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´╗┐Title: History of the United Netherlands from the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce, 1585d
Author: Motley, John Lothrop
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the United Netherlands from the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce, 1585d" ***

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From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

History United Netherlands, v41, 1584

CHAPTER V., Part 3.

     Sainte Aldegonde discouraged--His Critical Position--His
     Negotiations with the Enemy--Correspondence with Richardot--
     Commotion in the City--Interview of Marnix with Parma--Suspicious
     Conduct of Marnix--Deputation to the Prince--Oration of Marnix--
     Private Views of Parma--Capitulation of Antwerp--Mistakes of Marnix
     --Philip on the Religious Question--Triumphal Entrance of Alexander--
     Rebuilding of the Citadel--Gratification of Philip--Note on Sainte

Sainte Aldegonde's position had become a painful one.  The net had been
drawn closely about the city.  The bridge seemed impregnable, the great
Kowenstyn was irrecoverably in the hands of the enemy, and now all the
lesser forts in the immediate vicinity of Antwerp-Borght, Hoboken,
Cantecroix, Stralen, Berghen, and the rest--had likewise fallen into his
grasp.  An account of grain, taken on the 1st of June, gave an average of
a pound a-head for a month long, or half a pound for two months.  This
was not the famine-point, according to the standard which had once been
established in Leyden; but the courage of the burghers had been rapidly
oozing away, under the pressure of their recent disappointments.  It
seemed obvious to the burgomaster, that the time for yielding had

"I had maintained the city,"  he said, "for a long period, without any
excessive tumult or great effusion of blood--a city where there was such
a multitude of inhabitants, mostly merchants or artisans deprived of all
their traffic, stripped of their manufactures, destitute of all
commodities and means of living.  I had done this in the midst of a great
diversity of humours and opinions, a vast popular license, a confused
anarchy, among a great number of commanders, most of them inexperienced
in war; with very little authority of my own, with slender forces of
ships, soldiers, and sailors; with alight appearance of support from king
or prince without, or of military garrison within; and under all these
circumstances I exerted myself to do my uttermost duty in preserving the
city, both in regard to its internal government, and by force of arms by
land and sea, without sparing myself in any labour or peril.

"I know very well that there are many persons, who, finding themselves
quite at their ease, and far away from the hard blows that are passing,
are pleased to exhibit their wisdom by sitting in judgment upon others,
founding their decision only upon the results.  But I demand to be judged
by equity and reason, when passion has been set aside.  I claim that my
honour shall be protected against my calumniators; for all should
remember that I am not the first man, nor shall I be the last, that has
been blamed unjustly.  All persons employed in public affairs are subject
to such hazards, but I submit myself to Him who knows all hearts, and who
governs all.  I take Him to witness that in the affair of Antwerp, as in
all my other actions since my earliest youth, I have most sincerely
sought His glory and the, welfare of His poor people, without regard to
my own private interests."

For it is not alone the fate of Antwerp that is here to be recorded.  The
fame of Sainte Aldegonde was now seriously compromised.  The character of
a great man must always be closely scanned and scrutinised; protected, if
needful, against calumny, but always unflinchingly held up to the light.
Names illustrious by genius and virtue are History's most precious
treasures, faithfully to be guarded by her, jealously to be watched; but
it is always a misfortune when her eyes are deceived by a glitter which
is not genuine.

Sainte Aldegonde was a man of unquestionable genius.  His character had
ever been beyond the reproach of self-seeking or ignoble ambition.  He
had multiplied himself into a thousand forms to serve the cause of the
United Netherland States, and the services so rendered had been brilliant
and frequent.  A great change in his conduct and policy was now
approaching, and it is therefore the more necessary to examine closely at
this epoch his attitude and his character.

Early in June, Richardot, president of the council of Artois, addressed a
letter to Sainte Aldegonde, by command of Alexander of Parma, suggesting
a secret interview between the burgomaster and the Prince.

On the 8th of June, Sainte Aldegonde replied, in favourable terms,
as to the interview; but observed, that, as he was an official personage,
it was necessary for him to communicate the project to the magistracy of
the city.  He expressed likewise the hope that Parma would embrace the
present opportunity for making a general treaty with all the Provinces.
A special accord with Antwerp, leaving out Holland and Zeeland, would,
he said, lead to the utter desolation of that city, and to the
destruction of its commerce and manufactures, while the occasion now
presented itself to the Prince of "winning praise and immortal glory by
bringing back all the country to a voluntary and prompt obedience to his
Majesty."  He proposed, that, instead of his coming alone, there should
be a number of deputies sent from Antwerp to confer with Alexander.

On the 11th June, Richardot replied by expressing, his own regrets and
those of the Prince, that the interview could not have been with the
burgomaster alone, but acknowledging the weight of his reasons, and
acquiescing in the proposition to send a larger deputation.  Three days
afterwards, Sainte Aldegonde, on private consultation with some
confidential personages, changed his ground; announced his preference
for a private interview, under four eyes, with Parma; and requested that
a passport might be sent.  The passport was accordingly forwarded the
same day, with an expression of Alexander's gratification, and with the
offer, on the part of Richardot, to come himself to Antwerp as hostage
during the absence of the burgomaster in Parma's camp at Beveren.

Sainte Aldegonde was accordingly about to start on the following day
(16th of June), but meantime the affair had got wind.  A secret
interview, thus projected, was regarded by the citizens as extremely
suspicious.  There was much bitter insinuation against the burgomaster--
many violent demonstrations.  "Aldegonde, they say, is going to see
Parma," said one of the burghers, "which gives much dissatisfaction,
because, 'tis feared that he will make a treaty according to the appetite
and pleasure of his Highness, having been gained over to the royal cause
by money.  He says that it would be a misfortune to send a large number
of burghers.  Last Sunday (16th June) there was a meeting of the broad
council.  The preachers came into the assembly and so animated the
citizens by demonstrations of their religion, that all rushed from the
council-house, crying with loud voices that they did not desire peace but

This desire was a healthy and a reasonable one; but, unfortunately,
the Antwerpers had not always been so vigorous or so united in their
resistance to Parma.  At present, however, they were very furious, so
soon as the secret purpose of Sainte Aldegonde became generally known.
The proposed capitulation, which great mobs had been for weeks long
savagely demanding at the hands of the burgomaster, was now ascribed to
the burgomaster's unblushing corruption.  He had obviously, they thought,
been purchased by Spanish ducats to do what he had hitherto been so
steadily refusing.  A certain Van Werne had gone from Antwerp into
Holland a few days before upon his own private affairs, with a safe-
conduct from Parma.  Sainte Aldegonde had not communicated to him the
project then on foot, but he had permitted him to seek a secret interview
with Count Mansfeld.  If that were granted, Van Werne was to hint that in
case the Provinces could promise themselves a religious peace it would be
possible, in the opinion of Sainte Aldegonde, to induce Holland and
Zealand and all the rest of the United Provinces, to return to their
obedience.  Van Werne, on his return to Antwerp, divulged these secret
negotiations, and so put a stop to Sainte Aldegonde's scheme of going
alone to Parma.  "This has given a bad suspicion to the people," wrote
the burgomaster to Richardot, "so much so that I fear to have trouble.
The broad council has been in session, but I don't know what has taken
place there, and I do not dare to ask."

Sainte Aldegonde's motive, as avowed by himself, for seeking a private
interview, was because he had received no answer to the main point in his
first letter, as to the proposition for a general accord.  In order
therefore to make the deliberations more rapid, he had been disposed to
discuss that preliminary question in secret.  "But now," said he to
Richardot, "as the affair had been too much divulged, as well by diverse
reports and writings sown about, very inopportunely, as by the arrival
of M. Van Werne, I have not found it practicable to set out upon my road,
without communication with the members of the government.  This has been
done, however, not in the way of consultation, but as the announcement of
a thing already resolved upon."

He proceeded to state, that great difficulties had arisen, exactly as he
had foreseen.  The magistrates would not hear of a general accord, and it
was therefore necessary that a delay should be interposed before it would
be possible for him to come.  He begged Richardot to persuade Alexander,
that he was not trifling with him.  "It is not," said he, "from
lightness, or any other passion, that I am retarding this affair.  I will
do all in my power to obtain leave to make a journey to the camp of his
Highness, at whatever price it may cost and I hope before long to arrive
at my object.  If I fail, it must be ascribed to the humours of the
people; for my anxiety to restore all the Provinces to obedience to his
Majesty is extreme."

Richardot, in reply, the next day, expressed regret, without
astonishment, on the part of Alexander and himself, at the intelligence
thus received.  People had such difference of humour, he said, and all
men were not equally capable of reason.  Nevertheless the citizens were
warned not to misconstrue Parma's gentleness, because he was determined
to die, with his whole army, rather than not take Antwerp.  "As for the
King," said Richardot, "he will lay down all his crowns sooner than
abandon this enterprise."  Van Werne was represented as free from blame,
and sincerely desirous of peace.  Richardot had only stated to him, in
general terms, that letters had been received from Sainte Aldegonde,
expressing an opinion in favour of peace.  As for the royalists, they
were quite innocent of the reports and writings that had so inopportunely
been circulated in the city.  It was desirable, however, that the
negotiation should not too long be deferred, for otherwise Antwerp might
perish, before a general accord with Holland and Zeeland could be made.
He begged Sainte Aldegonde to banish all anxiety as to Parma's sentiments
towards himself or the community.  "Put yourself, Sir, quite at your
ease," said he.  "His Highness is in no respects dissatisfied with you,
nor prone to conceive any indignation against this poor people."  He
assured the burgomaster that he was not suspected of lightness, nor of a
wish to delay matters, but he expressed solicitude with regard to the
threatening demonstrations which had been made against him in Antwerp.
"For," said he, "popular governments are full of a thousand hazards, and
it would be infinitely painful to me, if you should come to harm."

Thus it would appear that it was Sainte Aldegonde who was chiefly anxious
to effect the reconciliation of Holland and Zeeland with the King.  The
initiative of this project to include all the United Provinces in one
scheme with the reduction of Antwerp came originally from him, and was
opposed, at the outset, by the magistrates of that city, by the Prince of
Parma and his councillors, and, by the States of Holland and Zeeland.
The demonstrations on the part of the preachers, the municipal
authorities, and the burghers, against Sainte Aldegonde and his plan for
a secret interview, so soon as it was divulged, made it impossible to
carry that project into effect.

"Aldegonde, who governs Antwerp," wrote Parma to Philip,
"was endeavouring, eight days ago, to bring about some kind of
negotiation for an accord.  He manifested a desire to come hither
for the sake of a personal interview with me, which I permitted.  It was
to have taken place last Sunday, 16th of this month, but by reason of a
certain popular tumult, which arose out of these circumstances, it has
been necessary to defer the meeting."

There was much disappointment felt by the royalist at this unsatisfactory
result.  "These bravadoes and impertinent demonstrations on the part of
some of your people," wrote Richardot, ten days later, "will be the
destruction of the whole country, and will convert the Prince's
gentleness into anger.  'Tis these good and zealous patriots, trusting to
a little favourable breeze that blew for a few days past, who have been
the cause of all this disturbance, and who are ruining their miserable
country--miserable, I say, for having produced such abortions as

Notwithstanding what had passed, however, Richardot intimated that
Alexander was still ready to negotiate.  "And if you, Sir," he concluded,
in his letter to Aldegonde, "concerning whom many of our friends have at
present a sinister opinion, as if your object was to circumvent us, are
willing to proceed roundly and frankly, as I myself firmly believe that
you will do, we may yet hope for a favourable issue."

Thus the burgomaster was already the object of suspicion to both parties.
The Antwerpers denounced him as having been purchased by Spanish gold;
the royalists accused him of intending to overreach the King.  It was not
probable therefore that all were correct in their conjectures.

At last it was arranged that deputies should be appointed by the broad
council to commence a negotiation with Parma.  Sainte Aldegonde informed
Richardot, that he would (5th July, 1585) accompany them, if his affairs
should permit.  He  protested his sincerity and frankness throughout the
whole affair.  "They try to calumniate me," he said, "as much on one side
as on the other, but I will overcome by my innocence all the malice of my
slanderers.  If his Highness should be pleased to grant us some liberty
for our religion, I dare to promise such faithful service as will give
very great satisfaction."

Four days later, Sainte Aldegonde himself, together with M. de Duffel,
M. de Schoonhoven, and Adrian Hesselt, came to Parma's camp at Beveren,
as deputies on the part of the Antwerp authorities.  They were
courteously received by the Prince, and remained three days as his
guests.  During the period of this visit, the terms of a capitulation
were thoroughly discussed, between Alexander and his councillors upon one
part, and the four deputies on the other.  The envoys endeavoured, with
all the arguments at their command, to obtain the consent of the Prince
to three preliminary points which they laid down as indispensable.
Religious liberty must be granted, the citadel must not be reconstructed,
a foreign garrison must not be admitted; they said.  As it was the firm
intention of the King, however, not to make the slightest concession on
any one of these points, the discussion was not a very profitable one.
Besides the public interviews at which all the negotiators were present,
there was a private conference between Parma and Sainte Aldegonde which
lasted more than four hours, in which each did his best to enforce his
opinions upon the other.  The burgomaster endeavoured to persuade the
Prince with all the eloquence for which he was so renowned, that the
hearts not of the Antwerpers only, but of the Hollanders and Zeelanders,
were easily to be won at that moment.  Give them religious liberty, and
attempt to govern them by gentleness rather than by Spanish garrisons,
and the road was plain to a complete reconciliation of all the Provinces
with his Majesty.

Alexander, who knew his master to be inexorable upon these three points,
was courteous but peremptory in his statements.  He recommended that the
rebels should take into consideration their own declining strength, the
inexhaustible resources of the King, the impossibility of obtaining
succour from France, and the perplexing dilatoriness of England, rather
than waste their time in idle expectations of a change in the Spanish
policy.  He also intimated, obliquely but very plainly, to Sainte
Aldegonde, that his own fortune would be made, and that he had everything
to hope from his Majesty's bounty, if he were now willing to make himself
useful in carrying into effect the royal plans.

The Prince urged these views with so much eloquence, that he seemed,
in his own words, to have been directly inspired by the Lord for this
special occasion!  Sainte Aldegonde, too, was signally impressed by
Alexander's language, and thoroughly fascinated-magnetized, as it were
--by his character.  He subsequently declared, that he had often
conversed familiarly with many eloquent personages, but that he had never
known a man more powerful or persuasive than the Prince of Parma.  He
could honestly say of him--as Hasdrubal had said of Scipio--that Farnese
was even more admirable when seen face to face, than he had seemed when
one only heard of his glorious achievements.

"The burgomaster and three deputies," wrote Parma to Philip, "were here
until the 12th July.  We discussed (30th July, 1585) the points and form
of a capitulation, and they have gone back thoroughly satisfied.  Sainte
Aldegonde especially was much pleased with the long interview which he
had with me, alone, and which lasted more than three hours.  I told him,
as well as my weakness and suffering from the tertian fever permitted,
all that God inspired me to say on our behalf."

Nevertheless, if Sainte Aldegonde and his colleagues went away thoroughly
satisfied, they had reason, soon after their return, to become thoroughly
dejected.  The magistrates and burghers would not listen to a proposition
to abandon the three points, however strongly urged to do so by arguments
drawn from the necessity of the situation, and by representations of
Parma's benignity.  As for the burgomaster, he became the target for
calumny, so soon as his three hours' private interview became known; and
the citizens loudly declared that his head ought to be cut off, and sent
in a bag, as a present, to Philip, in order that the traitor might meet
the sovereign with whom he sought a reconciliation, face to face, as soon
as possible.

The deputies, immediately after their return, made their report to the
magistrates, as likewise to the colonels and captains, and to the deans
of guilds.  Next day, although it was Sunday, there was a session of the
broad council, and Sainte Aldegonde made a long address, in which--as he
stated in a letter to Richardot--he related everything that had passed in
his private conversation with Alexander.  An answer was promised to Parma
on the following Tuesday, but the burgomaster spoke very discouragingly
as to the probability of an accord.

"The joy with which our return was greeted," he said, "was followed by a
general disappointment and sadness, so soon as the result was known.  The
want of a religious toleration, as well as the refusal to concede on the
other two points, has not a little altered the hearts of all, even of the
Catholics.  A citadel and a garrison are considered ruin and desolation
to a great commercial city.  I have done what I can to urge the
acceptance of such conditions as the Prince is willing to give, and have
spoken in general terms of his benign intentions.  The citizens still
desire peace.  Had his Highness been willing to take both religions under
his protection, he might have won all hearts, and very soon all the other
Provinces would have returned to their obedience, while the clemency and
magnanimity of his Majesty would thus have been rendered admirable
throughout the world."

The power to form an accurate conception as to the nature of Philip and
of other personages with whom he was dealing, and as to the general signs
of his times, seems to have been wanting in the character of the gifted
Aldegonde.  He had been dazzled by the personal presence of Parma, and he
now spoke of Philip II., as if his tyranny over the Netherlands--which
for twenty years had been one horrible and uniform whole--were the
accidental result of circumstances, not the necessary expression of his
individual character, and might be easily changed at will--as if Nero,
at a moment's warning, might transform himself into Trajan.  It is true
that the innermost soul of the Spanish king could by no possibility be
displayed to any contemporary, as it reveals itself, after three
centuries, to those who study the record of his most secret thoughts;
but, at any rate, it would seem that his career had been sufficiently
consistent, to manifest the amount of "clemency and magnanimity" which he
might be expected to exercise.

"Had his Majesty," wrote Sainte Aldegonde, "been willing, since the year
sixty-six, to pursue a course of toleration, the memory of his reign
would have been sacred to all posterity, with an immortal praise of
sapience, benignity, and sovereign felicity."

This might be true, but nevertheless a tolerating Philip, in the year
1585, ought to have seemed to Sainte Aldegonde an impossible idea.

"The emperors," continued the burgomaster, "who immediately succeeded
Tiberius were the cause of the wisdom which displayed itself in the good
Trajan--also a Spaniard--and in Antoninus, Verus, and the rest: If you
think that this city, by the banishment of a certain number of persons,
will be content to abandon the profession of the reformed faith, you are
much mistaken.  You will see, with time, that the exile of this religion
will be accompanied by a depopulation and a sorrowful ruin and desolation
of this flourishing city.  But this will be as it pleases God.  Meantime
I shall not fail to make all possible exertions to induce the citizens to
consent to a reconciliation with his Majesty.  The broad council will
soon give their answer, and then we shall send a deputation.  We shall
invite Holland and Zeeland to join with us, but there is little hope of
their consent."

Certainly there was little hope of their consent.  Sainte Aldegonde was
now occupied in bringing about the capitulation of Antwerp, without any
provision for religious liberty--a concession which Parma had most
distinctly refused--and it was not probable that Holland and Zeeland,
after twenty years of hard fighting, and with an immediate prospect of
assistance from England--could now be induced to resign the great object
of the contest without further struggle.

It was not until a month had elapsed that the authorities of Antwerp sent
their propositions to the Prince of Parma.  On the 12th August, however,
Sainte Aldegonde, accompanied by the same three gentlemen who had been
employed on the first mission, and by seventeen others besides, proceeded
with safe-conduct to the camp at Beveren.  Here they were received with
great urbanity, and hospitably entertained by Alexander, who received
their formal draft of articles for a capitulation, and referred it to be
reported upon to Richardot, Pamel, and Vanden Burgh.  Meantime there were
many long speeches and several conferences, sometimes between all the
twenty-one envoys and the Prince together; on other occasions, more
secret ones, at which only Aldegonde and one or two of his colleagues
were present.  It had been obvious, from the date of the first interview,
in the preceding month, that the negotiation would be of no avail until
the government of Antwerp was prepared to abandon all the conditions
which they had originally announced as indispensable.  Alexander had not
much disposition and no authority whatever to make concessions.

"So far as I can understand," Parma had written on the 30th July, "they
are very far from a conclusion.  They have most exorbitant ideas, talking
of some kind of liberty of conscience, besides refusing on any account to
accept of garrisons, and having many reasons to allege on such subjects."

The discussions, therefore, after the deputies had at last arrived,
though courteously conducted, could scarcely be satisfactory to both
parties.  "The articles were thoroughly deliberated upon," wrote
Alexander, "by all the deputies, nor did I fail to have private
conferences with Aldegonde, that most skilful and practised lawyer and
politician, as well as with two or three of the others.  I did all in my
power to bring them to a thorough recognition of their errors, and to
produce a confidence in his Majesty's clemency, in order that they might
concede what was needful for the interests of the Catholic religion and
the security of the city.  They heard all I had to say without
exasperating themselves, and without interposing any strong objections,
except in the matter of religion, and, still more, in the matter of the
citadel and the garrison.  Aldegonde took much pains to persuade me that
it would be ruinous for a great, opulent, commercial city to submit to a
foreign military force.  Even if compelled by necessity to submit now,
the inhabitants would soon be compelled by the same necessity to abandon
the place entirely, and to leave in ruins one of the most splendid and
powerful cities in the world, and in this opinion Catholics and heretics
unanimously concurred.  The deputies protested, with one accord, that so
pernicious and abominable a thing as a citadel and garrison could not
even be proposed to their constituents.  I answered, that, so long as the
rebellion of Holland and Zeeland lasted, it would be necessary for your
Majesty to make sure of Antwerp, by one or the other of those means, but
promised that the city should be relieved of the incumbrance so soon as
those islands should be reduced.

"Sainte Aldegonde was not discouraged by this statement, but in the hope
of convincing others, or with the wish of showing that he had tried his
best, desired that I would hear him before the council of state.  I
granted the request, and Sainte Aldegonde then made another long and very
elegant oration, intended to divert me from my resolution."

It must be confessed--if the reports, which have come down to us of that
long and elegant oration be correct--that the enthusiasm of the
burgomaster for Alexander was rapidly degenerating into idolatry.

"We are not here, O invincible Prince," he said, "that we may excuse, by
an anxious legation, the long defence which we have made of our homes.
Who could have feared any danger to the most powerful city in the
Netherlands from so moderate a besieging force?  You would yourself have
rather wished for, than approved of, a greater facility on our part, for
the brave cannot love the timid.  We knew the number of your troops, we
had discovered the famine in your camp, we were aware of the paucity of
your ships, we had heard of the quarrels in your army, we were expecting
daily to hear of a general mutiny among your soldiers.  Were we to
believe that with ten or eleven thousand men you would be able to block
up the city by land and water, to reduce the open country of Brabant, to
cut off all aid as well from the neighbouring towns as from the powerful
provinces of Holland and Zeeland, to oppose, without a navy, the whole
strength of our fleets, directed against the dyke?  Truly, if you had
been at the head of fifty thousand soldiers, and every soldier had
possessed one hundred hands, it would have seemed impossible for you to
meet so many emergencies in so many places, and under so many
distractions.  What you have done we now believe possible to do, only
because we see that it has been done.  You have subjugated the Scheldt,
and forced it to bear its bridge, notwithstanding the strength of its
current, the fury of the ocean-tides, the tremendous power of the
icebergs, the perpetual conflicts with our fleets.  We destroyed your
bridge, with great slaughter of your troops.  Rendered more courageous
by that slaughter, you restored that mighty work.  We assaulted the great
dyke, pierced it through and through, and opened a path for our ships.
You drove us off when victors, repaired the ruined bulwark, and again
closed to us the avenue of relief.  What machine was there that we did
not employ? what miracles of fire did we not invent? what fleets and
floating cidadels did we not put in motion?  All that genius, audacity,
and art, could teach us we have executed, calling to our assistance
water, earth, heaven, and hell itself.  Yet with all these efforts, with
all this enginry, we have not only failed to drive you from our walls,
but we have seen you gaining victories over other cities at the same
time.  You have done a thing, O Prince, than which there is nothing
greater either in ancient or modern story.  It has often occurred, while
a general was besieging one city that he lost another situate farther
off.  But you, while besieging Antwerp, have reduced simultaneously
Dendermonde, Ghent, Nymegen, Brussels, and Mechlin."

All this, and much more, with florid rhetoric, the burgomaster pronounced
in honour of Farnese, and the eulogy was entirely deserved.  It was
hardly becoming, however, for such lips, at such a moment, to sound the
praise of him whose victory had just decided the downfall of religious
liberty, and of the national independence of the Netherlands.  His
colleagues certainly must have winced, as they listened to commendations
so lavishly bestowed upon the representative of Philip, and it is not
surprising that Sainte Aldegonde's growing unpopularity should, from that
hour, have rapidly increased.  To abandon the whole object of the siege,
when resistance seemed hopeless, was perhaps pardonable, but to offer
such lip-homage to the conqueror was surely transgressing the bounds of

His conclusion, too, might to Alexander seem as insolent as the whole
tenor of his address had been humble; for, after pronouncing this solemn
eulogy upon the conqueror, he calmly proposed that the prize of the
contest should be transferred to the conquered.

"So long as liberty of religion, and immunity from citadel and garrison
can be relied upon," he said, "so long will Antwerp remain the most
splendid and flourishing city in Christendom; but desolation will ensue
if the contrary policy is to prevail."

But it was very certain that liberty of religion, as well as immunity
from citadel and garrison, were quite out of the question.  Philip and
Parma had long been inexorably resolved upon all the three points.

"After the burgomaster had finished his oration," wrote Alexander to his
sovereign, "I discussed the matter with him in private, very distinctly
and minutely."

The religious point was soon given up, Sainte Aldegonde finding it waste
of breath to say anything more about freedom of conscience.  A suggestion
was however made on the subject of the garrison, which the prince
accepted, because it contained a condition which it would be easy to

"Aldegonde proposed," said Parma, "that a garrison might be admissible
if I made my entrance into the city merely with infantry and cavalry of
nations which were acceptable--Walloons, namely, and Germans--and in no
greater numbers than sufficient for a body-guard.  I accepted, because,
in substance, this would amount to a garrison, and because, also, after
the magistrates shall have been changed, I shall have no difficulty in
making myself master of the people, continuing the garrison, and
rebuilding the citadel."

The Prince proceeded to give his reasons why he was willing to accept the
capitulation on what he considered so favourable terms to the besieged.
Autumn was approaching.  Already the fury of the storms had driven
vessels clean over the dykes; the rebels in Holland and Zeeland were
preparing their fleets--augmented by many new ships of war and fire-
machines--for another desperate attack upon the Palisades, in which there
was great possibility of their succeeding; an auxiliary force from
England was soon expected; so that, in view of all these circumstances,
he had resolved to throw himself at his Majesty's feet and implore his
clemency.  "If this people of Antwerp, as the head, is gained," said he,
"there will be tranquillity in all the members."

These reasons were certainly conclusive; nor is it easy to believe, that,
under the circumstances thus succinctly stated by Alexander, it would
have been impossible for the patriots to hold out until the promised
succour from Holland and from England should arrive.  In point of fact,
the bridge could not have stood the winter which actually ensued; for it
was the repeatedly expressed opinion of the Spanish officers in Antwerp,
that the icebergs which then filled the Scheldt must inevitably have
shattered twenty bridges to fragments, had there been so many.  It
certainly was superfluous for the Prince to make excuses to Philip for
accepting the proposed capitulation.  All the prizes of victory had been
thoroughly secured, unless pillage, massacre, and rape, which had been
the regular accompaniments of Alva's victories, were to be reckoned among
the indispensable trophies of a Spanish triumph.

Nevertheless, the dearth in the city had been well concealed from the
enemy; for, three days after the surrender, not a loaf of bread was to be
had for any money in all Antwerp, and Alexander declared that he would
never have granted such easy conditions had he been aware of the real
condition of affairs.

The articles of capitulation agreed upon between Parma and the deputies
were brought before the broad council on the 9th August.  There was much
opposition to them, as many magistrates and other influential personages
entertained sanguine expectations from the English negotiation, and were
beginning to rely with confidence upon the promises of Queen Elizabeth.
The debate was waxing warm, when some of the councillors, looking out of
window of the great hall, perceived that a violent mob had collected in
the streets.  Furious cries for bread were uttered, and some meagre-
looking individuals were thrust forward to indicate the famine which was
prevailing, and the necessity of concluding the treaty without further
delay.  Thus the municipal government was perpetually exposed to
democratic violence, excited by diametrically opposite influences.
Sometimes the burgomaster was denounced for having sold himself and his
country to the Spaniards, and was assailed with execrations for being
willing to conclude a sudden and disgraceful peace.  At other moments he
was accused of forging letters containing promises of succour from the
Queen of England and from the authorities of Holland, in order to
protract the lingering tortures of the war.  Upon this occasion the
peace-mob carried its point.  The councillors, looking out of window,
rushed into the hall with direful accounts of the popular ferocity;
the magistrates and colonels who had been warmest in opposition suddenly
changed their tone, and the whole body of the broad council accepted the
articles of capitulation by a unanimous vote.

The window was instantly thrown open, and the decision publicly
announced.  The populace, wild with delight, rushed through the streets,
tearing down the arms of the Duke of Anjou, which had remained above the
public edifices since the period of that personage's temporary residence
in the Netherlands, and substituting, with wonderful celerity, the
escutcheon of Philip the Second.  Thus suddenly could an Antwerp mob pass
from democratic insolence to intense loyalty.

The articles, on the whole, were as liberal as could have been expected.
The only hope for Antwerp and for a great commonwealth of all the
Netherlands was in holding out, even to the last gasp, until England and
Holland, now united, had time to relieve the city.  This was,
unquestionably, possible.  Had Antwerp possessed the spirit of Leyden,
had William of Orange been alive, that Spanish escutcheon, now raised
with such indecent haste, might have never been seen again on the outside
wall of any Netherland edifice.  Belgium would have become at once a
constituent portion of a great independent national realm, instead of
languishing until our own century, the dependency of a distant and a
foreign metropolis.  Nevertheless, as the Antwerpers were not disposed to
make themselves martyrs, it was something that they escaped the nameless
horrors which had often alighted upon cities subjected to an enraged
soldiery.  It redounds to the eternal honour of Alexander Farnese--when
the fate of Naarden and Haarlem and Maestricht, in the days of Alva, and
of Antwerp itself in the horrible "Spanish fury," is remembered--that
there were no scenes of violence and outrage in the populous and wealthy
city, which was at length at his mercy after having defied him so long.

Civil and religious liberty were trampled in the dust, commerce and
manufactures were destroyed, the most valuable portion of the citizens
sent into hopeless exile, but the remaining inhabitants were not
butchered in cold blood.

The treaty was signed on the 17th August.  Antwerp was to return to its
obedience.  There was to be an entire amnesty and oblivion for the past,
without a single exception.  Royalist absentees were to be reinstated in
their possessions.  Monasteries, churches, and the King's domains were to
be restored to their former proprietors.  The inhabitants of the city
were to practise nothing but the Catholic religion.  Those who refused to
conform were allowed to remain two years for the purpose of winding up
their affairs and selling out their property, provided that during that
period they lived "without scandal towards the ancient religion"--a very
vague and unsatisfactory condition.  All prisoners were to be released
excepting Teligny.  Four hundred thousand florins were to be paid by the
authorities as a fine.  The patriot garrison was to leave the city with
arms and baggage and all the honours of war.

This capitulation gave more satisfaction to the hungry portion of the
Antwerpers than to the patriot party of the Netherlands.  Sainte
Aldegonde was vehemently and unsparingly denounced as a venal traitor.
It is certain, whatever his motives, that his attitude had completely
changed.  For it was not Antwerp alone that he had reconciled or was
endeavouring to reconcile with the King of Spain, but Holland and Zeeland
as well, and all the other independent Provinces.  The ancient champion
of the patriot army, the earliest signer of the 'Compromise,' the bosom
friend of William the Silent, the author of the 'Wilhelmus' national
song, now avowed his conviction, in a published defence of his conduct
against the calumnious attacks upon it, "that it was impossible, with a
clear conscience, for subjects, under any circumstances, to take up arms
against Philip, their king."  Certainly if he had always entertained that
opinion he must have suffered many pangs of remorse during his twenty
years of active and illustrious rebellion.  He now made himself secretly
active in promoting the schemes of Parma and in counteracting the
negotiation with England.  He flattered himself, with an infatuation
which it is difficult to comprehend, that it would be possible to obtain
religious liberty for the revolting Provinces, although he had consented
to its sacrifice in Antwerp.  It is true that he had not the privilege of
reading Philip's secret letters to Parma, but what was there in the
character of the King--what intimation had ever been given by the
Governor-General--to induce a belief in even the possibility of such a

Whatever Sainte Aldegonde's opinions, it is certain that Philip had no
intention of changing his own policy.  He at first suspected the
burgomaster of a wish to protract the negotiations for a perfidious

"Necessity has forced Antwerp," he wrote on the 17th of August--the very
day on which the capitulation was actually signed--"to enter into
negotiation.  I understand the artifice of Aldegonde in seeking to
prolong and make difficult the whole affair, under pretext of treating
for the reduction of Holland and Zeeland at the same time.  It was
therefore very adroit in you to defeat this joint scheme at once, and
urge the Antwerp matter by itself, at the same time not shutting the door
on the others.  With the prudence and dexterity with which this business
has thus far been managed I am thoroughly satisfied."

The King also expressed his gratification at hearing from Parma that the
demand for religious liberty in the Netherlands would soon be abandoned.

"In spite of the vehemence," he said, "which they manifest in the
religious matter, desiring some kind of liberty, they will in the end,
as you say they will, content themselves with what the other cities,
which have returned to obedience, have obtained.  This must be done in
all cases without flinching, and without permitting any modification."

What "had been obtained" by Brussels, Mechlin, Ghent, was well known.
The heretics had obtained the choice of renouncing their religion or of
going into perpetual exile, and this was to be the case "without
flinching" in Holland and Zeeland, if those provinces chose to return to
obedience.  Yet Sainte Aldegonde deluded himself with the thought of a
religious peace.

In another and very important letter of the same date Philip laid down
his policy very distinctly.  The Prince of Parma, by no means such a
bigot as his master, had hinted at the possibility of tolerating the
reformed religion in the places recovered from the rebels, sub silentio,
for a period not defined, and long enough for the heretics to awake from
their errors.

"You have got an expression of opinion, I see," wrote the King to
Alexander, "of some grave men of wisdom and conscience, that the
limitation of time, during which the heretics may live without scandal,
may be left undefined; but I feel very keenly the danger of such a
proposition.  With regard to Holland and Zeeland, or any other provinces
or towns, the first step must be for them to receive and maintain alone
the exercise of the Catholic religion, and to subject themselves to the
Roman church, without tolerating the exercise of any other religion, in
city, village, farm-house, or building thereto destined in the fields, or
in any place whatsoever; and in this regulation there is to be no flaw,
no change, no concession by convention or otherwise of a religious peace,
or anything of the sort.  They are all to embrace the Roman Catholic
religion, and the exercise of that is alone to be permitted."

This certainly was distinct enough, and nothing had been ever said in
public to induce a belief in any modification of the principles on which
Philip had uniformly acted.  That monarch considered himself born to
suppress heresy, and he had certainly been carrying out this work during
his whole lifetime.

The King was willing, however, as Alexander had intimated in his
negotiations with Antwerp, and previously in the capitulation of
Brussels, Ghent, and other places, that there should be an absence of
investigation into the private chambers of the heretics, during the
period allotted them for choosing between the Papacy and exile.

"It may be permitted," said Philip, "to abstain from inquiring as to what
the heretics are doing within their own doors, in a private way, without
scandal, or any public exhibition of their rites during a fixed time.
But this connivance, and the abstaining from executing the heretics,
or from chastising them, even although they may be living very
circumspectly, is to be expressed in very vague terms."

Being most anxious to provide against a second crop of heretics to
succeed the first, which he was determined to uproot, he took pains to
enjoin with his own hand upon Parma the necessity of putting in Catholic
schoolmasters and mistresses to the exclusion of reformed teachers into
all the seminaries of the recovered Provinces, in order that all the boys
and girls might grow up in thorough orthodoxy.

Yet this was the man from whom Sainte Aldegonde imagined the possibility
of obtaining a religious peace.

Ten days after the capitulation, Parma made his triumphal entrance into
Antwerp; but, according to his agreement, he spared the citizens the
presence of the Spanish and Italian soldiers, the military procession
being composed of the Germans and Walloons.  Escorted by his body-guard,
and surrounded by a knot of magnates and veterans, among whom the Duke of
Arschot, the Prince of Chimay, the Counts Mansfeld, Egmont, and Aremberg,
were conspicuous, Alexander proceeded towards the captured city.  He was
met at the Keyser Gate by a triumphal chariot of gorgeous workmanship,
in which sat the fair nymph Antwerpia, magnificently bedizened, and
accompanied by a group of beautiful maidens.  Antwerpia welcomed the
conqueror with a kiss, recited a poem in his honour, and bestowed upon
him the keys of the city, one of which was in gold.  This the Prince
immediately fastened to the chain around his neck, from which was
suspended the lamb of the golden fleece, with which order he had just
been, amid great pomp and ceremony, invested.

On the public square called the Mere, the Genoese merchants had erected
two rostral columns, each surmounted by a colossal image, representing
respectively Alexander of Macedon and Alexander of Parma.  Before the
house of Portugal was an enormous phoenix, expanding her wings quite
across the street; while, in other parts of the town, the procession was
met by ships of war, elephants, dromedaries, whales, dragons, and other
triumphal phenomena.  In the market-place were seven statues in copper,
personifying the seven planets, together with an eighth representing
Bacchus; and perhaps there were good mythological reasons why the god of
wine, together with so large a portion of our solar system, should be
done in copper by Jacob Jongeling, to honour the triumph of Alexander,
although the key to the enigma has been lost.

The cathedral had been thoroughly fumigated with frankincense, and
besprinkled with holy water, to purify the sacred precincts from their
recent pollution by the reformed rites; and the Protestant pulpits which
had been placed there, had been soundly beaten with rods, and then burned
to ashes.  The procession entered within its walls, where a magnificent
Te Deum was performed, and then, after much cannon-firing, bell-ringing,
torch-light exhibition, and other pyrotechnics, the Prince made his way
at last to the palace provided for him.  The glittering display, by which
the royalists celebrated their triumph, lasted three days' long, the city
being thronged from all the country round with eager and frivolous
spectators, who were never wearied with examining the wonders of the
bridge and the forts, and with gazing at the tragic memorials which still
remained of the fight on the Kowenstyn.

During this interval, the Spanish and Italian soldiery, not willing to be
outdone in demonstrations of respect to their chief, nor defrauded of
their rightful claim to a holiday amused themselves with preparing a
demonstration of a novel character.  The bridge, which, as it was well
known, was to be destroyed within a very few days, was adorned with
triumphal arches, and decked with trees and flowering plants; its roadway
was strewed with branches; and the palisades, parapets, and forts, were
garnished with wreaths, emblems, and poetical inscriptions in honour of
the Prince.  The soldiers themselves, attired in verdurous garments of
foliage and flower-work, their swart faces adorned with roses and lilies,
paraded the bridge and the dyke in fantastic procession with clash of
cymbal and flourish of trumpet, dancing, singing, and discharging their
carbines, in all the delirium of triumph.  Nor was a suitable termination
to the festival wanting, for Alexander, pleased with the genial character
of these demonstrations, repaired himself to the bridge, where he was
received with shouts of rapture by his army, thus whimsically converted
into a horde of fauns and satyrs.  Afterwards, a magnificent banquet was
served to the soldiers upon the bridge.  The whole extent of its surface,
from the Flemish to the Brabant shore--the scene so lately of deadly
combat, and of the midnight havoc caused by infernal enginery--was
changed, as if by the stroke of a wand, into a picture of sylvan and
Arcadian merry-making, and spread with tables laden with delicate viands.
Here sat that host of war--bronzed figures, banqueting at their ease,
their heads crowned with flowers, while the highest magnates of the army,
humouring them in their masquerade, served them with dainties, and filled
their goblets with wine.

After these festivities had been concluded, Parma set himself to
practical business.  There had been a great opposition, during the
discussion of the articles of capitulation to the reconstruction of the
famous citadel.  That fortress had been always considered, not as a
defence of the place against a foreign enemy, but as an instrument to
curb the burghers themselves beneath a hostile power.  The city
magistrates, however, as well as the dean and chief officers in all the
guilds and fraternities, were at once changed by Parma--Catholics being
uniformly substituted for heretics.  In consequence, it was not difficult
to bring about a change of opinion in the broad council.  It is true that
neither Papists nor Calvinists regarded with much satisfaction the
prospect of military violence being substituted for civic rule, but
in the first effusion of loyalty, and in the triumph of the ancient
religion, they forgot the absolute ruin to which their own action was now
condemning their city.  Champagny, who had once covered himself with
glory by his heroic though unsuccessful efforts to save Antwerp from the
dreadful "Spanish fury" which had descended from that very citadel, was
now appointed governor of the town, and devoted himself to the
reconstruction of the hated fortress.  "Champagny has particularly aided
me," wrote Parma, "with his rhetoric and clever management, and has
brought the broad council itself to propose that the citadel should be
rebuilt.  It will therefore be done, as by the burghers themselves,
without your Majesty or myself appearing to desire it."

This was, in truth, a triumph of "rhetoric and clever management," nor
could a city well abase itself more completely, kneeling thus cheerfully
at its conqueror's feet, and requesting permission to put the yoke upon
its own neck.  "The erection of the castle has thus been determined
upon," said Parma, "and I am supposed to know nothing of the resolution."

A little later he observed that they, were "working away most furiously
at the citadel, and that within a month it would be stronger than it ever
had been before."

The building went on, indeed, with astonishing celerity, the fortress
rising out of its ruins almost as rapidly, under the hands of the
royalists, as it had been demolished, but a few years before, by the
patriots.  The old foundations still remained, and blocks of houses,
which had been constructed out of its ruins, were thrown down that the
materials might be again employed in its restoration.

The citizens, impoverished and wretched, humbly demanded that the expense
of building the citadel might be in part defrayed by the four hundred
thousand florins in which they had been mulcted by the capitulation.
"I don't marvel at this," said Parma, "for certainly the poor city is
most forlorn and poverty-stricken, the heretics having all left it."
It was not long before it was very satisfactorily established, that the
presence of those same heretics and liberty of conscience for all men,
were indispensable conditions for the prosperity of the great capital.
Its downfall was instantaneous.  The merchants and industrious artisans
all wandered away from the place which had been the seat of a world-wide
traffic.  Civilisation and commerce departed, and in their stead were the
citadel and the Jesuits.  By express command of Philip, that order,
banished so recently, was reinstated in Antwerp, as well as throughout
the obedient provinces; and all the schools and colleges were placed
under its especial care.  No children could be thenceforth instructed
except by the lips of those fathers.  Here was a curb more efficacious
even than the citadel.  That fortress was at first garrisoned with
Walloons and Germans.  "I have not yet induced the citizens," said Parma,
"to accept a Spanish garrison, nor am I surprised; so many of them
remembering past events (alluding to the 'Spanish fury,' but not
mentioning it by name), and observing the frequent mutinies at the
present time.  Before long, I expect, however, to make the Spaniards as
acceptable and agreeable as the inhabitants of the country themselves."

It may easily be supposed that Philip was pleased with the triumphs that
had thus been achieved.  He was even grateful, or affected to be
grateful, to him who had achieved them.  He awarded great praise to
Alexander for his exertions, on the memorable occasions of the attack
upon the bridge, and the battle of the Kowenstyn; but censured him
affectionately for so rashly exposing his life.  "I have no words,"
he said, "to render the thanks which are merited for all that you have
been doing.  I recommend you earnestly however to have a care for the
security of your person, for that is of more consequence than all the

After the news of the reduction of the city, he again expressed
gratification, but in rather cold language.  "From such obstinate
people," said he, "not more could be extracted than has been extracted;
therefore the capitulation is satisfactory."  What more he wished to
extract it would be difficult to say, for certainly the marrow had been
extracted from the bones, and the dead city was thenceforth left to
moulder under the blight of a foreign garrison and an army of Jesuits.
"Perhaps religious affairs will improve before long," said Philip.
They did improve very soon, as he understood the meaning of improvement.
A solitude of religion soon brought with it a solitude in every other
regard, and Antwerp became a desert, as Sainte Aldegonde had foretold
would be the case.

The King had been by no means so calm, however, when the intelligence
of the capitulation first reached him at Madrid.  On the contrary, his
oldest courtiers had never seen him exhibit such marks of hilarity.

When he first heard of the glorious victory at Lepanto, his countenance
had remained impassive, and he had continued in the chapel at the
devotional exercises which the messenger from Don John had interrupted.
Only when the news of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew first reached him,
had he displayed an amount of cheerfulness equal to that which he
manifested at the fall of Antwerp.  "Never," said Granvelle, "had the
King been so radiant with joy as when he held in his hand the despatches
which announced the capitulation."  The letters were brought to him after
he had retired to rest, but his delight was so great that he could not
remain in his bed.  Rushing from his chamber, so soon as he had read
them, to that of his dearly-beloved daughter, Clara Isabella, he knocked
loudly at the door, and screaming through the keyhole the three words,
"Antwerp is ours," returned precipitately again to his own apartment.

It was the general opinion in Spain, that the capture of this city had
terminated the resistance of the Netherlands.  Holland and Zeeland would,
it was thought, accept with very little hesitation the terms which Parma
had been offering, through the agency of Sainte Aldegonde; and, with the
reduction of those two provinces, the Spanish dominion over the whole
country would of course become absolute.  Secretary Idiaquez observed,
on drawing up instructions for Carlo Coloma, a Spanish financier then
departing on special mission for the Provinces, that he would soon come
back to Spain, for the Prince of Parma was just putting an end to the
whole Belgic war.

Time was to show whether Holland and Zeeland were as malleable as
Antwerp, and whether there would not be a battle or two more to fight
before that Belgic war would come to its end.  Meantime Antwerp was
securely fettered, while the spirit of commerce--to which its unexampled
prosperity had been due--now took its flight to the lands where civil and
religious liberty had found a home.



As every illustration of the career and character of this eminent
personage excites constant interest in the Netherlands, I have here
thrown together, in the form of an Appendix, many important and entirely
unpublished details, drawn mainly from the Archives of Simancas, and from
the State Paper Office and British Museum in London.

The ex-burgomaster seemed determined to counteract the policy of those
Netherlanders who wished to offer the sovereignty of the Provinces to the
English Queen.  He had been earnestly in favour of annexation to France,
for his sympathies and feelings were eminently French.  He had never been
a friend to England, and he was soon aware that a strong feeling of
indignation--whether just or unjust--existed against him both in that
country and in the Netherlands, on account of the surrender of Antwerp.

"I have had large conference with Villiers," wrote Sir John Norris to
Walsingham, "he condemneth Ste. Aldegonde's doings, but will impute it to
fear and not to malice.  Ste. Aldegonde, notwithstanding that he was
forbidden to come to Holland, and laid for at the fleet, yet stole
secretly to Dort, where they say he is staid, but I doubt he will be
heard speak, and then assuredly he will do great hurt."

It was most certainly Sainte Aldegonde's determination, so soon as the
capitulation of Antwerp had been resolved upon, to do his utmost to
restore all the independent Provinces to their ancient allegiance.
Rather Spanish than English was his settled resolution.  Liberty of
religion, if possible--that was his cherished wish--but still more
ardently, perhaps, did he desire to prevent the country from falling
into the hands of Elizabeth.

"The Prince of Parma hath conceived such an assured hope of the fidelity
of Aldegonde," wrote one of Walsingham's agents, Richard Tomson, "in
reducing the Provinces, yet enemies, into a perfect subjection, that the
Spaniards are so well persuaded of the man as if he had never been
against them.  They say, about the middle of this month, he departed for
Zeeland and Holland, to prosecute the effect of his promises, and I am
the more induced to believe that he is become altogether Spanish, for
that the common bruit goeth that he hastened the surrendering of the town
of Antwerp, after he had intelligence of the coming of the English

There was naturally much indignation felt in the independent Provinces,
against all who had been thought instrumental in bringing about the
reduction of the great cities of Flanders.  Famars, governor of Mechlin,
Van den Tympel, governor of Brussels, Martini, who had been active in
effecting the capitulation of Antwerp, were all arrested in Holland.
"From all that I can hear," said Parma, "it is likely that they will be
very severely handled, which is the reason why Ste. Aldegonde, although
he sent his wife and children to Holland, has not ventured thither
himself: It appears that they threaten him there, but he means now to go,
under pretext of demanding to justify himself from the imputations
against him.  Although he tells me freely that, without some
amplification of the concessions hitherto made on the point of religion,
he hopes for no good result, yet I trust that he will do good offices in
the meantime, in spite of the difficulties which obstruct his efforts.
On my part, every exertion will be made, and not without hope of some
fruit, if not before, at least after, these people have become as tired
of the English as they were of the French."

Of this mutual ill-feeling between the English and the burgomaster, there
can be no doubt whatever.  The Queen's government was fully aware of his
efforts to counteract its negotiation with the Netherlands, and to bring
about their reconciliation with Spain.  When the Earl of Leicester--as
will soon be related--arrived in the Provinces, he was not long in
comprehending his attitude and his influence.

"I wrote somewhat of Sir Aldegonde in putting his case," wrote Leicester,
"but this is certain, I have the copy of his very letters sent hither to
practise the peace not two days before I came, and this day one hath told
me that loves him well, that he hates our countrymen unrecoverably.  I am
sorry for it."

On the other hand, the Queen was very indignant with the man whom she
looked upon as the paid agent of Spain.  She considered him a renegade,
the more dangerous because his previous services had been so illustrious.
"Her Majesty's mislike towards Ste. Aldegonde continueth," wrote
Walsingham to Leicester, "and she taketh offence that he was not
restrained of his liberty by your Lordship's order." It is unquestionable
that the exburgomaster intended to do his best towards effecting the
reconciliation of all the Provinces with Spain; and it is equally certain
that the King had offered to pay him well, if he proved successful in his
endeavours.  There is no proof, however, and no probability that Sainte
Aldegonde ever accepted or ever intended to accept the proffered bribe.
On the contrary, his whole recorded career ought to disprove the
supposition.  Yet it is painful, to find him, at this crisis, assiduous
in his attempts to undo the great work of his own life, and still more
distressing to find that great rewards were distinctly offered to him
for such service.  Immense promises had been frequently made no doubt to
William the Silent; nor could any public man, in such times, be so pure
that an attempt to tamper with him might not be made: but when the
personage, thus solicited, was evidently acting in the interests of the
tempters, it is not surprising that he should become the object of grave

"It does not seem to me bad," wrote Philip to Parma, "this negotiation
which you have commenced with Ste. Aldegonde, in order to gain him, and
thus to employ his services in bringing about a reduction of the islands
(Holland and Zeeland).  In exchange for this work, any thing which you
think proper to offer to him as a reward, will be capital well invested;
but it must not be given until the job is done."

But the job was hard to do, and Sainte Aldegonde cared nothing for the
offered bribe.  He was, however, most strangely confident of being able
to overcome, on the one hand, the opposition of Holland and Zeeland to
the hated authority of Spain, and, on the other, the intense abhorrence
entertained by Philip to liberty of conscience.

Soon after the capitulation, he applied for a passport to visit those two
Provinces.  Permission to come was refused him. Honest men from Antwerp,
he was informed, would be always welcome, but there was no room for him.
There was, however--or Parma persuaded himself that there was--
a considerable party in those countries in favour of reconciliation
with Spain. If the ex-burgomaster could gain a hearing, it was thought
probable that his eloquence would prove very effective.

"We have been making efforts to bring about negotiations with Holland
and Zeeland," wrote Alexander to Philip.  "Gelderland and Overyssel
likewise show signs of good disposition, but I have not soldiers enough
to animate the good and terrify the bad.  As for Holland and Zeeland,
there is a strong inclination on the part of the people to a
reconciliation, if some concession could be made on the religious
question, but the governors oppose it, because they are perverse, and
are relying on assistance from England.  Could this religious concession
be made, an arrangement could, without doubt, be accomplished, and more
quickly than people think.  Nevertheless, in such a delicate matter, I am
obliged to await your Majesty's exact instructions and ultimatum."

He then proceeded to define exactly the position and intentions of the

"The government of Holland and Zeeland," he said, "have refused a
passport to Ste. Aldegonde, and express dissatisfaction with him for
having surrendered Antwerp so soon.  They know that he has much credit
with the people and with the ministers of the sects, and they are in much
fear of him because he is inclined for peace, which is against their
interests.  They are, therefore, endeavouring to counteract my
negotiations with him.  These have been, thus far, only in general terms.
I have sought to induce him to perform the offices required, without
giving him reason to expect any concession as to the exercise of
religion.  He persuades himself that, in the end, there will be some
satisfaction obtained upon this point, and, under this impression he
considers the peace as good as concluded, there remaining no doubt as to
other matters.  He has sent his wife to Zeeland, and is himself going to
Germany, where, as he says, he will do all the good service that he can.
He hopes that very shortly the Provinces will not only invite, but
implore him to come to them; in which case, he promises me to perform

Alexander then proceeded to pay a distinct tribute to Sainte Aldegonde's
motives; and, when it is remembered that the statement thus made is
contained in a secret despatch, in cipher, to the King, it may be assumed
to convey the sincere opinion of the man most qualified to judge
correctly as to this calumniated person's character.

"Ste. Aldegonde offers me wonders," he said, "and I have promised him
that he shall be recompensed very largely; yet, although he is poor, I do
not find him influenced by mercenary or selfish considerations, but only
very set in opinions regarding his religion."

The Prince had however no doubt of Sainte Aldegonde's sincerity, for
sincerity was a leading characteristic of the man.  His word, once given,
was sacred, and he had given his word to do his best towards effecting a
reconciliation of the Provinces with Spain, and frustrating the efforts
of England.  "Through the agency of Ste. Aldegonde and that of others"
wrote Parma, "I shall watch, day and night, to bring about a reduction of
Holland and Zeeland, if humanly possible.  I am quite persuaded that they
will soon be sick of the English, who are now arriving, broken down,
without arms or money, and obviously incapable of holding out very long.
Doubtless, however, this English alliance, and the determination of the
Queen to do her utmost against us, complicates matters, and assists the
government of Holland and Zeeland in opposing the inclinations of their

Nothing ever came of these intended negotiations.  The miracles were
never wrought, and even had Sainte Aldegonde been as venal as he was
suspected of being--which we have thus proof positive that he was not--
he never could have obtained the recompense, which, according to Philip's
thrifty policy, was not to be paid until it had been earned.  Sainte
Aldegonde's hands were clean.  It is pity that we cannot render the same
tribute to his political consistency of character.  It is also certain
that he remained--not without reason--for a long time under a cloud.  He
became the object of unbounded and reckless calumny.  Antwerp had fallen,
and the necessary consequence of its reduction was the complete and
permanent prostration of its commerce and manufactures.  These were
transferred to the new, free, national, independent, and prosperous
commonwealth that had risen in the "islands" which Parma and Sainte
Aldegonde had vainly hoped to restore to their ancient servitude.  In a
very few years after the subjugation of Antwerp, it appeared by
statistical documents that nearly all the manufactures of linen, coarse
and fine cloths, serges, fustians, tapestry, gold-embroidery, arms-work,
silks, and velvets, had been transplanted to the towns of Holland and
Zeeland, which were flourishing and thriving, while the Flemish and
Brabantine cities had become mere dens of thieves and beggars.  It was in
the mistaken hope of averting this catastrophe--as melancholy as it was
inevitable and in despair of seeing all the Netherlands united, unless
united in slavery, and in deep-rooted distrust of the designs and policy
of England, that this statesman, once so distinguished, had listened to
the insidious tongue of Parma.  He had sought to effect a general
reconciliation with Spain, and the only result of his efforts was a
blight upon his own illustrious name.

He published a defence of his conduct, and a detailed account of the
famous siege.  His apology, at the time, was not considered conclusive,
but his narrative remains one of the clearest and most trustworthy
sources for the history of these important transactions.  He was never
brought to trial, but he discovered, with bitterness, that he had
committed a fatal error, and that his political influence had passed
away.  He addressed numerous private epistles to eminent persons,
indignantly denying the imputations against his character, and demanding
an investigation.  Among other letters he observed in one to Count
Hohenlo, that he was astonished and grieved to find that all his faithful
labours and sufferings in the cause of his fatherland had been forgotten
in an hour.  In place of praise and gratitude, he had reaped nothing but
censure and calumny; because men ever judged, not by the merits, but by
the issue.  That common people should be so unjust, he said, was not to
be wondered at, but of men like Hohenlo be had hoped better things.  He
asserted that he had saved Antwerp from another "Spanish fury," and from
impending destruction--a city in which there was not a single regular
soldier, and in which his personal authority was so slight that he was
unable to count the number of his masters.  If a man had ever performed a
service to his country, be claimed to have done so in this capitulation.
Nevertheless, he declared that he was the same Philip Marnix, earnestly
devoted to the service of God, the true religion, and the fatherland;
although he avowed himself weary of the war, and of this perpetual
offering of the Netherland sovereignty to foreign potentates.  He was now
going, he said, to his estates in Zeeland; there to turn farmer again;
renouncing public affairs, in the administration of which he had
experienced so much ingratitude from his countrymen.  Count Maurice and
the States of Holland and Zeeland wrote to him, however, in very plain
language, describing the public indignation as so strong as to make it
unsafe for him to visit the country.

The Netherlands and England--so soon as they were united in policy--were,
not without reason, indignant with the man who had made such strenuous
efforts to prevent that union.  The English were, in truth, deeply
offended.  He had systematically opposed their schemes, and to his
prejudice against their country, and distrust of their intentions, they
attributed the fall of Antwerp.  Envoy Davison, after his return to
Holland, on the conclusion of the English treaty, at once expressed his
suspicions of the ex-burgomaster, and the great dangers to be apprehended
from his presence in the free States.  "Here is some working underhand,"
said he to Walsingham, "to draw hither Sainte Aldegonde, under a pretext
of his justification, which--as it has hitherto been denied him--so is
the sequel suspected, if he should obtain it before they were well
settled here, betwixt her Majesty and them, considering the manifold
presumptions that the subject of his journey should be little profitable
or advantageous to the state of these poor countries, as tending, at the
best, to the propounding of some general reconcilement."  It was
certainly not without substantial grounds that the English and
Hollanders, after concluding their articles of alliance, felt uneasy at
the possibility of finding their plans reversed by the intrigues of a man
whom they knew to be a mediator between Spain and her revolted Provinces,
and whom they suspected of being a venal agent of the Catholic King.
It was given out that Philip had been induced to promise liberty of
religion, in case of reconciliation.  We have seen that Parma was at
heart in favour of such a course, and that he was very desirous of
inducing Marnix to believe in the possibility of obtaining such a boon,
however certain the Prince had been made by the King's secret letters,
that such a belief was a delusion.  "Martini hath been examined," wrote
Davison, "who confesseth both for himself and others, to become hither
by direction of the Prince of Parma and intelligence of Sainte Aldegonde,
from whom he was first addressed by Villiers and afterwards to others for
advice and assistance.  That the scope of this direction was to induce
them here to hearken to a peace, wherein the Prince of Parma promiseth
them toleration of religion, although he confesseth yet to have no
absolute power in that behalf, but hath written thereof to the King
expressly, and holdeth himself assured thereof by the first post, as I
have likewise been advertised from Rowland York, which if it had been
propounded openly here before things had been concluded with her Majesty,
and order taken for her assurance, your honour can judge what confusion
it must of necessity have brought forth."

At last, when Marnix had become convinced that the toleration would not
arrive "by the very next mail from Spain," and that, in truth, such a
blessing was not to be expected through the post-office at all, he felt
an inward consciousness of the mistake which he had committed.  Too
credulously had he inclined his ear to the voice of Parma; too
obstinately had he steeled his heart against Elizabeth, and he was now
the more anxious to clear himself at least from the charges of corruption
so clamorously made against him by Holland and by England.  Conscious of
no fault more censurable than credulity and prejudice, feeling that his
long fidelity to the reformed religion ought to be a defence for him
against his calumniators, he was desirous both to clear his own honour,
and to do at least a tardy justice to England.  He felt confident that
loyal natures, like those of Davison and his colleagues at home, would
recognize his own loyalty.  He trusted, not without cause, to English
honour, and coming to his manor-house of Zoubourg, near Flushing, he
addressed a letter to the ambassador of Elizabeth, in which the strong
desire to vindicate his aspersed integrity is quite manifest.

"I am very joyous," said he, "that coming hither in order to justify
myself against the false and malignant imputations with which they charge
me, I have learned your arrival here on the part of her Majesty, as well
as the soon expected coming of the Earl of Leicester.  I see, in truth,
that the Lord God is just, and never abandons his own.  I have never
spared myself in the service of my country, and I would have sacrificed
my life, a thousand times, had it been possible, in her cause.  Now, I am
receiving for all this a guerdon of blame and calumny, which is cast upon
me in order to cover up faults which have been committed by others in
past days.  I hope, however, to come soon to give you welcome, and to
speak more particularly to you of all these things.  Meantime demanding
my justification before these gentlemen, who ought to have known me
better than to have added faith to such villanous imputations, I will
entreat you that my definite justification, or condemnation, if I have
merited it, may be reserved till the arrival of Lord Leicester."

This certainly was not the language of a culprit, Nevertheless, his words
did not immediately make a deep impression on the hearts of those who
heard him.  He had come secretly to his house at Zoubourg, having
previously published his memorable apology; and in accordance with the
wishes of the English government, he was immediately confined to his own
house.  Confidence in the intention of a statesman, who had at least
committed such grave errors of judgment, and who had been so deeply
suspected of darker faults, was not likely very soon to revive.  So far
from shrinking from an investigation which would have been dangerous,
even to his life, had the charges against his honour been founded in
fact, he boldly demanded to be confronted with his accusers, in order
that he might explain his conduct before all the world.  "Sir,
yesternight, at the shutting of the gates," wrote Davison to Walsingham,
transmitting the little note from Marnix, which has just been cited--
"I was advertised that Ste.  Aldegonde was not an hour before secretly
landed at the head on the other side the Rammekens, and come to his house
at Zoubourg, having prepared his way by an apology, newly published in
his defence, whereof I have as yet recovered one only copy, which
herewith I send your honour.  This day, whilst I was at dinner, he sent
his son unto me, with a few lines, whereof I send you the copy,
advertising me of his arrival (which he knew I understood before),
together with the desire he had to see me, and speak with me, if the
States, before whom he was to come to purge himself of the crimes
wherewith he stood, as he with, unjustly charged, would vouchsafe him so
much liberty.  The same morning, the council of Zeeland, taking knowledge
of his arrival, sent unto him the pensioner of Middelburgh and this town,
to sound the causes of his coming, and to will him, in their behalf, to
keep his house, and to forbear all meddling by word or writing, with any
whatsoever, till they should further advise and determine in his cause.
In defence thereof, he fell into large and particular discourse with the
deputies, accusing his enemies of malice and untruth, offering himself to
any trial, and to abide what punishment the laws should lay upon him, if
he were found guilty of the crimes imputed to him.  Touching the cause of
his coming, he pretended and protested that he had no other end than his
simple justification, preferring any hazard he might incur thereby, to
his honour and good fame."  As to the great question at issue, Marnix
had at last become conscious that he had been a victim to Spanish
dissimulation, and that Alexander Fainese was in reality quite powerless
to make that concession of religious liberty, without which a
reconciliation between Holland and Philip was impossible.  "Whereas,"
said Davison, "it was supposed that Ste. Aldegonde had commission from
the Prince of Parma to make some offer of peace, he assured them of the
contrary as a thing which neither the Prince had any power to yield unto
with the surety of religion, or himself would, in conscience, persuade
without it; with a number of other particularities in his excuse; amongst
the rest, allowing and commending in his speech, the course they had
taken with her Majesty, as the only safe way of deliverance for these
afflicted countries--letting them understand how much the news thereof--
specially since the entry of our garrison into this place (which before
they would in no sort believe), hath troubled the enemy, who doth what he
may to suppress the bruit thereof, and yet comforteth himself with the
hope that between the factions and partialities nourished by his
industry, and musters among the towns, especially in Holland and Zeeland
(where he is persuaded to find some pliable to a reconcilement) and the
disorders and misgovernment of our people, there will be yet occasion
offered him to make his profit and advantage.  I find that the gentleman
hath here many friends indifferently persuaded of his innocency,
notwithstanding the closing up of his apology doth make but little for
him.  Howsoever it be, it falleth out the better that the treaty with her
Majesty is finished, and the cautionary towns assured before his coming,
which, if he be ill affected, will I hope either reform his judgment or
restrain his will.  I will not forget to do the best I can to sift and
decipher him yet more narrowly and particularly."

Thus, while the scales had at length fallen from the eyes of Marnix, it
was not strange that the confidence which he now began to entertain in
the policy of England, should not be met, at the outset, with a
corresponding sentiment on the part of the statesman by whom that policy
was regulated.  "Howsoever Ste. Aldegonde would seem to purge himself,"
said Davison, "it is suspected that his end is dangerous.  I have done
what I may to restrain him, so nevertheless as it may not seem to come
from me."  And again--"Ste.  Aldegonde," he wrote, "contimieth still our
neighbor at his house between this and Middelburg; yet unmolested.  He
findeth many favourers, and, I fear, doth no good offices.  He desireth
to be reserved till the coming of my Lord of Leicester, before whom he
pretends a desired trial."

This covert demeanour on the part of the ambassador was in accordance
with, the wishes of his government.  It was thought necessary that Sainte
Aldegonde should be kept under arrest until the arrival of the Earl, but
deemed preferable that the restraint should proceed from the action of
the States rather than from the order of the Queen.  Davison was
fulfilling orders in attempting, by underhand means, to deprive Marnix,
for a time, of his liberty.  "Let him, I pray you, remain in good safety
in any wise," wrote Leicester, who was uneasy at the thought of so
influential, and, as he thought, so ill-affected a person being at large,
but at the same time disposed to look dispassionately upon his past
conduct, and to do justice, according to the results of an investigation.
"It is thought meet," wrote Walsingham to Davison, "that you should do
your best endeavour to procure that Ste. Aldegonde may be restrained,
which in mine opinion were fit to be handled in such sort, as the
restraint might rather proceed from themselves than by your solicitation.
And yet rather than he should remain at liberty to practise underhand,
whereof you seem to stand in great doubt, it is thought meet that you
should make yourself a partizan, to seek by all the means that you may to
have him restrained under the guard of some well affected patriot until
the Earl's coming, at what time his cause may receive examination."

This was, however, a result somewhat difficult to accomplish; for twenty
years of noble service in the cause of liberty had not been utterly in
vain, and there were many magnanimous spirits to sympathize with a great
man struggling thus in the meshes of calumny.  That the man who
challenged rather than shunned investigation, should be thrown into
prison, as if he were a detected felon upon the point of absconding,
seemed a heartless and superfluous precaution.  Yet Davison and others
still feared the man whom they felt obliged to regard as a baffled
intriguer.  "Touching the restraint of Ste. Aldegonde," wrote Davison to
Lord Burghley, "which I had order from Mr. Secretary to procure
underhand, I find the difficulty will be great in regard of his many
friends and favourers, preoccupied with some opinion of his innocence,
although I have travailled with divers of them underhand, and am promised
that some order shall be taken in that behalf, which I think will be
harder to execute as long as Count Maurice is here.  For Ste.
Aldegonde's affection, I find continual matter to suspect it inclined to
a peace, and that as one notably prejudging our scope and proceeding in
this cause, doth lie in wait for an occasion to set it forward, being, as
it seems, fed with a hope of 'telle quelle liberte de conscience,' which
the Prince of Parma and others of his council have, as he confesseth,
earnestly solicited at the King's hands.  This appeareth, in truth, the
only apt and easy way for them to prevail both against religion and the
liberty of these poor countries, having thereby once recovered the
authority which must necessarily follow a peace, to renew and alter the
magistrates of the particular towns, which, being at their devotion, may
turn, as we say, all upside down, and so in an instant being under their
servitude, if not wholly, at the least in a great part of the country,
leaving so much the less to do about the rest, a thing confessed and
looked for of all men of any judgment here, if the drift of our peace-
makers may take effect."

Sainte Aldegonde had been cured of his suspicions of England, and at last
the purity of his own character shone through the mists.

One winter's morning, two days after Christmas, 1585, Colonel Morgan, an
ingenuous Welshman, whom we have seen doing much hard fighting on
Kowenstyn Dyke, and at other places, and who now commanded the garrison
at Flushing, was taking a walk outside the gates, and inhaling the salt
breezes from the ocean.  While thus engaged he met a gentleman coming
along, staff in hand, at a brisk pace towards the town, who soon proved
to be no other than the distinguished and deeply suspected Sainte
Aldegonde.  The two got at once into conversation.  "He began," said
Morgan, "by cunning insinuations, to wade into matters of state, and at
the last fell to touching the principal points, to wit, her Majesty's
entrance into the cause now in hand, which, quoth he, was an action of
high importance, considering how much it behoved her to go through the
same, as well in regard of the hope that thereby was given to the
distressed people of these parts, as also in consideration of that worthy
personage whom she hath here placed, whose estate and credit may not be
suffered to quail, but must be upholden as becometh the lieutenant of
such a princess as her Majesty."

"The opportunity thus offered," continued honest Morgan, "and the way
opened by himself, I thought good to discourse with him to the full,
partly to see the end and drift of his induced talk, and consequently to
touch his quick in the suspected cause of Antwerp."  And thus, word for
word, taken down faithfully the same day, proceeded the dialogue that
wintry morning, near three centuries ago.  From that simple record--
mouldering unseen and unthought of for ages, beneath piles of official
dust--the forms of the illustrious Fleming and the bold Welsh colonel,
seem to start, for a brief moment, out of the three hundred years of
sleep which have succeeded their energetic existence upon earth.  And so,
with the bleak winds of December whistling over the breakers of the North
Sea, the two discoursed together, as they paced along the coast.

Morgan.--"I charge you with your want of confidence in her Majesty's
promised aid.  'Twas a thing of no small moment had it been embraced when
it was first most graciously offered."

Sainte Aldegonde.--"I left not her prince-like purpose unknown to the
States, who too coldly and carelessly passed over the benefit thereof,
until it was too late to put the same in practice.  For my own part,
I acknowledge that indeed I thought some further advice would either
alter or at least detract from the accomplishment of her determination.
I thought this the rather because she had so long been wedded to peace,
and I supposed it impossible to divorce her from so sweet a spouse.
But, set it down that she were resolute, yet the sickness of Antwerp was
so dangerous, as it was to be doubted the patient would be dead before
the physician could come.  I protest that the state of the town was much
worse than was known to any but myself and some few private persons.  The
want of victuals was far greater than they durst bewray, fearing lest the
common people, perceiving the plague of famine to be at hand, would
rather grow desperate than patiently expect some happy event.  For as
they were many in number, so were they wonderfully divided: some being
Martinists, some Papists, some neither the one nor the other, but
generally given to be factious, so that the horror at home was equal to
the hazard abroad."

Morgan.--"But you forget the motion made by the martial men for putting
out of the town such as were simple artificers, with women and children,
mouths that consumed meat, but stood in no stead for defence."

Sainte Aldegonde.--"Alas, alas!  would you have had me guilty of the
slaughter of so many innocents, whose lives were committed to my charge,
as well as the best?  Or might I have answered my God when those
massacred creatures should have stood up against me, that the hope of
Antwerp's deliverance was purchased with the blood of so many simple
souls?  No, no.  I should have found my conscience such a hell and
continual worm as the gnawing thereof would have been more painful and
bitter than the possession of the whole world would have been pleasant."

Morgan continued to press the various points which had created suspicion
as to the character and motives of Marnix, and point by point Marnix
answered his antagonist, impressing him, armed as he had been in
distrust, with an irresistible conviction as to the loftiness of the
nature which had been so much calumniated.

Sainte Aldegonde (with vehemence).--"I do assure you, in conclusion, that
I have solemnly vowed service and duty to her Majesty, which I am ready
to perform where and when it may best like her to use the same.  I will
add moreover that I have oftentimes determined to pass into England to
make my own purgation, yet fearing lest her Highness would mislike so
bold a resolution, I have checked that purpose with a resolution to tarry
the Lord's leisure, until some better opportunity might answer my desire.
For since I know not how I stand in her grace, unwilling I am to attempt
her presence without permission; but might it please her to command my
attendance, I should not only most joyfully accomplish the same, but also
satisfy her of and in all such matters as I stand charged with, and
afterwards spend life, land, and goods, to witness my duty towards her

Morgan.--"I tell you plainly, that if you are in heart the same man that
you seem outwardly to be, I doubt not but her Majesty might easily be
persuaded to conceive a gracious opinion of you.  For mine own part, I
will surely advertise Sir Francis Walsingham of as much matter as this
present conference hath ministered.

"Hereof," said the Colonel--when, according to his promise, faithfully
recording the conversation in all its details for Mr. Secretary's
benefit," he seemed not only content but most glad.  Therefore I beseech
your honour to vouchsafe some few lines herein, that I may return him
some part of your mind.  I have already written thereof to Sir Philip
Sidney, lord governor of Flushing, with request that his Excellency the
Earl of Leicester may presently be made acquainted with the cause."

Indeed the brave Welshman was thoroughly converted from his suspicions by
the earnest language and sympathetic presence of the fallen statesman.
This result of the conference was creditable to the ingenuous character
of both personages.

"Thus did he," wrote Morgan to Sir Francis, "from point to point, answer
all objections from the first to the last, and that  in such sound and
substantial manner, with a strong show of truth, as I think his very
enemies, having heard his tale, would be satisfied.  And truly, Sir, as
heretofore I have thought hardly of him, being led by a superficial
judgment of things as they stood in outward appearance; so now, having
pierced deep, and weighed causes by a sounder and more deliberate
consideration, I find myself somewhat changed in conceit--not so much
carried away by the sweetness of his speech, as confirmed by the force of
his religious profession, wherein he remaineth constant, without wavering
--an argument of great strength to set him free from treacherous
attempts; but as I am herein least able and most unworthy to yield any
censure, much less to give advice, so I leave the man and the matter to
your honour's opinion.  Only (your graver judgment reserved) thus I
think, that it were good either to employ him as a friend, or as an enemy
to remove him farther from us, being a man of such action as the world
knoweth he is.  And to conclude," added Morgan, "this was the upshot
between us."

Nevertheless, he remained in this obscurity for a long period.  When,
towards the close of the year 1585, the English government was
established in Holland, he was the object of constant suspicion.

"Here is Aldegonde," wrote Sir Philip Sidney to Lord Leicester from
Flushing, "a man greatly suspected, but by no man charged.  He lives
restrained to his own house, and for aught I can find, deals with
nothing, only desiring to have his cause wholly referred to your
Lordship, and therefore, with the best heed I can to his proceedings,
I will leave him to his clearing or condemning, when your Lordship shall
hear him."

In another letter, Sir Philip again spoke of Sainte Aldegonde as "one of
whom he kept a good opinion, and yet a suspicious eye."

Leicester himself was excessively anxious on the subject, deeply fearing
the designs of a man whom he deemed so mischievous, and being earnestly
desirous that he should not elude the chastisement which he seemed to

"Touching Ste. Aldegonde," he wrote to Davison, "I grieve that he is at
his house without good guard.  I do earnestly pray you to move such as
have power presently to commit a guard about him, for I know he is a
dangerous and a bold man, and presumes yet to carry all, for he hath made
many promises to the Prince of Parma.  I would he were in Fort Rammekyns,
or else that Mr. Russell had charge of him, with a recommendation from me
to Russell to look well to him till I shall arrive.  You must have been
so commanded in this from her Majesty, for she thinks he is in close and
safe guard.  If he is not, look for a turn of all things, for he hath
friends, I know."

But very soon after his arrival, the Earl, on examining into the matter,
saw fit to change his opinions and his language.  Persuaded, in spite of
his previous convictions, even as the honest Welsh colonel had been, of
the upright character of the man, and feeling sure that a change had come
over the feelings of Marnix himself in regard to the English alliance,
Leicester at once interested himself in removing the prejudices
entertained towards him by the Queen.

"Now a few words for Ste. Aldegonde," said he in his earliest despatches
from Holland; "I will beseech her Majesty to stay her judgment till I
write next.  If the man be as he now seemeth, it were pity to lose him,
for he is indeed marvellously friended.  Her Majesty will think, I know,
that I am easily pacified or led in such a matter, but I trust so to deal
as she shall give me thanks.  Once if he do offer service it is sure
enough, for he is esteemed that way above all the men in this country for
his word, if he give it.  His worst enemies here procure me to win him,
for sure, just matter for his life there is none.  He would fain come
into England, so far is he come already, and doth extol her Majesty for
this work of hers to heaven, and confesseth, till now an angel could not
make him believe it."

Here certainly was a noble tribute paid unconsciously, as it were, to the
character of the maligned statesman.  "Above all the men in the country
for his word, if he give it."  What wonder that Orange had leaned upon
him, that Alexander had sought to gain him, and how much does it add to
our bitter regret that his prejudices against England should not have
been removed until too late for Antwerp and for his own usefulness.  Had
his good angel really been present to make him believe in that "work of
her Majesty," when his ear was open to the seductions of Parma, the
destiny of Belgium and his own subsequent career might have been more
fortunate than they became.

The Queen was slow to return from her prejudices.  She believed--not
without reason--that the opposition of Ste. Aldegonde to her policy had
been disastrous to the cause both of England and the Netherlands; and it
had been her desire that he should be imprisoned, and tried for his life.
Her councillors came gradually to take a more favourable view of the
case, and to be moved by the pathetic attitude of the man who had once
been so conspicuous.

"I did acquaint Sir Christopher Hatton," wrote Walsingham to Leicester,
"with the letter which Ste. Aldegonde wrote to your Lordship, which,
carrying a true picture of an afflicted mind, cannot but move an honest
heart, weighing the rare parts the gentleman is endowed withal, to pity
his distressed estate, and, to procure him relief and comfort, which Mr.
Vice-Chamberlain (Hatton) bath promised on his part to perform.  I
thought good to send Ste. Aldegonde's letter unto the Lord Treasurer
(Burghley), who heretofore has carried a hard conceit of the gentleman,
hoping that the view of his letter will breed some remorse towards him.
I have also prayed his Lordship, if he see cause, to acquaint her Majesty
with the said letter."

But his high public career was closed.  He lived down calumny; and put
his enemies to shame, but the fatal error which he had committed, in
taking the side of Spain rather than of England at so momentous a crisis,
could never be repaired.  He regained the good opinion of the most
virtuous and eminent personages in Europe, but in the noon of life he
voluntarily withdrew from public affairs.  The circumstances just
detailed had made him impossible as a political leader, and it was
equally impossible for him to play a secondary part.  He occasionally
consented to be employed in special diplomatic missions, but the serious
avocations of his life now became theological and literary.  He sought--
in his own words--to penetrate himself still more deeply than ever with
the spirit of the reformation, and to imbue the minds of the young with
that deep love for the reformed religion which had been the guiding
thought of his own career.  He often spoke with a sigh of his compulsory
exile from the field where he had been so conspicuous all his lifetime;
he bitterly lamented the vanished dream of the great national union
between Belgium and Holland, which had flattered his youth and his
manhood; and he sometimes alluded with bitterness to the calumny which
had crippled him of his usefulness.  He might have played a distinguished
part in that powerful commonwealth which was so steadily and splendidly
arising out of the lagunes of Zeeland and Holland, but destiny and
calumny and his own error had decided otherwise.

"From the depth of my exile--" he said, "for I am resolved to retire,
I know not where, into Germany, perhaps into Sarmatia, I shall look from
afar upon the calamities of my country.  That which to me is most
mournful is no longer to be able to assist my fatherland by my counsels
and my actions."  He did not go into exile, but remained chiefly at his
mansion of Zoubourg, occupied with agriculture and with profound study.
Many noble works conspicuous in the literature of the epoch--were the
results of his learned leisure; and the name of Marnix of Sainte
Aldegonde will be always as dear to the lovers of science and letters as
to the believers in civil and religious liberty.  At the request of the
States of Holland he undertook, in 1593, a translation of the Scriptures
from the original, and he was at the same time deeply engaged with a
History of Christianity, which he intended for his literary master-piece.
The man whose sword had done knightly service on many a battle-field for
freedom, whose tongue had controlled mobs and senates, courts and
councils, whose subtle spirit had metamorphosed itself into a thousand
shapes to do battle with the genius of tyranny, now quenched the feverish
agitation of his youth and manhood in Hebrew and classical lore.  A grand
and noble figure always: most pathetic when thus redeeming by vigorous
but solitary and melancholy hard labor, the political error which had
condemned him to retirement.  To work, ever to work, was the primary law
of his nature.  Repose in the other world, "Repos ailleurs" was the
device which he assumed in earliest youth, and to which he was faithful
all his days.

A great and good man whose life had been brim-full of noble deeds,
and who had been led astray from the path, not of virtue, but of sound
policy, by his own prejudices and by the fascination of an intellect even
more brilliant than his own, he at least enjoyed in his retirement
whatever good may come from hearty and genuine labor, and from the high
regard entertained for him by the noblest spirits among his

"They tell me," said La Noue, "that the Seigneur de Ste. Aldegonde has
been suspected by the Hollanders and the English.  I am deeply grieved,
for 'tis a personage worthy to be employed.  I have always known him to
be a zealous friend of his religion and his country, and I will bear him
this testimony, that his hands and his heart are clean.  Had it been
otherwise, I must have known it.  His example has made me regret the
less the promise I was obliged to make, never to bear arms again in the
Netherlands.  For I have thought that since this man, who has so much
credit and authority among your people, after having done his duty well,
has not failed to be calumniated and ejected from service, what would
they have done with me, who am a stranger, had I continued in their
employment?  The consul Terentius Varro lost, by his fault, the battle of
Canna; nevertheless, when he returned to Rome, offering the remainder of
his life in the cause of his Republic reduced to extremity, he was not
rejected, but well received, because he hoped well for the country.
It is not to be imputed as blame to Ste. Aldegonde that he lost Antwerp,
for he surrendered when it could not be saved.  What I now say is drawn
from me by the compassion I feel when persons of merit suffer without
cause at the hands of their fellow citizens.  In these terrible tempests,
as it is a duty rigorously to punish the betrayers of their country, even
so it is an obligation upon us to honor good patriots, and to support
them in venial errors, that we may all encourage each other to do the

Strange too as it may now seem to us, a reconciliation of the Netherlands
with Philip was not thought an impossibility by other experienced and
sagacious patriots, besides Marnix.  Even Olden-Barneveld, on taking
office as Holland's Advocate, at this period, made it a condition that
his service was to last only until the reunion of the Provinces with

There was another illustrious personage in a foreign land who ever
rendered homage to the character of the retired Netherland statesman.
Amid the desolation of France, Duplessis Mornay often solaced himself by
distant communion with that kindred and sympathizing spirit.

"Plunged in public annoyances," he wrote to Sainte Aldegonde, "I find no
consolation, except in conference with the good, and among the good I
hold you for one of the best.  With such men I had rather sigh profoundly
than laugh heartily with others.  In particular, Sir, do me the honor to
love me, and believe that I honor you singularly.  Impart to me something
from your solitude, for I consider your deserts to be more fruitful and
fertile than our most cultivated habitations.  As for me, think of me as
of a man drowning in the anxieties of the time, but desirous, if
possible, of swimming to solitude."

Thus solitary, yet thus befriended,--remote from public employment, yet
ever employed, doing his daily work with all his soul and strength,
Marnix passed the fifteen years yet remaining to him.  Death surprised
him at last, at Leyden, in the year 1598, while steadily laboring upon
his Flemish translation of the Old Testament, and upon the great
political, theological, controversial, and satirical work on the
differences of religion, which remains the most stately, though
unfinished, monument of his literary genius.  At the age of sixty
he went at last to the repose which he had denied to himself on earth.
"Repos ailleurs."


Honor good patriots, and to support them in venial errors
Possible to do, only because we see that it has been done
Repose in the other world, "Repos ailleurs"
Soldiers enough to animate the good and terrify the bad
To work, ever to work, was the primary law of his nature
When persons of merit suffer without cause

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