slightest umbrage he was
lost, the strictest discipline was maintained during the march; not a
single peasant's hut, not a single field was injured; and never,
perhaps, in the memory of man was so numerous an army led so far in such
excellent order.

     [Once only on entering Lorraine three horsemen ventured to drive
     away a few sheep from a flock, of which circumstance the duke was
     no sooner informed than he sent back to the owner what had been
     taken from him and sentenced the offenders to be hung.  This
     sentence was, at the intercession of the Lorraine general, who had
     come to the frontiers to pay his respects to the duke, executed on
     only one of the three, upon whom the lot fell at the drum-head.]

Destined as this army was for vengeance and murder, a malignant and
baleful star seemed to conduct it safe through all dangers; and it would
be difficult to decide whether the prudence of its general or the
blindness of its enemies is most to be wondered at.

In Franche Comte, four squadrons of Burgundian cavalry, newly-raised,
joined the main army, which, at Luxembourg, was also reinforced by three
regiments of German infantry under the command of Counts Eberstein,
Schaumburg, and Lodrona.  From Thionville, where he halted a few days,
Alva sent his salutations to the regent by Francis of Ibarra, who was,
at the same time, directed to consult her on the quartering of the
troops.  On her part, Noircarmes and Barlairnont were despatched to the
Spanish camp to congratulate the duke on his arrival, and to show him
the customary marks of honor.  At the same time they were directed to
ask him to produce the powers entrusted to him by the king, of which,
however, he only showed a part.  The envoys of the regent were followed
by swarms of the Flemish nobility, who thought they could not hasten
soon enough to conciliate the favor of the new viceroy, or by a timely
submission avert the vengeance which was preparing.  Among them was
Count Egmont.  As he came forward the duke pointed him out to the
bystanders.  "Here comes an arch-heretic," he exclaimed, loud enough to
be heard by Egmont himself, who, surprised at these words, stopped and
changed color.  But when the duke, in order to repair his imprudence,
went up to him with a serene countenance, and greeted him with a
friendly embrace, the Fleming was ashamed of his fears, and made light
of this warning, by putting some frivolous interpretation upon it.
Egmont sealed this new friendship with a present of two valuable
chargers, which Alva accepted with a grave condescension.

Upon the assurance of the regent that the provinces were in the
enjoyment of perfect peace, and that no opposition was to be apprehended
from any quarter, the duke discharged some German regiments, which had
hitherto drawn their pay from the Netherlands.  Three thousand six
hundred men, under the command of Lodrona, were quartered in Antwerp,
from which town the Walloon garrison, in which full reliance could not
be placed, was withdrawn; garrisons proportionably stronger were thrown
into Ghent and other important places; Alva himself marched with the
Milan brigade towards Brussels, whither he was accompanied by a splendid
cortege of the noblest in the land.

Here, as in all the other towns of the Netherlands, fear and terror had
preceded him, and all who were conscious of any offences, and even those
who were sensible of none, alike awaited his approach with a dread
similar to that with which criminals see the coming of their day of
trial.  All who could tear themselves from the ties of family, property,
and country had already fled, or now at last took to flight.  The
advance of the Spanish army had already, according to the report of the
regent, diminished the population of the provinces by the loss of one
hundred thousand citizens, and this general flight still continued.  But
the arrival of the Spanish general could not be more hateful to the
people of the Netherlands than it was distressing and dispiriting to the
regent.  At last, after so many years of anxiety, she had begun to taste
the sweets of repose, and that absolute-authority, which had been the
long-cherished object of eight years of a troubled and difficult
administration.  This late fruit of so much anxious industry, of so many
cares and nightly vigils, was now to be wrested from her by a stranger,
who was to be placed at once in possession of all the advantages which
she had been forced to extract from adverse circumstances, by a long
and tedious course of intrigue and patient endurance.  Another was
lightly to bear away the prize of promptitude, and to triumph by more
rapid success over her superior but less glittering merits.  Since the
departure of the minister, Granvella, she had tasted to the full the
pleasures of independence.  The flattering homage of the nobility, which
allowed her more fully to enjoy the shadow of power, the more they
deprived her of its substance, had, by degrees, fostered her vanity to
such an extent, that she at last estranged by her coldness even the most
upright of all her servants, the state counsellor Viglius, who always
addressed her in the language of truth.  All at once a censor of her
actions was placed at her side, a partner of her power was associated
with her, if indeed it was not rather a master who was forced upon her,
whose proud, stubborn, and imperious spirit, which no courtesy could
soften, threatened the deadliest wounds to her self-love and vanity.  To
prevent his arrival she had, in her representations to the king, vainly
exhausted every political argument.  To no purpose had she urged that
the utter ruin of the commerce of the Netherlands would be the
inevitable consequence of; this introduction of the Spanish troops; in
vain had she assured the king that peace was universally restored, and
reminded him of her own services in procuring it, which deserved, she
thought, a better guerdon than to see all the fruits of her labors
snatched from her and given to a foreigner, and more than all, to behold
all the good which she had effected destroyed by a new and different
line of conduct.  Even when the duke had already crossed Mount Cenis she
made one more attempt, entreating him at least to diminish his army; but
that also failed, for the duke insisted upon acting up to the powers
entrusted to him.  In poignant grief she now awaited his approach, and
with the tears she shed for her country were mingled those of offended

On the 22d of August, 1567, the Duke of Alva appeared before the gates
of Brussels.  His army immediately took up their quarters in the
suburbs, and he himself made it his first duty to pay his respects to
the sister of his king.  She gave him a private audience on the plea of
suffering from sickness.  Either the mortification she had undergone had
in reality a serious effect upon her health, or, what is not improbable,
she had recourse to this expedient to pain his haughty spirit, and in
some degree to lessen his triumph.  He delivered to her letters from the
king, and laid before her a copy of his own appointment, by which the
supreme command of the whole military force of the Netherlands was
committed to him, and from which, therefore, it would appear, that the
administration of civil affairs remained, as heretofore, in the hands of
the regent.  But as soon as he was alone with her he produced a new
commission, which was totally different from the former.  According to
this, the power was delegated to him of making war at his discretion,
of erecting fortifications, of appointing and dismissing at pleasure the
governors of provinces, the commandants of towns, and other officers of
the king; of instituting inquiries into the past troubles, of punishing
those who originated them, and of rewarding the loyal.  Powers of this
extent, which placed him almost on a level with a sovereign prince, and
far surpassed those of the regent herself, caused her the greatest
consternation, and it was with difficulty that she could conceal her
emotion.  She asked the duke whether he had not even a third commission,
or some special orders in reserve which went still further, and were
drawn up still more precisely, to which he replied distinctly enough in
the affirmative, but at the same time gave her to understand that this
commission might be too full to suit the present occasion, and would be
better brought into play hereafter with due regard to time and
circumstances.  A few days after his arrival he caused a copy of the
first instructions to be laid before the several councils and the
states, and had them printed to insure their rapid circulation.  As the
regent resided in the palace, he took up his quarters temporarily in
Kuilemberg house, the same in which the association of the Gueux had
received its name, and before which, through a wonderful vicissitude,
Spanish tyranny now planted its flag.

A dead silence reigned in Brussels, broken only at times by the unwonted
clang of arms.  The duke had entered the town but a few hours when his
attendants, like bloodhounds that have been slipped, dispersed
themselves in all directions.  Everywhere foreign faces were to be seen;
the streets were empty, all the houses carefully closed, all amusements
suspended, all public places deserted.  The whole metropolis resembled a
place visited by the plague.  Acquaintances hurried on without stopping
for their usual greeting; all hastened on the moment a Spaniard showed
himself in the streets.  Every sound startled them, as if it were the
knock of the officials of justice at their doors; the nobility, in
trembling anxiety, kept to their houses; they shunned appearing in
public lest their presence should remind the new viceroy of some past
offence.  The two nations now seemed to have exchanged characters.  The
Spaniard had become the talkative man and the Brabanter taciturn;
distrust and fear had scared away the spirit of cheerfulness and mirth;
a constrained gravity fettered even the play of the features.  Every
moment the impending blow was looked for with dread.

This general straining of expectation warned the duke to hasten the
accomplishment of his plans before they should be anticipated by the
timely flight of his victims.  His first object was to secure the
suspected nobles, in order, at once and forever, to deprive the faction
of its leaders, and the nation, whose freedom was to be crushed, of all
its supporters.  By a pretended affability he had succeeded in lulling
their first alarm, and in restoring Count Egmont in particular to his
former perfect confidence, for which purpose he artfully employed his
sons, Ferdinand and Frederick of Toledo, whose companionableness and
youth assimilated more easily with the Flemish character.  By this
skilful advice he succeeded also in enticing Count Horn to Brussels,
who had hitherto thought it advisable to watch the first measures of the
duke from a distance, but now suffered himself to be seduced by the good
fortune of his friend.  Some of the nobility, and Count Egmont at the
head of them, even resumed their former gay style of living.  But they
themselves did not do so with their whole hearts, and they had not many
imitators.  Kuilemberg house was incessantly besieged by a numerous
crowd, who thronged around the person of the new viceroy, and exhibited
an affected gayety on their countenances, while their hearts were wrung
with distress and fear.  Egmont in particular assumed the appearance of
a light heart, entertaining the duke's sons, and being feted by them in
return.  Meanwhile, the duke was fearful lest so fair an opportunity for
the accomplishment of his plans might not last long, and lest some act
of imprudence might destroy the feeling of security which had tempted
both his victims voluntarily to put themselves into his power; he only
waited for a third; Hogstraten also was to be taken in the same net.
Under a plausible pretext of business he therefore summoned him to the
metropolis.  At the same time that he purposed to secure the three
counts in Brussels, Colonel Lodrona was to arrest the burgomaster,
Strahlen, in Antwerp, an intimate friend of the Prince of Orange, and
suspected of having favored the Calvinists; another officer was to seize
the private secretary of Count Egmont, whose name was John Cassembrot
von Beckerzeel, as also some secretaries of Count Horn, and was to
possess themselves of their papers.

When the day arrived which had been fixed upon for the execution of this
plan, the duke summoned all the counsellors and knights before him to
confer with them upon matters of state.  On this occasion the Duke of
Arschot, the Counts Mansfeld, Barlaimont, and Aremberg attended on the
part of the Netherlands, and on the part of the Spaniards besides the
duke's sons, Vitelli, Serbellon, and Ibarra.  The young Count Mansfeld,
who likewise appeared at the meeting, received a sign from his father to
withdraw with all speed, and by a hasty flight avoid the fate which was
impending over him as a former member of the Geusen league.  The duke
purposely prolonged the consultation to give time before he acted for
the arrival of the couriers from Antwerp, who were to bring him the
tidings of the arrest of the other parties.  To avoid exciting any
suspicion, the engineer, Pacotto, was required to attend the meeting to
lay before it the plans for some fortifications.  At last intelligence
was brought him that Lodrona had successfully executed his commission.
Upon this the duke dexterously broke off the debate and dismissed the
council.  And now, as Count Egmont was about to repair to the apartment
of Don Ferdinand, to finish a game that he had commenced with him, the
captain of the duke's body guard, Sancho D'Avila, stopped him, and
demanded his sword in the king's name.  At the same time he was
surrounded by a number of Spanish soldiers, who, as had been
preconcerted, suddenly advanced from their concealment.  So unexpected
a blow deprived Egmont for some moments of all powers of utterance and
recollection; after a while, however, he collected himself, and taking
his sword from his side with dignified composure, said, as he delivered
it into the hands of the Spaniard, "This sword has before this on more
than one occasion successfully defended the king's cause."  Another
Spanish officer arrested Count Horn as he was returning to his house
without the least suspicion of danger.  Horn's first inquiry was after
Egmont.  On being told that the same fate had just happened to his
friend he surrendered himself without resistance.  "I have suffered
myself to be guided by him," he exclaimed, "it is fair that I should
share his destiny."  The two counts were placed in confinement in
separate apartments.  While this was going on in the interior of
Kuilemberg house the whole garrison were drawn out under arms in front
of it.  No one knew what had taken place inside, a mysterious terror
diffused itself throughout Brussels until rumor spread the news of this
fatal event.  Each felt as if he himself were the sufferer; with many
indignation at Egmont's blind infatuation preponderated over sympathy
for his fate; all rejoiced that Orange had escaped.  The first question
of the Cardinal Granvella, too, when these tidings reached him in Rome,
is said to have been, whether they had taken the Silent One also.  On
being answered in the negative he shook his head "then as they have let
him escape they have got nothing."  Fate ordained better for the Count
of Hogstraten.  Compelled by ill-health to travel slowly, he was met by
the report of this event while he was yet on his way.  He hastily turned
back, and fortunately escaped destruction.  Immediately after Egmont's
seizure a writing was extorted from him, addressed to the commandant of
the citadel of Ghent, ordering that officer to deliver the fortress to
the Spanish Colonel Alphonso d'Ulloa.  Upon this the two counts were
then (after they had been for some weeks confined in Brussels) conveyed
under a guard of three thousand Spaniards to Ghent, where they remained
imprisoned till late in the following year.  In the meantime all their
papers had been seized.  Many of the first nobility who, by the
pretended kindness of the Duke of Alva, had allowed themselves to be
cajoled into remaining experienced the same fate.  Capital punishment
was also, without further delay, inflicted on all who before the duke's
arrival had been taken with arms in their hands.  Upon the news of
Egmont's arrest a second body of about twenty thousand inhabitants took
up the wanderer's staff, besides the one hundred thousand who, prudently
declining to await the arrival of the Spanish general, had already
placed themselves in safety.

     [A great part of these fugitives helped to strengthen the army of
     the Huguenots, who had taken occasion, from the passage of the
     Spanish army through Lorraine, to assemble their forces, and now
     pressed Charles IX. hard.  On these grounds the French court
     thought it had a right to demand aid from the regent of the
     Netherlands.  It asserted that the Huguenots had looked upon the
     march of the Spanish army as the result of a preconcerted plan
     which had been formed against them by the two courts at Bayonne and
     that this had roused them from their slumber.  That consequently it
     behooved the Spanish court to assist in extricating the French king
     from difficulties into which the latter had been brought simply by
     the march of the Spanish troops.  Alva actually sent the Count of
     Aremberg with a considerable force to join the army of the Queen
     Mother in France, and even offered to command these subsidiaries in
     person, which, however, was declined.  Strada, 206. Thuan, 541.]

After so noble a life had been assailed no one counted himself safe any
longer; but many found cause to repent that they had so long deferred
this salutary step; for every day flight was rendered more difficult,
for the duke ordered all the ports to be closed, and punished the
attempt at emigration with death.  The beggars were now esteemed
fortunate, who had abandoned country and property in order to preserve
at least their liberty and their lives.


Alva's first step, after securing the most suspected of the nobles, was
to restore the Inquisition to its former authority, to put the decrees
of Trent again in force, abolish the "moderation," and promulgate anew
the edicts against heretics in all their original severity.  The court
of Inquisition in Spain had pronounced the whole nation of the
Netherlands guilty of treason in the highest degree, Catholics and
heterodox, loyalists and rebels, without distinction; the latter as
having offended by overt acts, the former as having incurred equal guilt
by their supineness.  From this sweeping condemnation a very few were
excepted, whose names, however, were purposely reserved, while the
general sentence was publicly confirmed by the king.  Philip declared
himself absolved from all his promises, and released from all
engagements which the regent in his name had entered into with the
people of the Netherlands, and all the justice which they had in future
to expect from him must depend on his own good-will and pleasure.  All
who had aided in the expulsion of the minister, Granvella, who had taken
part in the petition of the confederate nobles, or had but even spoken
in favor of it; all who had presented a petition against the decrees of
Trent, against the edicts relating to religion, or against the
installation of the bishops; all who had permitted the public
preachings, or had only feebly resisted them; all who had worn the
insignia of the Gueux, had sung Geusen songs, or who in any way
whatsoever had manifested their joy at the establishment of the league;
all who had sheltered or concealed the reforming preachers, attended
Calvinistic funerals, or had even merely known of their secret meetings,
and not given information of them; all who had appealed to the national
privileges; all, in fine, who had expressed an opinion that they ought
to obey God rather than man; all these indiscriminately were declared
liable to the penalties which the law imposed upon any violation of the
royal prerogative, and upon high treason; and these penalties were,
according to the instruction which Alva had received, to be executed on
the guilty persons without forbearance or favor; without regard to rank,
sex, or age, as an example to posterity, and for a terror to all future
times.  According to this declaration there was no longer an innocent
person to be found in the whole Netherlands, and the new viceroy had it
in his power to make a fearful choice of victims.  Property and life
were alike at his command, and whoever should have the good fortune to
preserve one or both must receive them as the gift of his generosity and
humanity.  By this stroke of policy, as refined as it was detestable,
the nation was disarmed, and unanimity rendered impossible.  As it
absolutely depended on the duke's arbitrary will upon whom the sentence
should be carried in force which had been passed without exception upon
all, each individual kept himself quiet, in order to escape, if
possible, the notice of the viceroy, and to avoid drawing the fatal
choice upon himself.  Every one, on the other hand, in whose favor he
was pleased to make an exception stood in a degree indebted to him, and
was personally under an obligation which must be measured by the value
he set upon his life and property.  As, however, this penalty could only
be executed on the smaller portion of the nation, the duke naturally
secured the greater by the strongest ties of fear and gratitude, and for
one whom he sought out as a victim he gained ten others whom he passed
over.  As long as he continued true to this policy he remained in quiet
possession of his rule, even amid the streams of blood which he caused
to flow, and did not forfeit this advantage till the want of money
compelled him to impose a burden upon the nation which oppressed all

In order to be equal to this bloody occupation, the details of which
were fast accumulating, and to be certain of not losing a single victim
through the want of instruments; and, on the other hand, to render his
proceedings independent of the states, with whose privileges they were
so much at variance, and who, indeed, were far too humane for him, he
instituted an extraordinary court of justice.  This court consisted of
twelve criminal judges, who, according to their instructions, to the
very letter of which they must adhere, were to try and pronounce
sentence upon those implicated in the past disturbances.  The mere
institution of such a board was a violation of the liberties of the
country, which expressly stipulated that no citizen should be tried out
of his own province; but the duke filled up the measure of his injustice
when, contrary to the most sacred privileges of the nation, he proceeded
to give seats and votes in that court to Spaniards, the open and avowed
enemies of Belgian liberty.  He himself was the president of this court,
and after him a certain licentiate, Vargas, a Spaniard by birth, of
whose iniquitous character the historians of both parties are unanimous;
cast out like a plague-spot from his own country, where he had violated
one of his wards, he was a shameless, hardened villain, in whose mind
avarice, lust, and the thirst for blood struggled for ascendancy.  The
principal members were Count Aremberg, Philip of Noircarmes, and Charles
of Barlaimont, who, however, never sat in it; Hadrian Nicolai,
chancellor of Gueldres; Jacob Mertens and Peter Asset, presidents of
Artois and Flanders; Jacob Hesselts and John de la Porte, counsellors of
Ghent; Louis del Roi, doctor of theology, and by birth a Spaniard; John
du Bois, king's advocate; and De la'Torre, secretary of the court.  In
compliance with the representations of Viglius the privy council was
spared any part in this tribunal; nor was any one introduced into it
from the great council at Malines.  The votes of the members were only
recommendatory, not conclusive, the final sentence being reserved by the
duke to himself.  No particular time was fixed for the sitting of the
court; the members, however, assembled at noon, as often as the duke
thought good.  But after the expiration of the third month Alva began to
be less frequent in his attendance, and at last resigned his place
entirely to his favorite, Vargas, who filled it with such odious fitness
that in a short time all the members, with the exception merely of the
Spanish doctor, Del Rio, and the secretary, De la Torre, weary of the
atrocities of which they were compelled to be both eyewitnesses and
accomplices, remained away from the assembly.

     [The sentences passed upon the most eminent persons (for example,
     the sentence of death passed upon Strahlen, the burgomaster of
     Antwerp), were signed only by Vargas, Del Rio, and De la Torre.]

It is revolting to the feelings to think how the lives of the noblest
and best were thus placed at the mercy of Spanish vagabonds, and how
even the sanctuaries of the nation, its deeds and charters, were
unscrupulously ransacked, the seals broken, and the most secret
contracts between the sovereign and the state profaned and exposed.

     [For an example of the unfeeling levity with which the most
     important matters, even decisions in cases of life and death, were
     treated in this sanguinary council, it may serve to relate what is
     told of the Counsellor Hesselts.  He was generally asleep during
     the meeting, and when his turn came to vote on a sentence of death
     he used to cry out, still half asleep: "Ad patibulum!  Ad
     patibulum!" so glibly did his tongue utter this word.  It is
     further to be remarked of this Hesselts, that his wife, a daughter
     of the President Viglius, had expressly stipulated in the marriage-
     contract that he should resign the dismal office of attorney for
     the king, which made him detested by the whole nation.  Vigl. ad
     Hopp. lxvii., L.]

From the council of twelve (which, from the object of its institution,
was called the council for disturbances, but on account of its
proceedings is more generally known under the appellation of the council
of blood, a name which the nation in their exasperation bestowed upon
it), no appeal was allowed.  Its proceedings could not be revised.  Its
verdicts were irrevocable and independent of all other authority.  No
other tribunal in the country could take cognizance of cases which
related to the late insurrection, so that in all the other courts
justice was nearly at a standstill.  The great council at Malines was
as good as abolished; the authority of the council of state entirely
ceased, insomuch that its sittings were discontinued.  On some rare
occasions the duke conferred with a few members of the late assembly,
but even when this did occur the conference was held in his cabinet, and
was no more than a private consultation, without any of the proper forms
being observed.  No privilege, no charter of immunity, however carefully
protected, had any weight with the council for disturbances.

     [Vargas, in a few words of barbarous Latin, demolished at once the
     boasted liberties of the Netherlands.  "Non curamus vestros
     privilegios," he replied to one who wished to plead the immunities
     of the University of Louvain.]

It compelled all deeds and contracts to be laid before it, and often
forced upon them the most strained interpetations and alterations.  If
the duke caused a sentence to be drawn out which there was reason to
fear might be opposed by the states of Brabant, it was legalized without
the Brabant seal.  The most sacred rights of individuals were assailed,
and a tyranny without example forced its arbitrary will even into the
circle of domestic life.  As the Protestants and rebels had hitherto
contrived to strengthen their party so much by marriages with the first
families in the country, the duke issued an edict forbidding all
Netherlanders, whatever might be their rank or office, under pain of
death and confiscation of property, to conclude a marriage without
previously obtaining his permission.

All whom the council for disturbances thought proper to summon before it
were compelled to appear, clergy as well as laity; the most venerable
heads of the senate, as well as the reprobate rabble of the Iconoclasts.
Whoever did not present himself, as indeed scarcely anybody did, was
declared an outlaw, and his property was confiscated; but those who were
rash or foolish enough to appear, or who were so unfortunate as to be
seized, were lost without redemption.  Twenty, forty, often fifty were
summoned at the same time and from the same town, and the richest were
always the first on whom the thunderbolt descended.  The meaner
citizens, who possessed nothing that could render their country and
their homes dear to them, were taken unawares and arrested without any
previous citation.  Many eminent merchants, who had at their disposal
fortunes of from sixty thousand to one hundred thousand florins, were
seen with their hands tied behind their backs, dragged like common
vagabonds at the horse's tail to execution, and in Valenciennes fifty-
five persons were decapitated at one time.  All the prisons--and the
duke immediately on commencing his administration had built a great
number of them--were crammed full with the accused; hanging, beheading,
quartering, burning were the prevailing and ordinary occupations of the
day; the punishment of the galleys and banishment were more rarely heard
of, for there was scarcely any offence which was reckoned too trival to
be punished with death.  Immense sums were thus brought into the
treasury, which, however, served rather to stimulate the new viceroy's
and his colleagues' thirst for gold than to quench it.  It seemed to be
his insane purpose to make beggars of the whole people, and to throw all
their riches into the hands of the king and his servants.  The yearly
income derived from these confiscations was computed to equal the
revenues of the first kingdoms of Europe; it is said to have been
estimated, in a report furnished to the king, at the incredible amount
of twenty million of dollars.  But these proceedings were the more
inhuman, as they often bore hardest precisely upon the very persons who
were the most peaceful subjects, and most orthodox Roman Catholics, whom
they could not want to injure.  Whenever an estate was confiscated all
the creditors who had claims upon it were defrauded.  The hospitals,
too, and public institutions, which such properties had contributed to
support, were now ruined, and the poor, who had formerly drawn a
pittance from this source, were compelled to see their only spring of
comfort dried up.  Whoever ventured to urge their well-grounded claims
on the forfeited property before the council of twelve (for no other
tribunal dared to interfere with these inquiries), consumed their
substance in tedious and expensive proceedings, and were reduced to
beggary before they saw the end of them.  The histories of civilized
states furnish but one instance of a similar perversion of justice, of
such violation of the rights of property, and of such waste of human
life; but Cinna, Sylla, and Marius entered vanquished Rome as incensed
victors, and practised without disguise what the viceroy of the
Netherlands performed under the venerable veil of the laws.

Up to the end of the year 1567 the king's arrival had been confidently
expected, and the well-disposed of the people had placed all their last
hopes on this event.  The vessels, which Philip had caused to be
equipped expressly for the purpose of meeting him, still lay in the
harbor of Flushing, ready to sail at the first signal; and the town of
Brussels had consented to receive a Spanish garrison, simply because the
king, it was pretended, was to reside within its walls.  But this hope
gradually vanished, as he put off the journey from one season to the
next, and the new viceroy very soon began to exhibit powers which
announced him less as a precursor of royalty than as an absolute
minister, whose presence made that of the monarch entirely superfluous.
To compete the distress of the provinces their last good angel was now
to leave them in the person of the regent. From the moment when the
production of the duke's extensive powers left no doubt remaining as to
the practical termination of her own rule, Margaret had formed the
resolution of relinquishing the name also of regent. To see a successor
in the actual possession of a dignity which a nine years' enjoyment had
made indispensable to her; to see the authority, the glory, the
splendor, the adoration, and all the marks of respect, which are the
usual concomitants of supreme power, pass over to another; and to feel
that she had lost that which she could never forget she had once held,
was more than a woman's mind could endure; moreover, the Duke of Alva
was of all men the least calculated to make her feel her privation the
less painful by a forbearing use of his newly-acquired dignity.  The
tranquillity of the country, too, which was put in jeopardy by this
divided rule, seemed to impose upon the duchess the necessity of
abdicating.  Many governors of provinces refused, without an express
order from the court, to receive commands from the duke and to recognize
him as co-regent.

The rapid change of their point of attraction could not be met by the
courtiers so composedly and imperturbably but that the duchess observed
the alteration, and bitterly felt it.  Even the few who, like State
Counsellor Viglius, still firmly adhered to her, did so less from
attachment to her person than from vexation at being displaced by
novices and foreigners, and from being too proud to serve a fresh
apprenticeship under a new viceroy.  But far the greater number, with
all their endeavors to keep an exact mean, could not help making a
difference between the homage they paid to the rising sun and that which
they bestowed on the setting luminary.  The royal palace in Brussels
became more and more deserted, while the throng at Kuilemberg house
daily increased.  But what wounded the sensitiveness of the duchess most
acutely was the arrest of Horn and Egmont, which was planned and
executed by the duke without her knowledge or consent, just as if there
had been no such person as herself in existence.  Alva did, indeed,
after the act was done, endeavor to appease her by declaring that the
design had been purposely kept secret from her in order to spare her
name from being mixed up in so odious a transaction; but no such
considerations of delicacy could close the wound which had been
inflicted on her pride.  In order at once to escape all risk of similar
insults, of which the present was probably only a forerunner, she
despatched her private secretary, Macchiavell, to the court of her
brother, there to solicit earnestly for permission to resign the
regency.  The request was granted without difficulty by the king, who
accompanied his consent with every mark of his highest esteem.  He would
put aside (so the king expressed himself) his own advantage and that of
the provinces in order to oblige his sister.  He sent a present of
thirty thousand dollars, and allotted to her a yearly pension of twenty

     [Which, however, does not appear to have been very punctually paid,
     if a pamphlet maybe trusted which was printed during her lifetime.
     (It bears the title: Discours sur la Blessure de Monseigneur Prince
     d'Orange, 1582, without notice of the place where it was printed,
     and is to be found in the Elector's library at Dresden.) She
     languished, it is there stated, at Namur in poverty, and so ill-
     supported by her son (the then governor of the Netherlands), that
     her own secretary, Aldrobandin, called her sojourn there an exile.
     But the writer goes on to ask what better treatment could she
     expect from a son who, when still very young, being on a visit to
     her at Brussels, snapped his fingers at her behind her back.]

At the same time a diploma was forwarded to the Duke of Alva,
constituting him, in her stead, viceroy of all the Netherlands, with
unlimited powers.

Gladly would Margaret have learned that she was permitted to resign the
regency before a solemn assembly of the states, a wish which she had not
very obscurely hinted to the king.  But she was not gratified.  She was
particularly fond of solemnity, and the example of the Emperor, her
father, who had exhibited the extraordinary spectacle of his abdication
of the crown in this very city, seemed to have great attractions for
her.  As she was compelled to part with supreme power, she could
scarcely be blamed for wishing to do so with as much splendor as
possible.  Moreover, she had not failed to observe how much the general
hatred of the duke had effected in her own favor, and she looked,
therefore, the more wistfully forward to a scene, which promised to be
at once so flattering to her and so affecting.  She would have been glad
to mingle her own tears with those which she hoped to see shed by the
Netherlanders for their good regent.  Thus the bitterness of her descent
from the throne would have been alleviated by the expression of general
sympathy.  Little as she had done to merit the general esteem during the
nine years of her administration, while fortune smiled upon her, and the
approbation of her sovereign was the limit to all her wishes, yet now
the sympathy of the nation had acquired a value in her eyes as the only
thing which could in some degree compensate to her for the
disappointment of all her other hopes.  Fain would she have persuaded
herself that she had become a voluntary sacrifice to her goodness of
heart and her too humane feelings towards the Netherlanders.  As,
however, the king was very far from being disposed to incur any danger
by calling a general assembly of the states, in order to gratify a mere
caprice of his sister, she was obliged to content herself with a
farewell letter to them.  In this document she went over her whole
administration, recounted, not without ostentation, the difficulties
with which she had had to struggle, the evils which, by her dexterity,
she had prevented, and wound up at last by saying that she left a
finished work, and had to transfer to her successor nothing but the
punishment of offenders.  The king, too, was repeatly compelled to hear
the same statement, and she left nothing undone to arrogate to herself
the glory of any future advantages which it might be the good fortune of
the duke to realize.  Her own merits, as something which did not admit
of a doubt, but was at the same time a burden oppressive to her modesty,
she laid at the feet of the king.

Dispassionate posterity may, nevertheless; hesitate to subscribe
unreservedly to this favorable opinion.  Even though the united voice of
her contemporaries, and the testimony of the Netherlands themselves
vouch for it, a third party will not be denied the right to examine her
claims with stricter scrutiny.  The popular mind, easily affected, is
but too ready to count the absence of a vice as an additional virtue,
and, under the pressure of existing evil, to give excess of praise for
past benefits.

The Netherlander seems to have concentrated all his hatred upon the
Spanish name.  To lay the blame of the national evils on the regent
would tend to remove from the king and his minister the curses which he
would rather shower upon them alone and undividedly; and the Duke of
Alva's government of the Netherlands was, perhaps, not the proper point
of view from which to test the merits of his predecessor.  It was
undoubtedly no light task to meet the king's expectations without
infringing the rights of the people and the duties of humanity; but
in struggling to effect these two contradictory objects Margaret had
accomplished neither.  She had deeply injured the nation, while
comparatively she had done little service to the king.  It is true that
she at last crushed the Protestant faction, but the accidental outbreak
of the Iconoclasts assisted her in this more than all her dexterity.
She certainly succeeded by her intrigues in dissolving the league of the
nobles, but not until the first blow had been struck at its roots by
internal dissensions.  The object, to secure which she had for many
years vainly exhaused her whole policy, was effected at last by a single
enlistment of troops, for which, however, the orders were issued from
Madrid.  She delivered to the duke, no doubt, a tranquillized country;
but it cannot be denied that the dread of his approach had the chief
share in tranquillizing it.  By her reports she led the council in Spain
astray; because she never informed it of the disease, but only of the
occasional symptoms; never of the universal feeling and voice of the
nation, but only of the misconduct of factions.  Her faulty
administration, moreover, drew the people into the crime, because
she exasperated without sufficiently awing them.  She it was that
brought the murderous Alva into the country by leading the king to
believe that the disturbances in the provinces were to be ascribed, not
so much to the severity of the royal ordinances, as to the unworthiness
of those who were charged with their execution.  Margaret possessed
natural capacity and intellect; and an acquired political tact enabled
her to meet any ordinary case; but she wanted that creative genius
which, for new and extraordinary emergencies, invents new maxims, or
wisely oversteps old ones.  In a country where honesty was the best
policy, she adopted the unfortunate plan of practising her insidious
Italian policy, and thereby sowed the seeds of a fatal distrust in the
minds of the people.  The indulgence which has been so liberally imputed
to her as a merit was, in truth, extorted from her weakness and timidity
by the courageous opposition of the nation; she had never departed from
the strict letter of the royal commands by her own spontaneous
resolution; never did the gentle feelings of innate humanity lead her
to misinterpret the cruel purport of her instructions.  Even the few
concessions to which necessity compelled her were granted with an
uncertain and shrinking hand, as if fearing to give too much; and she
lost the fruit of her benefactions because she mutilated them by a
sordid closeness.  What in all the other relations of her life she was
too little, she was on the throne too much--a woman!  She had it in her
power, after Granvella's expulsion, to become the benefactress of the
Belgian nation, but she did not.  Her supreme good was the approbation
of her king, her greatest misfortune his displeasure; with all the
eminent qualities of her mind she remained an ordinary character because
her heart was destitute of native nobility.  She used a melancholy power
with much moderation, and stained her government with no deed of
arbitrary cruelty; nay, if it had depended on her, she would have always
acted humanely.  Years afterwards, when her idol, Philip II., had long
forgotten her, the Netherlanders still honored her memory; but she was
far from deserving the glory which her successor's inhumanity reflected
upon her.

She left Brussels about the end of December, 1567.  The duke escorted
her as far as the frontiers of Brabant, and there left her under the
protection of Count Mansfeld in order to hasten back to the metropolis
and show himself to the Netherlanders as sole regent.


The two counts were a few weeks after their arrest conveyed to Ghent
under an escort of three thousand Spaniards, where they were confined in
the citadel for more than eight months.  Their trial commenced in due
form before the council of twelve, and the solicitor-general, John Du
Bois, conducted the proceedings.  The indictment against Egmont
consisted of ninety counts, and that against Horn of sixty.  It would
occupy too much space to introduce them here.  Every action, however
innocent, every omission of duty, was interpreted on the principle which
had been laid down in the opening of the indictment, "that the two
counts, in conjunction with the Prince of Orange, had planned the
overthrow of the royal authority in the Netherlands, and the usurpation
of the government of the country;" the expulsion of Granvella; the
embassy of Egmont to Madrid; the confederacy of the Gueux; the
concessions which they made to the Protestants in the provinces under
their government--all were made to have a connection with, and reference
to, this deliberate design.  Thus importance was attached to the most
insignificant occurrences, and one action made to darken and discolor
another.  By taking care to treat each of the charges as in itself a
treasonable offence it was the more easy to justify a sentence of high
treason by the whole.

The accusations were sent to each of the prisoners, who were required to
reply to them within five days.  After doing so they were allowed to
employ solicitors and advocates, who were permitted free access to them;
but as they were accused of treason their friends were prohibited from
visiting them.  Count Egmont employed for his solicitor Von Landas, and
made choice of a few eminent advocates from Brussels.

The first step was to demur against the tribunal which was to try them,
since by the privilege of their order they, as Knights of the Golden
Fleece, were amenable only to the king himself, the grand master.  But
this demurrer was overruled, and they were required to produce their
witnesses, in default of which they were to be proceeded against /in
contumaciam./  Egmont had satisfactorily answered to eighty-two counts,
while Count Horn had refuted the charges against him, article by
article.  The accusation and the defence are still extant; on that
defence every impartial tribunal would have acquitted them both.  The
Procurator Fiscal pressed for the production of their evidence, and the
Duke of Alva issued his repeated commands to use despatch.  They
delayed, however, from week to week, while they renewed their protests
against the illegality of the court.  At last the duke assigned them
nine days to produce their proofs; on the lapse of that period they were
to be declared guilty, and as having forfeited all right of defence.

During the progress of the trial the relations and friends of the two
counts were not idle.  Egmont's wife, by birth a duchess of Bavaria,
addressed petitions to the princes of the German empire, to the Emperor,
and to the King of Spain.  The Countess Horn, mother of the imprisoned
count, who was connected by the ties of friendship or of blood with the
principal royal families of Germany, did the same.  All alike protested
loudly against this illegal proceeding, and appealed to the liberty of
the German empire, on which Horn, as a count of the empire, had special
claims; the liberty of the Netherlands and the privileges of the Order
of the Golden Fleece were likewise insisted upon.  The Countess Egmont
succeeded in obtaining the intercession of almost every German court in
behalf of her husband.  The King of Spain and his viceroy were besieged
by applications in behalf of the accused, which were referred from one
to the other, and made light of by both.  Countess Horn collected
certificates from all the Knights of the Golden Fleece in Spain,
Germany, and Italy to prove the privileges of the order.  Alva rejected
them with a declaration that they had no force in such a case as the
present.  "The crimes of which the counts are accused relate to the
affairs of the Belgian provinces, and he, the duke, was appointed by the
king sole judge of all matters connected with those countries."

Four months had been allowed to the solicitor-general to draw up the
indictment, and five were granted to the two counts to prepare for their
defence.  But instead of losing their time and trouble in adducing their
evidence, which, perhaps, would have profited then but little, they
preferred wasting it in protests against the judges, which availed them
still less.  By the former course they would probably have delayed the
final sentence, and in the time thus gained the powerful intercession of
their friends might perhaps have not been ineffectual.  By obstinately
persisting in denying the competency of the tribunal which was to try
them, they furnished the duke with an excuse for cutting short the
proceedings.  After the last assigned period had expired, on the 1st of
June, 1658, the council of twelve declared them guilty, and on the 4th
of that month sentence of death was pronounced against them.

The execution of twenty-five noble Netherlanders, who were beheaded in
three successive days in the marketplace at Brussels, was the terrible
prelude to the fate of the two counts.  John Casembrot von Beckerzeel,
secretary to Count Egmont, was one of the unfortunates, who was thus
rewarded for his fidelity to his master, which he steadfastly maintained
even upon the rack, and for his zeal in the service of the king, which
he had manifested against the Iconoclasts.  The others had either been
taken prisoners, with arms in their hands, in the insurrection of the
"Gueux," or apprehended and condemned as traitors on account of having
taken a part in the petition of the nobles.

The duke had reason to hasten the execution of the sentence.  Count
Louis of Nassau had given battle to the Count of Aremberg, near the
monastery of Heiligerlee, in Groningen, and had the good fortune to
defeat him. Immediately after his victory he had advanced against
Groningen, and laid siege to it.  The success of his arms had raised the
courage of his faction; and the Prince of Orange, his brother, was close
at hand with an army to support him.  These circumstances made the
duke's presence necessary in those distant provinces; but he could not
venture to leave Brussels before the fate of two such important
prisoners was decided.  The whole nation loved them, which was not a
little increased by their unhappy fate.  Even the strict papists
disapproved of the execution of these eminent nobles.  The slightest
advantage which the arms of the rebels might gain over the duke, or even
the report of a defeat, would cause a revolution in Brussels, which
would immediately set the two counts at liberty.  Moreover, the
petitions and intercessions which came to the viceroy, as well as to
the King of Spain, from the German princes, increased daily; nay, the
Emperor, Maximilian II., himself caused the countess to be assured "that
she had nothing to fear for the life of her spouse."  These powerful
applications might at last turn the king's heart in favor of the
prisoners.  The king might, perhaps, in reliance on his viceroy's usual
dispatch, put on the appearance of yielding to the representations of so
many sovereigns, and rescind the sentence of death under the conviction
that his mercy would come too late.  These considerations moved the duke
not to delay the execution of the sentence as soon as it was pronounced.

On the day after the sentence was passed the two counts were brought,
under an escort of three thousand Spaniards, from Ghent to Brussels, and
placed in confinement in the Brodhause, in the great market-place.  The
next morning the council of twelve were assembled; the duke, contrary to
his custom, attended in person, and both the sentences, in sealed
envelopes, were opened and publicly read by Secretary Pranz.  The two
counts were declared guilty of treason, as having favored and promoted
the abominable conspiracy of the Prince of Orange, protected the
confederated nobles, and been convicted of various misdemeanors against
their king and the church in their governments and other appointments.
Both were sentenced to be publicly beheaded, and their heads were to be
fixed upon pikes and not taken down without the duke's express command.
All their possessions, fiefs, and rights escheated to the royal
treasury.  The sentence was signed only by the duke and the secretary,
Pranz, without asking or caring for the consent of the other members of
the council.

During the night between the 4th and 5th of June the sentences were
brought to the prisoners, after they had already gone to rest.  The duke
gave them to the Bishop of Ypres, Martin Rithov, whom he had expressly
summoned to Brussels to prepare the prisoners for death.  When the
bishop received this commission he threw himself at the feet of the
duke, and supplicated him with tears in his eyes for mercy, at least for
respite for the prisoners; but he was answered in a rough and angry
voice that he had been sent for from Ypres, not to oppose the sentence,
but by his spiritual consolation to reconcile the unhappy noblemen to

Egmont was the first to whom the bishop communicated the sentence of
death.  "That is indeed a severe sentence," exclaimed the count, turning
pale, and with a faltering voice.  "I did not think that I had offended
his majesty so deeply as to deserve such treatment.  If, however, it
must be so I submit to my fate with resignation.  May this death atone
for my offence, and save my wife and children from suffering.  This at
least I think I may claim for my past services.  As for death, I will
meet it with composure, since it so pleases God and my king."  He then
pressed the bishop to tell him seriously and candidly if there was no
hope of pardon.  Being answered in the negative, he confessed and
received the sacrament from the priest, repeating after him the mass
with great devoutness.  He asked what prayer was the best and most
effective to recommend him to God in his last hour.  On being told that
no prayer could be more effectual than the one which Christ himself had
taught, he prepared immediately to repeat the Lord's prayer.  The
thoughts of his family interrupted him; he called for pen and ink, and
wrote two letters, one to his wife, the other to the king.  The latter
was as follows:

"Sire,--This morning I have heard the sentence which your majesty has
been pleased to pass upon me.  Far as I have ever been from attempting
anything against the person or service of your majesty, or against the
true, old, and Catholic religion, I yet submit myself with patience to
the fate which it has pleased God to ordain should suffer.  If, during
the past disturbances, I have omitted, advised, or done anything that
seems at variance with my duty, it was most assuredly performed with the
best intentions, or was forced upon me by the pressure of circumstances.
I therefore pray your majesty to forgive me, and, in consideration of my
past services, show mercy to my unhappy wife, my poor children, and
servants.  In a firm hope of this, I commend myself--to the infinite
mercy of God.

"Your majesty's most faithful vassal and servant,


"BRUSSELS, June 5, 1568, near my last moments."

This letter he placed in the hands of the bishop, with the strongest
injunctions for its safe delivery; and for greater security he sent a
duplicate in his own handwriting to State Counsellor Viglius, the most
upright man in the senate, by whom, there is no doubt, it was actually
delivered to the king.  The family of the count were subsequently
reinstated in all his property, fiefs, and rights, which, by virtue of
the sentence, had escheated to the royal treasury.

Meanwhile a scaffold had been erected in the marketplace, before the
town hall, on which two poles were fixed with iron spikes, and the whole
covered with black cloth.  Two-and-twenty companies of the Spanish
garrison surrounded the scaffold, a precaution which was by no means
superfluous.  Between ten and eleven o'clock the Spanish guard appeared
in the apartment of the count; they were provided with cords to tie his
hands according to custom.  He begged that this might be spared him, and
declared that he was willing and ready to die.  He himself cut off the
collar from his doublet to facilitate the executioner's duty.  He wore a
robe of red damask, and over that a black Spanish cloak trimmed with
gold lace.  In this dress he appeared on the scaffold, and was attended
by Don Julian Romero, maitre-de-camp; Salinas, a Spanish captain; and
the Bishop of Ypres.  The grand provost of the court, with a red wand in
his hand, sat on horseback at the foot of the scaffold; the executioner
was concealed beneath.

Egmont had at first shown a desire to address the people from the
scaffold.  He desisted, however, on the bishop's representing to him
that either he would not be heard, or that if he were, he might--such at
present was the dangerous disposition of the people--excite them to acts
of violence, which would only plunge his friends into destruction.  For
a few moments he paced the scaffold with noble dignity, and lamented
that it had not been permitted him to die a more honorable death for his
king and his country.  Up to the last he seemed unable to persuade
himself that the king was in earnest, and that his severity would be
carried any further than the mere terror of execution.  When the
decisive period approached, and he was to receive the extreme unction,
he looked wistfully round, and when there still appeared no prospect of
a reprieve, he turned to Julian Romero, and asked him once more if there
was no hope of pardon for him.  Julian Romero shrugged his shoulders,
looked on the ground, and was silent.

He then closely clenched his teeth, threw off his mantle and robe, knelt
upon the cushion, and prepared himself for the last prayer.  The bishop
presented him the crucifix to kiss, and administered to him extreme
unction, upon which the count made him a sign to leave him.  He drew a
silk cap over his eyes, and awaited the stroke.  Over the corpse and the
streaming blood a black cloth was immediately thrown.

All Brussels thronged around the scaffold, and the fatal blow seemed to
fall on every heart.  Loud sobs alone broke the appalling silence.  The
duke himself, who watched the execution from a window of the townhouse,
wiped his eyes as his victim died.

Shortly afterwards Count Horn advanced on the scaffold.  Of a more
violent temperament than his friend, and stimulated by stronger reasons
for hatred against the king, he had received the sentence with less
composure, although in his case, perhaps, it was less unjust.  He burst
forth in bitter reproaches against the king, and the bishop with
difficulty prevailed upon him to make a better use of his last moments
than to abuse them in imprecations on his enemies.  At last, however, he
became more collected, and made his confession to the bishop, which at
first he was disposed to refuse.

He mounted the scaffold with the same attendants as his friend.  In
passing he saluted many of his acquaintances; his hands were, like
Egmont's, free, and he was dressed in a black doublet and cloak, with a
Milan cap of the same color upon his head.  When he had ascended, he
cast his eyes upon the corpse, which lay under the cloth, and asked one
of the bystanders if it was the body of his friend.  On being answered
in the affirmative, he said some words in Spanish, threw his cloak from
him, and knelt upon the cushion.  All shrieked aloud as he received the
fatal blow.

The heads of both were fixed upon the poles which were set up on the
scaffold, where they remained until past three in the afternoon, when
they were taken down, and, with the two bodies, placed in leaden coffins
and deposited in a vault.

In spite of the number of spies and executioners who surrounded the
scaffold, the citizens of Brussels would not be prevented from dipping
their handkerchiefs in the streaming blood, and carrying home with them
these precious memorials.


It is an interesting spectacle to observe the struggle of man's
inventive genius in conflict with powerful opposing elements, and to
see the difficulties which are insurmountable to ordinary capacities
overcome by prudence, resolution, and a determined will.  Less
attractive, but only the more instructive, perhaps, is the contrary
spectacle, where the absence of those qualities renders all efforts of
genius vain, throws away all the favors of fortune, and where inability
to improve such advantages renders hopeless a success which otherwise
seemed sure and inevitable.  Examples of both kinds are afforded by the
celebrated siege of Antwerp by the Spaniards towards the close of the
sixteenth century, by which that flourishing city was forever deprived
of its commercial prosperity, but which, on the other hand, conferred
immortal fame on the general who undertook and accomplished it.

Twelve years had the war continued which the northern provinces of
Belgium had commenced at first in vindication simply of their religious
freedom, and the privileges of their states, from the encroachments of
the Spanish viceroy, but maintained latterly in the hope of establishing
their independence of the Spanish crown.  Never completely victors, but
never entirely vanquished, they wearied out the Spanish valor by tedious
operations on an unfavorable soil, and exhausted the wealth of the
sovereign of both the Indies while they themselves were called beggars,
and in a degree actually were so.  The league of Ghent, which had united
the whole Netherlands, Roman Catholic and Protestant, in a common and
(could such a confederation have lasted) invincible body, was indeed
dissolved; but in place of this uncertain and unnatural combination the
northern provinces had, in the year 1579, formed among themselves the
closer union of Utrecht, which promised to be more lasting, inasmuch as
it was linked and held together by common political and religious
interests.  What the new republic had lost in extent through this
separation from the Roman Catholic provinces it was fully compensated
for by the closeness of alliance, the unity of enterprise, and energy of
execution; and perhaps it was fortunate in thus timely losing what no
exertion probably would ever have enabled it to retain.

The greater part of the Walloon provinces had, in the year 1584, partly
by voluntary submission and partly by force of arms, been again reduced
under the Spanish yoke.  The northern districts alone had been able at
all successfully to oppose it.  A considerable portion of Brabant and
Flanders still obstinately held out against the arms of the Duke
Alexander of Parma, who at that time administered the civil government
of the provinces, and the supreme command of the army, with equal energy
and prudence, and by a series of splendid victories had revived the
military reputation of Spain.  The peculiar formation of the country,
which by its numerous rivers and canals facilitated the connection of
the towns with one another and with the sea, baffled all attempts
effectually to subdue it, and the possession of one place could only be
maintained by the occupation of another.  So long as this communication
was kept up Holland and Zealand could with little difficulty assist
their allies, and supply them abundantly by water as well as by land
with all necessaries, so that valor was of no use, and the strength of
the king's troops was fruitlessly wasted on tedious sieges.

Of all the towns in Brabant Antwerp was the most important, as well
from, its wealth, its population, and its military force, as by its
position on the mouth of the Scheldt.  This great and populous town,
which at this date contained more than eighty thousand inhabitants, was
one of the most active members of the national league, and had in the
course of the war distinguished itself above all the towns of Belgium by
an untamable spirit of liberty.  As it fostered within its bosom all the
three Christian churches, and owed much of its prosperity to this
unrestricted religious liberty, it had the more cause to dread the
Spanish rule, which threatened to abolish this toleration, and by the
terror of the Inquisition to drive all the Protestant merchants from its
markets.  Moreover it had had but too terrible experience of the
brutality of the Spanish garrisons, and it was quite evident that if it
once more suffered this insupportable yoke to be imposed upon it it
would never again during the whole course of the war be able to throw it

But powerful as were the motives which stimulated Antwerp to resistance,
equally strong were the reasons which determined the Spanish general to
make himself master of the place at any cost.  On the possession of this
town depended in a great measure that of the whole province of Brabant,
which by this channel chiefly derived its supplies of corn from Zealand,
while the capture of this place would secure to the victor the command
of the Scheldt.  It would also deprive the league of Brabant, which held
its meetings in the town, of its principal support; the whole faction of
its dangerous influence, of its example, its counsels, and its money,
while the treasures of its inhabitants would open plentiful supplies for
the military exigencies of the king.  Its fall would sooner or later
necessarily draw after it that of all Brabant, and the preponderance of
power in that quarter would decide the whole dispute in favor of the
king.  Determined by these grave considerations, the Duke of Parma drew
his forces together in July, 1584, and advanced from his position at
Dornick to the neighborhood of Antwerp, with the intention of investing

But both the natural position and fortifications of the town appeared to
defy attacks.  Surrounded on the side of Brabant with insurmountable
works and moats, and towards Flanders covered by the broad and rapid
stream of the Scheldt, it could not be carried by storm; and to blockade
a town of such extent seemed to require a land force three times larger
than that which the duke had, and moreover a fleet, of which he was
utterly destitute.  Not only did the river yield the town all necessary
supplies from Ghent, it also opened an easy communication with the
bordering province of Zealand.  For, as the tide of the North Sea
extends far up the Scheldt, and ebbs and flows regularly, Antwerp enjoys
the peculiar advantage that the same tide flows past it at different
times in two opposite directions.  Besides, the adjacent towns of
Brussels, Malines, Ghent, Dendermonde, and others, were all at this time
in the hands of the league, and could aid the place from the land side
also.  To blockade, therefore, the town by land, and to cut off its
communication with Flanders and Brabant, required two different armies,
one on each bank of the river.  A sufficient fleet was likewise needed
to guard the passage of the Scheldt, and to prevent all attempts at
relief, which would most certainly be made from Zealand.  But by the war
which he had still to carry on in other quarters, and by the numerous
garrisons which he was obliged to leave in the towns and fortified
places, the army of the duke was reduced to ten thousand infantry and
seventeen hundred horse, a force very inadequate for an undertaking of
such magnitude.  Moreover, these troops were deficient in the most
necessary supplies, and the long arrears of pay had excited them to
subdued murmurs, which hourly threatened to break out into open mutiny.
If, notwithstanding these difficulties, he should still attempt the
seige, there would be much occasion to fear from the strongholds of the
enemy, which were left in the rear, and from which it would be easy, by
vigorous sallies, to annoy an army distributed over so many places, and
to expose it to want by cutting off its supplies.

All these considerations were brought forward by the council of war,
before which the Duke of Parrna now laid his scheme.  However great the
confidence which they placed in themselves, and in the proved abilities
of such a leader, nevertheless the most experienced generals did not
disguise their despair of a fortunate result.  Two only were exceptions,
Capizucchi and Mondragone, whose ardent courage placed them above all
apprehensions; the rest concurred in dissuading the duke from attempting
so hazardous an enterprise, by which they ran the risk of forfeiting the
fruit of all their former victories and tarnishing the glory they had
already earned.

But objections, which he had already made to himself and refuted, could
not shake the Duke of Parma in his purpose.  Not in ignorance of its
inseparable dangers, not from thoughtless overvaluing his forces had he
taken this bold resolve.  But that instinctive genius which leads great
men by paths which inferior minds either never enter upon or never
finish, raised him above the influence of the doubts which a cold and
narrow prudence would oppose to his views; and, without being able to
convince his generals, he felt the correctness of his calculations in a
conviction indistinct, indeed, but not on that account less indubitable.
A succession of fortunate results had raised his confidence, and the
sight of his army, unequalled in Europe for discipline, experience, and
valor, and commanded by a chosen body of the most distinguished
officers, did not permit him to entertain fear for a moment.  To those
who objected to the small number of his troops, he answered, that
however long the pike, it is only the point that kills; and that in
military enterprise, the moving power was of more importance than the
mass to be moved.  He was aware, indeed, of the discontent of his
troops, but he knew also their obedience; and he thought, moreover, that
the best means to stifle their murmurs was by keeping them employed in
some important undertaking, by stimulating their desire of glory by the
splendor of the enterprise, and their rapacity by hopes of the rich
booty which the capture of so wealthy a town would hold out.

In the plan which he now formed for the conduct of the siege he
endeavored to meet all these difficulties.  Famine was the only
instrument by which he could hope to subdue the town; but effectually to
use this formidable weapon, it would be expedient to cut off all its
land and water communications.  With this view, the first object was to
stop, or at least to impede, the arrival of supplies from Zealand.  It
was, therefore, requisite not only to carry all the outworks, which the
people of Antwerp had built on both shores of the Scheldt for the
protection of their shipping; but also, wherever feasible, to throw up
new batteries which should command the whole course of the river; and to
prevent the place from drawing supplies from the land side, while
efforts were being made to intercept their transmission by sea, all the
adjacent towns of Brabant and Flanders were comprehended in the plan of
the siege, and the fall of Antwerp was based on the destruction of all
those places.  A bold and, considering the duke's scanty force, an
almost extravagant project, which was, however, justified by the genius
of its author, and crowned by fortune with a brilliant result.

As, however, time was required to accomplish a plan of this magnitude,
the Prince of Parma was content, for the present, with the erection of
numerous forts on the canals and rivers which connected Antwerp with
Dendermonde, Ghent, Malines, Brussels, and other places.  Spanish
garrisons were quartered in the vicinity, and almost at the very gates
of those towns, which laid waste the open country, and by their
incursions kept the surrounding territory in alarm.  Thus, round Ghent
alone were encamped about three thousand men, and proportionate numbers
round the other towns.  In this way, and by means of the secret
understanding which he maintained with the Roman Catholic inhabitants of
those towns, the duke hoped, without weakening his own forces, gradually
to exhaust their strength, and by the harassing operations of a petty
but incessant warfare, even without any formni siege, to reduce them at
last to capitulate.

In the meantime the main force was directed against Antwerp, which he
now closely invested.  He fixed his headquarters at Bevern in Flanders,
a few miles from Antwerp, where he found a fortified camp.  The
protection of the Flemish bank of the Scheldt was entrusted to the
Margrave of Rysburg, general of cavalry; the Brabant bank to the Count
Peter Ernest Von Mansfeld, who was joined by another Spanish leader,
Mondragone.  Both the latter succeeded in crossing the Scheldt upon
pontoons, notwithstanding the Flemish admiral's ship was sent to oppose
them, and, passing Antwerp, took up their position at Stabroek in
Bergen.  Detached corps dispersed themselves along the whole Brabant
side, partly to secure the dykes and the roads.

Some miles below Antwerp the Scheldt was guarded by two strong forts, of
which one was situated at Liefkenshoek on the island Doel, in Flanders,
the other at Lillo, exactly opposite the coast of Brabant.  The last had
been erected by Mondragone himself, by order of the Duke of Alvaa, when
the latter was still master of Antwerp, and for this very reason the
Duke of Parma now entrusted to him the attack upon it.  On the
possession of these two forts the success of the siege seemed wholly to
depend, since all the vessels sailing from Zealand to Antwerp must pass
under their guns.  Both forts had a short time before been strengthened
by the besieged, and the former was scarcely finished when the Margrave
of Rysburg attacked it.  The celerity with which he went to work
surprised the enemy before they were sufficiently prepared for defence,
and a brisk assault quickly placed Liefkenshoek in the hands of the
Spaniards.  The confederates sustained this loss on the same fatal day
that the Prince of Orange fell at Delft by the hands of an assassin.
The other batteries, erected on the island of Doel, were partly
abandoned by their defenders, partly taken by surprise, so that in a
short time the whole Flemish side was cleared of the enemy.  But the
fort at Lillo, on the Brabant shore, offered a more vigorous resistance,
since the people of Antwerp had had time to strengthen its
fortifications and to provide it with a strong garrison.  Furious
sallies of the besieged, led by Odets von Teligny, supported by the
cannon of the fort, destroyed all the works of the Spaniards, and an
inundation, which was effected by opening the sluices, finally drove
them away from the place after a three weeks' siege, and with the loss
of nearly two thousand killed.  They now retired into their fortified
camp at Stabroek, and contented themselves with taking possession of the
dams which run across the lowlands of Bergen, and oppose a breastwork to
the encroachments of the East Scheldt.

The failure of his attempt upon the fort of Lillo compelled the Prince
of Parma to change his measures.  As he could not succeed in stopping
the passage of the Scheldt by his original plan, on which the success of
the siege entirely depended, he determined to effect his purpose by
throwing a bridge across the whole breadth of the river.  The thought
was bold, and there were many who held it to be rash.  Both the breadth
of the stream, which at this part exceeds twelve hundred paces, as well
as its violence, which is still further augmented by the tides of the
neighboring sea, appeared to render every attempt of this kind
impracticable.  Moreover, he had to contend with a deficiency of timber,
vessels, and workmen, as well as with the dangerous position between the
fleets of Antwerp and of Zealand, to which it would necessarily be an
easy task, in combination with a boisterous element, to interrupt so
tedious a work.  But the Prince of Parma knew his power, and his settled
resolution would yield to nothing short of absolute impossibility.
After he had caused the breadth as well as the depth of the river to be
measured, and had consulted with two of his most skilful engineers,
Barocci and Plato, it was settled that the bridge should be constructed
between Calloo in Flanders and Ordain in Brabant.  This spot was
selected because the river is here narrowest, and bends a little to the
right, and so detains vessels a while by compelling them to tack.  To
cover the bridge strong bastions were erected at both ends, of which the
one on the Flanders side was named Fort St. Maria, the other, on the
Brabant side, Fort St. Philip, in honor of the king.

While active preparations were making in the Spanish camp for the
execution of this scheme, and the whole attention of the enemy was
directed to it, the duke made an unexpected attack upon Dendermonde, a
strong town between Ghent and Antwerp, at the confluence of the Dender
and the Scheldt.  As long as this important place was in the hands of
the enemy the towns of Ghent and Antwerp could mutually support each
other, and by the facility of their communication frustrate all the
efforts of the besiegers.  Its capture would leave the prince free to
act against both towns, and might decide the fate of his undertaking.
The rapidity of his attack left the besieged no time to open their
sluices and lay the country under water.  A hot cannonade was opened
upon the chief bastion of the town before the Brussels gate, but was
answered by the fire of the besieged, which made great havoc amongst the
Spaniards.  It increased, however, rather than discouraged their ardor,
and the insults of the garrison, who mutilated the statue of a saint
before their eyes, and after treating it with the most contumelious
indignity, hurled it down from the rampart, raised their fury to the
highest pitch.  Clamorously they demanded to be led against the bastion
before their fire had made a sufficient breach in it, and the prince, to
avail himself of the first ardor of their impetuosity, gave the signal
for the assault.  After a sanguinary contest of two hours the rampart
was mounted, and those who were not sacrificed to the first fury of the
Spaniards threw themselves into the town.  The latter was indeed now
more exposed, a fire being directed upon it from the works which had
been carried; but its strong walls and the broad moat which surrounded
it gave reason to expect a protracted resistance.  The inventive
resources of the Prince of Parma soon overcame this obstacle also.
While the bombardment was carried on night and day, the troops were
incessantly employed in diverting the course of the Dender, which
supplied the fosse with water, and the besieged were seized with despair
as they saw the water of the trenches, the last defence of the town,
gradually disappear.  They hastened to capitulate, and in August, 1584,
received a Spanish garrison.  Thus, in the space of eleven days, the
Prince of Parrna accomplished an undertaking which, in the opinion of
competent judges, would require as many weeks.

The town of Ghent, now cut off from Antwerp and the sea, and hard
pressed by the troops of the king, which were encamped in its vicinity,
and without hope of immediate succor, began to despair, as famine, with
all its dreadful train, advanced upon them with rapid steps.  The
inhabitants therefore despatched deputies to the Spanish camp at Bevern,
to tender its submission to the king upon the same terms as the prince
had a short time previously offered.  The deputies were informed that
the time for treaties was past, and that an unconditional submission
alone could appease the just anger of the monarch whom they had offended
by their rebellion.  Nay, they were even given to understand that it
would be only through his great mercy if the same humiliation were not
exacted from them as their rebellious ancestors were forced to undergo
under Charles V., namely, to implore pardon half-naked, and with a cord
round their necks.  The deputies returned to Ghent in despair, but three
days afterwards a new deputation was sent to the Spanish camp, which at
last, by the intercession of one of the prince's friends, who was a
prisoner in Ghent, obtained peace upon moderate terms.  The town was to
pay a fine of two hundred thousand florins, recall the banished papists,
and expel the Protestant inhabitants, who, however, were to be allowed
two years for the settlement of their affairs.  All the inhabitants
except six, who were reserved for capital punishment (but afterwards
pardoned), were included in a general amnesty, and the garrison, which
amounted to two thousand men, was allowed to evacuate the place with the
honors of war.  This treaty was concluded in September of the same year,
at the headquarters at Bevern, and immediately three thousand Spaniards
marched into the town as a garrison.

It was more by the terror of his name and the dread of famine than by
the force of arms that the Prince of Parma had succeeded in reducing
this city to submission, the largest and strongest in the Netherlands,
which was little inferior to Paris within the barriers of its inner
town, consisted of thirty-seven thousand houses, and was built on twenty
islands, connected by ninety-eight stone bridges.  The important
privileges which in the course of several centuries this city had
contrived to extort from its rulers fostered in its inhabitants a spirit
of independence, which not unfrequently degenerated into riot and
license, and naturally brought it in collision with the Austrian-Spanish
government.  And it was exactly this bold spirit of liberty which
procured for the Reformation the rapid and extensive success it met with
in this town, and the combined incentives of civil and religious freedom
produced all those scenes of violence by which, during the rebellion, it
had unfortunately distinguished itself.  Besides the fine levied, the
prince found within the walls a large store of artillery, carriages,
ships, and building materials of all kinds, with numerous workmen and
sailors, who materially aided him in his plans against Antwerp.

Before Ghent surrendered to the king Vilvorden and Herentals had fallen
into the hands of the Spaniards, and the capture of the block-houses
near the village of Willebrock had cut off Antwerp from Brussels and
Malines.  The loss of these places within so short a period deprived
Antwerp of all hope of succor from Brabant and Flanders, and limited all
their expectations to the assistance which might be looked for from
Zealand.  But to deprive them also of this the Prince of Parma was now
making the most energetic preparations.

The citizens of Antwerp had beheld the first operations of the enemy
against their town with the proud security with which the sight of their
invincible river inspired them.  This confidence was also in a degree
justified by the opinion of the Prince of Orange, who, upon the first
intelligence of the design, had said that the Spanish army would
inevitably perish before the walls of Antwerp.  That nothing, however,
might be neglected, he sent, a short time before his assassination, for
the burgomaster of Antwerp, Philip Marnix of St. Aldegonde, his intimate
friend, to Delft, where he consulted with him as to the means of
maintaining defensive operations.  It was agreed between then that it
would be advisable to demolish forthwith the great dam between Sanvliet
and Lillo called the Blaaugarendyk, so as to allow the waters of the
East Scheldt to inundate, if necessary, the lowlands of Bergen, and
thus, in the event of the Scheldt being closed, to open a passage for
the Zealand vessels to the town across the inundated country.  Aldegonde
had, after his return, actually persuaded the magistrate and the
majority of the citizens to agree to this proposal, when it was resisted
by the guild of butchers, who claimed that they would be ruined by such
a measure; for the plain which it was wished to lay under water was a
vast tract of pasture land, upon which about twelve thousand oxen--were
annually put to graze.  The objection of the butchers was successful,
and they managed to prevent the execution of this salutary scheme until
the enemy had got possession of the dams as well as the pasture land.

At the suggestion of the burgomaster St.  Aldegonde, who, himself a
member of the states of Brabant, was possessed of great authority in
that council, the fortifications on both sides the Scheldt had, a short
time before the arrival of the Spaniards, been placed in repair, and
many new redoubts erected round the town.  The dams had been cut through
at Saftingen, and the water of the West Scheldt let out over nearly the
whole country of Waes.  In the adjacent Marquisate of Bergen troops had
been enlisted by the Count of Hohenlohe, and a Scotch regiment, under
the command of Colonel Morgan, was already in the pay of the republic,
while fresh reinforcements were daily expected from England and France.
Above all, the states of Holland and Zealand were called upon to hasten
their supplies.  But after the enemy had taken strong positions on both
sides of the river, and the fire of their batteries made the navigation
dangerous, when place after place in Brabant fell into their hands, and
their cavalry had cut off all communication on the land side, the
inhabitants of Antwerp began at last to entertain serious apprehensions
for the future.  The town then contained eighty-five thousand souls, and
according to calculation three hundred thousand quarters of corn were
annually required for their support.  At the beginning of the siege
neither the supply nor the money was wanting for the laying in of such a
store; for in spite of the enemy's fire the Zealand victualing ships,
taking advantage of the rising tide, contrived to make their way to the
town.  All that was requisite was to prevent any of the richer citizens
from buying up these supplies, and, in case of scarcity, raising the
price.  To secure his object, one Gianibelli from Mantua, who had
rendered important services in the course of the siege, proposed a
property tax of one penny in every hundred, and the appointment of a
board of respectable persons to purchase corn with this money, and
distribute it weekly.  And until the returns of this tax should be
available the richer classes should advance the required sum, holding
the corn purchased, as a deposit, in their own magazines; and were also
to share in the profit.  But this plan was unwelcome to the wealthier
citizens, who had resolved to profit by the general distress.  They
recommended that every individual should be required to provide himself
with a sufficient supply for two years; a proposition which, however it
might suit their own circumstances, was very unreasonable in regard to
the poorer inhabitants, who, even before the siege, could scarcely find
means to supply themselves for so many months.  They obtained indeed
their object, which was to reduce the poor to the necessity of either
quitting the place or becoming entirely their dependents.  But when they
afterwards reflected that in the time of need the rights of property
would not be respected, they found it advisable not to be over-hasty in
making their own purchases.

The magistrate, in order to avert an evil that would have pressed upon
individuals only, had recourse to an expedient which endangered the
safety of all.  Some enterprising persons in Zealand had freighted a
large fleet with provisions, which succeeded in passing the guns of the
enemy, and discharged its cargo at Antwerp.  The hope of a large profit
had tempted the merchants to enter upon this hazardous speculation; in
this, however, they were disappointed, as the magistrate of Antwerp had,
just before their arrival, issued an edict regulating the price of all
the necessaries of life.  At the same time to prevent individuals from
buying up the whole cargo and storing it in their magazines with a view
of disposing of it afterwards at a dearer rate, he ordered that the
whole should be publicly sold in any quantities from the vessels.  The
speculators, cheated of their hopes of profit by these precautions, set
sail again, and left Antwerp with the greater part of their cargo, which
would have sufficed for the support of the town for several months.

This neglect of the most essential and natural means of preservation can
only be explained by the supposition that the inhabitants considered it
absolutely impossible ever to close the Scheldt completely, and
consequently had not the least apprehension that things would come to
extremity.  When the intelligence arrived in Antwerp that the prince
intended to throw a bridge over the Scheldt the idea was universally
ridiculed as chimerical.  An arrogant comparison was drawn between the
republic and the stream, and it was said that the one would bear the
Spanish yoke as little as the other.  "A river which is twenty-four
hundred feet broad, and, with its own waters alone, above sixty feet
deep, but which with the tide rose twelve feet more--would such a
stream," it was asked, "submit to be spanned by a miserable piece of
paling?  Where were beams to be found high enough to reach to the bottom
and project above the surface?  and how was a work of this kind to stand
in winter, when whole islands and mountains of ice, which stone walls
could hardly resist, would be driven by the flood against its weak
timbers, and splinter them to pieces like glass?  Or, perhaps, the
prince purposed to construct a bridge of boats; if so, where would he
procure the latter, and how bring them into his intrenchments?  They
must necessarily be brought past Antwerp, where a fleet was ready to
capture or sink them."

But while they were trying to prove the absurdity of the Prince of
Parma's undertaking he had already completed it.  As soon as the forts
St. Maria and St. Philip were erected, and protected the workmen and the
work by their fire, a pier was built out into the stream from both
banks, for which purpose the masts of the largest vessels were employed;
by a skilful arrangement of the timbers they contrived to give the whole
such solidity that, as the result proved, it was able to resist the
violent pressure of the ice.  These timbers, which rested firmly and
securely on the bottom of the river, and projected a considerable height
above it, being covered with planks, afforded a commodious roadway.  It
was wide enough to allow eight men to cross abreast, and a balustrade
that ran along it on both sides, protected them from the fire of small-
arms from the enemy's vessels.  This "stacade," as it was called, ran
from the two opposite shores as far as the increasing depth and force of
the stream allowed.  It reduced the breadth of the river to about eleven
hundred feet; as, however, the middle and proper current would not admit
of such a barrier, there remained, therefore, between the two stacades a
space of more than six hundred paces through which a whole fleet of
transports could sail with ease.  This intervening space the prince
designed to close by a bridge of boats, for which purpose the craft must
be procured from Dunkirk.  But, besides that they could not be obtained
in any number at that place, it would be difficult to bring them past
Antwerp without great loss.  He was, therefore, obliged to content
himself for the time with having narrowed the stream one-half, and
rendered the passage of the enemy's vessels so much the more difficult.
Where the stacades terminated in the middle of the stream they spread
out into parallelograms, which were mounted with heavy guns, and served
as a kind of battery on the water.  From these a heavy fire was opened
on every vessel that attempted to pass through this narrow channel.
Whole fleets, however, and single vessels still attempted and succeeded
in passing this dangerous strait.

Meanwhile Ghent surrendered, and this unexpected success at once rescued
the prince from his dilemma.  He found in this town everything necessary
to complete his bridge of boats; and the only difficulty now was its
safe transport, which was furnished by the enemy themselves.  By cutting
the dams at Saftingen a great part of the country of Waes, as far as the
village of Borcht, had been laid under water, so that it was not
difficult to cross it with flat-bottomed boats.  The prince, therefore,
ordered his vessels to run out from Ghent, and after passing Dendermonde
and Rupelmonde to pass through the left dyke of the Scheldt, leaving
Antwerp to the right, and sail over the inundated fields in the
direction of Borcht.  To protect this passage a fort was erected at the
latter village, which would keep the enemy in check.  All succeeded to
his wishes, though not without a sharp action with the enemy's flotilla,
which was sent out to intercept this convoy.  After breaking through a
few more dams on their route, they reached the Spanish quarters at
Calloo, and successfully entered the Scheldt again.  The exultation of
the army was greater when they discovered the extent of the danger the
vessels had so narrowly escaped.  Scarcely had they got quit of the
enemy's vessels when a strong reinforcement from Antwerp got under
weigh, commanded by the valiant defender of Lillo, Odets von Teligny.
When this officer saw that the affair was over, and that the enemy had
escaped, he took possession of the dam through which their fleet had
passed, and threw up a fort on the spot in order to stop the passage of
any vessels from Ghent which might attempt to follow them.

By this step the prince was again thrown into embarrassment.  He was far
from having as yet a sufficient number of vessels, either for the
construction of the bridge or for its defence, and the passage by which
the former convoy had arrived was now closed by the fort erected by
Teligny.  While he was reconnoitring the country to discover a new way
for his, fleets an idea occurred to him which not only put an end to his
present dilemma, but greatly accelerated the success of his whole plan.
Not far from the village of Stecken, in Waes, which is within some five
thousand paces of the commencement of the inundation, flows a small
stream called the Moer, which falls into the Scheldt near Ghent.  From
this river he caused a canal to be dug to the spot where the inundations
began, and as the water of these was not everywhere deep enough for the
transit of his boats, the canal between Bevern and Verrebroek was
continued to Calloo, where it was met by the Scheldt.  At this work five
hundred pioneers labored without intermission, and in order to cheer the
toil of the soldiers the prince himself took part in it.  In this way
did he imitate the example of the two celebrated Romans, Drusus and
Corbulo, who by similar works had united the Rhine with the Zuyder Zee,
and the Maes with the Rhine?

This canal, which the army in honor of its projector called the canal of
Parma, was fourteen thousand paces in length, and was of proportion able
depth and breadth, so as to be navigable for ships of a considerable
burden.  It afforded to the vessels from Ghent not only a more secure,
but also a much shorter course to the Spanish quarters, because it was
no longer necessary to follow the many windings of the Scheldt, but
entering the Moer at once near Ghent, and from thence passing close to
Stecken, they could proceed through the canal and across the inundated
country as far as Calloo.  As the produce of all Flanders was brought to
the town of Ghent, this canal placed the Spanish camp in communication
with the whole province.  Abundance poured into the camp from all
quarters, so that during the whole course of the siege the Spaniards
suffered no scarcity of any kind.  But the greatest benefit which the
prince derived from this work was an adequate supply of flat-bottomed
vessels to complete his bridge.

These preparations were overtaken by the arrival of winter, which, as
the Scheldt was filled with drift-ice, occasioned a considerable delay
in the building of the bridge.  The prince had contemplated with anxiety
the approach of this season, lest it should prove highly destructive to
the work he had undertaken, and afford the enemy a favorable opportunity
for making a serious attack upon it.  But the skill of his engineers
saved him from the one danger, and the strange inaction of the enemy
freed him from the other.  It frequently happened, indeed, that at
flood-time large pieces of ice were entangled in the timbers, and shook
them violently, but they stood the assault of the furious element, which
only served to prove their stability.

In Antwerp, meanwhile, important moments had been wasted in futile
deliberations; and in a struggle of factions the general welfare was
neglected.  The government of the town was divided among too many heads,
and much too great a share in it was held by the riotous mob to allow
room for calmness of deliberation or firmness of action.  Besides the
municipal magistracy itself, in which the burgomaster had only a single
voice, there were in the city a number of guilds, to whom were consigned
the charge of the internal and external defence, the provisioning of the
town, its fortifications, the marine, commerce, etc.; some of whom must
be consulted in every business of importance.  By means of this crowd of
speakers, who intruded at pleasure into the council, and managed to
carry by clamor and the number of their adherents what they could not
effect by their arguments, the people obtained a dangerous influence
in the public debates, and the natural struggle of such discordant
interests retarded the execution of every salutary measure.
A government so vacillating and impotent could not command the respect
of unruly sailors and a lawless soldiery.  The orders of the state
consequently were but imperfectly obeyed, and the decisive moment was
more than once lost by the negligence, not to say the open mutiny, both
of the land and sea forces.  The little harmony in the selection of the
means by which the enemy was to be opposed would not, however, have
proved so injurious had there but existed unanimity as to the end.  But
on this very point the wealthy citizens and poorer classes were divided;
so the former, having everything to apprehend from allowing matters to
be carried to extremity, were strongly inclined to treat with the Prince
of Parma.  This disposition they did not even attempt to conceal after
the fort of Liefkenshoek had fallen into the enemy's hands, and serious
fears were entertained for the navigation of the Scheldt.  Some of them,
indeed, withdrew entirely from the danger, and left to its fate the
town, whose prosperity they had been ready enough to share, but in whose
adversity they were unwilling to bear a part.  From sixty to seventy of
those who remained memorialized the council, advising that terms should
be made with the king.  No sooner, however, had the populace got
intelligence of it than their indignation broke out in a violent uproar,
which was with difficulty appeased by the imprisonment and fining of the
petitioners.  Tranquillity could only be fully restored by publication
of an edict, which imposed the penalty of death on all who either
publicly or privately should countenance proposals for peace.

The Prince of Parma did not fail to take advantage of these
disturbances; for nothing that transpired within the city escaped his
notice, being well served by the agents with whom he maintained a secret
understanding with Antwerp, as well as the other towns of Brabant and
Flanders.  Although he had already made considerable progress in his
measures for distressing the town, still he had many steps to take
before he could actually make himself master of it; and one unlucky
moment might destroy the work of many months.  Without, therefore,
neglecting any of his warlike preparations, he determined to make one
more serious attempt to get possession by fair means.  With this object
he despatched a letter in November to the great council of Antwerp, in
which he skilfully made use of every topic likely to induce the citizens
to come to terms, or at least to increase their existing dissensions.
He treated them in this letter in the light of persons who had been led
astray, and threw the whole blame of their revolt and refractory conduct
hitherto upon the intriguing spirit of the Prince of Orange, from whose
artifices the retributive justice of heaven had so lately liberated
them.  "It was," he said, "now in their power to awake from their long
infatuation and return to their allegiance to a monarch who was ready
and anxious to be reconciled to his subjects.  For this end he gladly
offered himself as mediator, as he had never ceased to love a country in
which he had been born, and where he had spent the happiest days of his
youth.  He therefore exhorted them to send plenipotentiaries with whom
he could arrange the conditions of peace, and gave them hopes of
obtaining reasonable terms if they made a timely submission, but also
threatened them with the severest treatment if they pushed matters to

This letter, in which we are glad to recognize a language very different
from that which the Duke of Alva held ten years before on a similar
occasion, was answered by the townspeople in a respectful and dignified
tone.  While they did full justice to the personal character of the
prince, and acknowledged his favorable intentions towards them with
gratitude, they lamented the hardness of the times, which placed it out
of his power to treat them in accordance with his character and
disposition.  They declared that they would gladly place their fate in
his hands if he were absolute master of his actions, instead of being
obliged to obey the will of another, whose proceedings his own candor
would not allow him to approve of.  The unalterable resolution of the
King of Spain, as well as the vow which he had made to the pope, were
only too well known for them to have any hopes in that quarter.  They at
the same time defended with a noble warmth the memory of the Prince of
Orange, their benefactor and preserver, while they enumerated the true
cases which had produced this unhappy war, and had caused the provinces
to revolt from the Spanish crown.  At the same time they did not
disguise from him that they had hopes of finding a new and a milder
master in the King of France, and that, if only for this reason, they
could not enter into any treaty with the Spanish king without incurring
the charge of the most culpable fickleness and ingratitude.

The united provinces, in fact, dispirited by a succession of reverses,
had at last come to the determination of placing themselves under the
protection and sovereignty of France, and of preserving their existence
and their ancient privileges by the sacrifice of their independence.
With this view an embassy had some time before been despatched to Paris,
and it was the prospect of this powerful assistance which principally
supported the courage of the people of Antwerp.  Henry III., King of
France, was personally disposed to accept this offer; but the troubles
which the intrigues of the Spaniards contrived to excite within his own
kingdom compelled him against his will to abandon it.  The provinces now
turned for assistance to Queen Elizabeth of England, who sent them some
supplies, which, however, came too late to save Antwerp.  While the
people of this city were awaiting the issue of these negotiations, and
expecting aid from foreign powers, they neglected, unfortunately, the
most natural and immediate means of defence; the whole winter was lost,
and while the enemy turned it to greater advantage the more complete was
their indecision and inactivity.

The burgomaster of Antwerp, St. Aldegonde, had, indeed, repeatedly urged
the fleet of Zealand to attack the enemy's works, which should be
supported on the other side from Antwerp.  The long and frequently
stormy nights would favor this attempt, and if at the same time a sally
were made by the garrison at Lillo, it seemed scarcely possible for
the enemy to resist this triple assault.  But unfortunately
misunderstandings had arisen between the commander of the fleet, William
von Blois von Treslong, and the admiralty of Zealand, which caused the
equipment of the fleet to be most unaccountably delayed.  In order to
quicken their movements Teligny at last resolved to go himself to
Middleburg, were the states of Zealand were assembled; but as the enemy
were in possession of all the roads the attempt cost him his freedom and
the republic its most valiant defender.  However, there was no want of
enterprising vessels, which, under the favor of the night and the
floodtide, passing through the still open bridge in spite of the enemy's
fire, threw provisions into the town and returned with the ebb.  But as
many of these vessels fell into the hands of the enemy the council gave
orders that they should never risk the passage unless they amounted to a
certain number; and the result, unfortunately, was that none attempted
it because the required number could not be collected at one time.
Several attacks were also made from Antwerp on the ships of the
Spaniards, which were not entirely unsuccessful; some of the latter were
captured, others sunk, and all that was required was to execute similar
attempts on a grand scale.  But however zealously St. Aldegonde urged
this, still not a captain was to be found who would command a vessel for
that purpose.

Amid these delays the winter expired, and scarcely had the ice begun to
disappear when the construction of the bridge of boats was actively
resumed by the besiegers.  Between the two piers a space of more than
six hundred paces still remained to be filled up, which was effected in
the following manner: Thirty-two flat-bottomed vessels, each sixty-six
feet long and twenty broad, were fastened together with strong cables
and iron chains, but at a distance from each other of about twenty feet
to allow a free passage to the stream.  Each boat, moreover, was moored
with two cables, both up and down the stream, but which, as the water
rose with the tide, or sunk with the ebb, could be slackened or
tightened.  Upon the boats great masts were laid which reached from one
to another, and, being covered with planks, formed a regular road,
which, like that along the piers, was protected with a balustrade.  This
bridge of boats, of which the two piers formed a continuation, had,
including the latter, a length of twenty-four thousand paces.  This
formidable work was so ingeniously constructed, and so richly furnished
with the instruments of destruction, that it seemed almost capable, like
a living creature, of defending itself at the word of command,
scattering death among all who approached.  Besides the two forts of St.
Maria and St.  Philip, which terminated the bridge on either shore, and
the two wooden bastions on the bridge itself, which were filled with
soldiers and mounted with guns on all sides, each of the two-and-thirty
vessels was manned with thirty soldiers and four sailors, and showed the
cannon's mouth to the enemy, whether he carne up from Zealand or down
from Antwerp.  There were in all ninety-seven cannon, which were
distributed beneath and above the bridge, and more than fifteen hundred
men who were posted, partly in the forts, partly in the vessels, and, in
case of necessity, could maintain a terrible fire of small-arms upon the

But with all this the prince did not consider his work sufficiently
secure.  It was to be expected that the enemy would leave nothing
unattempted to burst by the force of his machines the middle and weakest
part.  To guard against this, he erected in a line with the bridge of
boats, but at some distance from it, another distinct defence, intended
to break the force of any attack that might be directed against the
bridge itself.  This work consisted of thirty-three vessels of
considerable magnitude, which were moored in a row athwart the stream
and fastened in threes by masts, so that they formed eleven different
groups.  Each of these, like a file of pikemen, presented fourteen long
wooden poles with iron heads to the approaching enemy.  These vessels
were loaded merely with ballast, and were anchored each by a double but
slack cable, so as to be able to give to the rise and fall of the tide.
As they were in constant motion they got from the soldiers the name of
"swimmers."  The whole bridge of boats and also a part of the piers were
covered by these swimmers, which were stationed above as well as below
the bridge.  To all these defensive preparations was added a fleet of
forty men-of-war, which were stationed on both coasts and served as a
protection to the whole.

This astonishing work was finished in March, 1585, the seventh month of
the siege, and the day on which it was completed was kept as a jubilee
by the troops.  The great event was announced to the besieged by a grand
/fete de joie/, and the army, as if to enjoy ocular demonstration of its
triumph, extended itself along the whole platform to gaze upon the proud
stream, peacefully and obediently flowing under the yoke which had been
imposed upon it.  All the toil they had undergone was forgotton in the
delightful spectacle, and every man who had had a hand in it, however
insignificant he might be, assumed to himself a portion of the honor
which the successful execution of so gigantic an enterprise conferred on
its illustrious projector.  On the other hand, nothing could equal the
consternation which seized the citizens of Antwerp when intelligence was
brought them that the Scheldt was now actually closed, and all access
from Zealand cut off.  To increase their dismay they learned the fall of
Brussels also, which had at last been compelled by famine to capitulate.
An attempt made by the Count of Hohenlohe about the same time on
Herzogenbusch, with a view to recapture the town, or at least form a
diversion, was equally unsuccessful; and thus the unfortunate city lost
all hope of assistance, both by sea and land.

These evil tidings were brought them by some fugitives who had succeeded
in passing the Spanish videttes, and had made their way into the town;
and a spy, whom the burgomaster had sent out to reconnoitre the enemy's
works, increased the general alarm by his report.  He had been seized
and carried before the Prince of Parma, who commanded him to be
conducted over all the works, and all the defences of the bridge to be
pointed out to him.  After this had been done he was again brought
before the general, who dismissed him with these words: "Go," said he,
"and report what you have seen to those who sent you.  And tell them,
too, that it is my firm resolve to bury myself under the ruins of this
bridge or by means of it to pass into your town."

But the certainty of danger now at last awakened the zeal of the
confederates, and it was no fault of theirs if the former half of the
prince's vow was not fulfilled.  The latter had long viewed with
apprehension the preparations which were making in Zealand for the
relief of the town.  He saw clearly that it was from this quarter that
he had to fear the most dangerous blow, and that with all his works he
could not make head against the combined fleets of Zealand and Antwerp
if they were to fall upon him at the same time and at the proper moment.
For a while the delays of the admiral of Zealand, which he had labored
by all the means in his power to prolong, had been his security, but now
the urgent necessity accelerated the expedition, and without waiting for
the admiral the states at Middleburg despatched the Count Justin of
Nassau, with as many ships as they could muster, to the assistance of
the besieged.  This fleet took up a position before Liefkenshoek, which
was in possession of the Spaniards, and, supported by a few vessels from
the opposite fort of Lillo, cannonaded it with such success that the
walls were in a short time demolished, and the place carried by storm.
The Walloons who formed the garrison did not display the firmness which
might have been expected from soldiers of the Duke of Parma; they
shamefully surrendered the fort to the enemy, who in a short time were
in possession of the whole island of Doel, with all the redoubts
situated upon it.  The loss of these places, which were, however, soon
retaken, incensed the Duke of Parma so much that he tried the officers
by court-martial, and caused the most culpable among them to be
beheaded.  Meanwhile this important conquest opened to the Zealanders a
free passage as far as the bridge, and after concerting with the people
of Antwerp the time was fixed for a combined attack on this work.  It
was arranged that, while the bridge of boats was blown up by machines
already prepared in Antwerp, the Zealand fleet, with a sufficient supply
of provisions, should be in the vicinity, ready to sail to the town
through the opening.

While the Duke of Parma was engaged in constructing his bridge an
engineer within the walls was already preparing the materials for its
destruction.  Frederick Gianibelli was the name of the man whom fate had
destined to be the Archimedes of Antwerp, and to exhaust in its defence
the same ingenuity with the same want of success.  He was born in
Mantua, and had formerly visited Madrid for the purpose, it was said,
of offering his services to King Philip in the Belgian war.  But wearied
with waiting the offended engineer left the court with the intention of
making the King of Spain sensibly feel the value of talents which he had
so little known how to appreciate.  He next sought the service of Queen
Elizabeth of England, the declared enemy of Spain, who, after witnessing
a few specimens of his skill, sent him to Antwerp.  He took up his
residence in that town, and in the present extremity devoted to its
defence his knowledge, his energy, and his zeal.

As soon as this artist perceived that the project of erecting the bridge
was seriously intended, and that the work was fast approaching to
completion, he applied to the magistracy for three large vessels, from a
hundred and fifty to five hundred tons, in which he proposed to place
mines.  He also demanded sixty boats, which, fastened together with
cables and chains, furnished with projecting grappling-irons, and put in
motion with the ebbing of the tide, were intended to second the
operation of the mine-ships by being directed in a wedgelike form
against the bridge.  But he had to deal with men who were quite
incapable of comprehending an idea out of the common way, and even where
the salvation of their country was at stake could not forget the
calculating habits of trade.

His scheme was rejected as too expensive, and with difficulty he at last
obtained the grant of two smaller vessels, from seventy to eighty tons,
with a number of flat-bottomed boats.  With these two vessels, one of
which he called the "Fortune" and the other the "Hope," he proceeded in
the following manner: In the hold of each he built a hollow chamber of
freestone, five feet broad, three and a half high, and forty long.  This
magazine he filled with sixty hundredweight of the finest priming powder
of his own compounding, and covered it with as heavy a weight of large
slabs and millstones as the vessels could carry.  Over these he further
added a roof of similar stones, which ran up to a point and projected
six feet above the ship's side.  The deck itself was crammed with iron
chains and hooks, knives, nails, and other destructive missiles; the
remaining space, which was not occupied by the magazine, was likewise
filled up with planks.  Several small apertures were left in the chamber
for the matches which were to set fire to the mine.  For greater
certainty he had also contrived a piece of mechanism which, after the
lapse of a given time, would strike out sparks, and even if the matches
failed would set the ship on fire.  To delude the enemy into a belief
that these machines were only intended to set the bridge on fire, a
composition of brimstone and pitch was placed in the top, which could
burn a whole hour.  And still further to divert the enemy's attention
from the proper seat of danger, he also prepared thirty-two flatbottomed
boats, upon which there were only fireworks burning, and whose sole
object was to deceive the enemy.  These fire-ships were to be sent down
upon the bridge in four separate squadrons, at intervals of half an
hour, and keep the enemy incessantly engaged for two whole hours, so
that, tired of firing and wearied by vain expectation, they might at
last relax their vigilance before the real fire-ships came.  In addition
to all this he also despatched a few vessels in which powder was
concealed in order to blow up the floating work before the bridge, and
to clear a passage for the two principal ships.  At the same time he
hoped by this preliminary attack to engage the enemy's attention, to
draw them out, and expose them to the full deadly effect of the volcano.

The night between the 4th and 5th of April was fixed for the execution
of this great undertaking.  An obscure rumor of it had already diffused
itself through the Spanish camp, and particularly from the circumstance
of many divers from Antwerp having been detected endeavoring to cut the
cables of the vessels.  They were prepared, therefore, for a serious
attack; they only mistook the real nature of it, and counted on having
to fight rather with man than the elements.  In this expectation the
duke caused the guards along the whole bank to be doubled, and drew up
the chief part of his troops in the vicinity of the bridge, where he was
present in person; thus meeting the danger while endeavoring to avoid

No sooner was it dark than three burning vessels were seen to float down
from the city towards the bridge, then three more, and directly after
the same number.  They beat to arms throughout the Spanish camp, and the
whole length of the bridge was crowded with soldiers.  Meantime the
number of the fire-ships increased, and they came in regular order down
the stream, sometimes two and sometimes three abreast, being at first
steered by sailors on board them.  The admiral of the Antwerp fleet,
Jacob Jacobson (whether designedly or through carelessness is not
known), had committed the error of sending off the four squadrons of
fire-ships too quickly one after another, and caused the two large mine-
ships also to follow them too soon, and thus disturbed the intended
order of attack.

The array of vessels kept approaching, and the darkness of night still
further heightened the extraordinary spectacle.  As far as the eye could
follow the course of the stream all was fire; the fire-ships burning as
brilliantly as if they were themselves in the flames; the surface of the
water glittered with light; the dykes and the batteries along the shore,
the flags, arms, and accoutrements of the soldiers who lined the rivers
as well as the bridges were clearly distinguishable in the glare.  With
a mingled sensation of awe and pleasure the soldiers watched the unusual
sight, which rather resembled a fete than a hostile preparation, but
from the very strangeness of the contrast filled the mind with a
mysterious awe.  When the burning fleet had come within two thousand
paces of the bridge those who had the charge of it lighted the matches,
impelled the two mine-vessels into the middle of the stream, and leaving
the others to the guidance of the current of the waves, they hastily
made their escape in boats which had been kept in readiness.

Their course, however, was irregular, and destitute of steersmen they
arrived singly and separately at the floating works, where they
continued hanging or were dashed off sidewise on the shore.  The
foremost powder-ships, which were intended to set fire to the floating
works, were cast, by the force of a squall which arose at that instant,
on the Flemish coast.  One of the two, the "Fortune," grounded in its
passage before it reached the bridge, and killed by its explosion some
Spanish soldiers who were at work in a neighboring battery.  The other
and larger fire-ship, called the "Hope," narrowly escaped a similar
fate.  The current drove her against the floating defences towards the
Flemish bank, where it remained hanging, and had it taken fire at that
moment the greatest part of its effect would have been lost.  Deceived
by the flames which this machine, like the other vessels, emitted, the
Spaniards took it for a common fire-ship, intended to burn the bridge of
boats.  And as they had seen them extinguished one after the other
without further effect all fears were dispelled, and the Spaniards began
to ridicule the preparations of the enemy, which had been ushered in
with so much display and now had so absurd an end.  Some of the boldest
threw themselves into the stream in order to get a close view of the
fire-ship and extinguish it, when by its weight it suddenly broke
through, burst the floating work which had detained it, and drove with
terrible force on the bridge of boats.  All was now in commotion on the
bridge, and the prince called to the sailors to keep the vessel off with
poles, and to extinguish the flames before they caught the timbers.

At this critical moment he was standing at the farthest end of the left
pier, where it formed a bastion in the water and joined the bridge of
boats.  By his side stood the Margrave of Rysburg, general of cavalry
and governor of the province of Artois, who had formerly-served the
states, but from a protector of the republic had become its worst enemy;
the Baron of Billy, governor of Friesland and commander of the German
regiments; the Generals Cajetan and Guasto, with several of the
principal officers; all forgetful of their own danger and entirely
occupied with averting the general calamity.  At this moment a Spanish
ensign approached the Prince of Parma and conjured him to remove from a
place where his life was in manifest and imminent peril.  No attention
being paid to his entreaty he repeated it still more urgently, and at
last fell at his feet and implored him in this one instance to take
advice from his servant.  While he said this he had laid hold of the
duke's coat as though he wished forcibly to draw him away from the spot,
and the latter, surprised rather at the man's boldness than persuaded by
his arguments, retired at last to the shore, attended by Cajetan and
Guasto.  He had scarcely time to reach the fort St. Maria at the end of
the bridge when an explosion took place behind him, just as if the earth
had burst or the vault of heaven given way.  The duke and his whole army
fell to the ground as dead, and several minutes elapsed before they
recovered their consciousness.

But then what a sight presented itself!  The waters of the Scheldt had
been divided to its lowest depth, and driven with a surge which rose
like a wall above the dam that confined it, so that all the
fortifications on the banks were several feet under water.  The earth
shook for three miles round.  Nearly the whole left pier, on which the
fire-ship had been driven, with a part of the bridge of boats, had been
burst and shattered to atoms, with all that was upon it; spars, cannon,
and men blown into the air.  Even the enormous blocks of stone which had
covered the mine had, by the force of the explosion, been hurled into
the neighboring fields, so that many of them were afterwards dug out of
the ground at a distance of a thousand paces from the bridge.  Six
vessels were buried, several had gone to pieces.  But still more
terrible was the carnage which the murderous machine had dealt amongst
the soldiers.  Five hundred, according to other reports even eight
hundred, were sacrificed to its fury, without reckoning those who
escaped with mutilated or injured bodies.  The most opposite kinds of
death were combined in this frightful moment.  Some were consumed by the
flames of the explosion, others scalded to death by the boiling water of
the river, others stifled by the poisonous vapor of the brimstone; some
were drowned in the stream, some buried under the hail of falling masses
of rock, many cut to pieces by the knives and hooks, or shattered by the
balls which were poured from the bowels of the machine.  Some were found
lifeless without any visible injury, having in all probability been
killed by the mere concussion of the air.  The spectacle which presented
itself directly after the firing of the mine was fearful.  Men were seen
wedged between the palisades of the bridge, or struggling to release
themselves from beneath ponderous masses of rock, or hanging in the
rigging of the ships; and from all places and quarters the most
heartrending cries for help arose, but as each was absorbed in his own
safety these could only be answered by helpless wailings.

Many had escaped in the most wonderful manner.  An officer named Tucci
was carried by the whirlwind like a feather high into the air, where he
was for a moment suspended, and then dropped into the river, where he
saved himself by swimming.  Another was taken up by the force of the
blast from the Flanders shore and deposited on that of Brabant,
incurring merely a slight contusion on the shoulder; he felt, as he
afterwards said, during this rapid aerial transit, just as if he had
been fired out of a cannon.  The Prince of Parma himself had never been
so near death as at that moment, when half a minute saved his life.  He
had scarcely set foot in the fort of St. Maria when he was lifted off
his feet as if by a hurricane, and a beam which struck him on the head
and shoulders stretched him senseless on the earth.  For a long time he
was believed to be actually killed, many remembering to have seen him on
the bridge only a few minutes before the fatal explosion.  He was found
at last between his attendants, Cajetan and Guasto, raising himself up
with his hand on his sword; and the intelligence stirred the spirits of
the whole army.  But vain would be the attempt to depict his feelings
when he surveyed the devastation which a single moment had caused in the
work of so many months.  The bridge of boats, upon which all his hopes
rested, was rent asunder; a great part of his army was destroyed;
another portion maimed and rendered ineffective for many days; many of
his best officers were killed; and, as if the present calamity were not
sufficient, he had now to learn the painful intelligence that the
Margrave of Rysburg, whom of all his officers he prized the highest, was
missing.  And yet the worst was still to come, for every moment the
fleets of the enemy were to be expected from Antwerp and Lillo, to which
this fearful position of the army would disable him from offering any
effectual resistance.  The bridge was entirely destroyed, and nothing
could prevent the fleet from Zealand passing through in full sail; while
the confusion of the troops in this first moment was so great and
general that it would have been impossible to give or obey orders, as
many corps had lost their commanding officers, and many commanders their
corps; and even the places where they had been stationed were no longer
to be recognized amid the general ruin.  Add to this that all the
batteries on shore were under water, that several cannon were sunk, that
the matches were wet, and the ammunition damaged.  What a moment for the
enemy if they had known how to avail themselves of it!

It will scarcely be believed, however, that this success, which
surpassed all expectation, was lost to Antwerp, simply because nothing
was known of it.  St. Aldegonde, indeed, as soon as the explosion of the
mine was heard in the town, had sent out several galleys in the
direction of the bridge, with orders to send up fire-balls and rockets
the moment they had passed it, and then to sail with the intelligence
straight on to Lillo, in order to bring up, without delay, the Zealand
fleet, which had orders to co-operate.  At the same time the admiral of
Antwerp was ordered, as soon as the signal was given, to sail out with
his vessels and attack the enemy in their first consternation.  But
although a considerable reward was promised to the boatmen sent to
reconnoitre they did not venture near the enemy, but returned without
effecting their purpose, and reported that the bridge of boats was
uninjured, and the fire-ship had had no effect.  Even on the following
day also no better measures were taken to learn the true state of the
bridge; and as the fleet at Lillo, in spite of the favorable wind, was
seen to remain inactive, the belief that the fire-ships had accomplished
nothing was confirmed.  It did not seem to occur to any one that this
very inactivity of the confederates, which misled the people of Antwerp,
might also keep back the Zealanders at Lille, as in fact it did.  So
signal an instance of neglect could only have occurred in a government,
which, without dignity of independence, was guided by the tumultuous
multitude it ought to have governed.  The more supine, however, they
were themselves in opposing the enemy, the more violently did their rage
boil against Gianibelli, whom the frantic mob would have torn in pieces
if they could have caught him.  For two days the engineer was in the
most imminent danger, until at last, on the third morning, a courier
from Lillo, who had swam under the bridge, brought authentic
intelligence of its having been destroyed, but at the same time
announced that it had been repaired.

This rapid restoration of the bridge was really a miraculous effort of
the Prince of Parma.  Scarcely had he recovered from the shock, which
seemed to have overthrown all his plans, when he contrived, with
wonderful presence of mind, to prevent all its evil consequences.  The
absence of the enemy's fleet at this decisive moment revived his hopes.
The ruinous state of the bridge appeared to be a secret to them, and
though it was impossible to repair in a few hours the work of so many
months, yet a great point would be gained if it could be done even in
appearance.  All his men were immediately set to work to remove the
ruins, to raise the timbers which had been thrown down, to replace those
which were demolished, and to fill up the chasms with ships.  The duke
himself did not refuse to share in the toil, and his example was
followed by all his officers.  Stimulated by this popular behavior, the
common soldiers exerted themselves to the utmost; the work was carried
on during the whole night under the constant sounding of drums and
trumpets, which were distributed along the bridge to drown the noise of
the work-people.  With dawn of day few traces remained of the night's
havoc; and although the bridge was restored only in appearance, it
nevertheless deceived the spy, and consequently no attack was made upon
it.  In the meantime the prince contrived to make the repairs solid,
nay, even to introduce some essential alterations in the structure.  In
order to guard against similar accidents for the future, a part of the
bridge of boats was made movable, so that in case of necessity it could
be taken away and a passage opened to the fire-ships.  His loss of men
was supplied from the garrisons of the adjoining places, and by a German
regiment which arrived very opportunely from Gueldres.  He filled up the
vacancies of the officers who were killed, and in doing this he did not
forget the Spanish ensign who had saved his life.

The people of Antwerp, after learning the success of their mine-ship,
now did homage to the inventor with as much extravagance as they had a
short time before mistrusted him, and they encouraged his genius to new
attempts.  Gianibelli now actually obtained the number of flat-bottomed
vessels which he had at first demanded in vain, and these he equipped in
such a manner that they struck with irresistible force on the bridge,
and a second time also burst and separated it.  But this time, the wind
was contrary to the Zealand fleet, so that they could not put out, and
thus the prince obtained once more the necessary respite to repair the
damage.  The Archimedes of Antwerp was not deterred by any of these
disappointments.  Anew he fitted out two large vessels which were armed
with iron hooks and similar instruments in order to tear asunder the
bridge.  But when the moment came for these vessels to get under weigh
no one was found ready to embark in them.  The engineer was therefore
obliged to think of a plan for giving to these machines such a self-
impulse that, without being guided by a steersman, they would keep the
middle of the stream, and not, like the former ones, be driven on the
bank by the wind.  One of his workmen, a German, here hit upon a strange
invention, if Strada's description of it is to be credited.  He affixed
a sail under the vessel, which was to be acted upon by the water, just
as an ordinary sail is by the wind, and could thus impel the ship with
the whole force of the current.  The result proved the correctness of
his calculation; for this vessel, with the position of its sails
reversed, not only kept the centre of the stream, but also ran against
the bridge with such impetuosity that the enemy had not time to open it
and was actually burst asunder.  But all these results were of no
service to the town, because the attempts were made at random and were
supported by no adequate force.  A new fire-ship, equipped like the
former, which had succeeded so well, and which Gianibelli had filled
with four thousand pounds of the finest powder was not even used; for a
new mode of attempting their deliverance had now occurred to the people
of Antwerp.

Terrified by so many futile attempts from endeavoring to clear a
passage for vessels on the river by force, they at last came to the
determination of doing without the stream entirely.  They remembered the
example of the town of Leyden, which, when besieged by the Spaniards ten
years before, had saved itself by opportunely inundating the surrounding
country, and it was resolved to imitate this example.  Between Lillo and
Stabroek, in the district of Bergen, a wide and somewhat sloping plain
extends as far as Antwerp, being protected by numerous embankments and
counter-embankments against the irruptions of the East Scheldt.  Nothing
more was requisite than to break these dams, when the whole plain would
become a sea, navigable by flat-bottomed vessels almost to the very
walls of Antwerp.  If this attempt should succeed, the Duke of Parma
might keep the Scheldt guarded with his bridge of boats as long as he
pleased; a new river would be formed, which, in case of necessity, would
be equally serviceable for the time.  This was the very plan which the
Prince of Orange had at the commencement of the siege recommended, and
in which he had been strenuously, but unsuccessfully, seconded by St.
Aldegonde, because some of the citizens could not be persuaded to
sacrifice their own fields.  In the present emergency they reverted to
this last resource, but circumstances in the meantime had greatly

The plain in question is intersected by a broad and high dam, which
takes its name from the adjacent Castle of Cowenstein, and extends for
three miles from the village of Stabroek, in Bergen, as far as the
Scheldt, with the great dam of which it unites near Ordam.  Beyond this
dam no vessels can proceed, however high the tide, and the sea would be
vainly turned into the fields as long as such an embankment remained in
the way, which would prevent the Zealand vessels from descending into
the plain before Antwerp.  The fate of the town would therefore depend
upon the demolition of this Cowenstein dam; but, foreseeing this, the
Prince of Parma had, immediately on commencing the blockade, taken
possession of it, and spared no pains to render it tenable to the last.
At the village of Stabroek, Count Mansfeld was encamped with the
greatest part of his army, and by means of this very Cowenstein dam kept
open the communication with the bridge, the headquarters, and the
Spanish magazines at Calloo.  Thus the army formed an uninterrupted line
from Stabroek in Brabant, as far as Bevern in Flanders, intersected
indeed, but not broken by the Scheldt, and which could not be cut off
without a sanguinary conflict.  On the dam itself within proper
distances five different batteries had been erected, the command of
which was given to the most valiant officers in the army.  Nay, as the
Prince of Parma could not doubt that now the whole fury of the war would
be turned to this point, he entrusted the defence of the bridge to Count
Mansfeld, and resolved to defend this important post himself.  The war,
therefore, now assumed a different aspect, and the theatre of it was
entirely changed.

Both above and below Lillo, the Netherlanders had in several places cut
through the dam, which follows the Brabant shore of the Scheldt; and
where a short time before had been green fields, a new element now
presented itself, studded with masts and boats.  A Zealand fleet,
commanded by Count Hohenlohe, navigated the inundated fields, and made
repeated movements against the Cowenstein dam, without, however,
attempting a serious attack on it, while another fleet showed itself in
the Scheldt, threatening the two coasts alternately with a landing, and
occasionally the bridge of boats with an attack.  For several days this
manoeuvre was practised on the enemy, who, uncertain of the quarter
whence an attack was to be expected, would, it was hoped, be exhausted
by continual watching, and by degrees lulled into security by so many
false alarms.  Antwerp had promised Count Hohenlohe to support the
attack on the dam by a flotilla from the town; three beacons on the
principal tower were to be the signal that this was on the way.  When,
therefore, on a dark night the expected columns of fire really ascended
above Antwerp, Count Hohenlohe immediately caused five hundred of his
troops to scale the dam between two of the enemy's redoubts, who
surprised part of the Spanish garrison asleep, and cut down the others
who attempted to defend themselves.  In a short time they had gained a
firm footing upon the dam, and were just on the point of disembarking
the remainder of their force, two thousand in number, when the Spaniards
in the adjoining redoubts marched out and, favored by the narrowness of
the ground, made a desperate attack on the crowded Zealanders.  The guns
from the neighboring batteries opened upon the approaching fleet, and
thus rendered the landing of the remaining troops impossible; and as
there were no signs of co-operation on the part of the city, the
Zealanders were overpowered after a short conflict and again driven down
from the dam.  The victorious Spaniards pursued them through the water
as far as their boats, sunk many of the latter, and compelled the rest
to retreat with heavy loss.  Count Hohenlohe threw the blame of this
defeat upon the inhabitants of Antwerp, who had deceived him by a false
signal, and it certainly must be attributed to the bad arrangement of
both parties that the attempt failed of better success.

But at last the allies determined to make a systematic assault on the
enemy with their combined force, and to put an end to the siege by a
grand attack as well on the dam as on the bridge.  The 16th of May,
1585, was fixed upon for the execution of this design, and both armies
used their utmost endeavors to make this day decisive.  The force of the
Hollanders and Zealanders, united to that of Antwerp, exceeded two
hundred ships, to man which they had stripped their towns and citadels,
and with this force they purposed to attack the Cowenstein dam on both
sides.  The bridge over the Scheldt was to be assailed with new machines
of Gianibelli's invention, and the Duke of Parma thereby hindered from
assisting the defence of the dam.

Alexander, apprised of the danger which threatened him, spared nothing
on his side to meet it with energy.  Immediately after getting
possession of the dam he had caused redoubts to be erected at five
different, places, and had given the command of them to the most
experienced officers of the army.  The first of these, which was called
the Cross battery, was erected on the spot where the Cowenstein darn
enters the great embankment of the Scheldt, and makes with the latter
the form of a cross; the Spaniard, Mondragone, was appointed to the
command of this battery.  A thousand paces farther on, near the castle
of Cowenstein, was posted the battery of St. James, which was entrusted
to the command of Camillo di Monte.  At an equal distance from this lay
the battery of St. George, and at a thousand paces from the latter, the
Pile battery, under the command of Gamboa, so called from the pile-work
on which it rested; at the farthest end of the darn, near Stabroek, was
the fifth redoubt, where Count Mansfeld, with Capizuechi, an Italian,
commanded.  All these forts the prince now strengthened with artillery
and men; on both sides of the dam, and along its whole extent, he caused
piles to be driven, as well to render the main embankment firmer, as to
impede the labor of the pioneers, who were to dig through it.

Early on the morning of the 16th of May the enemy's forces were in
motion.  With the dusk of dawn there came floating down from Lillo, over
the inundated country, four burning vessels, which so alarmed the guards
upon the dams, who recollected the former terrible explosion, that they
hastily retreated to the next battery.  This was exactly what the enemy
desired.  In these vessels, which had merely the appearance of fire-
ships, soldiers were concealed, who now suddenly jumped ashore, and
succeeded in mounting the dam at the undefended spot, between the St.
George and Pile batteries.  Immediately afterward the whole Zealand
fleet showed itself, consisting of numerous ships-of-war, transports,
and a crowd of smaller craft, which were laden with great sacks of
earth, wool, fascines, gabions, and the like, for throwing up
breastworks wherever necessary, The ships-of-war were furnished with
powerful artillery, and numerously and bravely manned, and a whole army
of pioneers accompanied it in order to dig through the dam as soon as it
should be in their possession.

The Zealanders had scarcely begun on their side to ascend the dam when
the fleet of Antwerp advanced from Osterweel and attacked it on the
other.  A high breastwork was hastily thrown up between the two nearest
hostile batteries, so as at once to divide the two garrisons and to
cover the pioneers.  The latter, several hundreds in number, now fell to
work with their spades on both sides of the dam, and dug with such
energy that hopes were entertained of soon seeing the two seas united.
But meanwhile the Spaniards also had gained time to hasten to the spot
from the two nearest redoubts, and make a spirited assault, while the
guns from the battery of St. George played incessantly on the enemy's
fleet.  A furious battle now raged in the quarter where they were
cutting through the dike and throwing up the breastworks.  The
Zealanders had drawn a strong line of troops round the pioneers to keep
the enemy from interrupting their work, and in this confusion of battle,
in the midst of a storm of bullets from the enemy, often up to the
breast in water, among the dead and dying, the pioneers pursued their
work, under the incessant exhortations of the merchants, who impatiently
waited to see the dam opened and their vessels in safety.  The
importance of the result, which it might be said depended entirely upon
their spades, appeared to animate even the common laborers with heroic
courage.  Solely intent upon their task, they neither saw nor heard the
work of death which was going on around them, and as fast as the
foremost ranks fell those behind them pressed into their places.  Their
operations were greatly impeded by the piles which had been driven in,
but still more by the attacks of the Spaniards, who burst with desperate
courage through the thickest of the enemy, stabbed the pioneers in the
pits where they were digging, and filled up again with dead bodies the
cavities which the living had made.  At last, however, when most of
their officers were killed or wounded, and the number of the enemy
constantly increasing, while fresh laborers were supplying the place of
those who had been slain, the courage of these valiant troops began to
give way, and they thought it advisable to retreat to their batteries.
Now, therefore, the confederates saw themselves masters of the whole
extent of the dam, from Fort St. George as far as the Pile battery.  As,
however, it seemed too long to wait for the thorough demolition of the
dam, they hastily unloaded a Zealand transport, and brought the cargo
over the dam to a vessel of Antwerp, with which Count Hohenlohe sailed
in triumph to that city.  The sight of the provisions at once filled the
inhabitants with joy, and as if the victory was already won, they gave
themselves up to the wildest exultation.  The bells were rung, the
cannon discharged, and the inhabitants, transported by their unexpected
success, hurried to the Osterweel gate, to await the store-ships which
were supposed to be at hand.

In fact, fortune had never smiled so favorably on the besieged as at
that moment.  The enemy, exhausted and dispirited, had thrown themselves
into their batteries, and, far from being able to struggle with the
victors for the post they had conquered, they found themselves rather
besieged in the places where they had taken refuge.  Some companies of
Scots, led by their brave colonel, Balfour, attacked the battery of St.
George, which, however, was relieved, but not without severe loss, by
Camillo di Monte, who hastened thither from St. James' battery.  The
Pile battery was in a much worse condition, it being hotly cannonaded by
the ships, and threatened every moment to crumble to pieces.  Gainboa,
who commanded it, lay wounded, and it was unfortunately deficient in
artillery to keep the enemy at a distance.  The breastwork, too, which
the Zealanders had thrown up between this battery and that of St.
George cut off all hope of assistance from the Scheldt.  If, therefore,
the Belgians had only taken advantage of this weakness and inactivity of
the enemy to proceed with zeal and perseverance in cutting through the
dam, there is no doubt that a passage might have been made, and thus put
an end to the whole siege.  But here also the same want of consistent
energy showed itself which had marked the conduct of the people of
Antwerp during the whole course of the siege.  The zeal with which the
work had been commenced cooled in proportion to the success which
attended it.  It was soon found too tedious to dig through the dyke; it
seemed far easier to transfer the cargoes from the large store-ships
into smaller ones, and carry these to the town with the flood tide.  St.
Aldegonde and Hohenlohe, instead of remaining to animate the industry of
the workmen by their personal presence, left the scene of action at the
decisive moment, in order, by sailing to the town with a corn vessel, to
win encomiums on their wisdom and valor.

While both parties were fighting on the dam with the most obstinate fury
the bridge over the Scheldt had been attacked from Antwerp with new
machines, in order to give employment to the prince in that quarter.
But the sound of the firing soon apprised him of what was going on at
the dyke, and as soon as he saw the bridge clear he hastened to support
the defence of the dyke.  Followed by two hundred Spanish pikemen, he
flew to the place of attack, and arrived just in time to prevent the
complete defeat of his troops.  He hastily posted some guns which he had
brought with him in the two nearest redoubts, and maintained from thence
a heavy fire upon the enemy's ships.  He placed himself at the head of
his men, and, with his sword in one hand and shield in the other, led
them against the enemy.  The news of his arrival, which quickly spread
from one end of the dyke to the other, revived the drooping spirits of
his troops, and the conflict recommenced with renewed violence, made
still more murderous by the nature of the ground where it was fought.
Upon the narrow ridge of the dam, which in many places was not more than
nine paces broad, about five thousand combatants were fighting; so
confined was the spot upon which the strength of both armies was
assembled, and which was to decide the whole issue of the siege.  With
the Antwerpers the last bulwark of their city was at stake; with the
Spaniards it was to determine the whole success of their undertaking.
Both parties fought with a courage which despair alone could inspire.
From both the extremities of the dam the tide of war rolled itself
towards the centre, where the Zealanders and Antwerpers had the
advantage, and where they had collected their whole strength.  The
Italians and Spaniards, inflamed by a noble emulation, pressed on from
Stabroek; and from the Scheldt the Walloons and Spaniards advanced, with
their general at their head.  While the former endeavored to relieve the
Pile battery, which was hotly pressed by the enemy, both by sea and
land, the latter threw themselves on the breastwork, between the St.
George and the Pile batteries, with a fury which carried everything
before it.  Here the flower of the Belgian troops fought behind a well-
fortified rampart, and the guns of the two fleets covered this important
post.  The prince was already pressing forward to attack this formidable
defence with his small army when he received intelligence that the
Italians and Spaniards, under Capizucchi and Aquila, had forced their
way, sword in hand, into the Pile battery, had got possession of it, and
were now likewise advancing from the other side against the enemy's
breastwork.  Before this intrenchment, therefore, the whole force of
both armies was now collected, and both sides used their utmost efforts
to carry and to defend this position.  The Netherlanders on board the
fleet, loath to remain idle spectators of the conflict, sprang ashore
from their vessels.  Alexander attacked the breastwork on one side,
Count Mansfeld on the other; five assaults were made, and five times
they were repulsed.  The Netherlanders in this decisive moment surpassed
themselves; never in the whole course of the war had they fought with
such determination.  But it was the Scotch and English in particular who
baffled the attempts of the enemy by their valiant resistance.  As no
one would advance to the attack in the quarter where the Scotch fought,
the duke himself led on the troops, with a javelin in his hand, and up
to his breast in water.  At last, after a protracted struggle, the
forces of Count Mansfeld succeeded with their halberds and pikes in
making a breach in the breastwork, and by raising themselves on one
another's shoulders scaled the parapet.  Barthelemy Toralva, a Spanish
captain, was the first who showed himself on the top; and almost at the
same instant the Italian, Capizucchi, appeared upon the edge of it; and
thus the contest of valor was decided with equal glory for both nations.
It is worth while to notice here the manner in which the Prince of
Parma, who was made arbiter of this emulous strife, encouraged this
delicate sense of honor among his warriors.  He embraced the Italian,
Capizucchi, in presence of the troops, and acknowledged aloud that it
was principally to the courage of this officer that he owed the capture
of the breastwork.  He caused the Spanish captain, Toralva, who was
dangerously wounded, to be conveyed to his own quarters at Stabroek,
laid on his own bed, and covered with the cloak which he himself had
worn the day before the battle.

After the capture of the breastwork the victory no longer remained
doubtful.  The Dutch and Zealand troops, who had disembarked to come to
close action with the enemy, at once lost their courage when they looked
about them and saw the vessels, which were their last refuge, putting
off from the shore.

For the tide had begun to ebb, and the commanders of the fleet, from
fear of being stranded with their heavy transports, and, in case of an
unfortunate issue to the engagement, becoming the prey of the enemy,
retired from the dam, and made for deep water.  No sooner did Alexander
perceive this than he pointed out to his troops the flying vessels, and
encouraged them to finish the action with an enemy who already despaired
of their safety.  The Dutch auxiliaries were the first that gave way,
and their example was soon followed by the Zealanders.  Hastily leaping
from the dam they endeavored to reach the vessels by wading or swimming;
but from their disorderly flight they impeded one another, and fell in
heaps under the swords of the pursuers.  Many perished even in the
boats, as each strove to get on board before the other, and several
vessels sank under the weight of the numbers who rushed into them.  The
Antwerpers, who fought for their liberty, their hearths, their faith,
were the last who retreated, but this very circumstance augmented their
disaster.  Many of their vessels were outstripped by the ebb-tide, and
grounded within reach of the enemy's cannon, and were consequently
destroyed with all on board.  Crowds of fugitives endeavored by swimming
to gain the other transports, which had got into deep water; but such
was the rage and boldness of the Spaniards that they swam after them
with their swords between their teeth, and dragged many even from the
ships.  The victory of the king's troops was complete but bloody; for of
the Spaniards about eight hundred, of the Netherlanders some thousands
(without reckoning those who were drowned), were left on the field, and
on both sides many of the principal nobility perished.  More than thirty
vessels, with a large supply of provisions for Antwerp, fell into the
hands of the victors, with one hundred and fifty cannon and other
military stores.  The dam, the possession of which had been so dearly
maintained, was pierced in thirteen different places, and the bodies of
those who had cut through it were now used to stop up the openings.

The following day a transport of immense size and singular construction
fell into the hands of the royalists.  It formed a floating castle, and
had been destined for the attack on the Cowenstein dam.  The people of
Antwerp had built it at an immense expense at the very time when the
engineer Gianibelli's useful proposals had been rejected on account of
the cost they entailed, and this ridiculous monster was called by the
proud title of "End of the War," which appellation was afterwards
changed for the more appropriate sobriquet of "Money lost!"  When this
vessel was launched it turned out, as every sensible person had
foretold, that on account of its unwieldly size it was utterly
impossible to steer it, and it could hardly be floated by the highest
tide.  With great difficulty it was worked as far as Ordain, where,
deserted by the tide, it went aground, and fell a prey to the enemy.

The attack upon the Cowenstein dam was the last attempt which was made
to relieve Antwerp.  From this time the courage of the besieged sank,
and the magistracy of the town vainly labored to inspirit with distant
hopes the lower orders, on whom the present distress weighed heaviest.
Hitherto the price of bread had been kept down to a tolerable rate,
although the quality of it continued to deteriorate; by degrees,
however, provisions became so scarce that a famine was evidently near at
hand.  Still hopes were entertained of being able to hold out, at least
until the corn between the town and the farthest batteries, which was
already in full ear, could be reaped; but before that could be done the
enemy had carried the last outwork, and had appropriated the whole
harvest to their use.  At last the neighboring and confederate town of
Malines fell into the enemy's hands, and with its fall vanished the only
remaining hope of getting supplies from Brabant.  As there was,
therefore, no longer any means of increasing the stock of provisions
nothing was left but to diminish the consumers.  All useless persons,
all strangers, nay even the women and children were to be sent away out
of the town, but this proposal was too revolting to humanity to be
carried into execution.  Another plan, that of expelling the Catholic
inhabitants, exasperated them so much that it had almost ended in open
mutiny.  And thus St. Aldegonde at last saw himself compelled to yield
to the riotous clamors of the populace, and on the 17th of August, 1585,
to make overtures to the Duke of Parma for the surrender of the town.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the Revolt of the Netherlands — Volume 04" ***

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