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Title: History of the Revolt of the Netherlands — Volume 02
Author: Schiller, Friedrich
Language: English
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                            BOOK II.

                      CARDINAL GRANVELLA.


ANTHONY PERENOT, Bishop of Arras, subsequently Archbishop of Malines,
and Metropolitan of all the Netherlands, who, under the name of Cardinal
Granvella, has been immortalized by the hatred of his contemporaries,
was born in the year 1516, at Besancon in Burgundy.  His father,
Nicolaus Perenot, the son of a blacksmith, had risen by his own merits
to be the private secretary of Margaret, Duchess of Savoy, at that time
regent of the Netherlands.  In this post he was noticed for his habits
of business by Charles V., who took him into his own service and
employed him in several important negotiations.  For twenty years he was
a member of the Emperor's cabinet, and filled the offices of privy
counsellor and keeper of the king's seal, and shared in all the state
secrets of that monarch.  He acquired a large fortune.  His honors,
his influence, and his political knowledge were inherited by his son,
Anthony Perenot, who in his early years gave proofs of the great
capacity which subsequently opened to him so distinguished a career.
Anthony had cultivated at several colleges the talents with which nature
had so lavishly endowed him, and in some respects had an advantage over
his father.  He soon showed that his own abilities were sufficient to
maintain the advantageous position which the merits of another had
procured him.  He was twenty-four years old when the Emperor sent him as
his plenipotentiary to the ecclesiastical council of Trent, where he
delivered the first specimen of that eloquence which in the sequel gave
him so complete an ascendancy over two kings.  Charles employed him in
several difficult embassies, the duties of which he fulfilled to the
satisfaction of his sovereign, and when finally that Emperor resigned
the sceptre to his son he made that costly present complete by giving
him a minister who could help him to wield it.

Granvella opened his new career at once with the greatest masterpiece of
political genius, in passing so easily from the favor of such a father
into equal consideration with such a son.  And he soon proved himself
deserving of it.  At the secret negotiations of which the Duchess of
Lorraine had, in 1558, been the medium between the French and Spanish
ministers at Peronne, he planned, conjointly with the Cardinal of
Lorraine, that conspiracy against the Protestants which was afterwards
matured, but also betrayed, at Chateau-Cambray, where Perenot likewise
assisted in effecting the so-called peace.

A deeply penetrating, comprehensive intellect, an unusual facility in
conducting great and intricate affairs, and the most extensive learning,
were wonderfully united in this man with persevering industry and never-
wearying patience, while his enterprising genius was associated with
thoughtful mechanical regularity.  Day and night the state found him
vigilant and collected; the most important and the most insignificant
things were alike weighed by him with scrupulous attention.  Not
unfrequently he employed five secretaries at one time, dictating to them
in different languages, of which he is said to have spoken seven.  What
his penetrating mind had slowly matured acquired in his lips both force
and grace, and truth, set forth by his persuasive eloquence,
irresistibly carried away all hearers.  He was tempted by none
of the passions which make slaves of most men.  His integrity was
incorruptible.  With shrewd penetration he saw through the disposition
of his master, and could read in his features his whole train of
thought, and, as it were, the approaching form in the shadow which
outran it.  With an artifice rich in resources he came to the aid of
Philip's more inactive mind, formed into perfect thought his master's
crude ideas while they yet hung on his lips, and liberally allowed him
the glory of the invention.  Granvella understood the difficult and
useful art of depreciating his own talents; of making his own genius the
seeming slave of another; thus he ruled while he concealed his sway.  In
this manner only could Philip II. be governed.  Content with a silent
but real power, Granvella did not grasp insatiably at new and outward
marks of it, which with lesser minds are ever the most coveted objects;
but every new distinction seemed to sit upon him as easily as the
oldest.  No wonder if such extraordinary endowments had alone gained him
the favor of his master; but a large and valuable treasure of political
secrets and experiences, which the active life of Charles V. had
accumulated, and had deposited in the mind of this man, made him
indispensable to his successor.  Self-sufficient as the latter was, and
accustomeded to confide in his own understanding, his timid and
crouching policy was fain to lean on a superior mind, and to aid its own
irresolution not only by precedent but also by the influence and example
of another.  No political matter which concerned the royal interest,
even when Philip himself was in the Netherlands, was decided without the
intervention of Granvella; and when the king embarked for Spain he made
the new regent the same valuable present of the minister which he
himself had received from the Emperor, his father.

Common as it is for despotic princes to bestow unlimited confidence on
the creatures whom they have raised from the dust, and of whose
greatness they themselves are, in a measure, the creators, the present
is no ordinary instance; pre-eminent must have been the qualities which
could so far conquer the selfish reserve of such a character as Philip's
as to gain his confidence, nay, even to win him into familiarity.  The
slightest ebullition of the most allowable self-respect, which might
have tempted him to assert, however slightly, his claim to any idea
which the king had once ennobled as his own, would have cost him his
whole influence.  He might gratify without restraint the lowest passions
of voluptuousness, of rapacity, and of revenge, but the only one in
which he really took delight, the sweet consciousness of his own
superiority and power, he was constrained carefully to conceal from the
suspicious glance of the despot.  He voluntarily disclaimed all the
eminent qualities, which were already his own, in order, as it were, to
receive them a second time from the generosity of the king.  His
happiness seemed to flow from no other source, no other person could
have a claim upon his gratitude.  The purple, which was sent to him from
Rome, was not assumed until the royal permission reached him from Spain;
by laying it down on the steps of the throne he appeared, in a measure,
to receive it first from the hands of majesty.  Less politic, Alva
erected a trophy in Antwerp, and inscribed his own name under the
victory, which he had won as the servant of the crown--but Alva carried
with him to the grave the displeasure of his master.  He had invaded
with audacious hand the royal prerogative by drawing immediately at the
fountain of immortality.

Three times Granvella changed his master, and three times he succeeded
in rising to the highest favor.  With the same facility with which he
had guided the settled pride of an autocrat, and the sly egotism of a
despot, he knew how to manage the delicate vanity of a woman.  His
business between himself and the regent, even when they were in the same
house, was, for the most part, transacted by the medium of notes, a
custom which draws its date from the times of Augustus and Tiberius.
When the regent was in any perplexity these notes were interchanged from
hour to hour.  He probably adopted this expedient in the hope of eluding
the watchful jealousy of the nobility, and concealing from them, in part
at least, his influence over the regent.  Perhaps, too, he also believed
that by this means his advice would become more permanent; and, in case
of need, this written testimoney would be at hand to shield him from
blame.  But the vigilance of the nobles made this caution vain, and it
was soon known in all the provinces that nothing was determined upon
without the minister's advice.

Granvella possessed all the qualities requisite for a perfect statesman
in a monarchy governed by despotic principles, but was absolutely
unqualified for republics which are governed by kings.  Educated between
the throne and the confessional, he knew of no other relation between
man and man than that of rule and subjection; and the innate
consciousness of his own superiority gave him a contempt for others.
His policy wanted pliability, the only virtue which was here
indispensable to its success.  He was naturally overbearing and
insolent, and the royal authority only gave arms to the natural
impetuosity of his disposition and the imperiousness of his order.  He
veiled his own ambition beneath the interests of the crown, and made the
breach between the nation and the king incurable, because it would
render him indispensable to the latter.  He revenged on the nobility the
lowliness of his own origin; and, after the fashion of all those who
have risen by their own merits, he valued the advantages of birth below
those by which he had raised himself to distinction.  The Protestants
saw in him their most implacable foe; to his charge were laid all the
burdens which oppressed the country, and they pressed the more heavily
because they came from him.  Nay, he was even accused of having brought
back to severity the milder sentiments to which the urgent remonstrances
of the provinces had at last disposed the monarch.  The Netherlands
execrated him as the most terrible enemy of their liberties, and the
originator of all the misery which subsequently came upon them.


1559.  Philip had evidently left the provinces too soon.  The new
measures of the government were still strange to the people, and could
receive sanction and authority from his presence alone; the new machines
which he had brought into play required to be kept in motion by a
dreaded and powerful hand, and to have their first movements watched and
regulated.  He now exposed his minister to all the angry passions of the
people, who no longer felt restrained by the fetters of the royal
presence; and he delegated to the weak arm of a subject the execution of
projects in which majesty itself, with all its powerful supports, might
have failed.

The land, indeed, flourished; and a general prosperity appeared to
testify to the blessings of the peace which had so lately been bestowed
upon it.  An external repose deceived the eye, for within raged all the
elements of discord.  If the foundations of religion totter in a country
they totter not alone; the audacity which begins with things sacred ends
with things profane.  The successful attack upon the hierarchy had
awakened a spirit of boldness, and a desire to assail authority in
general, and to test laws as well as dogmas--duties as well as opinions.
The fanatical boldness with which men had learned to discuss and decide
upon the affairs of eternity might change its subject matter; the
contempt for life and property which religious enthusiasm had taught
could metamorphose timid citizens into foolhardy rebels.  A female
government of nearly forty years had given the nation room to assert
their liberty; continual wars, of which the Netherlands had been the
theatre, had introduced a license with them, and the right of the
stronger had usurped the place of law and order.  The provinces were
filled with foreign adventurers and fugitives; generally men bound by no
ties of country, family, or property, who had brought with them from
their unhappy homes the seeds of insubordination and rebellion.  The
repeated spectacles of torture and of death had rudely burst the
tenderer threads of moral feeling, and had given an unnatural harshness
to the national character.

Still the rebellion would have crouched timorously and silently on the
ground if it had not found a support in the nobility.  Charles V. had
spoiled the Flemish nobles of the Netherlands by making them the
participators of his glory, by fostering their national pride, by the
marked preference he showed for them over the Castilian nobles, and by
opening an arena to their ambition in every part of his empire.  In the
late war with France they had really deserved this preference from
Philip; the advantages which the king reaped from the peace of Chateau-
Cambray were for the most part the fruits of their valor, and they now
sensibly missed the gratitude on which they had so confidently reckoned.
Moreover, the separation of the German empire from the Spanish monarchy,
and the less warlike spirit of the new government, had greatly narrowed
their sphere of action, and, except in their own country, little
remained for them to gain.  And Philip now appointed his Spaniards where
Charles V. had employed the Flemings.  All the passions which the
preceding government had raised and kept employed still survived in
peace; and in default of a legitimate object these unruly feelings
found, unfortunately, ample scope in the grievances of their country.
Accordingly, the claims and wrongs which had been long supplanted by new
passions were now drawn from oblivion.  By his late appointments the
king had satisfied no party; for those even who obtained offices were
not much more content than those who were entirely passed over, because
they had calculated on something better than they got.  William of
Orange had received four governments (not to reckon some smaller
dependencies which, taken together, were equivalent to a fifth), but
William had nourished hopes of Flanders and Brabant.  He and Count
Egmont forgot what had really fallen to their share, and only remembered
that they had lost the regency.  The majority of the nobles were either
plunged into debt by their own extravagance, or had willingly enough
been drawn into it by the government.  Now that they were excluded from
the prospect of lucrative appointments, they at once saw themselves
exposed to poverty, which pained them the more sensibly when they
contrasted the splendor of the affluent citizens with their own
necessities.  In the extremities to which they were reduced many would
have readily assisted in the commission even of crimes; how then could
they resist the seductive offers of the Calvinists, who liberally repaid
them for their intercession and protection?  Lastly, many whose estates
were past redemption placed their last hope in a general devastation,
and stood prepared at the first favorable moment to cast the torch of
discord into the republic.

This threatening aspect of the public mind was rendered still more
alarming by the unfortunate vicinity of France.  What Philip dreaded for
the provinces was there already accomplished.  The fate of that kingdom
prefigured to him the destiny of his Netherlands, and the spirit of
rebellion found there a seductive example.  A similar state of things
had under Francis I. and Henry II. scattered the seeds of innovation in
that kingdom; a similar fury of persecution and a like spirit of faction
had encouraged its growth.  Now Huguenots and Catholics were struggling
in a dubious contest; furious parties disorganized the whole monarchy,
and were violently hurrying this once-powerful state to the brink of
destruction.  Here, as there, private interest, ambition, and party
feeling might veil themselves under the names of religion and
patriotism, and the passions of a few citizens drive the entire nation
to take up arms.  The frontiers of both countries merged in Walloon
Flanders; the rebellion might, like an agitated sea, cast its waves as
far as this: would a country be closed against it whose language,
manners, and character wavered between those of France and Belgium?  As
yet the government had taken no census of its Protestant subjects in
these countries, but the new sect, it was aware, was a vast, compact
republic, which extended its roots through all the monarchies of
Christendom, and the slighest disturbance in any of its most distant
members vibrated to its centre. It was, as it were, a chain of
threatening volcanoes, which, united by subterraneous passages, ignite
at the same moment with alarming sympathy.  The Netherlands were,
necessarily, open to all nations, because they derived their support
from all.  Was it possible for Philip to close a commercial state as
easily as he could Spain?  If he wished to purify these provinces from
heresy it was necessary for him to commence by extirpating it in France.

It was in this state that Granvella found the Netherlands at the
beginning of his administration (1560).

To restore to these countries the uniformity of papistry, to break the
co-ordinate power of the nobility and the states, and to exalt the royal
authority on the ruins of republican freedom, was the great object of
Spanish policy and the express commission of the new minister.  But
obstacles stood in the way of its accomplishment; to conquer these
demanded the invention of new resources, the application of new
machinery.  The Inquisition, indeed, and the religious edicts appeared
sufficient to check the contagion of heresy; but the latter required
superintendence, and the former able instruments for its now extended
jurisdiction.  The church constitution continued the same as it had been
in earlier times, when the provinces were less populous, when the church
still enjoyed universal repose, and could be more easily overlooked and
controlled.  A succession of several centuries, which changed the whole
interior form of the provinces, had left the form of the hierarchy
unaltered, which, moreover, was protected from the arbitrary will of its
ruler by the particular privileges of the provinces.  All the seventeen
provinces were parcelled out under four bishops, who had their seats at
Arras, Tournay, Cambray, and Utrecht, and were subject to the primates
of Rheims and Cologne.  Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, had, indeed,
meditated an increase in the number of bishops to meet the wants of the
increasing population; but, unfortunately, in the excitement of a life
of pleasure had abandoned the project.  Ambition and lust of conquest
withdrew the mind of Charles the Bold from the internal concerns of his
kingdom, and Maximilian had already too many subjects of dispute with
the states to venture to add to their number by proposing this change.
A stormy reign prevented Charles V. from the execution of this extensive
plan, which Philip II.  now undertook as a bequest from all these
princes.  The moment had now arrived when the urgent necessities of the
church would excuse the innovation, and the leisure of peace favored its
accomplishment.  With the prodigious crowd of people from all the
countries of Europe who were crowded together in the towns of the
Netherlands, a multitude of religious opinions had also grown up; and it
was impossible that religion could any longer be effectually
superintended by so few eyes as were formerly sufficient.  While the
number of bishops was so small their districts must, of necessity, have
been proportionally extensive, and four men could not be adequate to
maintain the purity of the faith through so wide a district.

The jurisdiction which the Archbishops of Cologne and Rheims exercised
over the Netherlands had long been a stumbling-block to the government,
which could not look on this territory as really its own property so
long as such an important branch of power was still wielded by foreign
hands.  To snatch this prerogative from the alien archbishops; by new
and active agents to give fresh life and vigor to the superintendence of
the faith, and at the same time to strengthen the number of the
partisans of government at the diet, no more effectual means could be
devised than to increase the number of bishops.  Resolved upon doing
this Philip II. ascended the throne; but he soon found that a change in
the hierarchy would inevitably meet with warm opposition from the
provinces, without whose consent, nevertheless, it would be vain to
attempt it.  Philip foresaw that the nobility would never approve of a
measure which would so strongly augment the royal party, and take from
the aristocracy the preponderance of power in the diet.  The revenues,
too, for the maintenance of these new bishops must be diverted from the
abbots and monks, and these formed a considerable part of the states of
the realm.  He had, besides, to fear the opposition of the Protestants,
who would not fail to act secretly in the diet against him.  On these
accounts the whole affair was discussed at Rome with the greatest
possible secrecy.  Instructed by, and as the agent of, Granvella,
Francis Sonnoi, a priest of Louvain, came before Paul IV. to inform him
how extensive the provinces were, how thriving and populous, how
luxurious in their prosperity.  But, he continued, in the immoderate
enjoyment of liberty the true faith is neglected, and heretics prosper.
To obviate this evil the Romish See must have recourse to extraordinary
measures.  It was not difficult to prevail on the Romish pontiff to make
a change which would enlarge the sphere of his own jurisdiction.

Paul IV. appointed a tribunal of seven cardinals to deliberate upon this
important matter; but death called him away, and he left to his
successor, Pius IV., the duty of carrying their advice into execution.
The welcome tidings of the pope's determination reached the king in
Zealand when he was just on the point of setting sail for Spain, and the
minister was secretly charged with the dangerous reform.  The new
constitution of the hierarchy was published in 1560; in addition to the
then existing four bishoprics thirteen new ones were established,
according to the number of seventeen provinces, and four of them were
raised into archbishoprics.  Six of these episcopal sees, viz., in
Antwerp, Herzogenbusch, Ghent, Bruges, Ypres, and Ruremonde, were placed
under the Archbishopric of Malines; five others, Haarlem, Middelburg,
Leuwarden, Deventer, and Groningen, under the Archbishopric of Utrecht;
and the remaining four, Arras, Tournay, St. Omer, and Namur, which lie
nearest to France, and have language, character, and manners in common
with that country, under the Archbishopric of Cambray.  Malines,
situated in the middle of Brabant and in the centre of all the seventeen
provinces, was made the primacy of all the rest, and was, with several
rich abbeys, the reward of Granvella.  The revenues of the new
bishoprics were provided by an appropriation of the treasures of the
cloisters and abbeys which had accumulated from pious benefactions
during centuries.  Some of the abbots were raised to the episcopal
throne, and with the possession of their cloisters and prelacies
retained also the vote at the diet which was attached to them.  At the
same time to every bishopric nine prebends were attached, and bestowed
on the most learned juris-consultists and theologians, who were to
support the Inquisition and the bishop in his spiritual office.  Of
these, the two who were most deserving by knowledge, experience, and
unblemished life were to be constituted actual inquisitors, and to have
the first voice in the Synods.  To the Archbishop of Malines, as
metropolitan of all the seventeen provinces, the full authority was
given to appoint, or at discretion depose, archbishops and bishops; and
the Romish See was only to give its ratification to his acts.

At any other period the nation would have received with gratitude and
approved of such a measure of church reform since it was fully called
for by circumstances, was conducive to the interests of religion, and
absolutely indispensable for the moral reformation of the monkhood.  Now
the temper of the times saw in it nothing but a hateful change.
Universal was the indignation with which it was received.  A cry was
raised that the constitution was trampled under foot, the rights of the
nation violated, and that the Inquisition was already at the door, and
would soon open here, as in Spain, its bloody tribunal.  The people
beheld with dismay these new servants of arbitrary power and of
persecution.  The nobility saw in it nothing but a strengthening of the
royal authority by the addition of fourteen votes in the states'
assembly, and a withdrawal of the firmest prop of their freedom, the
balance of the royal and the civil power.  The old bishops complained of
the diminution of their incomes and the circumscription of their sees;
the abbots and monks had not only lost power and income, but had
received in exchange rigid censors of their morals.  Noble and simple,
laity and clergy, united against the common foe, and while all singly
struggled for some petty private interest, the cry appeared to come from
the formidable voice of patriotism.

Among all the provinces Brabant was loudest in its opposition.  The
inviolability of its church constitution was one of the important
privileges which it had reserved in the remarkable charter of the
"Joyful Entry,"--statutes which the sovereign could not violate without
releasing the nation from its allegiance to him.  In vain did the
university of Louvain assert that in disturbed times of the church a
privilege lost its power which had been granted in the period of its
tranquillity.  The introduction of the new bishoprics into the
constitution was thought to shake the whole fabric of liberty.  The
prelacies, which were now transferred to the bishops, must henceforth
serve another rule than the advantage of the province of whose states
they had been members.  The once free patriotic citizens were to be
instruments of the Romish See and obedient tools of the archbishop, who
again, as first prelate of Brabant, had the immediate control over them.
The freedom of voting was gone, because the bishops, as servile spies of
the crown, made every one fearful.  "Who," it was asked, "will after
this venture to raise his voice in parliament before such observers, or
in their presence dare to protect the rights of the nation against the
rapacious hands of the government?  They will trace out the resources of
the provinces, and betray to the crown the secrets of our freedom and
our property.  They will obstruct the way to all offices of honor; we
shall soon see the courtiers of the king succeed the present men; the
children of foreigners will, for the future, fill the parliament, and
the private interest of their patron will guide their venal votes."
"What an act of oppression," rejoined the monks, "to pervert to other
objects the pious designs of our holy institutions, to contemn the
inviolable wishes of the dead, and to take that which a devout charity
had deposited in our chests for the relief of the unfortunate and make
it subservient to the luxury of the bishops, thus inflating their
arrogant pomp with the plunder of the poor?"  Not only the abbots and
monks, who really did suffer by this act of appropriation, but every
family which could flatter itself with the slightest hope of enjoying,
at some time or other, even in the most remote posterity, the benefit of
this monastic foundation, felt this disappointment of their distant
expectations as much as if they had suffered an actual injury, and the
wrongs of a few abbot-prelates became the concern of a whole nation.

Historians have not omitted to record the covert proceedings of William
of Orange during this general commotion, who labored to conduct to one
end these various and conflicting passions.  At his instigation the
people of Brabant petitioned the regent for an advocate and protector,
since they alone, of all his Flemish subjects, had the misfortune to
unite, in one and the same person, their counsel and their ruler.  Had
the demand been granted, their choice could fall on no other than the
Prince of Orange.  But Granvella, with his usual presence of mind, broke
through the snare.  "The man who receives this office," he declared in
the state council, "will, I hope, see that he divides Brabant with the
king!"   The long delay of the papal bull, which was kept back by a
misunderstanding between the Romish and Spanish courts, gave the
disaffected an opportunity to combine for a common object.  In perfect
secrecy the states of Brabant despatched an extraordinary messenger to
Pins IV. to urge their wishes in Rome itself.  The ambassador was
provided with important letters of recommendation from the Prince of
Orange, and carried with him considerable sums to pave his way to the
father of the church.  At the same time a public letter was forwarded
from the city of Antwerp to the King of Spain containing the most urgent
representations, and supplicating him to spare that flourishing
commercial town from the threatened innovation.  They knew, it was
stated, that the intentions of the monarch were the best, and that the
institution of the new bishops was likely to be highly conducive to the
maintenance of true religion; but the foreigners could not be convinced
of this, and on them depended the prosperity of their town.  Among them
the most groundless rumors would be as perilous as the most true.  The
first embassy was discovered in time, and its object disappointed by the
prudence of the regent; by the second the town of Antwerp gained so far
its point that it was to remain without a bishop, at least until the
personal arrival of the king, which was talked of.

The example and success of Antwerp gave the signal of opposition to all
the other towns for which a new bishop was intended.  It is a remarkable
proof of the hatred to the Inquisition and the unanimity of the Flemish
towns at this date that they preferred to renounce all the advantages
which the residence of a bishop would necessarily bring to their local
trade rather than by their consent promote that abhorred tribunal, and
thus act in opposition to the interests of the whole nation.  Deventer,
Ruremond, and Leuwarden placed themselves in determined opposition, and
(1561) successfully carried their point; in the other towns the bishops
were, in spite of all remonstrances, forcibly inducted.  Utrecht,
Haarlem, St. Omer, and Middelburg were among the first which opened
their gates to them; the remaining towns followed their example; but in
Malines and Herzogenbusch the bishops were received with very little
respect.  When Granvella made his solemn entry into the former town not
a single nobleman showed himself, and his triumph was wanting in
everything that could make it real, because those remained away over
whom it was meant to be celebrated.

In the meantime, too, the period had elapsed within which the Spanish
troops were to have left the country, and as yet there was no appearance
of their being withdrawn.  People perceived with terror the real cause
of the delay, and suspicion lent it a fatal connection with the
Inquisition.  The detention of these troops, as it rendered the nation
more vigilant and distrustful, made it more difficult for the minister
to proceed with the other innovations, and yet he would fain not deprive
himself of this powerful and apparently indispensable aid in a country
where all hated him, and in the execution of a commission to which all
were opposed.  At last, however, the regent saw herself compelled by the
universal murmurs of discontent, to urge most earnestly upon the king
the necessity of the withdrawal of the troops.  "The provinces," she
writes to Madrid, "have unanimously declared that they would never again
be induced to grant the extraordinary taxes required by the government
as long as word was not kept with them in this matter.  The danger of a
revolt was far more imminent than that of an attack by the French
Protestants, and if a rebellion was to take place in the Netherlands
these forces would be too weak to repress it, and there was not
sufficient money in the treasury to enlist new."  By delaying his answer
the king still sought at least to gain time, and the reiterated
representations of the regent would still have remained ineffectual, if,
fortunately for the provinces, a loss which he had lately suffered from
the Turks had not compelled him to employ these troops in the
Mediterranean.  He, therefore, at last consented to their departure:
they were embarked in 1561 in Zealand, and the exulting shouts of all
the provinces accompanied their departure.

Meanwhile Granvella ruled in the council of state almost uncontrolled.
All offices, secular and spiritual, were given away through him; his
opinion prevailed against the unanimous voice of the whole assembly.
The regent herself was governed by him.  He had contrived to manage so
that her appointment was made out for two years only, and by this
expedient he kept her always in his power.  It seldom happened that any
important affair was submitted to the other members, and if it really
did occur it was only such as had been long before decided, to which it
was only necessary for formality's sake to gain their sanction.
Whenever a royal letter was read Viglius received instructions to omit
all such passages as were underlined by the minister.  It often happened
that this correspondence with Spain laid open the weakness of the
government, or the anxiety felt by the regent, with which it was not
expedient to inform the members, whose loyalty was distrusted.  If again
it occurred that the opposition gained a majority over the minister, and
insisted with determination on an article which he could not well put
off any longer, he sent it to the ministry at Madrid for their decision,
by which he at least gained time, and in any case was certain to find
support.--With the exception of the Count of Barlaimont, the President
Viglius, and a few others, all the other counsellors were but
superfluous figures in the senate, and the minister's behavior to them
marked the small value which he placed upon their friendship and
adherence.  No wonder that men whose pride had been so greatly indulged
by the flattering attentions of sovereign princes, and to whom, as to
the idols of their country, their fellow-citizens paid the most
reverential submission, should be highly indignant at this arrogance of
a plebeian.  Many of them had been personally insulted by Granvella.

The Prince of Orange was well aware that it was he who had prevented his
marriage with the Princess of Lorraine, and that he had also endeavored
to break off the negotiations for another alliance with the Princess of
Savoy. He had deprived Count Horn of the government of Gueldres and
Zutphen, and had kept for himself an abbey which Count Egmont had in
vain exerted himself to obtain for a relation.  Confident of his
superior power, he did not even think it worth while to conceal from the
nobility his contempt for them, and which, as a rule, marked his whole
administration; William of Orange was the only one with whom be deemed
it advisable to dissemble.  Although he really believed himself to be
raised far above all the laws of fear and decorum, still in this point,
however, his confident arrogance misled him, and he erred no less
against policy than he shined against propriety.  In the existing
posture of affairs the government could hardly have adopted a worse
measure than that of throwing disrespect on the nobility.  It had it in
its power to flatter the prejudices and feelings of the aristocracy, and
thus artfully and imperceptibly win them over to its plans, and through
them subvert the edifice of national liberty.  Now it admonished them,
most inopportunely, of their duties, their dignity, and their power;
calling upon them even to be patriots, and to devote to the cause of
true greatness an ambition which hitherto it had inconsiderately
repelled.  To carry into effect the ordinances it required the active
co-operation of the lieutenant-governors; no wonder, however, that the
latter showed but little zeal to afford this assistance.  On the
contrary, it is highly probable that they silently labored to augment
the difficulties of the minister, and to subvert his measures, and
through his ill-success to diminish the king's confidence in him, and
expose his administration to contempt.  The rapid progress which in
spite of those horrible edicts the Reformation made during Granvella's
administration in the Netherlands, is evidently to be ascribed to the
lukewarmness of the nobility in opposing it.  If the minister had been
sure of the nobles he might have despised the fury of the mob, which
would have impotently dashed itself against the dreaded barriers of the
throne.  The sufferings of the citizens lingered long in tears and
sighs, until the arts and the example of the nobility called forth a
louder expression of them.

Meanwhile the inquisitions into religion were carried on with renewed
vigor by the crowd of new laborers (1561, 1562), and the edicts against
heretics were enforced with fearful obedience.  But the critical moment
when this detestable remedy might have been applied was allowed to pass
by; the nation had become too strong and vigorous for such rough
treatment.  The new religion could now be extirpated only by the death
of all its professors.  The present executions were but so many alluring
exhibitions of its excellence, so many scenes of its triumphs and
radiant virtue.  The heroic greatness with which the victims died made
converts to the opinions for which they perished.  One martyr gained ten
new proselytes.  Not in towns only, or villages, but on the very
highways, in the boats and public carriages disputes were held touching
the dignity of the pope, the saints, purgatory, and indulgences, and
sermons were preached and men converted.  From the country and from the
towns the common people rushed in crowds to rescue the prisoners of the
Holy Tribunal from the hands of its satellites, and the municipal
officers who ventured to support it with the civil forces were pelted
with stones.  Multitudes accompanied the Protestant preachers whom the
Inquisition pursued, bore them on their shoulders to and from church,
and at the risk of their lives concealed them from their persecutors.
The first province which was seized with the fanatical spirit of
rebellion was, as had been expected, Walloon Flanders.  A French
Calvinist, by name Lannoi, set himself up in Tournay as a worker of
miracles, where he hired a few women to simulate diseases, and to
pretend to be cured by him.  He preached in the woods near the town,
drew the people in great numbers after him, and scattered in their minds
the seeds of rebellion.  Similar teachers appeared in Lille and
Valenciennes, but in the latter place the municipal functionaries
succeeded in seizing the persons of these incendiaries; while, however,
they delayed to execute them their followers increased so rapidly that
they became sufficiently strong to break open the prisons and forcibly
deprive justice of its victims.  Troops at last were brought into the
town and order restored.  But this trifling occurrence had for a moment
withdrawn the veil which had hitherto concealed the strength of the
Protestant party, and allowed the minister to compute their prodigious
numbers.  In Tournay alone five thousand at one time had been seen
attending the sermons, and not many less in Valenciennes.  What might
not be expected from the northern provinces, where liberty was greater,
and the seat of government more remote, and where the vicinity of
Germany and Denmark multiplied the sources of contagion?  One slight
provocation had sufficed to draw from its concealment so formidable a
multitude.  How much greater was, perhaps, the number of those who in
their hearts acknowledged the new sect, and only waited for a favorable
opportunity to publish their adhesion to it.  This discovery greatly
alarmed the regent.  The scanty obedience paid to the edicts, the wants
of the exhausted treasury, which compelled her to impose new taxes, and
the suspicious movements of the Huguenots on the French frontiers still
further increased her anxiety.  At the same time she received a command
from Madrid to send off two thousand Flemish cavalry to the army of the
Queen Mother in France, who, in the distresses of the civil war, had
recourse to Philip II. for assistance.  Every affair of faith, in
whatever land it might be, was made by Philip his own business.  He felt
it as keenly as any catastrophe which could befall his own house, and in
such cases always stood ready to sacrifice his means to foreign
necessities.  If it were interested motives that here swayed him they
were at least kingly and grand, and the bold support of his principles
wins our admiration as much as their cruelty withholds our esteem.

The regent laid before the council of state the royal will on the
subject of these troops, but with a very warm opposition on the part of
the nobility.  Count Egmont and the Prince of Orange declared that the
time was illchosen for stripping the Netherlands of troops, when the
aspect of affairs rendered rather the enlistment of new levies
advisable.  The movements of the troops in France momentarily threatened
a surprise, and the commotions within the provinces demanded, more than
ever, the utmost vigilance on the part of the government.  Hitherto,
they said, the German Protestants had looked idly on during the
struggles of their brethren in the faith; but will they continue to do
so, especially when we are lending our aid to strengthen their enemy?
By thus acting shall we not rouse their vengeance against us, and call
their arms into the northern Netherlands?  Nearly the whole council of
state joined in this opinion; their representations were energetic and
not to be gainsaid.  The regent herself, as well as the minister, could
not but feel their truth, and their own interests appeared to forbid
obedience to the royal mandate.  Would it not be impolitic to withdraw
from the Inquisition its sole prop by removing the larger portion of the
army, and in a rebellious country to leave themselves without defence,
dependent on the arbitrary will of an arrogant aristocracy?  While the
regent, divided between the royal commands, the urgent importunity of
her council, and her own fears, could not venture to come to a decision,
William of Orange rose and proposed the assembling of the States
General.  But nothing could have inflicted a more fatal blow on the
supremacy of the crown than by yielding to this advice to put the nation
in mind of its power and its rights.  No measure could be more hazardous
at the present moment.  The danger which was thus gathering over the
minister did not escape him; a sign from him warned the regent to break
off the consultation and adjourn the council.  "The government," he
writes to Madrid, "can do nothing more injurious to itself than to
consent to the assembling of the states.  Such a step is at all times
perilous, because it tempts the nation to test and restrict the rights
of the crown; but it is many times more objectionable at the present
moment, when the spirit of rebellion is already widely spread amongst
us; when the abbots, exasperated at the loss of their income, will
neglect nothing to impair the dignity of the bishops; when the whole
nobility and all the deputies from the towns are led by the arts of the
Prince of Orange, and the disaffected can securely reckon on the
assistance of the nation."  This representation, which at least was not
wanting in sound sense, did not fail in having the desired effect on the
king's mind.  The assembling of the states was rejected once and
forever, the penal statutes against the heretics were renewed in all
their rigor, and the regent was directed to hasten the despatch of the
required auxiliaries.

But to this the council of state would not consent.  All that she
obtained was, instead of the troops, a supply of money for the Queen
Mother, which at this crisis was still more welcome to her.  In place,
however, of assembling the states, and in order to beguile the nation
with, at least, the semblance of republican freedom, the regent summoned
the governors of the provinces and the knights of the Golden Fleece to a
special congress at Brussels, to consult on the present dangers and
necessities of the state.  When the President, Viglius, had laid before
them the matters on which they were summoned to deliberate, three days
were given to them for consideration.  During this time the Prince of
Orange assembled them in his palace, where he represented to them the
necessity of coming to some unanimous resolution before the next
sitting, and of agreeing on the measures which ought to be followed in
the present dangerous state of affairs.

The majority assented to the propriety of this course; only Barlaimont,
with a few of the dependents of the cardinal, had the courage to plead
for the interests of the crown and of the minister.  "It did not behoove
them," he said, "to interfere in the concerns of the government, and
this previous agreement of votes was an illegal and culpable assumption,
in the guilt of which he would not participate;"--a declaration which
broke up the meeting without any conclusion being come to.  The regent,
apprised of it by the Count Barlaimont, artfully contrived to keep the
knights so well employed during their stay in the town that they could
find no time for coming to any further secret understanding; in this
session, however, it was arranged, with their concurrence, that Florence
of Montmorency, Lord of Montigny, should make a journey to Spain, in
order to acquaint the king with the present posture of affairs.  But the
regent sent before him another messenger to Madrid, who previously
informed the king of all that had been debated between the Prince of
Orange and the knights at the secret conference.

The Flemish ambassador was flattered in Madrid with empty protestations
of the king's favor and paternal sentiments towards the Netherlands,
while the regent was commanded to thwart, to the utmost of her power,
the secret combinations of the nobility, and, if possible, to sow
discord among their most eminent members.  Jealousy, private interest,
and religious differences had long divided many of the nobles; their
share in the common neglect and contempt with which they were treated,
and a general hatred of the minister had again united them.  So long as
Count Egmont and the Prince of Orange were suitors for the regency it
could not fail but that at times their competing claims should have
brought them into collision.  Both had met each other on the road to
glory and before the throne; both again met in the republic, where they
strove for the same prize, the favor of their fellow-citizens.  Such
opposite characters soon became estranged, but the powerful sympathy of
necessity as quickly reconciled them.  Each was now indispensable to the
other, and the emergency united these two men together with a bond which
their hearts would never have furnished.  But it was on this very
uncongeniality of disposition that the regent based her plans; if she
could fortunately succeed in separating them she would at the same time
divide the whole Flemish nobility into two parties.  Through the
presents and small attentions by which she exclusively honored these
two she also sought to excite against them the envy and distrust of the
rest, and by appearing to give Count Egmont a preference over the Prince
of Orange she hoped to make the latter suspicious of Egmont's good
faith.  It happened that at this very time she was obliged to send an
extraordinary ambassador to Frankfort, to be present at the election of
a Roman emperor.  She chose for this office the Duke of Arschot, the
avowed enemy of the prince, in order in some degree to show in his case
how splendid was the reward which hatred against the latter might look
for. The Orange faction, however, instead of suffering any diminution,
had gained an important accession in Count Horn, who, as admiral of the
Flemish marine, had convoyed the king to Biscay, and now again took his
seat in the council of state.  Horn's restless and republican spirit
readily met the daring schemes of Orange and Egmont, and a dangerous
Triumvirate was soon formed by these three friends, which shook the
royal power in the Netherlands, but which terminated very differently
for each of its members.


(1562.) Meanwhile Montigny had returned from his embassy, and brought
back to the council of state the most gracious assurance of the monarch.
But the Prince of Orange had, through his own secret channels of
intelligence, received more credible information from Madrid, which
entirely contradicted this report.  By these means be learnt all the ill
services which Granvella had done him and his friends with the king, and
the odious appellations which were there applied to the Flemish
nobility.  There was no help for them so long as the minister retained
the helm of government, and to procure his dismissal was the scheme,
however rash and adventurous it appeared, which wholly occupied the mind
of the prince.  It was agreed between him and Counts Horn and Egmont to
despatch a joint letter to the king, and, in the name of the whole
nobility, formally to accuse the minister, and press energetically for
his removal.  The Duke of Arschot, to whom this proposition was
communicated by Count Egmont, refused to concur in it, haughtily
declaring that he was not disposed to receive laws from Egmont and
Orange; that he had no cause of complaint against Granvella, and that he
thought it very presumptuous to prescribe to the king what ministers he
ought to employ.  Orange received a similar answer from the Count of
Aremberg.  Either the seeds of distrust which the regent had scattered
amongst the nobility had already taken root, or the fear of the
minister's power outweighed the abhorrence of his measures; at any rate,
the whole nobility shrunk back timidly and irresolutely from the
proposal.  This disappointment did not, however, discourage them.  The
letter was written and subscribed by all three (1563).

In it Granvella was represented as the prime cause of all the disorders
in the Netherlands.  So long as the highest power should be entrusted to
him it would, they declared, be impossible for them to serve the nation
and king effectually; on the other hand, all would revert to its former
tranquillity, all opposition be discontinued, and the government regain
the affections of the people as soon as his majesty should be pleased to
remove this man from the helm of the state.  In that case, they added,
neither exertion nor zeal would be wanting on their part to maintain in
these countries the dignity of the king and the purity of the faith,
which was no less sacred to them than to the cardinal, Granvella.

Secretly as this letter was prepared still the duchess was informed of
it in sufficient time to anticipate it by another despatch, and to
counteract the effect which it might have had on the king's mind.  Some
months passed ere an answer came from Madrid.  It was mild, but vague.
"The king," such was its import, "was not used to condemn his ministers
unheard on the mere accusations of their enemies.  Common justice alone
required that the accusers of the cardinal should descend from general
imputations to special proofs, and if they were not inclined to do this
in writing, one of them might come to Spain, where he should be treated
with all respect."  Besides this letter, which was equally directed to
all three, Count Egmont further received an autograph letter from the
king, wherein his majesty expressed a wish to learn from him in
particular what in the common letter had been only generally touched
upon.  The regent, also, was specially instructed how she was to answer
the three collectively, and the count singly.  The king knew his man.
He felt it was easy to manage Count Egmont alone; for this reason he
sought to entice him to Madrid, where he would be removed from the
commanding guidance of a higher intellect.  In distinguishing him above
his two friends by so flattering a mark of his confidence, he made a
difference in the relation in which they severally stood to the throne;
how could they, then, unite with equal zeal for the same object when the
inducements were no longer the same?  This time, indeed, the vigilance
of Orange frustrated the scheme; but the sequel of the history will show
that the seed which was now scattered was not altogether lost.


(1563.) The king's answer gave no satisfaction to the three
confederates; they boldly determined to venture a second attempt.  "It
had," they wrote, "surprised them not a little, that his majesty had
thought their representations so unworthy of attention.  It was not as
accusers of the minister, but as counsellors of his majesty, whose duty
it was to inform their master of the condition of his states, that they
had despatched that letter to him.  They sought not the ruin of the
minister, indeed it would gratify them to see him contented and happy in
any other part of the world than here in the Netherlands.  They were,
however, fully persuaded of this, that his continued presence there was
absolutely incompatible with the general tranquillity.  The present
dangerous condition of their native country would allow none of them to
leave it, much less to take so long a journey as to Spain on Granvella's
account.  If, therefore, his majesty did not please to comply with their
written request, they hoped to be excused for the future from attendance
in the senate, where they were only exposed to the mortification of
meeting the minister, and where they could be of no service either to
the king or the state, but only appeared contemptible in their own
sight.  In conclusion, they begged his majesty would not take ill the
plain simplicity of their languge, since persons of their character set
more value on acting well than on speaking finely."  To the same purport
was a separate letter from Count Egmont, in which he returned thanks for
the royal autograph.  This second address was followed by an answer to
the effect that "their representations should be taken into
consideration, meanwhile they were requested to attend the council of
state as heretofore."

It was evident that the monarch was far from intending to grant their
request; they, therefore, from this tune forth absented themselves from
the state council, and even left Brussels.  Not having succeeded in
removing the minister by lawful means they sought to accomplish this end
by a new mode from which more might be expected.  On every occasion they
and their adherents openly showed the contempt which they felt for him,
and contrived to throw ridicule on everything he undertook.  By this
contemptuous treatment they hoped to harass the haughty spirit of the
priest, and to obtain through his mortified self-love what they had
failed in by other means.  In this, indeed, they did not succeed; but
the expedient on which they had fallen led in the end to the ruin of the
minister.

The popular voice was raised more loudly against him so soon as it was
perceived that be had forfeited the good opinion of the nobles, and that
men whose sentiments they had been used blindly to echo preceded them in
detestation of him.  The contemptuous manner in which the nobility now
treated him devoted him in a measure to the general scorn and emboldened
calumny which never spares even what is holiest and purest, to lay its
sacrilegious hand on his honor.  The new constitution of the church,
which was the great grievance of the nation, had been the basis of his
fortunes.  This was a crime that could not be forgiven.  Every fresh
execution--and with such spectacles the activity of the inquisitors was
only too liberal--kept alive and furnished dreadful exercise to the
bitter animosity against him, and at last custom and usage inscribed his
name on every act of oppression.  A stranger in a land into which he had
been introduced against its will; alone among millions of enemies;
uncertain of all his tools; supported only by the weak arm of distant
royalty; maintaining his intercourse with the nation, which he had to
gain, only by means of faithless instruments, all of whom made it their
highest object to falsify his actions and misrepresent his motives;
lastly, with a woman for his coadjutor who could not share with him the
burden of the general execration--thus he stood exposed to the
wantonness, the ingratitude, the faction, the envy, and all the evil
passions of a licentious, insubordinate people.  It is worthy of remark
that the hatred which he had incurred far outran the demerits which
could be laid to his charge; that it was difficult, nay impossible, for
his accusers to substantiate by proof the general condemnation which
fell upon him from all sides.  Before and after him fanaticism dragged
its victims to the altar; before and after him civil blood flowed, the
rights of men were made a mock of, and men themselves rendered wretched.
Under Charles V. tyranny ought to have pained more acutely through its
novelty; under the Duke of Alva it was carried to far more unnatural
lengths, insomuch that Granvella's administration, in comparison with
that of his successor, was even merciful; and yet we do not find that
his contemporaries ever evinced the same degree of personal exasperation
and spite against the latter in which they indulged against his
predecessor.  To cloak the meanness of his birth in the splendor of high
dignities, and by an exalted station to place him if possible above the
malice of his enemies, the regent had made interest at Rome to procure
for him the cardinal's hat; but this very honor, which connected him
more closely with the papal court, made him so much the more an alien in
the provinces.  The purple was a new crime in Brussels, and an
obnoxious, detested garb, which in a measure publicly held forth to view
the principles on which his future conduct would be governed.  Neither
his honorable rank, which alone often consecrates the most infamous
caitiff, nor his talents, which commanded esteem, nor even his terrible
omnipotence, which daily revealed itself in so many bloody
manifestations, could screen him from derision.  Terror and scorn, the
fearful and the ludicruous, were in his instance unnaturally blended.

     [The nobility, at the suggestion of Count Egmont, caused their
     servants to wear a common livery, on which was embroidered a fool's
     cap.  All Brussels interpreted it for the cardinal's hat, and every
     appearance of such a servant renewed their laughter; this badge of
     a fool's cap, which was offensive to the court, was subsequently
     changed into a bundle of arrows--an accidental jest which took a
     very serious end, and probably was the origin of the arms of the
     republic.  Vit. Vigl. T. II. 35 Thuan.  489.  The respect for the
     cardinal sunk at last so low that a caricature was publicly placed
     in his own hand, in which he was represented seated on a heap of
     eggs, out of which bishops were crawling.  Over him hovered a devil
     with the inscription--"This is my son, hear ye him!"]

Odious rumors branded his honor; murderous attempts on the lives of
Egmont and Orange were ascribed to him; the most incredible things found
credence; the most monstrous, if they referred to him or were said to
emanate from him, surprised no longer.  The nation had already become
uncivilized to that degree where the most contradictory sentiments
prevail side by side, and the finer boundary lines of decorum and moral
feeling are erased.  This belief in extraordinary crimes is almost
invariably their immediate precursor.

But with this gloomy prospect the strange destiny of this man opens at
the same time a grander view, which impresses the unprejudiced observer
with pleasure and admiration.  Here he beholds a nation dazzled by no
splendor, and restrained by no fear, firmly, inexorably, and
unpremeditatedly unanimous in punishing the crime which had been
committed against its dignity by the violent introduction of a stranger
into the heart of its political constitution.  We see him ever aloof and
ever isolated, like a foreign hostile body hovering over a surface which
repels its contact.  The strong hand itself of the monarch, who was.
his friend and protector, could not support him against the antipathies
of the nation which had once resolved to withhold from him all its
sympathy.  The voice of national hatred was all powerful, and was ready
to forego even private interest, its certain gains; his alms even were
shunned, like the fruit of an accursed tree.  Like pestilential vapor,
the infamy of universal reprobation hung over him.  In his case
gratitude believed itself absolved from its duties; his adherents
shunned him; his friends were dumb in his behalf.  So terribly did the
people avenge the insulted majesty of their nobles and their nation on
the greatest monarch of the earth.

History has repeated this memorable example only once, in Cardinal
Mazarin; but the instance differed according to the spirit of the two
periods and nations.  The highest power could not protect either from
derision; but if France found vent for its indignation in laughing at
its pantaloon, the Netherlands hurried from scorn to rebellion.  The
former, after a long bondage under the vigorous administration of
Richelieu, saw itself placed suddenly in unwonted liberty; the latter
had passed from ancient hereditary freedom into strange and unusual
servitude; it was as natural that the Fronde should end again in
subjection as that the Belgian troubles should issue in republican
independence.  The revolt of the Parisians was the offspring of poverty;
unbridled, but not bold, arrogant, but without energy, base and
plebeian, like the source from which it sprang.  The murmur of the
Netherlands was the proud and powerful voice of wealth.  Licentiousness
and hunger inspired the former; revenge, life, property, and religion
were the animating motives of the latter.  Rapacity was Mazarin's spring
of action; Granvella's lust of power.  The former was humane and mild;
the latter harsh, imperious, cruel.  The French minister sought in the
favor of his queen an asylum from the hatred of the magnates and the
fury of the people; the Netherlandish minister provoked the hatred of a
whole nation in order to please one man.  Against Mazarin were only a
few factions and the mob they could arm; an entire and united nation
against Granvella.  Under the former parliament attempted to obtain,
by stealth, a power which did not belong to them; under the latter it
struggled for a lawful authority which he insidiously had endeavored to
wrest from them.  The former had to contend with the princes of the
blood and the peers of the realm, as the latter had with the native
nobility and the states, but instead of endeavoring, like the former, to
overthrow the common enemy, in the hope of stepping themselves into his
place, the latter wished to destroy the place itself, and to divide a
power which no single man ought to possess entire.

While these feelings were spreading among the people the influence of
the minister at the court of the regent began to totter.  The repeated
complaints against the extent of his power must at last have made her
sensible how little faith was placed in her own; perhaps, too, she began
to fear that the universal abhorrence which attached to him would soon
include herself also, or that his longer stay would inevitably provoke
the menaced revolt.  Long intercourse with him, his instruction and
example, had qualified her to govern without him.  His dignity began to
be more oppressive to her as he became less necessary, and his faults,
to which her friendship had hitherto lent a veil, became visible as it
was withdrawn.  She was now as much disposed to search out and enumerate
these faults as she formerly had been to conceal them.  In this
unfavorable state of her feelings towards the cardinal the urgent and
accumulated representations of the nobles began at last to find access
to her mind, and the more easily, as they contrived to mix up her own
fears with their own.  "It was matter of great astonishment," said Count
Egmont to her, "that to gratify a man who was not even a Fleming, and of
whom, therefore, it must be well known that his happiness could not be
dependent on the prosperity of this country, the king could be content
to see all his Netherlandish subjects suffer, and this to please a
foreigner, who if his birth made him a subject of the Emperor, the
purple had made a creature of the court of Rome."  "To the king alone,"
added the count, "was Granvella indebted for his being still among the
living; for the future, however, he would leave that care of him to the
regent, and he hereby gave her warning."  As the majority of the nobles,
disgusted with the contemptuous treatment which they met with in the
council of state, gradually withdrew from it, the arbitrary proceedings
of the minister lost the last semblance of republican deliberation which
had hitherto softened the odious aspect, and the empty desolation of
the council chamber made his domineering rule appear in all its
obnoxiousness.  The regent now felt that she had a master over her,
and from that moment the banishment of the minister was decided upon.

With this object she despatched her private secretary, Thomas
Armenteros, to Spain, to acquaint the king with the circumstances in
which the cardinal was placed, to apprise him of the intimations she had
received of the intentions of the nobles, and in this manner to cause
the resolution for his recall to appear to emanate from the king
himself.  What she did not like to trust to a letter Armenteros was
ordered ingeniously to interweave in the oral communication which the
king would probably require from him.  Armenteros fulfilled his
commission with all the ability of a consummate courtier; but an
audience of four hours could not overthrow the work of many years, nor
destroy in Philip's mind his opinion of his minister, which was there
unalterably established.  Long did the monarch hold counsel with his
policy and his interest, until Granvella himself came to the aid of his
wavering resolution and voluntarily solicited a dismissal, which, he
feared, could not much longer be deferred.  What the detestation of all
the Netherlands could not effect the contemptuous treatment of the
nobility accomplished; he was at last weary of a power which was no
longer feared, and exposed him less to envy than to infamy.

Perhaps as some have believed he trembled for his life, which was
certainly in more than imaginary danger; perhaps he wished to receive
his dismissal from the king under the shape of a boon rather than of a
sentence, and after the example of the Romans meet with dignity a fate
which he could no longer avoid.  Philip too, it would appear, preferred
generously to accord to the nation a request rather than to yield at a
later period to a demand, and hoped at least to merit their thanks by
voluntarily conceding now what necessity would ere long extort.  His
fears prevailed over his obstinacy, and prudence overcame pride.

Granvella doubted not for a moment what the decision of the king would
be.  A few days after the return of Armenteros he saw humility and
flattery disappear from the few faces which had till then servilely
smiled upon him; the last small crowd of base flatterers and eyeservants
vanished from around his person; his threshold was forsaken; he
perceived that the fructifying warmth of royal favor had left him.

Detraction, which had assailed him during his whole administration, did
not spare him even in the moment of resignation.  People did not scruple
to assert that a short time before he laid down his office he had
expressed a wish to be reconciled to the Prince of Orange and Count
Egmont, and even offered, if their forgiveness could be hoped for on no
other terms, to ask pardon of them on his knees.  It was base and
contemptible to sully the memory of a great and extraordinary man with
such a charge, but it is still more so to hand it down uncontradicted to
posterity.  Granvella submitted to the royal command with a dignified
composure.  Already had he written, a few months previously, to the Duke
of Alva in Spain, to prepare him a place of refuge in Madrid, in case of
his having to quit the Netherlands.  The latter long bethought himself
whether it was advisable to bring thither so dangerous a rival for the
favor of his king, or to deny so important a friend such a valuable
means of indulging his old hatred of the Flemish nobles.  Revenge
prevailed over fear, and he strenuously supported Granvella's request
with the monarch.  But his intercession was fruitless.  Armenteros had
persuaded the king that the minister's residence in Madrid would only
revive, with increased violence, all the complaints of the Belgian
nation, to which his ministry had been sacrificed; for then, he said, he
would be suspected of poisoning the very source of that power, whose
outlets only he had hitherto been charged with corrupting.  He therefore
sent him to Burgundy, his native place, for which a decent pretext
fortunately presented itself.  The cardinal gave to his departure from
Brussels the appearance of an unimportant journey, from which he would
return in a few days.  At the same time, however, all the state
counsellors, who, under his administration, had voluntarily excluded
themselves from its sittings, received a command from the court to
resume their seats in the senate at Brussels.  Although the latter
circumstance made his return not very credible, nevertheless the
remotest possibility of it sobered the triumph which celebrated his
departure.  The regent herself appears to have been undecided what to
think about the report; for, in a fresh letter to the king, she repeated
all the representations and arguments which ought to restrain him from
restoring this minister.  Granvella himself, in his correspondence with
Barlaimont and Viglius, endeavored to keep alive this rumor, and at
least to alarm with fears, however unsubstantial, the enemies whom he
could no longer punish by his presence.  Indeed, the dread of the
influence of this extraordinary man was so exceedingly great that, to
appease it, he was at last driven even from his home and his country.

After the death of Pius IV., Granvella went to Rome, to be present at
the election of a new pope, and at the same time to discharge some
commissions of his master, whose confidence in him remained unshaken.
Soon after, Philip made him viceroy of Naples, where he succumbed to the
seductions of the climate, and the spirit which no vicissitudes could
bend voluptuousness overcame.  He was sixty-two years old when the king
allowed him to revisit Spain, where he continued with unlimited powers
to administer the affairs of Italy.  A gloomy old age, and the self-
satisfied pride of a sexagenarian administration made him a harsh and
rigid judge of the opinions of others, a slave of custom, and a tedious
panegyrist of past times.  But the policy of the closing century had
ceased to be the policy of the opening one.  A new and younger ministry
were soon weary of so imperious a superintendent, and Philip himself
began to shun the aged counsellor, who found nothing worthy of praise
but the deeds of his father.  Nevertheless, when the conquest of
Portugal called Philip to Lisbon, he confided to the cardinal the care
of his Spanish territories.  Finally, on an Italian tour, in the town of
Mantua, in the seventy-third year of his life, Granvella terminated his
long existence in the full enjoyment of his glory, and after possessing
for forty years the uninterrupted confidence of his king.


(1564.) Immediately upon the departure of the minister, all the happy
results which were promised from his withdrawal were fulfilled.  The
disaffected nobles resumed their seats in the council, and again devoted
themselves to the affairs of the state with redoubled zeal, in order to
give no room for regret for him whom they had driven away, and to prove,
by the fortunate administration of the state, that his services were not
indispensable.  The crowd round the duchess was great.  All vied with
one another in readiness, in submission, and zeal in her service; the
hours of night were not allowed to stop the transaction of pressing
business of state; the greatest unanimity existed between the three
councils, the best understanding between the court and the states.  From
the obliging temper of the Flemish nobility everything was to be had, as
soon as their pride and self-will was flattered by confidence and
obliging treatment.  The regent took advantage of the first joy of the
nation to beguile them into a vote of certain taxes, which, under the
preceding administration, she could not have hoped to extort.  In this,
the great credit of the nobility etfectually supported her, and she soon
learned from this nation the secret, which had been so often verified in
the German diet--that much must be demanded in order to get a little.

With pleasure did the regent see herself emancipated from her long
thraldom; the emulous industry of the nobility lightened for her the
burden of business, and their insinuating humility allowed her to feel
the full sweetness of power.


(1564).  Granvella had been overthrown, but his party still remained.
His policy lived in his creatures, whom he left behind him in the privy
council and in the chamber of finance.  Hatred still smouldered amongst
the factious long after the leader was banished, and the names of the
Orange and Royalist parties, of the Patriots and Cardinalists still
continued to divide the senate and to keep up the flames of discord.
Viglius Van Zuichem Van Aytta, president of the privy council, state
counsellor and keeper of the seal, was now looked upon as the most
important person in the senate, and the most powerful prop of the crown
and the tiara.  This highly meritorious old man, whom we have to thank
for some valuable contributions towards the history of the rebellion of
the Low Countries, and whose confidential correspondence with his
friends has generally been the guide of our narrative, was one of the
greatest lawyers of his time, as well as a theologian and priest, and
had already, under the Emperor, filled the most important offices.
Familiar intercourse with the learned men who adorned the age, and at
the head of whom stood Erasmus of Rotterdam, combined with frequent
travels in the imperial service, had extended the sphere of his
information and experience, and in many points raised him in his
principles and opinions above his contemporaries.  The fame of his
erudition filled the whole century in which he lived, and has handed his
name down to posterity.  When, in the year 1548, the connection of the
Netherlands with the German empire was to be settled at the Diet of
Augsburg, Charles V. sent hither this statesman to manage the interests
of the provinces; and his ability principally succeeded in turning the
negotiations to the advantage of the Netherlands.  After the death of
the Emperor, Viglius was one of the many eminent ministers bequeathed to
Philip by his father, and one of the few in whom be honored his memory.
The fortune of the minister, Granvella, with whom he was united by the
ties of an early acquaintance, raised him likewise to greatness; but he
did not share the fall of his patron, because he had not participated in
his lust of power; nor, consequently, the hatred which attached to him.
A residence of twenty years in the provinces, where the most important
affairs were entrusted to him, approved loyalty to his king, and zealous
attachment to the Roman Catholic tenets, made him one of the most
distinguished instruments of royalty in the Netherlands.

Viglius was a man of learning, but no thinker; an experienced statesman,
but without an enlightened mind; of an intellect not sufficiently
powerful to break, like his friend Erasmus, the fetters of error, yet
not sufficiently bad to employ it, like his predecessor, Granvella, in
the service of his own passions.  Too weak and timid to follow boldly
the guidance of his reason, he preferred trusting to the more convenient
path of conscience; a thing was just so soon as it became his duty; he
belonged to those honest men who are indispensable to bad ones; fraud
reckoned on his honesty.  Half a century later he would have received
his immortality from the freedom which he now helped to subvert.
In the privy council at Brussels he was the servant of tyranny; in the
parliament in London, or in the senate at Amsterdam, he would have died,
perhaps, like Thomas More or Olden Barneveldt.

In the Count Barlaimont, the president of the council of finance,
the opposition had a no less formidable antagonist than in Viglius.
Historians have transmitted but little information regarding the
services and the opinions of this man.  In the first part of his career
the dazzling greatness of Cardinal Granvella seems to have cast a shade
over him; after the latter had disappeared from the stage the
superiority of the opposite party kept him down, but still the little
that we do find respecting him throws a favorable light over his
character.  More than once the Prince of Orange exerted himself to
detach him from the interests of the cardinal, and to join him to his
own party--sufficient proof that he placed a value on the prize.  All
his efforts failed, which shows that he had to do with no vacillating
character.  More than once we see him alone, of all the members of the
council, stepping forward to oppose the dominant faction, and protecting
against universal opposition the interests of the crown, which were in
momentary peril of being sacrificed.  When the Prince of Orange had
assembled the knights of the Golden Fleece in his own palace, with a
view to induce them to come to a preparatory resolution for the
abolition of the Inquisition, Barlaimont was the first to denounce the
illegality of this proceeding and to inform the regent of it.  Some time
after the prince asked him if the regent knew of that assembly, and
Barlaitnont hesitated not a moment to avow to him the truth.  All the
steps which have been ascribed to him bespeak a man whom neither
influence nor fear could tempt, who, with a firm courage and indomitable
constancy, remained faithful to the party which he had once chosen, but
who, it must at the same time be confessed, entertained too proud and
too despotic notions to have selected any other.

Amongst the adherents of the royal party at Brussels, we have, further,
the names of the Duke of Arschot, the Counts of Mansfeld, Megen, and
Aremberg--all three native Netherlanders; and therefore, as it appeared,
bound equally with the whole Netherlandish nobility to oppose the
hierarchy and the royal power in their native country.  So much the more
surprised must we feel at their contrary behavior, and which is indeed
the more remarkable, since we find them on terms of friendship with the
most eminent members of the faction, and anything but insensible to the
common grievances of their country.

But they had not self-confidence or heroism enough to venture on an
unequal contest with so superior an antagonist.  With a cowardly
prudence they made their just discontent submit to the stern law of
necessity, and imposed a hard sacrifice on their pride because their
pampered vanity was capable of nothing better.  Too thrifty and too
discreet to wish to extort from the justice or the fear of their
sovereign the certain good which they already possessed from his
voluntary generosity, or to resign a real happiness in order to preserve
the shadow of another, they rather employed the propitious moment to
drive a traffic with their constancy, which, from the general defection
of the nobility, had now risen in value.  Caring little for true glory,
they allowed their ambition to decide which party they should take; for
the ambition of base minds prefers to bow beneath the hard yoke of
compulsion rather than submit to the gentle sway of a superior
intellect.  Small would have been the value of the favor conferred had
they bestowed themselves on the Prince of Orange; but their connection
with royalty made them so much the more formidable as opponents.  There
their names would have been lost among his numerous adherents and in the
splendor of their rival.  On the almost deserted side of the court their
insignificant merit acquired lustre.

The families of Nassau and Croi (to the latter belonged the Duke of
Arschot) had for several reigns been competitors for influence and
honor, and their rivalry had kept up an old feud between their families,
which religious differences finally made irreconcilable.  The house of
Croi from time immemorial had been renowned for its devout and strict
observance of papistic rites and ceremonies; the Counts of Nassau had
gone over to the new sect--sufficient reasons why Philip of Croi, Duke
of Arschot, should prefer a party which placed him the most decidedly in
opposition to the Prince of Orange.  The court did not fail to take
advantage of this private feud, and to oppose so important an enemy to
the increasing influence of the house of Nassau in the republic.  The
Counts Mansfeld and Megen had till lately been the confidential friends
of Count Egmont.  In common with him they had raised their voice against
the minister, had joined him in resisting the Inquisition and the
edicts, and had hitherto held with him as far as honor and duty would
permit.  But at these limits the three friends now separated.  Egmont's
unsuspecting virtue incessantly hurried him forwards on the road to
ruin; Mansfeld and Megen, admonished of the danger, began in good time
to think of a safe retreat.  There still exist letters which were
interchanged between the Counts Egmont and Mansfeld, and which, although
written at a later period, give us a true picture of their former
friendship.  "If," replied Count Mansfeld to his friend, who in an
amicable manner had reproved him for his defection to the king, "if
formerly I was of opinion that the general good made the abolition of
the Inquisition, the mitigation of the edicts, and the removal of the
Cardinal Granvella necessary, the king has now acquiesced in this wish
and removed the cause of complaint.  We have already done too much
against the majesty of the sovereign and the authority of the church; it
is high time for us to turn, if we would wish to meet the king, when he
comes, with open brow and without anxiety.  As regards my own person, I
do not dread his vengeance; with confident courage I would at his first
summons present myself in Spain, and boldly abide my sentence from his
justice and goodness.  I do not say this as if I doubted whether Count
Egrnont can assert the same, but he will act prudently in looking more
to his own safety, and in removing suspicion from his actions.  If I
hear," he says, in conclusion, "that he has allowed my admonitions to
have their due weight, our friendship continues; if not, I feel myself
in that case strong enough to sacrifice all human ties to my duty and to
honor."

The enlarged power of the nobility exposed the republic to almost a
greater evil than that which it had just escaped by the removal of the
minister.  Impoverished by long habits of luxury, which at the same time
had relaxed their morals, and to which they were now too much addicted
to be able to renounce them, they yielded to the perilous opportunity of
indulging their ruling inclination, and of again repairing the expiring
lustre of their fortunes.  Extravagance brought on the thirst for gain,
and this introduced bribery.  Secular and ecclesiastical offices were
publicly put up to sale; posts of honor, privileges, and patents were
sold to the highest bidder; even justice was made a trade.  Whom the
privy council had condemned was acquitted by the council of state, and
what the former refused to grant was to be purchased from the latter.
The council of state, indeed, subsequently retorted the charge on the
two other councils, but it forgot that it was its own example that
corrupted them.  The shrewdness of rapacity opened new sources of gain.
Life, liberty, and religion were insured for a certain sum, like landed
estates; for gold, murderers and malefactors were free, and the nation
was plundered by a lottery.  The servants and creatures of the state,
counsellors and governors of provinces, were, without regard to rank or
merit, pushed into the most important posts; whoever had a petition to
present at court had to make his way through the governors of provinces
and their inferior servants.  No artifice of seduction was spared to
implicate in these excesses the private secretary of the duchess, Thomas
Armenteros, a man up to this time of irreproachable character.  By
pretended professions of attachment and friendship a successful attempt
was made to gain his confidence, and by luxurious entertainments to
undermine his principles; the seductive example infected his morals, and
new wants overcame his hitherto incorruptible integrity.  He was now
blind to abuses in which he was an accomplice, and drew a veil over the
crimes of others in order at the same time to cloak his own.  With his
knowledge the royal exchequer was robbed, and the objects of the
government were defeated through a corrupt administration of its
revenues.  Meanwhile the regent wandered on in a fond dream of power and
activity, which the flattery of the nobles artfully knew how to foster.
The ambition of the factious played with the foibles of a woman, and
with empty signs and an humble show of submission purchased real power
from her.  She soon belonged entirely to the faction, and had
imperceptibly changed her principles.  Diametrically opposing all her
former proceedings, even in direct violation of her duty, she now
brought before the council of state, which was swayed by the faction,
not only questions which belonged to the other councils, but also the
suggestions which Viglius had made to her in private, in the same way as
formerly, under Granvella's administration, she had improperly neglected
to consult it at all.  Nearly all business and all influence were now
diverted to the governors of provinces.  All petitions were directed to
them, by them all lucrative appointments were bestowed.  Their
usurpations were indeed carried so far that law proceedings were
withdrawn from the municipal authorities of the towns and brought before
their own tribunals.  The respectability of the provincial courts
decreased as theirs extended, and with the respectability of the
municipal functionaries the administration of justice and civil order
declined.  The smaller courts soon followed the example of the
government of the country.  The spirit which ruled the council of state
at Brussels soon diffused itself through the provinces.  Bribery,
indulgences, robbery, venality of justice, were universal in the courts
of judicature of the country; morals degenerated, and the new sects
availed themselves of this all-pervading licentiousness to propagate
their opinions.  The religious indifference or toleration of the nobles,
who, either themselves inclined to the side of the innovators, or, at
least, detested the Inquisition as an instrument of despotism, had
mitigated the rigor of the religious edicts, and through the letters of
indemnity, which were bestowed on many Protestants, the holy office was
deprived of its best victims.  In no way could the nobility more
agreeably announce to the nation its present share in the government of
the country than by sacrificing to it the hated tribunal of the
Inquisition--and to this inclination impelled them still more than the
dictates of policy.  The nation passed in a moment from the most
oppressive constraint of intolerance into a state of freedom, to which,
however, it had already become too unaccustomed to support it with
moderation.  The inquisitors, deprived of the support of the municipal
authorities, found themselves an object of derision rather than of fear.
In Bruges the town council caused even some of their own servants to be
placed in confinement, and kept on bread and water, for attempting to
lay hands upon a supposed heretic.  About this very time the mob in
Antwerp, having made a futile, attempt to rescue a person charged with
heresy from the holy office, there was placarded in the public market-
place an inscription, written in blood, to the effect that a number of
persons had bound themselves by oath to avenge the death of that
innocent person.

From the corruption which pervaded the whole council of state, the privy
council, and the chamber of finance, in which Viglius and Barlaimont
were presidents, had as yet, for the most part, kept themselves pure.

As the faction could not succeed in insinuating their adherents into
those two councils the only course open to them was, if possible, to
render both inefficient, and to transfer their business to the council
of state.  To carry out this design the Prince of Orange sought to
secure the co-operation of the other state counsellors.  "They were
called, indeed, senators," he frequently declared to his adherents, "but
others possessed the power.  If gold was wanted to pay the troops, or
when the question was how the spreading heresy was to be repressed, or
the people kept in order, then they were consulted; although in fact
they were the guardians neither of the treasury nor of the laws, but
only the organs through which the other two councils operated on the
state.  And yet alone they were equal to the whole administration of the
country, which had been uselessly portioned out amongst three separate
chambers.  If they would among themselves only agree to reunite to the
council of state these two important branches of government, which had
been dissevered from it, one soul might animate the whole body."  A plan
was preliminarily and secretly agreed on, in accordance with which
twelve new Knights of the Fleece were to be added to the council of
state, the administration of justice restored to the tribunal at
Malines, to which it originally belonged, the granting of letters of
grace, patents, and so forth, assigned to the president, Viglius, while
the management of the finances should be committed to it.  All the
difficulties, indeed, which the distrust of the court and its jealousy
of the increasing power of the nobility would oppose to this innovation
were foreseen and provided against.  In order to constrain the regent's
assent, some of the principal officers of the army were put forward as a
cloak, who were to annoy the court at Brussels with boisterous demands
for their arrears of pay, and in case of refusal to threaten a
rebellion.  It was also contrived to have the regent assailed with
numerous petitions and memorials complaining of the delays of justice,
and exaggerating the danger which was to be apprehended from the daily
growth of heresy.  Nothing was omitted to darken the picture of the
disorganized state of society, of the abuse of justice, and of the
deficiency in the finances, which was made so alarming that she awoke
with terror from the delusion of prosperity in which she had hitherto
cradled herself.  She called the three councils together to consult them
on the means by which these disorders were to be remedied.  The majority
was in favor of sending an extraordinary ambassador to Spain, who by a
circumstantial and vivid delineation should make the king acquainted
with the true position of affairs, and if possible prevail on him to
adopt efficient measures of reform.  This proposition was opposed by
Viglius, who, however, had not the slighest suspicion of the secret
designs of the faction.  "The evil complained of," he said, "is
undoubtedly great, and one which can no longer be neglected with
impunity, but it is not irremediable by ourselves.  The administration
of justice is certainly crippled, but the blame of this lies with the
nobles themselves; by their contemptuous treatment they have thrown
discredit on the municipal authorities, who, moreover, are very
inadequately supported by the governors of provinces.  If heresy is on
the increase it is because the secular arm has deserted the spiritual
judges, and because the lower orders, following the example of the
nobles, have thrown off all respect for those in authority.  The
provinces are undoubtedly oppressed by a heavy debt, but it has not been
accumulated, as alleged, by any malversation of the revenues, but by the
expenses of former wars and the king's present exigences; still wise and
prudent measures of finance might in a short time remove the burden.  If
the council of state would not be so profuse of its indulgences, its
charters of immunity, and its exemptions; if it would commence the
reformation of morals with itself, show greater respect to the laws, and
do what lies in its power to restore to the municipal functionaries
their former consideration; in short, if the councils and the governors
of provinces would only fulfil their own duties the present grounds of
complaint would soon be removed.  Why, then, send an ambassador to
Spain, when as yet nothing has occurred to justify so extraordinary an
expedient?  If, however, the council thinks otherwise, he would not
oppose the general voice; only he must make it a condition of his
concurrence that the principal instruction of the envoy should be to
entreat the king to make them a speedy visit."

There was but one voice as to the choice of an envoy.  Of all the
Flemish nobles Count Egmont was the only one whose appointment would
give equal satisfaction to both parties.  His hatred of the Inquisition,
his patriotic and liberal sentiments, and the unblemished integrity of
his character, gave to the republic sufficient surety for his conduct,
while for the reasons already mentioned he could not fail to be welcome
to the king.  Moreover, Egmont's personal figure and demeanor were
calculated on his first appearance to make that favorable impression
which goes co far towards winning the hearts of princes; and his
engaging carriage would come to the aid of his eloquence, and enforce
his petition with those persuasive arts which are indispensable to the
success of even the most trifling suits to royalty.  Egmont himself,
too, wished for the embassy, as it would afford him the opportunity of
adjusting, personally, matters with his sovereign.

About this time the Council, or rather synod, of Trent closed its
sittings, and published its decrees to the whole of Christendom.  But
these canons, far from accomplishing the object for which the synod was
originally convened, and satisfying the expectation of religious
parties, had rather widened the breach between them, and made the schism
irremediable and eternal.

The labors of the synod instead of purifying the Romish Church from its
corruptions had only reduced the latter to greater definiteness and
precision, and invested them with the sanction of authority.  All the
subtilties of its teaching, all the arts and usurpations of the Roman
See, which had hitherto rested more on arbitrary usage, were now passed
into laws and raised into a system.  The uses and abuses which during
the barbarous times of ignorance and superstition had crept into
Christianity were now declared essential parts of its worship, and
anathemas were denounced upon all who should dare to contradict the
dogmas or neglect the observances of the Romish communion.  All were
anathematized who should either presume to doubt the miraculous power of
relics, and refuse to honor the bones of martyrs, or should be so bold
as to doubt the availing efficacy of the intercession of saints.  The
power of granting indulgences, the first source of the defection from
the See of Rome, was now propounded in an irrefragable article of faith;
and the principle of monasticism sanctioned by an express decree of the
synod, which allowed males to take the vows at sixteen and females at
twelve.  And while all the opinions of the Protestants were, without
exception, condemned, no indulgence was shown to their errors or
weaknesses, nor a single step taken to win them back by mildness to the
bosom of the mother church.  Amongst the Protestants the wearisome
records of the subtle deliberations of the synod, and the absurdity of
its decisions, increased, if possible, the hearty contempt which they
had long entertained for popery, and laid open to their
controversialists new and hitherto unnoticed points of attack.  It was
an ill-judged step to bring the mysteries of the church too close to the
glaring torch of reason, and to fight with syllogisms for the tenets of
a blind belief.

Moreover, the decrees of the Council of Trent were not satisfactory even
to all the powers in communion with Rome.  France rejected them
entirely, both because she did not wish to displease the Huguenots, and
also because she was offended by the supremacy which the pope arrogated
to himself over the council; some of the Roman Catholic princes of
Germany likewise declared against it.  Little, however, as Philip II.
was pleased with many of its articles, which trenched too closely upon
his own rights, for no monarch was ever more jealous of his prerogative;
highly as the pope's assumption of control over the council, and its
arbitrary, precipitate dissolution had offended him; just as was his
indignation at the slight which the pope had put upon his ambassador; he
nevertheless acknowedged the decrees of the synod, even in its present
form, because it favored his darling object--the extirpation of heresy.
Political considerations were all postponed to this one religious
object, and he commanded the publication and enforcement of its canons
throughout his dominions.

The spirit of revolt, which was diffused through the Belgian provinces,
scarcely required this new stimulus.  There the minds of men were in a
ferment, and the character of the Romish Church had sunk almost to the
lowest point of contempt in the general opinion.  Under such
circumstances the imperious and frequently injudicious decrees of the
council could not fail of being highly offensive; but Philip II. could
not belie his religious character so far as to allow a different
religion to a portion of his subjects, even though they might live on a
different soil and under different laws from the rest.  The regent was
strictly enjoined to exact in the Netherlands the same obedience to the
decrees of Trent which was yielded to them in Spain and Italy.

They met, however, with the warmest opposition in the council of state
at Brussels.  "The nation," William of Orange declared, "neither would
nor could acknowledge them, since they were, for the most part, opposed
to the fundamental principles of their constitution; and, for similar
reasons, they had even been rejected by several Roman Catholic princes."
The whole council nearly was on the side of Orange; a decided majority
were for entreating the king either to recall the decrees entirely or at
least to publish them under certain limitations.  This proposition was
resisted by Viglius, who insisted on a strict and literal obedience to
the royal commands.  "The church," he said, "had in all ages maintained
the purity of its doctrines and the strictness of its discipline by
means of such general councils.  No more efficacious remedy could be
opposed to the errors of opinion which had so long distracted their
country than these very decrees, the rejection of which is now urged by
the council of state.  Even if they are occasionally at variance with
the constitutional rights of the citizens this is an evil which can
easily be met by a judicious and temperate application of them.  For the
rest it redounds to the honor of our sovereign, the King of Spain, that
he alone, of all the princes of his time, refuses to yield his better
judgment to necessity, and will not, for any fear of consequences,
reject measures which the welfare of the church demands, and which the
happiness of his subjects makes a duty."

But the decrees also contained several matters which affected the rights
of the crown itself.  Occasion was therefore taken of this fact to
propose that these sections at least should be omitted from the
proclimation.  By this means the king might, it was argued, be relieved
from these obnoxious and degrading articles by a happy expedient; the
national liberties of the Netherlands might be advanced as the pretext
for the omission, and the name of the republic lent to cover this
encroachment on the authority of the synod.  But the king had caused
the decrees to be received and enforced in his other dominions
unconditionally; and it was not to be expected that he would give the
other Roman Catholic powers such an example of opposition, and himself
undermine the edifice whose foundation he had been so assiduous in
laying.



                          COUNT EGMONT IN SPAIN.

Count Egmont was despatched to Spain to make a forcible representation
to the king on the subject of these decrees; to persuade him, if
possible, to adopt a milder policy towards his Protestant subjects, and
to propose to him the incorporation of the three councils, was the
commission he received from the malcontents.  By the regent he was
charged to apprise the monarch of the refractory spirit of the people;
to convince him of the impossibility of enforcing these edicts of
religion in their full severity; and lastly to acquaint him with the bad
state of the military defences and the exhausted condition of the
exchequer.

The count's public instructions were drawn up by the President Viglius.
They contained heavy complaints of the decay of justice, the growth of
heresy, and the exhaustion of the treasury.  He was also to press
urgently a personal visit from the king to the Netherlands.  The rest
was left to the eloquence of the envoy, who received a hint from the
regent not to let so fair an opportunity escape of establishing himself
in the favor of his sovereign.

The terms in which the count's instructions and the representations
which he was to make to the king were drawn up appeared to the Prince of
Orange far too vague and general.  "The president's statement," he said,
"of our grievances comes very far short of the truth.  How can the king
apply the suitable remedies if we conceal from him the full extent of
the evil?  Let us not represent the numbers of the heretics inferior to
what it is in reality.  Let us candidly acknowledge that they swarm in
every province and in every hamlet, however small.  Neither let us
disguise from him the truth that they despise the penal statutes and
entertain but little reverence for the government.  What good can come
of this concealment?  Let us rather openly avow to the king that the
republic cannot long continue in its present condition.  The privy
council indeed will perhaps pronounce differently, for to them the
existing disorders are welcome.  For what else is the source of the
abuse of justice and the universal corruption of the courts of law but
its insatiable rapacity?  How otherwise can the pomp and scandalous
luxury of its members, whom we have seen rise from the dust, be
supported if not by bribery?  Do not the people daily complain that no
other key but gold can open an access to them; and do not even their
quarrels prove how little they are swayed by a care for the common weal?
Are they likely to consult the public good who are the slaves of their
private passions?  Do they think forsooth that we, the governors of the
provinces are, with our soldiers, to stand ready at the beck and call of
an infamous lictor?  Let them set bounds to their indulgences and free
pardons which they so lavishly bestow on the very persons to whom we
think it just and expedient to deny them.  No one can remit the
punishment of a crime without sinning against the society and
contributing to the increase of the general evil.  To my mind, and I
have no hesitation to avow it, the distribution amongst so many councils
of the state secrets and the affairs of government has always appeared
highly objectionable.  The council of state is sufficient for all the
duties of the administration; several patriots have already felt this in
silence, and I now openly declare it.  It is my decided conviction that
the only sufficient remedy for all the evils complained of is to merge
the other two chambers in the council of state.  This is the point which
we must endeavor to obtain from the king, or the present embassy, like
all others, will be entirely useless and ineffectual."  The prince now
laid before the assembled senate the plan which we have already
described.  Viglius, against whom this new proposition was individually
and mainly directed, and whose eyes were now suddenly opened, was
overcome by the violence of his vexation.  The agitation of his feelings
was too much for his feeble body, and he was found, on the following
morning, paralyzed by apoplexy, and in danger of his life.

His place was supplied by Jaachim Hopper, a member of the privy council
at Brussels, a man of old-fashioned morals and unblemished integrity,
the president's most trusted and worthiest friend.


     [Vita Vigl. 89.  The person from whose memoirs I have already drawn
     so many illustrations of the times of this epoch.  His subsequent
     journey to Spain gave rise to the correspondence between him and
     the president, which is one of the most valuable documents for our
     history.]

To meet the wishes of the Orange party he made some additions to the
instructions of the ambassador, relating chiefly to the abolition of the
Inquisition and the incorporation of the three councils, not so much
with the consent of the regent as in the absence of her prohibition.
Upon Count Egmont taking leave of the president, who had recovered from
his attack, the latter requested him to procure in Spain permission to
resign his appointment.  His day, he declared, was past; like the
example of his friend and predecessor, Granvella, he wished to retire
into the quiet of private life, and to anticipate the uncertainty of
fortune.  His genius warned him of impending storm, by which he could
have no desire to be overtaken.

Count Egmont embarked on his journey to Spain in January, 1565, and was
received there with a kindness and respect which none of his rank had
ever before experienced.  The nobles of Castile, taught by the king's
example to conquer their feelings, or rather, true to his policy, seemed
to have laid aside their ancient grudge against the Flemish nobility,
and vied with one another in winning his heart by their affability.  All
his private matters were immediately settled to his wishes by the king,
nay, even his expectations exceeded; and during the whole period of his
stay he had ample cause to boast of the hospitality of the monarch.  The
latter assured him in the strongest terms of his love for his Belgian
subjects, and held out hopes of his acceding eventually to the general
wish, and remitting somewhat of the severity of the religious edicts.
At the same time, however, he appointed in Madrid a commission of
theologians to whom he propounded the question, "Is it necessary to
grant to the provinces the religious toleration they demand?"  As the
majority of them were of opinion that the peculiar constitution of the
Netherlands, and the fear of a rebellion might well excuse a degree of
forbearance in their case, the question was repeated more pointedly.
"He did not seek to know," he said, "if he might do so, but if he must."
When the latter question was answered in the negative, he rose from his
seat, and kneeling down before a crucifix prayed in these words:
"Almighty Majesty, suffer me not at any time to fall so low as to
consent to reign over those who reject thee!"  In perfect accordance
with the spirit of this prayer were the measures which he resolved to
adopt in the Netherlands.  On the article of religion this monarch had
taken his resolution once forever; urgent necessity might, perhaps, have
constrained him temporarily to suspend the execution of the penal
statutes, but never, formally, to repeal them entirely, or even to
modify them.  In vain did Egmont represent to him that the public
execution of the heretics daily augmented the number of their followers,
while the courage and even joy with which they met their death filled
the spectators with the deepest admiration, and awakened in them high
opinions of a doctrine which could make such heroes of its disciples.
This representation was not indeed lost upon the king, but it had a very
different effect from what it was intended to produce.  In order to
prevent these seductive scenes, without, however, compromising the
severity of the edicts, he fell upon an expedient, and ordered that in
future the executions should take place in private.  The answer of the
king on the subject of the embassy was given to the count in writing,
and addressed to the regent.  The king, when he granted him an audience
to take leave, did not omit to call him to account for his behavior to
Granvella, and alluded particularly to the livery invented in derision
of the cardinal.  Egmmont protested that the whole affair had originated
in a convivial joke, and nothing was further from their meaning than to
derogate in the least from the respect that was due to royalty.  "If he
knew," he said, "that any individual among them had entertained such
disloyal thoughts be himself would challenge him to answer for it with
his life."

At his departure the monarch made him a present of fifty thousand
florins, and engaged, moreover, to furnish a portion for his daughter on
her marriage.  He also consigned to his care the young Farnese of Parma,
whom, to gratify the regent, his mother, he was sending to Brussels.
The king's pretended mildness, and his professions of regard for the
Belgian nation, deceived the open-hearted Fleming.  Happy in the idea of
being the bearer of so much felicity to his native country, when in fact
it was more remote than ever, he quitted Madrid satisfied beyond measure
to think of the joy with which the provinces would welcome the message
of their good king; but the opening of the royal answer in the council
of state at Brussels disappointed all these pleasing hopes.  "Although
in regard to the religious edicts," this was its tenor, "his resolve was
firm and immovable, and he would rather lose a thousand lives than
consent to alter a single letter of it, still, moved by the
representations of Count Egmont, he was, on the other hand, equally
determined not to leave any gentle means untried to guard the people
against the delusions of heresy, and so to avert from them that
punishment which must otherwise infallibly overtake them.  As he had now
learned from the count that the principal source of the existing errors
in the faith was in the moral depravity of the clergy, the bad
instruction and the neglected education of the young, he hereby
empowered the regent to appoint a special commission of three bishops,
and a convenient number of learned theologians, whose business it should
be to consult about the necessary reforms, in order that the people
might no longer be led astray through scandal, nor plunge into error
through ignorance.  As, moreover, he had been informed that the public
executions of the heretics did but afford them an opportunity of
boastfully displaying a foolhardy courage, and of deluding the common
herd by an affectation of the glory of martyrdom, the commission was to
devise means for putting in force the final sentence of the Inquisition
with greater privacy, and thereby depriving condemned heretics of the
honor of their obduracy."  In order, however, to provide against the
commission going beyond its prescribed limits Philip expressly required
that the Bishop of Ypres, a man whom he could rely on as a determined
zealot for the Romish faith, should be one of the body.  Their
deliberaations were to be conducted, if possible, in secrecy, while the
object publicly assigned to them should be the introduction of the
Tridentine decrees.  For this his motive seems to have been twofold; on
the one hand, not to alarm the court of Rome by the assembling of a
private council; nor, on the other, to afford any encouragement to the
spirit of rebellion in the provinces.  At its sessions the duchess was
to preside, assisted by some of the more loyally disposed of her
counsellors, and regularly transmit to Philip a written account of its
transactions.  To meet her most pressing wants he sent her a small
supply in money.  He also gave her hopes of a visit from himself; first,
however, it was necessary that the war with the Turks, who were then
expected in hostile force before Malta, should be terminated.  As to the
proposed augmentation of the council of state, and its union with the
privy council and chamber of finance, it was passed over in perfect
silence.  The Duke of Arschot, however, who is already known to us as a
zealous royalist, obtained a voice and seat in the latter.  Viglius,
indeed, was allowed to retire from the presidency of the privy council,
but he was obliged, nevertheless, to continue to discharge its duties
for four more years, because his successor, Carl Tyssenaque, of the
council for Netherlandish affairs in Madrid, could not sooner be spared.



      SEVERER RELIGIOUS EDICTS--UNIVERSAL OPPOSITION OF THE NATION.

Scarcely was Egmont returned when severer edicts against heretics,
which, as it were, pursued him from Spain, contradicted the joyful
tidings which he had brought of a happy change in the sentiments of the
monarch.  They were at the same time accompanied with a transcript of
the decrees of Trent, as they were acknowledged in Spain, and were now
to be proclaimed in the Netherlands also; with it came likewise the
death warrants of some Anabaptists and other kinds of heretics.
"The count has been beguiled," William the Silent was now heard to say,
"and deluded by Spanish cunning.  Self-love and vanity have blinded his
penetration; for his own advantage he has forgotten the general
welfare."  The treachery of the Spanish ministry was now exposed, and
this dishonest proceeding roused the indignation of the noblest in the
land.  But no one felt it more acutely than Count Egmont, who now
perceived himself to have been the tool of Spanish duplicity, and to
have become unwittingly the betrayer of his own country.  "These
specious favors then," he exclaimed, loudly and bitterly, "were nothing
but an artifice to expose me to the ridicule of my fellow-citizens, and
to destroy my good name.  If this is the fashion after which the king
purposes to keep the promises which he made to me in Spain, let who will
take Flanders; for my part, I will prove by my retirement from public
business that I have no share in this breach of faith."  In fact, the
Spanish ministry could not have adopted a surer method of breaking the
credit of so important a man--than by exhibiting him to his fellow
citizens, who adored him, as one whom they had succeeded in deluding.

Meanwhile the commission had been appointed, and had unanimously come
to the following decision: "Whether for the moral reformation of the
clergy, or for the religious instruction of the people, or for the
education of youth, such abundant provision had already been made in the
decrees of Trent that nothing now was requisite but to put these decrees
in force as speedily as possible.  The imperial edicts against the
heretics already ought on no account to be recalled or modified; the
courts of justice, however, might be secretly instructed to punish with
death none but obstinate heretics or preachers, to make a difference
between the different sects, and to show consideration to the age, rank,
sex, or disposition of the accused.  If it were really the case that
public executions did but inflame fanaticism, then, perhaps, the
unheroic, less observed, but still equally severe punishment of the
galleys, would be well-adapted to bring down all high notions of
martyrdom.  As to the delinquencies which might have arisen out of mere
levity, curiosity, and thoughtlessness it would perhaps be sufficient to
punish them by fines, exile, or even corporal chastisement."

During these deliberations, which, moreover, it was requisite to submit
to the king at Madrid, and to wait for the notification of his approval
of them, the time passed away unprofitably, the proceedings against the
sectaries being either suspended, or at least conducted very supinely.
Since the recall of Granvella the disunion which prevailed in the higher
councils, and from thence had extended to the provincial courts of
justice, combined with the mild feelings generally of the nobles on the
subject of religion, had raised the courage of the sects, and allowed
free scope to the proselytizing mania of their apostles.  The
inquisitors, too, had fallen into contempt in consequence of the secular
arm withdrawing its support, and in many places even openly taking their
victims under its protection.  The Roman Catholic part of the nation.
had formed great expectations from the decrees of the synod of Trent, as
well as from Egmont's embassy to Spain; but in the latter case their
hopes had scarcely been justified by the joyous tidings which the count
had brought back, and, in the integrity of his heart, left nothing
undone to make known as widely as possible.  The more disused the nation
had become to severity in matters pertaining to religion the more
acutely was it likely to feel the sudden adoption of even still more
rigorous measures.  In this position of affairs the royal rescript
arrived from Spain in answer to the proposition of the bishops and the
last despatches of the regent.  "Whatever interpretation (such was its
tenor) Count Egmont may have given to the king's verbal communications,
it had never in the remotest manner entered his mind to think of
altering in the slightest degree the penal statutes which the Emperor,
his father, had five-and-thirty years ago published in the provinces.
These edicts he therefore commanded should henceforth be carried rigidly
into effect, the Inquisition should receive the most active support from
the secular arm, and the decrees of the council of Trent be irrevocably
and unconditionally acknowledged in all the provinces of his
Netherlands.  He acquiesced fully in the opinion of the bishops and
canonists as to the sufficiency of the Tridentine decrees as guides in
all points of reformation of the clergy or instruction of the people;
but he could not concur with them as to the mitigation of punishment
which they proposed in consideration either of the age, sex, or
character of individuals, since he was of opinion that his edicts were
in no degree wanting in moderation.  To nothing but want of zeal and
disloyalty on the part of judges could he ascribe the progress which
heresy had already made in the country.  In future, therefore, whoever
among them should be thus wanting in zeal must be removed from his
office and make room for a more honest judge.  The Inquisition ought to
pursue its appointed path firmly, fearlessly, and dispassionately,
without regard to or consideration of human feelings, and was to look
neither before nor behind.  He would always be ready to approve of all
its measures however extreme if it only avoided public scandal."

This letter of the king, to which the Orange party have ascribed all
the subsequent troubles of the Netherlands, caused the most violent
excitement amongst the state counsellors, and the expressions which in
society they either accidentally or intentionally let fall from them
with regard to it spread terror and alarm amongst the people.  The dread
of the Spanish Inquisition returned with new force, and with it came
fresh apprehensions of the subversion of their liberties.  Already the
people fancied they could hear prisons building, chains and fetters
forging, and see piles of fagots collecting.  Society was occupied with
this one theme of conversation, and fear kept no longer within bounds.
Placards were affixed to houses of the nobles in which they were called
upon, as formerly Rome called on her Brutus, to come forward and save
expiring freedom.  Biting pasquinades were published against the new
bishops--tormentors as they were called; the clergy were ridiculed in
comedies, and abuse spared the throne as little as the Romish see.

Terrified by the rumors which were afloat, the regent called together
all the counsellors of state to consult them on the course she ought to
adopt in this perilous crisis.  Opinion varied and disputes were
violent.  Undecided between fear and duty they hesitated to come to a
conclusion, until at last the aged senator, Viglius, rose and surprised
the whole assembly by his opinion.  "It would," he said, "be the height
of folly in us to think of promulgating the royal edict at the present
moment; the king must be informed of the reception which, in all
probability, it will now meet.  In the meantime the inquisitors must
be enjoined to use their power with moderation, and to abstain from
severity."  But if these words of the aged president surprised the whole
assembly, still greater was the astonishment when the Prince of Orange
stood up and opposed his advice.  "The royal will," he said, "is too
clearly and too precisely stated; it is the result of too long and too
mature deliberation for us to venture to delay its execution without
bringing on ourselves the reproach of the most culpable obstinacy."
"That I take on myself," interrupted Viglius; "I oppose myself to, his
displeasure.  If by this delay we purchase for him the peace of the
Netherlands our opposition will eventually secure for us the lasting
gratitude of the king."  The regent already began to incline to the
advice of Viglius, when the prince vehemently interposing, "What," he
demanded," what have the many representations which we have already made
effected? of what avail was the embassy we so lately despatched?
Nothing!  And what then do we wait for more?  Shall we, his state
counsellors, bring upon ourselves the whole weight of his displeasure by
determining, at our own peril, to render him a service for which he will
never thank us?"  Undecided and uncertain the whole assembly remained
silent; but no one had courage enough to assent to or reply to him.  But
the prince had appealed to the fears of the regent, and these left her
no choice.  The consequences of her unfortunate obedience to the king's
command will soon appear.  But, on the other hand, if by a wise
disobedience she had avoided these fatal consequences, is it clear that
the result would not have been the same?  However she had adopted the
most fatal of the two counsels: happen what would the royal ordinance
was to be promulgated.  This time, therefore, faction prevailed, and the
advice of the only true friend of the government, who, to serve his
monarch, was ready to incur his displeasure, was disregarded.  With this
session terminated the peace of the regent: from this day the
Netherlands dated all the trouble which uninterruptedly visited their
country.  As the counsellors separated the Prince of Orange said to one
who stood nearest to him, "Now will soon be acted a great tragedy."

     [The conduct of the Prince of Orange in this meeting of the council
     has been appealed to by historians of the Spanish party as a proof
     of his dishonesty, and they have availed themselves over and over
     again to blacken his character.  "He," say they, "who had,
     invariably up to this period, both by word and deed, opposed the
     measures of the court so long as he had any ground to fear that the
     king's measures could be successfully carried out, supported them
     now for the first time when he was convinced that a scrupulous
     obedience to the royal orders would inevitably prejudice him.  In
     order to convince the king of his folly in disregarding his
     warnings; in order to be able to boast, 'this I foresaw,' and 'I
     foretold that,' he was willing to risk the welfare of his nation,
     for which alone he had hitherto professed to struggle.  The whole
     tenor of his previous conduct proved that he held the enforcement
     of the edicts to be an evil; nevertheless, he at once becomes false
     to his own convictions and follows an opposite course; although, so
     far as the nation was concerned, the same grounds existed as had
     dictated his former measures; and he changed his conduct simply
     that the result might be different to the king."  "It is clear,
     therefore," continue his adversaries, "that the welfare of the
     nation had less weight with him than his animosity to his
     sovereign.  In order to gratify his hatred to the latter he does
     not hesitate to sacrifice the former."  But is it then true that by
     calling for the promulgation of these edicts he sacrificed the
     nation?  or, to speak more correctly, did he carry the edicts into
     effect by insisting on their promulgation?  Can it not, on the
     contrary, be shown with far more probability that this was really
     the only way effectually to frustrate them?  The nation was in a
     ferment, and the indignant people would (there was reason to
     expect, and as Viglius himself seems to have apprehended) show so
     decided a spirit of opposition as must compel the king to yield.
     "Now," says Orange, "my country feels all the impulse necessary for
     it to contend successfully with tyranny!  If I neglect the present
     moment the tyrant will, by secret negotiation and intrigue, find
     means to obtain by stealth what by open force he could not.  The
     some object will be steadily pursued, only with greater caution and
     forbearance; but extremity alone can combine the people to unity of
     purpose, and move them to bold measures."  It is clear, therefore,
     that with regard to the king the prince did but change his language
     only; but that as far as the people was concerned his conduct was
     perfectly consistent.  And what duties did he owe the king apart
     from those he owed the republic?  Was he to oppose an arbitary act
     in the very moment when it was about to entail a just retribution
     on its author?  Would he have done his duty to his country if he
     had deterred its oppressor from a precipitate step which alone
     could save it from its otherwise unavoidable misery?]

An edict, therefore, was issued to all the governors of provinces,
commanding them rigorously to enforce the mandates of the Emperor
against heretics, as well as those which had been passed under the
present government, the decrees of the council of Trent, and those of
the episcopal commission, which had lately sat to give all the aid of
the civil force to the Inquisition, and also to enjoin a similar line of
conduct on the officers of government under them.  More effectually to
secure their object, every governor was to select from his own council
an efficient officer who should frequently make the circuit of the
province and institute strict inquiries into the obedience shown by the
inferior officers to these commands, and then transmit quarterly, to the
capital an exact report of their visitation.  A copy of the Tridentine
decrees, according to the Spanish original, was also sent to the
archbishops and bishops, with an intimation that in case of their
needing the assistance of the secular power, the governors of their
diocese, with their troops, were placed at their disposal.  Against
these decrees no privilege was to avail; however, the king willed and
commanded that the particular territorial rights of the provinces and
towns should in no case be infringed.

These commands, which were publicly read in every town by a herald,
produced an effect on the people which in the fullest manner verified
the fears of the President Viglius and the hopes of the Prince of
Orange.

Nearly all the governors of provinces refused compliance with them, and
threatened to throw up their appointments if the attempt should be made
to compel their obedience.  "The ordinance," they wrote back, "was based
on a statement of the numbers of the sectaries, which was altogether
false."

     [The number of the heretics was very unequally computed by the two
     parties according as the interests and passions of either made its
     increase or diminution desirable, and the same party often
     contradicted itself when its interest changed.  If the question
     related to new measures of oppression, to the introduction of the
     inquisitional tribunals, etc., the numbers of the Protestants were
     countless and interminable.  If, on the other hand, the question
     was of lenity towards them, of ordinances to their advantage, they
     were now reduced to such an insignificant number that it would not
     repay the trouble of making an innovation for this small body of
     ill-minded people.]

"Justice was appalled at the prodigious crowd of victims which daily
accumulated under its hands; to destroy by the flames fifty thousand or
sixty thousand persons from their districts was no commission for them."
The inferior clergy too, in particular, were loud in their outcries
against the decrees of Trent, which cruelly assailed their ignorance and
corruption, and which moreover threatened them with a reform they so
much detested.  Sacrificing, therefore, the highest interests of their
church to their own private advantage, they bitterly reviled the decrees
and the whole council, and with liberal hand scattered the seeds of
revolt in the minds of the people.  The same outcry was now revived
which the monks had formerly raised against the new bishops.  The
Archbishop of Cambray succeeded at last, but not without great
opposition, in causing the decrees to be proclaimed.  It cost more labor
to effect this in Malines and Utrect, where the archbishops were at
strife with their clergy, who, as they were accused, preferred to
involve the whole church in ruin rather than submit to a reformation of
morals.

Of all the provinces Brabant raised its voice the loudest.  The states
of this province appealed to their great privilege, which protected
their members from being brought before a foreign court of justice.
They spoke loudly of the oath by which the king had bound himself to
observe all their statutes, and of the conditions under which they alone
had sworn allegiance to him.  Louvain, Antwerp, Brussels, and
Herzogenbusch solemnly protested against the decrees, and transmitted
their protests in distinct memorials to the regent.  The latter, always
hesitating and wavering, too timid to obey the king, and far more afraid
to disobey him, again summoned her council, again listened to the
arguments for and against the question, and at last again gave her
assent to the opinion which of all others was the most perilous for her
to adopt.  A new reference to the king in Spain was proposed; the next
moment it was asserted that so urgent a crisis did not admit of so
dilatory a remedy; it was necessary for the regent to act on her own
responsibility, and either defy the threatening aspect of despair, or to
yield to it by modifying or retracting the royal ordinance.  She finally
caused the annals of Brabant to be examined in order to discover if
possible a precedent for the present case in the instructions of the
first inquisitor whom Charles V. had appointed to the province.  These
instructions indeed did not exactly correspond with those now given; but
had not the king declared that he introduced no innovation?  This was
precedent enough, and it was declared that the new edicts must also be
interpreted in accordance with the old and existing statutes of the
province.  This explanation gave indeed no satisfaction to the states
of Brabant, who had loudly demanded the entire abolition of the
inquisition, but it was an encouragement to the other provinces to make
similar protests and an equally bold opposition.  Without giving the
duchess time to decide upon their remonstrances they, on their own
authority, ceased to obey the inquisition, and withdrew their aid from
it.  The inquisitors, who had so recently been expressly urged to a more
rigid execution of their duties now saw themselves suddenly deserted by
the secular arm, and robbed of all authority, while in answer to their
application for assistance the court could give them only empty
promises.  The regent by thus endeavoring to satisfy all parties had
displeased all.

During these negotiations between the court, the councils, and the
states a universal spirit of revolt pervaded the whole nation.  Men
began to investigate the rights of the subject, and to scrutinize the
prerogative of kings.  "The Netherlanders were not so stupid," many were
heard to say with very little attempt at secrecy, "as not to know right
well what was due from the subject to the sovereign, and from the king
to the subject; and that perhaps means would yet be found to repel force
with force, although at present there might be no appearance of it."
In Antwerp a placard was set up in several places calling upon the town
council to accuse the King of Spain before the supreme court at Spires
of having broken his oath and violated the liberties of the country,
for, Brabant being a portion of the Burgundian circle, was included in
the religious peace of Passau and Augsburg.  About this time too the
Calvinists published their confession of faith, and in a preamble
addressed to the king, declared that they, although a hundred thousand
strong, kept themselves nevertheless quiet, and like the rest of his
subjects, contributed to all the taxes of the country; from which it was
evident, they added, that of themselves they entertained no ideas of
insurrection.  Bold and incendiary writings were publicly disseminated,
which depicted the Spanish tyranny in the most odious colors, and
reminded the nation of its privileges, and occasionally also of its
powers.

     [The regent mentioned to the king a number (three thousand) of
     these writings.  Strada 117.  It is remarkable how important a part
     printing, and publicity in general, played in the rebellion of the
     Netherlands.  Through this organ one restless spirit spoke to
     millions.  Besides the lampoons, which for the most part were
     composed with all the low scurrility and brutality which was the
     distinguishing character of most of the Protestant polemical
     writings of the time, works were occasionally published which
     defended religious liberty in the fullest sense of the word.]

The warlike preparations of Philip against the Porte, as well as those
which, for no intelligible reason, Eric, Duke of Brunswick, about this
time made in the vicinity, contributed to strengthen the general
suspicion that the Inquisition was to be forcibly imposed on the
Netherlands.  Many of the most eminent merchants already spoke of
quitting their houses and business to seek in some other part of the
world the liberty of which they were here deprived; others looked about
for a leader, and let fall hints of forcible resistance and of foreign
aid.

That in this distressing position of affairs the regent might be left
entirely without an adviser and without support, she was now deserted by
the only person who was at the present moment indispensable to her, and
who had contributed to plunge her into this embarrassment.  "Without
kindling a civil war," wrote to her William of Orange, "it was
absolutely impossible to comply now with the orders of the king.
If, however, obedience was to be insisted upon, he must beg that his
place might be supplied by another who would better answer the
expectations of his majesty, and have more power than he had over the
minds of the nation.  The zeal which on every other occasion he had
shown in the service of the crown, would, he hoped, secure his present
proceeding from misconstruction; for, as the case now stood, he had no
alternative between disobeying the king and injuring his country and
himself."  From this time forth William of Orange retired from the
council of state to his town of Breda, where in observant but scarcely
inactive repose lie watched the course of affairs.  Count Horn followed
his example.  Egmont, ever vacillating between the republic and the
throne, ever wearying himself in the vain attempt to unite the good
citizen with the obedient subject--Egmont, who was less able than the
rest to dispense with the favor of the monarch, and to whom, therefore,
it was less an object of indifference, could not bring himself to
abandon the bright prospects which were now opening for him at the court
of the regent.  The Prince of Orange had, by his supeirior intellect,
gained an influence over the regent--which great minds cannot fail to
command from inferior spirits.  His retirement had opened a void in her
confidence which Count Egmont was now to fill by virtue of that sympathy
which so naturally subsists between timidity, weakness, and good-nature.
As she was as much afraid of exasperating the people by an exclusive
confidence in the adherents to the crown, as she was fearful of
displeasing the king by too close an understanding with the declared
leaders of the faction, a better object for her confidence could now
hardly be presented than this very Count Egmont, of whom it could not be
said that he belonged to either of the two conflicting parties.





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