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IfiBtnry of tl^p Huitpft DCftbf ■- 

From the Dc«th ot Wlllian-. tH- Si! 
Twelve Years' T' 

Vol. i\ 

2; Iff Sruiion ??ij 
3 qoH aril QJ nohz'imdu'd z'nnaH 

Henry's Submission to the Pope 
From drawing by Frank V. Du Mond 


Eiittion it Hnxt 

Elft (HatnpleU Parka of 


From the Death of William the Silent to the 
Twelve Years' Truce, 1609 

Vol. IV 

1 590-1 598 

NrtD fork 

Entered, according to Act of Congrese, In the year 

one thousand eight hundred and sixty, by 

John Lothbop Motley, 

in the Clerk's OflSce of the District Court of the 
Diatrict of Massachusetts. 

Entered, according to Act of Congres;', in the year 

one thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven, by 

John Lothkop Motley, 

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the 
District of Massachusetts. 

Copyright, 1888, 189o, 1900, by Elizabeth Cabot Vernon Harcoubt, 

Mart Lothrop Sheridan, Susan Margaret 

Stackpolx Mildhay. 





Chapter XXIII.— Philip's scheme of aggrandizement— Pro- 
jected invasion of Prance— Internal condition of France- 
Character of Henry of Navarre— Preparation for action — 
Battle of Ivry— Victory of the French king over the League 
—Reluctance of the king to attack the French capital — 
Siege of Paris— The pope indisposed toward the League- 
Extraordinary demonstration of ecclesiastics- Influence of 
the priests— Extremities of the siege— Attempted negotia- 
tion—State of Philip's army— Difficult position of Farnese 
—March of the allies to the relief of Paris— Lagny taken 
and the city relieved— Desertion of the king's army— Siege 
of Corbeil— Death of Pope Sixtus V.— Recapture of Lagny 
and Corbeil— Return of Parma to the Netherlands— Result 
of the expedition 1 

Chapter XXIV.— Prince Maurice— State of the republican 
army — Martial science of the period — Reformation of the 
military system by Prince Maurice — His military genius — 
Campaign in the Netherlands — The fort and town of Zutphen 
taken by the states' forces— Attack upon Deventer — Its 
capitulation— Advance on Groningen, Delfzyl, Opslag, Ye- 
mentil, Steenwyk, and other places— Farnese besieges Fort 
Knodsenburg— Prince Maurice hastens to its relief— A 
skirmish ensues, resulting in the discomfiture of the Span- 
ish and Italian troops— Surrender of Hulst and Nimwegen— 
Close of military operations of the year 64 

Chapter XXV.— War in Brittany and Normandy— Death of 
La Noue— Religious and political persecution in Paris — 





Murder of President Brisson, Larcher, and Tardif— The 
scepter of France offered to Philip— The Duke of Mayenne 
punishes the murderers of the magistrates— Speech of 
Henry's envoy to the States-General— Letter of Queen 
Elizabeth to Henry— Siege of Kouen— Farnese leads an 
army to its relief— The king is wounded in a skirmish- 
Siege of Rue by Farnese— Henry raises the siege of Rouen 
—Siege of Caudebec— Critical position of Farnese and his 
army— Victory of the Duke of Mercceur in Brittany ... 99 

Chapter XXVI.— Return of Prince Maurice to the siege of 
Steenwyk— Capitulation of the besieged— Effects of the in- 
troduction of mining operations— Maurice besieges Coe- 
vorden— Verdugo attempts to relieve the city, but fails— 
The city capitulates, and Prince Maurice retreats into 
•winter quarters 144 

Chapter XX VH.- Negotiations between Queen Elizabeth and 
the states— Aspect of affairs between England and the 
Netherlands— Complaints of the Hollanders on the piratical 
acts of the EngUsh— The Dutch envoy and the English gov- 
ernment— Caron's interview with Elizabeth— The queen 
promises redress of grievances 162 

Chapter XXVTn.— Influence of the rule and character of 
Philip II.— Heroism of the sixteenth century— Contest for 
the French throne— Character and policy of the Duke of 
Mayenne— Escape of the Duke of Guise from Castle Tours 
—Propositions for the marriage of the Infanta— Plotting 
of the Catholic party— Grounds of Philip's pretensions to 
the crown of France— Motives of the Duke of Parma ma- 
ligned by Commander Moreo— He justifies himself to the 
king— View of the private relations between Philip and the 
Duke of Mayenne and their sentiments toward each other- 
Disposition of the French politicians and soldiers toward 
Philip— Peculiar commercial pursuits of Philip— Confused 
state of affairs in France— Treachery of Philip toward the 
Duke of Parma— Recall of the duke to Spain— His suffer- 
ings and death 184 



Chapter XXIX. —Effect of the death of Famese upon Philip's 
schemes— Priestly flattery and counsel— Assembly of the 
States-General of France— Meeting of the Leaguers at the 
Louvre— Conference at Sur^ne between the chiefs of the 
League and the "Political" leaders— Henry convokes an 
assembly of bishops, theologians, and others— Strong feel- 
ing on all sides on the subject of the succession— Philip 
commands that the Infanta and the Duke of Guise be elected 
King and Queen of France— Manifesto of the Duke of 
Mayenne— Formal readmission of Henry to the Roman 
faith— The pope refuses to consent to his reconciliation with 
the Church— His consecration with, the sacred oil— Entry 
of the king into Paris— Departure of the Spanish garrison 
from the capital— Dissimulation of the Duke of Mayenne 
—He makes terms with Henry— Grief of Queen Elizabeth 
on receipt of the communications from France 236 

Chapter XXX,— Prince Maurice lays siege to Gertruydenberg 
—Advantages of the new system of warfare— Progress of 
the besieging operations— Superiority of Maurice's manoeu- 
vers — Adventure of Count Philip of Nassau — Capitulation 
of Gertruydenberg— Mutiny among the Spanish troops— 
Attempt of Verdugo to retake Coevorden — Suspicions of 
treason in the English garrison at Ostend— Letter of Queen 
Elizabeth to Sir Edward Norris on the subject- Second at- 
tempt on Coevorden — Assault on Groningen by Maurice — 
Second adventure of Philip of Nassau— Narrow escape of 
Prince Maurice— Surrender of Groningen — Particulars of 
the siege— Question of religious toleration— Progress of 
the United Netherlands— Condition of the obedient Nether- 
lands— Incompetency of Peter Mansfeld as governor— Arch- 
duke Ernest, the successor of Famese— Difficulties of his 
position — His unpopularity — Great achievements of the I'e- 
publieans— Triumphal entry of Ernest into Brussels and 
Antwerp— Magnificence of the spectacle— Disaffection of 
the Spanish troops — Great military rebellion— Philip's pro- 
posal to destroy the English fleet — His assassination plans 
—Plot to poison Queen Elizabeth— Conspiracies against 
Prince Maurice— Futile attempts at negotiation— Proposal 
of a marriage between Henry and the Infanta— Secret 



mission from Henry to the King of Spain— Special despatch 
to England and the states— Henry obtains further aid from 
Queen Elizabeth and the States-General— Anxiety of the 
Protestant countries to bring about a war with Spain- 
Aspect of affairs at the close of the year 1594 271 

Chapter XXXI.— Formal declaration of war against Spain- 
Marriage festivities— Death of Archduke Ernest— His year 
of government — Fuentes declared governor-general — Disaf- 
fection of the Duke of Aerschot and Count Aremberg— Death 
of the Duke of Aerschot— Fuentes besieges Le Catelet— 
The fortress of Ham, sold to the Spanish by De Gomeron, 
besieged and taken by the Duke of Bouillon— Execution 
of De Gomeron— Death of Colonel Verdugo— Siege of Dour- 
lens by Fuentes— Death of La Motte— Death of Charles 
Mansf eld— Total defeat of the French— Murder of Admiral 
de Villars— Dourlens captured, and the garrison and citizens 
put to the sword— Military operations in eastern Nether- 
lands and on the Rhine— Maurice lays siege to Groenlo — 
Mondragon hastening to its relief, Prince Maurice raises 
the siege— Skirmish between Maurice and Mondragon- 
Death of Philip of Nassau— Death of Mondragon— Bom- 
bardment and surrender of Weerdt Castle— Maurice retires 
into winter quarters— Campaign of Henry FV.- He besieges 
Dijon— Surrender of Dijon— Absolution granted to Henry 
by the pope— Career of Balagny at Cambray— Progress of 
the siege— Capitulation of the town— Suicide of the Princess 
of Cambray, wife of Balagny 350 

Chapter XXXII.— Archduke Cardinal Albert appointed gov- 
ernor of the Netherlands— Return of Philip William from 
captivity— His adherence to the King of Spain— Notice of 
the Marquis of Varambon, Count Varax, and other new 
officers- Henry's communications with Queen Elizabeth — 
Madame de Moneeaux— Conversation of Henry with the 
English ambassador— Marseilles secured by the Duke of 
Guise— The fort of Rysbank taken by De Rosne— Calais 
in the hands of the Spanish— Assistance from England 
solicited by Henry— Unhandsome conditions proposed by 
Elizabeth— Annexation of Calais to the obedient provinces 



—Pirates of Dunkirk— Uneasiness of the Netherlanders 
with regard to the designs of Elizabeth— Her protestations 
of sincerity— Expedition of Dutch and English forces to 
Spain— Attack on the Spanish war-ships— Victory of the 
allies— Flag of the Eepublic planted on the fortress of 
Cadiz— Capitulation of the city— Letter of Elizabeth to the 
Dutchadmiral— State of affairs in France— Proposition of 
the Duke of Montpensier for the division of the kingdom- 
Successes of the cardinal archduke in Normandy— He 
proceeds to Flanders— Siege and capture of Hulst— Pro- 
jected alliance against Spain— Interview of De Sancy with 
Lord Burghley— Diplomatic conference at Greenwich— For- 
mation of a league against Spain— Duplicity of the treaty- 
Affairs in Germany— Battle between the emperor and the 
Grand Turk- Endeavors of Philip to counteract the in- 
fluence of the League — His interference in the affairs of 
Germany — Secret intrigue of Henry with Spain— Philip's 
second attempt at the conquest of England 393 

Chapter XXXIII. —Struggle of the Netherlands against Spain 
—March to Tumhout- Retreat of the Spanish commander- 
Pursuit and attack — Demolition of the Spanish army — 
Surrender of the garrison of Turnhout — Improved military 
science— Moral effect of the battle — The campaign in 
France— Attack on Amiens by the Spaniards— Sack and 
burning of the city— De Rosny's plan for reorganization of 
the finances— Jobbery and speculation— Philip's repudia- 
tion of his debts— Effects of the measure— Renewal of 
persecution by the Jesuits — Contention between Tui'k and 
Christian— Envoy from the King of Poland to The Hague to 
plead for reconciliation with Philip— His subsequent pres- 
entation to Queen Elizabeth— Military events— Recovery 
of Amiens— Feeble operations of the confederate powers 
against Spain— Marriage of the Princess Emilia, sister of 
Maurice— Reduction of the castle and town of Alphen— 
Surrender of Rheinberg— Capitulation of Meurs— Surrender 
of Grol— Storming and taking of Brevoort— Capitulation 
of Enschede, Ootmarsum, Oldenzaal, and Lingon— Rebel- 
lion of the Spanish garrisons in Antwerp and Ghent— 



Progress of the peace movement between Henry and 
Philip— Relations of the three confederate powers— Henry's 
scheme for reconciliation with Spain— His acceptance of 
Philip's offer of peace announced to Elizabeth— Endeavors 
for a general peace 479 



Philip's scheme of aggrandizement— Projected invasion of France 
—Internal condition of France— Character of Henry of Navarre- 
Preparation for action— Battle of Ivry— Victory of the French 
king over the League — Keluctance of the king to attack the 
French capital— Siege of Paris— The pope indisposed toward the 
League— Extraordinary demonstration of ecclesiastics— Influence 
of the priests — Extremities of the siege— Attempted negotiation 
—State of Philip's army— Difficult position of Famese— March of 
the allies to the relief of Paris— Lagny taken and the city relieved 
—Desertion of the king's army— Siege of Corbeil— Death of Pope 
Sixtus v.— Eecapture of Lagny and Corbeil— Return of Panna 
to the Netherlands— Result of the expedition. 

THE scene of the narrative shifts to France. The 
history of the United Netherlands at this epoch is a 
world-history. Were it not so, it would have far less of 
moral and instruction for all time than it is really capable 
of affording. The battle of liberty against despotism was 
now fought in the hop-fields of Brabant or the polders 
of Friesland, now in the narrow seas which encircle Eng- 
land, and now on the sunny plains of Dauphiny, among 
the craggy inlets of Brittany, or along the highroads 
and rivers which lead to the gates of Paris. But every- 
where a noiseless, secret, but ubiquitous negotiation was 

VOL. IV.— 1 1 


speeding with never an instant's pause to accomplisli the 
work which lansquenets and riders, pikemen and car- 
bineers, were contending for on a hundred battle-fields 
and amid a din of arms which for a quarter of a century 
had been the regular hum of human industry. For 
nearly a generation of mankind, Germans and Holland- 
ers, Englishmen, Frenchmen, Scotchmen, Irishmen, 
Spaniards, and Italians, seemed to be born into the world 
mainly to fight for or against" a sj^stem of universal 
monarchy, conceived for his own benefit by a quiet old 
man who passed his days at a writing-desk in a remote 
corner of Europe. It must be confessed that Philip II. 
gave the world work enough. Whether, had the peo- 
ples governed themselves, their energies might not have 
been exerted in a different direction, and on the whole 
have produced more of good to the human race than 
came of all this blood and smoke, may be questioned. 

But the divine right of kings, associating itself with 
the power supreme of the Church, was struggling to 
maintain that old mastery of mankind which awakening 
reason was inclined to dispute. Countries and nations 
being regarded as private property to be inherited or 
bequeathed by a few favored individuals, provided 
always that those individuals were obedient to the chief 
priest, it had now become right and proper for the 
Spanish monarch to annex Scotland, England, and 
France to the very considerable possessions which were 
already his own. Scotland he claimed by virtue of the 
expressed wish of Mary, to the exclusion of her heretic 
son. France, which had been unjustly usurped by 
another family in times past to his detriment, and which 
only a mere human invention— a "pleasantry," as Alva 
had happily termed it, " called the Salic law "—prevented 


from passing quietly to his daughter, as heiress to her 
mother, daughter of Henry II., he was now fully bent 
upon making his own without further loss of time. 
England, in consequence of the mishap of the year 
'88, he was inclined to defer appropriating until the pos- 
session of the French coasts, together with those of the 
Netherlands, should enable him to risk the adventure 
with assured chances of success. 

The Netherlands were fast slipping beyond his con- 
trol, to be sure, as he engaged in these endless schemes ; 
and ill-disposed people of the day said that the king was 
like ^sop's dog, lapping the river dry in order to get at 
the skins floating on the surface. The Duke of Parma 
was driven to his wits' ends for expedients, and beside 
himself with vexation, when commanded to withdraw 
his ill-paid and mutinous army from the provinces for 
the purpose of invading France.^ Most importunate 
were the appeals and potent the arguments by which he 
attempted to turn Philip from his purpose. It was in 
vain. Spain was the great, aggressive, overshadowing 
power at that day, before whose plots and whose vio- 
lence the nations alternately trembled, and it was France 
that now stood in danger of being conquered or dismem- 
bered by the common enemy of all. That unhappy 
kingdom, torn by intestine conflict, naturally invited the 
ambition and the greediness of foreign powers. Civil 
war had been its condition, with brief intervals, for a 
whole generation of mankind. During the last few 
years the sword had been never sheathed, while the 

} "Con todo, claro es," said Champagny, with bittei'ness, "que 
no bastando ya para la guerra que tenemos, mucho menos para si 
nos engolfamos en la de Francia."— Diseours sur les affaires des 
Pays-Bas, MS. before cited. 


Holy Confederacy and the B^arnese struggled together 
for the mastery. Religion was the mantle under which 
the chiefs on both sides concealed their real designs as 
they led on their followers year after year to the desper- 
ate conflict. And their followers, the masses, were 
doubtless in earnest. A great principle— the relation of 
man to his Maker, and his condition in a future world, as 
laid down by rival priesthoods— has in almost every 
stage of history had power to influence the multitude to 
fury and to deluge the world in blood. And so long as 
the superstitious element of human nature enables indi- 
viduals or combinations of them to dictate to their fel- 
low-creatures those relations, or to dogmatize concerning 
those conditions,— to take possession of their consciences, 
in short, and to interpose their mummeries between man 
and his Creator,— it is probable that such scenes as 
caused the nations to shudder throughout so large a 
portion of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries will 
continue to repeat themselves at intervals in various 
parts of the earth. Nothing can be more sublime than 
the self-sacrifice, nothing more demoniac than the crimes, 
which human creatures have seemed always ready to 
exhibit under the name of religion. 

It was and had been reaUy civil war in France ; in 
the Netherlands it had become essentially a struggle for 
independence against a foreign monarch ; although the 
germ out of which both conflicts had grown to their 
enormous proportions was an effort of the multitude to 
check the growth of papacy. In France, accordingly, 
civil war, attended by that gaunt sisterhood, murder, 
pestilence, and famine, had swept from the soil almost 
everything that makes life valuable. It had not brought 
in its train that extraordinary material prosperity and 


intellectual development at which men wondered in 
the Netherlands, and to which allusion has just been 
made. But a fortunate conjunction of circumstances 
had now placed Henry of Navarre in a position of 
vantage. He represented the principle of nationality, 
of French unity. It was impossible to deny that he was 
in the regular line of succession, now that luckless 
Henry of Valois slept with his fathers, and the principle 
of nationality might perhaps prove as vital a force as 
attachment to the Roman Church. Moreover, the adroit 
and unscrupulous Bearnese knew well how to shift the 
mantle of religion from one shoulder to the other, to serve 
his purposes or the humors of those whom he addressed. 

" The King of Spain would exclude me from the king- 
dom and heritage of my father because of my religion," 
he said to the Duke of Saxony j ^' but in that religion I 
am determined to persist so long as I shall liveP ^ The 
hand was the hand of Henry, but it was the voice of 

" Were there thirty crowns to win," said he, at about 
the same time, to the states of France, '' / would not 
change my religion on compulsion, the dagger at my throat. 
Instruct me, instruct me ; J am not obstinate P '^ There 
spoke the wily free-thinker, determined not to be juggled 
out of what he considered his property by fanatics or 
priests of either church. Had Henry been a real devo- 
tee, the fate of Christendom might have been different. 
The world has long known how much misery it is in the 
power of crowned bigots to inflict. 

On the other hand, the Holy League, the sacred Con- 

1 Lettre du Roy au Due de Saxe, dresSee par Duplossis, M4m. 
et Corresp. de Duplessis-Mornay, iv. 491. 

2 Lettre du Roy de Navarre auxetatsde ceroyaume, ibid., 322 aeq. 


f ederacy, was Catholic or nothing. Already it was more 
papist than the pope, and loudly denounced Sixtus V. as 
a Huguenot because he was thought to entertain a weak 
admiration both for Henry the heretic and for the Jeze- 
bel of England. 

But the Holy Confederacy was bent on destroying the 
national government of France and dismembering the 
national domain. To do this the pretext of trampling 
out heresy and indefinitely extending the power of Rome 
was most influential with the multitude, and entitled the 
leaders to enjoy immense power for the time being, while 
maturing their schemes for acquiring permanent pos- 
session of large fragments of the national territory. 
Mayenne, Nemours, Aumale, Mercoeur, longed to convert 
temporary governments into independent principalities. 
The Duke of Lorraine looked with longing eyes on Ver- 
dun, Sedan, and the other fair cities within the terri- 
tories contiguous to his own domains. The reckless 
house of Savoy, with whom freebooting and land-rob- 
bery seemed geographical and hereditary necessities, was 
busy on the southern borders, while it seemed easy 
enough for Philip II., in right of his daughter, to secure 
at least the duchy of Brittany before entering on the 
sovereignty of the whole kingdom. 

To the eyes of the world at large France might well 
seem in a condition of hopeless disintegration; the 
restoration of its unity and former position among the 
nations,, under the government of a single chief, a weak 
and wicked dream. Furious and incessant were the 
anathemas hurled on the head of the Bearnese for his 
persistence in drowning the land in blood, in the hope of 
recovering a national capital which never could be his, 
and of wresting from the control of the Confederacy 


that power which, whether usurped or rightful, was 
considered, at least by the peaceably inclined, to have 
become a solid fact. 

The poor puppet locked in the tower of Fontenay, and 
entitled Charles X., deceived and scared no one. Such 
money as there was might be coined in its name, but 
Madam League reigned supreme in Paris. The Confed- 
erates, inspired by the eloquence of a cardinal legate, and 
supplied with funds by the faithful, were ready to dare 
a thousand deaths rather than submit to the rule of a 
tyrant and heretic. 

What was an authority derived from the laws of the 
land and the history of the race compared with the dog- 
mas of Rome and the trained veterans of Spain? It 
remained to be seen whether nationality or bigotry 
would triumph. But in the early days of 1590 the pros- 
pects of nationality were not encouraging. 

Francois de Luxembourg, Due de Pincey, was in Rome 
at that moment, deputed by such Catholic nobles of 
France as were friendly to Henry of Navarre.^ Sixtus 
might perhaps be influenced as to the degree of re- 
spect to be accorded to the envoy's representations by 
the events of the campaign about to open. Meantime 
the legate Gaetano, young, rich, eloquent, unscrupu- 
lous, distinguished alike for the splendor of his house 
and the brilliancy of his intellect, had arrived in Paris.^ 

Followed by a great train of adherents, he had gone 
down to the House of Parliament, and was about to seat 
himself under the dais reserved for the king, when Bris- 
son, first president of Parliament, plucked him back by 

1 De Thou, t. xi. liv. xcvii. 100-103. 

2 Dondini, De rebus in Gallia gestis ab Alexandro Farnesio, 
i. 131. 


the arm, and caused him to take a seat immediately 
below his own.^ 

Deeply was the bold president to expiate this defense 
of king and law against the Holy League, For the 
moment, however, the legate contented himself with a 
long harangue setting forth the power of Rome, while 
Brisson replied by an oration magnifying the grandeur 
of France. 

Soon afterward the cardinal addressed himself to the 
counteraction of Henry's projects of conversion. For 
well did the subtle priest understand that in purging 
himself of heresy the Beamese was about to cut the 
ground from beneath his enemies' feet. In a letter to 
the archbishops and bishops of France he argued the 
matter at length. Especially he denied the necessity or 
the legality of an assembly of all the prelates of France, 
such as Henry desired, to afford him the requisite 'in- 
struction '' as to the respective merits of the Roman and 
the Reformed Church. Certainly, he urged, the Prince 
of Beam could hardly require instruction as to the 
tenets of either, seeing that at different times he had 
faithfully professed both.^ 

But while benches of bishops and doctors of the Sor- 
bonne were burnishing all the arms in ecclesiastical and 
legal arsenals for the approaching fray, the sound of 
louder if not more potent artillery began to be heard in 
the \dcinity of Paris. The candid Henry, while seeking 
ghostly instruction with eagerness from his papistical 
patrons, was equally persevering in applying for the 
assistance of heretic musketeers and riders from his 
Protestant friends in England, Holland, Germany, and 

1 De Thou, ubi sup. 108. » Ibid. 


Queen Elizabeth and the States-General vied with 
each other in generosity to the great champion of Prot- 
estantism, who was combating the Holy League so val- 
iantly, and rarely has a great historical figure presented 
itself to the world so bizarre of aspect, and under such 
shifting perplexity of hght and shade, as did the Bear- 
nese in the early spring of 1590. 

The hope of a considerable portion of the Catholic 
nobility of his realm, although himseK an excommuni- 
cated heretic ; the mainstay of Calvinism, while secretly 
bending all his energies to effect his reconciliation with 
the pope ; the idol of the austere and grimly puritanical, 
while himself a model of profligacy ; the leader of the 
earnest and the true, although false as water himself in 
every relation in which human beings can stand to each 
other ; a standard-bearer of both great branches of the 
Christian Church in an age when religion was the atmo- 
sphere of men's daily lives, yet finding his sincerest ad- 
mirer and one of his most faithful allies in the Grand 
Turk ; 1 the representative of national liberty and human 

1 A portion of the magnificently protective letter of Sultan 
Amurath, in which he complimented Henry on his religious stead- 
fastness, might almost have made the king's cheek tingle : 

"... a toi, Henri de Navarre de la race invincible des Bour- 
bons, nous avons entendu que Don Philippe, de la maison 
d'Autriche, favorisant aucuns de tes ennemis, tache de te priver 
de la succession legitime qui t'appartient au royaume de France 
qui est de notre alliance et confederation en haine de ce que tu 
detestes les faux services des idoles, tres deplaisantes mi grand Dieu, 
pour tenir purement ce que tu tiens qui est le meilleur du monde ; je 
te fais assavoir qu'ayant en horreur cette cause qui ne tend qu'au 
profit particulier de ceux qui se sont 61ev6s contre toi, je veux 
prendre ta protection et tellement dompter la folie de tes ennemis 
et de I'Espagnol qui t'oceupe injustement le royaume de Navarre, 
qu'il en sera m6moire a jamais, et te rendant victorious, je veux 


rights against regal and sacerdotal absolutism, while 
himself a remorseless despot by nature and education, 
and a believer in no rights of the people save in their 
privilege to be ruled by himself, it seems strange at first 
view that Henry of Navarre should have been for cen- 
turies so heroic and popular an image. But he was a 
soldier, a wit, a consummate politician ; above all, he was 
a man, at a period when to be a king was often to be 
something much less or much worse. 

To those accustomed to weigh and analyze popular 
forces it might well seem that he was now playing an 
utterly hopeless game. His capital garrisoned by the 
pope and the King of Spain, with its grandees and its 
populace scoffing at his pretense of authority and loath- 
ing his name ; with an exchequer consisting of what he 
could beg or borrow from Queen Elizabeth— most par- 
simonious of sovereigns, reigning over the half of a 
small island— and from the States-General, governing a 
half-born, half-drowned little republic, engaged in a 
quarter of a century's warfare with the greatest monarch 
in the world ; with a wardrobe consisting of a dozen shirts 
and five pocket-handkerchiefs,^ most of them ragged, 
and with a commissariat made up of what could be 
brought in the saddle-bags of his Huguenot cavaliers, 
who came to the charge with him to-day, and to-morrow 
were dispersed again to their mountain fastnesses, it did 
not seem likely, on any reasonable theory of dynamics, 

te r^tablir avec ma puissance redoutable par tout le monde au 
grand 6pouvantement de tons les roys, ayant moyen de les r^duire 
en telle extr^mit^ qu'ils ne te feront jamais ennui."— Arch, de 
Sim. (Paris) MS., B. 64, 17. Cited by Capefigue, Hist, de la R4- 
forme, de la Ligue et du regne de Heni'i IV., v. 361. 
1 L'Estoiie, 203. 


that the power of the Bearnese was capable of out- 
weighing pope and Spain, and the meaner but massive 
populace of France, and the Sorbonne, and the great 
chiefs of the Confederacy, wealthy, long descended, allied 
to all the sovereigns of Christendom, potent in terri- 
torial possessions, and skilful in wielding political influ- 

"The Bearnese is poor, but a gentleman of good 
family," ^ said the cheerful Henry, and it remained to 
be seen whether nationality, unity, legitimate authority, 
history, and law would be able to neutralize the power- 
ful combination of opposing elements. 

The king had been besieging Dreux, and had made 
good progress in reducing the outposts of the city. As 
it was known that he was expecting considerable rein- 
forcements of English ships, Netherlanders, and Ger- 
mans, the chiefs of the League issued orders from Paris 
for an attack before he should thus be strengthened. 

For Parma, unwillingly obeying the stringent com- 
mands of his master, had sent from Flanders eighteen 
hundred picked cavalry, under Count Philip Egmont, to 
join the army of Mayenne. This force comprised five 
hundred Belgian heavy dragoons, under the chief 
nobles of the land, together with a selection, in even 
proportions, of Walloon, German, Spanish, and Italian 

Mayenne accordingly crossed the Seine at Mantes with 
an army of ten thousand foot and, including Egmont's 
contingent, about four thousand horse. A force under 
Marshal d'Aumont, which lay in Ivry at the passage of 
the Eure, fell back on his approach and joined the re- 
mainder of the king's army. The siege of Dreux was 

1 L'IJ«*toile, 203. 


abandoned, and Henry withdrew to the neighborhood of 
Nonancourt. It was obvious that the duke meant to 
offer battle, and it was rare that the king under any 
circumstances could be induced to decline a combat.^ 

On the night of the 12th-13th March Henry occupied 
St.-Andr6, a village situated on an elevated and exten- 
sive plain four leagues from Nonancourt, in the direction 
of Ivry, fringed on three sides by villages and by a 
wood, and commanding a view of all the approaches 
from the country between the Seine and Eure. It would 
have been better had Mayenne been beforehand with 
him, as the sequel proved ; but the duke was not famed 
for the rapidity of his movements. During the greater 
part of the night Henry was employed in distributing 
his orders for that conflict which was inevitable on the 
following day. His army was drawn up according to a 
plan prepared by himself, and submitted to the most 
experienced of his generals for their approval. He then 
personally visited every portion of the encampment, 
speaking words of encouragement to his soldiers, and 
perfecting his arrangements for the coming conflict. 
Attended by Marshals d'Aumont and Biron, he remained 
on horseback during a portion of the night, having 
ordered his officers to their tents and reconnoitered as 
well as he could the position of the enemy. Toward 
morning he retired to his headquarters at Fourainville, 
where he threw himself half dressed on his truckle-bed, 
and, although the night was bitterly cold, with no cover- 
ing but his cloak. He was startled from his slumber 
before the dawn by a movement of lights in the enemy's 

1 De Thou, t. xi. liv. xcvii. 116 seq. Coloma, Guerras de los 
Estados Baxos, iii. 43 seq. Parma to Philip, March 24, 1590, 
Arch, de Sim. MS. 


camp, and he sprang to his feet, supposing that the duke 
was stealing a march upon him despite all his precau- 
tions. The alarm proved to be a false one, but Henry 
lost no time in ordering his battle. His cavalry he 
divided in seven troops or squadrons. The first, form- 
ing the left wing, was a body of three hundred, under 
Marshal d'Aumont, supported by two regiments of 
French infantry. Next, separated by a short interval, 
was another troop of three hundred, under the Duke of 
Montpensier, supported by two other regiments of foot, 
one Swiss and one German. In front of Montpensier 
was Baron Biron the younger, at the head of still an- 
other body of three hundred. Two troops of cuirassiers, 
each four hundred strong, were on Biron's left, the one 
commanded by the Grand Prior of France, Charles 
d'Angouleme, the other by M. de Givry. Between the 
prior and Givry were six pieces of heavy artillery, while 
the battalia, formed of eight hundred horse in six squad- 
rons, was commanded by the king in person, and cov- 
ered on both sides by English and Swiss infantry, 
amounting to some four thousand in all. The right wing 
was under the charge of old Marshal Biron, and com- 
prised three troops of horse, numbering one hundred and 
fifty each, two companies of German riders, and four 
regiments of French infantry. These numbers, which 
are probably given with as much accuracy as can be 
obtained, show a force of about three thousand horse 
and twelve thousand foot. 

The Duke of Mayenne, seeing too late the advantage 
of position which he might have easily secured the day 
before, led his army forth with the early light, and ar- 
ranged it in an order not very different from that 
adopted by the king, and within cannon-shot of his lines. 


The right wing, under Marshal de la Chatre, consisted 
of three regiments of French and one of Germans, sup- 
porting three regiments of Spanish lancers, two cornets 
of German riders under the Bastard of Brunswick, and 
four hundred cuirassiers. The battalia, which was com- 
posed of six hundred splendid cavalry, all noblemen of 
France, guarding the white banner of the Holy League, 
and supported by a column of three thousand Swiss and 
two thousand French infantry, was commanded by May- 
enne in person, assisted by his half-brother, the Duke of 
Nemours. In front of the infantry was a battery of six 
cannon and three culverins. The left wing was com- 
manded by Marshal de Rene, with six regiments of 
French and Lorrainers, two thousand Germans, six hun- 
dred French cuirassiers, and the mounted troopers of 
Count Egmont. It is probable that Mayenne's whole 
force, therefore, amounted to nearly four thousand 
cavalry and at least thirteen thousand foot.^ 

Very different was the respective appearance of the 
two armies, so far, especially, as regarded the horsemen 
on both sides. Gay in their gilded armor and waving 
plumes, with silken scarfs across their shoulders, and 
the fluttering favors of fair ladies on their arms or in 
their helmets, the brilliant champions of the Holy Catho- 
lic Confederacy clustered around the chieftains of the 
great house of Guise, impatient for the conflict. It was 
like a muster for a brilliant and chivalrous tournament. 
The Walloon and Flemish nobles, outrivaling even the 
self-confidence of their companions in arms, taunted 
them with their slowness. The impetuous Egmont, 
burning to eclipse the fame of his ill-fated father at 

^ De Thou, Coloma, ubi sup. Dondini, i. 140 seq. Meteren, 
xvi. 292. Parma's letters before cited. 


Gravelines and St.-Quentin in the same holy cause, urged 
on the battle with unseemly haste, loudly proclaiming 
that if the French were faint-hearted he would himself 
give a good account of the Navarrese prince without any 
assistance from them. 

A cannon-shot away, the grim Puritan nobles, who had 
come forth from their mountain fastnesses to do battle 
for king and law and for the rights of conscience against 
the Holy League, — men seasoned in a hundred battle- 
fields, clad all in iron, with no dainty ornaments nor 
holiday luxury of warfare,— knelt on the ground, smit- 
ing their mailed breasts with iron hands, invoking bless- 
ings on themselves and curses and confusion on their 
enemies in the coming conflict, and chanting a stern 
psalm of homage to the God of battles and of wrath. 
And Henry of France and Navarre, descendant of Louis 
the Holy and of Hugh the Great, beloved chief of the 
Calvinist cavaliers, knelt among his heretic brethren, 
and prayed and chanted with them. But not the stanch- 
est Huguenot of them all, not Duplessis, nor D'Aubigne, 
nor De la Noue with the Iron Arm, was more devoted on 
that day to crown and country than were such papist 
supporters of the rightful heir as had sworn to conquer 
the insolent foreigner on the soil of France or die. 

When this brief prelude was over, Henry made an 
address to his soldiers, but its language has not been 
preserved.^ It is known, however, that he wore that day 
his famous snow-white plume, and that he ordered his 
soldiers, should his banner go down in the conflict, to 
follow wherever and as long as that plume should be 
seen waving on any part of the field. He had taken a 
position by which his troops had the sun and wind in 
1 De Thou, ubi sup. 


their backs, so that the smoke rolled toward the enemy 
and the light shone in their eyes. The combat began 
with the play of artillery, which soon became so warm 
that Egmont, whose cavalry, suffering and galled, soon 
became impatient, ordered a charge. It was a most 
brilliant one. The heavy troopers of Flanders and 
Hainault, following their spirited chieftain, dashed upon 
old Marshal Biron, routing his cavalry, charging clean 
up to the Huguenot guns, and sabering the cannoneers. 
The shock was square, solid, irresistible, and was fol- 
lowed up by the German riders under Eric of Brunswick, 
who charged upon the battalia of the royal army, where 
the king commanded in person. 

There was a panic. The whole royal cavalry wavered, 
the supporting infantry recoiled, the day seemed lost 
before the battle was well begun. Yells of " Victory ! 
Victory ! Up with the Holy League, down with the heretic 
Bearnese ! " resounded through the Catholic squadrons. 
The king and Marshal Biron, who were near each other, 
were furious with rage, but already doubtful of the re- 
sult. They exerted themselves to rally the troops under 
their immediate command, and to reform the shattered 

The German riders and French lancers, under Bruns- 
wick and Bassompierre, had, however, not done their 
work as thoroughly as Egmont had done. The ground 
was so miry and soft that in the brief space which sepa- 
rated the hostile lines they had not power to urge their 
horses to full speed. Throwing away their useless lances, 
they came on at a feeble canter, sword in hand, and were 
unable to make a very vigorous impression on the more 
heavily armed troopers opposed to them. Meeting with 

1 De Thou, Dondini, Coloma, Meteren, ubi sup. 


a firm resistance to their career, they wheeled, faltered a 
little, and fell a short distance back.^ Many of the 
riders, being of the Reformed religion, refused, moreover, 
to fire upon the Huguenots, and discharged their car- 
bines in the air.^ 

The king, whose glance on the battle-field was like 
inspiration, saw the blot, and charged upon them in per- 
son with his whole battalia of cavalry. The veteran 
Biron followed hard upon the snow-white plume. The 
scene was changed, victory succeeded to impending de- 
feat, and the enemy was routed. The riders and cuiras- 
siers, broken into a struggling heap of confusion, strewed 
the ground with their dead bodies, or carried dismay 
into the ranks of the infantry as they strove to escape. 
Brunswick went down in the melee, mortally wounded, as 
it was believed. Egmont, renewing the charge at the 
head of his victorious Belgian troopers, fell dead with a 
musket-ball through his heart. The shattered German 
and Walloon cavalry, now pricked forward by the lances 
of their companions, under the passionate commands of 
Mayenne and Aumale, now falling back before the furi- 
ous charges of the Huguenots, were completely over- 

1 William Lyly to Sir F. Walsingham, March 20, 1590, S. P. 
Office MS., a blunt, plain-spoken Englishman and eye-witness, 
writing from the spot. Memoires de Sully (ed. Londres, 1747), iii. 
168, 169. The Due de Sully, who fought in the squadron which 
sustained Egmont's first onset, and who received seven wounds, 
states expressly that the king would have been hopelessly de- 
feated had the whole army of the League displayed the same re- 
markable valor as was manifested by Egmont's command. The 
right of the royal cavalry broke into a panic flight after the hand- 
to-hand combat had lasted a quarter of an hour, and the left was 
broken and thrown into utter confusion. 

2 Sully, ubi sup. 

VOL. IV. — 2 


thrown and cut to pieces. Seven times did Henry of 
Navarre in person lead his troopers to the charge ; but 
suddenly, in the midst of the din of battle and the cheers 
of victory, a message of despair went from lip to lip 
throughout the royal lines. The king had disappeared. 
He was killed, and the hopes of Protestantism and of 
France were fallen forever with him. The white stan- 
dard of his battalia had been seen floating wildly and 
purposelessly over the field ; for his bannerman, Pot de 
Rhodes, a young noble of Dauphiny, wounded mortally 
in the head, with blood streaming over his face and 
blinding his sight, was utterly unable to control his 
horse, who galloped hither and thither at his own caprice, 
misleading many troopers who followed in his erratic 
career. A cavalier, armed in proof, and wearing the 
famous snow-white plume, after a hand-to-hand struggle 
with a veteran of Count Bossu's regiment, was seen to 
fall dead by the side of the bannerman. The Fleming, 
not used to boast, loudly asserted that he had slain the 
Bearnese, and the news spread rapidly over the battle- 
field. The defeated Confederates gained new courage, 
the victorious RoyaKsts were beginning to waver, when 
suddenly, between the hostile lines, in the very midst of 
the battle, the king galloped forward, bareheaded, cov- 
ered with blood and dust, but entirely unhurt. A wild 
shout of " Vive le Roi ! " rang through the air. Cheerful 
as ever, he addressed a few encouraging words to his 
soldiers with a smiling face, and again led a charge. It 
was all that was necessary to complete the victory. The 
enemy broke and ran away on every side in wildest con- 
fusion, followed by the Royalist cavalry, who sabered 
them as they fled. The panic gain'^id the foot-soldiers, 
who should have supported the cavalry, but had not been 


at all engaged in the action. The French infantry threw 
away their arms as they rushed from the field and sought 
refuge in the woods. The Walloons were so expeditious 
in the race that they never stopped till they gained their 
own frontier.! The day was hopelessly lost, and 
although Mayenne had conducted himself well in the 
early part of the day, it was certain that he was excelled 
by none in the celerity of his flight when the rout had 
fairly begun. Pausing to draw breath as he gained the 
wood, he was seen to deal blows with his own sword 
among the mob of fugitives, not that he might rally 
them to their flag and drive them back to another en- 
counter, but because they encumbered his own retreat.^ 
The "Walloon carbineers, the German riders, and the 
French lancers, disputing as to the relative blame to be 
attached to each corps, began shooting and sabering each 
other almost before they were out of the enemy's sight. 
Many were thus killed. The lansquenets were all put to 
the sword. The Swiss infantry were allowed to depart 
for their own country on pledging themselves not again 
to bear arms against Heniy IV. It is probable that 
eight hundred of the Leaguers were either killed on the 
battle-field or drowned in the swollen river in their re- 
treat. About one fourth of that number f eU in the army 

1 Lyly's letter before cited. Compare Coloma, Dondini, De 
Thou, Meteren, ubi sup. 

2 Decorous chroniclers like Dondini (i. 143) and others repre- 
sent the duke as vigorously rallying and rebuking the fugitives ; 
but, sa^ps honest William Lyly, telling what he saw : " The enemy 
thus ran away, Mayenne to Ivry, where the Walloons and reiters 
followed so fast that, there standing, hasting to draw breath, and 
not able to speak, he was constrained to draw his sword to strike 
the fliers, to make place for his own flight."— MS. letter before 


of the king. It is certain that of the contingent from 
the obedient Netherlands two hundred and seventy, 
including their distinguished general, lost their lives.^ 
The Bastard of Brunswick, crawling from beneath a 
heap of slain, escaped with life.^ Mayenne lost all his 
standards and all the baggage of his army, while the 
army itself was for a time hopelessly dissolved.^ 

Few cavalry actions have attained a wider celebrity in 
history than the fight of Ivry. Yet there have been 
many hard-fought battles, where the struggle was fiercer 
and closer, where the issue was for a longer time doubt- 
ful, where far more lives on either side were lost, where 
the final victory was immediately productive of very 
much greater results, and which, nevertheless, have sunk 
into hopeless oblivion. The personal details which re- 
main concerning the part enacted by the adventurous 
king at this most critical period of his career, the roman- 
tic interest which must always gather about that ready- 
witted, ready-sworded Gascon, at the moment when, to 
contemporaries, the result of all his struggles seemed so 
hopeless, or at best so doubtful ; above aU, the numerous 
royal and princely names which embellished the roll-call 
of that famous passage of arms, and which were sup- 
posed, in those days at least, to add such luster to a bat- 
tle-field as humbler names, however illustrious by valor 
or virtue, could never bestow, have made this combat 
forever famous. 

Yet it is certain that the most healthy moral, in miU- 

1 De Thou says eight hundred, Dondini four hundred, but Far- 
nese in his letter to the king says two hundred and seventy. 

2 So says Dondini, i. 149. Coloma says he was killed. 

3 Dondini, De Thou, Coloma, Meteren, Parma's letters, Lyly's 


tary affairs, to be derived from the event, is that the 
importance of a victory depends less upon itself than on 
the use to be made of it. Mayenne fled to Mantes, the 
Duke of Nemours to Chartres, other leaders of the 
League in various directions. Mayenne told everybody 
he met that the Bearnese was killed, and that although 
his own army was defeated, he should soon have another 
one on foot. The same intelligence was communicated 
to the Duke of Parma, and by him to Philip. Mendoza 
and the other Spanish agents went about Paris spread- 
ing the news of Henry's death, but the fact seemed 
woefully to lack confirmation, while the proofs of the 
utter overthrow and shameful defeat of the Leaguers 
were visible on every side. The Parisians— many of 
whom, the year before, had in vain hired windows in the 
principal streets, in order to witness the promised en- 
trance of the Bearnese, bound hand and foot, and with 
a gag in his mouth,i to swell the triumph of Madam 
League— were incredulous as to the death now reported 
to them of this very lively heretic, by those who had fled 
so ignominiously from his troopers. 

De la Noue and the other Huguenot chieftains ear- 
nestly urged upon Henry the importance of advancing 
upon Paris without an instant's delay, and it seems at 
least extremely probable that, had he done so, the capi- 
tal would have fallen at once into his hands. It is the 
concurrent testimony of contemporaries that the panic, 
the destitution, the confusion would have made resis- 
tance impossible had a determined onslaught been made.-^ 
And Henry had a couple of thousand horsemen flushed 

1 L'Estoile, Reg, Journal de Henri IV., 6. 

2 Dondini, Coloma, ubi sup. Compare Pe Tliou, Meteren, Sully, 
et mult, al. 


with victory, and a dozen thousand foot who nad been 
compelled to look upon a triumj)h in which they had no 
opportunity of sharing. Success and emulation would 
have easily triumphed over dissension and despair. 

But the king, yielding to the counsels of Biron and 
other Catholics, declined attacking the capital, and pre- 
ferred waiting the slow, and in his circumstances emi- 
nently hazardous, operations of a regular siege. Was it 
the fear of giving a signal triumph to the cause of Prot- 
estantism that caused the Huguenot leader, so soon to 
become a renegade, to pause in his career? Was it 
anxiety lest his victorious entrance into Paris might 
undo the diplomacy of his Catholic envoy at Rome ? Or 
wa^s it simply the mutinous condition of his army, 
especially of the Swiss mercenaries, who refused to 
advance a step unless their arrears of pay were at once 
furnished them out of the utterly empty exchequer of 
the king ? ^ Whatever may have been the cause of the 
delay, it is certain that the golden fruit of victory was 
not plucked, and that although the Confederate army 
had rapidly dissolved, in consequence of their defeat, the 
king's own forces manifested as little cohesion. 

And now began that slow and painful siege, the 
details of which are as terrible, but as universally known, 
as those of any chapters in the blood-stained history of 
the century. Henry seized upon the towns guarding 
the rivers Seine and Marne, twin nurses of Paris. By 
controlling the course of those streams as well as that 
of the Yonne and Oise,— especially by taking firm pos- 
session of Lagny, on the Marne, whence a bridge led 
from the Isle of France to the Brie country, great thor- 
oughfare of wine and corn, and of CorbeU, at the junc- 
1 M^moires de Sully, iv. 177 seq. 


tion of the little river Essonne with the Seine, — it was 
easy in that age to stop the vital circulation of the im- 
perial city. 

By midsummer, Paris, unquestionably the first city of 
Europe at that day/ was in extremities, and there are 
few events in history in which our admiration is more 
excited by the power of mankind to endure almost 
preternatural misery, or our indignation more deeply 
aroused by the cruelty with which the sublimest prin- 
ciples of human nature may be made to serve the pur- 
poses of selfish ambition and groveling superstition, 
than this famous leaguer. 

Rarely have men at any epoch defended their father- 
land against foreign oppression with more heroism than 
that which was manifested by the Parisians of 1590 in 
resisting religious toleration and in obeying a foreign 
and priestly despotism. Men, women, and children 
cheerfully laid down their lives by thousands in order 
that the papal legate and the King of Spain might tram- 
ple upon that legitimate sovereign of France who was 
one day to become the idol of Paris and of the whole 

A census taken at the beginning of the siege had 
shown a populace of two hundred thousand souls, with 
a sufficiency of provisions, it was thought, to last one 
month.2 But before the terrible summer was over, so 
completely had the city been invested, the bushel of 
wheat was worth three hundred and sixty crowns, rye 
and oats being but little cheaper.^ Indeed, grain might 
as well have cost three thousand crowns the bushel, for 

1 " Aquella vasta ciudad, sin disputa la mayoi" de Europa," says 
Coloma, iii. 45. 

2 De Thou, t. xi. liv. xcvii. 162. ^ Bor, iii. xviii. 535. 


the prices recorded placed it beyond the reach of all but 
the extremely wealthy. The flesh of horses, asses, dogs, 
cats, rats, had become rare luxuries. There was nothing 
cheap, said a citizen bitterly, but sermons.^ And the 
priests and monks of every order went daily about the 
streets, preaching fortitude in that great resistance to 
heresy by which Paris was earning for itself a crown of 
glory, and promising the most direct passage to paradise 
for the souls of the wretched victims who fell daily, 
starved to death, upon the pavements. And the monks 
and priests did their work nobly, aiding the general 
resolution by the example of their own courage. Better 
fed than their fellow-citizens, they did military work in 
trench, guard-house, and rampart, as the population 
became rapidly unfit, from physical exhaustion, for the 
defense of the city. 

The young Duke of Nemours, governor of the place, 
manifested as much resolution and conduct in bringing 
his countrymen to perdition as if the work in which he 
was engaged had been the highest and holiest that ever 
tasked human energies. He was sustained in his task 
by that proud princess, his own and Mayenne's mother, 
by Madame Montpensier, by the resident triumvirate of 
Spain, Mendoza, Commander Moreo, and John Baptist 
Tassis, by the cardinal legate Gaetano, and, more than 
all, by the sixteen chiefs of the wards, those municipal 
tyrants of the unhappy populace.^ 

1 L'Estoile, 23 : " Tout ce qui estoit bon march6 a Paris 6toient 
les sermons ou on repaissoit le pauvre monde affam^ de vent, c'est 
a dire de menteries . . . persuadant qu'il valoit mieux tuer ses 
propres enfants, n'ayant de quoi leur donner k manger, que de re- 
cevoir et reconnoitre un roy h^r^ticque," etc. 

2 Ibid., 23 seq. De Thou, ubi sup. 162 seq. Bor, ubi sup. 


Pope Sixtiis himself was by no means eager for the 
success of the League. After the battle of Ivry he had 
most seriously inclined his ear to the representations of 
Henry's envoy, and showed much willingness to admit 
the victorious heretic once more into the bosom of the 
Church. Sixtus was not desirous of contributing to the 
advancement of Philip's power. He feared his designs 
on Italy, being himself most anxious at that time to 
annex Naples to the holy see. He had amassed a large 
treasure, but he liked best to spend it in splendid archi- 
tecture, in noble fountains, in magnificent collections of 
art, science, and literature, and, above all, in building 
up fortunes for the children of his sister the washer- 
woman, and in allying them all to the most princely 
houses of Italy, while never allowing them even to men- 
tion the name of their father, so base was his degree 5 
but he cared not to disburse from his hoarded dollars to 
supply the necessities of the League.^ 

But Gaetano, although he could- wring but fifty thou- 
sand crowns from his Holiness, after the fatal fight of 
Ivry, to further the good cause, was lavish in expendi- 
tures from his own purse and from other sources, and 
this, too, at a time when thirty-three per cent, interest 
was paid to the usurers of Antwerp for one month's loan 
of ready money.^ He was indefatigable, too, and most 
successful in his exhortations and ghostly consolations 
to the people. Those proud priests and great nobles 
were playing a reckless game, and the hopes of mankind 
beyond the grave were the counters on their table. For 
themselves there were rich prizes for the winning. 
Should they succeed in dismembering the fair land 
where they were enacting their fantastic parts, there 

^ De Thou, liv. xevii. 2 Meteren, xvi. 293. 


were temporal principalities, great provinces, petty sov- 
ereignties, to be carved out of the heritage which the 
Bearnese claimed for his own. Obviously, then, their con- 
sciences could never permit this shameless heretic, by a 
simulated conversion at the critical moment, to block 
their game and restore the national unity and laws. 
And even should it be necessary to give the whole king- 
dom, instead of the mere duchy of Brittany, to Philip of 
Spain, stiU there were mighty guerdons to be bestowed 
on his supporters before the foreign monarch could seat 
himself on the throne of Henry's ancestors. 

As to the people who were fighting, starving, dying by 
thousands in this great cause, there were eternal rewards 
in another world profusely promised for their heroism 
instead of the more substantial bread and beef, for lack 
of which they were laying down their lives. 

It was estimated that before July twelve thousand 
human beings in Paris had died for want of food within 
three months. But as there were no signs of the prom- 
ised relief by the army of Parma and Mayenne, and as 
the starving people at times appeared faint-hearted, 
their courage was strengthened one day by a stirring 

An astonishing procession marched through the streets 
of the city, led by the Bishop of Senlis and the Prior of 
Chartreux, each holding a halberd in one hand and a 
crucifix in the other, and graced by the presence of the 
cardinal legate and of many prelates from Italy. A 
lame monk, adroitly manipulating the staff of a drum- 
major, went hopping and limping before them, much to 
the amazement of the crowd. Then came a long file of 
monks, — Capuchins, Bernardists, Minims, Franciscans, 
Jacobins, Carmelites, and other orders,— each with his 


cowl thrown back, his long robes trussed up, a helmet 
on his head, a cuirass on his breast, and a halberd in his 
hand. The elder ones marched first, grinding their teeth, 
rolling their eyes, and making other ferocious demon- 
strations. Then came the younger friars, similarly 
attired, all armed with harquebuses, which they occa- 
sionally and accidentally discharged, to the disadvantage 
of the spectators, several of whom were killed or 
wounded on the spot. Among others a servant of 
Cardinal Gaetano was thus slain, and the event caused 
much commotion, until the cardinal proclaimed that a 
man thus killed in so holy a cause had gone straight to 
heaven and had taken his place among the just. It was 
impossible, thus argued the people in their simplicity, 
that so wise and virtuous a man as the cardinal should 
not know what was best. 

The procession marched to the church of Our Lady of 
Loretto, where they solemnly promised to the Blessed 
Virgin a lamp and ship of gold, should she be willing 
to use her influence in behalf of the suffering city, to be 
placed on her shrine as soon as the siege should be 

But these demonstrations, however cheering to the 
souls, had comparatively little effect upon the bodies of 
the sufferers. It was impossible to walk through the 
streets of Paris without stumbling over the dead bodies 
of the citizens. Trustworthy eye-witnesses of those 
dreadful days have placed the number of the dead dur- 
ing the summer at thirty thousand.^ A tumultuous 
assemblage of the starving and the forlorn rushed at 
last to the municipal palace, demanding peace or bread. 

1 De Thou, t. xi. liv. xcvii. 161. Herrei-a, p. iii. lib. v. cl. 210. 
'■^ L'Estoile, 25. Herrera says fifty thousand (loc. cit.). 


The rebels were soon dispersed, however, by a charge, 
headed by the Chevalier d'Aumale, and assisted by the 
chiefs of the wards, and so soon as the riot was quelled, 
its ringleader, a leading advocate, Renaud by name, was 

Still, but for the energy of the priests, it is doubtful 
whether the city could have been held by the Confed- 
eracy. The Duke of Nemours confessed that there were 
occasions when they never would have been able to sus- 
tain a determined onslaught, and they were daily expect- 
ing to see the Prince of Beam battering triumphantly 
at their gates. But the eloquence of the preachers, 
especially of the one-eyed Father Boucher, sustained the 
fainting spirits of the people, and consoled the sufferers 
in their dying agonies by glimpses of paradise. Sub- 
lime was that devotion, superhuman that craft, but it is 
only by weapons from the armory of the Unseen that 
human creatures can long confront such horrors in a 
wicked cause. Superstition, in those days at least, was 
a political force absolutely without limitation, and most 
adroitly did the agents of Spain and Rome handle its 
tremendous enginery against unhappy France. For the 
hideous details of the most dreadful sieges recorded in 
ancient or modem times were now reproduced in Paris. 
Not a revolutionary circumstance at which the world 
had shuddered in the accounts of the siege of Jerusalem 
was spared. Men devoured such dead vermin as could 
be found lying in the streets. They crowded greedily 
around stalls in the public squares where the skin, bones, 
and offal of such dogs, cats, and unclean beasts as still 
remained for the consumption of the wealthier classes 
were sold to the populace. Over the doorways of these 

1 De Thou, ubi sup. 177. 


flesh-markets might be read: ''Haec sunt munera pro 
iis qui vitam pro Pliilippo profuderunt." ^ Men stood in 
archways and narrow passages, lying in wait for whatever 
stray dogs still remained at large, noosed them, strangled 
them, and, like savage beasts of prey, tore them to pieces 
and devoured them alive.^ And it sometimes happened, 
too, that the equally hungry dog proved the more suc- 
cessful in the foul encounter, and fed upon the man. A 
lady visiting the Duchess of Nemours— called, for the 
high pretensions of her sons by her two marriages, the 
queen mother— complained bitterly that mothers in Paris 
had been compelled to kill their own children outright 
to save them from starving to death in lingering agony. 
'' And if you are brought to that extremity," replied the 
duchess, *^as for the sake of our holy religion to be 
forced to kill your own children, do you think that so 
great a matter, after all ? What are your children made 
of more than other people's children 1 What are we all 
but dirt and dust ? " ^ Such was the consolation admin- 
istered by the mother of the man who governed Paris 
and defended its gates against its lawful sovereign at 
the command of a foreigner ; while the priests, in their 
turn, persuaded the populace that it was far more right- 
eous to kill their own children, if they had no food to 
give them, than to obtain food by recognizing a heretic 

It was related, too, and believed, that in some instances 
mothers had salted the bodies of their dead children and 
fed upon them, day by day, until the hideous repast 

1 L'Estoile, 27. "De ce que j'6cris," adds the journalist, "mes 
yeux ont veu une bonne partie." 

2 De Thou, ubi sup. 177. 

3 L'EstoUe, 29. 4 i^id., 23. 


would no longer support their own life. They died, and 
the secret was revealed by servants who had partaken 
of the food.^ The Spanish ambassador Mendoza ad- 
vised recourse to an article of diet which had been used 
in some of the Oriental sieges. The counsel at first was 
rejected as coming from the agent of Spain, who wished 
at all hazards to save the capital of France from falling 
out of the hands of his master into those of the heretic. 
But dire necessity prevailed, and the bones of the dead 
were taken in considerable quantities from the ceme- 
teries, ground into flour, baked into bread, and con- 
sumed. It was called Madame Montpensier's cake, be- 
cause the duchess earnestly proclaimed its merits to the 
poor Parisians. " She was never known to taste it her- 
self, however," bitterly observed one who lived in Paris 
through that horrible summer. She was right to abstain, 
for aU who ate of it died, and the Montpensier flour feU 
into disuse.2 

Lansquenets and other soldiers, mad with hunger and 
rage, when they could no longer find dogs to feed on, 
chased children through the streets, and were known in 
several instances to kill and devour them on the spot.^ 
To those expressing horror at the perpetration of such a 
crime, a leading personage, member of the Council of 
Nine, maintained that there was less danger to one's soul 
in satisfying one's hunger with a dead child, in case of 
necessity, than in recognizing the heretic Bearnese, and 
he added that all the best theologians and doctors of 
Paris were of his opinion.* 

1 L'Estoile, 25. 

2 Ibid. De Thou, ubi sup. 177. 3 L'Estoile, 30. 

* Ibid. : " Lansquenets, gens de soi barbares et inhumains, 
mourans de male rage et faim, commene^rent k chasser aux enfans 
comme aux chiena, et en mangerent trois, deux a I'liostel Saint 


As the summer wore on to its close through all these 
horrors, and as there were still no signs of Mayenne and 
Parma leading their armies to the relief of the city, it 
became necessary to deceive the people by a show of 
negotiation with the beleaguering army. Accordingly, 
the Spanish ambassador, the legate, and the other chiefs 
of the Holy League appointed a deputation, consisting 
of the Cardinal Gondy, the Archbishop of Lyons, and 
the Abbe d'Elbene, to Henry.^ It soon became evident 
to the king, however, that these commissioners were but 
trifling with him in order to amuse the populace. His 
attitude was dignified and determined throughout the 
interview. The place appointed was St. Anthony's 
Abbey, before the gates of Paris. Henry wore a cloak 
and the order of the Holy Ghost, and was surrounded by 
his council, the princes of the blood, and by more than 
four hundred of the chief gentlemen of his army. After 
passing the barricade, the deputies were received by old 
Marshal Biron, and conducted by him to the king's 
chamber of state. When they had made their saluta- 
tions, the king led the way to an inner cabinet, but his 

Denis et un a Fhotel de Palaiseau, et fut commis ce cruel et bar- 
bare acte'dans I'enceinte des murailles de Paris, tant I'ire de Dieu 
estoit embrassee sur nos testes. Ce qui tenant du commencement 
pour une fable pour ce que me sembloit que hoc erat atrocius vero, 
j'ai trouv6 depuis que c'estoit verity, confesse et temoigne par les 
propres bouches des lansquenets. De moi j'ai oui tenir ceste 
proposition a un grand Catholique de Paris qui estoit du Conseil 
des Neuf qu'il y avoit moins de danger de s'aeeomoder d'un enfant 
mort en telle n^cessite que de reconnoitre le Bearnais, estant 
hereticque comme il estoit, et que de son opinion estoient tons les 
meilleurs theologiens et docteurs de Paris." Compare Meteren, 
xvi. 293, who relates that eighteen children were said to have 
been eaten. 

1 De Thou, ubi sup. 


progress was much impeded by the crowding of the 
nobles about him. Wishing to excuse this apparent 
rudeness, he said to the envoys : " Gentlemen, these men 
thrust me on as fast to the battle against the foreigner 
as they now do to my cabinet. Therefore bear with 
them." Then turning to the crowd, he said : " Room, 
gentlemen, for the love of me," upon which they all 

The deputies then stated that they had been sent by 
the authorities of Paris to consult as to the means of 
obtaining a general peace in France. They expressed 
the hope that the king's disposition was favorable to this 
end, and that he would likewise permit them to confer 
with the Duke of Mayenne. This manner of addressing 
him excited his choler. He told Cardinal Gondy, who 
was spokesman of the deputation, that he had long 
since answered such propositions. He alone could deal 
with his subjects. He was like the woman before Solo- 
mon : he would have all the child or none of it.^ Rather 
than dismember his kingdom he would lose the whole. 
He asked them what they considered him to be. They 
answered that they knew his rights, but that the Pari- 
sians had different opinions. If Paris would only 
acknowledge him to be king there could be no more 
question of war. He asked them if they desired the 
King of Spain or the Duke of Mayenne for their king, 
and bade them look well to themselves. The King of 
Spain could not help them, for he had too much business 
on hand, while Mayenne had neither means nor cour- 
age, having been within three leagues of them for three 
weeks doing nothing. Neither king nor duke should 

1 W. Lyly to Sir E. Stafford, July 29 (August 8), 1590, S. P. 
Office MS. 2 Ibid. 


have that which belonged to him, of that they might "be 
assured. 1 He cold them he loved Paris as his capital, 
as his eldest daughter. If the Parisians wished to see 
the end of their miseries it was to him they should 
appeal, not to the Spaniard nor to the Duke of Mayenne. 
By the grace of God and the swords of his brave gentle- 
men he would prevent the King of Spain from making 
a colony of France as he had done of Brazil. He told 
the commissioners that they ought to die of shame that 
they, born Frenchmen, should have so forgotten their 
love of country and of liberty as thus to bow the head 
to the Spaniard, and, while famine was carrying off 
thousands of their countrymen before their eyes, to be 
so cowardly as not to utter one word for the public wel- 
fare from fear of offending Cardinal Gaetano, Mendoza, 
and Moreo.2 He said that he longed for a combat to 
decide the issue, and that he had charged Count de Bris- 
sac to tell Mayenne that he would give a finger of his 
right hand for a battle, and two for a general peace.^ 
He knew and pitied the sufferings of Paris, but the hor- 
rors now raging there were to please the King of Spain. 
That monarch had told the Duke of Parma to trouble 
himself but little about the Netherlands so long as he 
could preserve for him his city of Paris. But it was to 
lean on a broken reed to expect support from this old, 
decrepit king, whose object was to dismember the flour- 
ishing kingdom of France, and to divide it among as 
many tyrants as he had sent viceroys to the Indies.* 
The crown was his own birthright. Were it elective, he 

1 W. Lyly to Sir E. Stafford, MS. last cited. Compare De Thov, 
t. xi. liv. xcvii. 

2 De Thou, ubi sup. 3 Ibid. 
* Ibid. 

VOL. IV.— 3 


should receive the suffrages of the great mass of the 
electors. He hoped soon to drive those red-crossed for- 
eigners out of his kingdom. Should he fail, they would 
end by expelling the Duke of Mayenne and aU the rest 
who had called them in, and Paris would become the 
theater of the bloodiest tragedy ever yet enacted. ^ The 
king then ordered Sir Roger Williams to see that a col- 
lation was prepared for the deputies, and the veteran 
"Welshman took occasion to indulge in much blunt con- 
versation with the guests. He informed them that he, 
Mr. Sackville, and many other strangers were serving 
the king from the hatred they bore the Spaniards and 
Mother League, and that his royal mistress had always 
eight thousand Enghshmen ready to maintain the cause. 
While the conferences were going on, the officers and 
soldiers of the besieging army thronged to the gate, and 
had much talk with the townsmen. Among others 
time-honored La None with the Iron Arm stood near the 
gate and harangued the Parisians. " We are here," said 
he, " five thousand gentlemen ; we desire your good, not 
your ruin. We will make you rich : let us participate in 
your labor and industry. Undo not yourselves to serve 
the ambition of a few men." The townspeople, hearing 
the old warrior discoursing thus earnestly, asked who he 
was. When informed that it was La None, they cheered 
him vociferously, and applauded his speech with the 
greatest vehemence.^ Yet La Noue was the foremost 
Huguenot that the sun shone upon, and the Parisians 
were starving themselves to death out of hatred to 
heresy. After the collation the commissioners were 
permitted to go from the camp in order to consult 

1 De Thou, ubi sup. 2 Lyly's letter before cited. 

1590] STATE OF PARIS 35 

Such, then, was the condition of Paris during that 
memorable summer of tortures. What now were its 
hopes of deliverance out of this Gehenna ? The trust of 
Frenchmen was in Philip of Spain, whose legions, under 
command of the great Italian chieftain, were daily longed 
for to save them from rendering obedience to their law- 
ful prince. 

For even the king of straw, the imprisoned cardinal, 
was now dead, and there was not even the effigy of 
any other sovereign than Henry of Bourbon to claim 
authority in France. Mayenne, in the course of long 
interviews with the Duke of Parma at Conde and Brus- 
sels, had expressed his desire to see Philip King of 
France, and had promised his best efforts to bring about 
such a result. In that case he stipulated for the second 
place in the kingdom for himself, together with a good 
rich province in perpetual sovereignty, and a large sum 
of money in hand. Should this course not run smoothly, 
he would be willing to take the crown himself, in which 
event he would cheerfully cede to Philip the sovereignty 
of Brittany and Burgundy, besides a selection of cities 
to be arranged for at a later day. Although he spoke 
of himself with modesty, said Alexander, it was very 
plain that he meant to arrive at the crown himself.^ 
Well had the Bearnese alluded to the judgment of Solo- 
mon. Were not childi'cn thus ready to dismember their 
mother as foul and unnatural as the mother who would 
divide her child f 

And what was this dependence on a foreign tyrant 
really worth ? As we look back upon those dark days 
with the light of what was then the almost immediate 
future turned full and glaring upon them, we find it 

1 Parma to Philip, May 20, 1590, Arch, de Sim. MS. 


difficult to exaggerate the folly of the chief actors in 
those scenes of crime. Did not the penniless adventurer, 
whose keen eyesight and wise recklessness were passing 
for hallucination and foolhardiness in the eyes of his 
contemporaries, understand the game he was playing 
better than did that profound thinker, that mysterious 
but infallible politician, who sat in the Escorial and 
made the world tremble at every hint of his lips, every 
stroke of his pen ? 

The Netherlands, that most advanced portion of 
Philip's domain, without the possession of which his 
conquest of England and his incorporation of France 
were but childish visions, even if they were not mon- 
strous chimeras at best, were to be in a manner left to 
themselves, while their consummate governor and gen- 
eral was to go forth and conquer France at the head of 
a force with which he had been in vain attempting to 
hold those provinces to their obedience. At that very 
moment the rising young chieftain of the Netherlands 
was most successfully inaugurating his career of military 
success. His armies, well drilled, well disciplined, well 
paid, full of heart and of hope, were threatening their 
ancient enemy in every quarter, while the veteran legions 
of Spain and Italy, heroes of a hundred Flemish and 
Frisian battle-fields, were disorganized, starving, and 
mutinous. The famous ancient legion, the Tercio Vie jo, 
had been disbanded for its obstinate and confirmed 
unruliness. The legion of Manrique, sixteen hundred 
strong, was in open mutiny at Courtray. Farnese had 
sent the Prince of Ascoli to negotiate with them, but 
his attempts were all in vain.i Two years' arrearages 
— to be paid, not in cloth at four times what the con- 

1 Parma to Philip, April 10, 1590, Arch, de Sim. MS. 


tractors had paid for it, but in solid gold— were their 
not unreasonable demands after years of as hard fight- 
ing and severe suffering as the world has often seen. 
But Philip, instead of ducats or cloth, had only sent 
orders to go forth and conquer a new kingdom for him. 
Verdugo, too, from Friesland, was howling for money, 
garroting and hanging his mutinous veterans every 
day,i and sending complaints and most dismal forebod- 
ings as often as a courier could make his way through 
the enemy's lines to Farnese's headquarters. And 
Farnese, on his part, was garroting and hanging the 

Alexander did not, of course, inform his master that he 
was a mischievous lunatic, who upon any healthy prin- 
ciple of human government ought long ago to have been 
shut up from all communion with his species. It was 
very plain, however, from his letters, that such was his 
innermost thought, had it been safe, loyal, or courteous 
to express it in plain language. 

He was himself stung almost to madness, moreover, by 
the presence of Commander Moreo, who hated him, 
who was perpetually coming over from France to visit 
him, who was a spy upon all his actions, and who was 
regularly distilling his calumnies into the ears of Secre- 
tary Idiaquez and of Philip himself.^ The king was 
informed that Farnese was working for his own ends 
and was disgusted with his sovereign : that there never 
had been a petty prince of Italy that did not wish to 
become a greater one, or that was not jealous of Philip's 
power 5 and that there was not a villain in all Christen- 

1 Parma to Philip, June 24, 1590, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

2 Same to same, June 26 and July 22, 1590, ibid. 

3 Moreo to Idiaquez, January 30, 1590, ibid. 



dom but wished for Philip's death. Moreo followed the 
prince about to Antwerp, to Brussels, to Spa, whither he 
had gone to drink the waters for his failing health, pes- 
tered him, lectured him, pried upon him, counseled him, 
enraged him. Alexander told him at last that he cared 
not if the whole world came to an end so long as Flan- 
ders remained, which alone had been intrusted to him, 
and that if he was expected to conquer France it would 
be as weU to give him the means of performing that 
exploit. So Moreo told the king that Alexander was 
wasting time and wasting money, that he was the cause 
of Egmont's overthrow, and that he would be the cause 
of the loss of Paris and of the downfall of the whole 
French scheme, for that he was determined to do 
nothing to assist Mayenne, or that did not conduce to 
his private advantage.^ 

Yet Farnese had been not long before informed, in 
sufficiently plain language, and by personages of great 
influence, that in case he wished to convert his viceroy- 
alty of the Netherlands into a permanent sovereignty he 
might rely on the assistance of Henry of Navarre, and 
perhaps of Queen Elizabeth.^ The scheme would not 
have been impracticable, but the duke never listened to 
it for a moment. 

If he were slow in advancing to the relief of starving, 
agonizing Paris, there were sufficient reasons for his 
delay. Most decidedly and bitterly, but loyally, did he 
denounce the madness of his master's course in all his 
communications to that master's private ear. 

He told him that the situation in which he found him- 

1 Moreo to PhUip, June 22, 1590, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

2 DuplesBis to Buzanval, M6ia. et Corresp. de Duplessis- 
Momay, iv. 270. 

■ K 


seK was horrible. He had no money for his troops, he 
had not even garrison bread to put in their mouths. He 
had not a single stiver to advance them on account. 
From Friesland, from the Rhine country, from every 
quarter, cries of distress were rising to heaven, and the 
lamentations were just. He was in absolute penury. 
He could not negotiate a bill on the royal account, but 
had borrowed on his own private security a few thou- 
sand crowns, which he had given to his soldiers. He was 
pledging his jewels and furniture like a bankrupt, but 
all was now in vain to stop the mutiny at Courtray. If 
that went on it would be of most pernicious example, 
for the whole army was disorganized, malcontent, and 
of portentous aspect. '' These things," said he, " ought 
not to surprise people of common understanding, for 
without money, without credit, without provisions, and 
in an exhausted country, it is impossible to satisfy the 
claims or even to support the life of the army." ^ When 
he sent the Flemish cavalry to Mayenne in March, it was 
under the impression that with it that prince would have 
maintained his reputation and checked the progress of 
the Bearnese until greater reinforcements could be for- 
warded. He was now glad that no larger number had 
been sent, for all would have been sacrificed on the fatal 
field of Ivry.2 

The country around him was desperate, believed 
itself abandoned, and was expecting fresh horrors every 
day. He had been obliged to remove portions of the 
garrisons at Deventer and Zutphen purely to save them 
from starving and desperation. Every day he was in- 

1 Parma to Philip, January 30, February 20, March 14, March 
24, March 30, April 19, 1590, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

2 Ibid. 


formed by his garrisons that they could feed no longer 
on fine words or hopes, for in them they found no sus- 

But Philip told him that he must proceed forthwith 
to France, where he was to raise the siege of Paris and 
occupy Calais and Boulogne, in order to prevent tlie 
English from sending succor to the Bearnese, and in 
order to facilitate his own designs on England. Every 
effort was to be made before the Bearnese climbed into 
the seat. The Duke of Parma was to talk no more of 
difficulties, but to conquer them-— a noble phrase on 
the battle-field, but comparatively easy of utterance at 
the writing-desk. 

At last, Philip having made some remittances, miser- 
ably inadequate for the necessities of the case, but suffi- 
cient to repress in part the mutinous demonstrations 
throughout the army, Farnese addressed himself with a 
heavy heart to the work required of him. He confessed 
the deepest apprehensions of the result both in the 
Netherlands and in France. He intimated a profound 
distrust of the French, who had ever been Philip's ene- 
mies, and dwelt on the danger of leaving the provinces 
unable to protect themselves, badly garrisoned, and starv- 
ing. " It grieves me to the soul, it cuts me to the heart," 
he said, ''to see that your Majesty commands things 
which are impossible, for it is our Lord alone that can 
work miracles. Your Majesty supposes that with the 
little money you have sent me I can satisfy all the soldiers 
serving in these provinces, settle with the Spanish and 
the German mutineers,— because, if they are to be used 

1 Parma to Philip, January 30, February 20, March 14, March 
24, March 30, April 19, 1590, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

2 Philip to Parma, June 20, 1590, ibid. 


in the expedition, they must at least be quieted, — give 
money to Mayenne and the Parisians, pay retaining- 
wages (wartgeld) to the German riders for the protection 
of these provinces, and make sure of the maritime places, 
where the same mutinous language is held as at Cour- 
tray. The poverty, the discontent, and the desperation 
of this unhappy country," he added, *' have been so often 
described to your Majesty that I have nothing to add. 
I am hanging and garroting my veterans everywhere, 
only because they have rebelled for want of pay, with- 
out committing any excess. Yet under these circum- 
stances I am to march into France with twenty thousand 
troops — the least number to effect anything withal. I 
am confused and perplexed, because the whole world is 
exclaiming against me, and protesting that through my 
desertion the country intrusted to my care will come to 
utter perdition. On the other hand, the French cry out 
upon me that I am the cause that Paris is going to de- 
struction, and with it the Catholic cause in France. 
Every one is pursuing his private ends. It is impossible 
to collect a force strong enough for the necessary work. 
Paris has reached its extreme unction, and neither May- 
enne nor any one of the Confederates has given this 
invalid the slightest morsel to support her till your Maj- 
esty's forces should arrive." ^ 

He reminded his sovereign that the country around 
Paris was eaten bare of food and forage, and yet that it 
was quite out of the question for him to undertake the 
transportation of supplies for his army all the way— 
supplies from the starving Netherlands to starving 
France. Since the king was so peremptory, he had 
nothing for it but to obey, but he vehemently disclaimed 
1 Parma to Philip, July 22, 1590, Arch, de Sim. MS. 


all responsibility for the expedition, and, in case of his 
death, he called on his Majesty to vindicate his honor, 
which his enemies were sure to assail.^ 

The messages from Mayenne becoming daily more 
pressing, Farnese hastened as much as possible those 
preparations which at best were so woefully inadequate, 
and avowed his determination not to fight the Bearnese 
if it were possible to avoid an action. He feared, how- 
ever, that with totally insufficient forces he should be 
obliged to accept the chances of an engagement,^ 

With twelve thousand foot and three thousand horse 
Farnese left the Netherlands in the beginning of August, 
and arrived on the 3d of that month at Valenciennes. 
His little army, notwithstanding his bitter complaints, 
was of imposing appearance.^ The archers and halber- 
diers of his body-guard were magnificent in taffeta and 
feathers and surcoats of cramoisie velvet. Four hundred 
nobles served in the cavalry. Aremberg and Berlaymont 
and Chimay, and other grandees of the Netherlands, in 
company with Ascoli and the sons of Ten'anova and 
Pastrana, and many more great lords of Italy and Spain, 
were in immediate attendance on the illustrious captain. 
The son of Philip's secretary of state Idiaquez and the 
nephew of the cardinal legate Gaetano were among 
the marshals of the camp.* 

Alexander's own natural authority and consummate 
powers of organization had for the time triumphed over 
the disintegrating tendencies which, it had been seen, 

1 Parma to Philip, MS. before cited. 

2 Same to same, July 23, 1590, ibid. 

3 Same to same, August 28, 1590, ibid. 

* Bor, iii. xviii. 535. Coloma, iii. 47. Bentivoglio, p. ii. lib. 
iv. 340 seq. 


were everywhere so rapidly destroying the foremost 
military establishment of the world. Nearly half his 
forces, both cavalry and infantry, were Netherlanders ; 
for — as if there were not graves enough in their own 
little territory— those Flemings, Walloons, and Hol- 
landers were destined to leave their bones on both sides 
of every well-stricken field of that age between liberty 
and despotism. And thus thousands of them had now 
gone forth under the banner of Spain to assist their own 
tyrant in carrying out his designs upon the capital of 
France, and to struggle to the death with thousands of 
their own countrymen who were following the fortunes 
of the B6arnese. Truly in that age it was religion that 
drew the boundary-line between nations. 

The army was divided into three portions. The van- 
guard was under the charge of the Netherland general 
Marquis of Renty, the battalia was commanded by 
Farnese in person, and the rear-guard was intrusted to 
that veteran Netherlander, La Motte, now called the 
Count of Everbecq. Twenty pieces of artillery followed 
the last division.^ At Valenciennes Farnese remained 
eight days, and from this place Count Charles Mansfeld 
took his departure in a great rage — resigning his post 
as chief of artillery because La Motte had received the 
appointment of general-marshal of the camp— and re- 
turned to his father, old Peter Ernest Mansfeld, who 
was lieutenant-governor of the Netherlands in Parma's 

^ Bor, Coloma, ubi sup. Dondini, ii. 300 seq. De Thou, t. lid. 
liv. xcvii. 183 seq. Bentivoglio, p. ii. lib. iv. 340 seq. Meteren, 
xvi. 293 seq. 

2 Letters of Mansfeld to Philip and to Parma, August 11, 1590, 
Arch, de Sim. MS. 


Leaving Valenciennes on the 11th, the army pro- 
ceeded by way of Quesnoy, Guise, Soissons, Fritemilon, 
to Meaux. At this place, which is ten leagues from 
Paris, Farnese made his junction, on the 22d of August, 
with Mayenne, who was at the head of six thousand 
infantry— one half of them Germans, under Cobalto, and 
the other half French — and of two thousand horse.^ 

On arriving at Meaux, Alexander proceeded straight- 
way to the cathedral, and there, in presence of all, he 
solemnly swore that he had not come to France in order 
to conquer that kingdom, or any portion of it, in the 
interests of his master, but only to render succor to the 
Catholic cause and to free the friends and confederates 
of his Majesty from violence and heretic oppression.- 
Time was to show the value of that oatL 

Here the deputation from Paris, the Archbishop of 
Lyons and his colleagues, whose interview with Henry 
has just been narrated, were received by the two dukes. 
They departed, taking with them promises of immediate 
relief for the starving city. The allies remained five 
days at Meaux, and leaving that place on the 27th, 
arrived in the neighborhood of Chelles on the last day 
but one of the summer. They had a united force of five 
thousand cavalry and eighteen thousand foot.^ 

The summer of horrors was over, and thus with the 
first days of autumn there had come a ray of hope for 
the proud city which was lying at its last gasp. When 
the allies came in sight of the monastery of Chelles they 

1 Lo sucedido a este felieissimo exercito despues que entro en 
Franeia hasta el 3 de Oetubre, Arch, de Sim. MS. Parma to 
Philip, August 28, 1590, ibid. 

2 Coloma, iii. 47^". 

3 Lo sucedido, etc., ubi sup. Parma's letter last cited. 


found themselves in the immediate neighborhood of the 

The two great captains of the age had at last met face 
to face. They were not only the two first commanders 
of their time, but there was not a man in Europe at that 
day to be at all compared with either of them. The 
youth, concerning whose earliest campaign an account 
will be given in the following chapter, had hardly yet 
struck his first blow. Whether that blow was to reveal 
the novice or the master was soon to be seen. Mean- 
time in 1590 it would have been considered a foolish 
adulation to mention the name of Maurice of Nassau in 
the same breath with that of Navarre or of Farnese. 

The scientific duel which was now to take place was 
likely to task the genius and to bring into full display 
the peculiar powers and defects of the two chieftains of 
Europe. Each might be considered to be still in the 
prime of life, but Alexander, who was turned of forty- 
five, was already broken in health, while the vigorous 
Henry was eight years younger and of an iron constitu- 
tion. Both had passed their lives in the field, but the 
king, from nature, education, and the force of circum- 
stances, preferred pitched battles to scientific combina- 
tions, while the duke, having studied and practised his 
art in the great Spanish and Italian schools of warfare, 
was rather a profound strategist than a professional 
fighter, although capable of great promptness and intense 
personal energy when his judgment dictated a battle. 
Both were born with that invaluable gift which no 
human being can acquire, authority, and both were 
adored and willingly obeyed by their soldiers, so long 
as those soldiers were paid and fed. 

The prize now to be contended for was a high one. 


Alexander's complete success would tear from Henry's 
grasp the first city of Christendom, now sinking ex- 
hausted into his hands, and woidd place France in the 
power of the Holy League and at the feet of Philip. 
Another Ivry would shatter the Confederacy and carry 
the king in triumph to his capital and his ancestral 
throne. On the approach of the combined armies under 
Parma and Mayenne, the king had found himself most 
reluctantly compelled to suspend the siege of Paris. 
His army, which consisted of sixteen thousand foot and 
five thousand horse, was not sufficiently numerous to 
confront at the same time the relieving force and to 
continue the operations before the city.^ So long, how- 
ever, as he held the towns and bridges on the great 
rivers, and especially those keys to the Seine and 
Marne, Corbeil and Lagny, he still controlled the life- 
blood of the capital, which indeed had almost ceased to 

On the 31st August he advanced toward the enemy. 
Sir Edward Stafford, Queen Elizabeth's ambassador, 
arrived at St.-Denis in the night of the 30th August. 
At a very early hour next morning he heard a shout 
under his window, and looking down, beheld King Henry 
at the head of his troops, cheerfully calling out to his 
English friend as he passed his door. "Welcoming 
us after his familiar manner," said Stafford, "he de- 
sired us, in respect of the battle every hour expected, 
to come as his friends to see and help him, and not 
to treat of anything which afore we meant, seeing 
the present state to require it, and the enemy so 
near that we might well have been interrupted in 
half an hour's talk, and necessity constrained the 
1 De Thou, ubi sup. 


king to be in every corner, where for the most part 
we follow him."^ That day Henry took up his head- 
quarters at the monastery of Chelles, a fortified place 
within six leagues of Paris, on the right bank of 
the Marne. His army was drawn up in a wide valley 
somewhat encumbered with wood and water, extend- 
ing through a series of beautiful pastures toward two 
hills of moderate elevation. Lagny, on the left bank 
of the river, was within less than a league of him on 
his right hand. On the other side of the hills, hardly 
out of cannon-shot, was the camp of the allies. Henry, 
whose natural disposition in this respect needed no 
prompting, was most eager for a decisive engagement. 
The circumstances imperatively required it of him. His 
infantry consisted of Frenchmen, Netherlanders, Eng- 
lish, Germans, Scotch ; but of his cavalry four thousand 
were French nobles, serving at their own expense, who 
came to a battle as to a banquet, but who were capable 
of riding off almost as rapidly, should the feast be denied 
them. They were volunteers, bringing with them rations 
for but a few days, and it could hardly be expected that 
they would remain as patiently as did Parma's veterans, 
who, now that their mutiny had been appeased by pay- 
ment of a portion of their arrearages, had become docile 
again. All the great chieftains who surrounded Henry, 
whether Catholic or Protestant,— Montpensier, Nevers, 
Soissons, Conde, the Birons, Lavradin, D'Aumont, Tre- 
mouiUe, Turenne, Chatillon, La None,— were urgent for 
the conflict, concerning the expediency of which there 
could indeed be no doubt, while the king was in raptures 
at the opportunity of dealing a decisive blow at the Con- 

1 Stafford to Burghley, August 28 (September 7), 1590, S. P. 
Office MS. 


federacy of foreigners and rebels who had so long defied 
his authority and deprived him of his rights. 

Stafford came up with the king, according to his 
cordial invitation, on the same day, and saw the army 
all drawn up in battle array. While Henry was " eating 
a morsel in an old house," Turenne joined him with six 
or seven hundred horsemen and between four and five 
thousand infantry. '^ They were the likeliest footmen," 
said Stafford, " the best countenanced, the best furnished 
that ever I saw in my life ; the most part of them old 
soldiers that had served under the king for the religion 
aU this while." 

The envoy was especially enthusiastic, however, in 
regard to the French cavaliy. "There are near six 
thousand horse," said he, ''whereof gentlemen above 
four thousand, about twelve hundred other French, and 
eight hundred reiters. I never saw, nor I think never 
any man saw, in France such a company of gentlemen 
together so well horsed and so well armed." ^ 

Henry sent a herald to the camp of the allies, formally 
challenging them to a general engagement, and express- 
ing a hope that all differences might now be settled by 
the ordeal of battle, rather than that the sufferings of 
the innocent people should be longer protracted.^ 

Farnese, on an-iving at Meaux, had resolved to seek 
the enemy and take the hazards of a stricken field. He 
had misgivings as to the possible result, but he expressly 
announced this intention in his letters to Philip, and 
Mayenne confirmed him in his determination.^ Never- 

1 Stafford to Burghley, August 28 (September 7), 1590, S. P. 
Office MS. 

2 Bor, Coloma, Dondini, De Thou, Bentivoglio, Meteren, ubi sup. 

3 Parma to Philip, August 28, 1590, Arch, de Sim. MS. 


theless, finding the enemy so eager and having reflected 
more maturely, he saw no reason for accepting the chiv- 
alrous cartel. As commander-in-chief —for Mayenne will- 
ingly conceded the supremacy which it would have been 
absurd in him to dispute — he accordingly replied that it 
was his custom to refuse a combat when a refusal seemed 
advantageous to himself, and to offer battle whenever it 
suited his purposes to fight. When that moment should 
arrive the king would find him in the field. And hav- 
ing sent this courteous but unsatisfactory answer to the 
impatient Bearnese,^ he gave orders to fortify his camp, 
which was already sufficiently strong. Seven days long 
the two armies lay face to face,— Henry and his chivalry 
chafing in vain for the longed-for engagement,— and 
nothing occurred between those forty or fifty thousand 
mortal enemies, encamped within a mile or two of each 
other, save trifiing skirmishes leading to no result.^ 

At last Farnese gave orders for an advance. Renty, 
commander of the vanguard, consisting of nearly all the 
cavalry, was instructed to move slowly forward over the 
two hills, and descending on the opposite side, to deploy 
his forces in two great wings to the right and left. He 
was secretly directed in this movement to magnify as 
much as possible the apparent dimensions of his force. 
Slowly the columns moved over the hills. Squadron 
after squadron, nearly all of them lancers, with their 
pennons flaunting gaily in the summer wind, displayed 
themselves deliberately and ostentatiously in the face of 

1 Coloma, Bentivoglio, De Thou, ubi sup. 

2 Alexander estimated the forces of Henry at 14,000 foot and 
5000 horse. Stafford placed them at 17,000 foot and 6000 horse. 
(Letters cited.) The united forces of Mayenne and Farnese, as 
we have seen, amounted to 18,000 foot and 5000 horse. 

VOL. IV.— 4 


the Royalists. The splendid light horse of Basti, the 
ponderous troopers of the Flemish bands of ordnance 
under Chimay and Berlaymont, and the famous Alba- 
nian and Italian cavalry, were mingled with the veteran 
Leaguers of France, who had fought under the Balafre, 
and who now followed the fortunes of his brother May- 
enne. It was an imposing demonstration.^ 

Henry could hardly beheve his eyes as the much- 
coveted opportunity, of which he had been so many days 
disappointed, at last presented itself, and he waited with 
more than his usual caution until the plan of attack should 
be developed by his great antagonist. Parma, on his 
side, pressed the hand of Mayenne as he watched the 
movement, saying quietly, "We have already fought 
our battle and gained the victory." 2 He then issued 
orders for the whole battalia— which, since the junction, 
had been under command of Mayenne, Farnese reserv- 
ing for himself the superintendence of the entire army 
— to countermarch rapidly toward the Marne and take 
up a position opposite Lagny. La Motte, with the 
rear-guard, was directed immediately to follow. The bat- 
talia had thus become the van, the rear-guard the battalia, 
while the whole cavalry corps by this movement had 
been transformed from the vanguard into the rear. 
Renty was instructed to protect his manoeuvers, to re- 
strain the skirmishing as much as possible, and to keep 
the commander-in-chief constantly informed of every 
occurrence. In the night he was to intrench and fortify 
himself rapidly and thoroughly, without changing his 

1 Bor, Coloma, Bentivoglio, Dondini, De Thou, Meteren, ubi 

2 Bentivoglio, loc. cit. 


Under cover of this feigned attack, Farnese arrived at 
the riverside on the 15th September, 1590, seized an 
open village directly opposite Lagny which was con- 
nected with it by a stone bridge, and planted a battery 
of nine pieces of heavy artillery directly opposite the 
town. Lagny was fortified in the old-fashioned manner, 
with not very thick walls, and without a terre-plein. Its 
position, however, and its command of the bridge, 
seemed to render an assault impossible, and De la Fin, 
who lay there with a garrison of twelve hundred French, 
had no fear for the security of the place. But Farnese, 
with the precision and celerity which characterized his 
movements on special occasions, had thrown pontoon- 
bridges across the river three miles above, and sent a 
considerable force of Spanish and Walloon infantry to 
the other side. These troops were ordered to hold them- 
selves ready for an assault so soon as the batteries 
opposite should effect a practicable breach. The next 
day Henry, reconnoitering the scene, saw, with intense 
indignation, that he had been completely outgeneraled. 
Lagny, the key to the Marne, by holding which he had 
closed the door on nearly all the food-supplies for Paris, 
was about to be wrested from him. What should he 
do? Should he throw himself across the river and 
rescue the place before it fell? This was not to be 
thought of even by the audacious Bearnese. In the 
attempt to cross the river under the enemy's fire, he 
was likely to lose a large portion of his army. Should 
he fling himself upon Renty's division, which had so 
ostentatiously offered battle the day before? This at 
least might be attempted, although not so advanta- 
geously as would have been the case on the previous 
afternoon. To undertake this was the result of a rapid 


council of generals. It was too late. Renty held the 
hills so firmly intrenched and fortified that it was an 
idle hope to carry them by assault. He might hurl 
column after column against those heights, and pass the 
day in seeing his men mowed to the earth without result. 

His soldiers, magnificent in the open field, could not 
be relied upon to carry so strong a position by sudden 
storm, and there was no time to be lost. He felt the 
enemy a little. There was some small skirmishing, and 
while it was going on, Farnese opened a tremendous fire 
across the river upon Lagny. The weak walls soon 
crumbled, a breach was effected, the signal for assault 
was given, and the troops, posted on the other side, 
after a brief but sanguinary struggle, overcame all re- 
sistance, and were masters of the town. The whole 
garrison, twelve hundred strong, was butchered,^ and 
the city thoroughly sacked; for Farnese had been 
brought up in the old-fashioned school of Alva and 
Julien Romero and Commander Requesens. 

Thus Lagny was seized before the eyes of Henry, who 
was forced to look helplessly on his great antagonist's tri- 
umph.2 He had come forth in full panoply and abound- 
ing confidence to offer battle. He was foiled of his com- 
bat, and he had lost the prize. Never was blow more 
successfully parried, a counter-stroke more ingeniously 
planted. The bridges of Charenton and St.-Maur now 
fell into Farnese's hands without a contest. In an in- 
credibly short space of time provisions and munitions 
were poured into the starving city, two thousand boat- 
loads arriving in a single day. Paris was relieved.^ 

1 Coloma, loc. cit. 

8 Coloma, De Thou, Dondini, Bentivoglio, Meteren, ubi sup. 

3 Ibid. 


Alexander had made his demonstration and solved the 
problem. He had left the Netherlands against his judg- 
ment, but he had at least accomplished his French work 
as none but he could have done it. The king was now 
in worse plight than ever.^ His army fell to pieces. 
His cavaliers, cheated of their battle, and having neither 
food nor forage, rode off by hundreds every day. '^ Our 
state is such," said Stafford, on the 16th September, 
" and so far unexpected and wonderful, that I am almost 
ashamed to write, because methinks everybody should 
think I dream. Myself seeing of it methinketh that I 
dream. For, my lord, to see an army — such a one, I think, 
as I shall never see again, especially for horsemen and 
gentlemen— to take a mind to disband upon the taking 
of such a paltry thing as Lagny, a town no better indeed 
than Rochester, it is a thing so strange to me that seeing 
of it I can scarce believe it. They make their excuses 
of their want, which I know indeed is great, for there 
were few left with one penny in their purses, but yet 
that extremity could not be such but that they might 
have tarried ten days, or fifteen at the most, that the 

1 "I dare assure you this king runneth as hard a fortune as 
ever he did in his life," said Stafford, adding somewhat cynically : 
"If with his loss was lost nothing I would care but little, though 
somewhat for Christianity, but it maketh my heart bleed to think 
if the Spaniard grow here (as he beginneth to settle, and that 
deeplier than I could ever have believed Frenchmen's hearts 
would have endured) what mischief will follow to us ; and therefore 
in the meantime, while they may be provided for, if there be not 
present order given to send men into Flanders to make a present 
retractive for the Prince of Parma, I do not only doubt, but I do 
assure myself that we shall not have leisure to tarry here, or ex- 
pect the good that the helps out of Germany may bring here- 
after."— Stafford to Burghley, August 28 (September 7), 1590, 
S. P. Office MS. 


king desired of them. . . . From six thousand horse 
that we were and above, we are come to two thousand ; 
and I do not see an end of our leave-takers, for those be 

" The most I can see we can make account of to tarry 
are the Viscount Turenne's troops, and M. de Chatillon's, 
and our Switzers and lansquenets, which make very 
near five thousand. The first that went away, though 
he sent word to the king an hour before he would tarry, 
was the Count Soissons, by whose parting on a sudden 
and without leave-taking we judge a discontentment." ^ 

The king's army seemed fading into air. Making 
virtue of necessity, he withdrew to St.-Denis, and decided 
to disband his forces, reserving to himself only a flying 
camp with which to harass the enemy as often as oppor- 
tunity should offer. 

It must be confessed that the B6arnese had been thor- 
oughly outgeneraled. "It was not God's wiU," said 
Stafford, who had been in constant attendance upon 
Henry through the whole business ; " we deserved it not ; 
for the king might as easily have had Paris as drunk, 
four or five times. And at the last, if he had not com- 
mitted those faults that children would not have done, 
only with the desire to fight and give the battle (which 
the other never meant), he had had it in the Duke of 
Parma's sight as he took Lagny in ours."^ He had 
been foiled of the battle on which he had set his heart, 
and in which he felt confident of overthrowing the great 
captain of the age and trampling the League under his 
feet. His capital, just ready to sink exhausted into his 
hands, had been wrested from his grasp, and was alive 

1 Stafford to Burghley, September 6 (16), 1590, S. P. Office MS. 

2 Ibid. 


with new hope and new defiance. The League was 
triumphant, his own army scattering to the four winds. 
Even a man of high courage and sagacity might have 
been in despair. Yet never were the magnificent hope- 
fulness, the wise audacity, of Henry more signally mani- 
fested than now when he seemed most blundering and 
most forlorn. His hardy nature ever met disaster with 
so cheerful a smile as almost to perplex disaster herself. 
Unwilling to relinquish his grip without a last effort, 
he resolved on a midnight assault upon Paris. Hoping 
that the joy at being relieved, the unwonted feasting 
which had succeeded the long fasting, and the conscious- 
ness of security from the presence of the combined 
armies of the victorious League, would throw garrison 
and citizens off their guard, he came into the neighbor- 
hood of the Faubourgs St.-Jacques, St.-Germain, St.- 
Marcel, and St.-Michel on the night of the 9th September. 
A desperate effort was made to escalade the walls be- 
tween St.-Jacques and St.-Germain. It was foiled, not 
by the soldiers nor the citizens, but by the sleepless 
Jesuits, who, as often before during this memorable 
siege, had kept guard on the ramparts, and who now 
gave the alarm.^ The first assailants were hurled from 
their ladders, the city was roused, and the Duke of 
Nemours was soon on the spot, ordering burning pitch 
hoops, stones, and other missiles to be thrown down upon 
the invaders. The escalade was baffled ; yet once more 
that night, just before dawn, the king in person renewed 
the attack on the Faubourg St.-Germain. The faithful 
Stafford stood by his side in the trenches, and was wit- 

^ "Acudieron los primeros & la miiralla los padres Jesuitas, 
guiados por el padre Francisco Xuares Espaiiol," etc. — Coloma, 
iii. 51. 


ness to his cool determination, his indomitable hope. La 
None, too, was there and was wounded in the leg— an ac- 
cident the results of which were soon to cause much 
weeping through Christendom,^ Had one of those gar- 
lands of blazing tar which all night had been fluttering 
from the walls of Paris alighted by chance on the king's 
head, there might have been another history of France. 
The ladders, too, proved several feet too short, and there 
were too few of them. Had they been more numerous 
and longer, the tale might have been a different one. 
As it was, the king was forced to retire with the ap- 
proaching daylight.2 

The characteristics of the great commander of the 
Huguenots and of the Leaguers' chieftain respectively 
were well illustrated in several incidents of this memo- 
rable campaign. Farnese had been informed by scouts 

1 Meteren, ubi sup. 

'^ Coloma, Bentivoglio, Dondini, De Thou, Meteren, ubi sup. 
" The king to stay awhile, his troops together had an enterprise 
on Paris this day sennight at night, and, with some intelligence 
that he said he had in it which I could perceive no token of, had 
an enterprise to take it by escalade, and to that purpose had six 
thousand footmen and twelve hundred horse that passed the 
bridge that he had made at Gonfolar with boats. The king him- 
self was in the enterprise, and I with him, and in the ditch with 
him, though when he told me the manner I saw it impossible, yet 
I went with him because he should not say I was against it for 
fear. But when we came there OTir ladders were too short by five 
foot, the larme in the town an hour before and no word of any 
intelligence, and so we retired without Paris, which I dare assure 
you the king might have had about five times within these five 
months, but he is too good a king, and loveth his subjects too well 
that hate him deadly. There was upon the return of that enter- 
prise no stay, but everybody would be gone, and the king, seeing 
that there was no remedy, gave them leave on promise of return." 
—Stafford to Burghley, September 6 (16), 1590, S. P. Office MS. 

1590] DEATH OF SIXTHS V. 57 

and spies of this intended assault by Henry on the walls 
of Paris. With his liabitual caution, he discredited the 
story.^ Had he believed it, he might have followed the 
king in overwhelming force and taken him captive. 
The penalty of Henry's unparalleled boldness was thus 
remitted by Alexander's exuberant discretion. 

Soon afterward Farnese laid siege to Corbeil. This 
little place, owing to the extraordinary skiU and de- 
termination of its commandant, Rigaut, an old Huguenot 
officer, who had fought with La Noue in Flanders, 
resisted for nearly four weeks. It was assaulted at last, 
Rigaut killed, the garrison of one thousand French sol- 
diers put to the sword, and the town sacked. With the 
fall of Corbeil both the Seine and Marne were reopened.^ 

Alexander then made a visit to Paris, where he was 
received with great enthusiasm. The legate, whose 
efforts and whose money had so much contributed to the 
successful defense of the capital, had returned to Italy 
to participate in the election of a new pope. For the 
" Huguenot pope," ^ Sixtus V., had died at the end of 
August, having never bestowed on the League any of 
his vast accumulated treasures to help it in its utmost 
need. It was not surprising that Philip was indignant, 
and had resorted to menace of various kinds against the 
Holy Father, when he found him swaying so perceptibly 
in the direction of the hated Bearnese. Of course when 
he died his complaint was believed to be Spanish poison. 
In those days none but the very obscure were thought 

1 Coloma, iii. 51™. 

2 Coloma, iii. 51 seq. Bentivoglio, Dondini, De Thou, Meteren, 
Tibi sup. 

^ "At Paris the pope is accounted a Huguenot."— Lyly to 
Walsingham, April 2 (12), 1590, S. P. Office MS. 


capable of dying natural deaths, and Philip was esteemed 
too consummate an artist to allow so formidable an ad- 
versary as Sixtus to pass away in God's time only. Cer- 
tainly his death was hailed as matter of great rejoicing 
by the Spanish party in Rome, and as much ignominy 
bestowed upon his memory as if he had been a heretic, 
while in Paris his decease was celebrated with bonfires 
and other marks of popular hilarity.^ 

To circumvent the great Huguenot's reconciliation 
with the Roman Church was of course an indispensable 
portion of Philip's plan, for none could be so dull as not 
to perceive that the resistance of Paris to its heretic sov- 
ereign would cease to be very effective so soon as the 
sovereign had ceased to be heretic. It was most impor- 
tant, therefore, that the successor of Sixtus should be the 
tool of Spain. The leading Confederates were well aware 
of Henry's intentions to renounce the Reformed faith 
and to return to the communion of Rome whenever he 
could formally accomplish that measure. The crafty 
Beamese knew full well that the road to Paris lay 
through the gates of Rome. Yet it is proof either of the 
privacy with which great public matters were then trans- 
acted, or of the extraordinary powers of deceit with 
which Henry was gifted, that the leaders of Protestan- 
tism were still hoodwinked in regard to his attitude. 
Notwithstanding the embassy of Luxembourg and the 
many other indications of the king's intentions, Queen 
Elizabeth continued to regard him as the great champion 
of the Reformed faith. She had just sent him an emerald, 
which she had herself worn, accompanied by the expres- 
sion of her wish that the king in wearing it might never 

1 Stafford to Burghley, September 14 (24), 1590, S. P. Office MS. 
De Thou, t. xi. liv. xevii. 270-273. 


strike a blow without demolishing an enemy, and that 
in his further progress he might put all his enemies to 
rout and confusion. "You will remind the king, too," 
she added, "■ that the emerald has this virtue, never to 
break so long as faith remains entire and firm." ^ 

And the shrewd Stafford, who was in daily attendance 
upon him, informed his sovereign that there were no 
symptoms of wavering on Henry's part. " The Catholics 
here," said he, '' cry hard upon the king to be a Catholic 
or else that he is lost, and they would persuade him that, 
for all their calling in the Spaniards, both Paris and all 
other towns will yield to him, if he will but assure them 
that he will become a Catholic. For my part, I think 
they would laugh at him when he had done so, and so I 
find he believeth the same, if he had mind to it, which I 
find no disposition in him unto it." ^ The not very dis- 
tant future was to show what the disposition of the bold 
Gascon really was in this great matter, and whether he 
was likely to reap nothing but ridicule from his apostasy, 
should it indeed become a fact. Meantime it was the 
opinion of the wisest sovereign in Europe and of one of 
the most adroit among her diplomatists that there was 
really nothing in the rumors as to the king's contem- 
plated conversion. 

It was, of course, unfortunate for Henry that his 
stanch friend and admirer Sixtus was no more. But 
English diplomacy could do but little in Rome, and men 

1 " Vous f erez souvenir au roi que Tesmeraude a ceste vertu de 
ne point rompre (a ce que I'on diet) tant que la foy demeure 
entiere et ferme."— Queen to the French ambassador, "from 
Oatlands, on a Saturday night, after her coming from hunting," 
August 13, 1590, S. P. Office MS. 

2 Stafford to Burghley, September 14 (24), 1590, ibid. 


were trembling with apprehension lest that arch-enemy 
of Elizabeth, that devoted friend of Philip, the English 
Cardinal Allen, should be elected to the papal throne. 
"Grreat ado is made in Rome," said Stafford, ''by the 
Spanish ambassador, by all corruptions and ways that 
may be, to make a pope that must needs depend and be 
altogether at the King of Spain's devotion. If the 
princes of Italy put not their hands unto it, no doubt 
they will have their wills, and I fear greatly our villai- 
nous Allen, for, in my judgment, I can comprehend no 
man more with reason to be tied altogether to the King 
of Spain's will than he. I pray God send him either to 
God or the devil fibrst. An evil-minded Englishman, tied 
to the King of Spain by necessity, finding almost four 
millions of money, is a dangerous beast for a pope in 
this time." ^ 

Cardinal Allen was doomed to disappointment. His 
candidacy was not successful, and after the brief reign, 
thirteen days long, of Urban VII., Sfondrato wore the 
triple tiara, with the title of Gregory XIV. Before 
the year closed, that pontiff had issued a brief urging the 
necessity of extirpating heresy in France and of elect- 
ing a Catholic king, and asserting his determination to 
send to Paris, that bulwark of the Catholic faith, not 
empty words alone, but troops, to be paid fifteen thou- 
sand crowns of gold each month, so long as the city should 
need assistance."^ It was therefore probable that the 
great leader of the Huguenots, now that he had been 
defeated by Farnese and that his capital was still loyal 
to the League, would obtain less favor, however con- 
scientiously he might instruct himself, from Gregory 

^ MS. letter last cited. 

2 De Thou, t. xi. liv. xcvii. 343. 


XIV. than he had begun to find in the eyes of Sixtus 
after the triumph of Ivry. 

Parma refreshed his army by a fortnight's repose, and 
early in November determined on his return to the 
Netherlands. The Leaguers were aghast at his decision, 
and earnestly besought him to remain. But the duke 
had given them back their capital, and although this had 
been accomplished without much bloodshed in their 
army or his own, sickness was now making sad ravages 
among his troops, and there was small supply of food or 
■ forage for such large forces as had now been accumu- 
lated in the neighborhood of Paris. Moreover, dissen- 
sions were breaking out between the Spaniards, Italians, 
and Netherlanders of the relieving army and their 
French allies. The soldiers and peasants hated the for- 
eigners who came there as victors, even although to 
assist the Leaguers in overthrowing the laws, govern- 
ment, and nationality of France. The stragglers and 
wounded on Farnese's march were kiUed by the country 
people in considerable numbers, and it was a pure im- 
possibility for him longer to delay his return to the 
provinces which so much against his will he had deserted. 

He marched back by way of Champagne rather than 
by that of Picardy, in order to deceive the king. 
Scarcely had he arrived in Champagne when he heard 
of the retaking of Lagny and Corbeil. So soon as his 
back was turned, the League thus showed its impotence 
to retain the advantage which his genius had won. Cor- 
beil, which had cost him a month of hard work, was 
recaptured in two days. Lagny fell almost as quickly. 
Earnestly did the Confederates implore him to return to 
their rescue, but he declined almost contemptuously to 
retrace his steps. His march was conducted in the same 


order and with the same precision which had marked 
his advance. Henry, with his flying camp, hung upon 
his track, harassing him now in front, now in rear, now 
in flank. None of the skirmishes were of much military 
importance. A single cavalry combat, however, in which 
old Marshal Biron was nearly surrounded and was in 
imminent danger of death or capture, until chivalrously 
rescued by the king in person at the head of a squadron 
of lancers, will always possess romantic interest.^ In a 
subsequent encounter, near Baroges on the Vesle, Henry 
had sent Biron forward with a few companies of horse 
to engage some five hundred carbineers of Farnese on 
their march toward the frontier, and had himself fol- 
lowed close upon the track with his usual eagerness 
to witness or participate in every battle. Suddenly 
Alphonse Corse, who rode at Henry's side, pointed out 
to him, not more than a hundred paces off, an officer 
wearing a felt hat, a great ruff, and a little furred cas- 
sock, mounted on a horse without armor or caparisons, 
galloping up and down and brandishing his sword at the 
carbineers to compel them to fall back. This was the 
Duke of Parma, and thus the two great champions of 
the Huguenots and of the Leaguers, the two foremost 
captains of the age, had met face to face.^ At that 
moment La Noue, riding up, informed the king that he 
had seen the whole of the enemy's horse and foot in bat- 
tle array, and Henry, suspecting the retreat of Farnese 
to be a feint for the purpose of luring him on with his 

1 Bentivoglio, p. ii. lib. v. 348, 349. Dondini, ii. 363 seq. Colo- 
ma, iii. 52 seq. Report of the king's actions by Grimstone, No- 
vember 23-28, 1590, S. P. Office MS. 

2 Grimstone's letter, MS. last cited. Compare Coloma, Don- 
dini, Bentivoglio, ubi sup. 


small force to an attack, gave orders to retire as soon as 


At Guise, on the frontier, the duke parted with May- 
enne, leaving with him an auxiliary force of four thou- 
sand foot and five hundred horse, which he could ill 
spare. He then returned to Brussels, which city he 
reached on the 4th December, filling every hotel and 
hospital with his sick soldiers, and having left one third 
of his numbers behind him. He had manifested his own 
military skill in the adroit and successful manner in 
which he had accomplished the relief of Paris, while the 
barrenness of the result from the whole expedition vin- 
dicated the political sagacity with which he had remon- 
strated against his sovereign's infatuation. 

Paris, with the renewed pressure on its two great 
arteries at Lagny and Corbeil, soon fell into as great 
danger as before ; the obedient Netherlands during the 
absence of Farnese had been sinking rapidly to ruin, 
while, on the other hand, great progress and still greater 
preparations in aggressive warfare had been made by 
the youthful general and stadholder of the Republic.^ 

1 Grimstone's letter, MS. last cited, 

2 Coloma, Dondini, Bentivoglio, ubi sup. De Thou, t. xi. liv. 
xevii. 205 seq. Lo sucedido, etc., Arch, de Sim. MS. Parma to 
Philip, October 3 and 21, 1590, ibid. Same to same, November 
19, 1590, ibid. Same to same, November 28, 1590, ibid. Same 
to same, December 31, 1590, ibid. 


Prince Maurice— State of the republican army— Martial science of 
the period— Eeformation of the military system by Prince Maurice 
— His military genius— Campaign in the Netherlands— The fort 
and town of Zutphen taken by the states' forces— Attack upon De- 
venter— Its capitulation— Advance on Groningen, Delfzyl, Opslag, 
Yementil, Steenwyk, and other places— Famese besieges Fort 
Knodsenburg— Prince Maurice hastens to its relief— A skirmish 
ensues, resulting in the discomfiture of the Spanish and Italian 
troops— Surrender of Hulst and Nimwegen— Close of military 
operations of the year. 

While the events revealed in the last chapter had been 
occupying the energies of Farnese and the resources of 
his sovereign, there had been ample room for Prince 
Maurice to mature his projects and to make a satisfac- 
tory beginning in the field. Although Alexander had 
returned to the Netherlands before the end of the year 
1590, and did not set forth on his second French cam- 
paign until late in the following year, yet the condition 
of his health, the exhaustion of his funds, and the 
dwindling of his army made it impossible for him to 
render any effectual opposition to the projects of the 
youthful general. 

For the first time Maurice was ready to put his the- 
ories and studies into practice on an extensive scale. 
Compared with modern armaments, the warlike machi- 



nery to be used for liberating the Republic from its for- 
eign oppressors would seem almost diminutive. But the 
science and skill of a commander are to be judged by 
the results he can work out with the materials within 
reach. His progress is to be measured by a comparison 
with the progress of his contemporaries — coheirs with 
him of what Time had thus far bequeathed. 

The regular army of the Republic, as reconstructed, 
was but ten thousand foot and two thousand horse, 
but it was capable of being largely expanded by the 
train-bands of the cities, well disciplined and inured 
to hardship, and by the levies of German reiters and 
other foreign auxiliaries in such numbers as could 
be paid for by the hard-pressed exchequer of the 

To the state council, according to its original consti- 
tution, belonged the levying and disbanding of troops, 
the conferring of military offices, and the supervision of 
military operations by sea and land. It was its duty 
to see that all officers made oath of allegiance to the 
United Provinces. 

The course of Leicester's administration, and espe- 
cially the fatal treason of Stanley and of Yorke, made it 
seem important for the true lovers of their country to 
wi'est from the state council, where the English had two 
seats, all political and military power. And this, as has 
been seen, was practically but illegally accomplished. 
The silent revolution by which at this epoch all the main 
attributes of government passed into the hands of the 
States-General, acting as a league of sovereignties, has 
already been indicated. The period during which the 
council exercised functions conferred on it by the States- 
General themselves was brief and evanescent. The jeal- 


ousy of the separate provinces soon prevented the state 
council, a supreme executive body intrusted with the 
general defense of the commonwealth, from causing 
troops to pass into or out of one province or another 
without a patent from his Excellency the Prince, not as 
chief of the whole army, but as governor and captain- 
general of Holland, or Gelderland, or Utrecht, as the 
case might be. 

The highest military ofBce in the Netherlands was that 
of captain-general or supreme commander. This quality 
was from earliest times united to that of stadholder, 
who stood, as his title implied, in the place of the reign- 
ing sovereign, whether count, duke, king, or emperor. 
After the foundation of the Republic this dynastic form, 
like many others, remained, and thus Prince Maurice 
was at first only captain-general of Holland and Zealand, 
and subsequently of Gelderland, Utrecht, and Overyssel, 
after he had been appointed stadholder of those three 
provinces in 1590, on the death of Count Nieuwenaar, 
However much in reality he was general-in-chief of the 
army, he never in all his life held the appointment of 
captain-general of the Union. 

To obtain a captain's commission in the army, it was 
necessary to have served four years, while three years' 
service was the necessary preliminary to the post of lieu- 
tenant or ensign. Three candidates were presented by 
the province for each office, from whom the stadholder 
appointed one. The commissions, except those of the 
highest commanders, were made out in the name of the 
States-General, by advice and consent of the council of 
state. The oath of allegiance, exacted from soldiers as 
well as officers, mentioned the name of the particular 
province to which they belonged, as well as that of the 


States-General.^ It thus appears that, especially after 
Maurice's first and successful campaigns, the supreme 
authority over the army really belonged to the States- 
General, and that the powers of the state council in this 
regard fell, in the course of four years, more and more 
into the background, and at last disappeared almost 
entirely. During the active period of the war, however, 
the effect of this revolution was in fact rather a greater 
concentration of military power than its dispersion, for 
the States-General meant simply the province of Hol- 
land. Holland was the Republic. 

The organization of the infantry was very simple. 
The tactical unit was the company. A temporary com- 
bination of several companies made a regiment, com- 

1 For example, the oath for a soldier of Holland was: "I 
promise and swear to the States-General of the United Nether- 
lands, who remain by the Union and by the maintenance of the 
Reformed religion, and also to the knights, nobles, and regents 
[magistrates] of the countship and province of Holland, represent- 
ing the states of said province, and therewith to the states of the 
other provinces in which I may be employed, and also to the re- 
gents of the cities as well within as without the province of Hol- 
land where I may be placed in garrison, to be faithful and true. 
See Journaal van Anthonis Duyck (1591-1602) : uitgegeven op 
Last van het Departement van Oorlog, met Inleiding en 
Aanteekeningen door Lodewijk Mulder, Kapitein der Infanterie 
('s Graven Hage, Martinus Nyhoff, 1862), pp. xlvi, xlvii. All lovers 
of Dutch history must sincerely rejoice that this valuable con- 
temporary manuscript is at last in course of publication, and that 
it is in the hands of so accomplished and able an editor. I am 
under the deepest obligations to Captain Mulder for the informa- 
tion derived, in regard to the military history of this epoch in the 
Netherlands, from his learned and lucid introduction, and in 
drawing largely and almost exclusively from this source in the 
first part of the present chapter, I desire to express my thanks in 
the warmest manner. 


manded by a colonel or lieutenant-colonel, but for such 
regiments there was no regular organization. Some- 
times six or seven companies were thus combined, some- 
times three times that number, but the strength of a 
force, however large, was always estimated by the num- 
ber of companies, not of regiments, ^ 

The normal strength of an infantry company, at the 
beginning of Maurice's career, may be stated at one 
hundred and thirteen, commanded by one captain, one 
lieutenant, one ensign, and by the usual non-commis- 
sioned ofl&cers. Each company was composed of muske- 
teers, harquebusiers, pikemen, halberdiers, and buckler- 
men. Long after portable firearms had come into use, 
the greater portion of foot-soldiers continued to be 
armed with pikes, until the introduction of the fixed 
bayonet enabled the musketeer to do likewise the duty 
of pikeman. Maurice was among the first to appreciate 
the advantage of portable firearms, and he accordingly 
increased the proportion of soldiers armed with the 
musket in his companies. In a company of a hundred 
and thirteen, including officers, he had sixty-four armed 
with firelocks to thirty carrying pikes and halberds. As 
before his time the proportion between the arms had 
been nearly even, he thus more than doubled the num- 
ber of firearms.^ 

Of these weapons there were two sorts, the musket 
and the harquebus. The musket was a long, heavy, un- 
manageable instrument. "When fired it was placed upon 
an iron gaffle, or fork, which the soldier carried with him 
and stuck before him into the ground. The bullets of 
the musket were twelve to the pound.^ 

1 Mulder, Inleiding, 1, li. 

2 Ibid., U, lii. 3 Ibid., liv. 


The harquebus, or haakbus, " hook-gun," so called be- 
cause of the hook in the front part of the barrel to give 
steadiness in firing, was much lighter, was discharged 
from the hand, and carried bullets of twenty-four to 
the pound. Both weapons had matchlocks.^ 

The pike was eighteen feet long at least, and pikemen 
as well as halberdmen carried rapiers.'-^ 

There were three bucklermen to each company, intro- 
duced by Maurice for the personal protection of the 
leader of the company. The prince was often attended 
by one himself, and on at least one memorable occasion 
was indebted to this shield for the preservation of his 

The cavalry was divided into lancers and carbineers. 
The unit was the squadron, varying in number from 
sixty to one hundred and fifty, until the year 1591, when 
the regular complement of the squadron was fixed at one 
hundred and twenty.* 

As the use of cavalry on the battle-field at that day, 
or at least in the Netherlands, was not in rapidity of 
motion nor in severity of shock, the attack usually 
taking place on a trot, Maurice gradually displaced 
the lance in favor of the carbine.^ His troopers thus 
became rather mounted infantry than regular cavalry. 

The carbine was at least three feet long, with wheel- 
locks, and carried bullets of thirty to the pound.^ 

The artillery was a peculiar organization. It was a 
gild of citizens rather than a strictly military force like 
the cavalry and infantry. The arm had but just begun 
to develop itself, and it was cultivated as a special trade 
by the Gild of the Holy Barbara, existing in all the prin- 

1 Mulder, liv-lix. ^ ibid. 5 ibid. 

2 Ibid. * Ibid. 6 Ibid. 


cipal cities. Thus a municipal artillery gradually 
organized itself, under the direction of the gun-masters 
(busmeesters), who in secret labored at the perfection of 
their art, and who taught it to their apprentices and 
journeymen, as the principles of other crafts were con- 
veyed by master to pupil. This system furnished a 
powerful element of defense at a period when every city 
had in great measure to provide for its own safety.^ 

In the earlier campaigns of Maurice three kinds of 
artillery were used — the whole cannon (kartouw) of forty- 
eight pounds, the half-cannon, or twenty-four pounder, 
and the field-piece carrying a ball of twelve pounds. The 
two first were called battering-pieces or siege-guns. All 
the guns were of bronze.^ 

The length of the whole cannon was about twelve feet, 
its weight one hundred and fifty times that of the ball, 
or about seven thousand pounds. It was reckoned that 
the whole kartouw could fire from eighty to one hundred 
shots in an hour. Wet haircloths were used to cool the 
piece after every ten or twelve discharges. The usual 
charge was twenty pounds of powder.^ 

The whole gun was drawn by thirty-one horses, the 
half-cannon by twenty-three.* 

The field-piece required eleven horses ; but a regular 
field-artillery, as an integral part of the army, did not 
exist, and was introduced in much later times. In the 
greatest pitched battle ever fought by Maurice, that of 
Nieuport, he had but six field-pieces.^ 

The prince also employed mortars in his sieges, from 
which were thrown grenades, hot shot, and stones, but 
no greater distance was reached than six hundred yards. 

1 Mulder, lix-lxxiv. 2 Ibid, 3 Ibid. 

* Ibid. 5 Ibid. 


Bombshells were not often used, although they had been 
known for a century.^ 

Before the days of Maurice a special education for 
engineers had never been contemplated. Persons who 
had privately acquired a knowledge of fortification and 
similar branches of the science were employed upon 
occasion, but regular corps of engineers there were 
none. The prince established a course of instruction in 
this profession at the University of Leyden, according 
to a system drawn up by the celebrated Stevinus.^ 

Doubtless the most important innovation of the prince, 
and the one which required the most energy to enforce, 
was the use of the spade. His soldiers were jeered at by 
the enemy as mere boors and day-laborers who were 
dishonoring themselves and their profession by the use 
of that implement instead of the sword. Such a novelty 
was a shock to all the military ideas of the age, and it 
was only the determination and vigor of the prince and 
of his cousin Louis William that ultimately triumphed 
over the universal prejudice.^ 

The pay of the common soldier varied from ten to 
twenty florins the month, but every miner had eighteen 
florins, and when actually working in the mines thirty 
florins, monthly. Soldiers used in digging trenches re- 
ceived, over and above their regular pay, a daily wage 
of from ten to fifteen stivers, or nearly a shilling ster- 

Another most wholesome improvement made by the 
prince was in the payment of his troops. The system 
prevailing in every European country at that day, by 
which governments were defrauded and soldiers starved, 

^ Mulder, lix-lxxiv. 2 Ibid.,lxxiv-rxxix. 

5 Reyd, ix. 180 seq. * Mulder, ubi sup. 


was most infamous. The soldiers were paid through 
the captain, who received the wages of a full company, 
when perhaps not one third of the names on the muster- 
roll were living human beings. Accordingly, two thirds 
of all the money stuck to the officer's fingers, and it was 
not thought a disgrace to cheat the government by dress- 
ing and equipping for the day a set of ragamuffins, 
caught up in the streets for the purpose, and made to 
pass muster as regular soldiers.^ 

These passe- volants, or scarecrows, were passed freely 
about from one company to another, and the indecency 
of the fraud was never thought a disgrace to the colors 
of the company. 

Thus, in the Armada year, the queen had demanded 
that a portion of her auxiliary force in the Netherlands 
should be sent to England. The states agreed that 
three thousand of these English troops, together with a 
few cavalry companies, should go, but stipulated that 
two thousand should remain in the provinces. The 
queen accepted the proposal, but when the two thousand 
had been counted out it appeared that there was scarcely 
a man left for the voyage to England. Yet every one of 
the English captains had claimed full pay for his com- 
pany from her Majesty's exchequer.'^ 

Against this tide of peculation and corruption the 
strenuous Maurice set himself with heart and soul, and 
there is no doubt that to his reformation in this vital 
matter much of his military success was owing. It was 
impossible that roguery and venality should ever furnish 
a solid foundation for the martial science. 

To the student of military history the campaigns and 
sieges of Maurice, and especially the earlier ones, are of 
1 Mulder, xciv, xcv. 2 Ibid., xcix. 


great importance. There is no doubt whatever that the 
youth who now, after deep study and careful preparation, 
was measuring himself against the first captains of the 
age, was founding the great modern school of military 
science. It was in this Netherland academy, and under 
the tuition of its consummate professor, that the com- 
manders of the seventeenth century not only acquired 
the rudiments, but perfected themselves in the higher 
walks of their art. Therefore the siege operations, in 
which all that had been invented by modern genius, or 
rescued from the oblivion which had gathered over 
ancient lore during the more vulgar and commonplace 
practice of the mercenary commanders of the day, was 
brought into successful application, must always engage 
the special attention of the military student. 

To the general reader, more interested in marking the 
progress of civilization and the advance of the people in 
the path of development and true liberty, the spectacle 
of the young stadholder's triumphs has an interest of 
another kind. At the moment when a thorough practi- 
cal soldier was most needed by the struggling little 
commonwealth, to enable it to preserve liberties partially 
secured by its unparalleled sacrifices of blood and trea- 
sure during a quarter of a century, and to expel the for- 
eign invader from the soil which he had so long profaned, 
it was destined that a soldier should appear. 

Spade in hand, with his head full of Roman castra- 
metation and geometrical problems, a prince, scarce 
emerged from boyhood, presents himself on that stage 
where grizzled Mansfelds, drunken Hohenlos, and trucu- 
lent Verdugos have been so long enacting that artless 
military drama which consists of hard knocks and 
wholesale massacres. The novice is received with uni- 


versal hilarity. But although the machinery of war 
varies so steadily from age to age that a commonplace 
commander of to-day, rich in the spoils of preceding 
time, might vanquish the Alexanders and Caesars and 
Fredericks, with their antiquated enginery, yet the moral 
stuff out of which great captains, great armies, great 
victories are created is the simple material it was in the 
days of Sesostris or Cyrus. The moral and physiologi- 
cal elements remain essentially the same as when man 
first began to walk up and down the earth and destroy 
his fellow-creatures. 

To make an army a thorough mowing-machine, it then 
seemed necessary that it should be disciplined into com- 
plete mechanical obedience. To secure this, prompt 
payment of wages and inexorable punishment of delin- 
quencies were indispensable. Long arrearages were now 
converting Famese's veterans into systematic marauders ; 
for unpaid soldiers in every age and country have usually 
degenerated into highwaymen, and it is an impossibility 
for a sovereign, with the strictest intentions, to persist 
in starving his soldiers and in killing them for feeding 
themselves. In Maurice's little army, on the contrary, 
there were no back wages and no thieving. At the siege 
of Delf zyl Maurice hung two of his soldiers for stealing, 
the one a hat and the other a poniard, from the towns- 
folk, after the place had capitulated.^ At the siege of 
Hulst he ordered another to be shot before the whole 
camp for robbing a woman.^ This seems sufficiently 
harsh, but war is not a pastime nor a very humane occu- 
pation. The result was that robbery disappeared, and 
it is better for all that enlisted men should be soldiers 
rather than thieves. To secure the ends which alone can 
1 Eeyd, ix. 171. 2 Van der Kemp,- 112. 


justify war— and if the Netherlanders engaged in de- 
fending national existence and human freedom against 
foreign tyranny were not justifiable, then a just war has 
never been waged — a disciplined army is vastly more 
humane in its operations than a band of brigands. 
Swift and condign punishment by the law martial, for 
even trifling offenses, is the best means of discipline yet 

To bring to utmost perfection the machinery already 
in existence, to encourage invention, to ponder the past 
with a practical application to the present, to court 
fatigue, to scorn pleasure, to concentrate the energies 
on the work in hand, to cultivate quickness of eye and 
calmness of nerve in the midst of danger, to accelerate 
movements, to economize blood even at the expense of 
time, to strive after ubiquity and omniscience in the 
details of person and place, these were the characteris- 
tics of Maurice, and they have been the prominent traits 
of all commanders who have stamped themselves upon 
their age. Although his method of war-making differed 
as far as possible from that of the Bearnese, yet the two 
had one quality in common, personal insensibility to 
fear. But in the case of Henry to confront danger for 
its own sake was in itself a pleasure, while the calmer 
spirit of Maurice did not so much seek the joys of the 
combat as refuse to desist from scientific combinations 
in the interests of his personal safety. Very frequently, 
in the course of his early campaigns, the prince was 
formally and urgently requested by the States-General 
not to expose his life so recklessly, and before he had 
passed his twenty- fifth year he had received wounds 
which, but for fortunate circumstances, would have 
proved mortal, because he was unwilling to leave special 


operations on which much was depending to other eyes 
than his own. The details of his campaigns are, of 
necessity, the less interesting to a general reader from 
their very completeness. Desultory or semi-civilized 
warfare, where the play of the human passions is dis- 
tinctly visible, where individual man, whether in buff 
jerkin or Milan coat of proof, meets his fellow-man in 
close mortal combat, where men starve by thousands or 
are massacred by townfuls, where hamlets or villages 
blaze throughout whole districts or are sunk beneath the 
ocean— scenes of rage, hatred, vengeance, self-sacrifice, 
patriotism, where all the virtues and vices of which 
humanity is capable stride to and fro in their most vio- 
lent colors and most colossal shape, where man in a 
moment rises almost to divinity or sinks beneath the 
beasts of the field— such tragical records of which the 
sanguinary story of mankind is full— and no portion 
of it more so than the Netherland chronicles — appeal 
more vividly to the imagination than the neatest solu- 
tion of mathematical problems. Yet, if it be the legiti- 
mate end of military science to accomplish its largest 
purposes at the least expense of human suffering, if it 
be progress in civilization to acquire by scientific com- 
bination what might be otherwise attempted, and per- 
haps vainly attempted, by infinite carnage, then is the 
professor with his diagrams, standing unmoved amid 
danger, a more truly heroic image than Cceur de Lion 
with his battle-ax or Alva with his truncheon. 

The system, then a new one, which Maurice intro- 
duced to sustain that little commonwealth from sinking 
of which he had become at the age of seventeen the pre- 
destined chief, was the best under the circumstances that 
could have been devised. Patriotism the most passion- 


ate, the most sublime, had created the Republic. To 
maintain its existence against perpetual menace required 
the exertion of perpetual skill. 

Passionless as algebra, the genius of Maurice was 
ready for the task. Strategic points of immense value, 
important cities and fortresses, vital river-courses and 
communications — which foreign tyranny had acquired 
during the tragic past with a patient iniquity almost 
without a parallel, and which patriotism had for years 
vainly struggled to recover— were the earliest trophies 
and prizes of his art. But the details of his victories 
may be briefl)'' indicated, for they have none of the pic- 
turesqueness of crime. The sieges of Naarden, Haarlem, 
Leyden, were tragedies of maddening interest, but the 
recovery of Zutphen, Deventer, Nimwegen, Groningen, 
and many other places, all-important though they were, 
was accomplished with the calmness of a consummate 
player, who throws down on the table the best half-dozen 
invincible cards, which it thus becomes superfluous to 

There were several courses open to the prince before 
taking the field. It was desirable to obtain control of 
the line of the Waal, by which that heart of the Repub- 
lic, Holland, would be made entirely secure. To this 
end, Gertruydenberg,— lately surrendered to the enemy 
by the perfidy of the Englishman Wingfield, to whom it 
had been intrusted, — Bois-le-Duc, and Nimwegen were 
to be wrested from Spain. 

It was also important to hold the Yssel, the course of 
which river led directly through the United Netherlands, 
quite to the Zuyder Zee, cutting off Friesland, Gronin- 
gen, and Gelderland from their sister provinces of 
HoUand and Zealand. And here again the keys to this 


river had been lost by English treason. The fort of 
Zutphen and the city of Deventer had been transferred 
to the Spaniard by Rowland Yorke and Sir William Stan- 
ley,^ in whose honor the Republic had so blindly confided, 
and those cities it was now necessary to reduce by regu- 
lar siege before the communications between the eastern 
and western portions of the little commonwealth could 
ever be established. 

Still farther in the ancient Frisian depths, the mem- 
orable treason of that native Netherlander, the high- 
bom Renneberg, had opened the way for the Spaniard's 
foot into the city of Groningen. Thus this whole im- 
portant province, with its capital, long subject to the 
foreign oppressor, was garrisoned with his troops. 

Verdugo, a veteran officer of Portuguese birth, who 
had risen from the position of hostler ^ to that of colonel 
and royal stadholder, commanded in Friesland. He had 
in vain demanded reinforcements and supplies from 
Famese, who most reluctantly was obliged to refuse 
them in order that he might obey his master's commands 
to neglect everything for the sake of the campaign iu 

And Verdugo, stripped of all adequate forces to pro- 
tect his important province, was equally destitute of 
means for feeding the troops that were left to him. " I 
hope to God that I may do my duty to the king and 
your Highness," he cried, ''but I find myself sold up 
and pledged to such an extent that I am poorer than 
when I was a soldier at four crowns a month. And 
everybody lq the town is as desperate as myself." ^ 

1 Vol. ii. of this work, chap. xiii. 

2 Reyd, ix. 172. 

' Green v. Prinsterer, Archives, etc., U. S4rie, i. 128. 


Maurice, after making a feint of attacking Gertruy- 
denberg and Bois-le-Due, so that Farnese felt compelled, 
with considerable difficulty, to strengthen the garrison 
of those places, came unexpectedly to Arnheim with a 
force of nine thousand foot and sixteen hundred horse. 
He had previously and with great secrecy sent some 
companies of infantry under Sir Francis Vere to Does- 

On the 23d May (1591) five peasants and six peasant 
women made their appearance at dawn of day before 
the chief guard-house of the great fort in the Bad 
Meadow (Veluwe), opposite Zutphen, on the west side 
of the Yssel. It was not an unusual occurrence. These 
boors and their wives had brought baskets of eggs, 
butter, and cheese for the garrison, and they now set 
themselves quietly down on the ground before the gate, 
waiting for the soldiers of the garrison to come out and 
traffic with them for their supplies. Very soon several 
of the guard made their appearance, and began to 
chaffer with the peasants, when suddenly one of the 
women plucked a pistol from under her petticoats and 
shot dead the soldier who was cheapening her eggs. 
The rest of the party, transformed in an instant from 
boors to soldiers, then sprang upon the rest of the 
guard, overpowered and bound them, and took posses- 
sion of the gate. A considerable force, which had been 
placed in ambush by Prince Maurice near the spot, now 
rushed forward, and in a few minutes the great fort of 
Zutphen was mastered by the states' forces without 
loss of a man. It was a neat and perfectly successful 

Next day Maurice began the regular investment of 

1 Meteren, xvi. 298. Bor, iii. xxviii. 5G0, 562. 


the city. On the 26th Count Louis William arrived 
with some Frisian companies. On the 27th Maurice 
threw a bridge of boats from the Bad Meadow side 
across the river to the Weert, before the city. On the 
28th he had got batteries, mounting thirty-two guns, 
into position, commanding the place at three points. 
On the 30th the town capitulated. Thus within exactly 
one week from the firing of the pistol-shot by the sup- 
posed butterwoman, this fort and town, which had so 
long resisted the efforts of the states and were such 
important possessions of the Spaniards, fell into the 
hands of Maurice. The terms of surrender were easy. 
The city being more important than its garrison, the 
soldiers were permitted to depart with bag and baggage. 
The citizens were allowed three days to decide whether 
to stay under loyal obedience to the States-General or to 
take their departure. Those who chose to remain were to 
enjoy aU the privileges of citizensof the United Provinces.^ 

But very few substantial citizens were left, for such 
had been the tyranny, the misery, and the misrule dur- 
ing the long occupation by a foreign soldiery of what 
was once a thriving Dutch town that scarcely anybody 
but paupers and vagabonds was left. One thousand 
houses were ruined and desolate. It is superfluous to 
add that the day of its restoration to the authority of 
the Union was the beginning of its renewed prosperity. 

Maurice, having placed a national garrison in the 
place, marched the same evening straight upon Deventer, 
seven miles farther down the river, without pausing to 
sleep upon his victory. His artillery and munitions 
were sent rapidly down the Yssel. 

Within five days he had thoroughly invested the city 

1 Bor, Meteren, ubi sup. Duyck, 6-14. 


and brought twenty-eight guns to bear upon the weak- 
est part of its defenses. 

It was a large, populous, well-built town, once a 
wealthy member of the Hanseatic League, full of fine 
buildings, both public and private, the capital of the 
rich and fertUe province of Overyssel, and protected by 
a strong wall and moat — as well fortified a place as 
could be found in the Netherlands.^ The garrison con- 
sisted of fourteen hundred Spaniards and Walloons, 
under the command of Count Hermann van den Berg, 
first cousin of Prince Maurice. 

No sooner had the states' army come before the city 
than a Spanish captain observed : " We shall now have 
a droll siege— cousins on the outside, cousins on the 
inside. There will be a sham fight or two, and then the 
cousins will make it up and arrange matters to suit 
themselves." ^ 

Such hints had deeply wounded Van den Berg, who 
was a fervent Catholic, and as loyal a servant to Philip 
II. as he coidd have been had that monarch deserved, 
by the laws of nature and by his personal services and 
virtues, to govern all the swamps of Friesland. He 
slept on the gibe, having ordered aU the colonels and 
captains of the garrison to attend at solemn mass in the 
great church the next morning. He there declared to 
them all publicly that he felt outraged at the suspicions 
concerning his fidelity, and after mass he took the sacra- 
ment, solemnly swearing never to give up the city or 
even to speak of it until he had made such resistance 
that he must be carried from the breach. So long as he 
could stand or sit he would defend the city intrusted to 
his care.3 

1 Guicciardini, in voce. ^ Reyd, ix. 169. ^ ibid. 

VOL. IV.— 6 


The whole council, who had come from Ziitphen to 
Maurice's camp, were allowed to deliberate concerning 
the siege. The enemy had been seen hovering about 
the neighborhood in considerable numbers, but had not 
ventured an attempt to throw reinforcements into the 
place. Many of the councilors argued against the siege. 
It was urged that the resistance would be determined 
and protracted, and that the Duke of Parma was sure to 
take the field in person to relieve so important a city 
before its reduction could be effected. 

But Maurice had thrown a bridge across the Yssel 
above and another below the town, had carefully and 
rapidly taken measures in the success of which he felt 
confident, and now declared that it would be cowardly 
and shameful to abandon an enterprise so well begun. 

The city had been formally summoned to surrender, 
and a calm but most decided refusal had been returned. 

On the 9th June the batteries began playing, and after 
four thousand six hundred shots a good breach had been 
effected in the defenses along the Kaye— an earthen 
work lying between two strong walls of masonry. 

The breach being deemed practicable, a storm was 
ordered. To reach the Kaye it was necessary to cross a 
piece of water called the Haven, over which a pontoon- 
bridge was hastily thrown. There was now a dispute 
among the English, Scotch, and Netherlanders for pre- 
cedence in the assault. It was ultimately given to the 
English, in order that the bravery of that nation might 
now on the same spot wipe out the disgi'ace inflicted 
upon its name by the treason of Sir William Stanley. 
The English did their duty well and rushed forward 
merrily, but the bridge proved too short. Some sprang 
over and pushed boldly for the breach. Some fell into 


the moat and were drowned. Others, sustained by the 
Netherlanders under Solnas, Meetkerken, and Brederode, 
effected their passage by swimming, leaping, or wading, 
so that a resolute attack was made. Hermann van den 
Berg met them in the breach at the head of seven com- 
panies. The defenders were most ferocious in their 
resistance. They were also very drunk. The count had 
placed many casks of Rhenish and of strong beer within 
reach, and ordered his soldiers to drink their fill as they 
fought.^ He was himself as vigorous in his potations 
as he was chivalrous with sword and buckler. Two 
pages and two lieutenants fell at his side, but still he 
fought at the head of his men with a desperation worthy 
of his vow, until he fell wounded in the eye and was 
carried from the place. Notwithstanding this disaster 
to the commander of the town, the assailants were re- 
pulsed, losing two hundred and twenty-five in killed and 
wounded— Colonel Meetkerken and his brother, two 
most valuable Dutch officers, among them,^ 

During the whole of the assault a vigorous cannonade 
had been kept up upon other parts of the town, and 
houses and church towers were toppling down in all 
directions. Meanwhile the inhabitants, — for it was Sun- 

1 Eeyd, ix. 169. 

2 Ibid. Bor, iii. xxviii. 563, 564. Meteren, xvi. 298. Duyck, 
20, 21. Colonel Nicholas Meetkerken died of his wounds in this 
assault. He was less than thirty years of age, but already a 
veteran soldier, and had distinguished himself in the English- 
Dutch expedition, under Essex, against Portugal in 1587. His 
elder brother Anthony had been killed before Zutphen fort in 1586. 
His two younger brothers, Baldwin and Adolph, were both in the 
army. Adolph was shot through the body in this same storming- 
party in which Nicholas was killed, but seems to have recovered. 
They were the sons of Adolph Meetkerken, formerly president of 


day,— instead of going to service, were driven toward 
the breach by the sergeant-major, a truculent Spaniard, 
next in command to Van den Berg, who ran about the 
place with a great stick, summoning the Dutch burghers 
to assist the Spanish garrison on the wall.^ It was 
thought afterward that this warrior would have been 
better occupied among the soldiers, at the side of his 

A chivalrous incident in the open field occurred dur- 
ing the assault. A gigantic Albanian cavalry officer 
came prancing out of Deventer into the spaces between 
the trenches, defying any officer in the states' army to 
break a lance with him. Prince Maurice forbade any 
acceptance of the challenge, but Louis van der Cathulle, 
son of the famous Ryhove of Ghent, unable to endure 
the taunts and bravado of this champion, at last obtained 
permission to encounter him in single combat. They 
met accordingly with much ceremony, tilted against each 
other, and shivered their lances in good style, but with- 
out much effect. The Albanian then drew a pistol. 
CathuUe had no weapon save a cutlass, but with this 
weapon he succeeded in nearly cutting off the hand 
which held the pistol. He then took his enemy prisoner, 
the vainglorious challenger throwing his gold chain 
around his conqueror's neck in token of his victory. 
Prince Maurice caused his wound to be bound up and 

Flanders, who, on account of his participation in Leicester's at- 
tempt upon Leyden (see vol. iii. of this work, chap, xvii.), was a 
refugee in England. See Mulder's note to Duyck, p. 20. 

How much does the brief martial record of these four brothers 
in this war of Dutch burghers for national existence remind us of 
the simple but heroic annals of many a family of our own coun- 
trymen in the great war now waging for the same object ! (1863.) 

1 Reyd, ubi sup. 


then liberated him, sending him into the city with a 
message to the governor.^ 

During the following night the bridge, over which the 
assailants had nearly forced their way into the town, 
was vigorously attacked by the garrison; but Count 
Louis William, in person, with a chosen band, defended 
it stoutly till morning, beating back the Spaniards with 
heavy loss in a sanguinary midnight contest.^ 

Next morning there was a unanimous outcry on the 
part of the besieged for a capitulation. It was obvious 
that, with the walls shot to ruins as they had been, the 
place was no longer tenable against Maurice's superior 
forces. A trumpet was sent to the prince before the 
dawn of day, and on the 10th of June, accordingly, the 
place capitulated.^ 

It was arranged that the garrison should retire with 
arms and baggage whithersoever they chose. Van den 
Berg stipulated nothing in favor of the citizens, whether 
through f orgetf ulness or spite does not distinctly appear. 
But the burghers were received like brothers. No plun- 
der was permitted, no ransom demanded, and the city 
took its place among its sisterhood of the United Prov- 
inces.^ Van den Berg himself was received at the 
prince's headquarters with much cordiality. He was 
quite blind; but his wound seemed to be the effect of 
exterior contusions, and he ultimately recovered the 
sight of one eye. There was much free conversation 
between himself and his cousins during the brief inter- 
val in which he was their guest. 

1 Meteren, ubi sup. 2 gor, ubi sup. 

3 Ibid. Meteren, Reyd, ubi sup. Duyck, 20-25. Parma to 
Philip, June 10, 1591, Arch, de Sim. MS. 
i Ibid. 


" I 've often told Verdugo," said he, " that the states 
had no power to make a regular siege, nor to come with 
proper artillery into the field, and he agreed with me. 
But we were both wrong, for I now see the contrary." 

To which Count Louis William replied, with a laugh : 
" My dear cousin, I Ve observed that in all your actions 
you were in the habit of despising us Beggars, and I 
have said that you would one day draw the shortest 
straw in consequence. I 'm glad to hear this avowal 
from your own lips." 

Hermann attempted no reply, but let the subject 
drop, seeming to regret having said so much.^ 

Soon afterward he was forwarded by Maurice in his 
own coach to Ulff, where he was attended by the prince's 
body-physician till he was reestablished in health.^ 

Thus within ten days of his first appearance before 
its walls the city of Deventer, and with it a whole 
province, had fallen into the hands of Maurice. It 
began to be understood that the young pedant knew 
something about his profession, and that he had not been 
fagging so hard at the science of war for nothing.^ 

The city was in a sorry plight when the states took 
possession of it. As at Zutphen, the substantial bur- 
ghers had wandered away, and the foreign soldiers biv- 
ouacking there so long had turned the stately old Han- 
seatic city into a brick-and-mortar wilderness. Hundreds 

1 Eeyd, ubi sup. 2 Bor, ubi sup. 

3 Turenne (Due de Bouillon) was excessively enthusiastic. 
" Je ne vous s^auroy dire la joie," he wrote to Count John the 
Elder, "que j'ay de I'honneur que Monsieur le Comte Maurice votre 
nepveu a acquis en la prise de Zutphen et Deventer. H a effac6 
en huict jours la reputation que le Due de Panne a acquis en dix 
ans, et faict bien paraistre que la vertu et g6n6rosit6 de sa Maison 
est immortelle."— Groen v. Prinsterer, Archives, II. S. i. 169. 


of houses had been demolished by the garrison, that the 
iron might be sold and the woodwork burned for fuel ; 
for the enemy had conducted himself as if feeling in his 
heart that the occupation could not be a permanent one, 
and as if desirous to make the place as desolate as pos- 
sible for the Beggars when they should return .^ 

The dead body of the traitor Yorke, who had died and 
been buried in Deventer, was taken from the tomb, after 
the capture of the city, and, with the vulgar ferocity so 
characteristic of the times, was hung, coffin and all, on 
the gibbet for the delectation of the states' soldiery.^ 

Maurice, having thus in less than three weeks recov- 
ered two most important cities, paused not an instant in 
his career, but moved at once on Groningen. There was 
a strong pressure put upon him to attempt the capture 
of Nimwegen, but the understanding with the Frisian 
stadholder and his troops had been that the enterprise 
upon Groningen should follow the reduction of Deventer. 

On the 26th June Maurice appeared before Gronin- 
gen. Next day, as a precautionary step, he moved to 
the right and attacked the strong city of Delfzyl. This 
place capitulated to him on the 2d July. The fort of 
Opslag surrendered on the 7th July. He then moved to 
the west of Groningen, and attacked the forts of Yemen- 
til and Lettebaest, which fell into his hands on the 11th 
July. He then moved along the Nyenoort through the 
Seven Wolds and Drenthe to Steenwyk, before which 
strongly fortified city he arrived on the 15th July.^ 

Meantime he received intercepted letters from Ver- 
dugo to the Duke of Parma, dated 19th June from 

1 Eeyd, ubi sup. 2 Bor, Eeyd, Moteren, ubi sup. 

3 Bor, iii. xxviii. 566-569. Meteren, xvi. 298, 299. Eeyd, ix. 
169-172. Duyck, 25-34. 


Groningen. In these the Spanish stadholder informed 
Farnese that the enemy was hovering about his neigh- 
borhood, and that it would be necessary for the duke to 
take the field in person in considerable force, or that 
Groningen would be lost, and with it the Spanish forces 
in the province. He inclosed a memorial of the course 
proper to be adopted by the duke for his relief. ^ 

Notwithstanding the strictness by which Philip had 
tied his great general's hands, Farnese felt the urgency 
of the situation.^ By the end of June, accordingly, 
although full of his measures for marching to the rehef 
of the Leaguers in Normandy, he moved into Gelderland, 
coming by way of Xanten, Rees, and neighboring places. 
Here he paused for a moment perplexed, doubting 
whether to take the aggressive in Gelderland or to march 
straight to the relief of Groningen, He decided that it 
was better for the moment to protect the line of the 
Waal. Shipping his army accordingly into the Batavian 
Island or Good Meadow (Betuwe), which lies between 
the two great horns of the Rhine, he laid siege to Fort 
Knodsenburg, which Maurice had built the year before, 
on the right bank of the Waal, for the purpose of attack- 
ing Nimwegen. Farnese, knowing that the general of 
the states was occupied with his whole army far away to 
the north, and separated from him by two great rivers, 
wide and deep, and by the whole breadth of that dan- 
gerous district called the Foul Meadow (Veluwe), and 
by the vast quagmire known as the Rouvenian morass, 
which no artillery nor even any organized forces had 
ever traversed^ since the beginning of the world, had 

1 Bor, ubi sup. 568. 

2 Bor, ubi sup. 570 seq. Meteren, ubi sup. 

3 Van der Kemp, i. 111. 


felt no hesitation in throwing his army in boats across 
the Waal. He had no doubt of reducing a not very- 
powerful fortress long before relief could be brought to 
it, and at the same time of disturbing by his presence in 
Batavia the combinations of his young antagonist in 
Friesland and Groningen.^ 

So with six thousand foot and one thousand horse ^ 
Alexander came before Knodsenburg. The news reached 
Maurice at Steenwyk on the 15th July. Instantly 
changing his plans, the prince decided that Farnese 
must be faced at once, and, if possible, driven from the 
ground, thinking it more important to maintain, by 
concentration, that which had already been gained, than 
to weaken and diffuse his forces in insufficient attempts 
to acquire more. Before two days had passed he was 
on the march southward, having left Louis William with 
a sufficient force to threaten Groningen. Coming by 
way of Hasselt Zwolle to Deventer, he crossed the Yssel 
on a bridge of boats on the 18th of July, and proceeded 
to Arnheim.^ His army, although excessively fatigued 
by forced marches in very hot weather over nearly im- 
passable roads, was full of courage and cheerfulness, 
having learned implicit confidence in its commander. 
On the 20th he was at Arnheim. On the 22d his bridge 
of boats was made, and he had thrown his little army 
across the Rhine into Batavia, and intrenched himself 
with his six thousand foot and fourteen hundred horse 
in the immediate neighborhood of Farnese. Foul 
Meadow and Good Meadow, dike, bog, wold, and quag- 

1 Bor, Meteren, ubi sup. Parma to Philip, July 24, 1591, Arch. 
de Sim. MS. 

2 Parma's letter last cited. 

3 Bor, Meteren, ubi sup. 


mire, had been successfully traversed, and within one 
week of his learning that the great viceroy of Philip had 
reached the Batavian Island Maurice stood confronting 
that famous chieftain in battle array. 

On the 22d July, Farnese, after firing two hundred 
and eighty-five shots at Fort Knodsenburg, ordered an 
assault, expecting that so trifling a work could hardly 
withstand a determined onslaught by his veterans. 
To his surprise, they were so warmly received that two 
hundred of the assailants fell at the first onset, and the 
attack was most conclusively repulsed.^ 

And now Maurice had appeared upon the scene, de- 
termined to relieve a place so important for his ulterior 
designs. On the 24th July he sent out a small but 
picked force of cavalry to reconnoiter the enemy. They 
were attacked by a considerable body of Italian and 
Spanish horse from the camp before Knodsenburg, in- 
cluding Alexander's own company of lancers under 
Nicelli. The states' troops fled before them in apparent 
dismay for a little distance, hotly pursued by the Royal- 
ists, until, making a sudden halt, they turned to the 
attack, accompanied by five fresh companies of cavalry 
and a thousand musketeers, who feU upon the foe from 
all directions. It was an ambush, which had been neatly 
prepared by Maurice in person, assisted by Sir Francis 
Vere. Sixty of the Spaniards and Italians were killed, 
and one hundred and fifty prisoners, including Captain 
Nicelli, taken, while the rest of the party sought safety 
in ignominious flight.^ This little skirmish, in which ten 
companies of the picked veterans of Alexander Farnese 
had thus been utterly routed before his eyes, did much 

1 Bor, Meteren, ubi sup. 

2 Ibid. Groen v. Prinsterer, Archives, H. S. i. 172. 


to inspire the states' troops with confidence in them- 
selves and their leader.^ 

Parma was too experienced a campaigner, and had 
too quick an eye, not to recognize the error which he 
had committed in placing the dangerous river Waal, 
without a bridge, between himself and his supplies. He 
had not dreamed that his antagonist would be capable 
of such celerity of movement as he had thus displayed, 
and his first business now was to extricate himself from 
a position which might soon become fatal. Without 
hesitation, he did his best to amuse the enemy in front 
of the fort, and then passed the night in planting bat- 
teries upon the banks of the river, under cover of which 
he succeeded next day in transporting in ferry-boats his 
whole force, artillery, and baggage to the opposite 
shore, without loss, and with his usual skill.^ 

He remained but a short time in Nimwegen, but he was 
hampered by the express commands of the king. More- 
over, his broken health imperatively required that he 
should once more seek the healing infiuence of the 
waters of Spa before setting forth on his new French 
expedition. Meanwhile, although he had for a time pro- 
tected the Spanish possessions in the north by his de- 
monstration in Gelderland, it must be confessed that the 
diversion thus given to the plans of Maurice was but a 
feeble one. 

Having assured the inhabitants of Nimwegen that he 

1 Duyek, 38, 39. Bor, Meteren, ubi sup. 

2 Duyck, 41. "We may thank God Almighty," says, under 
date of July 27, the faithful journalist of these transactions, " that 
he has so guided our affairs that the Duke of Parma, whom hardly 
any cities or provinces could hitherto resist, and who therefore 
has usurped the title of the great Alexander, now with great 


would watch over the city like the apple of his eye/ he 
took his departure on the 4th of August for Spa. He 
was accompanied on his journey by his son, Prince Ranuc- 
cio, just arrived from Italy. 

After the retreat of Farnese, Maurice mustered his 
forces at Arnheim, and found himself at the head of seven 
thousand foot and fifteen hundred horse. It was ex- 
pected by all the world that, being thus on the very spot, 
he would forthwith proceed to reduce the ancient, 
wealthy, imperial city of Nimwegen. The garrison and 
burghers accordingly made every preparation to resist 
the attack, disconcerted as they were, however, by the 
departure of Parma and by the apparent incapacity of 
Verdugo to bring them effectual relief. 

But, to the surprise of aU men, the states' forces sud- 
denly disappeared from the scene, ha\dng been, as it 
were, spirited away by night-time, along those silent 
watery highways and crossways of canal, river, and 
estuary, the military advantages of which to the Neth- 
erlands Maurice was the first thoroughly to demon- 
strate. Having previously made great preparations of 
munitions and provisions in Zealand, the young gen- 
eral, who was thought hard at work in Gelderland, sud- 
denly presented himself, on the 19th September, before 
the gates of Hulst, on the border of Zealand and Bra- 
bant. It was a place of importance from its situation, 
its possession by the enemy being a perpetual thorn in 
the side of the states, and a constant obstacle to the plans 
of Maurice. His arrangements having been made with 

shame and loss has been obliged to retreat from before the single 
fort of Knodsenburg." Compare Bor, Meteren, ubi sup. Van 
der Kemp, i. 111. Coloma, iv. 74to. 
1 Meteren, xvi. 299, 300. 


the customary neatness, celerity, and completeness, he 
received the surrender of the city on the fifth day after 
his arrival.^ 

Its commander, Castillo, could offer no resistance, and 
was subsequently, it is said, beheaded by order of the 
Duke of Parma for his negligence. ^ The place is but a 
dozen miles from Antwerp, which city was at the very 
moment keeping great holiday and outdoing itself in 
magnificent festivals in honor of young Ranuccio.^ 
The capture of Hulst before his eyes was a demonstra- 
tion quite unexpected by the prince, and great was the 
wrath of old Mondragon, governor of Antwerp, thus 
bearded in his den. The veteran made immediate prepa- 
rations for chastising the audacious Beggars of Zealand 
and their pedantic young commander, but no sooner had 
the Spaniards taken the field than the wily foe had dis- 
appeared as magically as he had come. 

The Flemish earth seemed to have bubbles as the 
water hath, and while Mondragon was beating the air in 
vain on the margin of the Schelde, Maurice was back 
again upon the Waal, horse, foot, and artillery, bag, bag- 
gage, and munition, and had fairly set himself down in 
earnest to besiege Nimwegen, before the honest burghers 
and the garrison had finished drawing long breaths at 
their recent escape. Between the 14th and 16th October 
he had bridged the deep, wide, and rapid river, had 
transported eight thousand five hundred infantry and 
sixteen companies of cavalry to the southern side, had 
intrenched his camp and made his approaches, and had 
got sixty-eight pieces of artillery into three positions 
commanding the weakest part of the defenses of the city 

1 Meteren, ubi sup. Bor, ubi sup. 574. Duyck, 48-58. 

2 Ibid. 3 Ibid. 


between the Falcon Tower and the Hoender Gate.^ The 
fort of Knodsenburg was also ready to throw hot shot 
across the river into the town. Not a detail in all these 
preparations escaped the vigilant eye of the commander- 
in-chief, and again and again was he implored not so 
recklessly to expose a life already become precious to his 
country. On the 20th October Maurice sent to demand 
the surrender of the city. The reply was facetious but 

The prince was but a young suitor, it was said, and 
the city a spinster not so lightly to be won. A longer 
courtship and more trouble would be necessary .^ 

Whereupon the suitor opened all his batteries without 
further delay, and the spinster gave a fresh example of 
the inevitable fate of talking castles and listening ladies. 

Nimwegen, despite her saucy answer on the 20th, 
sun'endered on the 21st. Relief was impossible. Neither 
Parma, now on his way to France, nor Verdugo, shut 
up in Friesland, could come to the rescue of the place, 
and the combinations of Maurice were an inexorable 

The terms of the surrender were similar to those 
accorded to Zutphen and Deventer. In regard to the 
religious point it was expressly laid down by Maurice 
that the demand for permission to exercise publicly the 
Roman Catholic religion should be left to the decision 
of the States-General.3 

And thus another most important city had been added 
to the domains of the Republic. Another triumph was 
inscribed on the record of the young commander. The 

1 Meteren, xvi. 300. Bor, xxviii. 575. Duyek, 59-67. 

2 Meteren, ubi sup. 

3 Meteren, Bor, Duyek, ubi sup. Van der Kemp, i. 113. 


exultation was very great throughout the United Neth- 
erlands, and heartfelt was the homage rendered by all 
classes of his countrymen to the son of William the Silent. 

Queen Elizabeth wrote to congratulate him in warm- 
est terms on his great successes, and even the Span- 
iards began to recognize the merits of the new chieftain. 
An intercepted letter from Verdugo, who had been foiled 
in his efforts to arrest the career of Maurice, indicated 
great respect for his prowess. '' I have been informed," 
said the veteran, '' that Count Maurice of Nassau wishes 
to fight me. Had I the opportunit}'^ I assure you that I 
should not fail him, for even if ill luck were my portion, 
I should at least not escape the honor of being beaten 
by such a personage. I beg you to tell him so with my 
affectionate compliments. Yours, Francis Verdugo." ^ 

These chivalrous sentiments toward Prince Maurice 
had not, however, prevented Verdugo from doing his best 
to assassinate Count Louis William, Two Spaniards 
had been arrested in the states' camp this summer, who 
came in as deserters, but who confessed, " with little or 
mostly without torture," that they had been sent by 
their governor and colonel with instructions to seize a 
favorable opportunity to shoot Louis William and set 
fire to his camp. But such practices were so common 
on the part of the Spanish commanders as to occasion 
no surprise whatever.^ 

It will be remembered that, two years before, the 
famous Martin Schenck had come to a tragic end at 
Nimwegen.^ He had been drowned, fished up, hanged, 
drawn, and quartered, after which his scattered frag- 

1 Bor, ubi sup. 578. 

2 Groen v. Prinsterer, Archives, II. S. i. 148. 

3 Vol. iii. of this work, chap. xx. 


ments, having been exposed on all the principal towers 
of the city, had been put in pickle and deposited in a 
chest. They were now collected and buried trium- 
phantly in the tomb of the dukes of Gelderland. Thus 
the shade of the grim freebooter was at last appeased.^ 
The government of the city was conferred upon Count 
Louis William, with Gerard de Jonge as his lieutenant. 
A substantial garrison was placed in the city, and, the 
season being now far advanced, Maurice brought the 
military operations of the year, saving a slight prelimi- 
nary demonstration against Gertruydenberg, to a close.^ 
He had deserved and attained considerable renown. He 
had astonished the leisurely war-makers and phlegmatic 
veterans of the time, both among friends and foes, by 
the unexampled rapidity of his movements and the con- 
centration of his attacks. He had carried great wagon- 
trains and whole parks of siege-artillery— the heaviest 
then known— over roads and swamps which had been 
deemed impassable even for infantry. He had trav- 
ersed the length and breadth of the Republic in a single 
campaign, taken two great cities in Overyssel, picked up 
cities and fortresses in the province of Groningen and 
threatened its capital, menaced Steenwyk, relieved Knod- 
senburg, though besieged in person by the greatest com- 
mander of the age, beaten the most famous cavalry of 
Spain and Italy under the eyes of their chieftain, 
swooped, as it were, through the air upon Brabant, and 
carried off an important city almost in the sight of Ant- 
werp, and sped back again in the freezing weather of 
early autumn, with his splendidly served and invincible 
artillery, to the imperial city of Nimwegen, which Far- 
nese had sworn to guard like the apple of his eye, and 
1 Bor, ubi sup. 2 Bor, Meteren, Duyck, ubi sup. 


which, with consummate skill, was forced out of his 
grasp in five days. 

" Some might attribute these things to blind fortune," 
says an honest chronicler who had occupied important 
posts in the service of the prince and of his cousin Louis 
William, "but they who knew the prince's constant 
study and laborious attention to detail, who were aware 
that he never committed to another what he could do 
himself, who saw his sobriety, vigilance, his perpetual 
study and holding of counsel with Count Louis William 
(himself possessed of all these good gifts, perhaps even 
in greater degree), and who never found him seeking, 
like so many other commanders, his own ease and com- 
fort, would think differently." ^ 

1 Reyd, ix. 175. 

It is indeed impossible to regard the simple, earnest, genial, 
valorous, and studious character of Louis William without affec- 
tion. His private letters are charming. In the intervals of his 
busy campaignings he found time not only for his own studies, 
but also for superintending the education of his two younger 
brothers. It had at first been proposed that they should go to an 
English university, but old Count John objected to the expense, 
and to the luxurious habits which they would encounter there. 
He liked not the " mores " of the young English nobles, he said, 
while he denounced in vehement language the drunkenness and 
profligacy of the Germans. It was now decided that Count Louis 
William should take charge of them himself. " As there is no good 
opportunity for them at Dillenburg," he wrote to his father, "and 
as the expense of Leyden seems too great, it is better that they 
should remain with me. Although living is very dear here, and 
my housekeeping is very hard upon me, yet are my young 
brothers, and their good education, on which tlieir weal and woe 
depend, so dear to me that I will take charge of them with all my 
heart. In this case your Grace will please send them a learned 
preceptor, and pay for his salary and for my brothers' clothing. 
For the rest I will provide ; and I will myself be their tutor in 

VOL. IV.— 7 


reading and studying, in which I exercise myself as much as I 
have opportunity to do, and I will taKe them with me to the field 
whenever there is anything to see there, and anything going on 
against the enemy."— Groen v. Prinsterer, Archives, H. S. i. 149, 
227, 131, 144. 

This was the stuff out of which the Nassaus were made. 
William the Silent and his three brethren had already laid down 
their lives for the commonwealth which he had foimded, and now 
there were his son and nine more of the race in arms for its 
defense, or devoting all their energies and their means to emulate 
the example set them by their predecessors. Nor can I refrain in 
this connection from citing the noble language in which the 
patriarch of the Nassaus, Count John the Elder, urged upon his 
sons and nephews the necessity of establishing a system of 
common schools in the United Provinces — an institution which, 
when adopted in that commonwealth, became a source of in- 
calculable good, and which, transplanted in the next generation 
by English Pilgrims from Leyden to Massachusetts, and vastly 
developed in the virgin soil of America, has long been the chief 
safeguard and the peculiar glory of our own republic. "You 
must urge upon the States-General," said the only surviving 
brother of William the Silent, "that they, according to the ex- 
ample of the pope and the Jesuits, should establish free schools 
where children of quality as well as of poor families, for a very 
small sum, could be well and Christianly educated and brought up. 
This would be the greatest and most useful work and the highest 
service that you could ever accomplish for God and Christianity, 
and especially for the Netherlands themselves. ... In summa, 
one may jeer at this as popish trickery, and undervalue it as one 
will, there still remains in the work an inexpressible benefit. 
Soldiers and patriots thus educated, with a true knowledge of God 
and a Christian conscience; item, churches and schools, good 
libraries, books and printing-presses, are better than all armies, 
arsenals, armories, munitions, alliances, and treaties that can be had 
or imagined in the world. . . . Pray urge upon his Grace [Prince 
Maurice], in cousinly and friendly manner, that he should not 
shrink from nor find shame or difficulty in these things, nor cease, 
under invocation of divine aid, from reflecting on them and 
furthering them with earnest diligence." — Groen v. Prinsterer, 
Archives, II. S. i. Letter 95, p. 210 seq. 


War in Brittany and Normandy— Death of La None— Religious 
and political persecution in Paris — Murder of President Brisson, 
Larcher, and Tardif— The scepter of France offered to Philip— 
The Duke of Mayenne punishes the murderers of the magistrates 
— Speech of Henry's envoy to the States-General— Letter of 
Queen Elizabeth to Henry— Siege of Rouen— Farnese leads an 
army to its relief — The king is wounded in a skirmish — Siege of 
Rue by Farnese— Henry raises the siege of Rouen— Siege of 
Caudebec— Critical position of Farnese and his army- Victory of 
the Duke of Mercoour iu Brittany. 

Again the central point toward which the complicated 
events to be described in this history gravitate is found 
on the soil of France. Movements apparently desultory 
and disconnected — as they may have seemed to the con- 
temporaneous observer, necessarily occupied with the 
local and daily details which make up individual human 
life — are found to be necessary parts of a whole, when 
regarded with that breadth and clearness of vision which 
is permitted to human beings only when they can look 
backward upon that long sequence of events which 
make up the life of nations and which we call the Past. 
It is only by the anatomical study of what has ceased to 
exist that we can come thoroughly to comprehend the 
framework and the vital conditions of that which lived. 
It is only by patiently lifting the shroud from the Past 
that we can enable ourselves to make even wide guesses 



at the meaning of the dim Present and the veiled Future. 
It is only thus that the continuity of human history 
reveals itself to us as the most important of scientific 

If ever commonwealth was apparently doomed to lose 
that national existence which it had maintained for a 
brief period at the expense of infinite sacrifice of blood 
and treasure, it was the Republic of the United Nether- 
lands in the period immediately succeeding the death of 
William the Silent. Domestic treason, secession of im- 
portant provinces, religious hatred, foreign intrigue, and 
foreign invasion — in such a sea of troubles was the Re- 
public destined generations long to struggle. Who but 
the fanatical, the shallow-minded, or the corrupt could 
doubt the inevitable issue of the conflict ? Did not great 
sages and statesmen, whose teachings seemed so much 
wiser in their generation than the untaught impulses of 
the great popular heart, condemn over and over again 
the hopeless struggles and the atrocious bloodshed which 
were thought to disgrace the age, and by which it was 
held impossible that the cause of human liberty should 
ever be advanced? 

To us who look back from the vantage summit which 
humanity has reached, thanks to the toil and sacrifices 
of those who have preceded us, it may seem doubtful 
whether a premature peace in the Netherlands, France, 
and England would have been an unmitigated blessing, 
however easily it might have been purchased by the 
establishment all over Europe of that holy institution 
called the Inquisition, and by the tranquil acceptance of 
the foreign domination of Spain. 

If, too, ever country seemed destined to the painful 
process of national vivisection and final dismember- 


ment, it was France. Its natural guardians and mas- 
ters, save one, were in secret negotiation with foreign 
powers to obtain with their assistance a portion of the 
national territory under acknowledgment of foreign 
supremacy. There was hardly an inch of French soil 
that had not two possessors. In Burgundy Baron Biron 
was battling against the Viscount Tavannes; in the 
Lyonnais and Dauphiny Marshal des Digiueres was fight- 
ing with the Dukes of Savoy and Nemours ; in Provence 
Epergnon was resisting Savoy ; in Languedoc Constable 
Montmorency contended with the Duke of Joyeuse ; in 
Brittany the Prince of Dombes was struggling with the 
Duke of Mercceur. 

But there was one adventurer who thought he could 
show a better legal title to the throne of France than all 
the doctors of the Sorbonne could furnish to Philip II. 
and his daughter, and who still trusted, through all the 
disasters which pursued him, and despite the machina- 
tions of venal warriors and mendicant princes, to his 
good right and his good sword, and to something more 
potent than both, the cause of national unity. His re- 
buke to the intriguing priests at the interview of St.- 
Denis, and his reference to the judgment of Solomon, 
formed the text to his whole career. 

The brunt of the war now fell upon Brittany and 
Normandy. Three thousand Spaniards under Don John 
de Aquila had landed in the port of Blavet, which they 
had fortified as a stronghold on the coast. ^ And thither, 
to defend the integrity of that portion of France, which, 
in Spanish hands, was a perpetual menace to her realm, 
her crown, even to her life. Queen Elizabeth had sent 
some three thousand Englishmen, under commanders 
1 Coloma, iv. 61»o. 


well known to France and the Netherlands. There was 
Black Norris, again dealing death among the Spaniards 
and renewing his perpetual squabbles with Sir Roger 
Williams. There was that doughty Welshman himself, 
truculent and caustic as ever and as ready with sword or 
pen, foremost in every mad adventure or every forlorn 
hope, criticizing with sharpest tongue the blunders and 
shortcomings of friend and foe, and devoting the last 
drop in his veins with chivalrou« devotion to his queen. 
"The world cannot deny," said he, "that any carcass 
living ventured himself freer and oftener for his prince, 
state, and friends than I did mine. There is no more 
to be had of a poor beast than his skin, and for want of 
other means I never respected mine in the least respect 
toward my sovereign's service or country."^ And so 

1 "Williams to Burghley, February 15, 1592, S. P. Office MS. 

A most brilliant combat had recently occurred before Dieppe, 
in which Sir Roger, at the head of six hundred men, —four hundred 
of them English, —had attacked two full regiments of the League 
in their intrenchments, and routed them utterly, with the loss of 
five himdred killed and wounded, four hundred prisoners, and 
sustaining but little loss himself. The achievement seems an ex- 
traordinary one, but is vouched for by the governor of Dieppe, on 
whose authority it was communicated by the French ambassador 
in London to the queen. "Glory to God and to the said Sir 
Williams," said the ambassador, "who has not belied by this 
action the good opinion that all good people of both nations had 
of him this long time, and has shown us that the English of our 
day have not degenerated from the ancient virtue of their 
fathers."— Beauvoir la Node to Burghley, May 24, 1591, S. P. 
Office MS. 

No one gave better or blunter advice to both queen and king 
than this hard-fighting, sharp-writing Welshman. No one in- 
sisted more earnestly than he did on the entire union in interest 
and danger of Elizabeth, Henry, and the Dutch Republic, and 
that every battle gained in Brittany, Normandy, or the Nether- 


passing his life in the saddle and under fire, yet finding 
leisure to collect the materials for, and to complete the 
execution of, one of the most valuable and attractive 
histories of the age, the bold Welshman again and again 
appears, wearing the same humorous but truculent 
aspect that belonged to him when he was wont to run 
up and down in a great morion and feathers on Flemish 
battle-fields, a mark for the Spanish sharp-shooters. 
There, too, under the banner of the Bearnese, that 

lands was a blow struck in immediate defense of England's very 
existence. "Therefore, sacred Majesty," wrote Williams, "if you 
can, help the king to take Rouen. If he be in Rouen, your 
Majesty may be assured this king is on his horseback in such sort 
that all Spain and their confederators will shake and dare think 
on nothing else but how to prevent him. Then shall he be well 
able to maintain himself, and your Majesty's purse be weU 
spared ; but doth he not take Rouen, and the Spaniards enter into 
these parts, as Villars and Tavannes doth demand them, then be 
assured all the charges of these wars must be on your Majesty, 
for the poor king shall not be able to pay five hundred soldiers. 
If he should be beaten, be assured in few months to fight for the 
English ports, in such sort that I pray God I may never see it. I 
fear I angered the king. If he be doing me right, your Majesty 
and the world found me ever his servant to the uttermost of my 
power. I found him sometimes speaking he would besiege 
Pontoise, sometimes Sancy in Champagne, and how he should join 
with the Almayn army. Besides other speeches, although not 
flattering, I am assured honest, I told his Majesty, ' Sir, if you will 
have the world to confess you as great a captain as yourself and 
all we here think you to be, you must recover or at least save your 
seaports, rather than those bicoques, or places of small impor- 
tance in respect of them, else your best friends will despair of 
your government, and in short time not able to succor you for 
want of ports to land your necessaries.' " — Williams to the queen, 
from Dieppe, June 4, 1591, S. P. Office MS. 

And again : " Doth the king prosper, your Majesty and estate 
must needs flourish, for the wars will rest all on him. Doth he 


other historian of those sanguinary times, who had 
fought on almost every battle-field where tyranny and 
liberty had sought to smite each other dead, on French 
or Flemish soil, and who had prepared his famous polit- 
ical and military discourses in a foul dungeon swarming 
with toads and rats and other villainous reptiles, to which 
the worse than infernal tyranny of Philip II. had con- 
signed him for seven years long as a prisoner of war— 
the brave and good La None with the Iron Arm, hero of a 
hundred combats, was fighting his last fight. At the siege 
of Lamballe, in Brittany, he had taken off his casque and 
climbed a ladder to examine the breach effected by the 
batteries. A harquebus-shot from the town grazed his 
forehead, and, without inflicting a severe wound, stunned 
him so much that he lost his balance and fell head fore- 
most toward the ground. His leg, which had been 
wounded at the midnight assault upon Paris, where he 
stood at the side of King Henry, caught in the ladder 
and held him suspended. His head was severely bruised, 
and the contusions and shock to his war-worn frame 
were so great that he died after lingering eighteen days. 
His son De Teligny, who in his turn had just been 

decay, your Majesty must needs maintain his wars, or in a short 
time fight of yourself, not only against the Spanish, but against 
all the League, the which will increase daily, for all the 
mercenaries will follow the fortunate, I mean the victorious. 
Doth the Spanish ruin this king, Holland and Zealand will be 
found good cheap, and England in that ease I pray God never to 
see it. Therefore, most sacred Sovereign, a penny to save a 
pound is well bestowed, and to ruin a suburb to save a city is 
done to good purpose. My meaning is better to spend part of 
your wealth and subjects than to hazard the whole. This king is 
on making or marring, resolving only on yoiir Majesty's succor. 
Having it, he doubts nothing to take Rouen."— Williams to the 
queen, June 9, 1591, S. P. Office MS. 

1591] DEATH OF LA NOUE 105 

exchanged and released from the prison where he had 
lain since his capture before Antwerp, had hastened 
with joy to join his father in the camp, but came to close 
his eyes. The veteran caused the chapter in Job on the 
resurrection of the body to be read to him on his death- 
bed, and died expressing his firm faith in a hereafter. 
Thus passed away, at the age of sixty, on the 4th August, 
1591, one of the most heroic spirits of France. Pru- 
dence, courage, experience, military knowledge both 
theoretic and practical, made him one of the first cap- 
tains of the age, and he was not more distinguished for 
his valor than for the purity of his life and the mod- 
eration, temperance, and justice of his character.^ The 
Prince of Dombes, in despair at his death, raised the 
siege of LambaUe. 

There was yet another chronicler, fighting among the 
Spaniards, now in Brittany, now in Normandy, and now 
in Flanders, and doing his work as thoroughly with his 
sword as afterward with his pen, Don Carlos Coloma, 
captain of cavalry, afterward financier, envoy, and his- 
torian. For it was thus that those writers prepared 
themselves for their work. They were all actors in the 
great epic the episodes of which they have preserved. 
They lived and fought and wrought and suffered and 
wrote. Rude in tongue, aflame with passion, twisted all 
awry by prejudice, violent in love and hate, they have 
left us narratives which are at least full of color and 
thrilling with life. 

Thus Netherlanders, Englishmen, and Frenchmen 

were again mingling their blood and exhausting their 

energies on a hundred petty battle-fields of Brittany and 

Normandy ; but perhaps to few of those hard fighters 

1 De Thou, t. xi. liv. xcvii. 397, 398. 


was it given to discern the great work which they were 
slowly and painfully achieving. 

In Paris the League still maintained its ascendancy, 
Henry, having again withdrawn from his attempts to 
reduce the capital, had left the sixteen tyrants who 
governed it more leisure to occupy themselves with 
internal politics. A network of intrigue was spread 
through the whole atmosphere of the place. The Six- 
teen, sustained by the power of Spain and Rome, and 
fearing nothing so much as the return of peace, by which 
their system of plunder woidd come to an end, proceeded 
with their persecution of all heretics, real or supposed, 
who were rich enough to offer a reasonable chance of 
spoil. The soul of all these intrigues was the new legate, 
Sega, Bishop of Piacenza. Letters from him to Alex- 
ander Farnese, intercepted by Henry, showed a deter- 
mination to ruin the Duke of Mayenne and Count Belin, 
governor of Paris, whom he designated as Colossus and 
Renard, to extirpate the magistrates and to put Spanish 
partizans in their places, and in general to perfect the 
machinery by which the authority of Philip was to be 
established in France. He was perpetually urging upon 
that monarch the necessity of spending more money 
among his creatures in order to carry out these projects.^ 

Accordingly, the attention of the Sixteen had been 
directed to President Brisson, who had already made 
himself so dangerously conspicuous by his resistance to 
the insolent assumption of the cardinal legate. This 
eminent jurisconsult had succeeded Pomponne de Bel- 
li^vre as first president of the Parliament of Paris. He 
had been distinguished for talent, learning, and elo- 
quence as an advocate, and was the author of several 
1 De Thou, 438, 439. 


important legal works. His ambition to fill the place of 
first president had caused him to remain in Paris after 
its revolt against Henry III. He was no Leaguer, and 
since his open defiance of the ultra-Catholic party he 
had been a marked man — doomed secretly by the Con- 
federates who ruled the capital. He had fondly ima- 
gined that he could govern the Parisian populace as 
easily as he had been in the habit of influencing the 
Parliament or directing his clients. He expected to 
restore the city to its obedience to the constituted au- 
thorities. He hoped to be himself the means of bring- 
ing Henry IV. in triumph to the throne of his ancestors. 
He found, however, that a revolution was more diificult 
to manage than a law case, and that the Confederates of 
the Holy League were less tractable than his clients had 
usually been found. 

On the night of the 14th November, 1591, he was 
seized on the Bridge St.-Michel, while on his way to 
Parliament, and was told that he was expected at the 
Hotel de Ville. He was then brought to the prison of 
the Little Chatelet. 

Hardly had he been made secure in the dimly lighted 
dungeon when Crome, a leader among the Parisian 
populace, made his appearance, accompanied by some of 
his confederates, and dressed in a complete suit of mail. 
He ordered the magistrate to take off his hat and 
to kneel. He then read a sentence condemning him 
to death. Profoundly astonished, Brisson demanded to 
know of what crime he was accused, and under what 
authority. The answer was a laugh, and an assurance 
that he had no time to lose. He then begged that at 
least he might be imprisoned long enough to enable him 
to complete a legal work on which he was engaged, and 


which, by his premature death, would be lost to the 
commonwealth. This request produced, no doubt, more 
merriment than his previous demands. His judges were 
inflexible, and allowed him hardly time to confess him- 
self. He was then hanged in his dungeon.^ 

Two other magistrates, Larcher and Tardif, were 
executed in the same way, in the same place, and on the 
same night. The crime charged against them was hav- 
ing spoken in a public assembly somewhat freely against 
the Sixteen, and having aided in the circulation in Paris 
of a paper drawn up by the Duke of Nevers, filled with 
bitterness against the Lorraine princes and the League, 
and addressed to the late Pope Sixtus.^ 

The three bodies were afterward gibbeted on the 
Gr^ve in front of the H6tel de Ville, and exposed for 
two days to the insults and fury of the populace. 

This was the culminating point of the reign of terror 
in Paris, Never had the sixteen tyrants, lords of the 
market-halls, who governed the capital by favor of and 
in the name of the populace, seemed more omnipotent. 
As representatives or plenipotentiaries of Madam League 
they had laid the crown at the feet of the King of Spain, 
hoping by still further drafts on his exchequer and his 
credulity to prolong indefinitely their own ignoble reign. 
The extreme democratic party, which had hitherto sup- 
ported the house of Lorraine and had seemed to idolize 
that family in the person of the great Balafr6, now be- 
lieved themselves possessed of sufficient power to con- 
trol the Duke of Mayenne and all his adherents. They 
sent the Jesuit Claude Mathieu with a special memorial 
to Philip II. That monarch was implored to take the 
scepter of France and to reign over them, inasmuch as 
1 De Thou, 442, 443. 2 n)id. 


they most willingly threw themselves into his arms.^ 
They assured him that all reasonable people, and espe- 
cially the Holy League, wished him to take the reins of 
government, on condition of exterminating heresy 
throughout the kingdom by force of arms, of publishing 
the Council of Trent, and of establishing everywhere 
the Holy Inquisition— an institution formidable only to 
the wicked and desirable for the good. It was suggested 
that PhiHp should not call himself any longer King of 
Spain nor adopt the title of King of France, but that he 
should proclaim himself the Great King, or make use of 
some similar designation, not indicating any specialty, 
but importing universal dominion.- 

Should Philip, however, be disinclined himself to 
accept the monarchy, it was suggested that the young 
Duke of Guise, son of the first martyr of France, would 
be the most appropriate personage to be honored with 
the hand of the legitimate Queen of France, the Infanta 
Clara Isabella. 

But the Sixteen were reckoning without the Duke of 
Mayenne. That great personage, although an indiffer- 
ent warrior and an utterly unprincipled and venal states- 
man, was by no means despicable as a fisherman in the 
troubled waters of revolution. He knew how to manage 
intrigues with both sides for his own benefit. Had he 
been a bachelor he might have obtained the Infanta and 
shared her prospective throne. Being encumbered with 
a wife, he had no hope of becoming the son-in-law of 
Philip, and was determined that his nephew Guise should 
not enjoy a piece of good fortune denied to himself. 

1 Arch, de Sim. (Paris), B. 71, 124, cited by Capefigue, Hist, de 
la Ligue, etc., vi. 64 seq. 

2 Arch, de Sim. (Paris), B. 72, 13-16, ibid., vi. 123. 


The escape of the young duke from prison had been the 
signal for the outbreak of jealousies between uncle and 
nephew, which Parma and other agents had been in- 
structed by their master to foster to the utmost. " They 
must be maintained in such disposition in regard to me," 
he said, " that, the one being ignorant of my relations to 
the other, both may without knowing it do my will." ^ 

But Mayenne, in this groveling career of self-seeking, 
in this perpetual loading of dice and marking of cards, 
which formed the main occupation of so many kings and 
princes of the period, and which passed for Machiavel- 
lian politics, was a fair match for the Spanish king and 
his Italian viceroy. He sent President Jeannin on spe- 
cial mission to Philip, asking for two armies, one to be 
under his command, the other under that of Farnese, 
and assured him that he should be king himself, or 
appoint any man he liked to the vacant throne. Thus 
he had secured one hundred thousand crowns a month 
to carry on his own game withal. ''The maintenance 
of these two armies costs me two hundred and sixty-one 
thousand crowns a month," said Philip to his envoy 

And what was the result of all this expenditure of 
money, of all this lying and counter-lying, of all this 
frantic effort on the part of the most powerful monarch 
of the age to obtain property which did not belong to 
him,— the sovereignty of a great kingdom, stocked with 
a dozen millions of human beings,— of all this endless 
bloodshed of the people in the interests of a high-born 
family or two, of all this infamous brokerage charged 
by great nobles for their attempts to transfer kingdoms 

1 Arch, de Sim. (Paris), B. 57, 503, cited by Capefigue, vi. 193. 

2 Ibid., 57, 366, ibid. 



like private farms from one owner to another? Time 
was to show. Meanwhile men trembled at the name of 
Philip II., and groveled* before him as the incarnation 
of sagacity, high policy, and kingcraft. 

But Mayenne, while taking the brokerage, was less 
anxious about the transfer. He had fine instinct enough 
to suspect that the Bearnese, outcast though he seemed, 
might, after all, not be playing so desperate a game 
against the League as it was the fashion to suppose. 
He knew whether or not Henry was likely to prove a 
more fanatical Huguenot in 1592 than he had shown 
himself twenty years before at the Bartholomew festi- 
val. And he had wit enough to foresee that the "in- 
struction " which the gay free-thinker held so cautiously 
in his fingers might perhaps turn out the trump card. 
A bold, valorous Frenchman with a flawless title, and 
washed whiter than snow by the freshet of holy water, 
might prove a more formidable claimant to the alle- 
giance of Frenchmen than a foreign potentate, even 
though backed by all the doctors of the Sorbonue. 

The murder of President Brisson and his colleagues 
by the confederates of the sixteen quarters was in truth 
the beginning of the end. What seemed a proof of 
supreme power was the precursor of a counter-revolu- 
tion, destined ere long to lead further than men 
dreamed. The Sixteen believed themselves omnipotent. 
Mayenne being in their power, it was for them to bestow 
the crown at their will, or to hold it suspended in air as 
long as seemed best to them. They felt no doubt that 
all the other great cities in the kingdom would follow 
the example of Paris, 

But the lieutenant-general of the realm felt it time for 
him to show that his authority was not a shadow— that 


he was not a pasteboard functionary like the deceased 
cardinal king, Charles X. The letters intrusted by the 
Sixteen to Claude Mathieu were intercepted by Henry, 
and very probably an intimation of their contents was 
furnished to Mayenne. At any rate, the duke, who 
lacked not courage nor promptness when his own inter- 
ests were concerned, who felt his authority slipping away 
from him, now that it seemed the object of the Span- 
iards to bind the democratic party to themselves by a 
complicity in crime, hastened at once to Paris, deter- 
mined to crush these intrigues and to punish the mur- 
derers of the judges.! The Spanish envoy Ybarra, 
proud, excitable, violent, who had been privy to the 
assassinations, and was astonished that the deeds had 
excited indignation and fury instead of the terror 
counted upon, remonstrated with Mayenne, intimating 
that in times of civil commotion it was often necessary 
to be blind and deaf. 

In vain. The duke carried it with a high and firm 
hand. He arrested the ringleaders, and hanged four of 
them in the basement of the Louvre within twenty days 
after the commission of their crime. The energj'- was 
weU-timed and perfectly successful. The power of the 
Sixteen was struck to the earth at a blow. The ignoble 
tyrants became in a moment as despicable as they had 
been formidable and insolent. Crome, more fortunate 
than many of his fellows, contrived to make his escape 
out of the kingdom.^ 

Thus Mayenne had formally broken with the demo- 
cratic party, so called— with the market-halls oligarchy. 
In thus doing, his ultimate rupture with the Spaniards 
was foreshadowed. The next combination for him to 
1 De Thou, xi. 446. 2 ibid., xi. 447, 448. 


strive for would be one to unite the moderate Catholics 
and the Bearnese. Ah, if Henry would but "instruct" 
himself out of hand, what a game the duke might play ! 

The burgess party, the mild Royalists, the disgusted 
portion of the Leaguers, coalescing with those of the 
Huguenots whose fidelity might prove stanch even 
against the religious apostasy contemplated by their 
chief —this combination might prove an overmatch for 
the ultra-Leaguers, the democrats, and the Spaniards. 
The king's name would be a tower of strength for that 
" third party " which began to rear its head very boldly 
and to call itself " Politica." Madam League might suc- 
cumb to this new rival in the fickle hearts of the French. 

At the beginning of the year 1591 Buzanval had 
presented his credentials to the States-General at The 
Hague as envoy of Henry IV. In the speech which he 
made on this occasion he expressed the hope that the 
mission of the Viscount Turenne, his Majesty's envoy to 
England and to the Netherlands, had made known the 
royal sentiments toward the states and the great satis- 
faction of the king with their energetic sympathy and 
assistance. It was notorious, said Buzanval, that the 
King of Spain for many years had been governed by no 
other motive than to bring all the rest of Christendom 
under his dominion, while at the same time he forced 
upon those already placed under his scepter a violent 
tyranny, passing beyond all the bounds that God, nature, 
and reason had set to lawful forms of government. In 
regard to nations born under other laws than his, he 
had used the pretext of religion for reducing them to 
servitude. The wars stirred up by his family in Ger- 
many, and his recent invasion of England, were proofs 
of this intention, stiU fresh in the memory of all men. 

VOL. IV.— 8 


Still more flagrant were his machinations in the present 
troubles of France. Of his dealings with his hereditary 
realms, the condition of the noble provinces of the 
Netherlands, once so blooming under reasonable laws, 
furnished a suflicient illustration. " You see, my mas- 
ters," continued the envoy, " the subtle plans of the Span- 
ish king and his councilors to reach with certainty the 
object of their ambition. They have reflected that 
Spain, which is the outermost corner of Europe, cannot 
conveniently make war upon other Christian realms. 
They have seen that a central position is necessary to 
enable them to stretch their arms to every side. They 
have remembered that princes who in earlier days were 
able to spread their wings over aU Christendom had 
their throne in France, like Charles the Great and his 
descendants. Therefore the king is now earnestly bent 
on seizing this occasion to make himself master of 
France. The death of the late king [Henry III.] had no 
sooner occurred than, as the blood through great terror 
rushes from the extremities and overflows the heart, 
they here also, fearing to lose their opportunity and as- 
tonished at the valor of our present king, abandoned all 
their other enterprises in order to pour themselves upon 
France." ^ 

Buzanval further reminded the states that Henry had 
received the most encouraging promises from the Prot- 
estant princes of Germany, and that so great a person- 
age as the Viscount Turenne, who had now gone thither 
to reap the fruit of those promises, would not have been 
sent on such a mission except that its result was certain. 
The Queen of England, too, had promised his Majesty 
most liberal assistance. 

1 Bor, iii. xxviii. 551, 552. 


It was not necessary to argue as to the close connec- 
tion between the cause of the Netherlands and that of 
France. The king had beaten down the mutiny of his 
own subjects and repulsed the invasion of the Dukes of 
Savoy and of Lorraine. In consideration of the assis- 
tance promised by Germany and England— for a power- 
ful army would be at the command of Henry in the 
spring— it might be said that the Netherlands might 
repose for a time and recruit their exhausted energies 
under the shadow of these mighty preparations.^ 

'^ I do not believe, however," said the minister, " that 
you will all answer me thus. The faint-hearted and 
the inexperienced might flatter themselves with such 
thoughts and seek thus to cover their cowardice, but 
the zealous and the courageous will see that it is time to 
set sail on the ship, now that the wind is rising so 
freshly and favorably. 

" For there are many occasions when an army might 
be ruined for want of twenty thousand crowns. What 
a pity if a noble edifice, furnished to the roof -tree, should 
fall to decay for want of a few tiles ! No doubt your 
own interests are deeply connected with our own. Men 
may say that our proposals should be rejected on the 
principle that the shirt is nearer to the skin than the 
coat, but it can be easily proved that our cause is one. 
The mere rumor of this army will prevent the Duke of 
Parma from attacking you. His forces will be drawn to 
France. He will be obliged to intercept the crash of 
this thunderbolt. The assistance of this army is worth 
millions to you, and has cost you nothing. To bring 
France into hostility with Spain is the very policy that 
you have always pursued and always should pursue in 

1 Bor, iii. xxviii. 551, 552. 


order to protect your freedom. You have always desired 
a war between France and Spain, and here is a fierce 
and cruel one in which you have hazarded nothing. It 
cannot come to an end without bringing signal advan- 
tages to yourselves. 

" You have always desired an alliance with a French 
sovereign, and here is a firm friendship offered you by 
our king, a natural alliance. 

" You know how unstable are most treaties that are 
founded on shifting interests and do not concern the 
freedom of bodies and souls. The first are written with 
pen upon paper, and are generally as light as paper. 
They have no roots in the heart. Those founded on 
mutual assistance on trying occasions have the perpet- 
ual strength of nature. They bring always good and 
enduring fruit in a rich soil like the heart of our king 
—that heart which is as beautiful and as pure from all 
untruth as the lily upon his shield. 

" You will derive the first profits from the army thus 
raised. From the moment of its mustering under a 
chief of such experience as Turenne, it will absorb the 
whole attention of Spain, and will draw her thoughts 
from the Netherlands to France." 

All this and more in the same earnest manner did the 
envoy urge upon the consideration of the States-General, 
concluding with a demand of one hundred thousand florins 
as their contribution toward the French campaign.^ 

His eloquence did not fall upon unwiUing ears ; for 
the States-General, after taking time to deliberate, re- 
plied to the propositions by an expression of the strong- 
est sympathy with, and admiration for, the heroic efforts 
of the King of France. Accordingly, notwithstanding 

1 Bor, iii. xxviii. 551, 552. 


their own enormous expenses, past and present, and 
their strenuous exertions at that very moment to form 
an army of foot and horse for the campaign, the bril- 
liant results of which have already been narrated, they 
agreed to furnish the required loan of one hundred thou- 
sand florins, to be repaid in a year, besides six or seven 
good ships of war to cooperate with the fleets of England 
and France upon the coasts of Normandy. ^ And the 
states were even better than their word. 

Before the end of autumn of the year 1591 Henry 
had laid siege to Rouen, then the second city of the 
kingdom. To leave much longer so important a place 
— dominating, as it did, not only Normandy, but a prin- 
cipal portion of the maritime borders of France— under 
the control of the League and of Spain was likely to be 
fatal to Henry's success. It was perfectly sound in 
Queen Elizabeth to insist as she did, with more than her 
usual imperiousness toward her excellent brother, that 
he should lose no more time before reducing that city. 
It was obvious that Rouen in the hands of her arch- 
enemy was a perpetual menace to the safety of her own 
kingdom. It was therefore with correct judgment, as 
well as with that high-flown gallantry so dear to the 
heart of Elizabeth, that her royal champion and devoted 
slave assured her of his determination no longer to defer 
obeying her commands in this respect. 

The queen had repeatedly warned him of the necessity 
of defending the maritime frontier of his kingdom, and 
she was not sparing of her reproaches that the large 
sums which she expended in his cause had been often 
ill bestowed. Her criticisms on what she considered his 
military mistakes were not few, her threats to withdraw 
1 Bor, iii. xxviii. 552, 553. 


her subsidies frequent. " Owning neither the East nor 
the West Indies," she said, '' we are unable to supply the 
constant demands upon us ; and although we have the 
reputation of being a good housewife, it does not follow 
that we can be a housewife for all the world." ' She 
was persistently warning the king of an attack upon 
Dieppe, and rebuking him for occupying himself with 
petty enterprises to the neglect of vital points. She 
expressed her surprise that after the departure of Parma 
he had not driven the Spaniards out of Brittany, without 
allowing them to fortify themselves in that country. " I 
am astonished," she said to him, " that your eyes are so 
blinded as not to see this danger. Remember, my dear 
brother," she frankly added, '' that it is not only France 
that I am aiding, nor are my own natural realms of lit- 
tle consequence to me. Believe me, if I see that you 
have no more regard to the ports and maritime places 
nearest to us, it will be necessary that my prayers should 
serve you in place of any other assistance, because it 
does not please me to send my people to the shambles, 
where they may perish before having rendered you any 
assistance. I am sure the Spaniards will soon besiege 
Dieppe. Beware of it, and excuse my bluntness, for if 
in the beginning you had taken the maritime forts, 
which are the very gates of your kingdom, Paris would 
not have been so well furnished, and other places nearer 
the heart of the kingdom would not have received so 
much foreign assistance, without which the others would 
have soon been vanquished. Pardon my simplicity, as 
belonging to my own sex, wishing to give a lesson to one 
who knows better, but my experience in government 

1 Queen to the Duke d'Espemon, February 19, 1592, S. P. Office 


makes me a little obstinate in believing that I am not 
ignorant of that which belongs to a king, and I persuade 
myself that in following my advice you will not fail to 
conquer your assailants." ^ 

Before the end of the year Henry had obtained con- 
trol of the Seine, both above and below the city, holding 
Pont de I'Arche on the north — where was the last bridge 
across the river, that of Rouen, built by the English 
when they governed Normandy, being now in ruins — 
and Caudebee on the south in an iron grasp. Several 
war-vessels sent by the Hollanders, according to the 
agreement with Buzanval, cruised in the north of the 
river below Caudebee, and rendered much service to 

1 Queen to the King of France, March 7, 1592, S. P. Office MS., 
in French, in her own hand. "The poor king," said Umton, 
"must be miraculously defended by God, or else he cannot long 
subsist. He wanteth means and has need of miracles, and with- 
out her Majesty's upholding would quickly perish. She only 
giveth life to his actions and terror to his enemies."— To 
Burghley, from Dieppe, March 15, 1592, S. P. Office MS. 

"Knowing," said Sir Robert Cecil, "that no place in all France, 
no, not Paris itself, was of more importance to be recovered than 
Rouen and Newhaven, the queen levied and sent over troops with 
such speed as the like has seldom been seen, being performed, 
within twenty days, sending also a nobleman of her own realm to 
conduct them; but how contrarily the king took another course to 
seek other towns and places, and to permit her M.'s forces to re- 
main about Dieppe almost two months without any use but to 
spend her M.'s money and to waste her people, and instead of 
besieging of Rouen, suffered it to be victualed, manned, and 
fortified in such sort as experience hath tauglit the king how 
difficult, or rather how desperate, it hath been as yet to recover it. 
. . . And of this error hath followed the opportunity of the Duke 
of Parma's entering with so mighty an army, and the king's 
professed disability to fight with him."— Mr. Wilkes's Instruc- 
tions to the French King, the whole in Sir R. Cecil's handwriting, 
March 19, 1592, S. P. Office MS. 


the king in cutting off supplies from the beleaguered 
place, while the investing army of Henry, numbering 
twenty-five thousand foot— inclusive of the English con- 
tingent and three thousand Netherlanders— and ten 
thousand cavalry, nearly all French, was fast reducing 
the place to extremities. 

Parma, as usual, in obedience to his master's orders, 
but entirely against his own judgment, had again left 
the rising young general of the Netherlands to proceed 
from one triumph to another, while he transferred be- 
yond the borders of that land, which it was his first busi- 
ness to protect, the whole weight of his military genius 
and the better portion of his well-disciplined forces. 

Most bitterly and indignantly did he express himself, 
both at the outset and during the whole progress of the 
expedition, concerning the utter disproportions between 
the king's means and aims. The want of money was the 
cause of wholesale disease, desertion, mutiny, and death 
in his slender army. Such great schemes as his mas- 
ter's required, as he perpetually urged, liberality of ex- 
penditure and measures of breadth. He protested that 
he was not to blame for the ruin likely to come upon 
the whole enterprise. He had besought, remonstrated, 
reasoned with the king in vain. He had seen his beard 
first grow, he said, in the king's service, and he had 
grown gray in that service, but rather than be kept 
longer in such a position, without money, men, or means 
to accomplish the great purposes on which he was sent, 
he protested that he would abandon his office and retire 
into the woods to feed on roots.^ Repeatedly did he 

1 Parma to Philip, March 11, 1592: "Que antes me 
determinaria a reco germe en un bosque & comer raices."— Arch, 
de Sim. MS. 


implore his master for a large and powerful army, for 
money and again money. The royal plans should be 
enforced adequately or abandoned entirely. To spend 
money in small sums, as heretofore, was only throwing 
it into the sea.^ 

It was deep in the winter, however, before he could 
fairly come to the rescue of the besieged city. Toward 
the end of January, 1592, he moved out of Hainault, and 
once more made his junction at Guise with the Duke of 
Mayenne. At a review of his forces on 16th January, 
1592, Alexander found himself at the head of thirteen 
thousand five hundred and sixteen infantry and four 
thousand and sixty-one cavalry. The Duke of May- 
enne's army, for payment of which that personage 
received from Philip one hundred thousand dollars a 
month, besides ten thousand dollars a month for his own 
pocket, ought to have numbered ten thousand foot and 
three thousand horse, according to contract, but was in 
reality much less.^ 

^ Parma to Philip, MS. last cited. 

2 From a statement in the Archives of Simancas, dated No- 
vember 25, 1591, it appears that the force called the "greater 
army of France" ("el ejercito mayor de Francia"), provided by 
Philip, and iinder command of Farnese, was composed of — 

Infantry 23,512 men, costing per month $115,981 

Cavalry 4,969 " " " 44,505 

Other expenses of the army, 
including $12,629 per 
month for artillery; sala- 
ries, of which the Duke of 
Parma's was $3600 per 
month, and other contin- 
gencies " " " 42,321 

Besides a large monthly sum 

for secret military service. 

Thus the whole force was. . . 28,481 men, costing per month $202,807 
But there were 7681 wanting 
to the number determined 
upon, which added would 
give total of 7,681 

36,162 men, costing per montli $250,871 


The Duke of Montemarciano, nephew of Gregory 
XIV., had brought two thousand Swiss, furnished by 
the pontiff to the cause of the League, and the Duke of 
Lorraine had sent his kinsmen, the Counts Chaligny and 
Vaudemont, with a force of seven hundred lancers and 

The town of F^re was assigned in pledge to Farnese 
to hold as a convenient mustering-place and station in 
proximity to his own borders, and, as usual, the chief 
command over the united armies was placed in his 
hands. These arrangements concluded, the allies moved 
slowly forward, much in the same order as in the pre- 
vious year. The young Duke of Guise, who had just 
made his escape from the prison of Tours, where he had 
been held in durance since the famous assassination of 
his father and uncle, and had now come to join his uncle 
Mayenne, led the vanguard. Ranuccio, son of the duke. 

The force included — of Spanish infantry 6,078 men 

German " 11,518 " 

The rest being Walloons and Italians. 

The "lesser army of France" ("ejercito menor de Francia") 
was stated at— 

10,000 foot costing per month ^9,912 

3,000 horse " " 49,750 

Total $99,662 

and was commanded by the Duke of Mayenne, but paid by the 
King of Spain. 

" To the Duke of Mayenne, in person, according to order, $10,000 
per month." ("A la persona del Duque de Umena conforme la 

The total of the king's army in the Netherlands was stated at 
29,233 men, at a monthly cost of $149,187; but there was a large 
number wanting. The total force of the three armies paid for 
by Philip was intended to be 86,561 mjen, at a monthly cost of 

1 De Thou, t. xi. 452 seq. Bentivoglio, p. ii. lib. vi. 356-369. 

1592] SIEGE OF ROUEN 123 

rode also in the advance, "while two experienced com- 
manders, Vitry and De la Chatre, as well as the famous 
Marquis del Vasto, formerly general of cavalry in the 
Netherlands, who had been transferred to Italy, but was 
now serving in the League's army as a volunteer, were 
associated with the young princes. Parma, Mayenne, 
and Montemarciano rode in the battalia, the rear being 
under command of the Duke of Aumale and the Count 
Chaligny. Wings of cavalry protected the long trains 
of wagons which were arranged on each flank of the in- 
vading army. The march was very slow, it being Far- 
nese's uniform practice to guard himself scrupulously 
against any possibility of surprise and to intrench him- 
seK thoroughly at nightfall.^ 

By the middle of February they reached the vicinity 
of Aumale, in Pieardy. Meantime Henry, on the news 
of the advance of the relieving army, had again the same 
problem to solve that had been presented to him before 
Paris in the summer of 1590. Should he continue in 
the trenches, pressing more and more closely the city, 
already reduced to great straits? Should he take the 
open field against the invaders and once more attempt 
to crush the League and its most redoubtable com- 
mander in a general engagement? Biron strenuously 
advised the continuance of the siege. Turenne, now, 
through his recent marriage with the heiress, called Due 
de Bouillon, great head of the Huguenot party in France, 
counseled as warmly the open attack. Henry, hesitating 
more than was customary with him, at last decided on a 
middle course. The resolution did not seem a very 
wise one, but the king, who had been so signally out- 

1 Bentivoglio, ubi sup. De Thou, ubi sup. Dondiui, iii. 474 


generaled in the preceding campaign by the great Italian, 
was anxious to avoid his former errors, and might per- 
haps fall into as great ones by attempting two incon- 
sistent lines of action. Leaving Biron, in command of 
the infantry and a portion of the horse, to continue the 
siege, he took the field himself with the greater part of 
the cavalry, intending to intercept and harass the enemy 
and to prevent his manifest purpose of throwing rein- 
forcements and supplies into the invested city. 

Proceeding to Neuf chatel and Aumale, he soon found 
himself in the neighborhood of the Leaguers, and it was 
not long before skirmishing began. At this time, on a 
memorable occasion, Henry, forgetting, as usual, in his 
eagerness for the joys of the combat, that he was not a 
young captain of cavalry with his spurs to win by dash- 
ing into every mad adventure that might present itself, 
but a king fighting for his crown, with the welfare of a 
whole people depending on his fortunes, thought proper 
to place himself at the head of a handful of troopers to 
reconnoiter in person the camp of the Leaguers. Start- 
ing with five hundred horse, and ordering Lavardin and 
Gi\Ty to follow with a larger body, while the Dukes of 
Nevers and Longueville were to move out, should it 
prove necessary, in force, the king rode forth as merrily 
as to a hunting-party, drove in the scouts and pickets of 
the confederated armies, and, advancing still farther in 
his investigations, soon found himself attacked by a 
cavalry force of the enemy much superior to his own. A 
skirmish began, and it was necessary for the little troop 
to beat a hasty retreat, fighting as it ran. It was not 
long before Henry was recognized by the enemy, and 
the chase became all the more lively, George Basti, the 
famous Albanian trooper, commanding the force which 


pressed most closely upon the king. The news spread 
to the camp of the League that the Bearnese was the 
leader of the skirmishers, Mayenne believed it, and 
urged the instant advance of the flying squadron and of 
the whole vanguard. Farnese refused. It was impos- 
sible that the king should be there, he said, doing picket 
duty at the head of a company. It was a clumsy am- 
bush to bring on a general engagement in the open field, 
and he was not to be drawn out of his trenches into a 
trap by such a shallow device. A French captain, who 
by command of Henry had purposely allowed himself to 
be taken, informed his captors that the skirmishers were 
in reality supported by a heavy force of infantry. This 
suggestion of the ready Bearnese confirmed the doubts 
of Alexander. Meantime the skirmishing steeplechase 
went on before his eyes. The king, dashing down a hill, 
received a harquebus-shot in his side, but still rode for 
his life. Lavardin and Givry came to the rescue, but a 
panic seized their followers as the rumor flew that the 
king was mortally wounded, — was already dead, — so that 
they hardly brought a sufficient force to beat back the 
Leaguers. Givry's horse was soon killed under him, 
and his own thigh crushed ; Lavardin was himself dan- 
gerously wounded. The king was more hard pressed 
than ever, men were falling on every side of him, when 
four hundred French dragoons — as a kind of muske- 
teers who rode on hacks to the scene of action, but did 
their work on foot, were called at that day— now dis- 
mounted and threw themselves between Henry and his 
pursuers. Nearly every man of them laid down his life, 
but they saved the king's. Their vigorous hand-to-hand 
fighting kept off the assailants until Nevers and Longue- 
ville received the king at the gates of Aumale with a 


force before which the Leaguers were fain to retreat as 
rapidly as they had come.^ 

In this remarkable skirmish of Aumale the opposite 
qualities of Alexander and of Henry were signally illus- 
trated. The king, by his constitutional temerity, by his 
almost puerile love of confronting danger for the dan- 
ger's sake, was on the verge of sacrificing himseK, with 
aU the hopes of his house and of the nobler portion of 
his people, for an absolute nothing ; while the duke, out 
of his superabundant caution, peremptorily refused to 
stretch out his hand and seize the person of his great 
enemy when directly within his grasp. Dead or alive, 
the Bearnese was unquestionably on that day in the 
power of Farnese, and with him the whole issue of the 
campaign and of the war. Never were the narrow limits 
that separate valor on the one side and discretion on 
the other from unpardonable lunacy more nearly effaced 
than on that occasion. 

When would such an opportunity occur again ? 

The king's wound proved not very dangerous, although 

1 Bentivoglio, ut>i sup. Dondini, iii. 480-494. Coloma, v. 81 
seq. , who gives tlie date of this remarkable skirmish as February 
16, while Umton furnishes a description of the affair in his letter 
of January 27 (February 6). Both were present on the ground. 

" The king was most unhappily shot into the lowest part of his 
reins, which did nothing amaze him, and he notwithstanding, 
with great resolution, comforted the rest, and made his retreat. 
. . . The shot entered with obliquity downward into the flesh, 
and not directly into the body, so that great hope is received of 
his short recovery, and the surgeon is of opinion that no vital 
part is offended."— Umton (who made the whole campaign with 
the king) to Burghley, January 27 (February 6), 1592, S. P. Office 

Sir E. Stafford, who died toward the end of 1590, was succeeded 
as ambassador to Henry IV. by Sir Henry Umton, or Umpton, son 


for many days troublesome, and it required, on account 
of his general state of health, a thorough cure. Mean- 
time the Royalists fell back from Aumale and Neufcha- 
tel, both of which places were at once occupied by the 

In pursuance of his original plan, the Duke of Parma 
advanced with his customary steadiness and deliberation 
toward Rouen. It was his intention to assault the king's 
army in its intrenchments in combination with a deter- 
mined sortie to be made by the besieged garrison. His 
preparations for the attack were ready on the 26th Feb- 
ruary, when he suddenly received a communication from 
De Villars, who had thus far most ably and gallantly 
conducted the defense of the place, informing him that 
it was no longer necessary to make a general attack. 
On the day before he had made a sally from the four 
gates of the city, had fallen upon the besiegers in great 
force, had wounded Biron and killed six hundred of his 
soldiers, had spiked several pieces of artillery and cap- 
tured others which he had successfully brought into the 

of Sir Edward Umpton, by Anne, relict of John Dudley, Earl of 
Warwick, and eldest daughter of Edward Seymour, Duke of 
Somerset. In the spring of this year he challenged the Duke of 
Guise for speaking of Queen Elizabeth " impudently, lightly, and 
overboldly, whose sacred person he represented." He proposed 
to meet the duke with whatever arms he should choose, and on 
horseback or foot. "Nor would I have you to think," said the 
envoy, " any inequality of person between us, I being issued of as 
great a race and noble house every way as yourself. ... If you 
consent not to meet me, I will hold you, and cause you to be 
generally held, for the errantest coward and most slanderous 
slave that lives in all France." Nothing came of the challenge. 
Umton died four years afterward in the French king's camp at 
La Fere, July 8, 1596. Vide Fuller's Worthies, vol. i. pp. 91, 92 
(ed. 1811). 


town, and had, in short, so damaged the enemy's works 
and disconcerted him in all his plans that he was confi- 
dent of holding the place longer than the king could 
afford to stay in front of him.^ All he wished was a 
moderate reinforcement of men and munitions. Farnese 
by no means sympathized with the confident tone of Vil- 
lars nor approved of his proposition. He had come to 
relieve Rouen and to raise the siege, and he preferred to 
do his work thoroughly. Mayenne was, however, most 
heartily in favor of taking the advice of Villars. He 
urged that it was difficult for the Bearnese to keep an 
army long in the field, still more so in the trenches. 
Let them provide for the immediate wants of the city ; 
then the usual process of decomposition would soon be 
witnessed in the ill-paid, ill-fed, desultory forces of the 
heretic pretender. 

Alexander deferred to the wishes of Mayenne, al- 
though against his better judgment. Eight hundred 
infantry were successfully sent into Rouen. The army 
of the League then countermarched into Picardy, near 
the confines of Artois.- 

They were closely followed by Henry at the head of 
his cavalry, and lively skirmishes were of frequent oc- 
currence. In a military point of view none of these 
affairs were of consequence, but there was one which 
partook at once of the comic and the pathetic. For it 
chanced that in a cavalry action of more than common 
vivacity the Count Chaligny found himseK engaged in 
a hand-to-hand conflict with a very dashing swordsman, 

1 Parma to Philip, March 11, 1592, Arch, de Sim. MS. Com- 
pare Bentivoglio, nbi sup ; De Thou, xi. 47O seq. 

2 Bentivoglio, ubi sup. Dondini, iii. 497-630. Coloma, v. 85- 
95. Meteren, xvi. 302, 303. Bor, iii. xxviii. 616-620. 


who, after dealing and receiving many severe blows, at 
last succeeded in disarming the count and taking him 
prisoner. It was the fortune of war, and, but a few 
days before, might have been the fate of the great Henry 
himself. But Chaligny's mortification at his captivity 
became intense when he discovered that the knight to 
whom he had surrendered was no other than the king's 
jester.^ That he, a chieftain of the Holy League, the 
long-descended scion of the illustrious house of Lor- 
raine, brother of the great Duke of Mercoeur, should 
become the captive of a Huguenot buffoon, seemed the 
most stinging jest yet perpetrated since fools had come 
in fashion. The famous Chicot, who was as fond of a 
battle as of a gibe, and who was almost as reckless a 
rider as his master, proved on this occasion that the 
cap and bells could cover as much magnanimity as 
did the most chivalrous crest. Although desperately 
wounded in the struggle which had resulted in his tri- 
umph, he generously granted to the count his freedom 
without ransom. The proud Lorrainer returned to his 
Leaguers, and the poor fool died afterward of his 

The army of the allies moved through Picardy toward 
the confines of Artois, and sat down leisurely to be- 
leaguer Rue, a low-lying place on the banks and near 
the mouth of the Somme, the only town in the province 
which still held for the king. It was sufficiently forti- 
fied to withstand a good deal of battering, and it cer- 
tainly seemed mere trifling for the great Duke of Parma 
to leave the Netherlands in such confusion, with young 

1 De Thou, ubi sup. 468. Umton to Burghley, February 8, 
1592, S. P. Office MS. 

2 De Thou, loc. cit. 

VOL. IV.— 9 


Maurice of Nassau carrying everything before him, and 
to come all the way into Normandy in order, with the 
united armies of Spain and the League, to besiege the 
insignificant town of Rue, 

And this was the opinion of Famese, but he had 
chosen throughout the campaign to show great defer- 
ence to the judgment of Mayenne. Meantime the 
month of March wore away, and what had been predicted 
came to pass. Henry's forces dwindled away as usual. 
His cavaliers rode off to forage for themselves when 
their battles were denied them, and the king was now at 
the head of not more than sixteen thousand foot and five 
thousand horse. On the other hand, the Leaguers' army 
had been melting quite as rapidly. With the death of 
Pope Sfondrato, his nephew Montemarciano had disap- 
peared with his two thousand Swiss, while the French 
cavalry and infantry, ill fed and uncomfortable, were 
diminishing daily. Especially the Walloons, Flemings, 
and other Netherlanders of Parma's army took advan- 
tage of their proximity to the borders and escaped in 
large numbers to their own homes. It was but meager 
and profitless campaigning on both sides during those 
wretched months of winter and early spring, although 
there was again an opportunity for Sir Roger Williams, 
at the head of two hundred musketeers and one hundred 
and fifty pikemen, to make one of his brilliant skir- 
mishes under the eye of the Bearnese. Surprised and 
without armor, he jumped, in doublet and hose, on 
horseback, and led his men merrily against five squad- 
rons of Spanish and Italian horse and six companies of 
Spanish infantry, singled out and unhorsed the leader 
of the Spanish troopers, and nearly cut off the head of 
the famous Albanian chief George Basti with one swing- 

1592] SIEGE OF EUE 131 

ing blow of his sword. Then, being reinforced by some 
other English companies, he succeeded in driving the 
whole body of Italians and Spaniards, with great loss, 
quite into their intrenchments. "The king doth com- 
mend him very highly," said Umton, "and doth more 
than wonder at the valor of our nation. I never heard 
him give more honor to any service nor to any man 
than he doth to Sir Roger Williams and the rest, whom 
he held as lost men, and for which he has caused public 
thanks to be given to God." ^ 

At last Villars, who had so peremptorily rejected 
assistance at the end of February, sent to say that if he 
were not relieved by the middle of April he should be 
obliged to surrender the city. If the siege were not 
raised by the 20th of the month he informed Parma, to his 
profound astonishment, that Rouen would be in Henry's 

In effecting this result the strict blockade maintained 
by the Dutch squadron at the mouth of the river, and 
the resolute manner in which those cruisers dashed at 
every vessel attempting to bring relief to Rouen, were 
mainly instrumental. As usual with the stern Hol- 
landers and Zealanders when engaged at sea with the 
Spaniards, it was war to the knife. Early in April 
twelve large vessels, well armed and manned, attempted 
to break the blockade. A combat ensued, at the end of 
which eight of the Spanish ships were captured, two 
were sunk, and two were set on fire in token of victory, 
every man on board of all being killed and thrown into 
the sea. Queen Elizabeth herself gave the first news of 
this achievement to the Dutch envoy iu London. " And 

1 Umton to Burghley, April 21, 1592, S. P. Office MS. 

2 Bentivoglio, Dondini, Coloma, Metereu, Bor, ubi sup. 


in truth," said he, "her Majesty expressed herself, in 
communicating these tidings, with such affection and 
extravagant joy, to the glory and honor of our nation 
and men-of-war's-men, that it wonderfully delighted me, 
and did me good into my very heart to hear it from her." ^ 

Instantly Farnese set himself to the work which, had 
he followed his own judgment, would already have been 
accomplished. Henry with his cavalry had established 
himself at Dieppe and Arques, within a distance of five 
or six leagues from the infantry engaged in the siege of 
Rouen. Alexander saw the profit to be derived from the 
separation between the different portions of the enemy's 
forces, and marched straight upon the enemy's intrench- 
ments. He knew the disadvantage of assailing a 
strongly fortified camp, but believed that, by a well- 
concerted, simultaneous assault by ViUars from within 
and the Leaguers from without, the king's forces would 
be compelled to raise the siege or be cut up in their 

But Henry did not wait for the attack. He had 
changed his plan, and, for once in his life, substituted 
extreme caution for his constitutional temerity. Neither 
awaiting the assault upon his intrenchments nor seeking 
his enemy in the open field, he ordered the whole camp 
to be broken up, and on the 20th of April raised the siege.^ 

Farnese marched into Rouen, where the Leaguers were 
received with tumultuous joy, and this city, most im- 
portant for the purposes of the League and for Philip's 
ulterior designs, was thus wrested from the grasp just 

1 Noel de Caron to the States-General, April 22, 1592, Hague 
Archives MS. 

2 Ibid. Parma to Philip, April 25, 1592, Arch, de Sim. MS. 
Same to same, June 2, 1592, ibid. 

1592] RELIEF OF EOUEN 133 

closing upon it. Henry's main army now concentrated 
itself in the neighborhood of Dieppe, but the cavalry, 
under his immediate superintendence, continued to 
harass the Leaguers. It was now determined to lay 
siege to Caudebec, on the right bank of the Seine, three 
leagues below Rouen, the possession of this place by the 
enemy being a constant danger and difficulty to Rouen, 
whose supplies by the Seine were thus cut off. 

Alexander, as usual, superintended the planting of 
the batteries against the place. He had been suffering 
during the whole campaign with those dropsical ailments 
which were making life a torture to him ; yet his indomi- 
table spirit rose superior to his physical disorders, and 
he wrought all day long on foot or on horseback, when 
he seemed only fit to be placed on his bed as a rapid 
passage to his grave. On this occasion, in company 
with the Italian engineer Properzio, he had been for 
some time examining with critical nicety the prelimi- 
naries for the siege, when it was suddenly observed by 
those around him that he was growing pale. It then 
appeared that he had received a musket-ball between 
the wrist and the elbow, and had been bleeding profusely, 
but had not indicated by a word or the movement of a 
muscle that he had been wounded, so intent was he upon 
carrying out the immediate task to which he had set 
himself. It was indispensable, however, that he should 
now take to his couch. The wound was not trifling, 
and to one in his damaged and dropsical condition it 
was dangerous. Fever set in, with symptoms of gan- 
grene, and it became necessary to intrust the command 
of the League to Mayenne.^ But it was hardly concealed 

1 Bentivoglio, Dondini, Coloma, De Thou, Meteren, Bor, ubi 
sup. Letter of Parma last cited. 


from Parma that the duke was playing a double game. 
Prince Ranuccio, according to his father's express wish, 
was placed provisionally at the head of the Flemish 
forces. This was conceded, however, with much heart- 
burning, and with consequences easily to be imagined. 

Meantime Caudebec fell at once. Henry did nothing 
to relieve it, and the place could offer but slight resis- 
tance to the force arrayed against it. The bulk of the 
king's army was in the neighborhood of Dieppe, where 
they had been recently strengthened by twenty com- 
panies of Netherlanders and Scotchmen brought by 
Count Philip Nassau.^ The League's headquarters were 
in the village of Yvetot, capital of the realm of the 
whimsical little potentate so long renowned under that 

The king, in pursuance of the plan he had marked out 
for himself, restrained his skirmishing more than was 
his wont. Nevertheless, he lay close to Yvetot. His 
cavalry, swelling and falling as usual like an Alpine 
torrent, had now filled up its old channels again, for 
once more the mountain chivalry had poured themselves 
around their king. With ten thousand horsemen he 
was now pressing the Leaguers, from time to time, very 
hard, and on one occasion the skirmishing became so 
close and so lively that a general engagement seemed 
imminent. Young Ranuccio had a horse shot under 
him, and his father, suffering as he was, had himself 
dragged out of bed and brought on a litter into the field, 
where he was set on horseback, trampling on wounds 
and disease, and, as it were, on death itself, that he might 
by his own unsurpassed keenness of eye and quickness 
of resource protect the army which had been intrusted 

1 Bor, iii. xxviii. 604. 2 De Thou, xis 481 seq. 


to his care. The action continued all day, young Benti- 
voglio, nephew of the famous cardinal, historian, and 
diplomatist, receiving a bad wound in the leg, as he 
fought gallantly at the side of Ranuccio. Carlo Coloma 
also distinguished himself in the engagement. Night 
separated the combatants before either side had gained 
a manifest advantage, and on the morrow it seemed for 
the interest of neither to resume the struggle.^ 

The field where this campaign was to be fought was a 
narrow peninsula inclosed between the sea and the 
rivers Seine and Dieppe.^ In this peninsula, called the 
Laud of Caux, it was Henry's intention to shut up his 
enemy. Farnese had finished the work that he had been 
sent to do, and was anxious, as Henry was aware, to 
return to the Netherlands. Rouen was relieved, Caude- 
bec had fallen. There was not food or forage enough 
in the little peninsula to feed both the city and the 
whole army of the League. Shut up in this narrow 
area, Alexander must starve or surrender. His only 
egress was into Picardy and so home to Artois, through 
the base of the isosceles triangle between the two rivers 
and on the borders of Picardy. On this base Henry had 
posted his whole army. Should Farnese assail him, 
thus provided with a strong position and superiority of 
force, defeat was certain. Should he remain where he 
was, he must inevitably starve. He had no communica- 
tions with the outside. The Hollanders lay with their 
ships below Caudebec, blockading the river's mouth and 
the coast. His only chance of extrication lay across the 

1 Bentivoglio, Dondini, Coloma, Meteren, Bor, De Thou, ubi 

2 The stream, the mouth of which is at Dieppe, was then called 
by the same name as the town. 


Seine. But Alexander was neither a bird nor a fish, and 
it was necessary, so Henry thought, to be either the one 
or the other to cross that broad, deep, and rapid river, 
where there were no bridges, and where the constant 
ebb and flow of the tide made transportation almost im- 
possible in face of a powerful army in rear and flank. 
Farnese's situation seemed desperate, while the shrewd 
Bearnese sat smiling serenely, carefully watching at the 
mouth of the trap into which he had at last inveigled his 
mighty adversary. Secure of his triumph, he seemed to 
have changed his nature, and to have become as sedate 
and wary as, by habit, he was impetuous and hot. 

And in truth Farnese found himself in very narrow 
quarters. There was no hay for his horses, no bread 
for his men. A penny loaf was sold for two shillings. 
A jug of water was worth a crown. As for meat or 
wine, they were hardly to be dreamed of.^ His men 
were becoming furious at their position. They had en- 
listed to fight, not to starve, and they murmured that it 
was better for an army to fall with weapons in its hands 
than to drop to pieces hourly with the enemy looking on 
and enjoying their agony. 

It was obvious to Farnese that there were but two 
ways out of his dilemma. He might throw himself upon 
Henry,— strongly intrenched as he was, and with much 
superior forces to his own, upon ground deliberately 
chosen for himself,— defeat him utterly, and march over 
him back to the Netherlands. This would be an agree- 
able result, but the undertaking seemed diflicult, to say 
the least. Or he might throw his army across the Seine 
and make his escape through the Isle of France and 
southern Picardy back to the so-called obedient prov- 

1 Bor, iii. xxviii. 619. 


inces. But it seemed hopeless without bridges or pon- 
toons to attempt the passage of the Seine. 

There was, however, no time left for hesitation. 
Secretly he took his resolution and communicated it in 
strict confidence to Mayenne, to Ranuccio, and to one or 
two other chiefs. He came to Caudebec, and there, close 
to the margin of the river, he threw up a redout. On 
the opposite bank he constructed another. On both he 
planted artillery, placing a force of eight hundred Neth- 
erlanders, under Count Bossu, in the one, and an equal 
number of the same nation, Walloons chiefly, under 
Barlotte, in the other. He collected all the vessels, flat- 
boats, wherries, and rafts that could be found or put 
together at Rouen, and then under cover of his forts he 
transported all the Flemish infantry, and the Spanish, 
French, and Italian cavalry, during the night of 22d 
May, to the opposite bank of the Seine. Next morning 
he sent up all the artillery together with the Flemish 
cavalry to Rouen, where, making what use he could by 
temporary contrivances of the broken arches of the 
broken bridge, in order to shorten the distance from 
shore to shore, he managed to convey his whole army 
with all its trains across the river. ^ 

A force was left behind, up to the last moment, to 
engage in the customary skirmishes, and to display 
themselves as largely as possible for the purpose of im- 
posing upon the enemy. The young Prince of Parma 
had command of this rear-guard. The device was per- 
fectly successful. The news of the movement was not 
brought to the ears of Henry until after it had been 
accomplished. When the king reached the shore of the 

1 Bentivoglio, Dondini, Coloma, De Thou, Bor, Meteren, ubi 
sup. Letter of Parma last cited. 


Seine, he saw to his infinite chagrin and indignation that 
the last stragglers of the army, including the garrison 
of the fort on the right bank, were just ferrying them- 
selves across under command of Ranuccio,^ 

Furious with disappointment, he brought some pieces 
of artillery to bear upon the triumphant fugitives. Not 
a shot told, and the Leaguers had the satisfaction of 
making a bonfire in the king's face of the boats which 
had brought them over. Then, taking up their line of 
march rapidly inland, they placed themselves completely 
out of the reach of the Huguenot guns. 

Henry had a bridge at Pont de I'Arche, and his first 
impulse was to pursue with his cavalry; but it was 
obvious that his infantry could never march by so cir- 
cuitous a route fast enough to come up with the enemy, 
who had ah-eady so prodigious a stride in advance.^ 

There was no need to disguise it to himself. Henry 
saw MmseK for the second time outgeneraled by the 
consummate Farnese. The trap was broken, the game 
had given him the slip. The manner in which the duke 
had thus extricated himself from a profound dilemma, 
in which his fortunes seemed hopelessly sunk, has usu- 
ally been considered one of the most extraordinary ex- 
ploits of his life.^ 

Precisely at this time, too, ill news reached Henry 
from Brittany and the neighboring country. The 
Princes Conde and Dombes had been obliged, on the 13th 
May, 1592, to raise the siege of Craon, in consequence of 
the advance of the Duke of Mercoeur with a force of 
seven thousand men.* They numbered, including lans- 

1 Bentivoglio, Dondini, Coloma, De Thou, Bor, Meteren, ubi 
sup. 2 Ibid. 3 Ibid. 

* Umton to Burghley, May 24 (O. S.), 1592, S. P. Office MS. 


quenets and the English contingent, about half as many, 
and, before they could effect their retreat, were attacked 
by Mercoeur and utterly routed. The English, who 
alone stood to their colors, were nearly all cut to pieces. 
The rest made a disorderly retreat,^ but were ultimately, 
with few exceptions, captured or slain. The duke, fol- 
lowing up his victory, seized Chateau Gontier and La 
Val, important crossing-places on the river Mayenne, 
and laid siege to Mayenne, capital city of that region. 
The panic, spreading through Brittany and Maine, 
threatened the king's cause there with complete over- 
throw, hampered his operations in Normandy, and vastly 
encouraged the Leaguers. It became necessary for 
Henry to renounce his designs upon Rouen and the 
pursuit of Parma, and to retire to Vernon, there to 
occupy himself with plans for the relief of Brittany. 
In vain had the Earl of Essex, whose brother had already 
been killed in the campaign, manifested such headlong 
gallantry in that country as to call forth the sharpest 
rebukes from the admiring but anxious Elizabeth. The 
handful of brave Englishmen who had been withdrawn 
from the Netherlands, much to the dissatisfaction of the 
States-General, in order to defend the coasts of Brittany, 
would have been better employed under Maurice of 
Nassau. So soon as the heavy news reached the king, 
the faithful Umton was sent for. '' He imparted the 
same unto me," said the envoy, "with extraordinary 
passion and discontent. He discoursed at large of his 
miserable estate, of the factions of his servants, and of 
their ill dispositions, and then required my opinion 
touching his course for Brittany, as also what further 
aid he might expect from her Majesty; alleging that 

1 Umton to Burghley, May 24 (O. S.), 1592, S. P. Office MS. 


unless he were presently strengthened by England it 
was impossible for him longer to resist the greatness of 
the King of Spain, who assailed his country by Brittany, 
Languedoc, the Low Countries, by the Duke of Saxony 
and the Duke of Lorraine, and so ended his speech pas- 
sionately." ^ Thus a'djured, Sir Henry spoke to the king 
firmly but courteously, reminding him how, contrary to 
English advice, he had followed other councilors to the 
neglect of Brittany, and had broken his promises to the 
queen. He concluded by urging him to advance into 
that country in person, but did not pledge himself on 
behalf of her Majesty to any further assistance. " To 
this," said Umton, "the king gave a willing ear, and 
replied, with many thanks, and without disallowing of 
anything that I alleged, yielding many excuses of his 
want of means, not of disposition, to provide a remedy, 
not forgetting to acknowledge her Majesty's care of him 
and his country, and especially of Brittany, excusing 
much the bad disposition of his councilors, and inclin- 
ing much to my motion to go in person thither, espe- 
cially because he might thereby give her Majesty better 
satisfaction, . . . and protesting that he would either 
immediately himself make war there in those parts or 
send an army thither. I do not doubt," added the am- 
bassador, "but with good handling her Majesty may 
now obtain any reasonable matter for the conservation 
of Brittany, as also for a place of retreat for the Eng- 
lish, and I urge continually the yielding of Brest into 
her Majesty's hands, whereunto I find the king well 
inclined, if he might bring it to pass." ^ 

Alexander passed a few days in Paris, where he was 

1 Umton to Burghley, May 24 (O. S.), 1592, S. P. Office MS. 

2 Ibid. 


welcomed with much cordiality, recruiting his army for 
a brief period in the land of Brie, and then, broken in 
health but entirely successful, he dragged himself once 
more to Spa to drink the waters. He left an auxiliary 
force with Mayenne, and promised, infinitely against 
his own wishes, to obey his master's commands and 
return again before the winter to do the League's work.^ 

And thus Alexander had again solved a difficult prob- 
lem. He had saved for his master and for the League 
the second city of France and the whole coast of Nor- 
mandy. Rouen had been relieved in masterly manner, 
even as Paris had been succored the year before. He had 
done this, although opposed by the sleepless energy and 
the exuberant valor of the quick-witted Navarre, and 
although encumbered by the assistance of the ponderous 
Duke of Mayenne. His military reputation, through 
these two famous reliefs and retreats, grew greater than 

No commander of the age was thought capable of 
doing what he had thus done. Yet, after all, what had 
he accomplished ? Did he not feel in his heart of hearts 
that he was but a strong and most skilful swimmer 
struggling for a little while against an ocean tide which 
was steadily sweeping him and his master and all their 
fortunes far out into the infinite depths ? 

Something of this breathed ever in his most secret 
utterances. But, so long as life was in him, his sword 
and his genius were at the disposal of his sovereign, to 
carry out a series of schemes as futile as they were 

For us, looking back upon the Past, which was then 
the Future, it is easy to see how remorselessly the great 
1 Umton to Burghley, MS. before cited. 


current of events was washing away the system and the 
personages seeking to resist its power and to oppose 
the great moral principles by which human affairs in the 
long run are invariably governed. Spain and Rome 
were endeavoring to obliterate the landmarks of race, 
nationality, historical institutions, and the tendencies of 
awakened popular conscience throughout Christendom, 
and to substitute for them a dead level of conformity to 
one regal and sacerdotal despotism. 

England, Holland, the Navarre party in France, and 
a considerable part of Germany were contending for 
national unity and independence, for vested and recorded 
rights. Much further than they themselves or their 
chieftains dreamed those millions of men were fighting 
for a system of temperate human freedom; for that 
emancipation under just laws from arbitrary human con- 
trol, which is the right, however frequently trampled 
upon, of all classes, conditions, and races of men, and 
for which it is the instinct of the human race to continue 
to struggle under every disadvantage, and often against 
all hope, throughout the ages, so long as the very prin- 
ciple of humanity shall not be extinguished in those who 
have been created after their Maker's image. 

It may safely be doubted whether the great queen, 
the Bearnese, Alexander Farnese, or his master, with 
many of their respective adherents, differed very essen- 
tially from each other in their notions of the right divine 
and the right of the people. But history has shown us 
which of them best understood the spirit of the age and 
had the keenest instinct to keep themselves in the ad- 
vance by moving fastest in the direction whither it was 
marshaling all men. There were many earnest, hard- 
toiling men in those days, men who believed in the work 


to which they devoted their lives. Perhaps, too, the 
devil- worshipers did their master's work as strenuously 
and heartily as any, and got fame and pelf for their 
pains. Fortunately, a good portion of what they so 
laboriously wrought for has vanished into air, while 
humanity has at least gained something from those who 
deliberately or instinctively conformed themselves to her 
eternal laws. 


Return of Prince Maurice to the siege of Steenwyk— Capitulation 
of the besieged— Effects of the introduction of mining operations 
—Maurice besieges Coevorden— Verdugo attempts to relieve the 
city, but fails— The city capitulates, and Prince Maurice retreats 
into winter quarters. 

WeciIiE Famese had thus been strengthening the bul- 
warks of Philip's universal monarchy in that portion of 
his proposed French dominions which looked toward 
England, there had been opportunity for Prince Maurice 
to make an assault upon the Frisian defenses of this 
vast realm. It was difficult to make half Europe into 
one great Spanish fortification, guarding its every bas- 
tion and every point of the curtain, without far more 
extensive armaments than the "Great King," as the 
Leaguers proposed that Philip should entitle himself, had 
ever had at his disposal. It might be a colossal scheme 
to stretch the rod of empire over so large a portion of 
the earth, but the dwarfish attempts to carry the design 
into execution hardly reveal the hand of genius. It is 
astonishing to contemplate the meager numbers and the 
slender funds with which this world-empire was to be 
asserted and maintained. The armies arrayed at any 
important point hardly exceeded a modern division or 
two, while the resources furnished fpr a year would 
hardly pay in later days for a few weeks' campaign. 



When Alexander, the first commander of his time, 
moved out of Flanders into France with less than twenty- 
thousand men, he left most vital portions of his master's 
hereditary dominions so utterly unprotected that it was 
possible to attack them with a handful of troops. The 
young disciple of Simon Stevinus now resumed that 
practical demonstration of his principles which had been 
in the previous year so well begun. 

On the 28th May, 1592, Maurice, taking the field with 
six thousand foot and two thousand horse, came once 
more before Steenwyk. It will be remembered that he 
had been obliged to relinquish the siege of this place in 
order to confront the Duke of Parma in July, 1591, at 

The city— very important from its position, being the 
key to the province of Drenthe as well as one of the safe- 
guards of Friesland — had been besieged in vain by 
Count Renneberg after his treasonable surrender of 
Groningen, of which he was governor, to the Spaniards, 
but had been subsequently surprised by Tassis. Since 
that time it had held for the king. Its fortifications 
were strong, and of the best description known at that 
day. Its regular garrison was sixteen companies of foot 
and some cavalry under Antoine de Qnocqueville, mili- 
tary governor. Besides these troops were twelve hun- 
dred Walloon infantry, commanded by Louis, youngest 
Count van den Berg, a brave lad of eighteen years, with 
whom were the Lord of Waterdyck and other Netherland 

To the military student the siege may possess impor- 
tance as marking a transitional epoch in the history of 

1 Bor, iii. xxviii. 628-633. Meteren, xvi. 304, 305. Reyd, ix, 
177-180. Coloma, v. 99, 100. 

VOL. IV. — 10 


the beleaguering science. To the general reader, as in 
most of the exploits of the young Poliorcetes, its details 
have but slender interest. Perhaps it was here that the 
spade first vindicated its dignity, and entitled itself to 
be classed as a military weapon of value along with pike 
and harquebus. It was here that the soldiers of Maurice, 
burrowing in the ground at ten stivers a day, were 
jeered at by the enemy from the battlements as boors 
and ditchers, who had forfeited their right to be consid- 
ered soldiers— but jeered at for the last time. 

From 30th May to 9th June the prince was occupied 
in throwing up earthworks on the low grounds in order 
to bring his guns into position. On the 13th June he 
began to batter with forty-five pieces, but effected little 
more than to demolish some of the breastworks. He 
threw hot shot into the town very diligently, too, but 
did small damage. The cannonading went on for nearly 
a week, but the practice was so very indifferent, not- 
withstanding the protection of the blessed Barbara and 
the tuition of the busmasters, that the besieged began 
to amuse themselves with these empty and monotonous 
salvos of the honorable Artillery Gild. When all this 
blazing and thundering had led to no better result than 
to convert a hundred thousand good Flemish florins into 
noise and smoke, the thrifty Netherlanders on both sides 
of the walls began to disparage the young general's 
reputation. After aU, they said, the Spaniards were 
right when they called artillery mere espanta-veUacos, or 
scare-cowards.i This burrowing and bellowing must at 
last give place to the old-fashioned push of pike, and 
then it would be seen who the soldiers were. Observa- 
tions like these were freely made under a flag of truce j 

1 Reyd, ubi sup. 


for on the 19tli June, notwithstanding their contempt 
for the espanta-vellacos, the besieged had sent out a 
deputation to treat for an honorable surrender. Mau- 
rice entertained the negotiators hospitably in his own 
tent, but the terms suggested to him were inadmissible. 
Nothing came of the conference, therefore, but mutual 
criticisms, friendly enough, although sufficiently caustic. 

Maurice now ceased cannonading, and burrowed again 
for ten days without interruption. Four mines, leading 
to different points of the defenses, were patiently con- 
structed, and two large chambers at the terminations, 
neatly finished off and filled respectively with five 
thousand and twenty-five hundred pounds of powder, 
were at last established under two of the principal 

During all this digging there had been a couple of 
sorties, in which the besieged had inflicted great damage 
on their enemy, and got back into the town with a few 
prisoners, having lost but six of their own men.^ Sir 
Francis Vere had been severely wounded in the leg, so 
that he was obliged to keep his bed during the rest of 
the siege. Verdugo, too, had made a feeble attempt to 
reinforce the place with three hundred men, sixty or 
seventy of whom had entered, while the rest had been 
killed or captured .^ On such a small scale was Philip's 
world-empire contended for by his stadholder in Fries- 
land ; yet it was certainly not the fault of the stout old 
Portuguese. Verdugo would rather have sent thirty 
thousand men to save the front door of his greatprovince 

1 Bor, Meteren, Keyd, Coloma, ubi sup. 

2 Ibid. Coloma says that three hundred of the besiegers were 
killed in this sally. 

3 Ibid. 


than three hundred. But every available man— and few 
enough of them they were— had been sent out of the 
Netherlands, to defend the worl^-empire in its outposts 
of Normandy and Brittany. 

This was Philip the Prudent's system for conquering 
the world, and men looked upon him as the consumma- 
tion of kingcraft. 

On the 3d July Maurice ordered his whole force to be 
in readiness for the assault. The mines were then 
sprung. The bastion of the east gate was blown to 
ruins. The mine under the Gast-Huys bulwark burst 
outwardly, and buried alive many Hollanders standing 
ready for the assault.^ At this untoward accident Mau- 
rice hesitated to give the signal for storming the breach, 
but the panic within the town was so evident that Louis 
William lost no time in seizing the overthrown eastern 
bulwark, from the ruins of which he looked over the 
whole city.2 The other broken bastion was likewise 
easily mastered, and the besieged, seeing the storm about 
to burst upon them with irresistible fury, sent a trumpet. 
Meantime Maurice, inspecting the effects of the explosion 
and preparing for the assault, had been shot through 
the left cheek. The wound was not dangerous, and the 
prince extracted the bullet with his own hand,^ but the 
change of half an inch would have made it fatal. He 
was not incapacitated— after his wound had been 
dressed, amid the remonstrances of his friends for his 
temerity— from listening to the propositions of the city. 
They were refused, for the prince was sure of having his 
town on his own terms. 

1 Bor, Meteren, Reyd, Coloma, ubi sup. ^ Ibid. 

' Ibid. Letter of John the Yoimger to his father, in Groen v. 
Prinsterer, Archives, II. S. i. 198. 


Next day he permitted the garrison to depart, the 
officers and soldiers promising not to serve the King of 
Spain on the Netherland side of the Rhine for six 
months. They were to take their baggage, but to leave 
arms, flags, munitions, and provisions. Both Maurice 
and Louis William were for insisting on sterner condi- 
tions, but the states' deputies and members of the coun- 
cil who were present, as usual, in camp urged the 
building of the golden bridge. After all, a fortified 
city, the second in importance after Groningen of all 
those regions, was the real prize contended for. The 
garrison was meager and much reduced during the siege. 
The fortifications, of masonry and earthwork combined, 
were nearly as strong as ever. St. Barbara had done 
them but little damage, but the town itself was in a 
sorry plight. Churches and houses were nearly all shot 
to pieces, and the inhabitants had long been dwelling in 
the cellars. Two hundred of the garrison remained, 
severely wounded, in the town ; three hundred and fifty 
had been killed, among others the young cousin of the 
Nassaus, Count Louis van den Berg. The remainder of 
the royalists marched out, and were treated with cour- 
tesy by Maurice, who gave them an escort, permitting 
the soldiers to retain their side-arms, and furnishing 
horses to the governor. 

In the besieging army five or six hundred had been 
killed and many wounded, but not in numbers bearing 
the same proportion to the slain as in modern battles.^ 

1 At least this is the testimony of all the Dutch historians, but, 
as has been the case in all sieges and battles since men began 
to besiege and to fight battles, the evidence given by the two 
sides is in almost direct conflict. 

According to Coloma, thirteen hundred of the besiegers had 


Tlie siege had lasted forty-four days. When it was 
over, and men came out from the town to examine at 
leisure the prince's camp and his field of operations, they 
were astounded at the amount of labor performed in so 
short a time. The oldest campaigners confessed that 
they never before had understood what a siege really 
was, and they began to conceive a higher respect for the 
art of the engineer than they had ever done before. 
" Even those who were wont to rail at science and labor," 
said one who was present in the camp of Maurice, " de- 
clared that the siege would have been a far more ardu- 
ous undertaking had it not been for those two engineers, 
Joost Matthes of Alost and Jacob Kemp of Gorcum. 
It is high time to take from soldiers the false notion 
that it is shameful to work with the spade — an error 
which was long prevalent among the Netherlanders, 
and still prevails among the French, to the great 
detriment of the king's affairs, as may be seen in his 
sieges." ^ 

Certainly the result of Henry's recent campaign before 
Rouen had proved sufficiently how much better it would 
have been for him had there been some Dutch Joosts 
and Jacobs with theii" picks and shovels in his army at 
that critical period. They might perhaps have baffled 
Parma as they had done Verdugo. 

Without letting the grass grow under his feet, Mau- 

been killed outright during the assaults, and there were so many 
wounded that not five thousand were left unhurt in their camp, 
out of ten thousand with which the siege began. On the other 
hand, according to the same authority, the besieged had lost but 
one hundred and fifty killed and a few more than that number 
wounded (f. 99'°). But we have seen that the whole of the 
besieging army amounted only to eight thousand. 
1 Reyd, ubi sup. 


rice now led his army from Steenwyk to ZwoUe, and ar- 
rived on the 26th July before Coevorden. 

This place, very strong by art and still stronger by 
nature, was the other key to all North Netherland — 
Friesland, Groningen, and Drenthe. Should it fall into 
the hands of the Republic it would be impossible for the 
Spaniards to retain much longer the rich and important 
capital of all that country, the city of Groningen. Coe- 
vorden lay between two vast morasses, one of which, 
the Bourtange swamp, extended some thirty miles to 
the bay of the Dollart, while the other spread nearly as 
far in a westerly direction to the Zuyder Zee. Thus 
these two great inarshes were a frame — an almost im- 
passable barrier— by which the northern third of the 
whole territory of the Republic was encircled and de- 
fended. Throughout this great morass there was not a 
handbreadth of solid ground, not a resting-place for a 
human foot, save the road which led through Coevorden. 
This passage lay upon a natural deposit of hard, dry 
sand, interposed as if by a caprice of nature between the 
two swamps, and was about half a mile in width.^ 

The town itself was well fortified, and Verdugo had 
been recently strengthening the position with additional 
earthworks.2 A thousand veterans formed the garrison, 
under command of another Van den Berg, the Count 
Frederick.^ It was the fate of these sister's-children of 
the great founder of the Republic to serve the cause of 
foreign despotism with remarkable tenacity against their 
own countrymen and against their nearest blood-rela- 
tions. On many conspicuous occasions they were almost 

1 Guicciardini, in voce. Reyd, ix. 186 seq. 

2 Ibid. 

3 Reyd, ubi sup. Meteren, xvi. 306. Bor, iii. xxviii. 639 seq. 


as useful to Spain and the Inquisition as the son and 
nearly all the other kinsmen of William the Silent had 
rendered themselves to the cause of Holland and of 

Having thoroughly intrenched his camp before Coe- 
vorden and begun the regular approaches, Maurice left 
his cousin Louis William to superintend the siege opera- 
tions for the moment, and advanced toward Ootmarsum, 
a frontier town which might give him trouble if in the 
hands of a relieving force. The place fell at once, with 
the loss of but one life to the states' army, but that a 
very valuable one ; General de Famars, one of the origi- 
nal signers of the famous Compromise and a most dis- 
tinguished soldier of the Republic, having been kiUed 
before the gates. 

On the 31st July Maurice returned to his intrench- 
ments. The enemy professed unbounded confidence, 
Van den Berg not doubting that he should be relieved 
by Verdugo, and Verdugo being sure that Van den 
Berg would need no relief. The Portuguese veteran, 
indeed, was inclined to wonder at Maurice's presumption 
in attacking so impregnable a fortress. *^ If Coevorden 
does not hold," said he, " there is no place in the world 
that can hold." ^ 

Count Peter Ernest was still acting as governor- 
general ; for Alexander Farnese, on returning from his 
second French campaign, had again betaken himself, 
shattered and melancholy, to the waters of Spa, leaving 
the responsibility for Netherland affairs upon the Ger- 
man octogenarian.2 To him, and to the nonagenarian 

1 Reyd, ubi sup. 

2 Parma to P. E. Mansfeld, August 16, 1592. Same to Philip, 
August 24, 1592. Arch, de Sim. MSS. 


Mondragon at Antwerp, the veteran Verdugo now called 
loudly for aid against the youthful pedant, whom all 
men had been laughing at a twelvemonth or so before. 
The Macedonian phalanx, Simon Stevinus and delving 
Dutch boors, unworthy of the name of soldiers, seemed 
to be steadily digging the ground from under Philip's 
feet in his hereditary domains. 

What would become of the world-empire, where was 
the Great King— not of Spain alone, nor of France alone, 
but the great monarch of all Christendom— to plant his 
throne securely, if his Frisian strongholds, his most im- 
portant Northern outposts, were to fall before an almost 
beardless youth at the head of a handful of republican 
militia ? 

Verdugo did his best, but the best was little. The 
Spanish and Italian legions had been sent out of the 
Netherlands into France. Many had died there, many 
were in hospital after their return, nearly all the rest 
were mutinous for want of pay. 

On the 16th August Maurice formally summoned 
Coevorden to surrender. After the trumpeter had blown 
thrice. Count Van den Berg, forbidding all others, came 
alone upon the walls and demanded his message. " To 
claim this city in the name of Prince Maurice of Nassau 
and of the States-General," was the reply. 

"Tell him first to beat down my walls as flat as the 
ditch," said Van den Berg, " and then to bring five or six 
storms. Six months after that I will think whether I 
will send a trumpet." ^ 

The prince proceeded steadily with his approaches, 
but he was infinitely chagrined by the departure out of 
his camp of Sir Francis Vere with his English contingent 

1 Bor, Reyd, Meteren, ubi sup. 


of three regiments, whom Queen Elizabeth had peremp- 
torily ordered to the relief of King Henry in Brittany. 

Nothing amazes the modern mind so much as the ex- 
quisite paucity of forces and of funds by which the 
world-empire was fought for and resisted in France, 
Holland, Spain, and England. The scenes of war were 
rapidly shifted— almost like the slides of a magic lan- 
tern — from one country to another; the same conspicu- 
ous personages, almost the same individual armies, 
perpetually reappearing in different places, as if a wild 
phantasmagoria were capriciously repeating itself to 
bewilder the imagination. Essex and Vere and Roger 
WUliams and Black Norris, Van der Does and Admiral 
Nassau, the Meetkerkens and Count Philip, Farnese and 
Mansfeld, George Basti, Aremberg, Berlaymont, La 
None and Teligny, Aquila and Coloma, were seen 
alternately fighting, retreating, triumphant, beleaguer- 
ing, campaigning, all along the great territory which 
extends from the Bay of Biscay to the crags of Brittany, 
and across the narrow seas to the bogs of Ireland, and 
thence through the plains of Picardy and Flanders to 
the swamps of Groningen and the frontiers of the 

This was the arena in which the great struggle was 
ever going on, but the champions were so few in num- 
ber that their individual shapes become familiar to us 
like the figures of an oft-repeated pageant. And now 
the withdrawal of certain companies of infantry and 
squadrons of cavalry from the Spanish armies into 
France had left obedient Netherland too weak to resist 
rebellious Netherland, while, on the other hand, the 
withdrawal of some twenty or thirty companies of Eng- 
lish auxiliaries— most hard-fighting veterans, it is true, 


but very few in number— was likely to imperil the enter- 
prise of Maurice in Friesland. 

The removal of these companies from the Low Coun- 
tries to strengthen the Bearnese in the north of France 
formed the subject of much bitter diplomatic conference 
between the states and England, the order having been 
communicated by the great queen herself in many a 
vehement epistle and caustic speech, enforced by big, 
manly oaths. ^ 

1 The cautionary towns required to "be held at this season with 
a firm hand. The days were gone when the states looked up to 
the representative of the queen as a "Messiah," and felt that she 
alone sustained them from sinking into ruin. A series of victories 
over the Spaniards, and the amazing fatuity of the Spanish policy, 
had given them vast confidence in themselves, and a growing 
contempt for their great enemy. They did not feel themselves 
entirely dependent on England, but considered the services 
rendered by each country to the other as fairly equal, and they 
therefore the more keenly resented the withdrawal of troops to 
which they believed themselves thoroughly entitled by their con- 
tract. It was an infraction of the treaty, in their opinion, to hold 
their cities, yet to send the English auxiliaries into France. 
There were rising commotions in Flushing and Ostend, while at 
the same time it was felt that the foreign enemy at any moment 
was capable of making a sudden assault on those most vital 
places. "It is advertised me out of England," said Sir Robert 
Sydney, governor of Flushing, " that there be some men of war 
that say that Flushing may be kept with a white rod. I know not 
whether they have the caduceus which the poets write that 
Mercury had, which was of force to bring sleep upon all men. 
If they have not, truly they little know this town, or perhaps will 
not say what indeed they think, being not in their own particular 
interested in the good or ill of it. . . . The burghers, I confess, 
carry themselves very honestly, and I persuade myself that the 
queen hath many true servants among them, notwithstanding the 
chief way to keep them still honest is to have such a garrison as may 
pay them at any time the price of doing ill." The governor pro- 


Verdugo, although confident in the strength of the 
place, had represented to Parma and to Mansfeld the 
immense importance of relieving Coevorden. The city, 
he said, was more valuable than all the towns taken the 
year before. All Friesland hung upon it, and it would 
be impossible to save Groningen should Coevorden fall. 

tested that twenty-two companies of one hundred and thirty-five 
men each were not a stronger garrison for his town than five com- 
panies had been a few years before. The republican sentiment had 
so much displaced the feeling of dependence on a foreign sovereign 
that the protectors were grown to appear almost like enemies. 
Formerly matters were very different. " Then was the name of the 
queen reverenced in all these countries," he said, " as of another 
savior ; and there was love unto her, and unto her subjects, such 
as if they had been all of one nation. The Earl of Leicester, in 
name and effect, was governor-general of the whole country. My 
brother [Sir Philip Sydney] had, joined to the government which 
now I have, the regiment of Zealand, which are the troops from 
which this garrison has to fear most any sudden harm. The prov- 
inces then were poor, and ill order among them, and the states 
generally hated of the people. Every day a town lost, the King of 
Spain's army mighty, himself entangled with no other wars, and 
to all these harms there was no show of hope but from the queen, 
all other princes directly shunning their alliance. The people saw 
that the queen's taking the cause in hand, and the succor she 
sent, had been the only pillar which, after the loss of Antwerp, 
had held up their state from utter ruin, which bred a love for the 
queen, and a fear of displeasing her. . . . All this has since been 
changed : there is a new face on the state and people ; the gov- 
ernor-general has lost all authority ; all the commandment of the 
armies is in their hands." The governor then assigned many 
pregnant reasons for the withdrawing of love from the English 
and their queen on the part of the Netherlanders, prominent among 
which were the malpractices of the English in Campveer, Medem- 
blik, and Gertruydenberg, but especially the interference by the 
English cruisers with their sea-going ships, and the frequent 
piracies committed on their merchantmen by her Majesty's navy. 
"The hindrance of their free traffic," he said, "and the despoiling 


Meantime Count Philip Nassau arrived from the cam- 
paign in France with his three regiments, which he threw 
into garrison, and thus set free an equal number of fresh 
troops, which were forthwith sent to the camp of Mau- 

of many of their ships by such as have commission by the queen 
to go to sea, are what they exclaim against extremely." He paid 
an honest tribute to the national unity which had grown up in the 
Republic, and to the good administration of their affairs. " Now 
are the states and the people firmly united, "he said, "the soldiers 
thoroughly contented by the good government of the count and 
the good payment made to them. . . . The fear of the King of 
Spain is almost worn out, their army having now, the third year, 
almost without opposition kept the field." It was Sydney's opin- 
ion that Coevorden would soon fall, after which Groningen would 
become untenable.. Then, without additional expense, the states 
would be able to take the field with twenty-five thousand men, with 
which they thought themselves quite capable of holding the King of 
Spain in play, especially embarked as he was with England and 
France. "Yet do I not think," he added, "that the states will be 
willing to have the English companies drawn away, they being, 
although but few, a great part of the reputation of the army ; neither 
do I think that they would yet be willing to have the contract with 
her Majesty broken off, because it is one of the principal chains 
that hold these provinces in union together, and one of the best 
graces they have with the princes abroad ; and because, by the amity 
with England, they have the free use of the sea, by which they 
live. Though these men be her Majesty's subjects, yet in respect 
that by the contract they were lent unto them, and that to have 
them they put their towns into her Majesty's hands, they think 
they may challenge a great right unto them ; and truly I was in a 
manner asked whether the queen, withdrawing her forces, would 
still retain the cautionary towns." Truly the question seemed a 
pertinent one, and it would have been difficult for an honest man 
to explain why the mortgage should remain when the loan was 
withdrawn. It needed no Solomon or Daniel to decide so plain a 
matter, and the states had an uncomfortable habit of insisting on 
their rights, even in the very face of the English queen. "These 
men, how simple show soever they bear outwardly, have hearts 


rice.i The prince at the same time was made aware that 
Verdugo was about to receive important succor, and he 
was advised by the deputies of the States-General pres- 
ent at his headquarters to send out his German reiters 
to intercept them. Maurice refused. Should his cav- 
alry be defeated, he said, his whole army would be 
endangered. He determined to await within his forti- 
fied camp the attack of the relieving force. 

During the whole month of August he proceeded 
steadUy with his sapping and mining. By the middle 
of the month his lines had come through the ditch, 
which he drained of water into the counterscarp. By 
the beginning of September he had got beneath the 
principal fort, which, in the course of three or four 
days, he expected to blow into the air. The rainy 
weather had impeded his operations and the march of 
the relieving army. Nevertheless, that army was at last 
approaching. The regiments of Mondragon, Charles 
Mansf eld, Gonzaga, Berlaymont, and Aremberg had been 
despatched to reinforce Verdugo. On the 23d August, 
having crossed the Rhine at Rheinberg, they reached 
Olfen, in the country of Bentheim, ten miles from Coe- 
vorden. Here they threw up rockets and made other 

high enough," said Sydney, "and look to be respected as they 
which hold themselves chief rulers of the provinces, which have 
so long maintained war against the King of Spain, and truly I do 
not think that secretly anything is so much indigested by them as 
the little respect as they imagine is had of them in England, and 
herein they did look that her Majesty should have proceeded by 
way of intreating with them, as was done two years ago, when Sir 
John Norris led the first troops into Brittany."— Sydney to 
Burghley, July 14, 1592, S. P. Office MS. Same to same, August 
4, 1592, ibid. 

1 Bor, Reyd, Meteren, ubi sup. 


signals that relief was approaching the town. On the 
3d of September Verdugo, with the whole force at his 
disposal, amounting to four thousand foot and eighteen 
hundred horse, was at the village of Emblichen, within 
a league of the besieged city. That night a peasant 
was captured with letters from Verdugo to the gov- 
ernor of Coevorden, giving information that he intended 
to make an assault on the besiegers on the night of 6th- 
7th September. 

Thus forewarned, Maurice took the best precautions 
and calmly within his intrenchments awaited the on- 
slaught. Punctual to his appointment, Verdugo, with 
his whole force, yelling " Victoria ! Victoria ! " made a 
shirt-attack, or camiciata,— the men wearing their shirts 
outside their armor to distinguish each other in the 
darkness,— upon that portion of the camp which was 
under command of Hohenlo. They were met with de- 
termination and repulsed, after fighting all night, with 
a loss of three hundred killed and a proportionate num- 
ber of wounded. The Netherlanders had but three killed 
and six wounded. Among the latter, however, was 
Louis William, who received a musket-ball in the belly, 
but remained on the ground until the enemy had re- 
treated. It was then discovered that his wound was 
not mortal, the intestines not having been injured, 
and he was soon about his work again. ^ Prince Mau- 

1 Bor, Reyd, Meteren, ubi sup. " My brother William," wrote 
Count John to his father, "was shot in the right side, so that the 
ball came out again near the navel ; but, thank God, there is no 
danger of his life, as all the barbers agree. . . . After he had re- 
ceived the shot he remained more than an hour fighting on horse- 
back and afoot before his wound was bound up, and he could not 
be induced by any persuasion to leave the ground."— Groen 
V. Prinsterer, Archives, II. S. i. 207, 208. 


rice, too, as usual, incurred the remonstrances of the 
deputies and others for the reckless manner in which he 
exposed himself wherever the fire was hottest.^ He 
resolutely refused, however, to permit his cavalry to fol- 
low the retreating enemy. His object was Coevorden,— 
a prize more important than a new victory over the 
already defeated Spaniards would prove,— and this ob- 
ject he kept ever before his eyes. 

This was Verdugo's first and last attempt to relieve 
the city. He had seen enough of the young prince's 
tactics and had no further wish to break his teeth against 
those scientific intrenchments. The Spaniards at last, 
whether they wore their shirts inside or outside their 
doublets, could no longer handle the Dutchmen at plea- 
sure. That people of butter, as the iron Duke of Alva 
was fond of calling the Netherlanders, were grown 
harder with the pressure of a twenty-five years' war. 

Five days after the sanguinary camiciata the besieged 
offered to capitulate. The trumpet at which the proud 
Van den Berg had hinted for six months later arrived on 
the 12th September. Maurice was glad to get his town. 
His "little soldiers" did not insist, as the Spaniards 
and Italians were used to do in the good old days, on 
unlimited murder, rape, and fire, as the natural solace 
and reward of their labors in the trenches. Civilization 
had made some progress, at least in the Netherlands. 
Maurice granted good terms, such as he had been in the 
habit of conceding to all captured towns. Van den Berg 
was courteously received by his cousins, as he rode forth 
from the place at the head of what remained of his gar- 
rison, five hundred in number, with colors flying, 
matches burning, bullet in mouth, and with all their 

1 Bor, Reyd, Meteren, ubi sup. 


arms and baggage except artillery and ammunition, and 
the heroic little Louis, notwithstanding the wound in 
his belly, got on horseback and greeted him with a 
cousinly welcome in the camp.^ 

The city was a most important acquisition, as already 
sufficiently set forth, but Queen Elizabeth, much misin- 
formed on this occasion, was inclined to undervalue it. 
She wrote accordingly to the states, reproaching them 
for using all that artillery and that royal force against 
a mere castle and earth-heap, instead of attempting some 
considerable capital, or going in force to the relief of 
Brittany.^ The day was to come when she would ac- 
knowledge the advantage of not leaving this earth-heap 
in the hands of the Spaniard. Meantime Prince Mau- 
rice, the season being so far advanced, gave the world 
no further practical lessons in the engineering science, 
and sent his troops into winter quarters. 

These were the chief military phenomena in France 
and Flanders during three years of the great struggle to 
establish Philip's universal dominion. 

1 Bor, Eeyd, Meteren. 

2 " Hasardants vos gens es entreprinses ineertaines et de peu 
de consequence eu esgard que le poids des affaires qui conscernent 
le bien de notre estat et du votre consiste plus tost a empecher la 
perte de Bretagne, le recouvrement vous devroit estre beaucoup 
plus recommande que de vous attaquer a ung petit chateau tel 
qu'est Coevorden ou aultre semblable."— Queen to the States- 
General, July 23, 1592, Hague Archives MS. 

VOL. IV.— 11 


Negotiations between Queen Elizabeth and the states— Aspect of 
affairs between England and the Netherlands— Complaints of the 
Hollanders on the piratical acts of the English— The Dutch envoy 
and the English government— Caron's interview with Elizabeth 
—The queen promises redress of grievances. 

It is now necessary to cast a glance at certain negotia- 
tions on delicate topics which had meantime been occur- 
ring between Queen Elizabeth and the states. 

England and the Republic were bound together by ties 
so close that it was impossible for either to injure the 
other without inflicting a corresponding damage on 
itself. Nevertheless, this very community of interest, 
combined with a close national relationship,— for in the 
European family the Netherlanders and English were 
but cousins twice removed,— with similarity of pursuits, 
with commercial jealousy, with an intense and ever- 
growing rivalry for that supremacy on the ocean toward 
which the Monarchy and the Republic were so earnestly 
struggling, with a common passion for civil and re- 
ligious freedom, and with that inveterate habit of self- 
assertion— the healthful but not engaging attribute of 
all vigorous nations— which strongly marked them both, 
was rapidly producing an antipathy between the two 
countries which time was hkely rather to deepen than 



efface. And the national divergences were as potent as 
the traits of resemblance in creating this antagonism. 

The democratic element was expanding itself in the 
Republic so rapidly as to stifle for a time the oligarchical 
principle which might one day be developed out of the 
same matrix ; while, despite the hardy and adventurous 
spirit which characterized the English nation throughout 
all its grades, there was never a more intensely aristo- 
cratic influence in the world than the governing and 
directing spirit of the England of that age. 

It was impossible that the courtiers of Elizabeth and 
the burgher statesmen of Holland and Friesland should 
sympathize with each other in sentiment or in manner. 
The republicans, in their exuberant consciousness of 
having at last got rid of kings and kingly paraphernalia 
in their own land, — for since the rejection of the sover- 
eignty offered to France and England in 1585 this feel- 
ing had become so predominant as to make it difficult to 
believe that those offers had been in reality so recent,— 
were insensibly adopting a frankness, perhaps a rough- 
ness, of political and social demeanor which was far 
from palatable to the euphuistic formalists of other 

Especially the English statesmen, trained to approach 
their sovereign with almost Oriental humility, and accus- 
tomed to exact for themselves a large amount of defer- 
ence,^ could ill brook the free-and-easy tone occasionally 
adopted in diplomatic and official intercourse by these 
upstart republicans. A queen who, to loose morals, 
imperious disposition, and violent temper, united as inor- 

1 The Venetian ambassador Contarini relates that in the reign 
of James I. the great nobles of England were served at table by 
lackeys on their knees. 


dinate a personal vanity as was ever vouchsafed to 
woman, and who up to the verge of decrepitude was 
addressed by her courtiers in the language of love-lorn 
swain to blooming shepherdess,^ could naturally find but 
little to her taste in the hierarchy of Hans Brewer and 
Hans Baker. Thus her Majesty and her courtiers, 
accustomed to the faded gallantries with which the 
serious affairs of state were so grotesquely intermingled, 
took it ill when they were bluntly informed, for instance, 
that the state council of the Netherlands, negotiating on 

^ Take, for example, among a thousand similar effusions, the 
language used by Sir Walter Raleigh at exactly the period with 
which we are now occupied : 

" I that was wont to behold her riding like Alexander, walking 
like Venus, the gentle wind blowing her fair hair about her pure 
cheeks, like a nymph ; sometimes sitting in the shade like a god- 
dess, sometimes singing like an angel, sometimes playing like 
Orpheus. All wounds have scars but those of fantasy, all affec- 
tions their relenting but those of womankind. All those times 
past, the loves, the sighs, the sorrows, the desires, can they not 
weigh down one frail misfortune? Cannot one drop of gall be 
hidden in so great heaps of sweetness?" etc. "Do with me now, 
therefore, what you list— I am weary of life," etc.— Sir "W. Raleigh 
to Sir R. Cecil, July, 1592, Murdin State Papers, ii. 657. Let 
it be remembered that the Venus, nymph, goddess, angel, thus 
adjured for pity, had just turned her sixtieth year. 

The Chevalier du Maimer relates in his Memoirs a little inci- 
dent which he witnessed when residing as a boy near The Hague, 
his father being then French envoy to the states, and which in- 
dicates that the rustic and uncourtly independence of the re- 
publicans had not diminished with the lapse of a few more years, 
and with the corresponding increase of popular wealth and 
strength throughout the commonwealth. The unlucky Elector 
Palatine, ex-King of Bohemia, a refugee in Holland since the 
battle of Prague, was hunting hares in the neighborhood of Du 
Maurier's house. In the ardor of the chase, Frederick, having 
intruded with dogs and horses upon the turnip-field of a wealthy 


Netherland affairs, could not permit a veto to the rep- 
resentatives of the queen, and that this same body of 
Dutchmen, discussing their own business, insisted upon 
talking Dutch and not Latin. 

It was impossible to deny that the young stadholder 
was a gentleman of a good house, but how could the 
insolence of a common citizen like John of Olden- 
Barneveldt be digested? It was certain that behind 
those shaggy, overhanging brows there was a powerful 
brain stored with legal and historic lore, which supplied 
eloquence to an ever-ready tongue and pen. Yet these 
facts, difficult to gainsay, did not make the demands so 

peasant, saw himself pursued with loud cries by the incensed pro- 
prietor, accompanied by a very big farm-servant. Both were 
armed with pitchforks, and the farmer himself presented a truly 
respectable as well as formidable appearance, dressed as he 
happened to be in his holiday suit of black Spanish broadcloth, 
with an underjacket of Florence ratinet, adorned with massive 
silver buttons. Flourishing his pitchfork, and making no other 
salutation, he bawled out : " King of Bohemia, King of Bohemia, 
what do you mean by trampling on my turnips? Don't you know 
how much pains it costs to plant and to weed them? " The luck- 
less son-in-law of the British sovereign had nothing for it but to 
apologize for the trespass, and to beat as rapid a retreat before 
the Dutch farmer as he had recently done before the Duke of 
Lorraine and the Emperor Ferdinand. (Memoires de Messire 
Aubrey du Maurier, 252, 253.) 

Perhaps it was as well for the progress of mankind — even at 
the occasional sacrifice of courtesy to royalty in difficulties— that 
there should have been a corner of the earth where the theory of 
natural masters and guardians for the people had already received 
so rude a shock as in Holland, and where not only the boor but 
the boor's turnips were safe from being ti'ampled upon. What 
more poignant satire on human nature than is contained in this 
very English word "boor" ! The builder, tlie planter, the creator, 
—the Bauer, in short,— is made to be identical with the vidgar 


frequently urged by the States-General upon the Eng- 
lish government for the enforcement of Dutch rights 
and the redress of English wrongs the more acceptable. 

Bodley, Gilpin, and the rest were in a chronic state of 
exasperation with the Hollanders, not only because of 
their perpetual complaints, but because their complaints 
were perpetually just. 

The States-General were dissatisfied, all the Nether- 
landers were dissatisfied, — and not entirely without 
reason, — that theEnglish, with whom the Republic wason 
terms not only of friendship but of alliance, should burn 
their ships on the high seas, plunder their merchants, and 
torture their sea-captains in order to extort information 
as to the most precious portions of their cargoes.^ 

1 "Nommement que pardessus ung nombre infini de pilleries, 
forces et outrages, certain navire de Pierre Piateoz, au commence- 
ment de ce mois venant d'Espaigne vers ces Provinces Unies 
charge d'une grande somme d'argent et marehandises prdcieuses 
a 6t6 toYo6, prins et men6 a Plymouth par le subject de V. M. le 
Capitaine Martin Frobisher avec ung aultre navire charg6 de sel. 
Lesquels navires sout tenus comme pour bonne prinse soubs 
pretexte premierement, comme nous entendons, que le diet Pierre 
se seroit mis en defence contre le navire de V. M. lequel il na cognu 
ny peu cognoistre pour le grand nombre de la diversity des navdres 
mesmes des pirates qui jom-nellement s'aydant en mer du nom des 
navires et gens de V. M. forcent et pillent les navires et marehan- 
dises des inhabitants de ce pays soubs toute couleur et pretexte 
traictans les mariniers de toutes sortes de tourments. Et seconde- 
ment qu'ils disent qu'en iceux deux navires auroient este quelques 
biens et marehandises appartenans aux Espagnols ou autres sub- 
jects et tenants le parti des ennemis : le tout contre la verite et dont 
il n'apparoistra jamais ainsi que le les propri^taires et mariniers 
disent. Ces practiques et traverses dont ils usent journellement 
meme par menaces, concussions et violences pour fair confesser 
aux bons gens ce qu'on veuille ou de les constraindre a abandonner 
leurs biens et marehandises ainsi prinses, sont si notoires et en si 


Sharp language against such malpractices was consid- 
ered but proof of democratic vulgarity. Yet it would be 
hard to maintain that Martin Frobisher, Mansfield, 
Grenfell, and the rest of the sea-kings, with all their 
dash and daring and patriotism, were not as unscrupu- 
lous pirates as ever sailed blue water, or that they were 
not apt to commit their depredations upon friend and 
foe alike. 

On the other hand, by a liberality of commerce in ex- 
grand nombre que nous tenons tout certain qu'elles sent assez cog- 
nues et d^couvertes et indubitablement apparoistront encores avec 
le temps plus clairement a V. M.," etc.— States-General to the 
queen, November 1, 1590, Hague Archives MS. 

" II n'y a chose que nous faisons avecq plus de regret que de 
molester si souventes fois V. M. par nos plainctes a I'endroiet des 
doleances des marchants de ces pays, des pilleries, dommages et 
exces que leur font continuellement en mer les subjects d'Icelle 
par pure force et violence sans cause ny aulcune raison, au lieu 
de I'ordre et remede qui leur avoit este promis et asseur6. 
D'aultant que S9avons combien cela doibt desplaire a une Prin- 
cesse Chr6tienne et droicturiere dont V. M. est si renomm^e par 
tout le monde. Mais comme voyons les diets exces s'accroistre 
joumellement en telles exorbitances et plus ni moings si les 
Anglais s'estoient declares enuemis de ces pays et faisoient leur 
equippaige tout expres pour quant nos marchands ruiner, aussi du 
tout nostre estat, ou du moins par ce moyen le mettre en rage et 
desespoir du peuple ; si comme nous est apparu par verifications 
legitimes et auctentiques que le 24" du mois de Mai dernier une 
pinasse nomme le Jeune Lion oii estoit capitaine ung appelle 
Manser et deux aultres navires Anglois dont I'ung avoit nom Susan 
et estoit commando par le capitaine Henry, ont sans mot sonner 
furieusement attaqu6 par coups d'artillerie et investie ung navire 
de la Veere appelle le Griphon, qui avoit pour marinier Gole 
Adrianszoen, parti auparavant de St. Lucas et estoit charge de 
grande quantity d'argent, perles et conclienille le quel ils ont 
entierement spoilt et pill6 apres qu'ils avoient faict prisonniers et 
gehenne inhumainement plusieurs de ceulx qui y estoient dedans, 


traordinary contrast with the practice of modem times, 
the Netherlanders were in the habit of trading directly 
with the arch-enemy of both Holland and England, even 
in the midst of their conflict with him, and it was com- 
plained of that even the munitions of war and the 
implements of navigation by which Spain had been 
enabled to effect its foothold in Brittany, and thus to 

les eontraignants de signer qu'ils n'avoient prins que dix-sept 
sacqs d'argent et huict tonneaux de la dicte conehenille en lieu de 
cent et quinze sacqs, toutes les perles et conehenille ; non obstant 
que le dit maistre marinier leur fait voir qu'ils estoient de la Vere 
et que le tout appartenoit a des marchands de Zelande," etc. — 
States-General to the queen, June 26, 1592, Hague Archives MS. 

" Outre le meseontement que les peuples out par les con- 
tinuelles lareins et pilleries de la mer par oh ils sont entierement 
ali^nez de I'affection quils souloient porter a la nation Anglaise," 
etc.— Noel de Caron to the lord treasurer, July, 1592, Hague 
Archives MS. 

"The merchants of Middelburg have of late received such 
losses, as they say, by our countrymen that herM.'s letter whereby 
she signifies the release of four ships is not medicine strong 
enough any way to appease their griefs. They complain of two 
ships taken on the coast of Portugal worth £30,000 sterling, and 
the same day I did deliver the queen's letter they had already had 
news of the taking of four ships more going out of this river, 
worth, as they say, as much as the other two. These actions make 
them almost desperate, as I will write more at large unto y"^ Lo. : 
upon the return of the deputies, which they of Zealand did send 
unto HoU^ to let them know of these prisals, and to take some 
course for it. ... I am assured that before this happened all the 
country except Amsterdam were resolved to give contentment unto 
the queen touching the articles of the traffic. What they will 
now do I know not, for these things have greatly stirred the 
humors here, and if it be continued, not unlikely that some 
inconvenience may happen, which in my opinion were good for 
her M. to foresee, since the profit comes little, as far as I can see, 
to herself, and the merchants and committee of these towns, who 
are the men that most affect her M. and her service, will have 


threaten the English coast, were derived from this very 

The Hollanders replied that, according to their con- 
tract with England, they were at liberty to send as many 
as forty or fifty vessels at a time to Spain and Portugal, 
that they had never exceeded the stipulated number, 
that England freely engaged in the same traffic herself 
with the common enemy, that it was not reasonable to 

their hearts alienated from her if they see their goods, which is 
their life, taken from them by her M.'s subjects, where they look 
to be protected by her."— Sir R. Sydney to Burghley, October 29, 
1590, S. P. Office MS. 

1 "Touchant ce que voiis debvriez prohiber le commerce et 
transportement de vivres et munitions d'icy en Espagne. Qui est 
une chose practique aus si ouvertement et hardiment par certains 
marchands de Hollande et Zelande que s'il ny avoit point 
d'inimitie entre les Espaignols et eux. Tellement que si les 
navires du Roy en Biscaye et Gallice Cales et aultres parties 
m^ridionales d'Espagne n'eussent point este fournis I'an pass6 et 
ce printems de poudre et de cordage par les marchands de ces 
pays cy, n'auroit peu envoyer auleunes forces en Bretagne. Or 
sur ces vostres procedures et aultres semblables le roy de France 
et ses conseillers, le Prince Dombes son lieutenant en Bretagne et 
son ambassadeur en Angleterre, et de faict tous hommes en 
general tant princes qu'aultres qui ont la commune cause en re- 
commendation, se plaignent grandement tous les jours et ad- 
dressent leurs plaintes a S. M. presumans qu'elle ayant pris la 
protection de ces pays cy pourroit et debvroit par ses moyens et 
authorite redresser ung si notoire desordre pour la preservation 
d'elle mesme et de tous ceux qui sont touchez en mesme cas. 
Mesmes dans ce peu de join's ledict Ambassadeur a inform^ S. M. 
d'une grande quantite de munitions porte a S. Malo et Nantes en 
Bretagne et de plus de 20 navires charges de ble et de quelque 
provision de poudre. . . . Ces actions illicites rendent S. M. 
tellement offens^e qu'elle pense avoir cause de se repentir d'avoir 
oncques pris la defence de ces pays contre le Roy d'Espagne, con- 
siderant que les armes et les forces d'Icelluy par beaucoup 


consider cordage or dried fish or shooks and staves, but- 
ter, eggs, and corn, as contraband of war, that if they 
were illegitimate the English trade was vdtiated to the 
same degree, and that it would be utterly hopeless for 
the provinces to attempt to carry on the war except by 
enabling themselves, through the widest and most unre- 
stricted foreign commerce, even including the enemy's 
realms, to provide their nation with the necessary wealth 
to sustain so gigantic a conflict.^ 

d'ann^es ont 4t6 entretenues et maintenues en ces Pays Bas par le 
commun transportement de vivres et foumiture de guerre a ieelles 
qui s'est faiet par permission et licence d'icy," etc.— Bodley to the 
States-General, June 2, 1591, Hague Archives MS. 

"Quand vous aultres pour vos advantages partieuliers laissez 
foumir de toutes sortes de commodites le diet ennemi commun et 
puissant, et a eeste heure mesme que pour I'amour de vous nous 
sommes foreclose de tout commerce a la ruine totale de plusieurs 
de nos subjects, lesquels comme ils nous ont este plus chers que 
la vie ainsi ne pouvons que nous ressentir de leurs plaintes 
touchant les traffiques qui se font journellement soubz des noms 
emprunt6s et simul^z, ce qui s'est directement d^couvert," etc.— 
Queen to the States-General, February 13, 1593, Hague Archives 

1 "Nous n'avons encore peu persuader a V. M. combien le 
transport de quelques vivres ensemble la navigation et trafficq 
avecq et vers le pays de West importent au bien et conservation 
de nostre estat. Car ny ayant mine d'or ni d'autre metal es diets 
pays dont I'on pourroit tirer les frais d'icelle guerre, d'aiiltre part 
I'affluenee annuelle que Dieu y donne de beui're, fromage et 
quelques autres vivres, y estant par Sa divine grace si abondante 
que la dixieme part ny peult estre consum^e, et la multitude du 
peuple addonn^ au trafficque et manufacture y estant grande et 
si independante que faisant tant seulement le moindre semblant 
de les y vouloir empescher, la plus grande partie d'iceux s'en de- 
partiroit vers les pays voisins tirant quand a eulx une infinite de 
navires et mariniers comme I'exp^rience a assez montr6 mesme du 
terns du dit feu Mons"^ le Comte de Leycester que nous peult on 


Here were ever-flowing fountains of bitterest discus- 
sion and recrimination. It must be admitted, however, 
that there was occasionally an advantage in the despotic 
and summary manner in which the queen took matters 
into her own hands. It was refreshing to see this great 
sovereign— who was so well able to grapple with ques- 
tions of state, and whose very imperiousness of temper 
impelled her to trample on shallow sophistries and 
specious technicalities — dealing dii-ectly with cases of 
piracy and turning a deaf ear to the councilors, who, in 
that as in every age, were too prone to shove by inter- 
national justice in order to fulfil municipal forms. 

It was, however, with much difficulty that the envoy 
of the Republic was able to obtain a direct hearing from 
her Majesty in order to press the long list of complaints 
on account of the English piratical proceedings upon 
her attention. He intimated that there seemed to be 

imputer que les beneficions et en tirons les moyens de nostre con- 
servation? L'on nous objecte que les notres vont querir les grains 
en Oostlande et les meinent vers les pays de West subjects a 
I'ennemy, qu'icelluy s'en nourrit et fortifie. Nous le croions, mais 
l'on ne nous sauroit persuader (encores que la trafficq des nostres 
cessat) que ceulx d'Oostlande vouldroient ou pourraient laisser 
perir I'abondance des grains y croissant annuellemente (qui sont 
presque I'unicque moyen de leur trafficq et soutien de leiir vie) et 
que sachant qu'ailleurs y en auroit disette et traitte, eux et autres 
marchants et mariniers de divers royaumes et pays ne les y trans- 
portent et ny a apparence de la leur pouvoir empescher (quant ce 
ne servit que pour le gaing exorbitant et commoditez qu'ils en 
tirent) non plus que d'empescher le Roy d'Espagne de s'en faire 
pouvoir a quelque prix que ce fust d'illecq ou d'ailleurs. Et 
dependant le transport de grains estrangers d'icy, que devieudra 
si grande quantity qui y est? puisque par le grace de Dieu ces 
pays en produisent aultant et plus qu'il en fault pour la nourriture 
des manans d'iceulx. Et qui croira qu'on y amenera d'aultres 
pour y demourer establiz comme en ung sacq en peril de sy gaster. 


special reasons why the great ones about her throne 
■were disposed to deny him access to the queen, knowing 
as they did in what intent he asked for interviews. 
They described in strong language the royal wrath at 
the opposition recently made by the states to detaching 
the English auxiliaries in the Netherlands for the service 
of the French king in Normandy, hoping thereby to 
deter him from venturing into her presence with a list 
of grievances on the part of his government. "I did 
my best to indicate the danger incurred by such trans- 
ferring of troops at so critical a moment," said Noel de 
Caron, "showing that it was directly in opposition to 
the contract made with her Majesty, But I got no an- 
swer save very high words from the lord treasurer, to 
the effect that the States-General were never willing 

. . . Cependant cesseroient les convois et licentes d'entree et 
issue (principal revenu de ces pays) et les marchants et mariniers 
qui n'ont aultre moyen de vivre et nourrir leurs femmes et enfans 
se transporteroient avee leur navires en Danemark, Norweghen, 
Hambourg, Dansig, voire memes en Pologne et ailleurs. . . . 
Dont ensuivroit non seulement tres grande diminution des imports 
et autres moyens destines pour I'entretien de la guerre, mais aussi 
transport et alienation des navires et mariniers (prineipale force 
de ces pays). . . . H faut que ce n'est pas par gaiety de coeur que 
toutes nos terres, maisons rentes et aultres bien immeubles, 
mesmes aussi du bestail, nous paions liberalement une grande 
partie du fruit et revenu d'iceulx et que de nostre manger, boire, 
vestemens, chauffage et autres consumptions pardessus le prix nous 
payons pour impots presque la valeur Micelles. Et toutes fois tout 
cela n'est bastant pour en foumir la moitie des frais de notre 
guerre sans y comprendre une infinite de dettes es quelles le pays 
demeure oblig^ pardessus toutes autres charges, que les provinces 
supportent a I'entretien de leurs dieques escluses et dependanees 
centre les inondations des rivieres et de la mer contre lesquels ils 
soutiennent aussi comme une continuelle guerre. ... II est evident 
qu'il importe singulierement pour la conservation de ces dits pays 


to agree to any of her Majesty's propositions, and that 
this matter was as necessary to the states' service as to 
that of the French king. In effect, he said peremptorily 
that her Majesty willed it and would not recede from 
her resolution." ^ 

The envoy then requested an interview with the queen 
before her departure into the country. 

Next day, at noon, Lord Burghley sent word that she 
was to leave between five and six o'clock that evening, 
and that the minister would be welcome meantime at 
any hour. 

" But notwithstanding that I presented myself," said 
Caron, " at two o'clock in the afternoon, I was unable to 
speak to her Majesty until a moment before she was 

et service de la cause commune que la navigation et trafficque des 
dits vivres demeurent libres. Et supplions tres humblement qu'il 
plaise a V. M. donner I'ordre que convient a ce que au dehors et 
centre icelluy plaecart ladite navigation trafficq et transport ne 
soient par ses subjects aucunement empeschez ou soubs quelque 
pretexte que ee soit retard^s, mesmes aussy de vouloir relaxer et 
indemner eeux qui sent encore empesches et endommag^s," etc. 
—States-General to the queen, May 4, 1592, Hague Archives MS. 

" Dat de staten eens met haer geaccordeert waren dat zy maer 
veertig ofte vyftig schepen teffens en zouden zenden. . . . 
Nochtaens dat iek haere Mat. mochte verzekeren datter geen vyftig 
schepen in alle de vlote naer Spagnien en wilden, etc. . . . Want 
ick haer verzekerde dat ons Land (Got lof ) treifelycke Coepluyden 
hadde die t' in alien eecken van der werelt besoehten. Dat selfs 
haere natie met dense in Spaignien traffiequeerde ende dat dense 
onder de namen van de Oosterlinghen Deynen ende andersints 
moesten trafficqueren, anders dat zy in groot peryckel waren als 
zy ontdekt wierden," etc.— Caron to the States-General, Novem- 
ber 18, 1592, Hague Archives MS. 

1 " In effecte zeyde absolutelycken dat Haer Mat. die begeerde, 
ende van der resolutie niet soude afstaeu."— Same to same, July 
30, 1592, Hague Archives MS. 


about to mount her horse. Her language was then very- 
curt. She persisted in demanding her troops, and 
strongly expressed her dissatisfaction that we should 
have refused them on what she called so good an occa- 
sion for using them. I was obliged to cut my replies 
very short, as it was already between six and seven 
o'clock, and she was to ride nine English miles to the 
place where she was to pass the night. I was quite sen- 
sible, however, that the audience was arranged to be 
thus brief in order that I should not be able to stop 
long enough to give trouble, and perhaps to find occa- 
sion to renew our complaints touching the plunderings 
and robberies committed upon us at sea. This is what 
some of the great personages here, without doubt, are 
afraid of, for they were wonderfully well overhauled in 
my last audience. I shall attempt to speak to her again 
before she goes very deep into the country." ^ 

It was not, however, before the end of the year, after 
Caron had made a voyage to Holland and had returned, 
that he was able to bring the subject thoroughly before 
her Majesty. On the 14th November he had prelimi- 
nary interviews with the lord high admiral and the lord 
treasurer at Hampton Court, where the queen was then 
residing. The plundering business was warmly dis- 
cussed between himself and the admiral, and there was 
much quibbling and special pleading in defense of the 
practices which had created so much irritation and 

1 Caron to the States-General, July 30, 1592: "Emmers ick 
hebbe wel gevoelt dat deze audientie voor my zoo cort geapposteert 
was omme dat ick haer niet te lange zoude blyven troubleren ende 
mischien occasie crygen om onse clagten nopende de plonderingen 
ende roverien ter zee te vemyeuwen twelck sommige groote 
allhier zonder twyffel vreesen. Want zy wonderlycken zeer over- 
haelt wierden in myne leste audientie," etc. 


pecuniary loss in Holland. There was a good deal of 
talk about want of evidence and conflict of evidence, 
which, to a man who felt as sure of the facts and of the 
law as the Dutch envoy did,— unless it were according to 
public law for one friend and ally to plunder and burn 
the vessels of another friend and ally, — was not encour- 
aging as to the probable issue of his interview with her 
Majesty. It would be tedious to report the conversation 
as fully as it was laid by Noel de Caron before the 
States-General ; but at last the admiral expressed a hope 
that the injured parties would be able to make good 
their case. At any rate, he assured the envoy that he 
would take care of Captain Mansfield for the present, 
who was in prison with two other captains, so that pro- 
ceedings might be had against them if it was thought 
worth while.^ 

Caron answered with Dutch bluntness. "I recom- 
mended him very earnestly to do this," he said, "and 
told him roundly that this was by all means necessary 
for the sake of his own honor. Otherwise no man could 
ever be made to believe that his Excellency was not seek- 
ing to get his own profit out of the aifair. But he 
vehemently swore and protested that this was not the 
case." 2 

He then went to the lord treasurer's apartment, where 
a long and stormy interview followed on the subject of 

1 Caron to the States-General, November 18, 1592, Hague 
Archives MS. 

2 "Ick hebbe hem tzelve zeer ernstelycken gerecommandeert 
ende dem rondelyek uitgeseyt dat zulcx om zyii eerewille allesints 
betaemde anders dat men nyemant en sonde connen doen gelooven 
oft zyne E. en zonae willen in dese zaecke zyne prouffit gedoen. 
Zoo hy hooehelyken swoer ende protesteerde dat hy niet en hadde 
nochte oock en zoude willen doen."— Ibid. 


the withdrawal of the English troops. Caron warmly 
insisted that the measure had been full of danger for 
the states; that they had been ordered out of Prince 
Maurice's camp at a most critical moment ; that, had it 
not been for the stadholder's promptness and military 
skill, very great disasters to the common cause must have 
ensued; and that, after all, nothing had been done by 
the contingent in any other field, for they had been for 
six months idle and sick, without ever reaching Brittany 
at all. 

"The lord treasurer, who, contrary to his custom," 
said the envoy, " had been listening thus long to what I 
had to say, now observed that the states had treated her 
Majesty very iU, that they had kept her running after 
her own troops nearly half a year, and had offered no 
excuse for their proceedings." ^ 

It would be superfluous to repeat the arguments by 
which Caron endeavored to set forth that the English 
troops, sent to the Netherlands according to a special 
compact, for a special service, and for a special consid- 
eration and equivalent, could not honestly be employed, 
contrary to the wishes of the States-General, upon a 
totally different service and in another country. The 
queen willed it, he was informed, and it was ill-treat- 
ment of her Majesty on the part of the Hollanders to 
oppose her will. This argument was unanswerable. 

Soon afterward Caron was admitted to the presence 
of Elizabeth. He delivered, at first, a letter from the 
States-General, touching the withdrawal of the troops. 
The queen instantly broke the seal and read the letter 
to the end. Coming to the concluding passage, in which 

1 Caron to the States-General, November 18, 1592, Hague 
Archives MS 


the states observed that they had great and just cause 
highly to complain on that subject, she paused, reading 
the sentences over twice or thrice, and then remarked : 
''Truly these are comical people.^ I have so often 
been complaining that they refused to send my troops, 
and now the states complain that they are obliged to let 
them go. Yet my intention is only to borrow them for 
a little while, because I can give my brother of France 
no better succor than by sending him these soldiers, 
and this I consider better than if I should send him four 
thousand men. I say again, I am only borrowing them, 
and surely the states ought never to make such com- 
plaints, when the occasion was such a favorable one, and 
they had received already sufficient aid from these 
troops, and had liberated their whole country. I don't 
comprehend these grievances. They complain that I 
withdraw my people, and meantime they are still hold- 
ing them and have brought them ashore again. They 
send me frivolous excuses that the skippers don't know 
the road to my islands, which is, after all, as easy to find 
as the way to Caen, for it is all one. I have also sent 
my own pilots, and I complain bitterly that by making 
this difficulty they will cause the loss of all Brittany. 
They run with their people far away from me, and mean- 
time the}'' allow the enemy to become master of all the 
coasts lying opposite me. But if it goes badly with me 
they will rue it deeply themselves." ^ 

1 "Voor waer zy zyn sehaeke luyden."— Caron to the States- 
General, MS. last cited. The conversation was of course in 
French, but as the envoy made his report to the States-General 
in Dutch, it is not possible to give the exact word whieli the 
queen used. It may be rendered crafty, queer, droll, cunning, 
or funny. 

2 Caron to the States-General, MS. last cited. 

VOL. IV.— 12 


There "was considerable reason, even if there were but 
little justice, in this strain of remarks. Her Majesty 
continued it for some little time longer, and it is interest- 
ing to see the direct and personal manner in which this 
great princess handled the weightiest affairs of state. 
The transfer of a dozen companies of English infantry 
from Friesland to Brittany was supposed to be big with 
the fate of France, England, and the Dutch Republic, 
and was the subject of long and angry controversy, not 
as a contested point of principle, in regard to which 
numbers, of course, are nothing, but as a matter of 
practical and pressing importance. 

"Her Majesty made many more observations of this 
nature," said Caron, " but without getting at all into a 
passion, and, in my opinion, her discourse was sensible, 
and she spoke with more moderation than she is wont 
at other times." ^ 

The envoy then presented the second letter from the 
States-General in regard to the outrages inflicted on 
the Dutch merchantmen. The queen read it at once, 
and expressed herself as very much displeased with her 
people. She said that she had received similar in- 
formation from Councilor Bodley, who had openly 
given her to understand that the enormous outrages 
which her people were committing at sea upon the Neth- 
erlanders were a public scandal. It had made her so 
angry, she said, that she knew not which way to turn. 
She would take it in hand at once, for she would rather 
make oath nevermore to permit a single ship of war to 

1 "Doch sender haer eenighsints te moveren, dan naer myns 
bedunkens discours gewys ende veel meerder moderatie dan zy op 
ander tyden wel was gewoon."— Caron to the Stat«s-General, MS. 
last cited. 


leave her ports than consent to such thieveries and vil- 
lainies. She told Caron that he would do well to have 
his case in regard to these matters verified, and then to 
give it into her own hands, since otherwise it would all 
be denied her, and she would find herself unable to get 
at the truth. ^ 

" I have all the proofs and documents of the mer- 
chants by me," replied the envoy, ^' and, moreover, sev- 
eral of the sea-captains who have been robbed and 
outraged have come over with me, as likewise some 
merchants who were tortured by burning of the thumbs 
and other kinds of torments." ^ 

This disturbed the queen very much, and she expressed 
her wish that Caron should not. allow himself to be put 
off with delays by the council, but should insist upon 
all due criminal punishment, the infliction of which she 

1 "Ende haer zeer tonvreden gehouden jegens haer volck, 
seyde oock diergelyck verstaen te hebben van den Raetsheer 
Bodley die haer opentlycken adverteerde dat het een open 
schandael was te verstaen d'enorme stukken die haer volck ter 
zee op de onsen waren doende, twelck (soo sy seyde) haer zoo 
tornieh gemaeckt hadde datse niet wiste waer haer keereu, datse 
oock eens voor haer zoude nemen ende liever versweren nimmer- 
meer meer te consenteren eenich schip van oorlogen te laten 
rdtgaen dan occasie van zulkce dievereyen ende schelmeryen te 
consenteren, dat ick daeromme wel zoude doen myn zaecke in dit 
regard te doen verifieren, ende t'zelve haer in lianden te geven, 
want anders men tzelve haer al ontkende ende daer geensints 
tuschen en eonste geraeken."— Caron to the States-General, No- 
vember 18, 1592, Hague Archives MS. 

2 "Ick zedye aen haere Ma* dat ick alle de bewysen ende 
documenten van de coopluyden by my hadde, oyck mode datter 
eenige schippers die men berooft ende geoultrageert hadde met 
my waren gecommen, oock coopluyden die men de duymen hadde 
gebrant ende andere tormenten van pynigen aen hadde gedaen, 
twelck haer oock zeer ontstelde," etc.— Ibid. 


promised in the strongest terms to order ; for she could 
never enjoy peace of mind, she said, so long as such 
scoundrels were tolerated in her kingdom.^ 

The envoy had brought with him a summary of the 
cases, with the names of all the merchants interested, 
and a list of all the marks on the sacks of money which 
had been stolen. The queen looked over it very care- 
fully, declaring it to be her intention that there should 
be no delays interposed in the conduct of this affair by 
forms of special pleading, but that speedy cognizance 
should be taken of the whole, and that the property 
should forthwith be restored. 2 

She then sent for Sir Robert Cecil, whom she directed 
to go at once and tell his father, the lord treasurer, that 
he was to assist Caron in this affair exactly as if it were 
her own. It was her intention, she said, that her peo- 
ple were in no wise to trouble the Hollanders in legiti- 
mate mercantile pursuits. She added that it was not 
enough for her people to say that they had only been 
seizing Spaniards' goods and money, but she meant that 
they should prove it, too, or else they should swing 
for it.^ 

^ " Seggende dat zy ingerustiehe yt niet conde geleven als men 
zulcke schelmen in haer Rycke langer zoude verdragen." — Caron 
to the States-General, November 18, 1592, Hague Archives MS. 

2 Ibid. 

3 " Dede dien volgende roupen Sir Robert Cecil die zy belaste 
aen den Trcsorier zynen vader te gaen zeggen dat hy my hierinne 
zoude assisteren al oft haer eygen zaecke waere, want haere in- 
tentie (zoo zy zeyde) niet en was dat men ons eenigsins in onse 
coophandelinge soude troubleren als wy daerinne op recht han- 
delden. Seyde oock dat haer niet genoeck en was dat haer volck 
zeyde dat se Spaignaerts gelt ende goet geattrapeert hadden, maer 
verstont dat zy tzelve zouden doen blycken ofte met haren hals 
betaelen."— Ibid. 


Caron assured her Majesty that he had no other com- 
mission from his masters than to ask for justice, and that 
he had no instructions to claim Spanish property or 
enemy's goods. He had brought sufficient evidence 
with him, he said, to give her Majesty entire satis- 

It is not necessary to pursue the subject any further. 
The great nobles still endeavored to interpose delays, 
and urged the propriety of taking the case before the 
common courts of law. Caron, strong in the support of 
the queen, insisted that it should be settled, as her Maj- 
esty had commanded, by the council, and it was finally 
arranged that the judge of admiralty should examine 
the evidence on both sides, and then communicate the 
documents at once to the lord treasurer. Meantime the 
money was to be deposited with certain aldermen of 
London, and the accused parties kept in prison. The 
ultimate decision was then to be made by the council, 
''not by form of process, but by commission thereto 
ordained." ^ In the course of the many interviews which 
followed between the Dutch envoy and the privy coun- 
cilors, the lord admiral stated that an English mer- 
chant residing in the Netherlands had sent to offer him 
a present of two thousand pounds sterling in case the 
affair should be decided against the Hollanders. He 
communicated the name of the individual to Caron, 
under seal of secrecy, and reminded the lord treasurer 
that he, too, had seen the letter of the Englishman. Lord 
Burghley observed that he remembered the fact that 
certain letters had been communicated to him by the 
lord admiral, but that he did not know from whence 

1 Caron to the States-General, November 18, 1592, Hague 
Archives MS. Also same to same, December 12, 1592. 


they came, nor anything about the person of the 

The case of the plundered merchants was destined to 
drag almost as slowly before the council as it might 
have done in the ordinary tribunals, and Caron was 
" kept running," as he expressed it, " from the court to 
London, and from London to the court," and it was long 
before justice was done to the sufferers.'-^ Yet the ener- 
getic manner in which the queen took the case into her 
own hands, and the intense indignation with which she 
denounced the robberies and outrages which had been 
committed by her subjects upon her friends and allies, 
were effective in restraining such wholesale piracy in 
the future. 

On the whole, however, if the internal machinery is 

1 "Den grooten Admirael began wederomme te seggen van 
zyne advertentien die hy op dit stuck selfs hadde gecrygen uit 
Zeelant, dat eenige Coopluyden hem hadden doen presenteren 
twee duysent pond sterlincx, seggende totten grooten Tresorier 
dat hy hem selfs de brieven hadde gecommuniceert die darop 
antwoorde wel brieven gesien te hebben, maer wiste niet van 
wiens die quamen doerdien hy den persoon die dezelve gescreven 
hadde niet en kende, vraegde daeromme van wat natie hy was, 
den Admirael zeyde dat het een Engelseh Coopman was die hy 
cock noemde. Doeh dede my erst belooven dat iek hem niet en 
zoude willen ontdecken, zal daeromme synen naem hier naergelaten 
worden, ter wylen iek ooek tzelve alsoo beloofde, maer hocht ans 
adviseren zulcke ordre daerinno te stellen als den dienst van 
den lande wel is verheyschende. Den Admirael zeyde ooek dat 
hy wel wiste dat den zelven Coopman alreede derwaerts over in 
dangiere hadde geweest, twelck my dede antwoorden dat hy 
dan voer dees tyt voor sulcx most wesen bekant."— Report of 
Caron to the States-General, December 10, 1592, Hague Archives 

2 Letters and reports of Caron, passim, ibid. 


examined by which the masses of mankind were moved 
at this epoch in various parts of Christendom, we shall 
not find much reason to applaud the conformity of 
governments to the principles of justice, reason, or 


Influence of the rule and character of Philip II.— Heroism of the 
sixteenth century— Contest for the French throne— Character and 
policy of the Duke of Mayenne— Escape of the Duke of Guise 
from Castle Tours— Propositions for the marriage of the Infanta 
—Plotting of the Catholic party- Grounds of Philip's pretensions 
to the crown of France— Motives of the Duke of Parma maligned 
by Commander Moreo— He justifies himself to the king— View of 
the private relations between Philip and the Duke of Mayenne and 
their sentiments toward each other— Disposition of the French 
politicians and soldiers toward Philip— Peculiar commercial 
pursuits of Philip— Confused state of affairs in France- 
Treachery of Philip toward the Duke of Parma— Eecall of the 
duke to Spain— His sufferings and death. 

The People— which has been generally regarded as 
something naturally below its rulers, and as born to be 
protected and governed, paternally or otherwise, by an 
accidental selection from its own species, which by some 
mysterious process has shot up much nearer to heaven 
than itself —is often described as brutal, depraved, self- 
seeking, ignorant, passionate, licentious, and greedy. 

It is fitting, therefore, that its protectors should be 
distinguished, at great epochs of the world's history, by 
an absence of such objectionable qualities. 

It must be confessed, however, that if the world had 
waited for heroes, during the dreary period which fol- 
lowed the expulsion of something that was called Henry 



III. of France from the gates of his capital, and espe- 
cially during the time that followed hard upon the de- 
cease of that embodiment of royalty, its axis must have 
ceased to turn for a long succession of years. The Bear- 
nese was at least alive and a man ; he played his part 
with consummate audacity and skill; but alas for an 
epoch or a country in which such a shape, notwith- 
standing all its engaging and even commanding quali- 
ties, is looked upon as an incarnation of human great- 
ness ! 

But the chief mover of all things, so far as one man 
can be prime mover, was still the diligent scribe who 
lived in the Escorial. It was he whose high mission it 
was to blow the bellows of civil war, and to scatter 
curses over what had once been the smiling abodes of 
human creatures, throughout the leading countries of 
Christendom. The throne of France was vacant, nomi- 
nally as well as actually, since the year 1589. During two- 
and-twenty years preceding that epoch he had scourged 
the provinces, once constituting the richest and most 
enlightened portions of his hereditary domains, upon 
the theory that without the Spanish Inquisition no 
material prosperity was possible on earth, nor any en- 
trance permitted to the realms of bliss beyond tlie grave. 
Had every Netherlander consented to burn his Bible, 
and to be burned himself should he be found listening 
to its holy precepts if read to him in shop, cottage, 
farm-house, or castle, and had he, furthermore, consented 
to renounce all the liberal institutions which his ances- 
tors had earned, in the struggle of centuries, by the 
sweat of their brows and the blood of their hearts, his 
benignant proprietor and master, who lived at the ends 
of the earth, would have consented at almost any 


moment to peace. His arms were ever open. Let it 
not be supposed that this is the language of sarcasm or 
epigram. Stripped of the decorous sophistications by 
which human beings are so fond of concealing their 
naked thoughts from each other, this was the one simple 
dogma always propounded by Philip, Grimace had done 
its worst, however, and it was long since it had exercised 
any power in the Netherlands. The king and the Dutch- 
men understood each other, and the plain truths with 
which those republicans answered the imperial proffers 
of mediation, so frequently renewed, were something 
new and perhaps not entirely unwholesome in diplomacy. 

It is not an inviting task to abandon the comparatively 
healthy atmosphere of the battle-field, the blood-stained 
swamp, the murderous trench, — where human beings, 
even if communing only by bullets and push of pike, 
were at least dealing truthfully with each other, — and to 
descend into those subterranean regions where the efflu- 
via of falsehood become almost too foul for ordinary 
human organization. 

Heroes in those days, in any country, there were few. 
William the Silent was dead. De la None was dead. 
Duplessis-Mornay was living, but his influence over his 
royal master was rapidly diminishing. Cecil, Hatton, 
Essex, Howard, Raleigh, James Croft, Valentine Dale, 
John Norris, Roger Williams, the "Virgin Queen" her- 
self—does one of these chief agents in public affairs, or 
do all of them together, furnish a thousandth part of 
that heroic whole which the England of the sixteenth 
century presents to every imagination? Maurice of 
Nassau, excellent soldier and engineer as he had already 
proved himself, had certainly not developed much of 
the heroic element, although thus far he was walking 


straight forward, like a man, in the path of duty, with 
the pithy and substantial Louis William ever at his side. 
Olden-Barneveldt, tough burgher statesman, hard- 
headed, indomitable man of granite, was doing more 
"work, and doing it more thoroughly, than any living 
politician, but he was certainly not of the mythological 
brotherhood who inhabit the serene regions of space be- 
yond the moon. He was not the son of god or goddess, 
destined, after removal from this sphere, to shine with 
planetary luster, among other constellations, upon the 
scenes of mortal action. Those of us who are willing to 
rise— or to descend, if the phrase seems wiser— to the 
idea of a self-governing people must content ourselves, 
for this epoch, with the fancy of a hero-people and a 

A plain little republic, thrusting itself uninvited into 
the great political family party of heaven-anointed sov- 
ereigns and long-descended nobles, seemed a somewhat 
repulsive phenomenon. It became odious and danger- 
ous when by the blows it could deal in battle, the logic 
it could chop in council, it indicated a remote future for 
the world in which right divine and regal paraphernalia 
might cease to be as effective stage-properties as they 
had always been considered. 

Yet it will be difficult for us to find the heroic indi- 
vidualized very perceptibly at this period, look where 
we may. Already there seemed ground for questioning 
the comfortable fiction that the accidentally dominant 
families and castes were by nature wiser, better, braver 
than that miich-contemned entity, the People. What if 
the fearful heresy should gain ground that the People 
was at least as wise, honest, and brave as its masters? 
What if it should become a recognized fact that the great 


individuals and castes, whose wealth and station fur- 
nished them with ample time and means for perfecting 
themselves in the science of government, were rather 
devoting their leisure to the systematic filling of their 
own pockets than to the hiving up of knowledge for the 
good of their fellow-creatures ? What if the whole the- 
ory of hereditary superiority should suddenly exhale? 
What if it were found out that we were all fellow-worms 
together, and that those which had crawled highest were 
not necessarily the least slimy ? 

Meantime it will be well for us, in order to understand 
what is called the Past, to scrutinize somewhat closely 
that which was never meant to be revealed. To know 
the springs which once controlled the world's movements, 
one must ponder the secret thoughts, purposes, aspira- 
tions, and baffled attempts of the few dozen individuals 
who once claimed that world in fee simple. Such re- 
searches are not in a cheerful field ; for the sources of 
history are rarely fountains of crystal, bubbling through 
meadows of asphodel. Vast and noisome are the many 
sewers which have ever run beneath decorous Christen- 

Some of the leading military events in France and 
Flanders, patent to all the world, which grouped them- 
selves about the contest for the French throne, as the 
central point in the history of Philip's proposed world- 
empire, have already been indicated. 

It was a species of triangular contest, so far as the 
chief actors were concerned, for that vacant throne. 
Philip, Mayenne, Henry of Navarre, with all the adroit- 
ness which each possessed, were playing for the splendid 

Of Philip it is not necessary to speak. The preceding 


volumes of this work have been written in vain if the 
reader has not obtained from irrefragable testimony— 
the monarch's own especially — a sufficient knowledge of 
that human fetish before which so much of contempo- 
rary humanity groveled. 

The figure of Navarre is also one of the most familiar 
shapes in history. 

As for the Duke of Mayenne, he had been, since the 
death of his brother the Balafre, ostensible leader of the 
League, and was playing, not- without skill, a triple 

Firstly, he hoped for the throne for himself. 

Secondly, he was assisting the King of Spain to obtain 
that dignity. 

Thirdly, he was manoeuvering in dull, dumb, but not 
ineffective manner in favor of Navarre. 

So comprehensive and self-contradictory a scheme 
would seem to indicate an elasticity of principle and a 
fertility of resource not often vouchsafed to man. 

Certainly one of the most pregnant lessons of history 
is furnished in the development of these cabals, nor is 
it, in this regard, of great importance whether the issue 
was to prove them futile or judicious. It is sufficient 
for us now that when those vanished days constituted 
the Present— the vital atmosphere of Christendom— the 
world's affairs were controlled by those plotters and 
their subordinates, and it is therefore desirable for us to 
know what manner of men they were, and how they 
played their parts. 

Nor should it ever be forgotten that the leading 
motive with all was supposed to be religion. It was to 
maintain the supremacy of the Roman Church, or to 
vindicate, to a certain extent, liberty of conscience 


through the establishment of a heterodox organization, 
that all these human beings of various lineage and lan- 
guage throughout Christendom had been cutting each 
other's throats for a quarter of a century. 

Mayenne was not without courage in the field when 
he found himself there, but it was observed of him that 
he spent more time at table than the Bearnese in sleep, 
and that he was so fat as to require the assistance of 
twelve men to put him in the saddle again whenever he 
fell from his horse. Yet, slow fighter as he was, he was 
a most nimble intriguer. As for his private character, 
it was notoriously stained with every vice, nor was there 
enough of natural intelligence or of superior acquire- 
ment to atone for his crapulous, licentious, shameless 
life. His military efficiency at important emergencies 
was impaired and his life endangered by vile diseases. 
He was covetous and greedy beyond what was considered 
decent even in that cynical age. He received subsidies 
and alms with both hands from those who distrusted and 
despised him, but who could not eject him from his 
advantageous position. 

He wished to arrive at the throne of France. As son 
of Francis of Guise, as brother of the great Balafre, he 
considered himself entitled to the homage of the fish- 
women and the butchers' halls. The constitution of the 
country in that age making a People impossible, the subtle 
connection between a high-born intriguer and the dregs 
of a populace, which can only exist in societies of deep 
chasms and precipitous contrasts, was easily established. 

The duke's summary dealing with the sixteen tyrants 
of Paris in the matter of the president's murder had, 
however, loosened his hold on what was considered the 
democracy ; but this was at the time when his schemes 


were silently swinging toward the Protestant aristoc- 
racy, at the moment when Politiea was taking the place 
of Madam League in his secret affections. Nevertheless, 
so long as there seemed a chance, he was disposed to 
work the mines for his own benefit. His position as 
lieutenant-general gave him an immense advantage for 
intriguing with both sides, and, in case his aspirations 
for royalty were baffled, for obtaining the highest pos- 
sible price for himself in that auction in which Philip 
and the Bearnese were likely to strain all their resources 
in outbidding each other. 

On one thing his heart was fixed. His brother's son 
should at least not secure the golden prize if he could 
prevent it. The young Duke of Guise, who had been 
immured in Castle Tours since the famous murder of 
his father and uncle, had made his escape by a rather 
neat stratagem. Having been allowed some liberty for 
amusing himself in the corridors in the neighborhood of 
his apartment, he had invented a game of hop, skip, and 
jump up stairs and down, which he was wont to play 
with the soldiers of the guard, as a solace to the tedious- 
ness of confinement. One day he hopped and skipped 
up the staircase with a rapidity which excited the ad- 
miration of the companions of his sport, slipped into his 
room, slammed and bolted the doors, and when the 
guard, after in vain waiting a considerable time for him 
to return and resume the game, at last forced an en- 
trance, they found the bird flown out of window. Rope- 
ladders, confederates, fast-galloping post-horses did the 
rest, and at last the young duke joined his affectionate 
uncle in camp, much to that eminent relative's discom- 
fiture.i Philip gave alternately conflicting instructions 
1 De Thou, xi. 


to Farnese : sometimes that he should encourage the nat- 
ural jealousy between the pair ; sometimes that he should 
cause them to work harmoniously together for the com- 
mon good, that common good being the attainment by 
the King of Spain of the sovereignty of France. 

But it was impossible, as already intimated, for May- 
enne to work harmoniously with his nephew. The Duke 
of Guise might marry with the Infanta and thus become 
King of France by the grace of God and Philip. To 
such a consummation in the case of his uncle there stood, 
as we know, an insuperable obstacle in the shape of the 
Duchess of Mayenne. Should it come to this at last, it 
was certain that the duke would make any and every 
combination to frustrate such a scheme. Meantime he 
kept his own counsel, worked amicably with Philip, 
Parma, and the young duke, and received money in 
overflowing measure, and poured into his bosom, from 
that Spanish monarch whose veterans in the Netherlands 
were maddened by starvation into mutiny. 

Philip's plans were a series of alternatives. France 
he regarded as the property of his family. Of that there 
could be no doubt at all. He meant to put the crown 
upon his own head, unless the difficulties in the way 
should prove absolutely insuperable. In that case he 
claimed France and all its inhabitants as the property 
of his daughter. The Salic law was simply a pleasantry, 
a bit of foolish pedantry, an absurdity. If Clara Isa- 
bella, as daughter of Isabella of France, as grandchild 
of Henry II., were not manifestly the owner of France,— 
queen proprietary, as the Spanish doctors called it, — then 
there was no such thing, so he thought, as inheritance 
of castle, farm-house, or hovel— no such thing as prop- 
erty anywhere in the world. If the heiress of the Valois 


could not take that kingdom as her private estate, what 
security could there ever be for any possessions, public 
or private ? 

This was logical reasoning enough for kings and their 
councilors. There was much that might be said, how- 
ever, in regard to special laws. There was no doubt that 
great countries, with all their live stock, human or other- 
wise, belonged to an individual, but it was not always 
so clear who that individual was. This doubt gave 
much work and comfortable fees to the lawyers. There 
was much learned lore concerning statutes of descent, 
cutting off of entails, actions for ejectment, difficulties 
of enforcing processes, and the like, to occupy the atten- 
tion of diplomatists, politicians, and other sages. It 
would have caused general hilarity, however, could it 
have been suggested that the live stock had art or part 
in the matter j that sheep, swine, or men could claim a 
choice of their shepherds and butchers. 

Philip, humbly satisfied, as he always expressed him- 
self, so long as the purity of the Roman dogmas and the 
supremacy of the Romish Church over the whole earth 
were maintained, affected a comparative indifference as 
to whether he should put the crown of St. Louis and of 
Hugh Capet upon his own gray head, or whether he 
should govern France through his daughter and her 
husband. Happy the man who might exchange the sym- 
bols of mutual affection with Philip's daughter. 

The king had various plans in regard to the bestowal 
of the hand thus richly endowed. First and foremost it 
was suggested — and the idea was not held too monstrous 
to be even believed in by some conspicuous individuals— 
that he proposed espousing his daughter himself. The 
pope was to be relied on, in this case, to give a special 

VOL. IV.— 13 


dispensation. Such a marriage, between parties too 
closely related to be usually united in wedlock, might 
otherwise shock the prejudices of the orthodox. His 
late niece and wife was dead, so that there was no incon- 
venience on that score, should the interests of his 
dynasty, his family, and, above all, of the Church, impel 
him, on mature reflection, to take for his fourth mar- 
riage one step farther within the forbidden degrees than 
he had done in his third. Here is the statement which, 
if it have no other value, serves to show the hideous 
designs of which the enemies of Philip sincerely believed 
that monarch capable. 

"But God is a just God," wrote Sir Edward Stafford, 
'' and if, with all things past, that be true that the king 
(videlicet, Henry IV.) yesterday assured me to be true, and 
that both his ambassador from Venice writ to him and 
M. de Luxembourg from Rome, that the Count Olivarez 
had made a great instance to the pope (Sixtus V.), a little 
afore his death, to permit his master to marry his 
daughter, no doubt God will not leave it long unpun- 
ished." 1 

Such was the horrible tale which was circulated and 
believed in by Henry the Great of France and by emi- 
nent nobles and ambassadors, and at least thought pos- 
sible by the English envoy. By such a family arrange- 
ment it was obvious that the conflicting claims of father 
and daughter to the proprietorship of France would be 
ingeniously adjusted, and the children of so well-assorted 
a marriage might reign in undisputed legitimacy over 
France and Spain and the rest of the world-monarchy. 
Should the king decide on the whole against this matri- 
monial project, should Innocent or Clement prove as 
1 Stafford to Burghley, October 14, 1590, S. P. Office MS. 


intractable as Sixtus, then it would be necessary to de- 
cide among various candidates for the Infanta's hand. 

In Mayenne's opinion the Duke of Guise was likely to 
be the man ; but there is little doubt that Philip, in case 
these more cherished schemes should fail, had made up 
his mind— so far as he ever did make up his mind upon 
anything— to select his nephew the Archduke Ernest, 
brother of the Emperor Rudolph, for his son-in-law. 
But it was not necessary to make an immediate choice. 
His quiver was full of archdukes, any one of whom 
would be an eligible candidate, while not one of them 
would be likely to reject the Infanta with France on her 
wedding-finger. Meantime there was a lion in the path 
in the shape of Henry of Navarre. 

Those who disbelieve in the influence of the individual 
on the fate of mankind may ponder the possible results to 
history and humanity had the dagger of Jacques Clement 
entered the stomach of Henry IV. rather than of Henry 
III. in the summer of 1589, or the perturbations in the 
world's movements that might have puzzled philosophers 
had there been an unsuspected mass of religious convic- 
tion revolving unseen in the mental depths of the Bear- 
nese. Conscience, as it has from time to time exhibited 
itself on this planet of ours, is a powerful agent in con- 
trolling political combinations ; but the instances are 
unfortunately not rare, so far as sublunary progress is 
concerned, in which the absence of this dominant influ- 
ence permits a prosperous rapidity to individual careers. 
Eternal honor to the noble beings, true chieftains among 
men, who have forfeited worldly power or sacrificed life 
itself at the dictate of religious or moral conviction, even 
should the basis of such conviction appear to some of us 
unsafe or unreal. Shame on the tongue which would 


malign or ridicule the martyr or the honest convert to 
any form of Christian faith ! But who can discover 
aught that is inspiring to the sons of men in conver- 
sions — whether of princes or of peasants — wrought, not 
at risk of life and pelf, but for the sake of securing and 
increasing the one and the other ? 

Certainly the Bearnese was the most candid of men. 
It was this very candor, this freedom from bigotry, this 
want of conviction, and this openness to conviction, that 
made him so dangerous and caused so much anxiety to 
Philip. The Roman Church might or might not be 
strengthened by the reconversion of the legitimate heir 
of France, but it was certain that the claims of Philip 
and the Infanta to the proprietorship of that kingdom 
would be weakened by the process. While the Spanish 
king knew himself to be inspired in all his actions by a 
single motive, the maintenance of the supremacy of the 
Roman Church, he was perfectly aware that the Prince 
of Beam was not so single-hearted nor so conscientious 
as himself. 

The Prince of Beam, heretic, son of heretics, great 
chieftain of heretics, was supposed capable of becoming 
orthodox whenever the pope would accept his conver- 
sion. Against this possibility Philip struggled with all 
his strength. 

Since Pope Sixtus V., who had a weakness for Henry, 
there had been several popes. Urban VII., his immedi- 
ate successor, had reigned but thirteen days. Gregory 
XIV. (Sfondrato) had died 15th October, 1591, ten 
months after his election. Facchinetti, with the title of 
Innocent IX., had reigned two months, from 29th Octo- 
ber to 29th December, 1591. He died of " Spanish poi- 
son," said Envoy Umton, as coolly as if speaking of 


gout, or typhus, or any other recognized disorder. 
Clement VIII. (Aldobrandini) was elected 30th January, 
1592. He was no lover of Henry, and lived in mortal 
fear of Philip, while it must be conceded that the Span- 
ish ambassador at Rome was much given to browbeat- 
ing his Holiness. Should he dare to grant that absolu- 
tion which was the secret object of the Bearnese, there 
was no vengeance, hinted the envoy, that Philip would 
not wreak on the Holy Father. He would cut off his 
supplies from Naples and Sicily, and starve him and all 
his subjects ; he would frustrate aU his family schemes, 
he would renounce him, he would unpope him, he would 
do anything that man and despot could do, should the 
great shepherd dare to readmit this lost sheep, and this 
very black sheep, into the fold of the faithful. 

As for Henry himself, his game — for in his eyes it 
was nothing but a game— lay every day plainer and 
plainer before him. He was indispensable to the heretics. 
Neither England, nor Holland, nor Protestant Germany 
could renounce him, even should he renounce " the re- 
ligion." Nor could the French Hiiguenots exist without 
that protection which, even although Catholic, he could 
still extend to them when he should be accepted as king 
by the Catholics. 

Hereditary monarch by French law and history, re- 
leased from his heresy by the authority that could bind 
and loose, purged as with hyssop and washed whiter than 
snow, it should go hard with him if Philip and Farnese 
and Mayenne, and all the pikemen and reiters they 
might muster, could keep him very long from the throne 
of his ancestors. 

Nothing could match the ingenuousness with which he 
demanded the instruction whenever the fitting time for 


it should arrive ; as if, instead of having been a professor 
both of the Calvinist and Cathohc persuasion, and hav- 
ing relapsed from both, he had been some innocent Peru- 
vian or Hindu, who was invited to listen to preachings and 
to examine dogmas for the veiy first time in his life. 

Yet Philip had good grounds for hoping a favorable 
result from his political and military manoeuver. He 
entertained little doubt that France belonged to him or 
to his daughter; that the most powerful party in the 
country was in favor of his claims, provided he would 
pay the voters liberally enough for their support ; and 
that if the worst came to the worst it would always be 
in his power to dismember the kingdom, and to reserve 
the lion's share for himself, while distributing some of 
the provinces to the most prominent of his confederates. 

The sixteen tyrants of Paris had already, as we have 
seen, urged the crown upon him, provided be would 
establish in France the Inquisition, the Council of Trent, 
and other acceptable institutions, besides distributing 
judiciously a good many lucrative offices among various 
classes of his adherents. 

The Duke of Mayenne, in his own name and that of 
all the Catholics of France, formally demanded of him 
to maintain two armies, forty thousand men in all, to be 
respectively under command of the duke himself and of 
Alexander Farnese, and regularly to pay for them. 
These propositions, as has been seen, were carried into 
effect as nearly as possible, at enormous expense to 
PhOip's exchequer, and he naturally expected as good 
faith on the part of Mayenne. 

In the same paper in which the demand was made 
Philip was urged to declare himself King of France. He 
was assured that the measure could be accomplished 


"by freely bestowing marquisates, baronies, and peer- 
ages, in order to content the avarice and ambition of 
many persons, without at the same time dissipating the 
greatness from which all these members depended. 
Pepin and Charlemagne," said the memorialists, " who 
were foreigners and Saxons by nation, did as much in 
order to get possession of a kingdom to which they had 
no other right except that which they acquired there by 
their prudence and force, and after them Hugh Capet, 
much inferior to them in force and authority, following 
their example, had the same good fortune for himself 
and his posterity, and one which still endures. 

" If the authority of the holy see could support the 
scheme at the same time," continued Mayenne and his 
friends, '' it would be a great help. But it being perilous 
to ask for that assistance before striking the blow, it 
would be better to obtain it after the execution." ^ 

That these wholesome opinions were not entirely 
original on the part of Mayenne, nor produced spon- 
taneously, was plain from the secret instructions given 
by Philip to his envoys, Don Bernardino de Mendoza, 
John Baptist de Tassis, and the Commander Moreo, 
whom he had sent soon after the death of Henry III. to 
confer with Cardinal Gaetano in Paris. 

They were told, of course, to do everything in their 
power to prevent the election of the Prince of Beam, 
" being as he was a heretic, obstinate and confirmed, who 
had sucked heresy with his mother's milk." The legate 
was warned that " if the Bearnese should make a show of 
converting himself, it would be frigid and fabricated." 2 

1 Arch, de Sim. (Paris), A. 57, 133, MS. 

2 Instruceion que se dio a Don B. de Mendoza, J. B. de Tassis, 
y el Com. Moreo, anno 1589, Arch, de Sim. MS. 


If they were asked whom Philip desired for king— a 
question which certainly seemed probable under the 
circumstances— they were to reply that his foremost wish 
was to establish the Catholic religion in the kingdom, 
and that whatever was most conducive to that end would 
be most agreeable to him. " As it is, however, desirable, 
in order to arrange matters, that you should be in- 
formed of everything," said his Majesty, " it is proper 
that you should know that I have two kinds of right to 
all that there is over there : firstly, because the crown 
of France has been usurped from me, my ancestors hav- 
ing been unjustly excluded by foreign occupation of it ; 
and, secondly, because I claim the same crown as first 
male of the house of Valois." ^ 

Here certainly were comprehensive pretensions, and 
it was obvious that the king's desire for the establish- 
ment of the Catholic religion must have been very lively 
to enable him to invent or accept such astonishing fic- 

But his own claims were but a portion of the case. 
His daughter and possible spouse had rights of her own, 
hard, in his opinion, to be gainsaid. ^' Over and above 
all this," said Philip, '' my eldest daughter, the Infanta, 
has two other rights— one to all the states which as 
dower property are joined by matrimony and through 
females to this crown, which now come to her in direct 
line, and the other to the crown itself, which belongs 

1 " Es buen que sepays que yo tengo dos maneras de derecho a 
lo de ay ; por una parte a lo que me tiene usurpado essa corona 
aviendo lo ocupado injustamente a mios pasados, y por otra a la 
misma corona como Varon mayor de dlas de la casa Valesia— y 
que de mas desto tiene otros dos derechos la Infanta mi hija 
mayor," etc. — Instruccion, etc., MS. last cited. 


directly to the said Infanta, the matter of the Salic law 
being a mere invention." ^ 

Thus it would appear that Philip was the legitimate 
representative not only of the ancient races of French 
monarchs, whether Merovingians, Carlo vingians, or other- 
wise was not stated, but also of the usurping houses 
themselves, by whose intrusion those earlier dynasties 
had been ejected, being the eldest male heir of the 
extinct line of Valois, while his daughter was, if possi- 
ble, even more legitimately the sovereign and proprietor 
of France than he was himself. 

Nevertheless, in his magnanimous desire for the peace 
of the world and the advancement of the interests of 
the Church, he was, if reduced to extremities, willing to 
forego his own individual rights— when it should appear 
that they could by no possibility be enforced— in favor 
of his daughter and of the husband whom he should 
select for her. 

" Thus it may be seen," said the self-denying man, 
" that I know how, for the sake of the public repose, to 
strip myself of my private property." ^ 

Afterward, when secretly instructing the Duke of 
Feria, about to proceed to Paris for the sake of settling 
the sovereignty of the kingdom, he reviewed the whole 
subject, setting forth substantially the same intentions. 

1 Instruecion, etc., MS. last cited. 

2 " Tras esto, como yo tiro el suave reparo desse reyno mas que 
a interesses proprios faeilmente me absterria de las pretenciones 
que me tocan, con saber que son muy bien fundadas si viesse 
abrirse puerta a que consiguiendo las suyas la Infanta y por via 
de casamiento que estuviesse bien a todos— que menos sombras y 
9elos causaria los invidiosos de fuera— assi para que se vea que 
sabe por el sossiego publico desnudarme de mi particular."— MS. 
last cited. 


That the Prince of Beam could ever possibly succeed 
to the throne of his ancestors was an idea to be treated 
only with sublime scorn by all right-minded and sensible 
men. "The members of the house of Bourbon," said 
he, "pretend that by right of blood the crown belongs 
to them, and hence is derived the pretension made by 
the Prince of Beam ; but if there were wanting other 
very sufficient causes to prevent this claim— which, how- 
ever, are not wanting— it is quite enough that he is a 
relapsed heretic, declared to be such by the apostolic 
see, and pronounced incompetent, as well as the other 
members of his house, all of them, to say the least, en- 
couragers of heresy ; so that not one of them can ever be 
King of France, where there have been such religious 
princes in time past, who have justly merited the name 
of Most Christian ; and so there is no possibility of per- 
mitting him or any of his house to aspire to the throne, 
or to have the subject even treated of in the estates. 
It should, on the contrary, be entirely excluded as preju- 
dicial to the realm and unworthy to be even mentioned 
among persons so Catholic as those about to meet in that 
assembly." ^ 

The claims of the man whom his supporters already 
called Henry IV. of France being thus disposed of, 
Philip then again alluded with his usual minuteness to 
the various combinations which he had formed for the 
tranquillity and good government of that kingdom and 
of the other provinces of his world-empire. 

It must, moreover, be never forgotten that what he said 
passed with his contemporaries almost for oracular dis- 
pensations. What he did or ordered to be done was like 

^ Instruceion general para el Duque de Feria, Madrid, 2 Enero, 
1592, A. 57, 151, MS. 


the achievements or behests of a superhuman being. 
Time, as it rolls by, leaves the wrecks of many a stranded 
reputation to bleach in the sunshine of after ages. It is 
sometimes as profitable to learn what was not done by 
the great ones of the earth, in spite of all their efforts, 
as to ponder those actual deeds which are patent to man- 
kind. The Past was once the Present, and once the 
Future, bright with rainbows or black with impending 
storm ; for history is a continuous whole of which we 
see only fragments. 

He who at the epoch with which we are now occupied 
was deemed greatest and wisest among the sons of 
earth, at whose threats men quailed, at whose vast and 
intricate schemes men gasped in pale-faced awe, has left 
behind him the record of his interior being. Let us 
consider whether he was so potent as his fellow-mortals 
believed, or whether his greatness was merely their little- 
ness—whether it was carved out of the inexhaustible but 
artificial quarry of human degradation. Let us see 
whether the execution was consonant with the inordinate 
plotting; whether the price in money and blood— and 
certainly few human beings have squandered so much 
of either as did Philip the Prudent in his long career- 
was high or low for the work achieved. 

Were after generations to learn, only after curious 
research, of a pretender who once called himself, to the 
amusement of his contemporaries, Henry IV. of France, 
or was the world-empire for which so many armies were 
marshaled, so many ducats expended, so many false- 
hoods told, to prove a bubble after all ? Time was to 
show. Meantime wise men of the day, who, like the 
sages of every generation, read the future like a printed 
scroll, were pitying the delusion and rebuking the 


wickedness of Henry the Bearnese, persisting as lie did 
in his cruel, sanguinary, hopeless attempt to establish a 
vanished and impossible authority over a land distracted 
by civil war. 

Nothing could be calmer or more reasonable than the 
language of the great champion of the Inquisition. 

"And as President Jeannin informs me," he said, 
"that the Catholics have the intention of electing me king, 
that appearing to them the gentlest and safest method 
to smooth all rivalries likely to arise among the princes 
aspiring to the crown, I reply, as you will see by the 
copy herewith sent. You will observe that after not 
refusing myself to that which may be the will of our 
Lord, should there be no other mode of serving him, 
above all I desire that which concerns my daughter, 
since to her belongs the kingdom. I desire nothing else, 
nor anything for myself, nor for anybody else, except 
as a means for her to arrive at her right." ^ 

He had taken particular pains to secure his daughter's 
right in Brittany, while the Duchess of Mercoeur, by the 
secret orders of her husband, had sent a certain ecclesi- 
astic to Spain to make over the sovereignty of this 
province to the Infanta. Philip directed that the utmost 

1 " Y por que dixo que avia voluntad en los Catolicos de nom- 
brarme a mi por su rey, pareciendoles esto mas suave y seguro 
para allanar las competencias que puede aver entre los mismos 
prineipes que aspiran a estos, se le respondio lo que vereys per la 
copia que con esta se embia por donde entendereys que tras no 
negarme a lo que fuessa voluntad de n"* Senor quando no huviesse 
otro medio para su servieio, lo que sobre todo desseo es lo que 
toca a mi hija, pues a ella venga el reyno ; yo no quiero otra cosa 
ni nada para mi ni para otro, sino es por tor§edor y medio para 
que ella consiga su derecho."— Instruccion general para el Duque 
de Feria, etc., MS. before cited. 


secrecy should be observed in regard to this transaction 
with the duke and duchess, and promised the duke, as 
his reward for these proposed services in dismembering 
his country, the government of the province for himself 
and his heii's.^ 

For the king was quite determined, in case his efforts 
to obtain the crown for himself or for his daughter were 
unsuccessful, to dismember France, with the assistance 
of those eminent Frenchmen who were now so indus- 
triously aiding him in his projects. 

''And in the third place," said he, in his secret in- 
structions to Feria, "if, for the sins of all, we don't 
manage to make any election, and if therefore the king- 
dom of [France] has to come to separation and to be 
divided into many hands, in this case we must propose 
to the Duke of Mayenne to assist him in getting posses- 
sion of Normandy for himself, and as to the rest of the 
kingdom, I shall take for myself that which seems good 
to me, all of us assisting each other." ^ 

But unfortunately it was difficult for any of these 
fellow-laborers to assist each other very thoroughly 
while they detested each other so cordially and suspected 
each other with such good reason. 

1 Instruccion secreta para Don Mendo de la Desma, 2 Marzo, 
1591, Arch, de Sim., A. 57, 134, MS. 

2 " El tercero si por pecados de todos no se acertasse a liazer 
election ninguna, y assi huviesse de venir a quel reyno en 
disipacion, y dividirse en muehos manos, y en este caso se ofrecio 
al Duque de Umena de asistirle para que se apodere de Normandia 
para si, y que de lo demas tome yo para mi lo que me pareeiere, 
ayudando nos bien uno a otro."— Instruccion secreta lo que vos 
Don Lorenzo Suarez de Figueroa, Duque de Feria, mi primo aveys 
de Uevar entendido de mas que contiene la instruccion general 
que llevays, 2 Enero, 1592, Arch, de Sim. (Paris) MS., A. 57, 151. 


Moreo, Ybarra, Feria, Parma, all assured their master 
that Mayenne was taking Spanish money as fast as he 
could get it, but with the sole purpose of making him- 
self king. As to any of the house of Lorraine obtain- 
ing the hand of the Infanta and the thi-one with it, 
Feria assured Philip that Mayenne " would sooner give 
the crown to the Grand Turk." ^ 

Nevertheless, Philip thought it necessary to continue 
making use of the duke. Both were indefatigable, there- 
fore, in expressing feelings of boundless confidence each 
in the other. 

It has been seen, too, how entirely the king relied on 
the genius and devotion of Alexander Farnese to carry 
out his great schemes ; and certainly never had monarch 
a more faithful, unscrupulous, and dexterous servant. 
Remonstrating, advising, but still obejing,— entirely 
without conscience, unless it were conscience to carry out 
his master's commands, even when most puerile or most 
diabolical,— he was, nevertheless, the object of Philip's 
constant suspicion, and felt himself placed under per- 
petual though secret supervision. 

Commander Moreo was unwearied in blackening the 
duke's character and in maligning his every motive 
and action, and greedily did the king incline his ear 
to the calumnies steadily instilled by the chivalrous 


"He has caused aU the evil we are suffering," said 
Moreo. " When he sent Egmont to France 't was with- 
out infantry, although Egmont begged hard for it, as 
did likewise the legate, Don Bernardino, and Tassis. 
Had he done this there is no doubt at all that the Catho- 

1 Duke of Feria to Philip, Arch, de Sim. (Paris), B. 75, 26- 
30, cited by Capefigue, vi. 259. 


lie cause in Franee would have been safe, and your Maj- 
esty would now have the control over that kingdom 
which you desire. This is the opinion of friends and 
foes. I went to the Duke of Parma and made free to 
tell him that the whole world would blame him for the 
damage done to Christianity, since your Majesty had 
exonerated yourself by ordering him to go to the assis- 
tance of the French Catholics with all the zeal possible. 
Upon this he was so disgusted that he has never shown 
me a civil face since. I doubt whether he will send or 
go to France at all, and although the Duke of Mayenne 
despatches couriers every day with protestations and 
words that would soften rocks, I see no indications of a 
movement." ^ 

Thus, while the duke was making great military prep- 
arations for invading France without means, pawning 
his own property to get bread for his starving veterans, 
and hanging those veterans whom starving had made 
mutinous, he was depicted, to the most suspicious and 
unforgiving mortal that ever wore a crown, as a traitor 
and a rebel, and this while he was renouncing his own 
judicious and well-considered policy in obedience to the 
wild schemes of his master. 

'' I must make bold to remind your Majesty," again 
whispered the spy, 'Hhat there never was an Italian 
prince who failed to pursue his own ends, and that there 
are few in the world that are not wishing to become 
greater than they are. This man here could strike a 
greater blow than all the rest of them put together. 
Remember that there is not a villain anywhere that does 
not desire the death of your Majesty. Believe me, and 
send to cut off my head if it shall be found that I am 

1 Moreo to Philip, June 22, 1590, Arch, de Sim. MS. 


speaking from passion, or from other motive than pure 
zeal for your royal service." ^ 

The reader will remember into what a paroxysm of 
rage Alexander was thrown on a former occasion, when 
secretly invited to listen to propositions by which the 
sovereignty over the Netherlands was to be secured to 
himself, and how near he was to inflicting mortal pun- 
ishment with his own hand on the man who had ven- 
tured to broach that treasonable matter.^ 

Such projects and propositions were ever floating, as 
it were, in the atmosphere, and it was impossible for the 
most just men to escape suspicion in the mind of a king 
who fed upon suspicion as his daily bread. Yet nothing 
could be fouler or falser than the calumny which de- 
scribed Alexander as unfaithful to PhiKp. Had he 
served his God as he served his master perhaps his 
record before the highest tribunal would have been a 
clearer one. 

And in the same vein in which he wrote to the mon- 
arch in person did the crafty Moreo write to the princi- 
pal secretary of state, Idiaquez, whose mind, as well as 
his master's, it was useful to poison, and who was in 
daily communication with Philip. 

" Let us make sure of Flanders," said he, " otherwise 
we shall aU of us be weU cheated. I wiU tell you some- 
thing of that which I have already told his Majesty, only 

1 Moreo to Philip, June 22, 1590 : " Me atrevere a decir que se 
acuerde V. M. que no hay principe in Italia qui deje de tener sus 
fines, y que hay pocos en el mundo qui no tengan puesta la mira 
a ser mas— y el de aqui podria si quiere dar mayor golpe que todos 
los demas— y que no hay hombre malo qui no dessee la muerte de 
V. M**. Crealo y mandame cortar la cabeza si hallare que digo 
per pasion ni otro que ^elo limpio del servicio de V. M<*." 

2 See vol iii. of this work, p. 416. 


not all, referring you to Tassis, who, as a personal wit- 
ness to many things, will have it in his power to unde- 
ceive his Majesty. I have seen very clearly that the 
duke is disgusted with his Majesty, and one day he told 
me that he oared not if the whole world went to destruc- 
tion, only not Flanders.^ 

''Another day he told me that there was a report 
abroad that his Majesty was sending to arrest him by 
means of the Duke of Pastrana, and looking at me, he 
said : ' See here, seignior commander, no threats, as if 
it were in the power of mortal man to arrest me, much 
less of such fellows as these.' ^ 

" But this is but a small part of what I could say," 
continued the detective knight commander, '' for I don't 
like to trust these ciphers. But be certain that nobody 
in Flanders wishes well to these estates or to the Catho- 
lic cause, and the associates of the Duke of Parma go 
about saying that it does not suit the Italian potentates 
to have his Majesty as great a monarch as he is trying 
to be." 3 

This is but a sample of the dangerous stuff with which 
the royal mind was steadily drugged, day after day, by 
those to whom Farnese was especially enjoined to give 
his confidence. Later on it will be seen how much effect 
was thus produced both upon the king and upon the 
duke. Moreo, Mendoza, and Tassis were placed about 
the governor-general, nominally as his councilors, in 
reality as police officers. 

1 Moreo to Don I. de Idiaquez, January 30, 1590, Arch, de Sim. 

2 Ibid: "Y viendome dixo, mire Senor Com'''"' que calle de 
amenazas, como si fuese en poder de hombre humano que me 
pudiese prender, quanto mas semejante gente," etc. 

3 Ibid. 

VOL. IV.— 14 


" You are to confer regularly with Mendoza, Tassis, 
and Moreo," said Philip to Farnese.^ 

''You are to assist, correspond, and harmonize in 
every way with the Duke of Parma," wrote Philip to 
Mendoza, Tassis, and Moreo.- And thus cordially and 
harmoniously were the trio assisting and corresponding 
with the duke. 

But Moreo was right in not wishing to trust the ci- 
phers, and indeed he had trusted them too much, for 
Farnese was very well aware of his intrigues, and com- 
plained bitterly of them to the king and to Idiaquez. 

Most eloquently and indignantly did he complain of the 
calumnies, ever renewing themselves, of which he was 
the subject. " 'T is this good Moreo who is the author 
of the last falsehoods," said he to the secretary ; " and 
this is but poor payment for my having neglected my 
family, my parents and children for so many years in 
the king's service, and put my life ever on the hazard, 
that these fellows should be allowed to revile me and 
make game of me now, instead of assisting me." ^ 

He was at that time, after almost superhuman exer- 
tions, engaged in the famous relief of Paris. He had 
gone there, he said, against his judgment and remon- 
strating with his Majesty on the insufficiency of men and 
money for such an enterprise. His army was half mu- 
tinous, and unprovided with food, artillery, or muni- 
tions ; and then he found himself slandered, ridiculed, 
his life's life lied away. 'T was poor payment for his 
services, he exclaimed, if his Majesty should give ear to 

1 Philip to Parma, January 30, 1590, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

2 Instruccion que S. M. dio a J. B. Tassis, para Don B. de 
Mendoza y Com^^""^ Moreo, May 3, 1590, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

3 Parma to Idiaquez, October 20, 1590, Arch, de Sim. MS. 


these calumniators, and should give him no chance of 
confronting his accusers and clearing his reputation. 
Moreo detested him, as he knew, and Prince Doria said 
that the commander once spoke so ill of Farnese in Genoa 
that he was on the point of beating him, while Moreo 
afterward told the story as if he had been maltreated 
because of defending Farnese against Doria's slanders.^ 

And still more vehemently did he inveigh against 
Moreo in his direct appeals to Philip.^ He had intended 
to pass over his calumnies, of which he was well aware, 
because he did not care to trouble the dead,— for Moreo 
meantime had suddenly died, and the gossips, of course, 
said it was of Farnese poison,^— but he had just discov- 
ered by documents that the commander had been steadily 
and constantly pouring these his calumnies into the 
monarch's ears. He denounced every charge as lies, and 
demanded proof. Moreo had further been endeavoring 
to prejudice the Duke of Mayenne against the King of 
Spain and himself, saying that he, Farnese, had been 
commissioned to take Mayenne into custody, with plenty 
of similar lies. 

" But what I most feel," said Alexander, with honest 
wrath, ''is to see that your Majesty gives ear to them 
without making the demonstration which my services 

1 Parma to Philip, October 20, 1590, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

2 Ibid. 

3 "Murio en Miaux a los treynta de Agosto (1590) el Co- 
mendador Juan Moreo," says Coloma (iii. 47, 48), "hombre de 
ingenio prompto y artificioso, que de moderados principios de un 
pobre Caballero de Malta, Uego a ser primer Mobil de las furiosas 
guerras que abrasaron tantos afios a Francia, excessivo gastador 
de la hazienda del rey, y atrevidissimo comprador de vohmtades ; 
este gano la del Duque de Guisa de manera que le hizo Espafiol de 
corazon, y le confirm6 en el aborrecimiento contra los herejes, y 


merit, and has not sent to inform me of them, seeing 
that they may involve my reputation and honor. Peo- 
ple have made more account of these calumnies than of 
my actions performed upon the theater of the world. I 
complain, after all my toils and dangers in your Maj- 
esty's service, just when I stood with my soul in my 
mouth and death in my teeth, forgetting children, house, 
and friends, to be treated thus, instead of receiving re- 
wards and honor, and being enabled to leave to my chil- 
dren, what was better than all the riches the royal hand 
could bestow, an unsullied and honorable name." ^ 

He protested that his reputation had so much suffered 
that he would prefer to retire to some remote corner as 
a humble servant of the king, and leave a post which 
had made him so odious to all. Above all, he entreated 
his Majesty to look upon this whole affair ''not only 
like a king, but like a gentleman." ^ 

Philip answered these complaints and reproaches 
benignantly, expressed unbounded confidence in the 
duke, assured him that the calumnies of his supposed 
enemies could produce no effect upon the royal mind, 
and coolly professed to have entirely forgotten having 
received any such letter as that of which his nephew 
complained. " At any rate, I have mislaid it," he said, 
" so that you see how much account it was with me." ' 

BUS fautores sin excepcion de persona, tan a la descubierta que le 
costo la vida : 4 el se dixo que le cost6 la suya lo que escrivio al 
rey contra el Duque de Parma ; murio casi al improviso despues 
de cierto banquete, que ocasion6 esta fama, y en que le tra90 no 
menos infamia que acrecentamiento." 

1 Parma to Philip, October 20, 1590, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

2 Ibid. : " Sea servido V. M"^ considerar no tan solamente con 
ojos de rey mas de eavallero esta negocio." 

3 Philip to Parma, December 5, 1590, Arch, de Sim. MS. 


As the king was in the habit of receiving such letters 
every week, not only from the commander, since de- 
ceased, but from Ybarra and others, his memory, to say 
the least, seemed to have grown remarkably feeble. 
But the sequel will very soon show that he had kept the 
letters by him and pondered them to much purpose. 
To expect frankness and sincerity from him, however, 
even in his most intimate communications to his most 
trusted servants, would have been to '•'■ swim with fins of 

Such being the private relations between the conspira- 
tors, it is instructive to observe how they dealt with each 
other in the great game they were playing for the first 
throne in Christendom. The military events have been 
sufficiently sketched in the preceding pages, but the 
meaning and motives of public affairs can be best under- 
stood by occasional glances behind the scenes. It is well 
for those who would maintain their faith in popular 
governments to study the workings of the secret, irre- 
sponsible, arbitrary system; for every government, as 
every individual, must be judged at last by those moral 
laws which no man born of woman can evade. 

During the first French expedition— in the course of 
which Farnese had saved Paris from falling into the 
hands of Henry, and had been doing his best to convert 
it prospectively into the capital of his master's empire 
—it was his duty, of course, to represent as accurately 
as possible the true state of France. He submitted his 
actions to his master's will, but he never withheld from 
him the advantage that he might have derived, had he 
so chosen, from his nephew's luminous intelligence and 
patient observation. 

With the chief personage he had to deal with he pro- 


fessed himself, at first, well satisfied. "The Duke of 
Mayenne," said he to Philip, " persists in desiring your 
Majesty only as King of France, and will hear of no 
other candidate, which gives me satisfaction such as 
can't be exaggerated." ^ Although there were difficulties 
in the way, Famese thought that the two together with 
God's help might conquer them. " Certainly it is not 
impossible that your Majesty may succeed," he said, " al- 
though very problematical ; and in case your Majesty 
does succeed in that which we all desire and are strug- 
gling for, Mayenne not only demands the second place 
in the kingdom for himself, but the fief of some great 
province for his family." ^ 

Should it not be possible for Philip to obtain the 
crown, Famese was, on the whole, of opinion that May- 
enne had better be elected. In that event he would 
make over Brittany and Burgundy to Philip, together 
with the cities opposite the English coast. If they were 
obliged to make the duke king, as was to be feared, 
they should at any rate exclude the Prince of Beam, 
and secure, what was the chief point, the Catholic re- 
ligion. " This," said Alexander, " is about what I can 
gather of Mayenne's views, and perhaps he will put them 
down in a despatch to your Majesty."^ 

After aU, the duke was explicit enough. He was for 
taking all he could get,— the whole kingdom if possible, 
—but if foiled, then as large a slice of it as Philip would 
give him as the price of his services. And Philip's ideas 

1 Parma to Philip, October 21, 1590, Arch, de Sim. MS. : "Que 
es persistir el D. de Umena en no pretender otro rey que V. M^ en 
este reyno lo cual nos viene tan a cuento que no hay para que 

2 Ibid. 3 Ibid. 


were not materially different from those of the other 

Both were agreed on one thing: the true heir must 
be kept out of his rights, and the Catholic religion be 
maintained in its purity. As to the inclination of the 
majority of the inhabitants, they could hardly be in the 
dark. They knew that the Bearnese was instinctively 
demanded by the nation, for his accession to the throne 
would furnish the only possible solution to the entangle- 
ments which had so long existed.^ 

As to the true sentiments of the other politicians and 
soldiers of the League with whom Farnese came in con- 
tact in France, he did not disguise from his master that 
they were anything but favorable. 

" That you may know the humor of this kingdom," 
said he, "and the difficulties in which I am placed, I 
must tell you that I am by large experience much con- 
firmed in that which I have always suspected. Men 
don't love nor esteem the royal name of your Majesty ; 
and whatever the benefits and assistance they get from 
you,'they have no idea of anything redounding to your 
benefit and royal service, except so far as implied in 
maintaining the Catholic religion and keeping out the 
Beam. These two things, however, they hold to be so 
entirely to your Majesty's profit that all you are doing 
appears the fulfilment of a simple obligation. They are 
filled with fear, jealousy, and suspicion of your Majesty. 
They dread your acquiring power here. Whatever nego- 
tiations they pretend in regard to putting the kingdom 
or any of their cities under your protection, they have 
never had any real intention of doing it, but their only 
object is to keep up our vain hopes while they are carry- 

1 Parma to Philip, October 3, 1590, Arch, de Sim. MS. 


ing out their own ends. If to-day they seem to have 
agi'eed upon any measure, to-morrow they are sure to 
get out of it again. This has always been the case, and 
all your Majesty's ministers that have had dealings here 
would say so, if they chose to tell the truth. Men are 
disgusted with the entrance of the army, and if they 
were not expecting a more advantageous peace in the 
kingdom with my assistance than without it, I don't 
know what they would do ; for I have heard what I have 
heard and seen what I have seen. They are afraid of 
our army, but they want its assistance and our money." ^ 

Certainly if Philip desired enlightenment as to the real 
condition of the country he had determined to appro- 
priate, and the true sentiments of its most influential 
inhabitants, here was the man most competent of all the 
world to advise him, describing the situation for him, 
day by day, in the most faithful manner. And at every 
step the absolutely puerile inadequacy of the means 
employed by the king to accomplish his gigantic pur- 
poses became apparent. If the crime of subjugating, or 
at least dismembering, the great kingdom of France were 
to be attempted with any hope of success, at least it 
might have been expected that the man employed to 
consummate the deed would be furnished with more 
troops and money than would be required to appropri- 
ate a savage island in the Caribbean, or a German prin- 
cipality. But Philip expected miracles to be accom- 
plished by the mere private assertion of his will. It 
was so easy to conquer realms at the writing-table. 

"I don't say," continued Farnese, "if I could have 
entered France with a competent army, well paid and 
disciplined, with plenty of artillery and munitions, and 
1 Parma to Philip, October 3, 1590, Arch, de Sim. MS. 


with funds enough to enable Mayenne to buy up the 
nobles of his party and to conciliate the leaders gener- 
ally with presents and promises, that perhaps they might 
not have softened. Perhaps interest and fear would 
have made that name agreeable which pleases them so 
little, now that the very reverse of all this has occurred. 
My want of means is causing a thousand disgusts among 
the natives of the country, and it is this penury that 
will be the chief cause of the disasters which may 
occur." 1 

Here was sufficiently plain speaking. To conquer a 
warlike nation without an army, to purchase a rapa- 
cious nobility with an empty purse, were tasks which 
might break the stoutest heart. They were breaking 

Yet Philip had funds enough, if he had possessed 
financial ability himself, or any talent for selecting good 
financiers. The richest countries of the Old World and 
the New were under his scepter ; the mines of Peru and 
Mexico, the wealth of farthest Ind, were at his disposi- 
tion ; and, moreover, he drove a lucrative traffic in the 
sale of papal bulls and mass-books, which were furnished 
to him at a very low figure, and which he compelled the 
wild Indians of America and the savages of the Pacific 
to purchase of him at an enormous advance. That very 
year a Spanish carack had been captured by the Eng- 
lish off the Barbary coast, with an assorted cargo, the 
miscellaneous nature of which gives an idea of royal 
commercial pursuits at that period. Besides wine in 
large quantities there were fourteen hundred chests of 
quicksilver, an article indispensable to the working of 
the silver-mines, and which no one but the king could, 
1 Parma to Philip, MS. last cited. 


upon pain of death, send to America. He received, 
according to contract, for every pound of quicksilver 
thus delivered a pound of pure sUver, weight for weight. 
The ship likewise contained ten cases of gilded mass- 
books and papal bulls. The bulls, two million and sev- 
enty thousand in number, for the dead and the living, 
were intended for the provinces of New Spain, Yucatan, 
Guatemala, Honduras, and the Philippines. The quick- 
silver and the buUs cost the king three hundred thou- 
sand florins, but he sold them for five million. The 
price at which the buUs were to be sold varied, accord- 
ing to the letters of advice found in the ships, from 
two to four reals apiece, and the inhabitants of those 
conquered regions were obliged to buy them.^ '' From 
aU this," says a contemporary chronicler, "is to be seen 
what a thrifty trader was the king." '^ 

The affairs of France were in such confusion that it 
was impossible for them, according to Farnese, to remain 
in such condition much longer without bringing about 
entire decomposition. Every man was doing as he chose, 
whether governor of a city, commander of a district, 
or gentleman in his castle. Many important nobles and 
prelates followed the Beamese party, and Mayenne was 
entitled to credit for doing as well as he did. There 
was no pretense, however, that his creditable conduct 
was due to anything but the hope of being well paid. 
" If your Majesty should decide to keep Mayenne," said 
Alexander, "you can only do it with large sums of 
money. He is a good Catholic and very firm in his pur- 
pose, but is so much opposed by his own party that if I 
had not so stimulated him by hopes of his own grandeur 
he would have grown desperate,— such small means has 

1 Meteren, xvi. 300. 2 ibid. 


he of maintaining his party,— and, it is to be feared, he 
would have made arrangements with Beam, who offers 
him carte blanche." ^ 

The disinterested man had expressed his assent to the 
views of Philip in regard to the assembly of the estates 
and the election of king, but had claimed the sum of six 
hundred thousand dollars as absolutely necessary to the 
support of himself and followers until those events 
should occur.^ Alexander, not having that sum at his 
disposal, was inclined to defer matters, but was more 
and more confirmed in his opinion that the duke was a 
" man of truth, faith, and his word." ^ He had distinctly 
agreed that no king should be elected not satisfactory 
to Philip, and had '^ stipulated in return that he should 
have in this case not only the second place in the king- 
dom, but some very great and special reward in full 

Thus the man of truth, faith, and his word had no 
idea of selling himself cheap, but manifested as much 
commercial genius as the Fuggers themselves could have 
displayed, had they been employed as brokers in these 
mercantile transactions. 

Above all things, Alexander implored the king to be 
expeditious, resolute, and liberal, for, after all, the 
Bearnese might prove a more formidable competitor than 
he was deemed. ''These matters must be arranged 
while the iron is hot," he said, "in order that the name 
and memory of the Beam and of all his family may be 
excluded at once and forever; for your Majesty must 

1 Parma to PMlip, October 3, 1590, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

2 Ibid. 

3 "Hombre de verdad, f^ y palabra." — Ibid. 

4 Ibid. 



not doubt that the whole kingdom inclines to him, both 
because he is natural successor to the crown, and because 
in this way the civU war would cease. The only thing 
that gives trouble is the religious defect, so that if this 
should be remedied in appearance, even if falsely, men 
would spare no pains nor expense in his cause." ^ 

No human being at that moment, assuredly, could look 
into the immediate future accurately enough to see 
whether the name and memory of the man whom his 
adherents called Henry IV. of France, and whom Span- 
iards, legitimists, and enthusiastic papists called the 
Prince of Beam, were to be forever excluded from the 
archives of France ; whether Henry, after spending the 
whole of his life as a pretender, was destined to bequeath 
the same empty part to his descendants, should they 
think it worth their while to play it. Meantime the 
sages smiled superior at his delusion, while Alexander 
Farnese, on the contrary, better understanding the 
chances of the great game which they were all playing, 
made bold to tell his master that all hearts in France 
were inclining to their natural lord. " Differing from 
your Majesty," said he, "I am of opinion that there is no 
better means of excluding him than to make choice of 
the Duke of Mayenne, as a person agreeable to the peo- 
ple, and who could only reign by your permission and 
support." 2 

Thus, after much hesitation and circumlocution, the 
nephew made up his mind to dull his uncle's hopes of 

1 Parma to Philip, October 3, 1590, Arch, de Sim. MS. : "Que 
eon esto quedara escluido totalmente el nombre y memoria de 
B^ame y de los de su casa a quien no dude V. M** de que el reyno 
todo inclina, asi por ser naturalemente sucesores del," etc. 

2 Ibid. 


the crown, and to speak a decided opinion in behalf of 
the man of his word, faith, and truth. 

And thus through the whole of the two memorable 
campaigns made by Alexander in France he never failed 
to give his master the most accurate pictures of the 
country and an interior view of its politics, urging 
above all the absolute necessity of providing much more 
liberal supplies for the colossal adventure in which he 
was engaged. "Money and again money is what is 
required," he said. " The principal matter is to be ac- 
complished with money, and the particular individuals 
must be bought with money. The good will of every 
French city must be bought with money. Mayenne 
must be humored. He is getting dissatisfied. Very 
probably he is intriguing with Beam. Everybody is 
pursuing his private ends. Mayenne has never aban- 
doned l^is own wish to be king, although he sees the 
difficulties in the way ; and while he has not the power 
to do us as much good as is thought, it is certainly in 
his hands to do us a great deal of injury." ^ 

When his army was rapidly diminishing by disease, 
desertion, mutiny, and death, he vehemently and per- 
petually denounced the utter inadequacy of the king's 
means to his vast projects. He protested that he was 
not to blame for the ruin likely to come upon the whole 
enterprise. He had besought, remonstrated, reasoned 
with Philip— in vain.^ He assured his master that in 
the condition of weakness in which they found them- 
selves not very triumphant negotiations could be ex- 
pected, but that he would do his best. '^ The French- 
men," he said, " are getting tired of our disorders, and 

1 Parma to Philip, March 11, 1592, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

2 Ibid. 


scandalized by our weakness, misery, and poverty. They 
disbelieve the possibility of being liberated through us." ^ 

He was also most diligent in setting before the king's 
eyes the dangerous condition of the obedient Nether- 
lands, the poverty of the finances, the mutinous degen- 
eration of the once magnificent Spanish army, the 
misery of the country, the ruin of the people, the dis- 
content of the nobles, the rapid strides made by the 
Republic, the vast improvement in its military organiza- 
tion, the rising fame of its young stadholder, the thrift 
of its exchequer, the rapid development of its commerce, 
the menacing aspect which it assumed toward all that 
was left of Spanish power in those regions. 

Moreover, in the midst of the toils and anxieties of 
war-making and negotiation, he had found time to dis- 
cover and to send to his master the left leg of the glori- 
ous apostle St. Philip and the head of the glorious 
martyr St. Lawrence, to enrich his collection of relics ; 
and it may be doubted whether these treasures were not 
as welcome to the king as would have been the news of 
a decisive victory.^ 

During the absence of Farnese in his expeditions 
against the Bearnese, the government of his provinces 
was temporarily in the hands of Peter Ernest Mansfeld. 

This grizzled old fighter, testy, choleric, superannu- 

1 Parma to Philip, June 2, 1592, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

'^ Parma to Philip, July 4, 1592, Arch, de Sim. MS. Philip to 
Parma, August 1, 1592, ibid, ''Quanto a la cabeza del glorioso 
San Lorenzo agradezco os el cuydado que mostrais de haberla y os 
encargo que lo Ueveis adelante hasta salir con ello que os tendr6 
en mucho particular servieio que se haga por vuestro medio." — 
Parma to Philip, August 24, 1592, ibid. Philip to Parma, Sep- 
tember 11, 1592. Letter to Parma, Arch, de Sim. (Paria) MS., A. 
56, 33, MS. 


ated, was utterly incompetent for his post. He was a 
mere tool in the hands of his son. Count Charles hated 
Parma very cordially, and old Count Peter was made to 
believe himself in danger of being poisoned or poniarded 
by the duke. He was perpetually wrangling with, im- 
portuning and insulting him in consequence, and writ- 
ing malicious letters to the king in regard to him.^ The 
great nobles, Aerschot, Chimay, Berlaymont, Champagny, 
Aremberg, and the rest, were all bickering among them- 
selves, and agreeing in nothing save in hatred to Farnese, 

A tight rein, a full exchequer, a well-ordered and well- 
paid army, and his own constant patience, were neces- 
sary, as Alexander too well knew, to make head against 
the Republic and to hold what was left of the Nether- 
lands. But with a monthly allowance and a military 
force not equal to his own estimates for the Netherland 
work, he was ordered to go forth from the Netherlands 
to conquer France— and with it the dominion of the 
world— for the recluse of the EscoriaL 

Very soon it was his duty to lay bare to his master, 
still more unequivocally than ever, the real heart of 
Mayenne. No one could surpass Alexander in this 
skilful vivisection of political characters, and he soon 

1 Parma to Philip, July 31, 1592, Arch, de Sim. MS. Parma to 
Peter Ernest Mansfeld, August 6, 1592. Mansfeld to Philip, 
August 8, 1592. Parma to Mansfeld, August 16, 1592. Parma 
to Philip, August 24, 1592. "Porque con su larga vejez," said 
Puentes of Peter Ernest, "se halla muy decrepito y desacordado 
que esto y ver qxxan sugeto esta al hijo qui le govierna como a una 
oriatura."— Fuentes to Philip, December 13, 1592, Arch, de Sim. 

MS. Esteven de Ybarra to , April 9, 1593, ibid. Fuentes to 

Philip, April 28, 1593, ibid. Ybarra to , May 2, 1593, ibid. 

Same to Philip, July 26, 1593, ibid. Fuentes to the secretaries 
of state, September 2, 1593, ibid. 


sent the information that the duke was in reality very 
near closing his bargain with the B^arnese, while amus- 
ing Philip and drawing largely from his funds. 

Thus, while faithfully doing his master's work with 
sword and pen, with an adroitness such as no other man 
could have matched, it was a necessary consequence that 
Philip should suspect, should detest, should resolve to 
sacrifice him. While assuring his nephew, as we have 
seen, that elaborate slanderous reports and protocols 
concerning him, sent with such regularity by the chiv- 
alrous Moreo and the other spies, had been totally dis- 
regarded, even if they had ever met his eye, he was 
quietly preparing— in the midst of all these most strenu- 
ous efforts of Alexander, in the field at peril of his life, 
in the cabinet at the risk of his soul— to deprive him of 
his of&ce, and to bring him, by stratagem if possible, but 
otherwise by main force, from the Netherlands to Spain. 

This project, once resolved upon, the king proceeded 
to execute with that elaborate attention to detail, with 
that feline stealth, which distinguished him above all 
kings or chiefs of police that have ever existed. Had 
there been a mui'der at the end of the plot, as perhaps 
there was to be, Philip could not have enjoyed himself 
more. Nothing surpassed the industry for mischief of 
this royal invalid. 

The first thing to be done was of course the inditing 
of a most affectionate epistle to his nephew. 

"Nephew," said he, "you know the confidence which 
I have always placed in you, and all that I have put in 
your hands ; and I know how much you are to me, and 
how earnestly you work in my service, and so, if I could 
have you at the same time in several places, it would be 
a great relief to me. Since this cannot be, however, I 


wish to make use of your assistance, according to the 
times and occasions, in order that I may have some cer- 
tainty as to the manner in which all this business is to 
be managed, may see why the settlement of affairs in 
France is thus delayed, and what the state of things in 
Christendom generally is, and may consult with you 
about an army which I am getting levied here, and 
about certain schemes now on foot in regard to the 
remedy for all this; all which makes me desire your 
presence here for some time, even if a short time, in 
order to resolve upon and arrange, with the aid of your 
advice and opinion, many affairs concerning the public 
good, and facilitate their execution by means of your 
encouragement and presence, and to obtain the repose 
which I hope for in putting them into your hands. And 
so I charge and command you that, if you desire to con- 
tent me, you use all possible diligence to let me see you 
here as soon as possible, and that you start at once for 
Genoa." ^ 

He was further directed to leave Count Mansfeld at 
the head of affairs during this temporary absence, — as 
had been the case so often before, — instructing him to 
make use of the Marquis of Cerralbo, who was already 
there, to lighten labors that might prove too much for a 
man of Mansfeld's advanced age. 

"I am writing to the marquis," continued the king, 
" telling him that he is to obey all your orders. As to 
the reasons of your going away, you will give out that 
it is a decision of your own, founded on good cause, or 
that it is a summons of mine, but full of confidence and 
good wiU toward you, as you see that it is." -^ 

1 Philip to Parma, February, 20, 1592, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

2 Ibid. 

VOL. IV. — 15 


The date of this letter was 20th February, 1592. 

The secret instructions to the man who was thus to 
obey all the duke's orders were explicit enough upon that 
point, although they were wrapped in the usual closely 
twisted phraseology which distinguished Philip's style 
when his purpose was most direct. 

Cerralbo was intrusted with general directions as to 
the French matter, and as to peace negotiations with 
" the islands " ; but the main purport of his mission was 
to remove Alexander Farnese. This was to be done by 
fair means, if possible ; if not, he was to be deposed and 
sent home by force. 

This was to be the reward of all the toil and danger 
through which he had grown gray and broken in the 
king's service. 

" When you get to the Netherlands " (for the instruc- 
tions were older than the letter to Alexander just cited), 
" you are," said the king, " to treat of the other two 
matters until the exact time andves for the third, taking 
good care not to cut the thread of good progress in the 
affairs of France if by chance they are going on well 

'' When the time arrives to treat of commission num- 
ber three," continued his Majesty, "you will take occar 
sion of the arrival of the courier of 20th February, and 
will give with much secrecy the letter of that date to the 
duke, showing him at the same time the fii*st of the two 
which you will have received." 

If the duke showed the letter addressed to him by his 
uncle— which the reader has already seen— then the 
marquis was to discuss with him the details of the jour- 
ney, and comment upon the benefits and increased repu- 
tation which would be the result of his return to Spain. 


" But if the duke should not show you the letter," 
proceeded Philip, "and you suspect that he means to 
conceal and equivocate about the particulars of it, you 
can show him your letter number two, in which it is 
stated that you have received a copy of the letter to the 
duke. This will make the step easier." 

Should the duke declare himself ready to proceed to 
Spain on the ground indicated — that the king had need 
of his services— the marquis was then to hasten his de- 
parture as earnestly as possible. Every pains was to 
be taken to overcome any objections that might be made 
by the duke on the score of ill health, while the great 
credit which attached to this summons to consult with 
the king in such arduous affairs was to be duly enlarged 
upon. Should Count Mansfeld meantime die of old age, 
and should Farnese insist the more vehemently, on that 
account, upon leaving his son the Prince Ranuccio in 
his post as governor, the marquis was authorized to 
accept the proposition for the moment, — although 
secretly instructed that such an appointment was really 
quite out of the question,— if by so doing the father 
could be torn from the place immediately. 

But if all would not do, and if it should become cer- 
tain that the duke would definitively refuse to take his 
departure, it would then become necessary to tell him 
clearly, but secretly, that no excuse would be accepted, 
but that go he must, and that if he did not depart vol- 
untarily within a fixed time, he would be publicly de- 
prived of office and conducted to Spain by force.^ 

But all these things were to be managed with the 

1 Sumario de lo que S. M"* es servido que haga V. en su co- 
mision principal como mas particiilarmente se le ha dicho de 
palabra, December 31, 1591, Arch, de Sim. MS. 


secrecy and mystery so dear to the heart of Philip. The 
marquis was instructed to go first to the castle of Ant- 
werp, as if upon financial business, and there begin his 
operations. Should he find at last all his private nego- 
tiations and coaxings of no avail, he was then to make 
use of his secret letters from the king to the army com- 
manders, the leading nobles of the country, and to the 
neighboring princes, all of whom were to be undeceived 
in regard to the duke, and to be informed of the will of 
his Majesty.^ 

The real successor of Famese was to be the Archduke 
Albert, Cardinal of Austria, son of Archduke Ferdinand, 
and the letters on this subject were to be sent by a 
" decent and confidential person " so soon as it should 
become obvious that force would be necessary in order 
to compel the departure of Alexander. For if it came 
to open rupture, it would be necessary to have the cardi- 
nal ready to take the place. If the affair were arranged 
amicably, then the new governor might proceed more 
at leisure. The marquis was especially enjoined, in case 
the duke should be in France, and even if it should be 
necessary for him to follow him there on account of 
commissions number one and two, not to say a word to 
him then of his recall, for fear of damaging matters in 
that kingdom. He was to do his best to induce him to 
return to Flanders, and when they were both there, he 
was to begin his operations.^ 

Thus, with minute and artistic treachery, did Philip 
provide for the disgrace and ruin of the man who was 

^ Sumario, etc., MS. last cited. 

2 Ibid. Also Philip to the Duke of Sessa, amhassador at Rome, 
November 3, 1592, Arch, de Sim. MS. Philip to Parma, same date, 


his near blood-relation, and who had served him most 
faithfully from earliest youth. It was not possible to 
carry out the project immediately, for, as it has already 
been narrated, Farnese, after achieving, in spite of great 
obstacles due to the dullness of the king alone, an ex- 
traordinary triumph, had been dangerously wounded, 
and was unable for a brief interval to attend to public 

On the conclusion of his Rouen campaign he had re- 
turned to the Netherlands, almost immediately betaking 
himself to the waters of Spa. The Marquis de Cerralbo 
meanwhile had been superseded in his important secret 
mission by the Count of Fuentes, who received the same 
instructions as had been provided for the marquis. 

But ere long it seemed to become unnecessary to push 
matters to extremities. Farnese, although nominally 
the governor, felt himself unequal to take the field 
against the vigorous young commander who was carry- 
ing everything before him in the north and east. Upon 
the Mansf elds was the responsibility for saving Steenwyk 
and Coevorden, and to the Mansfelds did Verdugo send 
piteously, but in vain, for efficient help. For the Mans- 
felds and other leading personages in the obedient Neth- 
erlands were mainly occupied at that time in annoying 
Farnese, calumniating his actions, laying obstacles in 
the way of his administration, military and civil, and 
bringing him into contempt with the populace. When 
the weary soldier— broken in health, wounded and 
harassed with obtaining triumphs for his master such as 
no other living man could have gained with the means 
placed at his disposal — returned to drink the waters 
previously to setting forth anew upon the task of 
achieving the impossible, he was made the mark of petty 


insults on the part of both the Mansfelds. Neither of 
them paid their respects to him, ill as he was, until four 
days after his arrival. When the duke subsequently 
called a council, Count Peter refused to attend it on 
account of having slept ill the night before. Cham- 
pagny, who was one of the chief mischief-makers, had 
been banished by Parma to his house in Burgundy, He 
became very much alarmed, and was afraid of losing his 
head. He tried to conciliate the duke, but finding it 
difficult, he resolved to turn monk, and so went to the 
convent of Capuchins, and begged hard to be admitted 
a member. They refused him on account of his age and 
infirmities. He tried a Franciscan monastery with not 
much better success, and then obeyed orders and went 
to his Burgundy mansion, having been assured by Far- 
nese that he was not to lose his head. Alexander was 
satisfied with that arrangement, feeling sure, he said, 
that so soon as his back was turned Champagny would 
come out of his convent before the term of probation 
had expired, and begin to make mischief again, A once 
valiant soldier like Champagny, whose conduct in the 
famous Fury of Antwerp was so memorable, and 
whose services both in field and cabinet had been so 
distinguished, fallen so low as to be used as a tool by 
the Mansfelds against a man like Farnese, and to be 
rejected as unfit company by Flemish friars, is not a 
cheerful spectacle to contemplate. 

The walls of the Mansfeld house and gardens, too, 
were decorated by Count Charles with caricatures, in- 
tending to illustrate the indignities put upon his father 
and himself. Among others, one picture represented 
Count Peter lying tied hand and foot, while people were 
throwing filth upon him ; Count Charles being portrayed 

Gallery of Versailles, France. 


as meantime being kicked away from the command of a 
battery of cannon by De la Motte. It seemed strange 
that the Mansfelds should make themselves thus elabo- 
rately ridiculous in order to irritate Farnese ; but thus it 
was. There was so much stir about these works of art 
that Alexander transmitted copies of them to the king, 
whereupon Charles Mansfeld, being somewhat alarmed, 
endeavoi-ed to prove that they had been entirely mis- 
understood. The venerable personage lying on the 
ground, he explained, was not his father, but Socrates. 
He found it difl&cult, however, to account for the appear- 
ance of La Motte, with his one arm wanting and with 
artillery by his side, because, as Farnese justly remarked, 
artillery had not been invented in the time of Socrates,^ 
nor was it recorded that the sage had lost an arm. 

Thus passed the autumn of 1592, and Alexander, hav- 
ing, as he supposed, somewhat recruited his failing 
strength, prepared, according to his master's orders, for 
a new campaign in France. For with almost preter- 
human malice Philip was employing the man whom he 
had doomed to disgrace, perhaps to death, and whom he 
kept under constant secret supervision, in those labori- 
ous efforts to conquer without an army and to purchase 
a kingdom with an empty purse, in which, as it was des- 
tined, the very last sands of Parma's life were to run 

Suffering from a badly healed wound, from water on 
the chest, degeneration of the heart, and gout in the 
limbs, dropsical, enfeebled, broken down into an old man 
before his time, Alexander still confronted disease and 
death with as heroic a front as he had ever manifested 
in the field to embattled Hollanders and Englishmen, or 

1 Parma to Philip, October 28, 1592, Arch, de Sim. MS. 


to the still more formidable array of learned pedants 
and diplomatists in the hall of negotiation. This wreck 
of a man was still fitter to lead armies and guide councils 
than any soldier or statesman that Philip could call into 
his service, yet the king's cruel hand was ready to stab 
the dying man in the dark. 

Nothing could surpass the spirit with which the sol- 
dier was ready to do battle with his best friend, coming 
in the guise of an enemy. To the last moment, lifted 
into the saddle, he attended personally, as usual, to the 
details of his new campaign, and was dead before he 
would confess himself mortal.^ On the 3d of Decem- 
ber, 1592, in the city of An-as, he fainted after retiring 
at his usual hour to bed, and thus breathed his last. 

According to the instructions in his last will, he was 
laid out barefoot in the robe and cowl of a Capuchin 
monk. Subsequently his remains were taken to Parma, 
and buried under the pavement of the little Franciscan 
church.2 A pompous funeral, in which the Italians and 

^ Bentivoglio, t. ii. lib. vi. 370 : " E prima conosciuto si morto 
ehe volesse confesarsi mortale." Compare Coloma, v. 106 ; 
Meteren, xvi. 306 ; Bor, iii. xxix. 661 ; Reyd, ix. 1 95 ; Dondini, 
iii. 639 seq. 

2 Ibid. The inscription over his tomb was as follows : 

Alexander Famesiiis, 

Belgis Devictis 

Et Francis obsidione levatis 

Ut hamili hoc loco 

Ejus cadaver rejMjneretnr 

Mandavit iiii. Non Decemb. 

An. MDXCii. 

(Dondini, iii. 642.) 

It appears by a letter of Marquis d'Havr6 to Philip that the 
death of Famese took place on the 3d December. (Arch, de 
Sim. MS.) 

So soon as his decease was known at Madrid, the first thought 


Spaniards quarreled and came to blows for precedence, 
was celebrated in Brussels, and a statue of the hero was 
erected in the Capitol at Rome. 

The first soldier and most unscrupulous diplomatist of 
his age, he died when scarcely past his prime, a wearied, 
broken-hearted old man. His triumphs, military and 
civil, have been recorded in these pages, and his charac- 
ter has been elaborately portrayed. Were it possible to 
conceive of an Italian or Spaniard of illustrious birth in 
the sixteenth century, educated in the school of Machi- 
avelli, at the feet of Phihp, as anything but the supple 
slave of a master and the blind instrument of a church, 
one might for a moment regret that so many gifts of 
genius and valor had been thrown away, or at least lost 
to mankind. Could the light of truth ever pierce the 
atmosphere in which such men have their being, could 
the sad music of humanity ever penetrate to their ears, 
could visions of a world— on this earth or beyond it— 
not exclusively the property of kings and high priests be 

of Philip was to conceal from the pope that it had been his inten- 
tion forcibly to recall him from the Netherlands. The Spanish 
ambassador at Rome was accordingly instructed to burn the papers 
which had been sent to him, and to suppress all the communica- 
tions which he had been on the point of making to the pope. 

"Don Cristoval and Don Juan are of opinion," said their 
minute laid before the king, "that since the notification sent to 
Rome was to remedy the damage that the report of the recall 
might cause at that court, now that all this has ceased with the 
death of the recalled, ... it is best to conceal that intention from 
the pope and from all others, and that it is sufficient for the Duke 
of Sessa to be informed of the truth," etc. 

Philip noted on this memorandum with his own hand a decided 
approval of the suggestion, ordering it to be carried into effect, 
adding, "Let the Duke of Sessa be told to bum the letter and the 
copy that was sent with it," etc. (Arch, de Sim. MS.) 


revealed to them, one might lament that one bo eminent 
among the sons of women had not been a great man. 
But it is a weakness to hanker for any possible connec- 
tion between truth and Italian or Spanish statecraft of 
that day. The truth was not in it nor in him, and high 
above his heroic achievements, his fortitude, his sagacity, 
his chivalrous self-sacrifice, shines forth the baleful light 
of his perpetual falsehood.^ 

1 I pasB over as beneath the level of history a great variety of 
censorious and probably calumnious reports as to the private 
character of Farnese, with which the secret archives of the times 
are filled. Especially Champagny, the man by whom the duke 
was most hated and feared, made himself busy in compiling the 
slanderous chronicle in which the enemies of Farnese, both in 
Spain and the Netherlands, took so much delight. According to 
the secret history thus prepared for the enlightenment of the king 
and his ministers, the whole administration of the Netherlands— 
especially the financial department, with the distribution of offices 
—was in the hands of two favorites, a beardless secretary named 
Cosmo de' Massi, and a lady of easy virtue called Franeeline, who 
seems to have had a numerous host of relatives and friends to 
provide for at the public expense. Toward the latter end of the 
duke's life it was even said that the seal of the finance depart- 
ment was iu the hands of his valet de chambre, who, in his master's 
frequent absences, was in the habit of issuing drafts 7ipon the re- 
ceiver-general. As the valet de chambre was described as an idiot 
who did not know how to read, it may be believed that the 
finances fell into confusion. Certainly, if such statements were 
to be accepted, it would be natural enough that for every million 
dollars expended by the king in the provinces not more than one 
hundred thousand were laid out for the public service ; and this 
is the estimate made by Champagny, who, as a distinguished 
financier and once chief of the treasury in the provinces, might 
certainly be thought to know something of the subject. But 
Champagny was so beside himself with rage, hatred, and terror, 
where Alexander was concerned, that he is as unfit a guide for 
those who wish the truth as Commander Moreo or Ybarra. 


"Juan Baptista ayuda de camera, Italiano— para mas vilipen- 
dicia de finanzas el sello dellas, que solia guardar uno de los chefs, 
a estado en manos de Juan Baptista— se sellan sin el [Famese] 
mas al alvidrio de Baptista idiota que no scave leer o de Einaldi. 
. . . En suma es todo confusion y desorden y reduzir solo apro- 
veeho destos y tales quanto se haze. . . . Demas las mohatras de 
los usiu'eros y mercaderes que con sus cambios y recambios pagas 
en panos y sedas y otras trampas, entendiendose con estos re- 
forzando el dinero en diversos partes hay en que no viene a 
resultar al rey su milion quasi en cien mil escudos," etc.— Discours 
du Seigneur de Champagny sur les Affaires des Pays-Bas, De- 
cember 21, 1589, Bibliothfique de Bourgogne MS. No. 12,962. 


Effect of the death of Famese upon Philip's schemes— Priestly- 
flattery and counsel— Assembly of the States-General of France 
—Meeting of the Leaguers at the Louvre— Conference at Sur^ne 
between the chiefs of the League and the " Political " leaders- 
Henry convokes an assembly of bishops, theologians, and others 
—Strong feeling on all sides on the subject of the succession- 
Philip commands that the Infanta and the Duke of Guise be 
elected King and Queen of France— Manifesto of the Duke of 
Mayenne— Formal readmission of Henry to the Roman faith— 
The pope refuses to consent to his reconciliation with the Church 
—His consecration with the sacred oU— Entry of the king into 
Paris— Departure of the Spanish garrison from the capital- 
Dissimulation of the Duke of Mayenne— He makes terms with 
Henry— Grief of Queen Elizabeth on receipt of the communica- 
tions from France. 

During the past quarter of a century there had been 
tragic scenes enough in France, but now the only man 
who could have conducted Philip's schemes to a tragic, 
if not a successful, issue was gone. Friendly death had 
been swifter than Philip, and had removed Alexander 
from the scene before his master had found fitting op- 
portunity to inflict the disgrace on which he was resolved. 
Meantime Charles Mansfeld made a feeble attempt to 
lead an army from the Netherlands iato France to sup- 
port the sinking fortunes of the League ; but it was not 
for that general of artillery to attempt the well-graced 



part of the all-accomplished Farnese with much hope of 
success. A considerable force of Spanish infantry, too, 
had been sent to Paris, where they had been received 
with much enthusiasm ; a very violent and determined 
churchman, Sega, Archbishop of Piacenza and cardinal 
legate, having arrived to check on the part of the Holy 
Father any attempt by the great wavering heretic to get 
himself readmitted into the fold of the faithful.^ 

The King of Spain considered it his duty, as well as 
his unquestionable right, to interfere in the affairs of 
France, and to save the cause of religion, civilization, 
and humanity, in the manner so dear to the civilization- 
savers, by reducing that distracted country, utterly 
unable to govern itself, under his scepter. To achieve 
this noble end no bribery was too wholesale, no violence 
too brutal, no intrigue too paltry. It was his sacred and 
special mission to save France from herself. If he 
should fail, he could at least carve her in pieces, and dis- 
tribute her among himself and friends. Frenchmen 
might assist him in either of these arrangements, but it 
was absurd to doubt that on him devolved the work and 
the responsibility. Yet among his advisers were some 
who doubted whether the purchase of the grandees of 
France was really the most judicious course to pursue. 
There was a general and uneasy feeling that the grandees 
were making sport of the Spanish monarch, and that 
they would be inclined to remain his stipendiaries for an 
indefinite period, without doing their share of the work. 
A keen Jesuit, who had been much in France, often 
whispered to Philip that he was going astray. '' Those 
who best understand the fit remedy for this unfortunate 
kingdom, and know the tastes and temper of the nation," 
1 De Thou, xi. 675. 


said he, " doubt giving these vast presents and rewards 
in order that the nobles of France may affect your cause 
and further your schemes. It is the greatest delusion, 
because they love nothing but their own interest, and 
for this reason wish for no king at all, but prefer that 
the kingdom should remain topsy-turvy in order that 
they may enjoy the Spanish doubloons, as they say 
themselves almost publicly, dancing and feasting ; that 
they may take a castle to-day, and to-morrow a city, and 
the day after a province, and so on indefinitely. What 
matters it to them that blood flows, and that the miser- 
able people are destroyed who alone are good for any- 

" The immediate cause of the ruin of France," con- 
tinued the Jesuit, " comes from two roots which must 
be torn up ; the one is the extreme ignorance and scan- 
dalous life of the ecclesiastics, the other is the tyranny 
and the abominable life of the nobility, who with sac- 
rilege and insatiable avarice have entered upon the 
property of the Church. This nobility is divided into 
three factions. The first, and not the least, is heretic; 
the second and the most pernicious is Politic or atheist ; 
the third and last is CathoKc. All these, although they 
differ in opinion, are the same thing in corruption of life 
and manners, so that there is no choice among them." 
He then proceeded to set forth how entirely the salvation 
of France depended on the King of Spain. '' Morally 
speaking," he said, " it is impossible for any Frenchman 
to apply the remedy. For this two things are wanting — 
intense zeal for the honor of God, and power. I ask 

1 Eelacion del Padre An*" Crespo acerca de las cosas de Flandes 
y Francia (citing the conversations and statements of John de 
Zelander and Father Odo), 1593, Arch, de Sim. MS. 


now what Frenchman has both these, or either of them. 
No one certainly that we know. It is the King of Spain 
who alone in the world has the zeal and the power. No 
man who knows the insolence and arrogance of the 
French nature will believe that even if a king should be 
elected out of France he would be obeyed by the others. 
The first to oppose him would be Mayenne, even if a 
king were chosen from his family, unless everything 
should be given him that he asked, which would be im- 

Thus did the wily priest instil into the ready ears of 
Philip additional reasons for believing himself the incar- 
nate providence of God. When were priestly flatterers 
ever wanting to pour this poison into the souls of 
tyrants ? It is in vain for us to ask why it is permitted 
that so much power for evil should be within the grasp 
of one wretched human creature, but it is at least always 
instructive to ponder the career of these crowned con- 
spirators, and sometimes consoling to find its conclusion 
different from the goal intended. So the Jesuit advised 
the king not to be throwing away his money upon par- 
ticular individuals, but with the funds which they were 
so unprofitably consuming to form a jolly army {gallardo 
egercito) of fifteen thousand foot and five thousand horse, 
all Spaniards, under a Spanish general,— not a French- 
man being admitted into it,— and then to march forward, 
occupy all the chief towns, putting Spanish garrisons 
into them, but sparing the people, who now considered 
the war eternal, and who were eaten up by both armies. 
In a short time the king might accomplish all he wished, 
for it was not in the power of the Bearnese to make 
considerable resistance for any length of time.^ 

1 MS. last cited. 


This was the plan of Father Odo for putting Philip on 
the throne of France, and at the same time lifting up 
the downtrodden Church, whose priests, according to 
his statement, were so profligate, and whose tenets were 
rejected by all but a small minority of the governing 
classes of the country. Certainly it did not lack preci- 
sion, but it remained to be seen whether the Bearnese 
was to prove so very insignificant an antagonist as the 
sanguine priest supposed. 

For the third party— the moderate Catholics— had 
been making immense progress in France, while the 
diplomacy of Philip had thus far steadily counteracted 
their efforts at Rome. In vain had the Marquis Pisani, 
envoy of the Politicians' party, endeavored to soften the 
heart of Clement toward Henry. The pope lived in 
mortal fear of Spain, and the Duke of Sessa, Philip's 
ambassador to the holy see, denouncing all these at- 
tempts on the part of the heretic and his friends, and 
urging that it was much better for Rome that the per- 
nicious kingdom of France should be dismembered and 
subdivided, assured his Holiness that Rome should be 
starved, occupied, annihilated, if such abominable 
schemes should be for an instant favored. 

Clement took to his bed with sickness brought on by 
all this violence, but had nothing for it but to meet 
Pisani and other agents of the same cause with a per- 
emptory denial, and send most stringent messages to 
his legate in Paris, who needed no prompting.^ 

There had already been much issuing of bulls by the 
pope, and much burning of bulls by the hangman, ac- 
cording to decrees of the Parliament of Chalons and 
other friendly tribunals, and burning of Chalons decrees 
1 De Thou, xii. 120. 


by Paris hangmen, and edicts in favor of Protestants at 
Nantes and other places i— measures the enactment, re- 
peal, and reenactment of which were to mark the ebb 
and flow of the great tide of human opinion on the most 
important of subjects, and the traces of which were to 
be for a long time visible on the shores of time. 

Early in 1593 Mayenne, yielding to the pressure of 
the Spanish party, reluctantly consented to assemble the 
States-General of France, in order that a king might be 
chosen.2 The duke, who came to be thoroughly known 
to Alexander Farnese before the death of that subtle 
Italian, relied on his capacity to outwit aU the other 
champions of the League and agents of Philip now that 
the master spirit had been removed. As firmly opposed 
as ever to the election of any other candidate but him- 
self, or possibly his son, according to a secret proposition 
which he had lately made to the pope,^ he felt himself 
obliged to confront the army of Spanish diplomatists, 
Roman prelates, and learned doctors by whom it was 
proposed to exclude the Prince of Beam from his pre- 
tended rights. But he did not, after all, deceive them 
as thoroughly as he imagined. The Spaniards shrewdly 

1 De Thou, xi. 369, 370 seq. 

2 Ibid., xi. 665-670. 

3 " Entrando en platicas con el comisario del papa qui vino de 
Francia ha venido deelararme en gran secreto que el Duea de 
Umena le dixo con el mismo no vendria en la election sino fuese 
en su hijo como lo escrivia al papa y a el pidio lo hiziesse y dixesse 
convenia para el bien de aquel reyno."— Fuentes to Philip, June 
9, 1593, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

" Mostrome algo de lo que le escriven en esto y demas de lo que 
de Roma le avisa que el de Umena haze instancia para que la 
gente del papa se de a su hijo y que anda separada de la de V. 
M^."— Same to same, June 20, 1593, ibid. 

VOL. IV.— 16 


suspected the French tactics, and the whole business 
was but a round game of deception, in which no one 
was much deceived, whoever might be destined ulti- 
mately to pocket the stakes. " I know from a very good 
source," said Fuentes, "that Mayenne, Guise, and the 
rest of them are struggling hard in order not to submit 
to B6arn, and will suffer everything your Majesty may 
do to them, even if you kick them in the mouth ; but 
stni there is no conclusion on the road we are traveling, 
at least not the one which your Majesty desires. They 
will go on procrastinating and gaining time, making 
authority for themselves out of your Majesty's grandeur, 
until the condition of things comes which they are desir- 
ing. Feria tells me that they are stiU taking your Maj- 
esty's money, but I warn your Majesty that it is only to 
fight off Beam, and that they are only pursuing their 
own ends at your Majesty's expense." ^ 

Perhaps Mayenne had already a sufficiently clear in- 
sight into the not far-distant future, but he still pre- 
sented himself in Spanish cloak and most ultramontane 
physiognomy. His pockets were indeed full of Spanish 
coin at that moment, for he had just claimed and re- 
ceived eighty-eight thousand nine hundred dollars for 
back debts, together with one hundred and eighty thou- 
sand doUars more to distribute among the deputies of 

1 " Tambien he sabido de buen original que el D. de Umena, 
Guisa y los demas por no venir al partido con el de B^ame, 
aunque vicareen, sufriran todo lo que V. M^ hiziere con ellos 
aunque les pise la boea, y que en quanto se fuere por el camino 
que agora, no habra, conclusion, a lo menos la que V. M"* desaea, 
y que iran dando muchas largas para dar tiempo al tiempo, 
authorizandoae en tanto con la grandeza de V. M^ hasta Uegar el 
estado que dessean."— Fuentes to Philip, June 9, 1593, Arch, de 
Sim. MS. Same to same, June 20, 1598, ibid. 


the estates.^ " All I can say about France," said Fuentes, 
'^ is that it is one great thirst for money. The Duke of 
Feria believes in a good result, but I think that May- 
enne is only trying to pocket as much money as he can." ^ 

Thus fortified, the Duke of Mayenne issued the ad- 
dress to the States-General of the kingdom to meet at 
an early day in order to make arrangements to secure 
religion and peace, and to throw off the possible yoke of 
the heretic pretender. The great seal affixed to the 
document represented an empty throne, instead of the 
usual effigy of a king.^ 

The cardinal legate issued a thundering manifesto at 
the same time, sustaining Mayenne and virulently de- 
nouncing the B^arnese.* 

The Politicians' party now seized the opportunity to 
impress upon Henry that the decisive moment was come. 

The Spaniard, the priest, and the League had heated 
the furnace. The iron was at a white heat. Now was 
the time to strike. Secretary of State Revol, Gaspar de 
Schomberg, Jacques Auguste de Thou, the eminent his- 
torian, and other influential personages urged the king 
to give to the great question the only possible solution. 

Said the king, with much meekness : " If I am in error, 
let those who attack me with so much fury instruct me 
and show me the way of salvation. I hate those who 
act against their conscience. I pardon all those who are 
inspired by truly religious motives, and I am ready to 

1 Feria to Philip, March 20, 1593, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

2 "Lo que puedo dezir de Franeia es todo sed de dinero— el de 
Umena como se espera sacarle quanto dinero pudiere, temo tan 
ruyn suceso como en todo," etc.— Fuentes to — — , May 22, 1593, 
Arch, de Sim. MS. 

8 De Thou, ubi sup. * Ibid., xi. 675. 


receive all into favor wlioin the love of peace, not the 
chagrin of ill will, has disgusted with the war." ^ 

There was a great meeting of Leaguers at the Louvre 
to listen to Mayenne, the cardinal legate, Cardinal Pel- 
lev6, the Duke of Guise, and other chieftains. The 
Duke of Feria made a long speech in Latin, setting forth 
the Spanish policy, veiled as usual, but already suffi- 
ciently well known, and assuring the assembly that the 
King of Spain desired nothing so much as the peace of 
France and of all the world, together with the suprem- 
acy of the Roman Church. Whether these objects 
could best be attained by the election of Philip or of his 
daughter as sovereign, with the Archduke Ernest as 
king consort, or with perhaps the Duke of Guise or some 
other eligible husband, were fair subjects for discussion. 
No selfish motive influenced the king, and he placed all 
his wealth and all his armies at the disposal of the 
League to carry out these great projects.^ 

Then there was a conference at Surene between the 
chiefs of the League and the Political leaders: the 
Archbishop of Lyons, the cardinal legate, Villars, ad- 
miral of France and defender of Rouen, Belin, governor 
of Paris, President Jeannin, and others upon one side ; 
upon the other, the Archbishop of Bourges, Bellievre, 
Schomberg, Revol, and De Thou.^ 

The Archbishop of Lyons said that their party would 
do nothing either to frustrate or to support the mission 
of Pisani, and that the pope would, as ever, do aU that 
could be done to maintain the interests of the true 

The Archbishop of Bourges, knowing well the mean- 

1 De Thou, xi. 683. 2 i^id., xi. 703-705. 

» Ibid., xi. 719-755. * Ibid. 


ing of such fine phrases, replied that he had much 
respect for the Holy Father, but that popes had now 
become the slaves and tools of the King of Spain, who, 
because he was powerful, held them subject to his 

At an adjourned meeting at the same place, the Arch- 
bishop of Lyons said that all questions had been asked 
and answered. All now depended on the pope, whom 
the League would always obey. If the pope would 
accept the reconciliation of the Prince of Beam it was 
well. He hoped that his conversion would be sincere.^ 

The Political archbishop (of Bourges) replied to the 
League's archbishop that there was no time for delays 
and for journeys by land and sea to Rome. The least 
obstruction might prove fatal to both parties. Let the 
Leaguers now show that the serenity of their faces was 
but the mirror of their minds. 

But the Leaguers' archbishop said that he could make 
no further advances. So ended the conference.^ 

The chiefs of the Politicians now went to the king and 
informed him that the decisive moment had arrived.'^ 

Henry had preserved his coolness throughout. Amid 
all the hubbub of learned doctors of law, archbish- 
ops, Leaguer and Political, Sorbonne pedants, solemn 
grandees from Spain with Latin orations in their 
pockets, intriguing Guises, huckstering Mayennes, 
wrathful Huguenots, sanguinary cardinal legates, 
threatening world-monarchs,— heralded by Spanish 
musketeers, Italian lancers, and German reiters,— shrill 
screams of warning from the English queen, grim de- 
nunciations from Dutch Calvinists, scornful repulses 

1 De Thou, xi, 719-755. 2 njjd. 

3 Ibid. 4 Ibid., xi. 748. 


from the Holy Father, he kept his temper and his eye- 
sight as perfectly as he had ever done through the 
smoke and din of the wildest battle-field. None knew 
better than he how to detect the weakness of the 
adversary and to sound the charge upon his wavering 

He blew the blast, sure that loyal Catholics and Prot- 
estants alike would now follow him pell-mell. 

On the 16th May, 1593, he gave notice that he con- 
sented to get himself instructed, and that he summoned 
an assembly at Mantes on the 15th July, of bishops, 
theologians, princes, lords, and courts of Parliament, to 
hold council, and to advise him what was best to do for 
religion and the state. ^ 

Meantime he returned to the siege of Dreux, made an 
assault on the place, was repulsed, and then hung nine 
prisoners of war in full sight of the garrison as a pun- 
ishment for their temerity in resisting him.^ The place 
soon after capitulated (8th July, 1593). 

The interval between the summons and the assem- 
bling of the clerical and lay notables at Mantes was 
employed by the Leaguers in frantic and contradictory 
efforts to retrieve a game which the most sagacious knew 
'%► be lost. But the Politicians were equal to the occa- 
sion, and baffled them at every point. 

The Leaguers' archbishop inveighed bitterly against 
the abominable edicts recently issued in. favor of the 

The Political archbishop (of Bourges) replied, not by 

defending, but by warmly disapproving those decrees 

of toleration, by excusing the king for having granted 

them for a temporary purpose, and by asserting posi- 

1 De Thou, 3d. 751. 2 i^id., xii. 6. 


tively that, so soon as the king should be converted, he 
would no longer countenance such measures.^ 

It is superfluous to observe that very different lan- 
guage was held on the part of Henry to the English and 
Dutch Protestants and to the Huguenots of his own 

And there were many meetings of the Leaguers in 
Paris, many belligerent speeches by the cardinal legate, 
proclaiming war to the knife rather than that the name 
of Henry the heretic should ever be heard of again as 
candidate for the throne, various propositions spasmodi- 
cally made in full assembly by Feria, Ybarra, Tassis, the 
jurisconsult Mendoza, and other Spanish agents in favor 
of the Infanta as Queen of France, with Archduke Ernest 
or the Duke of Guise, or any other eligible prince, for 
her husband. 

The League issued a formal and furious invective in 
answer to Henry's announcement, proving by copious 
citations from Jeremiah, St. Epiphany, St. Jerome, St. 
Cyprian, and St. Bernard that it was easier for a leop- 
ard to change his spots or for a blackamoor to be 
washed white than for a heretic to be converted, and 
that the king was thinking rather of the crown of 
France than of a heavenly crown in his approaching 
conversion— an opinion which there were few to gain- 

And the Duke of Nemours wrote to his half-brother, 
the Duke of Mayenne, offering to use all his influence to 
bring about Mayenne's election as king on condition 
that if these efforts failed Mayenne should do his best 
to procure the election of Nemours.^ 

1 De Thou, xi. 753. 2 ibid., xi. 761. 

3 Ibid., xi. 779. 


And the Parliament of Paris formally and prospec- 
tively proclaimed any election of a foreigner null and 
void, and sent deputies to Mayenne urging him never to 
consent to the election of the Infanta. 

What help, said they, can the League expect from the 
old and broken Philip, from a king who in thirty years 
has not been able, with all the resources of his king- 
doms, to subdue the revolted provinces of the Nether- 
lands ? How can he hope to conquer France ? Pay no 
further heed to the legate, they said, who is laughing in 
his sleeve at the miseries and distractions of our coun- 
try.i So spake the deputies of the League Parliament 
to the great captain of the League, the Duke of Maj'- 
enne. It was obvious that the Great and Holy Confed- 
eracy was becoming less confident of its invincibility. 
Madam League was suddenly grown decrepit in the 
eyes of her adorers. 

Mayenne was angry at the action of the Parliament, 
and vehemently swore that he would annul their decree. 
Parliament met his threats with dignity, and resolved to 
stand by the decree, even if they all died in their places.^ 

At the same time the Duke of Feria suddenly produced 
in full assembly of Leaguers a written order from Philip 
that the Duke of Guise and the Infanta should at once 
be elected king and queen .^ Taken by surprise, May- 
enne dissembled his rage in masterly fashion, promised 
Feria to support the election, and at once began to hig- 
gle for conditions. He stipulated that he should have 
for himself the governments of Champagne, Burgundy, 
and La Brie, and that they should be hereditary in his 
family. He furthermore demanded that Guise should 

1 De Thou, xi. 784. 2 ibid., xi. 787. 

3 Ibid., xii. 8. 


cede to him the principality of Joinville, and that they 
should pay him on the spot in hard money two hundred 
thousand crowns in gold, six hundred thousand more in 
different payments, together with an annual payment of 
fifty thousand crowns.^ 

It was obvious that the duke did not undervalue him- 
self, but he had, after all, no intention of falling into the 
trap set for him. ''He has made these promises [as 
above given] in writing," said the Duke of Savoy's envoy 
to his master, ''but he will never keep them. The 
Duchess of Mayenne could not help telling me that her 
husband will never consent that the Duke of Guise 
should have the throne."^ From this resolve he had 
never wavered, and was not likely to do so now. Accord- 
ingly, the man " of his word, of faith and truth," whom 
even the astute Farnese had at times half believed in, 
and who had received millions of Philip's money, now 
thought it time to break with Philip. 

He issued a manifesto,^ in which he observed that the 
States-General of France had desired that Philip should 
be elected King of France, and carry out his design of a 
universal monarchy, as the only means of insuring the 
safety of the Catholic religion and the pacification of the 
world. It was feared, however, said Mayenne, that the 
king might come to the same misfortunes which befell 
his father, who, when it was supposed that he was in- 
spired only by private ambition and by the hope of 
placing a hereditary universal crown in his family, had 
excited the animosity of the princes of the empire. " If 
a mere suspicion had caused so great a misfortune in 

1 De Thou, xii. 10. 

2 MS. de Mesmes, t. xi. 893, cited by Capefigue, vi. 268. 
' De Thou, xii. 13-24. 


the empire," continued the man of his word, "what wUl 
the princes of all Europe do when they find his Majesty 
elected King of France and grown by increase of power 
so formidable to the world! Can it be doubted that 
they will fly to arms at once, and give all their support 
to the King of Navarre, heretic though he be? What 
motive had so many princes to traverse Philip's designs 
in the Netherlands, but desire to destroy the enormous 
power which they feared ? Therefore had the Queen of 
England, although refusing the sovereignty, defended 
the independence of the Netherlands these fifteen years. 

"However desirable," continued Mayenne, "that this 
universal monarchy, for which the house of Austria has 
so long been working, should be established, yet the 
king is too prudent not to see the difficulties in his way. 
Although he has conquered Portugal, he is prevented by 
the fleets of Holland and England from taking posses- 
sion of the richest of the Portuguese possessions, the 
island and the Indies. He will find in France insuper- 
able objections to his election as king, for he could in 
this case well reproach the Leaguers with having been 
changed from Frenchmen into Spaniards. He must see 
that his case is hopeless in France, he who for thirty years 
has been in vain endeavoring to reestablish his authority 
in the Netherlands. It would be impossible in the pres- 
ent position of affairs to become either the king or the 
protector of France. The dignity of France allows it not." ^ 

Mayenne then insisted on the necessity of a truce with 
the Royalists or Politicians, and, assembling the estates 
at the Louvre on the 4th July, he read a written paper 
declining for the moment to hold an election for king.^ 

John Baptist Tassis, next day, replied by declaring 
I De Thou, xii. 13-24. 2 ibid., xii. 24. 


that in this case Philip would send no more succors of 
men or money, for that the only effectual counter-poison 
to the pretended conversion of the Prince of B6arn was 
the immediate election of a king.^ 

Thus did Mayenne escape from the snare in which the 
Spaniards thought to catch the man who, as they now 
knew, was changing every day, and was true to nothing 
save his own interests. 

And now the great day had come. The conversion of 
Henry to the Roman faith, fixed long before for the 23d 
July, 1593, formally took place at the time appointed.^ 
From six in the morning till the stroke of noon did 
Henry listen to the exhortations and expoundings of the 
learned prelates and doctors whom he had convoked, the 
Politic Archbishop of Bourges taking the lead in this 
long-expected instruction. After six mortal hours had 
come to an end, the king rose from his knees, somewhat 
wearied, but entirely instructed and convinced. He 
thanked the bishops for having taught him that of which 
he was before quite ignorant, and assured them that, 
after having invoked the light of the Holy Ghost upon 
his musings, he should think seriously over what they 
had just taught him, in order to come to a resolution 
salutary to himself and to the state.^ 

Nothing could be more candid. Next day, at eight in 
the morning, there was a great show in the Cathedral of 
St. Denis, and the population of Paris, notwithstand- 
ing the prohibition of the League authorities, rushed 
thither in immense crowds to witness the ceremony of 
the reconciliation of the king. Henry went to the church, 
clothed, as became a freshly purified heretic, in white 

1 De Thou, xii. 24. 2 ibjd., xii. 30-35. 

8 Ibid. 


satin doublet and hose, white silk stockings, and white 
silk shoes with white roses in them, but with a black 
hat and a black mantle.^ There was a great procession, 
with blare of trumpet and beat of drum. The streets 
were strewn with flowers. 

As Henry entered the great portal of the church, he 
found the Archbishop of Bourges seated in state, efful- 
gent in miter and chasuble, and surrounded by other 
magnificent prelates in gorgeous attire. 

"Who are you, and what do you want?" said the 

" I am the king," meekly replied Henry, " and I de- 
mand to be received into the bosom of the Roman 
CathoUc Church." 

" Do you wish it sincerely ? " asked the prelate. 

" I wish it with all my heart," said the king.^ 

Then throwing himself on his knees, the Beam, 
great champion of the Huguenots, protested before God 
that he would live and die in the Catholic faith, and that 
he renounced all heresy. A passage was with difficulty 
opened through the crowd, and he was then led to the 
high altar, amid the acclamations of the people. Here 
he knelt devoutly and repeated his protestations. His 
unction and contrition were most impressive, and the 
people, of course, wept piteously. The king, during the 
progress of the ceremony, with hands clasped together 
and adoring the eucharist with his eyes, or, as the host 
was elevated, smiting himseK thrice upon the breast, was 
a model of passionate devotion.^ 

1 Fontanieu portefeuilles, Nos. 416, 417, cited by Capefigue, vi. 
325. 2 Ibid. De Thou, ubi sup. 

' "La devotion fut remarqu6e tres grande en sa Maj. laquelle 
pendant la consecration et elevation de I'Eucharistie eut 


Afterward he retired to a pavilion behind the altar, 
where the archbishop confessed and absolved him. 
Then the Te Deum sounded, and high mass was cele- 
brated by the Bishop of Nantes. Then, amid acclama- 
tions and blessings, and with largess to the crowd, the 
king returned to the monastery of St. Denis, where 
he dined amid a multitude of spectators, who thronged 
so thickly around him that his dinner-table was nearly 
overset. These were the very Parisians who, but three 
years before, had been feeding on rats and dogs and 
dead men's bones and the bodies of their own children 
rather than open their gates to this same Prince of 

Now, although Mayenne had set strong guards at 
those gates and had most strictly prohibited all egress, 
the city was emptied of its populace, which pressed in 
transports of adoration ^ around the man so lately the 
object of their hate. Yet few could seriously believe 
that much change had been effected in the inner soul of 
him whom the legate and the Spaniard and the Holy 
Father at Rome still continued to denounce as the vilest 
of heretics and the most infamous of impostors. 

The comedy was admirably played out and was en- 
tirely successful. It may be supposed that the chief 
actor was, however, somewhat wearied. In private he 
mocked at all this ecclesiastical mummery, and described 
himself as heartily sick of the business. '*I arrived 
here last evening," he wrote to the beautiful Gabrielle, 
" and was importuned with ' God save you ' tiU bedtime. 

perpetuellement les mains jointes, les yeux adorant I'Eueharistie, 
ayant frapp6 sa poitrine trois fois tant a I'elevation de Eucharistie 
que du caliee."— Font, portefeuilles, ubi sup. 
1 De Thou, xii. 35. 


In regard to the Leaguers I am of the Order of St. 
Thomas. I am beginning to-morrow morning to talk to 
the bishops, besides those I told you about yesterday. 
At this moment of writing I have a hundred of these im- 
portunates on my shoulders, who will make me hate 
St. Denis as much as you hate Mantes. 'T is to- 
morrow that I take the perilous leap. I kiss a million 
times the beautiful hands of my angel and the mouth of 
my dear mistress." ^ 

A truce, renewed at intervals, with the Leaguers lasted 
till the end of the year. The Duke of Nevers was sent 
on special mission to Rome to procure the Holy Father's 
consent to the great heretic's reconciliation to the 
Church, and he was instructed to make the king's sub- 
mission in terms so wholesale and so abject that even 
some of the lifelong papists of France were disgusted, 
while every honest Protestant in Europe shrank into 
himself for shame.^ But Clement, overawed by Philip 
and his ambassador, was deaf to all the representations 
of the French envoy. He protested that he would not 
believe in the sincerity of the Beam's conversion unless 

1 M6m. de M. de I'Estoile, MS. Cot. P. No. 30, cited by 
Capefigue, vi. 354. 

2 "Herewith inclosed," wrote the English envoy, "your Lord- 
ship shall receive a copy of the request which M. de Nevers 
presented to the pope on the king's behalf, by the sight whereof 
it will appear to your Lo. how abjectly he doth therein debase the 
king's authority and dignity, wherewith the most superstitious 
Catholics here are so despited as they promise to procure the same 
to be disavowed by the courts of Parliament as derogating from 
the dignity of the Galilean Church."— Edmonds (who was secretary 
to Sir H. Umton, and in his absence agent or eharg^ d'affaires) 
to Burghley, December 30, 1593, S. P. Office MS. Compare De 
Thon, xii. 38, and Bor, b. xxxii. 151. 


an angel from heaven should reveal it to him. So 
Nevers left Rome highly exasperated, and professing 
that he would rather have lost a leg, that he would 
rather have been sewn in a sack and tossed into the 
Tiber, than bear back such a message. The pope 
ordered the prelates who had accompanied Nevers to 
remain in Rome and be tried by the Inquisition for mis- 
prision of heresy ; but the duke placed them by his side 
and marched out of the Porta del Popolo with them, 
threatening to kill any man who should attempt to en- 
force the command.! 

Meantime it became necessary to follow up the St. 
Denis comedy with a still more exhilarating popular 
spectacle. The heretic had been purified, confessed, 
absolved. It was time for a consecration. But there 
was a difiBiculty. Although the fever of loyalty to the 
ancient house of Bourbon, now redeemed from its wor- 
ship of the false gods, was spreading contagiously 
through the provinces; although all the white silk in 
Lyons had been cut into scarfs and banners to cele- 
brate the reconciliation of the candid king with Mother 
Church ; although that ancient city was ablaze with bon- 
fires and illuminations, while its streets ran red, with 
blood no longer, but with wine ; and although Madam 
League, so lately the object of fondest adoration, was now 
publicly burned in the efiigy of a grizzly hag,^ yet Paris 
still held for that decrepit beldam, and closed its gates 
to the Bearnese. 

The city of Rheims, too, had not acknowledged the 

former Huguenot, and it was at Rheims, in the Church 

of St. Remy, that the holy bottle was preserved. 

With what chrism, by what prelate, should the consecra- 

1 De Thou, xii. 83-94 2 ibid., xii. 114. 


tion of Henry be performed? Five years before, the 
League had proposed in the estates of Blois to place 
among the fundamental laws of the kingdom that no 
king should be considered a legitimate sovereign whose 
head had not been anointed by the bishop at Rheims 
with oil from that holy bottle. But it was now decided 
that to ascribe a monopoly of sanctity to that prelate 
and to that bottle would be to make a schism in the 

Moreover, it was discovered that there was a chrism in 
existence still more efficacious than the famous oil of St, 
Remy. One hundred and twelve years before the bap- 
tism of Clovis, St. Martin had accidentally tumbled 
down-stairs, and lay desperately bruised and at the point 
of death. But, according to Sulpicius Severus, an angel 
had straightway descended from heaven, and with a 
miraculous balsam had anointed the contusions of the 
saint, who next day felt no further inconveniences from 
his fall. The balsam had ever since been preserved in 
the church of Marmoutier, near Tours. Here, then, was 
the most potent of unguents, brought directly from 
heaven. To mix a portion thereof with the chrism of 
consecration was clearly more judicious than to make 
use of the holy bottle, especially as the holy bottle was 
not within reach. The monks of Marmoutier consented 
to lend the sacred phial containing the famous oil of St. 
Martin for the grand occasion of the royal consecration. 

Accompanied by a strong military escort provided by 
GUes de Souvri, governor of Touraine, a deputation of 
friars brought the phial to Chartres, where the conse- 
cration was to take place. Prayers were offered up, 
without ceasing, in the monastery during their absence 

1 De Thou, xii. 120-129. 


that no mishap should befall the sacred treasure. When 
the monks arrived at Chartres, four young barons of the 
first nobility were assigned to them as hostages for the 
safe restoration of the phial, which was then borne in 
triumph to the cathedral, the streets through which it 
was carried being covered with tapestry. There was a 
great ceremony, a splendid consecration, six bishops, 
with miters on their heads and in gala robes, oflBciating, 
after which the king knelt before the altar and took the 
customary oath.^ 

Thus the champion of the fierce Huguenots, the well 
beloved of the dead La Noue and the living Duplessis- 
Mornay, the devoted knight of the heretic Queen Eliza- 
beth, the sworn ally of the stout Dutch Calvinists, was 
pompously reconciled to that Rome which was the object 
of their hatred and their fear. 

The admirably arranged spectacles of the instruction 
at St. Denis and the consecration at Chartres were fol- 
lowed on the day of the vernal equinox by a third and 
most conclusive ceremony. 

A secret arrangement had been made with De Cosse- 
Brissac, governor of Paris, by the king, according to 
which the gates of Paris were at last to be opened to 
him.2 The governor obtained a high price for his ser- 
vices — three hundred thousand livres in hard cash, thirty 
thousand a year for his life, and the truncheon of mar- 
shal of France.^ Thus purchased, Brissac made his 
preparations with remarkable secrecy and skill. Envoy 
Ybarra, who had scented something suspicious in the 
air, had gone straight to the governor for information, 
but the keen Spaniard was thrown out by the governor's 

1 De Thou, xii. 120-129. 2 Ibid., xii. 138-141. 

' Capefigue, vii. 122. 
VOL. IV.— 17 


ingenuous protestations of ignorance. The next morn- 
ing, March 22, was stormy and rainy, and long before 
daylight Ybarra, still uneasy despite the statements of 
Brissac, was wandering about the streets of Paris, when 
he became the involuntary witness of an extraordinary 
spectacle. 1 

Through the wind and the rain came trampling along 
the dark streets of the capital a body of four thou- 
sand troopers and lansquenets. Many torch-bearers at- 
tended on the procession, whose flambeaux threw a 
lurid light upon the scene. There, surrounded by the 
swart and grizzly bearded visages of these strange men- 
at-arms, who were discharging their harquebuses, as they 
advanced, upon any bystanders likely to oppose their 
progress, in the very midst of this sea of helmed heads, 
the envoy was enabled to recognize the martial figure of 
the Prince of Beam. Armed to the teeth, with sword 
in hand and dagger at side, the hero of Ivry rode at last 
through the barriers which had so long kept him from 
his capital. "'T was like enchantment," said Ybarra.^ 
The first Bourbon entered the city through the same 
gate out of which the last Valois had, five years before, 
so ignominiouslj^ fled. It was a midnight surprise, al- 
though not fully accomplished until near the dawn of 
day. It was not a triumphal entrance, nor did Henry 
come as the victorious standard-bearer of a great prin- 
ciple. He had defeated the League in many battle-fields, 
but the League stiU hissed defiance at him from the 
very hearthstone of his ancestral palace. He had now 
crept, in order to conquer, even lower than the League 

1 Ybarra to , March 28, 1594, Arch, de Sim., B. 70, 222, 

cited by Capefigue, vii. 151. 

2 Ibid. 


itself ; and casting off his Huguenot skin at last, he had 
soared over the heads of all men, the presiding genius 
of the Holy Catholic Church. 

Twenty-one years before, he had entered the same 
city on the conclusion of one of the truces which had 
varied the long monotony of the religious wars of France. 
The youthful son of Antony Bourbon and Joan of 
Albret had then appeared as the champion and the idol 
of the Huguenots. In the same year had come the fatal 
nuptials with the bride of St. Bartholomew, the first 
Catholic conversion of Henry, and the massacre at which 
the world still shudders. 

Now he was chief of the Politicians, and sworn 
supporter of the Council of Trent. Earnest Huguenots 
were hanging their heads in despair. 

He represented the principle of national unity against 
national dismemberment by domestic treason and for- 
eign violence. Had that principle been his real inspira- 
tion, as it was in truth his sole support, history might 
judge him more leniently. Had he relied upon it en- 
tirely it might have been strong enough to restore him 
to the throne of his ancestors without the famous re- 
ligious apostasy with which his name is forever associ- 
ated. It is by no means certain that permanent religious 
toleration might not have been the result of his mount- 
ing the throne only when he could do so without re- 
nouncing the faith of his fathers. A day of civilization 
may come, perhaps, sooner or later, when it will be of no 
earthly consequence to their fellow-creatures to what 
creed, what Christian church, what religious dogma 
kings or humbler individuals may be partial : when the 
relations between man and his Maker shall be undefiled 
by political or social intrusion. But the day will never 


come when it will be otherwise than damaging to public 
morality and humiliating to human dignity to forswear 
principle for a price, and to make the most awful of 
mysteries the subject of political legerdemain and the- 
atrical buffoonery. 

The so-called conversion of the king marks an epoch 
in human history. It strengthened the Roman Church 
and gave it an indefinite renewal of life, but it sapped 
the foundations of religious faith. The appearance of 
Henry the Huguenot as the champion of the Council of 
Trent was of itself too biting an epigram not to be ex- 
tensively destructive. Whether for good or ill, religion 
was fast ceasing to be the mainspring of political com- 
binations, the motive of great wars and national convul- 
sions. The age of religion was to be succeeded by the 
age of commerce. 

But the king was now on his throne. All Paris was 
in rapture. There was Te Deum with high mass in 
Notre Dame, and the populace was howling itself hoarse 
with rapture in honor of him so lately the object of the 
general curse. Even the Sorbonne declared in favor of 
the reclaimed heretic,^ and the decision of those sages 
had vast influence with less enlightened mortals. There 
was nothing left for the Duke of Feria but to take him- 
self off and make Latin orations in favor of the Infanta 
elsewhere, if fit audience elsewhere could be found. 
A week after the entrance of Henry the Spanish garri- 
son accordingly was allowed to leave Paris with the hon- 
ors of war. 

"We marched out at 2 p.m.," wrote the duke to his 
master, " with closed ranks, colors displayed, and drums 
beating. First came the Italians and then the Spaniards, 

1 April 22, 1594. Capefigue, vii. 183, 184. 


in the midst of whom was myself on horseback, with the 
Walloons marching near me. The Prince of Beam" 
—it was a solace to the duke's heart, of which he never 
could be deprived, to call the king by that title— "was 
at a window over the Gate of St. Denis, through which 
we took our departure. He was dressed in light gray, 
with a black hat surmounted by a great white feather. 
Our displayed standards rendered him no courteous 
salute as we passed." ^ 

Here was another solace ! 

Thus had the game been lost and won, but Philip, as 
usual, did not acknowledge himself beaten. Mayenne, 
too, continued to make the most fervent promises to all 
that was left of the Confederates. He betook himself to 
Brussels, and by the king's orders was courteously re- 
ceived by the Spanish authorities in the Netherlands. 
In the midst of the tempest now rapidly destroying all 
rational hopes, Philip still clung to Mayenne as to a spar 
in the shipwreck. For the king ever possessed the vir- 
tue, if it be one, of continuing to believe himself invin- 
cible and infallible, when he had been defeated in every 
quarter, and when his calculations had all proved ridicu- 
lous mistakes. 

When his famous Armada had been shattered and 
sunk, have we not seen him peevishly requiring Alex- 
ander Farnese to construct a new one immediately and 
to proceed therewith to conquer England out of hand ? 
Was it to be expected that he would renounce his con- 
quest of France, although the legitimate king had entered 
his capital, had reconciled himself to the Church, and 
was on the point of obtaining forgiveness of the pope ? 

1 Feria to Philip, Arch, de Sim. (Paris), B. 78, G2, in Capefigue, 
vii. 161. 


If the Pnnce of Beam had already destroyed the Holy 
League, why should not the Duke of Mayenne and Arch- 
duke Ernest make another for him, and so conquer 
France without further delay ? 

But although it was still possible to deceive the king, 
who in the universality of his deceptive powers was so 
prone to delude himself, it was difficult even for so 
accomplished an intriguer as Mayenne to hoodwink 
much longer the shrewd Spaniards who were playing so 
losing a game against him. 

" Our affairs in France," said Ybarra, " are in such 
condition that we are losing money and character there, 
and are likely to lose all the provinces here, if things are 
not soon taken up in a large and energetic manner. 
Money and troops are what is wanted on a great scale 
for France. The king's agents are mightily discon- 
tented with Mayenne, and with reason ; but they are 
obliged to dissimulate and to hold their tongues. We 
can send them no assistance from these regions, unless 
from down yonder you send us the cloth and the scissors 
to cut it with." 1 

And the Archduke Ernest, although he invited May- 
enne to confer with him at Brussels, under the impres- 
sion that he could still keep him and the Duke of Guise 
from coming to an arrangement with Beam, hardly felt 
more confidence in the man than did Feria or Ybarra. 
" Since the loss of Paris," said Ernest, " I have had a 
letter from Mayenne, in which, deeply affected by that 

1 Ybarra to the secretaries, January 18, 1594, Arch, de Sim. 
MS. Charles Mansfeld, too, held the same language. "I have 
had a talk with Tassis," he wrote to the king, "and we both 
agree that Mayenne has always been managing affairs for his 
own ends, cheating your Majesty, and this opinion I have always 


event, he makes me great offers, even to the last drop of 
his blood, vowing never to abandon the cause of the 
League, But of the intentions and inner mind of this 
man I find such vague information that I don't dare to 
expect more stability from him than may be founded 
upon his own interest." ^ 

And so Mayenne came to Brussels and passed three 
days with the archduke. " He avows himself ready to 
die in our cause," said Ernest. " If your Majesty will 
give men and money enough, he will undertake so to 
deal with Beam that he shall not think himself safe in 
his own house." The archduke expressed his dissatis- 
faction to Mayenne that with the money he had already 
received so little had been accomplished, but he still 
affected a confidence which he was far from feeling, 
" because," said he, " it is known that Mayenne is already 
treating with Beam. If he has not concluded those 
arrangements, it is because Beam now offers him less 
money than before." ^ The amount of dissimulation, 

1 Ernest to Philip, March 30, 1594, Arch, de Sim. MS. The legate 
had at last informed Mayenne that "the actions of Navarre were not 
of men, but the works of God's hand, and that the forces of Spain 
were not sufficient to prevent him establishing himself absolute 
King of France, and so it would be better that he should be 
established by means of a general peace."— Sumario de una re- 
lacion que hize Aseano Solferini, April 27, 1594, Arch, de Sim. 
MS. Philip replied to the archduke that Mayenne could scarcely 
be acquitted of evil intentions in regard to the loss of Paris, but 
that nevertheless it was necessary to affect confidence in him. 
The war would be carried on, and the king had so informed the 
pope. The salaries paid to personages in France before the loss 
of Paris would be continued. (Philip to Ernest, June 4, 1594, Arch. 
de Sim. MS.) 

2 Eelaeion de cartas del Archiduque, para S. M^ sobre las cosas 
de Francia, Arch, de Sim. MS. 


politely so called, practised by the grandees of that age, 
to say nothing of their infinite capacity for pecuniary 
absorption, makes the brain reel and enlarges one's ideas 
of the human faculties as exerted in certain directions. 
It is doubtful whether plain Hans Miller or Hans Baker 
could have risen to such a level. ^ 

The Duke of Feria and the other Spanish envoys had 
long since thoroughly understood the character of May- 
enne, that great broker between Philip, the Bearnese, 
and the League. 

Feria wrote a despatch to the king, denouncing May- 
enne as false, pernicious to the cause of Spain and of 
Catholicism, thoroughly self-seeking and vile, and as 
now most traitorous to the cause of the Confederacy, 
engaged in surrendering its strong places to the enemy, 
and preparing to go over to the Prince of Beam. 

" If," said he, " I were to recount all his base tricks, I 

1 Even so late as the winter of tMs year Mayenne wrote in a 
deeply injured tone to the archduke, expressing surprise that 
"pledges should be demanded of him, and suspicions entertained 
concerning him, after all the proofs he had given of his fidelity 
and constancy."— Mayenne to Ernest, September 1, 1594, Arch, 
de Sim. MS. "He offers very magnificently to die for the cause," 
said Ernest, "but his deeds resolve themselves into remote and 
general offers, and into begging for ready money in present pay- 
ment for what he is to do for your M^ in future."— Ernest to 
Philip, September 6, 1594, ibid. And to the very last moment 
Philip persisted in endeavoring to keep Mayenne about his hook 
by allowing him to nibble at very small bait. " You must try to 
keep him dependent on me," he said to Ernest, "not giving him 
any more money than is necessary to prevent him from falling 
away entirely, for to content his appetite completely there is not a 
fortune in the world that would suffice."— Philip to Ernest, De- 
cember 2, 1594, ibid. Compare paper of Diego de Pimentel, No- 
vember 23, 1594, ibid. 


should go on till midnight, and perhaps till to-morrow 
morning." ^ 

This letter, being intercepted, was sent with great 
glee by Henry IV., not to the royal hands for which it 
was destined, but to the Duke of Mayenne. Great was 
the wrath of that injured personage as he read such 
libelous truths. He forthwith fulminated a scathing 
reply, addressed to Philip II., in which he denounced 
the Duke of Feria as '' a dirty ignoramus, an impudent 
coward, an impostor, and a blind thief," adding, after 
many other unsavory epithets : " But I will do him an 
honor which he has not merited, proving him a liar with 
my sword ; and I humbly pray your Majesty to grant me 
this favor and to pardon my just grief, which causes me 
to depart from the respect due to your Majesty when I 
speak of this impostor who has thus wickedly torn my 
reputation." ^ 

His invectives were, however, much stronger than his 
arguments in defense of that tattered reputation. The 
defiance to mortal combat went for nothing, and in the 
course of the next year the injured Mayenne turned his 
back on Philip and his Spaniards, and concluded his 
bargain with the Prince of Beam. He obtained good 
terms— the government of Burgundy, payment of his 
debts, and a hundred and twenty thousand crowns in 
hard cash.^ It is not on record that the man of his 
word, of credit, and of truth ever restored a penny of 
the vast sums which he had received from Philip to 
carry on the business of the League. 

Subsequently the duke came one very hot summer's 

1 Feria to Philip, August, 1594, MSS. de Colbert, vol. xxxiii., in 
Capefigue, vii. 229. 

2 Capefigue, vii. 229 seq. ^ lua., vii. 333-335. 


day to Monceaux to thank the king, as he expressed it, 
for " delivering him from Spanish arrogance and Italian 
wiles," and having got with much difficulty upon his 
knees, was allowed to kiss the royal hand. Henry then 
insisted upon walking about with him through the park 
at a prodigious rate, to show him all the improvements, 
while the duke panted, groaned, and perspired in his 
vain efforts to keep pace with his new sovereign. 

" If I keep this fat fellow walking about in the sun 
much longer," whispered the king to De Bethune, who 
was third in the party, " I shall be sufficiently avenged 
for all the mischief he has done us." 

At last, when the duke was forced to admit himself to 
be on the point of expiring with fatigue, he was dis- 
missed to the palace with orders to solace himself with 
a couple of bottles of excellent wine of Arbois, expressly 
provided for him by the king's direction. And this 
was aU the punishment ever inflicted by the good- 
humored monarch on the corpulent conspirator.^ 

The Duke of Guise made his arrangements with the 
ex-Huguenot on even better terms and at a still earlier 
day ,2 while Joyeuse and Mercceur stood out a good 
while and higgled hard for conditions. " These people 
put such a high price on themselves," said one of 
Henry's diplomatists, " that one loses almost more than 
one gains in buying them. They strip and plunder us 

1 M^moires de Sully, liv. viii. 454. This interview was in the 
spring of 1596, while Henry was occupied with the siege of La 
F^re. At the very same time, possibly on the selfsame day, 
Mayenne was sending an emissary to Philip, begging to have his 
allowance continued, and the king left it to his governor-general 
to decide whether to do so or not. (Philip to Archduke Albert, 
April 24, 1596, Arch, de Sim. MS.) 

2 Capefigue, vii. 321, 322. 


even in onr nakedness, and we are obliged, in order to 
conciliate such harpies, to employ all that we can scrape 
out of our substance and our blood. I think, however, 
that we ought to gain them by whatever means and at 
whatever price." ^ 

Thus Henry IV., the man whom so many contempo- 
rary sages had for years been rebuking or ridiculing for 
his persistency in a hopeless attempt to save his country 
from dismemberment, to restore legitimate authority, 
and to resist the Holy Confederacy of domestic trai- 
tors, aided by foreign despots and sympathizers, was at 
last successful, and the fratricidal war in France was 
approaching its only possible conclusion. 

But alas ! the hopes of those who loved the Reformed 
Church as well as they loved their country were sadly 
blasted by the apostasy of their leader. From the most 
eminent leaders of the Huguenots there came a wail 
which must have penetrated even to the well-steeled 
heart of the cheerful Gascon. " It will be difficult," they 
said, '' to efface very soon from your memory the names 
of the men whom the sentiment of a common religion, 
association in the same perils and persecutions, a com- 
mon joy in the same deliverance, and the long experi- 
ence of so many faithful services, have engraved there 
with a pencil of diamond. The remembrance of these 

1 " Je ne doute point que I'aecomodement de M. de Mayenne 
ne soit fait et j'espere que celuy de M. de Joyeuse se fera encore. 
M. de Mercceur se rend plus difficile. Ces gens la se mettent a si 
haut prix qu'on perd presque plus qu'on ne gagne a les aeheter. 
Ds nous depouillent dans notre nudity mesme, et il faut employer 
pour reconcilier ces harpies tout ce que nous pouvons tirer de 
notre substance et de notre sang. Je erois neantmoins que nous 
les devons gaigner par quelque moyen et a quelque prix que ce 
puisse etre."— Bongars, Lettres, pp. 331, 332. 


tilings pursues you and accompanies you everywhere ; it 
interrupts your most important affairs, your most ardent 
pleasures, your most profound slumber, to represent to 
you, as in a picture, yourself to yourself: yourself not 
as you are to-day, but such, as you were when, pursued 
to the death by the greatest princes of Europe, you went 
on conducting to the harbor of safety the little vessel 
against which so many tempests were beating." ^ 

The states of the Dutch Republic, where the affair of 
Henry's conversion was as much a matter of domestic 
personal interest as it could be in France,— for religion 
up to that epoch was the true frontier between nation 
and nation,— debated the question most earnestly while 
it was yet doubtful. It was proposed to send a formal 
deputation to the king, in order to divert him, if possi- 
ble, from the fatal step which he was about to take. 
After ripe deliberation, however, it was decided to leave 
the matter '' in the hands of God Almighty, and to pray 
him earnestly to guide the issue to his glory and the 
welfare of the churches." ^ 

The Queen of England was, as might be supposed, 
beside herself with indignation, and, in consequence of 

1 Requete au Roy par ceux de la religion, 1593, Colbert MSS., 
vol. xxxi., apud Capefigue, vi. 317. 

"Je plains et pleurs au fond de mon ame la gehenne de S. 
Maj.," wrote Duplessis-Mornay, August 11, 1593, to De Lomenie, 
"je vous prie de lui dire que s'il lui prend jamais envie de sortir 
de cette captivity et spirituelle et temporelle, je ne puis croistre 
de fidelity mais je doublerai de courage. ... lis ne lui donnent 
pas la paix de I'estat et lui ostent la paix de la conscience. . . . 
Us ne lui rendent point son royaume, car c'est a Dieu et non au 
diable k le donner, et lui faut renoncer autant qu'en eulx est le 
royaume des cieux." — M6m. et Correspond, de Duplessis-Momay, 
iv. 511. 

2 Bor, ill. 706. 


the great apostasy and of her chronic dissatisfaction 
with the manner in which her contingent of troops had 
been handled in France, she determined to withdraw 
every English soldier from the support of Henry's cause. 
The unfortunate French ambassador in London was at 
his wits' ends. He vowed that he could not sleep of 
nights, and that the gout and the colic, to which he 
was always a martyr, were nothing to the anguish which 
had now come upon his soul and brain, such as he had 
never suffered since the bloody day of St. Bartholomew. ^ 

'* Ah, my God ! " said he to Burghley, ''is it possible 
that her just choler has so suddenly passed over the 
great glory which she has acquired by so many benefits 
and liberalities ? " - But he persuaded himseK that her 
Majesty would, after all, not persist in her fell resolution. 
To do so, he vowed, would only be boiling milk for the 
French papists, who would be sure to make the most of 
the occasion in order to precipitate the king into the 
abyss to the border of which they had already brought 
him. He so dreaded the ire of the queen that he pro- 
tested he was trembling all over merely to see the pen 
of his secretary wagging as he dictated his despatch.^ 
Nevertheless, it was his terrible duty to face her in her 
wrath, and he implored the lord treasurer to accompany 
him and to shield him at the approaching interview. 
'' Protect me," he cried, " by your wisdom from the ire of 
this great princess ; for, by the living God, when I see 
her enraged against any person whatever, I wish myself 
in Calcutta, fearing her anger like death itself." * 

When all was over, Henry sent De Morlans as special 

1 Beauvoir la Node to Burghley, August 24, 1593, S. P. Office 

2 Ibid. 3 Ibid. * Ibid. 


envoy to communicate the issue to the governments of 
England and of Holland. But the queen, although no 
longer so violent, was less phlegmatic than the States- 
General, and refused to be comforted. She subsequently 
receded, however, from her determination to withdraw 
her troops from France. 

"Ah, what grief, ah, what regrets, ah, what groans, 
have I felt in my soul," she wrote, " at the sound of the 
news brought to me by Morlans ! My God ! is it 
possible that any wordly respect can efface the terror of 
divine wrath ? Can we by reason even expect a good 
sequel to such iniquitous acts ? He who has maintained 
and preserved you by his mercy, can you imagine that 
he permits you to walk alone in your utmost need? 
'T is bad to do evil that good may come of it. Mean- 
time I shall not cease to put you in the first rank of my 
devotions, in order that the hands of Esau may not spoil 
the blessings of Jacob. As to your promises to me of 
friendship and fideKty, I confess to have dearly deserved 
them, nor do I repent, provided you do not change j'our 
Father, — otherwise I shall be your bastard sister by the 
father's side,— for I shall ever love a natural better than 
an adopted one. I desire that God may guide you in a 
straight road and a better path. Your most sincere 
sister in the old fashion. As to the new, I have nothing 
to do with it. Elizabeth R." ^ 

1 Bibl. du Roi, MSS. Colbert in fol. M. R. D., vol. xvi. fol. 329, 
apud Capefigue, vi. 352. 


Prince Maurice lays siege to Gertruydenberg— Advantages of the 
new system of warfare— Progress of the besieging operations— 
Superiority of Maurice's manoeuvers— Adventure of Count Philip 
of Nassau— Capitulation of Gertruydenberg— Mutiny among the 
Spanish troops— Attempt of Verdugo to retake Coevorden— 
Suspicions of treason in the English garrison at Ostend— Letter 
of Queen Elizabeth to Sir Edward Norris on the subject— Second 
attempt on Coevorden— Assault on Groningen by Maurice— 
Second adventure of Philip of Nassau— Narrow escape of Prince 
Maurice— Surrender of Groningen— Particulars of the siege — 
Question of religious toleration — Progress of the United Nether- 
lands — Condition of the obedient Netherlands — Incompetency 
of Peter Mansfeld as governor — Archduke Ernest, the successor 
of Famese— Difficulties of his position— His unpopularity— Great 
achievements of the republicans- Triumphal entry of Ernest into 
Brussels and Antwerp — Magnificence of the spectacle — Disaffec- 
tion of the Spanish troops — Great military rebellion— Philip's 
proposal to destroy the English fleet— His assassination plans- 
Plot to poison Queen Elizabeth — Conspiracies against Prince 
Maurice— Futile attempts at negotiation— Proposal of a marriage 
between Henry and the Infanta— Secret mission from Henry to 
the Bang of Spain— Special despatch to England and the states — 
Henry obtains further aid from Queen Elizabeth and the States- 
General— Anxiety of the Protestant countries to bring about a 
war with Spain— Aspect of affairs at the close of the year 1594. 

While Philip's world-empire seemed in one direction to 
be so rapidly fading into cloud-land, there were substan- 
tial possessions of the Spanish crown which had been 
neglected in Brabant and Friesland. 



Two very important cities still held for the King of 
Spain within the territories of what could now be fairly 
considered the United Dutch Republic— Gertruydenberg 
and Groningen. 

Early in the spring of 1593 Maurice had completed 
his preparations for a siege, and on the 24th March ap- 
peared before Gertruydenberg. 

It was a stately, ancient city, important for its wealth, 
its strength, and especially for its position. For with- 
out its possession even the province of Holland could 
hardly consider itself mistress of its own little domains. 
It was seated on the ancient Meuse, swollen as it ap- 
proached the sea almost to the dimensions of a gulf, whUe 
from the south another stream, called the Donge, very 
brief in its course, but with considerable depth of water, 
came to mingle itself with the Meuse, exactly under the 
waUs of the city. 

The site of the place was so low that it was almost 
hidden and protected by its surrounding dikes. These 
afforded means of fortification, which had been well im- 
proved. Both by nature and art the city was one of the 
strongholds of the Netherlands. 

Maurice had given the world a lesson in the beleaguer- 
ing science at the siege of Steenwyk such as had never 
before been dreamed of, but he was resolved that the 
operations before Gertruydenberg should constitute a 

Nothing could be more beautiful as a production of 
military art, nothing, to the general reader, more insipid 
than its details. 

On the land side, Hohenlo's headquarters were at 
Ramsdonck, a village about a German mile to the east 
of Gertruydenberg. Maurice himself was established on 


the west side of the city.^ Two bridges constructed 
across the Donge facilitated the communications between 
the two camps, while great quantities of planks and 
brush were laid down across the swampy roads to make 
them passable for wagon-trains and artillery. The first 
care of the young general, whose force was not more 
than twenty thousand men, was to protect himself rather 
than to assail the town. 

His lines extended many miles in a circuit around the 
place, and his forts, breastworks, and trenches were very 

The river was made use of as a natural and almost 
impassable ditch of defense, and windmills were freely 
employed to pump water into the shallows in one direc- 
tion, while in others the outer fields, in quarters whence 
a relieving force might be expected, were turned into 
lakes by the same machinery. Farther outside, a system 
of palisade-work of caltrops and man-traps— sometimes, 
in the slang of the day, called Turkish ambassadors— 
made the country for miles around impenetrable or very 
disagreeable to cavalry.^ In a shorter interval than 
would have seemed possible, the battlements and forti- 
fications of the besieging army had risen like an exhala- 
tion out of the morass. The city of Gertruydenberg was 
encompassed by another city as extensive and apparently 
as impregnable as itself. Then, for the first time in that 
age, men thoroughly learned the meaning of that potent 
implement, the spade. 

1 See, for the details of this remarkable siege, Meteren, xvi. 
321, 322; Bor, iii. 690-698; Reyd, x. 198-205; Mulder's Duyck, 
194-245, especially ; Bentivoglio, p. iii. lib. i. 383-387 ; Coloma, vi. 

2 Reyd, ubi sup. 

VOL. IV.— 18 


Three thousand pioneers worked night and day with 
pickax and shovel. The soldiers liked the business; 
for every man so employed received his ten stivers a day 
additional wages, punctually paid, and felt, moreover, 
that every stroke was bringing the work nearer to its 

The Spaniards no longer railed at Maurice as a hedger 
and ditcher. When he had succeeded in bringing a 
hundred great guns to bear upon the beleaguered city 
they likewise ceased to sneer at heavy artillery. 

The kartouwen and haK-kartouwen were no longer 
considered espanta-vellacos. 

Meantime, from aU the country round, the peasants 
flocked within the lines. Nowhere in Europe were pro- 
visions so plentiful and cheap as in the Dutch camp. 
Nowhere was a readier market for agricultural products, 
prompter payment, or more perfect security for the life 
and property of non-combatants. Not so much as a 
hen's egg was taken unlawfully.^ The country people 
found themselves more at ease within Maurice's lines 
than within any other part of the provinces, obedient or 
revolted ; they plowed and sowed and reaped at their 
pleasure ; and no more striking example was ever afforded 
of the humanizing effect of science upon the barbarism of 
war than in this siege of Gertruydenberg.^ Certainly 
it was the intention of the prince to take his city, and 
when he fought the enemy it was his object to kill ; but, 
as compared with the bloody work which Alva and 
Romero and Requesens and so many others had done 
in those doomed provinces, such war-making as this 
seemed almost like an institution for beneficent and 
charitable pui*poses. 

1 Duyck, 201. 2 Meteren, Bor, Beyd, ubi sup. 


Visitors from the neighborhood, from other provinces, 
from foreign countries, came to witness the extraordi- 
nary spectacle, and foreign generals repaired to the camp 
of Maurice to take practical lessons in the new art of war.^ 

Old Peter Ernest Mansfeld, who was nominal gov- 
ernor of the Spanish Netherlands since the death of 
Farnese, rubbed his eyes and stared aghast when the 
completeness of the preparations for reducing the city 
at last broke in upon his mind. Count Fuentes was 
the true and confidential regent, however, until the des- 
tined successor to Parma should arrive ; but Fuentes, 
although he had considerable genius for assassination, 
as wiU hereafter appear, and was an experienced and 
able commander of the old-fashioned school, was no 
match for Maurice in the scientific combinations on 
which the new system was founded. 

In vain did the superannuated Peter call aloud upon 
his son and governor, Count Charles, to assist him in 
this dire dilemma. That artillery general had gone with 
a handful of Germans, Walloons, and other obedient 
Netherlanders— too few to accomplish anything abroad, 
too many to be spared from the provinces— to besiege 
Noyon, in France.^ But what signified the winning or 

1 "Un des mes amis," wrote Bongars, envoy of Henry IV., "qui 
est all6 dans le camp des Hollandois par la seule curiosite de le 
voir, m'a ecrit qu'il n'a jamais ni vu ni entendu parler d'une armee 
campee ou il parut plus de courage et en meme temps plus de 
discipline. II dit que les fortifications sont si elevees qu'elles 
egalent les ouvrages des anciens Remains et que tout s'y conduit 
avec tant d'ordre et de silence qu'on croirait plutot voir I'etat 
paisible d'une ville que se conserve Petat par le soin de ses 
magistrals et par I'obeissance de ses citoyens qu'une troupe con- 
fuse de gens arrays."— Lettres, 65, p. 223. 

2 He had but forty-three hundred foot and eight hundred horse. 
(Charles Mansfeld to Fuentes, April 5, 1593, Arch, de Sim. MS.) 


losing of such a place as Noyon at exactly the moment 
when the Prince of Beam, assisted by the able general- 
ship of the Archbishop of Bourges, had just executed 
those famous flanking movements in the churches of St. 
Denis and Chartres, by which the world-empire had been 
effectually shattered, and Philip and the pope com- 
pletely outmanoeuvered ? 

Better that the five thousand fighters under Charles 
Mansfeld had been around Gertruydenberg. His aged 
father did what he could. As many men as could be 
spared from the garrison of Antwerp and its neighbor- 
hood were collected, but the Spaniards were reluctant to 
march, except under old Mondragon. That hero, who 
had done much of the hardest work and had fought in 
most of the battles of the century, was nearly as old as 
the century. Being now turned of ninety, he thought 
best to keep house in Antwerp Castle. Accordingly, 
twelve thousand foot and three thousand horse took the 
field under the more youthful Peter Ernest.^ But 
Peter Ernest, when his son was not there to superintend 
his operations, was nothing but a testy octogenarian, 
while the two together were not equal to the little finger 
of Farnese, whom Philip would have displaced, had he 
not fortunately died. 

" Nothing is to be expected out of this place but toads 
and poison," wrote Ybarra, in infinite disgust, to the two 
secretaries of state at Madrid. '^ I have done my best 
to induce Fuentes to accept that which the patent 
secured him, and Count Peter is complaining that 

1 Relacion de la gente effectiva de S. M^ para el socorro de S* 
Gertruydenberg. With levies expected, the number is stated at 
thirteen thousand foot and twenty-six hundred horse, besides the 
forces under Verdugo. (Arch, de Sim. MS.) 


Fuentes showed him the patent so late only to play him 
a trick. There is a rascally pack of meddlers here, and 
the worst of them all are the women, whom I particu- 
larly give to the devil. There is no end to the squabbles 
as to who shall take the lead in relieving Gertruyden- 
berg." ^ 

Mansfeld at last came ponderously up in the neigh- 
borhood of Turnhout. There was a brilliant little 
skirmish in the neighborhood of this place, in which a 
hundred and fifty Dutch cavalry under the famous 
brothers Bax defeated four hundred picked lancers of 
Spain and Italy.'-^ But Mansfeld could get nothing but 
skirmishes. In vain he plunged about among the cal- 
trops and man-traps. In vain he knocked at the fortifi- 
cations of Hohenlo on the east and of Maurice on the 
west. He found them impracticable, impregnable, 
obdurate. It was Maurice's intention to take his town 
at as small sacrifice of life as possible. A trumpet was 
sent on some trifling business to Mansfeld, in reply to a 
communication made by the general to Maurice. 

" Why does your master," said the choleric veteran to 
the trumpeter, " why does Prince Maurice, being a lusty 
young commander as he is, not come out of his trenches 
into the open field and fight me like a man, where honor 
and fame await him ? " 

"Because my master," answered the trumpeter, 
" means to live to be a lusty old commander like your 
Excellency, and sees no reason to-day to give you an 

1 Ybarra to Don Cristoval Moura and Don Juan Idiaquez, from 
Antwerp, May 22, 1593, Aroh. de Sim. MS. 

2 Bor, Meteren, Reyd, ubi sup. Duyck, 214, 215. Compare 
Coloma, Bentivoglio, ubi sup. 


At this the bystanders laughed, rather at the expense 
of the veteran. 1 

Meantime there were not many incidents within the 
lines or within the city to vary the monotony of the 
scientific siege. 

On the land side, as has been seen, the city was in- 
closed and built out of human sight by another Ger- 
truydenberg. On the wide estuary of the Meuse a 
chain of war-ships encircled the sea-front, in shape of a 
half-moon, lying so close to each other that it was 
scarcely possible even for a messenger to swim out of a 
dark night. 

The hardy adventurers who attempted that feat with 
tidings of despair were almost invariably captured. 

This blockading fleet took regular part in the daily 
cannonade, while, on the other hand, the artillery-prac- 
tice from the land batteries of Maurice and Hohenlo was 
more perfect than anything ever known before in the 
Netherlands or France. 

And the result was that in the course of the cannon- 
ade, which lasted nearly ninety days, not more than four 
houses in the city escaped injury. The approaches 
were brought, every hour, nearer and nearer to the walls. 
With subterranean lines converging in the form of the 
letter Y, the prince had gradually burrowed his way 
beneath the principal bastion.^ 

Hohenlo, representative of the older school of strategy, 
had on one occasion ventured to resist the authority of 
the commander-in-chief. He had constructed a fort at 
Ramsdonck. Maurice then commanded the erection of 
another, fifteen hundred yards farther back. It was as 

1 Meteren, xvi. 322. 

2 Bor, Meteren, Eeyd, Duyck, vbi sup. 


much a part of his purpose to defend himself against the 
attempts of Mansfeld's relieving force as to go forward 
against the city. Hohenlo objected that it would be 
impossible to sustain himself against a sudden attack in 
so isolated a position. Maurice insisted. In the midst 
of the altercation Hohenlo called to the men engaged in 
throwing up the new fortifications. ''Here, you cap- 
tains and soldiers," he cried, " you are delivered up here 
to be butchered. You may drop work and follow me to 
the old fort." 

'' And I swear to you," said Maurice, quietly, " that the 
first man who moves from this spot shall be hanged." 

No one moved. The fort was completed and held to 
the end, Hohenlo sulkily acquiescing in the superiority 
which this stripling, his former pupil, had at last vin- 
dicated over all old-fashioned men-at-arms.^ 

From the same cause which was apt to render Ho- 
henlo's services inefiicient, the prince was apt to suffer 
inconvenience in the persons placed in still nearer rela- 
tion to himself. Count Philip of Nassau, brother of the 
wise and valiant Louis William, had already done much 
brilliant campaigning against the Spaniards both in 
France and the provinces. Unluckily, he was not only 
a desperate fighter, but a mighty drinker, and one day, 
after a dinner-party and potent carouse at Colonel Bre- 
derode's quarters, he thought proper, in doublet and 
hose, without armor of any kind, to mount his horse, in 
order to take a solitary survey of the enemy's works. 
Not satisfied with this piece of reconnoitering,— which he 
effected with much tipsy gravity, but probably without 
deriving any information likely to be of value to the 
commanding general,— he then proceeded to charge in 
1 Reyd, x. 203. 


person a distant battery. Tlie deed was not commenda- 
ble in a military point of view, A fire was opened upon 
him at long range so soon as he was discovered, and at 
the same time the sergeant-major of his regiment and 
an equery of Prince Maurice started in pursuit, deter- 
mined to bring him off, if possible, before his life had 
been thus absurdly sacrificed. Fortunately for him, 
they came to the rescue in time, pulled him from his 
horse, and succeeded in bringing him away unharmed. 
The sergeant-major, however, Sinisky by name, while 
thus occupied in preserving the count's life, was badly 
wounded in the leg by a musket-shot from the fort, which 
casualty was the only result of this after-dinner assault.^ 

As the siege proceeded, and as the hopes of relief died 
away, great confusion began to reign within the city. 
The garrison, originally of a thousand veterans, besides 
burgher militia, had been much diminished. Two com- 
mandants of the place, one after another, had lost their 
lives. On the 1st of June Governor de Masieres, Captain 
Mongyn, the father confessor of the garrison, and two 
soldiers, being on the top of the great church tower tak- 
ing observations, were all brought down with one can- 
non-shot.- Thus the uses of artillery were again proved 
to be something more than to scare cowards. 

The final result seemed to have been brought about 
almost by accident, if accident could be admitted as a 
factor in such accurate calculations as those of Maurice. 
On the 24th June Captains Haen and Bievry were re- 
lieving watch in the trenches near the great north 
ravelin of the town— a bulwark which had already been 
much undermined from below and weakened above. 

1 Duyek, 180. Compare Bor, Meteren, Eeyd, ubi sup. 

2 Duyck. 


Being adventurous officers, it occurred to them suddenly 
to scale the wall of the fort and reconnoiter what was 
going on in the town. It was hardly probable that they 
would come back alive from the expedition, but they 
nevertheless threw some planks across the ditch, and 
taking a few soldiers with them, climbed cautiously up. 
Somewhat to his own surprise, still more to that of the 
Spanish sentinels, Bievry in a few minutes found him- 
self within the ravelin. He was closely followed by 
Captain Haen, Captain Kalf, and by half a company of 
soldiers. The alarm was given. There was a fierce 
hand-to-hand struggle. Sixteen of the bold stormers 
fell, and nine of the garrison of the fort. The rest fled 
into the city. The governor of the place, Captain 
Gysant, rushing to the rescue without staying to put on 
his armor, was killed. Count Solms, on the other hand, 
came from the besieging camp into the ravelin to inves- 
tigate the sudden uproar. To his profound astonish- 
ment, he was met there, after a brief interval, by a depu- 
tation from the city, asking for terms of surrender. 
The envoys had already been for some little time look- 
ing in vain for a responsible person with whom to treat. 
When Maurice was informed of the propositions he 
thought it at first a trick, for he had known nothing of 
the little adventure of the three captains. Soon after- 
ward he came into a battery whither the deputies had 
been brought, and the terms of capitulation were soon 
agreed upon.^ 

Next day the garrison were allowed to go out with 
side-arms and personal baggage, and fifty wagons were 
lent them by the victor to bring their wounded men to 

^ Duyck, 234 seq. Meteren, Bor, Eeyd, ubi sup. 


Thus was Grertruydenberg surrendered in the very face 
of Peter Mansfeld, who only became aware of the fact by 
the salvos of artillery fired in honor of the triumph, and 
by the blaze of illumination which broke forth over camp 
and city. 

The sudden result was an illustration of the prince's 
perfect arrangements. When Maurice rode into the 
town, he found it strong enough and suf&ciently well 
provisioned to have held out many a long day. But it 
had been demonstrated to the besieged that relief was 
impossible, and that the surrender on one day or an- 
other, after the siege operations should be brought to 
their close, was certain. The inexorable genius of the 
commander, skilled in a science which to the coarser 
war-makers of that age seemed almost superhuman, 
hovered above them like a fate. It was as well to suc- 
cumb on the 24th June as to wait till the 24th July.^ 

1 Thus modestly did Louis William, to whom so large a part of 
the glory of all these achievements belongs, express himself in a 
congratulatory letter to his cousin Maurice : " J'estime de ne 
faire que mon devoir de congratuler V. E. d'une victoire si 
signalee, en ce qu'avez faiet une preuve tant remarquable, que la 
conduite et travail en la guerre domine la force, dont ce si^ge 
peut estre nomm6 a droiet la seconde Alexia et une grande re- 
stauration en partie de la vieille art et science militaire, laquelle a 
est6 mocqu6e, voire n'a seeu 6stre comprehend6e, ou pour le moins 
practiqu^e des plus grands capitaines modernes ; par ou I'ennemi 
a ce coup plus perdu de sa reputation que regu de dommage par 
les autres plusieurs belles et grandes victoires ; tellement que si 
Messieurs les Etats seconderoient en forces ce que la guerre a 
augments en experience k bon droit, se pourroit on promettre une 
bonne et heureuse issue de laquelle je prie Dieu de faire a ce 
pauvre Pays Bas une fois jouir, et a votre Exc® I'honneur en re- 
compense de ses genereux et he roicque desseings et grands 
travaulx de bientost triumpher."— Groen v. Prinsterer, Archives, 
n. S. i. 245. 


Moreover, the great sustaining principle, resistance to 
the foreigner, which had inspired the deeds of daring, 
the wonders of endurance, in the Dutch cities beleaguered 
so remorselessly by the Spaniard twenty years earlier in 
the century, was wanting. 

In suiTcndering to the born Netherlander, the heroic 
chieftain of the illustrious house of Nassau, these Neth- 
erlanders were neither sullying their flag nor injuring 
their country. Enough had been done for military 
honor in the gallant resistance, in which a large portion 
of the garrison had fallen. Nor was that religious 
superstition so active within the city which three years 
before had made miracles possible in Paris when a 
heretic sovereign was to be defied by his own subjects. 
It was known that even if the public ceremonies of the 
Catholic Church were likely to be suspended for a time 
after the surrender, at least the rights of individual 
conscience and private worship within individual house- 
holds would be tolerated, and there was no papal legate 
with fiery eloquence persuading a city full of heroic 
dupes that it was more virtuous for men or women to 
eat their own children than to forego one high mass or 
to wink at a single conventicle. 

After all, it was no such bitter hardship for the citi- 
zens of Gertruydenberg to participate in the prosperity 
of the rising and thriving young Republic, and to enjoy 
those municipal and national liberties which her sister 
cities had found so sweet. 

Nothing could be calmer or more reasonable than such 
a triumph, nothing less humiliating or less disastrous 
than such a surrender. 

The problem was solved, the demonstration was made. 
To open their gates to the soldiers of the Union was not 


to admit the hordes of a Spanish commander, with the 
avenging furies of murder, pillage, rape, which ever 
followed in their train over the breach of a captured 

To an enemy hated or dreaded to the uttermost mor- 
tal capacity, that well-fortified and opulent city might 
have held out for months, and only when the arms and 
the fraud of the foe without, and famine within, had 
done their work, could it have bowed its head to the 
conqueror, and submitted to the ineffable tortures which 
would be the necessary punishment of its courage. 

Four thousand shots had been fired from the siege- 
guns upon the city, and three hundred upon the reliev- 
ing force. 

The besieging army numbered in aU nine thousand 
one hundred and fifty men of all arms, and they lost 
during the eighty-five days' siege three hundred killed 
and four hundred wounded.^ 

After the conclusion of these operations, and the 
thorough remodeling of the municipal government of 
the important city thus regained to the Republic, Maurice 
occupied himself with recruiting and refreshing his some- 
what exhausted little army. On the other hand, old 
Count Mansfeld, dissatisfied with the impotent conclu- 
sion to his attempts, retired to Brussels, to be much 
taunted by the insolent Fuentes. He at least escaped 
very violent censure on the part of his son Charles, for 
that general, after his superfluous conquest of Noyon, 
while returning toward the Netherlands, far too tardily 
to succor Gertruydenberg, had been paralyzed in aU his 

1 Duyck, 241. There were six hundred and fifty English and 
seven hundred Gennan riders in Maurice's camp. The rest of his 
army were Netherlanders. 


movements by a very extensive mutiny which broke out 
among the Spanish troops in the province of Artois.^ 
The disorder went through all its regular forms. A 
town was taken, an eletto was appointed. The coun- 
try-side was blackmailed or plundered, and the rebel- 
lion lasted some thirteen months. Before it was con- 
cluded there was another similar outbreak among the 
Italians, together with the Walloons and other obedient 
Netherlanders in Hainault, who obliged the city of Mons 
to coUect nine hundred florins a day for them.^ The 
consequence of these military rebellions was to render 
the Spanish crown almost powerless during the whole 
year within the provinces nominally subject to its sway. 
The cause, as always, was the non-payment of these 
veterans' wages year after year. It was impossible for 
Philip, with all the wealth of the Indies and Mexico 
pouring through the Danaid sieve of the Holy League 
in France, to find the necessary funds to save the 
bronzed and war-worn instruments of his crimes in the 
Netherlands from starving and from revolt. 

Meantime there was much desultory campaigning in 
Friesland. Verdugo and Frederick van den Berg picked 
up a few cities and strong places which had thrown 
off their allegiance to the king,— Auerzyl, Slochteren, 
Wihschoten, Wedde, Ootmarsum,— and invested the 
much more important town of Coevorden, which Mau- 
rice had so recently reduced to the authority of the 
Union. Verdugo's force was insufficient, however, and 
he had neither munitions nor provisions for a long siege. 
Winter was coming on, and the states, aware that he 
would soon be obliged to retire from before the well- 

1 Meteren, xvi. 323. Coloma, vi. 123^'». Bor, iii. 710. 
. 2 Meteren, xvi. 323. 


garrisoned and fortified place, thought it unnecessary 
to interfere with him. After a very brief demonstration 
the Portuguese veteran was obliged to raise the siege.^ 
There were also certain vague attempts made by the 
enemy to repossess himself of those most important 
seaports which had been pledged to the English queen. 
On a previous page the anxiety has been indicated with 
which Sir Robert Sydney regarded the withdrawal of the 
English troops in the Netherlands for the sake of assist- 
ing the French king. This palpable breach of the treaty 
had necessarily weakened England's hold on the affec- 
tions of the Netherlanders, and awakened dark sus- 
picions that treason might be impending at Flushing or 
Ostend. The suspicions were unjust, so far as the 
governors of those places were concerned, for Sydney 
and Norris were as loyal as they were intelligent and 
brave ; but the trust in their characters was not more 
implicit than it had been in that of Sir William Stanley 
before the commission of his crime. It was now be- 
lieved that the enemy was preparing for a sudden 
assault upon Ostend, with the connivance, it was feared, 
of a certain portion of the English garrison. The in- 
telligence was at once conveyed to her Majesty's gov- 
ernment by Sir Edward Norris, and they determined to 
take a lesson from past experience. Norris was at once 
informed that, in view of the attack which he appre- 
hended, his garrison should be strengthened by five hun- 
dred men under Sir Conyers Clifford from certain com- 
panies in Flushing, and that other reinforcements should 
be sent from the English troops in Normandy. The 
governor was ordered to look well after his captains and 
soldiers, to remind them, in the queen's name, of their 

1 Bor, iii. 714-718. 


duty to herself and to the states, to bid all beware of 
sullying the English name, to make close investigations 
into any possible intrigues of the garrison with the 
enemy, and should any culprits be found, to bring them 
at once to condign punishment.^ 

The queen, too, determined that there should be no 
blighting of English honor, if she could prevent it by 
her warnings, indited with her own hand a characteris- 
tic letter to Sir Edward Norris, to accompany the more 
formal despatch of Lord Burghley. Thus it ran : 

"■ Ned : Though you have some tainted sheep among 
your flock, let not that serve for excuse for the rest. 
We trust you are so carefully regarded as naught shall 
be left for your excuses, but either ye lack heart or want 
will ; for of fear we will not make mention, as that our 
isoul abhors, and we assure ourselves you will never dis- 
cern suspicion of it. Now or never let, for the honor of 
tis and our nation, each man be so much of bolder heart 
as their cause is good, and their honor must be accord- 
ing, remembering the old goodness of our God, who 
never yet made us fail his needful help, who ever bless 
you, as I with my prince's hand beseech him." ^ 

The warnings and preparations proved sufiiciently 
effective, and the great schemes with which the new 
royal governor of the Netherlands was supposed to be 
full— a mere episode in which was the conquest of 
Ostend— seemed not so formidable as their shadows had 
indicated. There was, in the not very distant future, to 
be a siege of Ostend, which the world would not soon 

1 The queen's minute to Sir Edward Norris, partly in Burghley's 
hand, October, 1593, S. P. Office MS. 

2 "A fclause written in the letter to Sir Edward Norris, with 
her Majesty's own hand," S. P. Office MS. 


forget, but perhaps the place would not yield to a sudden 
assault. Its resistance, on the contrary, might prove 
more protracted than was then thought possible. But 
the chronicle of events must not be anticipated. For 
the present, Ostend was safe.^ 

Early in the following spring Verdugo again appeared 
before Coevorden in force. It was obvious that the great 
city of Groningen, the mistress of all the northeastern 
provinces, would soon be attacked, and Coevorden was 
the necessary base of any operations against the place. 
Fortunately for the states, Louis William had in the 
preceding autumn occupied and fortified the only avenue 
through the Bourtange morass, so that when Verdugo 
sat down before Coevorden it was possible for Maurice, 
by moving rapidly, to take the royal governor at a dis- 

Verdugo had eight thousand picked troops, including 
two thousand Walloon cavalry, troopers who must have 
been very formidable, if they were to be judged by the 

1 " It appears by those advertisements that come unto me out of 
the land," ■wrote Sir Edward Norris to Lord Burghley, "that the 
great expectation which was had of the coming of this new great 
governor is almost gone, who neither for peace nor war doth seem 
likely to perform that which he promised. ... It appears that his 
intention was by all means to settle those parts in some sort of 
peace, truce, or quiet by the taking of Ostend, whilst he might 
employ his whole forces upon greater enterprises. I think he is 
now out of hope of any, for he finds no likelihood of peace, and as 
for the taking of this place [Ostend], which the people flattered 
themselves so much withal, methinks the hope of it is delayed ; 
for the great works which were in hand at Nieuport and Bruges 
are laid aside, and aU the workmen licensed to go home, but to be 
ready at a day's warning."— Norris to Burghley, March 6, 1594, 
S. P. Office MS. 

2 Bor, iii. 794-798. Meteren, xvi. 328-330. 


prowess of one of their captains, Gaucier by name. 
This obedient Netherlander was in the habit of boasting 
that he had slain four hundred and ten men with his 
own hand, including several prisoners and three preach- 
ers ; ^ but the rest of those warriors were not so famed 
for their martial achievements. 

The peril, however, was great, and Prince Maurice, 
trifling not a moment, threw himself with twelve thou- 
sand infantry, Germans, Frisians, Scotch, English, and 
Hollanders, and nearly two thousand horse, at once upon 
the road between the Vecht and the Bourtange morass. 
On the 6th of May Verdugo found the states' com- 
mander-in-chief intrenched and impregnable, squarely 
established upon his line of communications. He recon- 
noitered, called a council of war, and decided that to as- 
sail him were madness ; to remain, destruction. On the 
night of the 6th of May he broke up his camp and stole 
away in the darkness, without sound of drum or trum- 
pet, leaving all his fortifications and burning all his 

Thus had Maurice, after showing the world how strong 
places were to be reduced, given a striking exhibition of 
the manner in which they were to be saved. 

Coevorden, after thirty-one weeks' investment, was 

The stadholder now marched upon Groningen. This 
city was one of the most splendid and opulent of all the 
Netherland towns. Certainly it should have been one 
of the most ancient in Europe, since it derived its name 
— according to that painstaking banker, Francis Guic- 
ciardini — '■'■ from Grun, a Trojan gentleman," who, never- 
theless, according to Munster, was ^' a Frenchman by 
1 Meteren. Eeyd, ix. 231. 2 ibj^. 

VOL. IV.— 19 


birth." " Both theories, however, might be true," added 
the conscientious Florentine, " as the French have always 
claimed to be descended from the relics of Troy." ^ A 
simpler-minded antiquary might have babbled of green 
fields, since groenighe, or greenness, was a sufficiently 
natural appellation for a town surrounded, as was Gro- 
ningen on the east and west, by the greenest and fattest 
of pastures. In population it was only exceeded by 
Antwerp and Amsterdam.^ Situate on the line where 
upper and nether Germany blend into one, the capital of 
a great province whose very name was synonymous with 
liberty, and whose hardy sons had done fierce battle 
with despotism in every age, so long as there had been 
human record of despotism and of battles, Groningen 
had fallen into the hands of the foreign foe, not through 
the prowess of the Spaniard, but the treason of the Neth- 
erlander. The baseness of the brilliant, trusted, valiant, 
treacherous young Renneberg has been recorded on a 
previous page of these volumes.^ For thirteen years 
long the Republic had chafed at this acquisition of the 
hated enemy within its very heart. And now the day 
had come when a blow should be struck for its deliver- 
ance by the ablest soldier that had ever shown himself 
in those regions, one whom the commonwealth had 
watched over from his cradle. 

For in Groningen there was still a considerable party 
in favor of the Union, although the treason of Renne- 
berg had hitherto prevented both city and province from 
incorporating themselves in the body politic of the 

1 Gmcciardini, in voce. 

2 Gmcciardini, in 1585, says that no Netherland city exceeded 
it in population. 

3 Rise of the Dutch Republic, vol. v. part vi. chap, iii. 


United Netherlands. Within the precincts were five 
hundred of Verdugo's veterans, under George Lanckema, 
stationed at a faubourg called Schuytendiess.^ In the 
city there was, properly speaking, no garrison,^ for the 
citizens in the last few years had come to value them- 
selves on their fidelitj^ to church and king, and to take a 
sorry pride in being false to all that was noble in their 
past. Their ancestors had wrested privilege after privi- 
lege at the sword's point from the mailed hands of dukes 
and emperors, until they were almost a self-governing 
republic, their courts of justice recognizing no appeal 
to higher powers, even under the despotic sway of 
Charles V. And now, under the reign of his son, and 
in the feebler days of that reign, the capital of the free 
Frisians — the men whom their ancient pagan statutes 
had once declared to be '■'■ free so long as the wind blew 
out of the clouds "—relied upon the trained bands of her 
burghers, inured to arms and well provided with all 
munitions of war, to protect her, not against foreign 
tyranny nor domestic sedition, but against liberty and 
against law. 

For the representative of the most ancient of the 
princely houses of Europe, a youth whose ancestors had 
been emperors when the forefathers of Philip, long de- 
scended as he was, were but country squires, was now 
knocking at their gates. Not as a conqueror and a 
despot, but as the elected first magistrate and com- 
mander-in-chief of the freest commonwealth in the world, 
Maurice of Nassau, at the head of fifteen thousand Neth- 
erlanders, countrymen of their own, now summoned the 
inhabitants of the town and province to participate with 

1 Meteren, xvi. 330 seq. Bor, iii. 808 seq. 

2 Ibid. 


their fellow-citizens in all the privileges and duties of 
the prosperous Republic. 

It seemed impossible that such an appeal could be 
resisted by force of arms. Rather it would seem that 
the very walls should have fallen at his feet at the first 
blast of the trumpet; but there was military honor, 
there was religious hatred, there was the obstinacy of 
party. More than all, there were half a dozen Jesuits 
within the town, and to those ablest of generals in times 
of civil war it was mainly owing that the siege of Gro- 
ningen was protracted longer than under other circum- 
stances would have been possible.^ 

It is not my purpose to describe in detail the scientific 
operations during the sixty-five days between the 20th 
May and the 24th July. Again the commander-in-chief 
enlightened the world by an exhibition of a more artis- 
tic and humane style of warfare than previously to his 
appearance on the military stage had been known. But 
the daily phenomena of the leaguer, although they 
have been minutely preserved by most competent eye- 
witnesses, are hardly entitled to a place except in spe- 
cial military histories, where, however, they should claim 
the foremost rank.^ 

The fortifications of the city were of the most splen- 
did and substantial character known to the age. The 
ditches, the ravelins, the curtains, the towers, were as 
thoroughly constructed as the defenses of any place in 
Europe. It was therefore necessary that Maurice and 
his cousin Louis should employ all their learning, all 

1 Meteren, ubi sup. 

2 See, in particular, Joumaal van Duyck, ed. Mulder, 394—465, 
in which every daily incident of the siege is minutely and 
scientifically recorded. Bor, iii. 826-835. Meteren, xvi. 330 seq. 


their skill, and their best artillery to reduce this great 
capital of the eastern Netherlands. Again the scientific 
coil of approaches wound itself around and around the 
doomed stronghold ; again were constructed the gal- 
leries, the covered ways, the hidden mines, where sol- 
diers, transformed to gnomes, burrowed and fought 
within the bowels of the earth ; again that fatal letter Y 
advanced slowly underground, stretching its deadly 
prongs nearer and nearer up to the waUs; and again 
the system of defenses against a relieving force was so 
perfectly established that Verdugo or Mansfeld, with 
what troops they could muster, seemed as powerless as 
the pewter soldiers with which Maurice in his boyhood 
— not yet so long passed away — was wont to puzzle over 
the problems which now practically engaged his early 
manhood. Again, too, strangely enough, it is recorded 
that Philip Nassau, at almost the same period of the 
siege as in that of Gertruydenberg, signalized himself by 
a deed of drunken and superfluous daring. This time 
the dinner-party was at the quarters of Count Solms, in 
honor of the Prince of Anhalt, where, after potations 
pottle-deep. Count Philip rushed from the dinner-table 
to the breach, not yet thoroughly practicable, of the 
north ravelin, and, entirely without armor, mounted 
pike in hand to the assault, proposing to carry the fort 
by his own unaided exertions. Another officer, one 
Captain Vaillant, still more beside himself than was the 
count, inspired him to these deeds of valor by assuring 
him that the mine was to be sprung under the ravelin 
that afternoon, and that it was a plot on the part of the 
Holland boatmen to prevent the soldiers who had been 
working so hard and so long in the mines from taking 
part in the honors of the assault. The count was with 


difficulty brought off with a whole skin and put to bed.^ 
Yet despite these disgraceful pranks there is no doubt 
that a better and braver officer than he was hardly to be 
found even among the ten noble Nassaus who at that 
moment were fighting for the cause of Dutch liberty— 
fortunately with more sobriety than he at all times 

On the following day Prince Maurice, making a recon- 
naissance of the works with his usual calmness, yet with 
the habitual contempt of personal danger which made 
so singular a contrast with the cautious and painstaking 
characteristics of his strategy, very narrowly escaped 
death. A shot from the fort struck so hard upon the 
buckler under cover of which he was taking his observa- 
tions as to fell him to the ground. ^ Sir Francis Vere, 
who was with the prince under the same buckler, like- 
wise measured his length in the trench, but both escaped 
serious injury.^ Pauli, one of the states' commissioners 
present in the camp, wrote to Barneveldt that it was to 
be hoped that the accident might prove a warning to his 
Excellency. He had repeatedly remonstrated with him, 
he said, against his reckless exposure of himself to un- 
necessary danger, but he was so energetic and so full of 
courage that it was impossible to restrain him from 
being everywhere every day.* 

Three days later the letter Y did its work. At ten 
o'clock of the night of the 15th July Prince Maurice 
ordered the mines to be sprung, when the north ravelin 
was blown into the air, and some forty of the garrison 

1 Duyek, 448. Bor, iii. 832. 

2 Bor, ubi sup. Duyck, 448. Meteren, 330. 

3 Bor, ubi sup. But Duyck makes no mention of Vere in this 
connection. * Ibid. 


with it.i Two of them came flying into the besiegers' 
camp, and, strange to say, one was alive and sound.^ 
The catastrophe finished the sixty-five days' siege, the 
breach was no longer defensible, the obstinacy of the 
burghers was exhausted, and capitulation followed. In 
truth, there had been a subterranean intrigue going on 
for many weeks, which was almost as effective as the 
mine. A certain Jan te Boer had been going back and 
forth between camp and city, under various pretexts 
and safe-conducts, and it had at last appeared that the 
Jesuits and the five hundred of Verdugo's veterans were 
all that prevented Groningen from returning to the 
Union. There had been severe fighting within the city 
itself, for the Jesuits had procured the transfer of the 
veterans from the faubourg to the town itself, and the 
result of all these operations, political, military, and 
Jesuitical, was that on the 22d July articles of surrender 
were finally agreed upon between Maurice and a deputa- 
tion from the magistrates, the gilds, and Commander 

The city was to take its place thenceforth as a mem- 
ber of the Union. Louis WiUiam, already stadholder of 
Friesland for the United States, was to be recognized as 
chief magistrate of the whole province, which was thus 
to retain all its ancient privileges, laws, and rights of 
self-government, while it exchanged its dependence on 
a distant, foreign, and decaying despotism for incor- 
poration with a young and vigorous commonwealth. 

It was arranged that no religion but the Reformed re- 
ligion, as then practised in the United Republic, should 

1 Duyck, 452, 453. Bor. Meteren. 

2 Meteren, 330. 

3 Bor. Meteren. Duyck, 456-464. 


be publicly exercised in the province, but that no man 
should be questioned as to his faith, or troubled in his 
conscience. Cloisters and ecclesiastical property were to 
remain in statu quo until the States-General should come 
to a definite conclusion on these subjects.^ 

Universal amnesty was proclaimed for all offenses and 
quarrels. Every citizen or resident foreigner was free 
to remain in or to retire from the town or pro\Tnce, with 
fidl protection to his person and property, and it was 
expressly provided in the articles granted to Lanckema 
that his soldiers should depart with arms and baggage, 
leaving to Prince Maurice their colors only, while the 
prince furnished sufficient transportation for their 
women and their wounded. The property of Verdugo, 

1 Art. VI. Meteren, 331. Bor, 835. The intelligence of the 
capture of Groningen excited great enthusiasm in the court of the 
French king, causing " the power of the states and the name of 
the prince to he extolled to heaven," according to Calvaert. " The 
entire suspension of Catholic worship, however, and the introduc- 
tion of the Reformed religion in the city, were reprehended by 
many. The king sensibly answered, said the envoy, that the 
townspeople had themselves been the cause of this, never having 
been willing to permit a church for the Reformed faith. Now they 
were tripped up in the same way since they found themselves 
conquered. His Majesty added that your Higlmesses, when the 
Spaniards had been completely driven out of the country, would 
willingly reopen the Catholic churches in your provinces, if the 
others would do the same toward the Reformed ones, asking me if 
it were not so. I answered yes, enlarging on the topic in such 
wise as I thought suited the occasion, and my language seemed to 
mitigate the said offense."— Deventer, Gedenkstukken, ii. 32. 

Here certainly seemed progress in the history of civilization. 
The French king and the republican envoy agreeing that 
Catholics and Protestants ought to have and were to have equal 
rights of public worship showed an advance on the doctrine of 
Philip and of the German Protestant princes that the vassal was 


royal stadholder of the province, was to be respected 
and to remain in the city, or to be taken thence under 
safe-conduct, as might be preferred.^ Ten thousand 
cannon-shot had been fired against the city. The cost of 
powder and shot consumed was estimated at a hundred 
thousand florins. Four hundred of the besiegers had 
been killed, and a much larger number wounded. The 
army had been further weakened by sickness and numer- 
ous desertions. Of the besieged, three hundred soldiers 
in aU were kiUed, and a few citizens. 

Thirty-six cannon were taken, besides mortars, and it 
was said that eight hundred tons of powder and plenty 
of other ammunition and provisions were found in the 

On the 23d July Maurice and Louis William entered 
the city. Some of the soldiers were disappointed at the 

to have no opinion but his master's. Nevertheless, the States- 
General were not pleased that their envoy should have answered 
the newly converted Henry so glibly on the great subject of pro- 
tection to Catholics. He was asked by what authority he had 
given so categorical an answer, and he was directed in future to 
think twice, and ask for instructions in such emergencies. To 
promise public worship of a religion professed mainly in the 
Netherlands by the adherents of the Spanish king and the 
enemies of the states was pronounced altogether too rash. It was 
inferred from the eagerness manifested on this occasion that the 
French king would be easily induced to make war on those of the 
Reformed religion in case they were not willing to submit them- 
selves to his discretion, and the Queen of England was 
perpetually intimating such a suspicion to the states. (Duyck, 

1 Bor, Meteren, ubi sup. 

2 Duyck, 464, 465. Yet Coloma (vi. 133 and '«) ascribes the loss 
of the city mainly to two causes— ^/<e want of porvder, and the 
flatteries and vile persuasions of the wives of the burghers, any 
one of which artful women was equal, he says, to three dissem- 


inexorable prohibition of pillage ; but it was the purpose 
of Maurice, as of the States- General, to place the sister 
province at once in the unsullied possession of the lib- 
erty and the order for which the struggle with Spain 
had been carried on so long. If the limitation of public 
religious worship seemed harsh, it should be remembered 
that Romanism in a city occupied by Spanish troops had 
come to mean unmitigated hostility to the Republic. In 
the midst of civil war, the hour for that rehgious liberty 
which was the necessary issue of the great conflict had not 
yet struck. It was surely something gained for humanity 
that no man should be questioned at all as to his creed 
in countries where it was so recently the time-honored 
practice to question him on the rack, and to burn him 
if the answer was objectionable to the inquirer. 

It was something that the Holy Inquisition had been 
forever suppressed in the land. It must be admitted, 
likewise, that the terms of surrender and the spectacle 
of reestablished law and order which succeeded the cap- 
ture of Groningen furnished a wholesome contrast to 
the scenes of ineffable horror that had been displayed 
whenever a Dutch town had fallen into the hands of 

And thus the commonwealth of the United Nether- 
lands, through the practical military genius and per- 
severance of Maurice and Louis William, and the 
substantial statesmanship of Barneveldt and his col- 
leagues, had at last rounded itself into definite shape ; 
while in all directions toward which men turned their 

bling men. As in every part of the Netherlands, he adds, women 
exercise great influence, even in the most grave affairs, so there is 
no doubt that in Groningen they are, and have always been, more 
powerful than elsewhere. 


eyes, world-empire, imposing and gorgeous as it had 
seemed for an interval, was vanishing before its votaries 
like a mirage. The Republic, placed on the solid founda- 
tions of civil liberty, self-government, and reasonable 
law, was steadily consolidating itself. 

No very prominent movements were undertaken by 
the forces of the Union during the remainder of the 
year. According to the agreements with Henry IV., it 
had been necessary to provide that monarch with con- 
siderable assistance to carry on his new campaigns, and 
it was therefore difficult for Maurice to begin for the 
moment upon the larger schemes which he had con- 

Meantime the condition of the obedient Netherlands 
demands a hasty glance. 

On the death of Brother Alexander, the Capuchin, 
Fuentes produced a patent by which Peter Ernest Mans- 
feld was provisionally appointed governor, in case the 
post should become vacant. During the year which fol- 
lowed, that testy old campaigner had indulged himself 
in many petty feuds with all around him, but had 
effected, as we have seen, very little to maintain the 
king's authority either in the obedient or disobedient 

His utter incompetency soon became most painfully 
apparent. His more than puerile dependence upon his 
son, and the more than paternal severity exercised over 
him by Count Charles, were made manifest to all the 
world. The son ruled the trembling but peevish old 
warrior with an iron rod, and endless was their wran- 
gling with Fuentes and all the other Spaniards. Between 
the querulousness of the one and the ferocity of the 
other, poor Fuentes became sick of his life. " 'T is a 


diabolical genius, this Count Charles," said Ybarra, " and 
so full of ambition that he insists on governing every- 
body just as he rules his father. As for me, until the 
archduke comes I am a fish out of water." ^ 

The true successor to Farnese was to be the Archduke 
Ernest, one of the many candidates for the hand of the 
Infanta, and for the throne of that department of the 
Spanish dominions which was commonly called France. 
Should Philip not appropriate the throne, without fur- 
ther scruple, in person, it was on the whole decided that 
his favorite nephew should be the satrap of that outlying 
district of the Spanish empire. In such case obedient 
France might be annexed to obedient Netherlands, and 
united under the sway of Archduke Ernest. 

But these dreams had proved in the cold air of reality 
but midsummer madness. When the name of the arch- 
duke was presented to the estates as King Ernest I. of 
France, even the most unscrupulous and impassioned 
Leaguers of that country fairly hung their heads.^ That 
a foreign prince, whose very name had never been be- 
fore heard of by the vast bulk of the French popidation, 
should be deliberately placed upon the throne of St. 
Louis and Hugh Capet, was a humiliation hard to de- 
fend, profusely as Philip had scattered the Peruvian and 
Mexican dollars among the great ones of the nation in 
order to accomplish his purpose. 

So Archduke Ernest, early in the year 1594, came to 
Brussels, but he came as a gloomy, disappointed man. 

^ Ybarra to the secretaries, October 5, 1593, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

2 "lis furent presque tous frapp^s d'horreur en considerant 
I'extremit^ ou etaient reduits les Fran9ais de penser choisir pour 
Roy Tin homme qu'ils ne scavaient seulement qu'il fust au monde." 
— Lettres de Bongars, July 24, 1593, p. 235. 


To be a bachelor governor of the impoverished, ex- 
hausted, half-rebellious, and utterly forlorn little rem- 
nant of the Spanish Netherlands was a different posi- 
tion from that of husband of Clara Isabella and King of 
France, on which his imagination had been feeding so 

For nearly the whole twelvemonth subsequent to the 
death of Farnese, the Spanish envoy to the imperial 
court had been endeavoring to arrange for the departure 
of the archduke to his seat of government in the Neth- 
erlands. The prince himself was willing enough, but 
there were many obstacles on the part of the emperor 
and his advisers. "Especially there is one very great 
impossibility," said San Clemente, '' and that is the pov- 
erty of his Highness, which is so great that my own is 
not greater in my estate. So I don't see how he can stir 
a step without money. Here they '11 not furnish him 
with a penny, and for himself he possesses nothing but 
debts." ^ The emperor was so little pleased with the ad- 
venture that in truth, according to the same authority, 
he looked upon the new viceroy's embarrassments with 
considerable satisfaction, so that it was necessary for 
Philip to provide for his traveling expenses.- 

Ernest was next brother of the Emperor Rudolph, and 
as intensely devoted to the interests of the Roman 
Church as was that potentate himself, or even his uncle 

1 "Una imposibilidad muy grande es su pobreza que estA de 
manera que no es mayor la mia en mi estado, y assi no se yo como 
podra dar un passo sin dinero y de aqui no socorreren con un real, 
ni el tiene sino deudas."— G. de San Clemente to Fuentes, March 
14, 1593, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

2 San Clemente to Fuentes, May 2, 1593, Arch, de Sim. MS. 
Same to same, August 3, 1593, ibid. 


He was gentle, weak, melancholy, addicted to pleasure, 
a martyr to the gout. He brought no soldiers to the 
provinces, for the emperor, threatened with another 
world-empire on his pagan flank, had no funds nor 
troops to send to the assistance of his Christian brother- 
in-law and uncle. Moreover, it may be imagined that 
Rudolph, despite the bonds of religion and consan- 
guinity, was disposed to look coldly on the colossal 
projects of Philip. 

So Ernest brought no troops, but he brought six hun- 
dred and seventy gentlemen, pages, and cooks, and five 
hundred and thirty-four horses, not to charge upon the 
rebellious Dutchmen withal, but to draw coaches and 

There was trouble enough prepared for the new gov- 
ernor at his arrival. The great Flemish and Walloon 
nobles were quarreling fiercely with the Spaniards 
and among themselves for office and for precedence. 
Aerschot and his brother Havr6 both desired the govern- 
ment of Flanders ; so did Aremberg. All three, as well 
as other gentlemen, were scrambling for the major- 
domo's office in Ernest's palace. Havre wanted the 
finance department as well, but Ybarra, who was a 
financier, thought the public funds in his hands would 
be in a perilous condition, inasmuch as he was accounted 
the most covetous man in all the provinces.^ 

So soon as the archduke was known to be approaching 
the capital there was a most ludicrous race run by all 
these grandees, in order to be the first to greet his High- 
ness. While Mansf eld and Fuentes were squabbling, as 
usual, Aerschot got the start of both, and arrived at 

1 Bor, iii. 782. Reyd, ix. 220. 

2 Ybarra to , November 22, 1593, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

After the painting by J. Heinz. 


Treves. Then the decrepit Peter Ernest struggled as far 
as Luxemburg, while Fuentes posted on to Namur.^ 
The archduke was much perplexed as to the arranging 
of all these personages on the day of his entrance into 
Brussels. In the council of state it was still worse. 
Aerschot claimed the first place as duke and as senior 
member; Peter Ernest demanded it as late governor- 
general and because of his gray hairs.^ Never was im- 
perial highness more disturbed, never was clamor for 
loaves and fishes more deafening. The caustic financier, 
whose mind was just then occupied with the graver 
matter of assassination on a considerable scale, looked 
with profound contempt at the spectacle thus presented 
to him. '^ There has been the devil's own row," said he, 
"between these counts about of&ces, and also about 
going out to receive the most serene archduke. I have 
had such work with them that by the salvation of my 
soul I swear if it were to last a fortnight longer I would 
go off afoot to Spain, even if I were sure of dying in jail 
after I got there. I have reconciled the two counts 
[Fuentes and Mansf eld] with each other a hundred times, 
and another hundred times they have fallen out again, 
and behaved themselves with such vulgarity that I 
blushed for them.^ They are both to blame, but at any 

1 Ybarra to , November 22, 1593, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

2 "Papel sobre las preeedencias." — Ibid. 

3 " Ha pasado aqui una baraunda del diablo entre estos senores 
Condes sobre la reformacion y despiies sobre el salir a reeibir al Archiduque, y tanto trabajo mio, que por la salvaeion de 
mi alma juro que si hubiera de durar esto 15 dias mas me fuera a 
pie a Espaiia aunque supiera morir en la carcel. Tuve los con- 
certados cien vezes y otras ciento se han deseoncertado y tratado 
per un termino tan vulgar que yo estoy corrido," etc.— Arch, de 
Sim. MS. 


rate we have now got the archduke housed, and he will 
get us out of this embarrassment." 

The archduke came with rather a prejudice against 
the Spaniards,— the result doubtless of his disappoint- 
ment in regard to France,— and he manifested at first 
an extreme haughtiness to those of that nation with 
whom he came in contact. A Castilian noble of high 
rank, having audience with him on one occasion, replaced 
his hat after salutation, as he had been accustomed to 
do, according to the manner of grandees of Spain, 
during the government of Farnese. The hat was rudely 
struck from his head by the archduke's chamberlain, 
and he was himself ignominiously thrust out of the 
presence.! At another time an interview was granted to 
two Spanish gentlemen who had business to transact. 
They made their appearance in magnificent national cos- 
tume, splendidly embroidered in gold. After a brief 
hearing they were dismissed, with appointmentof another 
audience for a few days later. When they again pre- 
sented themselves they found the archduke with his 
court jester standing at his side, the buffoon being 
attired in a suit precisely similar to their own, which in 
the interval had been prepared by the court tailor.^ 

Such amenities as these did not increase the popularity 
of Ernest with the high-spirited Spaniards, nor was it 
palatable to them that it should be proposed to supersede 
the old fighting Portuguese Verdugo, as governor and 
commander-in-chief for the king in Friesland, by Fred- 
erick van den Berg, a renegade Netherlander, unworthy 
cousin of the Nassaus, who had never shown either mili- 
tary or administrative genius. 

Nor did he succeed in conciliating the Flemings or the 
1 Reyd, ix. 222. 2 i^id. 


Germans by these measures. In truth, he was, almost 
without his own knowledge, under the controlling influ- 
ence of Fuentes,^ the most unscrupulous and dangerous 
Spaniard of them all, while his every proceeding was 
closely watched not only by Diego and Stephen Ybarra, 
but even by Cristoval de Moura, one of Philip's two 
secretaries of state, who at this crisis made a visit to 

These men were indignant at the imbecility of the 
course pursued in the obedient provinces. They knew 
that the incapacity of the government to relieve the 
sieges of Gertruydenberg and Groningen had excited 
the contempt of Europe and was producing a most 
damaging effect on Spanish authority throughout Chris- 
tendom.^ They were especially irritated by the presence 
of the arch-intriguer Mayenne in Brussels, even after 
all his double-dealings had been so completely exposed 
that a blind man could have read them. Yet there was 
Mayenne consorting with the archduke, and running up 

1 Fuentes was not a favorite with Queen Elizabeth. When in- 
formed that he was to succeed to the government of the provinces 
after the death of Parma, she remarked to Noel de Caron that it 
was the same Count Fuentes who had so shamefully run away 
when Earl Essex and her people were before Lisbon, that he was 
a timid old woman, but none the less a great tyrant, and that 
therefore he had been sent, after the death of the Duke of Alva, 
to Portugal, and appointed lieutenant-general of the Cardinal of 
Austria, in order to carry out what had been left unfinished by the 
duke. She doubted not, she said, that he would attempt the same 
practices in the Netherlands, but she hoped that a Spanish gov- 
ernor would never be tolerated there. (Noel de Caron to the 
States-General, December 10, 1592, Hague Archives MS. Com- 
pare Duyck, 465.) 

2 Intercepted letters of San Clemente, in Bor, iii. 852-855. 

3 Ibid. 

VOL. IV.— 20 


a great bill of sixteen thousand florins at the hotel, which 
the royal paymaster declined to settle for want of funds, 
notwithstanding Ernest's order to that effect,^ and there 
was no possibility of iuducing the viceroy to arrest him, 
much as he had injured and defrauded the king. 

How severely Ybarra and Feria denounced Mayenne 
has been seen ; but remonstrances about this and other 
grave mistakes of administration were lost upon Ernest, 
or made almost impossible by his peculiar temper. " If 
I speak of these things to his Highness," said Yban-a, 
" he will begin to cry, as he always does." ^ 

Ybarra, however, thought it his duty secretly to give 
the king frequent information as to the blasted and for- 
lorn condition of the provinces. " This sick man will 
die in our arms," he said, '' without our wishing to kill 
him." 3 He also left no doubt in the royal mind as to the 
utter incompetency of the archduke for his ofl&ce. Al- 
though he had much Christianity, amiability, and good 
intentions, he was so unused to business, so slow and so 
lazy, so easily persuaded by those around him, as to be 
always falling into errors. He was the servant of his 
own servants, particularly of those least disposed to the 
king's service and most attentive to their own interests. 
He had endeavored to make himself beloved by the 
natives of the country, whUe the very reverse of this 
had been the result. " As to his agility and the strength 
of his body," said the Spaniard, as if he were thinking 
of certain allegories which were to mark the archduke's 
triumphal entry, '' they are so deficient as to leave him 

1 Reyd, ix. 243. 2 Ibid., ix. 242. 

3 Ybarra to Philip, June 21, 1594, Arch, de Sim. MS. : "La en- 
fermedad de esto cuerpo es muy aparejado para que se le muera 
en los brazos sin quererle matar," etc. 


unfit for arms. I consider him incapable of accom- 
panying an army to the field, and we find him so new to 
all such affairs as constitute government and the con- 
duct of warlike business that he could not steer his way 
without some one to enlighten and direct him." ^ 

It was sometimes complained of in those days— and 
the thought has even prolonged itself until later times 
—that those republicans of the United Netherlands had 
done and could do great things, but that, after all, there 
was no grandeur about them. Certainly they had done 
great things. It was something to fight the Ocean for 
ages, and patiently and firmly to shut him out from his 
own domain. It was something to extinguish the Span- 
ish Inquisition— a still more cruel and devouring enemy 
than the sea. It was something that the fugitive spirit 
of civil and religious liberty had found at last its most 
substantial and steadfast home upon those storm- washed 
shoals and shifting sand-banks. It was something to 
come to the rescue of England in her great agony and 
help to save her from invasion. It was something to do 
more than any nation but England, and as much as she, 
to assist Henry the Huguenot to the throne of his ances- 
tors and to preserve the national unity of France, which 
its own great ones had imperiled. It was something to 
found two magnificent universities, cherished abodes of 
science and of antique lore, in the midst of civil com- 
motions and of resistance to foreign oppression. It was 
something, at the same period, to lay the foundation of 
a system of common schools — so cheap as to be nearly 
free — for rich and poor alike, which, in the words of 
one of the greatest benefactors to the young Republic, 
"would be worth all the soldiers, arsenals, armories, 
1 Ybarra to Philip, MS. last cited. 


munitions, and alliances in the world." It was some- 
thing to make a revolution, as humane as it was effec- 
tive, in military affairs, and to create an army whose 
camps were European academies. It was something to 
organize, at the same critical period, on the most skilful 
and liberal scale, and to carry out with unexampled dar- 
ing, sagacity, and fortitude, great voyages of discovery 
to the polar regions, and to open new highways for com- 
merce, new treasures for science. Many things of this 
nature had been done by the new commonwealth ; but 
alas ! she did not drape herself melodramatically, nor 
stalk about with heroic wreath and cothurn. She was 
altogether without grandeur. 

When Alva had gained his signal victories, and fol- 
lowed them up by those prodigious massacres which, 
but for his own and other in*efragable testimony, would 
seem too monstrous for belief, he had erected a colos- 
sal statue to himself, attired in the most classical of cos- 
tumes, and surrounded with the most mythological of 
attributes. Here was grandeur. But William the Silent, 
after he had saved the RepubUc, for which he had labored 
during his whole lifetime and was destined to pour out 
his heart's blood, went about among the brewers and 
burghers with unbuttoned doublet and woolen barge- 
man's waistcoat. It was justly objected to his clothes, 
by the euphuistic Fulke Greville, that a mean-born stu- 
dent of the Inns of Court would have been ashamed to 
walk about London streets in them.^ 

And now the engineering son of that shabbily dressed 
personage had been giving the whole world lessons in 
the science of war, and was fairly perfecting the work 
which William and his great contemporaries had so well 

1 Vol. ii. of this work, p. 9. Brooke's Sydney, 16 seq. 


begun. But if all this had been merely doing great 
things without greatness, there was one man in the 
Netherlands who knew what grandeur was. He was not 
a citizen of the disobedient Republic, however, but a loyal 
subject of the obedient provinces, and his name was 
John Baptist Houwaerts, an eminent schoolmaster of 
Brussels. He was still more eminent as a votary of 
what was called " Rhetoric " and as an arranger of tri- 
umphal processions and living pictures. 

The arrival of Archduke Ernest at the seat of the 
provincial government offered an opportunity, which 
had long been wanting, for a display of John Baptist's 
genius. The new viceroy was in so shattered a condition 
of health, so crippled with the gout, as to be quite unable 
to stand, and it required the services of several lackeys 
to lift him into and out of his carriage.^ A few days of 
repose, therefore, were indispensable to him before he 
could make his '' joyous entrance" into the capital. But 
the day came at last, and the exhibition was a inasterpiece. 

It might have seemed that the abject condition of the 
Spanish provinces— desolate, mendicant, despairing— 
would render holidsly-making impossible. But although 
almost every vestige of the ancient institutions had van- 
ished from the obedient Netherlands as a reward for 
their obedience ; although to civil and religious liberty, 
law, order, and a thriving commercial and manufactur- 
ing existence, such as had been rarely witnessed in the 
world, had succeeded the absolute tyranny of Jesuits, 
universal beggary, and a perennial military mutiny, 
setting government at defiance and plundering the peo- 
ple, there was one faithful comforter who never deserted 
Belgica, and that was Rhetoric. 

1 Reyd, ix. 220-222. Bor, iii. 782. 


Neither the magnificence nor the pedantry of the spec- 
tacles by which the entry of the mild and inefficient 
Ernest into Brussels and Antwerp was now solemnized 
had ever been surpassed. The town councils, stimulated 
by hopes absolutely without foundation as to great 
results to follow the advent of the emperor's brother, 
had voted large sums and consumed many days in anx- 
ious deliberation upon the manner in which they should 
be expended so as most to redound to the honor of 
Ernest and the reputation of the country. 

In place of the *^ bloody tragedies of burning, murder- 
ing, and ravishing," of which the provinces had so long 
been the theater, it was resolved that " Rhetoric's sweet 
comedies, amorous jests, and farces " should gladden all 
eyes and hearts.^ A stately procession of knights and 
burghers in historical and mjiihological costumes, fol- 
lowed by ships, dromedaries, elephants, whales, giants, 
dragons, and other wonders of the sea and shore, es- 
corted the archduke into the city. Every street and 
square was filled with triumphal arches, statues, and 
platforms, on which the most ingenious and thoroughly 
classical living pictures were exhibited. There was 
hardly an eminent deity of Olympus, or hero of ancient 
history, that was not revived and made visible to mortal 
eyes in the person of Ernestus of Austria. 

On a framework fifty-five feet high and thirty-three 
feet in breadth he was represented as Apollo hurling his 
darts at an enormous python, under one of whose fore 

1 Descriptio et Explieatio pegmatorum et spectaculomm qu88 
Bruxellae exhibita fuere sub ingressum Sere™^ principis Ernesti, 
etc. (Bruxellae, 1593, S. V.). Houwaerts's Moralisatie opdeKomst 
van de hoogbgeboren, machtigen en seer doorlugtigen Vorst 
Ernesto, etc. (Brussel, by Jan Mommaert, 1594). 


paws struggled an unfortunate burgher, while the other 
clutched a whole city ; Tellus, meantime, with her tower 
on her head, kneeling anxious and imploring at the feet 
of her deliverer. On another stage Ernest assumed the 
shape of Perseus, Belgica that of the bound and despair- 
ing Andromeda. On a third the interior of Etna was 
revealed, when Vulcan was seen urging his Cyclopes to 
forge for Ernest their most tremendous thunderbolts 
with which to smite the foes of the provinces, those 
enemies being of course the English and the Hollanders. 
Venus, the while, timidly presented an arrow to her hus- 
band, which he was requested to sharpen, in order that 
when the wars were over Cupid therewith might pierce 
the heart of some beautiful virgin, whose charms should 
reward Ernest— fortunately for the female world, still a 
bachelor — for his victories and his toils.^ 

The walls of every house were hung with classic em- 
blems and inscribed with Latin verses. All the peda- 
gogues of Brussels and Antwerp had been at work for 
months, determined to amaze the world with their dithy- 
rambics and acrostics, and they had outdone themselves. 

Moreover, in addition to all these theatrical spectacles 
and pompous processions,— accompanied as they were by 
blazing tar-barrels, flying dragons, and leagues of flar- 
ing torches,— John Baptist, who had been director-in- 
chief of all the shows successively arranged to welcome 
Don John of Austria, Archduke Matthias, Francis of 
AlenQon, and even William of Orange, into the capital, 
had prepared a feast of a specially intellectual charac- 
ter for the new governor-general. 

The pedant, according to his own account, so soon as 
the approach of Ernest had been announced, fell straight- 

1 Houwaerts's Moralisatie, etc., ubi sup. 


way into a trance.^ While he was in that condition, a 
beautiful female apparition floated before his eyes, and, 
on being questioned, announced her name to be Morali- 
zation. John Baptist begged her to inform him whether 
it were true, as had been stated, that Jupiter had just 
sent Mercury to the Netherlands. The phantom, cor- 
recting his mistake, observed that the king of gods and 
men had not sent Hermes, but the Archduke Ernestus, 
beloved of the three Graces, favorite of the nine Muses, 
and, in addition to these advantages, nephew and 
brother-in-law of the King of Spain, to the relief of the 
suffering provinces. The Netherlands, it was true, for 
their religious infidelity, had justly incurred great disas- 
ters and misery ; but benignant Jove, who, to the ima- 
gination of this excited Fleming, seemed to have been 
converted to Catholicism while still governing the uni- 
verse, had now sent them in mercy a deliverer. The 
archduke would speedily relieve " bleeding Belgica" from 
her sufferings, bind up her wounds, and annihilate her 
enemies. The spirit further informed the poet that the 
forests of the Low Countries— so long infested by brig- 
ands, wood-beggars, and malefactors of all kinds— 
would thenceforth swarm with " nymphs, rabbits, hares, 
and animals of that nature." ^ 

A vision of the conquering Ernest, attended by '' eight- 
and-twenty noble and pleasant females, marching two 
and two, half naked, each holding a torch in one hand 
and a laurel wreath in the other," now swept before the 

^ Houwaerts's Moralisatie, etc., ubi sup. 

2 "In plaetse dat de bosschen plachten te sijne 
Vol knevelaers en roovers in alle quartieren 
Soo waren sy wederom ten selven tennijne 
Vol Nymphen, hasen, conijnen en ghelijcke Dieren." 



dreamer's eyes.^ He naturally requested the " discreet 
spirit " to mention the names of this bevy of imperfectly 
attired ladies thronging so lovingly around the fortunate 
archduke, and was told that '^ they were the eight-and- 
twenty virtues which chiefly characterized his Serene 
Highness." ^ Prominent in this long list— and they were 
all faithfully enumerated— were Philosophy, Audacity, 
Acrimony, Virility, Equity, Piety, Velocity, and Alac- 
rity.^ The two last-mentioned qualities could hardly be 
attributed to the archduke in his decrepit condition, ex- 
cept in an intensely mythological sense. Certainly they 
would have been highly useful virtues to him at that 
moment. The prince who had just taken Gertruyden- 
berg, and was then besieging Groningen, was manifest- 
ing his share of audacity, velocity, and other good gifts 

1 Houwaerts's Moralisatie, etc. 

2 " Aeht en twin tig edel Nymphen playsant 

Sach ich voor den prince haer vertoonen 

Toen spraeck ick, O Vrindinne, wilt my noch bedien 

De namen van die nymphen weirt gehonoreert, 

Die ick voort, by, en achter Ernestum gesien, 

En warom dat sy liem hebben geconvoyeert? 

Drom de Nymphe heeft gerespondeert 

De agt en twintig Nymphen die met vreughden 

Twee en twee tegader hebben gemarscheert 

Dat sijn des doolugtigen Princen deughden," etc. 


3 " En i dese deughtlijcke Nymphen dit sijn genaempt 

Philosophia en Intelligentia 

Audacia en Magnanimitas unbeschaempt 

Acrimonia en Virilitas 

Securitas en Clementia 

Firmitudo en Velocitas 

Alacritas en Pietatis abundantia 

Potentia en Opportunitas gheheesen," etc. (Ibid.) 


on even a wider platform than that erected for Ernest 
by John Baptist Houwaerts, and there was an admi- 
rable opportunity for both to develop their respective 
characteristics for the world's judgment. 

Meantime the impersonation of the gentle and very 
gouty invalid as Apollo, as Perseus, as the feather- 
heeled Mercury, was highly applauded by the burghers 
of Brussels. 

And so the dreamer dreamed on, and the discreet 
nymph continued to discourse, until John Baptist, start- 
ing suddenly from his trance, beheld that it was all a 
truth and no vision. Ernest was really about to enter 
the Netherlands, and with him the millennium. The 
pedant therefore proceeded to his desk, and straightway 
composed the very worst poem that had ever been 
written in any language, even Flemish. 

There were thousands of lines in it, and not a line 
without a god or a goddess. 

Mars, Nemesis, and Ate, Pluto, Rhadamanthus, and 
Minos, the Fates and the Furies, together with Charon, 
Calumnia, Bellona, and all such objectionable divinities, 
were requested to disappear forever from the Low 
Countries, while in their stead were confidently invoked 
Jupiter, Apollo, Triptolemus, and last, though not least, 

Enough has been said of this raree-show to weary the 
reader's patience, but not more than enough to show the 
docile and enervated nature of this portion of a people 
who had lost everything for which men cherish their 
fatherland, but who could still find relief, after thirty 
years of horrible civil war, in painted pageantry, Latin 
versification, and the classical dictionary. 
1 Houwaerts's Moralisatie, etc. 


Yet there was nothing much more important achieved 
by the archduke in the brief period for which his admin- 
istration was destined to endure. Three phenomena 
chiefly marked his reign, but his own part in the three 
was rather a passive than an active one— mutiny, assas- 
sination, and negotiation, the two last attempted on a 
considerable scale, but ending abortively. 

It is impossible to exaggerate the misery of the obedi- 
ent provinces at this epoch. The insane attempt of the 
King of Spain, with such utterly inadequate machinery, 
to conquer the world has been sufficiently dilated upon. 
The Spanish and Italian and Walloon soldiers were 
starving in Brabant and Flanders in order that Spanish 
gold might be poured into the bottomless pit of the 
Holy League in France.^ 

1 It is instructive to know the exact sums of money regularly- 
expended by the King of Spain each month, at this period, in 
France and the Netherlands. 

In Flanders and Friesland was an 
army of 23,952 men, costing per month $206,431 

The army of France was esti- 
mated at 18,921 " " " 175,370 

Total 42,873 

Certain individuals, very few in 
number, maintained in France* " " 42,360 

Besides the above, all supplied 
from Spain, there were main- 
tained by contributions, aids, 
and licenses in the provinces . . 6,715 " " " 38,239 

Expenses of navy " " 10,958 

Total per month $473,358 

* These favored personages were : 

Duke of Mayenne per month, $12,000 

Duke of Guise. 


Duke of Aumale 

M. de Rosne 

M. de Saint-Pol and his cavalry. 
Certain gentlemen in Picardy. . . 
Governor of La Fere 




The mutiny that had broken forth the preceding year 
in Artois and Hainault was now continued on a vast 
scale in Brabant. Never had that national institution, 
a Spanish mutiny, been more thoroughly organized, 
more completely carried out in all its details. All that 
was left of the famous Spanish discipline and military 
science in this their period of rapid decay seemed mo- 
nopolized by the mutineers. Some two thousand choice 
troops (horse and foot), Italians and Spanish, took pos- 
session of two considerable cities, Sichem and Aerschot, 
and ultimately concentrated themselves at Sichem, which 
they thoroughly fortified. Having chosen their eletto 
and other officers, they proceeded regularly to business. 
To the rallying-point came disaffected troops of all na- 
tions from far and near. Never since the beginning of 
the great war had there been so extensive a military 
rebellion, nor one in which so many veteran officers, 
colonels, captains, and subalterns, took part. The army 
of Philip had at last grown more dangerous to himself 
than to the Hollanders. 

(Relacion de lo que monta la paga de los exercitos que su Mag* 
entretiene en Flandes, Brabante, Frisia, y Francia, 1593, Arch, de 
Sim. MS.) 

By another paper it appears at this time there were serving the 
King of Spain in France and the Netherlands— 

Oerman infantry — Soldiers 14,994 

Officers 1,298 


Italian infantry— Soldiers 3,397 

Officers 423 


(Arch, de Sim., anno 1594, MS.) 


The council at Brussels deliberated anxiously upon the 
course to be pursued, and it was decided at last to nego- 
tiate with instead of attacking them. But it was soon, 
found that the mutineers were as hard to deal with as 
were the republicans on the other side the border. They 
refused to hear of anything short of complete payment 
of the enormous arrears due to them, with thorough 
guaranties and hostages that any agreement made be- 
tween themselves and the archduke should be punctually 
carried out. Meanwhile they ravaged the country far 
and near, and levied their contributions on towns and 
villages, up to the very walls of Brussels, and before the 
very eyes of the viceroy. 

Moreover, they entered into negotiation with Prince 
Maurice of Nassau, not offering to enlist under his flag, 
but asking for protection against the king in exchange 
for a pledge meanwhile not to serve his cause. At last 
the archduke plucked up a heart and sent some troops 
against the rebels, who had constructed two forts on the 
river Demer, near the city of Sichem. In vain Velasco, 
commander of the expedition, endeavored to cut off the 
supplies for these redouts. The vigor and audacity of 
the rebel cavalry made the process impossible. Velasco 
then attempted to storm the lesser stronghold of the 
two, but was repulsed with the loss of two hundred 
killed. Among these were many officers, one of whom. 
Captain Porto Carrero, was a near relative of Fuentes. 
After a siege, Velasco, who was a marshal of the camp 
of considerable distinction, succeeded in driving the 
mutineers out of the forts, who, finding their position 
thus weakened, renewed their negotiations with Maurice. 
They at last obtained permission from the prince to 
remain under the protection of Gertruydenberg and 


Breda until they could ascertain what decision the arch- 
duke would take. More they did not ask of Maurice, 
nor did he require more of them. 

The mutiny, thus described in a few lines, had occu- 
pied nearly a year, and had done much to paralyze for 
that period all the royal operations in the Netherlands. 
In December the rebellious troops marched out of 
Sichem in perfect order, and came to Langstraet, within 
the territory of the Republic. ^ 

The archduke, now finding himself faii'ly obliged to 
treat witli them, sent an offer of the same terms which 
had been proposed to mutineers on previous occasions. 
At first they flatly refused to negotiate at all, but at last, 
with the permission of Maurice, who conducted himself 
throughout with scrupulous delicacy, and made no 
attempts to induce them to violate their allegiance to 
the king, they received Count Belgioso, the envoy of 
the archduke. They held out for payment of aU their 
arrears up to the last farthing, and insisted on a hostage 
of rank until the debt should be discharged. FuU for- 
giveness of their rebellious proceedings was added as a 
matter of course. Their terms were accepted, and Fran- 
cisco PadigUa was assigned as a hostage. They then 
established themselves, according to agreement, at Tirle- 
mont, which they were allowed to fortify at the expense 
of the province and to hold until the money for their 
back wages could be scraped together. Meantime they 
received daily wages and rations from the government 
at Brussels, including thirty stivers a day for each horse- 
man, thirteen crowns a day for the eletto, and ten 
crowns a day for each councilor, making in all five 

1 Bentivoglio, p. iii. lib, i. 399, 400. Meteren, 340, 341. 
Coloma, vii. 150'° seq. 


hundred crowns a day. And here they remained, liv- 
ing exceedingly at their ease and enjoying a life of 
leisure for eighteen months, and until long after the 
death of the archduke, for it was not until the admin- 
istration of Cardinal Albert that the funds, amounting 
to three hundred and sixty thousand crowns, could be 

These were the chief military exploits of the podagric 
Perseus in behalf of the Flemish Andromeda. 

A very daring adventure was, however, proposed to 
the archduke. Philip calmly suggested that an expedi- 
tion should be rapidly fitted out in Dunkirk, which 
should cross the Channel, ascend the Thames as far as 
Rochester, and burn the English fleet. " I am informed 
by persons well acquainted with the English coast," said 
the king, "that it would be an easy matter for a few 
quick-sailing vessels to accomplish this. Two or three 
thousand soldiers might be landed at Rochester, who 
might burn or sink all the unarmed vessels they could 
find there, and the expedition could return and sail off 
again before the people of the country could collect in 
sufficient numbers to do them any damage." The arch- 
duke was instructed to consult with Fuentes and Ybarra 
as to whether this little matter, thus parenthetically 
indicated, could be accomplished without too much risk 
and trouble.^ 

Certainly it would seem as if the king believed in the 
audacity, virility, velocity, alacrity, and the rest of the 
twenty-eight virtues of his governor-general, even more 
seriously than did John Baptist Houwaerts. Tlie un- 
fortunate archduke would have needed to be, in all ear- 

1 Bentivoglio, et al., ubi sup. 

2 Philip to Ernest, February 19, 1594, Arch, de Sim. MS. 


nestness, a mythological demigod to do the work required 
of him. With the best part of his army formally main- 
tained by him in recognized mutiny, with the great cities 
of the Netherlands yielding themselves to the Republic 
with hardly an attempt on the part of the royal forces to 
relieve them, and with the country which he was sup- 
posed to govern, the very center of the obedient prov- 
inces, ruined, sacked, eaten up by the soldiers of Spain,— 
villages, farm-houses, gentlemen's castles, churches plun- 
dered, the male popidation exposed to daily butchery, 
and the women to outrages worse than death,i— it 
seemed like the bitterest irony to propose that he 
should seize that moment to outwit the English and 
Dutch sea-kings who were perpetually cruising in the 
Channel, and to undertake a "beard-singeing" expedi- 
tion such as even the dare-devil Drake would hardly 
have attempted. 

Such madcap experiments might perhaps one day, in 

1 Such pictures are painted not only by republican contempo- 
raries, but by the governors and grandees of the obedient prov- 
inces. " Como va arruinado, " wrote the royal governor of Hainault, 
Prince Chimay, to the king, "comido, saqueado, saquearan las 
aldeas, casas de gentiles hombres y iglesias, se matan los hom- 
bres, se desvirgen las mozas y mugeres y otros mil maldades que 
se cometen cada dia a mi pesar y sin que de ellas se ha hecho 
alguna justicia aunque me soy quejado y lamentado muehas veces." 
—Chimay to Philip, March 17, 1594, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

" As to getting a good deal of money out of the provinces here 
by gentleness and persuasion, according to your Majesty's sugges- 
tion," wrote the archduke, "your Majesty must be undeceived. 
Nothing can be got from the provinces, because the whole patri- 
mony thereof is consumed, the private fortunes are destroyed, and 
everything is in such a brittle condition that nothing whatever can 
be undertaken in these regions."— Instrucci on que el Archi*^® Er- 
nesto die al B'"^ Max Dietrich stein, April 12, 1594, ibid. 


the distant future, be tried with reasonable success, but 
hardly at the beck of a Spanish king sitting in his easy- 
chair a thousand miles off, nor indeed by the servants of 
any king whatever. 

The plots of murder arranged in Brussels during this 
administration were on a far more extensive scale than 
were the military plans. 

The Count of Fuentes, general superintendent of for- 
eign affairs, was especially charged with the department 
of assassination. This office was no sinecure, for it in- 
volved much correspondence and required great per- 
sonal attention to minute details. Philip, a consummate 
artist in this branch of industry, had laid out a good 
deal of such work which he thought could best be carried 
out in and from the Netherlands. Especially it was 
desirable to take off, by poison or otherwise, Henry IV., 
Queen Elizabeth, Maurice of Nassau, Olden-Barneveldt, 
Sainte-Aldegonde, and other less conspicuous personages. 

Henry's physician-in-chief, De la Riviere, was at that 
time mainly occupied with devising antidotes to poison, 
which he well knew was offered to his master on fre- 
quent occasions and in the most insidious ways. An- 
drada, the famous Portuguese poisoner, among others, 
is said, under direction of Fuentes and Ybarra, to have 
attempted his life by a nosegay of roses impregnated 
with so subtle a powder that its smell alone was relied 
upon to cause death,i and De la Riviere was doing his 
best to search for a famous Saxon drug, called fable- 
powder, as a counter-poison. "The Turk alarms us, 
and well he may," said a diplomatic agent of Henry, 
"but the Spaniard allows us not to think of the Turk. 
And what a strange manner is this to exercise one's en- 

1 Meteren, xvi. 334. 
VOL. IV.— 21 


mities and vengeance by having recourse to such dam- 
nable artifices, after force and arms have not succeeded, 
and to attack the person of princes by poisonings and 
assassinations ! " ^ 

A most elaborate attempt upon the life of Queen 
Elizabeth early in this year came near being successful. 
A certain Portuguese Jew, Dr. Lopez, had for some time 
been her physician in ordinary. He had first been re- 
ceived into her service on the recommendation of Don 
Antonio, the Pretender, and had the reputation of great 
learning and skill. "With this man Count Fuentes and 
Stephen Ybarra, chief of the financial department at 
Brussels, had a secret understanding. Their chief agent 
was Emanuel Andrada, who was also in close communi- 
cation with Bernardino de Mendoza and other leading 
personages of the Spanish court. Two years previously, 
Philip, by the hands of Andrada, had sent a very valu- 
able ring of rubies and diamonds as a present to Lopez, 
and the doctor had bound himself to do any service for 
the King of Spain that might be required of him. An- 
drada accordingly wrote to Mendoza that he had gained 
over this eminent physician, but that, as Lopez was poor 
and laden with debt, a high price would be required for 
his work. Hereupon Fuentes received orders from the 
King of Spain to give the Jew all that he could in rea- 
son demand, if he would undertake to poison the queen.- 

It now became necessary to handle the matter with 
great delicacy, and Fuentes and Ybarra entered accord- 
ingly into a correspondence, not with Lopez, but with a 

1 Bongars, Lettres, p. 271. 

2 Account of Dr. Lopez's treason, douTjtIess by Lord Burghley, 
in Murdin's State Papers, ii. 669-675. Meteren, xvi. 334 seq. 
Reyd, ix. 247, 248. 


certain Ferrara de Gama. These letters were intrusted 
to one Emanuel Louis de Tinoco, secretly informed of 
the plot, for delivery to Ferrara. Fuentes charged 
Tinoco to cause Ferrara to encourage Lopez to poison 
her Majesty of England, that they might all have " a 
merry Easter." ^ Lopez was likewise requested to inform 
the King of Spain when he thought he could accomplish 
the task. The doctor ultimately agreed to do the deed 
for fifty thousand crowns, but as he had daughters and 
was an affectionate parent, he stipulated for a handsome 
provision in marriage for those young ladies.^ The 
terms were accepted, but Lopez wished to be assured of 
the money first. 

"Having once undertaken the work," said Lord 
Burghley, if he it were, " he was so greedy to perform it 
that he would ask Ferrara every day, 'When will the 
money come ? I am ready to do the service if the an- 
swer were come out of Spain.' " ^ 

But Philip, as has been often seen, was on principle 
averse to paying for work before it had been done. 
Some delay occurring, and the secret, thus confided to so 
many, having floated as it were imperceptibly into the 
air, Tinoco was arrested on suspicion before he had been 
able to deliver the letters of Fuentes and Ybarra to Fer- 
rara, for Ferrara, too, had been imprisoned before the 
arrival of Tinoco. The whole correspondence was dis- 
covered, and both Ferrara and Tinoco confessed the 
plot. Lopez, when first arrested, denied his guilt very 

1 Account of Dr. Lopez's treason, etc. 

2 " And further to set him on, he was to be put in mind that he 
had daughters to 'marry, for whom the king would provide, and 
what great honors and rewards he should have." — Ibid. 

3 Ibid. 


stoutly, but being confronted with Ferrara, who told 
the whole story to his face in presence of the judges, 
he at last avowed the crime. ^ 

They were all condemned, executed, and quartered at 
London in the spring of 1594. The queen wished to 
send a special envoy to the archduke at Brussels, to com- 
plain that Secretary of State Cristoval de Moura, Count 
Fuentes, and Finance Minister Ybarra— all three then 
immediately about his person— were thus implicated in 
the plot against her hfe, to demand their punishment, 
or else, in case of refusal, to convict the king and the 
archduke as accomplices in the crime.^ Safe-conduct 
was requested for such an envoy, which was refused by 
Ernest as an insulting proposition both to his uncle and 
himself. The queen accordingly sent word to President 
Richardot, by one of her council, that the whole story 
would be published, and this was accordingly done.^ 

1 Account of Dr. Lopez's treason. Meteren, Reyd, ubi sup. 

2 Reyd, 248. 

3 Ibid. "But because by fame and hearsay," says the -writer 
of the account, no doubt Lord Burghley, " things take not always 
a true report, and I know the quality of those treasons are of the 
sort so heinous as all sorts of men desire to be truly informed of 
the same, I have set down a plain and short declaration of the 
treason of this perjured murthering traitor, without alleging 
proofs, which may be done hereafter at large, . . . and also that 
the practices were set at work, as manifestly appeared to 
authentical proof, by him who, either in respect of his calling or of 
her Majesty's deserving, should least of all others have consented 
to so unprincely an act. Yet it is a strange thing to consider 
that in so evident a matter, touching as virtuous and sovereign a 
princess as ever the world did enjoy, we are loath, in reverent re- 
gard of the name and title of royal and supreme dignity, to have 
him named, otherwise than cannot be avoided in the simple narration 
of the cause, and indeed, if I may utter my conceit, a greater 
indignity nor breach of honor never was given to that high degree, 


Early in the spring of this same year, a certain Reni- 
clion, priest and schoolmaster of Namur, was summoned 
from his school to a private interview with Count Ber- 
laymont. That nobleman very secretly informed the 
priest that the King of Spain wished to make use of him 
in an affair of great importance, and one which would 
be very profitable to himself. The pair then went together 
to Brussels, and proceeded straightway to the palace. 
They were secretly admitted to the apartments of the 
archduke, but the priest, meaning to follow his conductor 
into the private chamber, where he pretended to recog- 
nize the person of Ernest, was refused admittance. The 
door was, however, not entirely closed, and he heard, as 
he declared, the conversation between his Highness and 
Berlaymont, which was carried on partly in Latin and 
partly in Spanish. He heard them discussing the ques- 
tion—so he stated— of the recompense to be awarded for 
the business about to be undertaken, and after a brief 
conversation distinctly understood the archduke to say, 
as the count was approaching the door, '' I will satisfy 
him abundantly and with interest." ^ 

Berlaymont then invited his clerical guest to supper, — 
so ran his statement, — and, after that repast was finished, 
informed him that he was requested by the archduke to 

violated by the hands of him who should chiefly sustain that calling. 
I leave Mm to the judgment of God, the King of kings, who taketh 
account of their doings. . . . What may be thought of them who 
use so high, so holy, so reverend a thing [the profession of re- 
ligion] to cloke ambition, revenge, and wicked practices? Truly 
the age wherein we are born shall endure hereafter note of re- 
proach for this kind of impiety and profanation." Most truly, O 
Lord High Treasurer ! 

1 Bor, ill. 815, 817. Reyd, ix. 223-228. Meteren, xvi. 335. 
"Cumulate et largo foenore satisfaciam." 


kill Prince Maurice of Nassau. For this piece of work 
lie was to receive one hundred Philip-dollars in hand, 
and fifteen thousand more, which were lying ready for 
him, so soon as the deed should be done. 

The schoolmaster at first objected to the enterprise, 
but ultimately yielded to the persuasions of the count. 
He was informed that Maurice was a friendly, familiar 
gentleman, and that there would be opportunities enough 
for carrying out the project if he took his time. He was 
to buy a good pair of pistols and remove to The Hague, 
where he was to set up a school, and wait for the arrival 
of his accomplices, of whom there were six, Berlay- 
mont then caused to be summoned and introduced to the 
pedagogue a man whom he described as one of the six. 
The newcomer, hearing that Renichon had agreed to 
the propositions made to him, hailed him cordially as 
comrade and promised to follow him very soon into 
Holland. Berlaymont then observed that there were 
several personages to be made away with besides Prince 
Maurice,— especially Barneveldt and Sainte-Aldegonde,— 
and that the six assassins had, since the time of the Duke 
of Parma, been kept in the pay of the King of Spain as 
nobles, to be employed as occasion should serve. 

His new comrade accompanied Renichon to the canal- 
boat, conversing by the way, and informed him that they 
were both to be sent to Leyden in order to entice away 
and murder the young brother of Maurice, Frederick 
Henry, then at school at that place, even as Philip Wil- 
liam, eldest of all the brothers, had been kidnapped five- 
and-twenty years before from the same town. 

Renichon then disguised himself as a soldier, pro- 
ceeded to Antwerp, where he called himself Michael de 
Triviere, and thence made his way to Breda, provided 


with letters from Berlaymont. He was, however, ar- 
rested on suspicion not long after his arrival there, and 
upon trial the whole plot was discovered. Having un- 
successfully attempted to hang himself, he subsequently, 
without torture, made a full and minute confession, and 
was executed on the 3d June, 1594,i 

Later in the year, one Pierre du Four, who had been 
a soldier both in the states' and the French service, was 
engaged by General La Motte and Councilor Assonle- 

1 Bor, Eeyd, Meteren, ubi sup. " I have been, with others of 
the council of state, twice or thrice at the examination of the 
prisoner. He declareth his coming to have been about an attempt 
against Breda (which is taken to be but a made and colored 
thing), and withal to see if he could kill the Count Maurice ; that 
Berlaymont was the mover and Ernestus privy to all ; but as yet 
the truth of the practice and circTimstances he openeth not flatly, 
which will be drawn from him ere he be left. Of profession he is 
a priest, and born in Namur, having named six others employed 
about the same mischief ; but the fellow is subtle and ready in his 
words to color and answer anything, so that all is not to be 
credited that cometh from him." — Gilpin to Burghley, April 2, 
1594, S. P. Office MS. 

The commissioner alluded to the forthcoming answer of the 
States-General in regard to the proposed negotiations for peace, 
in which these murderous attempts of the Spanish king and his 
representatives were to be hurled in his face with terrible 
emphasis, and spoke of them with the indignation of an honest 
Englishman: "The States-General not doubting but that the 
discovery of the said murder, when it shall be made known and 
published (whereby it may appear to the world what a most 
barbarous and abominable course the King of Spain and his do 
hold by practices against the persons of kings and princes), will 
not only strengthen and confirm the people here in their resolu- 
tion to continue their defense and wars, but make all other 
potentates and countries dislike and detest such heathenish and 
wicked attempts and proceedings, to the perpetual dishonor, re- 
proach, and infamy of the authors and dealers."— Ibid. 


ville to attempt the assassination of Prince Maurice.^ 
La Motte took the man to the palace, and pretended at 
least to introduce him to the chamber of the archduke, 
who was said to be lying ill in bed. Du Four was ad- 
vised to enrol himself in the body-guard at The Hague, 
and to seek an opportunity when the prince went hunt- 
ing, or was mounting his horse, or was coming from 
church, or at some such unguarded moment, to take a 
shot at him. " Will you do what I ask ? " demanded from 
the bed the voice of him who was said to be Ernest. 
" Will you kill this tyrant ? " "I will," replied the soldier. 
" Then, my son," was the parting benediction of the sup- 
posed archduke, "you will go straight to paradise." ^ 

Afterward he received good advice from Assonleville, 
and was assured that if he would come and hear a mass 
in the royal chapel next morning, that religious cere- 
mony would make him invisible when he should make 
his attempt on the life of Maurice, and while he should 
be effecting his escape.^ The poor wretch accordingly 
came next morning to chapel, where this miraculous 
mass was duly performed, and he then received a certain 
portion of his promised reward in ready money. He was 
also especially charged, in case he should be arrested, not 
to make a confession, as had been done by those previously 
employed in such work, as all complicity with him on 
part of his employers would certainly be denied.* 

The miserable dupe was arrested, convicted, executed, 
and of course the denial was duly made on the part of 
the archduke, La Motte, and Assonleville. It was also 

1 Meteren, xvi. 335. Bor, iii. 882, 883. Eeyd, ix. 247. 

2 Ibid. "Figliol mio, se f arete quello ehe m' avete promesso 
d' amazzar quel tyranno, audarete diritto in Paradise." 

• Bor, ubi sup. * Ibid. 


announced, on behalf of Ernest, that some one else, 
fraudulently impersonating his Highness, had lain in 
the bed to which the culprit had been taken, and every 
one must hope that the statement was a true one.^ 

Enough has been given to show the peculiar school of 
statesmanship according to the precepts of which the 
internal concerns and foreign affairs of the obedient 
Netherlands were now administered. Poison and pis- 
tols in the hands of obscure priests and deserters were 
relied on to bring about great political triumphs, while 
the mutinous royal armies, intrenched and defiant, were 
extorting capitulations from their own generals and 
their own sovereign upon his own soU. 

Such a record as this seems rather like the exaggera- 
tion of a diseased fancy, seeking to pander to a corrupt 
public taste which feeds greedily upon horrors ; but, un- 
fortunately, it is derived from the register of high courts 
of justice, from diplomatic correspondence, and from 
the confessions, without torture or hope of free pardon, 
of criminals. For a crowned king and his high func- 
tionaries and generals to devote so much of their time, 
their energies, and their money to the murder of brother 
and sister sovereigns and other illustrious personages 
was not to make after ages in love with the monarchic 
and aristocratic system, at least as thus administered. 
Popular governments may be deficient in polish, but a 
system resting for its chief support upon bribery and 
murder cannot be considered lovely by any healthy mind. 
And this is one of the lessons to be derived from the 
history of Philip II. and of the Holy League. 

But besides mutiny and assassination there were also 
some feeble attempts at negotiation to characterize the 
^ Bor, ubi sup. 


Emestian epoch at Brussels. The subject hardly needs 
more than a passing allusion. 

Two Flemish jurisconsults, Otto Hertius and Jerome 
Comans, offered their services to the archduke in the 
peacemaking department. Ernest accepted the proposi- 
tion,— although it was strongly opposed by Fuentes, 
who relied upon the more practical agency of Dr. Lopez, 
Andrada, Renichon, and the rest, — and the peacemakers 
accordingly made their appearance at The Hague, under 
safe-conduct, and provided with very conciliatory letters 
from his Highness to the States-General. ^ In all ages 
and under all circumstances it is safe to enlarge, with 
whatever eloquence may be at command, upon the bless- 
ings of peace and upon the horrors of war ; for the appeal 
is not difficult to make, and a response is certain in al- 
most every human breast. But it is another matter to 
descend from the general to the particular, and to de- 
monstrate how the desirable may be attained and the 
horrible averted. The letters of Ernest were full of 
benignity and affection, breathing a most ardent desire 
that the miserable war, now a quarter of a century old, 
should be then and there terminated. But not one 
atom of concession was offered, no whisper breathed 
that the Republic, if it should choose to lay down its 
victorious arms and renounce its dearly gained inde- 
pendence, should share any different fate from that 
under which it saw the obedient provinces gasping be- 
fore its eyes. To renounce religious and political liberty 
and self-government, and to submit unconditionally to 
the authority of Philip II. as administered by Ernest 
and Fuentes, was hardly to be expected as the result of 
the three years' campaigns of Maurice of Nassau. 

1 Bentivoglio, p. iii. lib. i. 390. Bor, iii. 810-812. 


The two doctors of law laid the affectionate common- 
places of the archduke before the States-General, each 
of them making, moreover, a long and flowery oration 
in which the same protestations of good will and hopes 
of future good fellowship were distended to formidable 
dimensions by much windy rhetoric. The accusations 
which had been made against the government of Brus- 
sels of complicity in certain projects of assassination 
were repelled with virtuous indignation.^ 

The answer of the States- General was wrathful and 
decided.2 They informed the commissioners that they 
had taken up arms for a good cause and meant to retain 
them in their hands. They expressed their thanks for 
the expressions of good will which had been offered, but 
avowed their right to complain before God and the 
world of those who, under pretext of peace, were attempt- 
ing to shed the innocent blood of Christians, and to pro- 
cute the ruin and destruction of the Netherlands. To 
this end the state council of Spain was more than ever 
devoted, being guilty of the most cruel and infamous 
proceedings and projects. They threw out a rapid and 
stinging summary of their wrongs, and denounced with 
scorn the various hollow attempts at negotiation during 
the preceding twenty-five years. Coming down to the 
famous years 1587 and 1588, they alluded in vehement 
terms to the fraudulent peace propositions which had 
been thrown as a veil over the Spanish invasion of Eng- 
land and the Armada, and they glanced at the mediation 
projects of the emperor in 1591, at the desire of Spain, 
while armies were moving in force from Germany, Italy, 
and the Netherlands to crush the King of France, in 

1 Bor, iii. 810-812. 

2 See the document in full in Bor, iii. 813-815. 


order that Philip might establish his tyranny over all 
kings, princes, provinces, and republics. That the Span- 
ish government was secretly dealing with the emperor 
and other German potentates for the extension of his 
universal empire appeared from intercepted letters of 
the king, copies of which were communicated, from 
which it was sufficiently plain that the purpose of his 
Majesty was not to bestow peace and tranquillity upon 
the Netherlands. The names of Fuentes, Clemente, 
Ybarra, were sufficient in themselves to destroy any such 
illusion. They spoke in blunt terms of the attempt of 
Dr. Lopez to poison Queen Elizabeth, at the instigation 
of Count Fuentes, for fifty thousand crowns to be paid 
by the King of Spain; they charged upon the same 
Fuentes and upon Ybarra that they had employed the 
same Andrada to murder the King of France with a 
nosegay of roses ; and they alluded further to the revela- 
tions of Michael Renichon, who was to murder Maurice 
of Nassau and kidnap Frederick Henry, even as their 
father and brother had been already murdered and kid- 

For such reasons the archduke might understand by 
what persons and what means the good people of the 
Netherlands were deceived, and how difficult it was for 
the states to forget such lessons, or to imagine anything 
honest in the present propositions. 

The states declared themselves, on the contrary, more 
called upon than ever before to be upon the watch 
against the stealthy proceedings of the Spanish council 
of state, bearing in mind the late execrable attempts at 
assassination, and the open war which was still carried 
on against the King of France. 

1 Bor, iii. 813-815. 


And although it was said that his Highness was dis- 
pleased with such murderous and hostile proceedings, 
still it was necessary for the states to beware of the 
nefarious projects of the King of Spain and his council. ^ 

After the conversion of Henry IV. to the Roman 
Church had been duly accomplished that monarch had 
sent a secret envoy to Spain. The mission of this agent, 
La Varenne by name, excited intense anxiety and sus- 
picion in England and Holland and among the Prot- 
estants of France and Germany. It was believed that 
Henry had not only made a proposition of a separate 
peace with Philip, but that he had formally but mys- 
teriously demanded the hand of the Infanta in marriage. 
Such a catastrophe as this seemed to the heated imagina- 
tions of the great body of Calvinists throughout Europe, 
who had so faithfully supported the King of Navarre up 
to the moment of his great apostasy, the most cruel and 
deadly treachery of all. That the princess with the 
many suitors should come to reign over France after all 
— not as the bride of her own father, not as the queen 
consort of Ernest the Hapsburger or of Guise the Lor- 
rainer, but as the lawful wife of Henry the Huguenot — 
seemed almost too astounding for belief, even amid the 
chances and changes of that astonishing epoch. Yet 
Duplessis-Mornay avowed that the project was enter- 
tained, and that he had it from the very lips of the secret 
envoy who was to negotiate the marriage. ''La Varenne 

1 Bor, iii. 813-815. The archduke, as might be supposed, was 
not pleased with the reply of the states, and characterized it as so 
arrogant and outrageous that he would not have allowed his 
Majesty's ears to be offended by it had not the states, like 
insolent people as they were, already caused it to be printed and 
published. (Ernest to Philip, September 4, 1594, Arch, de Sim. 


is on liis way to Spain," wrote Duplessis to the Duke of 
Bouillon, '' in company with a gentleman of Don Ber- 
nardino de Mendoza, who brought the first overtures. 
He is to bring back the portrait of the Infanta. 'T is 
said that the marriage is to be on condition that the 
queen and the Netherlands are comprised in the peace, 
but you know that this cannot be satisfactorily arranged 
for those two parties. All this was once guesswork, 
but is now history." ^ 

That eminent diplomatist and soldier, Mendoza, had 
already, on his return from France, given the King of 
Spain to understand that there were no hopes of his ob- 
taining the French crown either for himself or for his 
daughter, that aU the money lavished on the chiefs of 
the League was thrown away, and that all their promises 
were idle wind. Mendoza, in consequence, had fallen into 
contempt at court ; but Philip, observing apparently that 
there might have been something correct in his state- 
ments, had recently recalled him, and, notwithstanding 
his blindness and other infirmities, was disposed to make 
use of him in secret negotiations. Mendoza had accord- 
ingly sent a confidential agent to Henry lY., offering his 
good offices, now that the king had returned to the bosom 
of the Church. 

This individual, whose name was Nunez, was admitted 
by De Bethune (afterward the famous Due de Sully) to 
the presence of the king ; but De Bethune, believing it 
probable that the Spaniard had been sent to assassinate 
Henry, held both the hands of the emissary during the 

1 " Je le sais de la bouche du porteur qui ne le m'osa deguiser 
parceque je monstrai en etre adverti, . . . c'etait alors devina- 
tion, mainteaant histoire."— M6m. et Corresp., iv. 563, September 
18, 1593. 


whole interview, besides subjecting him to a strict per- 
sonal visitation beforehand. Nunez stated that he was 
authorized to propose to his Majesty a marriage with the 
Infanta Clara Isabella, and Henry, much to the discon- 
tent of De Bethune, listened eagerly to the suggestion, 
and promised to send a secret agent to Spain to confer 
on the subject with Mendoza. 

The choice he made of La Varenne, whose real name 
was Guillaume Fouquet, for this mission was still more 
offensive to De Bethune. Fouquet had originally been 
a cook in the service of Madame Catherine, and was 
famous for his talent for larding poultry ; but he had 
subsequently entered the household of Henry, where he 
had been employed in the most degrading service which 
one man can render to another.^ 

On his appointment to this office of secret diplomacy 
he assumed all the airs of an ambassador, while Henry 
took great pains to contradict the reports which were 
spread as to the true nature of this mission to Spain.^ 

Duplessis was, in truth, not very far wrong in his con- 
jectures, but, as might be supposed, Henry was most 
anxious to conceal these secret negotiations with his 

1 "La Varenne," said Madame Catherine on one occasion, "tu as 
plus gagne a porter les poulets de mon frere, qu'a piquer les 
miens."— M^moires de Sully, liv. vi. 296, note 6. He accumulated 
a large fortune in these dignified pursuits, having, according 
to Winwood, landed estates to the annual amount of sixty thou- 
sand francs a year, and gave large dowries to his daughters, 
whom he married into noblest families ; " which is the more re- 
markable," adds Winwood, "considering the services wherein he 
is employed about the king, which is to be the inez::ano for his 
loves ; the place from whence he came, which is out of tlie kitchen 
of Madame, the king's sister."— Memorials, i. 380. 

2 M6m. de Sully, ubi sup. 


Catholic Majesty from the Huguenot chiefs whom he had 
so recently deserted. ''This is all done without the 
knowledge of the Duke of Bouillon/' said Calvaert, " or 
at least under a very close disguise, as he himself keenly 
feels and confesses to me." ^ The envoy of the Republic, 
as well as the leaders of the Protestant party in France, 
were resolved if possible to break off these dark and 
dangerous intrigues, the nature of which they so shrewdly 
suspected, and to substitute for them an open rupture 
of Henry with the Bang of Spain, and a formal declara- 
tion of war against him. None of the diplomatists or 
political personages engaged in these great affairs, in 
which the whole world was so deeply interested, mani- 
fested more sagacity and insight on this occasion than 
did the Dutch statesmen. We have seen that even Sir 
Edward Stafford was deceived up to a very late moment 
as to the rumored intentions of Henry to enter the Catho- 
lic Church. Envoy Edmondes was now equally and com- 
pletely in the dark as to the mission of Varenne, and 
informed his government that the only result of it was 
that the secret agent to Spain was favored, through the 
kindness of Mendoza, with a distant view of Philip II., 
with his son and daughter, at their devotions in the 
chapel of the Escorial. This was the tale generally re- 
counted and believed after the agent's return from Spain, 
so that Varenne was somewhat laughed at as having 

1 Deventer, Gedenkstukken, etc., ii. 37. In this most val- 
uable contribution to the history of the Netherlands and of 
Europe, the learned editor has been the first to give, so far as I 
am aware, the true history of this remarkable negotiation. The 
accounts by contemporary historians show the writers to have 
been kept as much in the dark as the English envoy was, an ex- 
tract from whose private letter to Lord Burghley will be found in 
note 2, p. 339. Compare Bor, iii. 759-763. 


gone to Spain on a fool's errand, and as having got 
nothing from Mendoza but a disavowal of his former 
propositions. But the shrewd Calvaert, who had enter- 
tained familiar relations with La Varenne, received from 
that personage after his return a very different account 
of his excursion to the Escorial from the one generally 
circulated. " Coming from Monceaux to Paris in his 
company," wrote Calvaert in a secret despatch to the 
states, " I had the whole story from him. The chief part 
of his negotiations with Don Bernardino de Mendoza 
was that if his Majesty [the French kingj would aban- 
don the Queen of England and your Highnesses [the 
states of the Netherlands] there were no conditions that 
would be refused the king, including the hand of the 
Infanta, together with a good recompense for the king- 
dom of Navarre. La Varenne maintained that the King 
of Spain had caused these negotiations to be entered upon 
at this time with him in the certain hope and intention of 
a definite conclusion, alleging to me many pertinent rea- 
sons, and among others that he, having been lodged at 
Madrid, through the adroitness of Don Bernardino, 
among all the agents of the League, and hearing all 
their secrets and negotiations, had never been discovered, 
but had always been supposed to be one of the League 
himself. He said also that he was well assured that the 
Infanta in her heart had an affection for the French 
king, and, notwithstanding any resolutions that might be 
taken (to which I referred, meaning the projects for 
bestowing her on the house of Austria), that she, with her 
father's consent or in case of his death, would not fail to 
carry out this marriage. You may from all this, even 
out of the proposal for compensation for the kingdom of 
Navarre (of which his Majesty also let out something to 
VOL. rv.— 22 


me inadvertently), collect the reasons why such feeble 
progress is made in so great an occasion as now presents 
itself for a declaration of war and an open alliance with 
your Highnesses. I shall not fail to watch these events, 
even in case of the progress of the said resolutions, not- 
withstanding the effects of which it is my opinion that 
this secret intrigue is not to be abandoned. To this end, 
besides the good intelligence which one gets by means 
of good friends, a continual and agreeable presentation 
of one's self to his Majesty, in order to see and hear every- 
thing, is necessary." ^ 

Certainly here were reasons more than sufficient why 
Henry should be making but feeble preparations for open 
war in alliance with England and the Republic against 
Philip, as such a step was hardly compatible with the 
abandonment of England and the Republic and the 
espousal of Philip's daughter— projects which Henry's 
commissioner had just been discussing with Philip's 
agent at Madrid and the Escorial. 

Truly it was well for the republican envoy to watch 
events as closely as possible, to make the most of intelli- 
gence from his good friends, and to present himself as 
frequently and as agreeably as possible to his Majesty, 
that he might hear and see everything. There was 
much to see and to hear, and it needed adroitness and 
courage not to slip or stumble in such dark wa3'^s, where 
the very ground seemed often to be sliding from beneath 
the feet. 

To avoid the catastrophe of an alliance between Henry, 
Philip, and the pope against Holland and England, it 
was a pressing necessity for Holland and England to 
force Henry into open war against Philip. To this end 

1 Deventer, ubi sup. 


the Dutcli statesmen were bending all their energies. 
Meantime Elizabeth regarded the campaign in Artois 
and Hainault with little favor. 

As he took leave on departing for France, La Varenne 
had requested Mendoza to write to King Henry, but the 
Spaniard excused himself— although professing the 
warmest friendship for his Majesty— on the ground of 
the impossibility of addressing him correctly. ''If I 
call him here King of Navarre, I might as well put my 
head on the block at once," he observed ; '4f I call him 
King of France, my master has not yet recognized him 
as such ; if I call him anything else, he will himself be 
offended." i 

And the vision of Philip in black on his knees, with 
his children about him, and a rapier at his side, passed 
with the contemporary world as the only phenomenon 
of this famous secret mission.^ 

1 Bor, iii. 759-763. 

2 Ibid. Envoy Edmondes gave a detailed account of the 
matter, so far as he understood it, from Dieppe : " Don 
Bernardino," he says, "asked to hear what he [La Varenne] had 
in charge, to which the other made answer to have nothing, only to 
have brought eyes to see and ears to hear what he would propound. 
. . . Whereupon Bernardino made him answer that he was to 
avow nothing that his said servant had delivered, which he said 
to be in him a less shame than in Mons. de Mayne having dis- 
avowed a person of the quality of Mons. de Villeroy. La Varenne, 
therefore, seeing he could draw no other payment from him, 
prayed him, to the end his journey might not be to him altogether 
fruitless, to procure that he might have a sight of the king and 
the beauties of the Scuriall, his house, which he accordingly 
performed, causing him to be secretly brought into the ehapeb 
where he saw the king at mass, of purpose attired in extraordinary 
demonstration of liveliness, wearing the sword and cape, which 
he had not before done in two years ; with also the young prince 
and the Infanta in like color, was brought another time to see him 


But Henry, besides this demonstration toward Spain, 
lost no time in despatching a special minister to the 
Republic and to England, who was instructed to make 
the most profuse, elaborate, and conciliatory explana- 
tions as to his recent conversion and as to his future 

walking in the garden, but without speaking at all unto him. 
Being therein so satisfied, and therewith dismissed, Don 
Bernardino prayed him at his departure to excuse him to the king 
for not writing unto him, which he said he could not do in qualify- 
ing him as appertained without disproving the justness of his 
master's quarrel, and thereby incur peril ; and to give him an 
undue title, that he was too much his servant, and only therefore 
to let him know that, so as the pope would speak in the king's 
favor, there is very good reason to make the King of Spain to 
understand to a union with him, and that is all the return he 
bringeth of his negotiation ; but the king, to cover the shame 
thereof, doth pay himself with great contentment of the good 
service which by that occasion he hath otherwise done him, in 
discovering, by haunting unknown divers French there of the 
League, a dangerous enterprise upon Bordeaux, which having on 
his return declared to Marshal Matignon, he hath thereupon ap- 
prehended certain of the principal of the town conspirators there- 
in," etc.— Edmondes to Burghley, November 13, 1593, S. P. Of&ce 
MS. Compare Bor, ubi sup. 

La Varenne was subsequently sent to England to give a report, 
more or less ingenuous, of his Spanish mission to the queen. 
She at first refused to receive him, on the ground that he had 
formerly used disrespectful language concerning herself, but she 
subsequently relented. He reported that he had found the king 
remarkably jolly (gaillard) and healthy for his years, and had also 
seen the rest of the royal family. Don Bernardino, he said, who 
had given the king to understand, now that he was Catholic, that 
he could find means to reconcile him with the king his master, 
whereby he might maintain himself peaceably in his kingdom, had 
nevertheless professed ignorance of any such matter when he 
found that Varenne had no commission except to see and to hear. 
So the agent was fain, according to his public statement, to con- 
tent himself with a distant ^^ew of the Most Catholic King at his 


intentions.^ Never would he make peace, he said, with 
Spain without the full consent of the states and of Eng- 
land, the dearest object of his heart in making his peace 
with Rome having been to restore peace to his own dis- 
tracted realm, to bring all Christians into one brother- 
hood, and to make a united attack upon the Grand Turk 
— a vision which the cheerful monarch hardly intended 
should ever go beyond the ivory gate of dreams, but 
which furnished substance enough for several well- 
rounded periods in the orations of De Morlans. 

That diplomatist, after making the strongest repre- 
sentations to Queen Elizabeth as to the faithful friend- 
ship of his master, and the necessity he was under of 
pecuniary and military assistance, had received generous 
promises of aid both in men and money— three thousand 
men besides the troops actually serving in Brittany— 
from that sagacious sovereign, notwithstanding the 
vehement language in which she had rebuked her royal 
brother's apostasy.^ He now came for the same purpose 
to The Hague, where he made very eloquent harangues 
to the States-General, acknowledging that the Republic 
had ever been the most upright, perfect, and undisguised 
friend to his master and to France in their darkest days 
and deepest affliction ; that she had loved the king and 
kingdom for themselves, not merely hanging on to their 
prosperity, but, on the contrary, doing her best to pro- 
duce that prosperity by her contributions in soldiers, 

devotions. (Noel de Caron to the States-General, December 4, 
1593, Hague Archives.) No one but Calvaert seems to have 
succeeded in pumping the secret envoy, but by Calvaert the 
States-General were enlightened and put thoroughly on their 
guard as to the possible designs of Henry. 

'^ De Morlans to the States-General, in Bor, iii. 721-726, August 
26, 1593. 2 Bor, iii. 719. 


ships, and subsidies. " The king," said De Morlans, " is 
deeply grieved that he can prove his gratitude only in 
words for so many benefits conferred, which are abso- 
lutely without example, but he has commissioned me to 
declare that if God should ever give him the occasion, 
he will prove how highly he places your friendship." 

The envoy assured the states that all fears entertained 
by those of the Reformed religion on account of the con- 
version of his Majesty were groundless. Nothing was 
further from the king's thoughts than to injure those 
noble spirits with whom his soul had lived so long, and 
whom he so much loved and honored. No man knew 
better than the king did the character of those who pro- 
fessed the religion, their virtue, valor, resolution, and 
patience in adversity. Their numbers had increased in 
war, their virtues had been purified by afliction, they 
had never changed their position, whether battles had 
been won or lost. Should ever an attempt be made to 
take up arms against them within his realms, and should 
there be but five hundred of them against ten thousand, 
the king, remembering their faithful and ancient ser- 
vices, would leave the greater number in order to die at 
the head of his old friends. He was determined that 
they should participate in aU the honors of the kingdom, 
and with regard to a peace with Spain, he would have as 
much care for the interests of the United Provinces as 
for his own. But a peace was impossible with that mon- 
arch, whose object was to maintain his own realms in 
peace while he kept France in perpetual revolt against 
the king whom God had given her. The King of Spain 
had trembled at Henry's cradle, at his youth, at the bloom 
of his manhood, and knew that he had inflicted too much 
injury upon him ever to be on friendly terms with him. 


The envoy was instructed to say that his master never 
expected to be in amity with one who had ruined his house, 
confiscated his property, and caused so much misery to 
France ; and he earnestly hoped, without presuming to 
dictate, that the States-General would in this critical 
emergency manifest their generosity. If the king were 
not assisted now, both king and kingdom would perish. 
If he were assisted, the succor would bear double fruit. ^ 

The sentiments expressed on the part of Henry toward 
his faithful subjects of the religion, the heretic Queen 
of England, and the stout Dutch Calvinists who had so 
long stood by him, were most noble. It was pity that, 
at the same moment, he was proposing to espouse the 
Infanta and to publish the Council of Trent. 

The reply of the States-General to these propositions 
of the French envoy was favorable, and it was agreed 
that a force of three thousand foot and five hundred 
horse should be sent to the assistance of the king. 
Moreover, the state paper drawn up on this occasion was 
conceived with so much sagacity and expressed with so 
much eloquence as particularly to charm the English 
queen when it was communicated to her Majesty. She 
protested very loudly and vehemently to Noel de Caron, 
envoy from the provinces at London, that this response 
on the part of his government to De Morlans was one of 
the wisest documents that she had ever seen. '' In all 
their actions," said she, ^'the States- General show their 
sagacity, and, indeed, it is the wisest government ever 
known among republics. I would show you," she added 
to the gentlemen around her, " the whole of the paper if 
it were this moment at hand." ^ 

After some delays it was agreed between the French 

^ Address of Morlans, ubi sup. 2 Bqj.^ {[[_ 726, 


government and that of the United Provinces that the 
king should divide his army into three parts, and renew 
the military operations against Spain with the expira- 
tion of the truce at the end of the year (1593). 

One body, composed of the English contingent, to- 
gether with three thousand French horse, three thousand 
Swiss, and four thousand French harquebusmen, was 
to be under his own immediate command, and was to 
act against the enemy wherever it should appear to his 
Majesty most advantageous. A second army was to 
expel the rebels and their foreign allies from Normandy 
and reduce Rouen to obedience. A third was to make a 
campaign in the provinces of Artois and Hainault, under 
the Duke of Bouillon (more commonly called the Vis- 
count Turenne), in conjunction with the forces to be sup- 
plied by the Republic. "Any treaty of peace on our 
part with the King of Spain," said the States- General, 
" is our certain ruin. This is an axiom. That monarch's 
object is to incorporate into his own realms not only all 
the states and possessions of neighboring kings, princi- 
palities, and powers, but also all Christendom, aye, the ivJiole 
world, were it possible. We jojrfully concur, then, in your 
Majesty's resolution to carry on the war in Artois and 
Hainault, and agree to your suggestion of diversions on 
our part by sieges and succor by contingents." ^ 

Balagny, meantime, who had so long led an indepen- 
dent existence at Cambray, now agreed to recognize 
Henry's authority, in consideration of sixty-seven thou- 
sand crowns' yearly pension and the dignity of Marshal 
of France.^ 

1 Bor, iii. 766. 

2 Buzanval to the States-General, December 8, 1593, apud Bor, 
iii. 765, 766. 


Toward the end of the year 1594, Buzanval, the regu- 
lar French envoy at The Hague, began to insist more 
warmly than seemed becoming that the campaign in 
Artois and Hainault— so often the base of military 
operations on the part of Spain against France— should 
begin. Further achievements on the part of Maurice 
after the fall of Groningen were therefore renounced for 
that year, and his troops went into garrison and winter 
quarters.^ The States- General, who had also been send- 
ing supplies, troops, and ships to Brittany to assist the 
king, now, after soundly rebuking Buzanval for his 
intemperate language, intrusted their contingent for 
the proposed frontier campaign to Count Philip Nassau, 
who accordingly took the field toward the end of the 
year at the head of twenty-eight companies of foot and 
five squadrons of cavalry. He made his junction with 
Turenne-Bouillon, but the duke, although provided with 
a tremendous proclamation, was but indifferently sup- 
plied with troops. The German levies, long expected, 
were slow in moving, and on the whole it seemed that 
the operations might have been continued by Maurice 
with more effect according to his original plan, than in 
this rather desultory f ashion.^ The late winter campaign 
on the border was feeble and a failure. 

The bonds of alliance, however, were becoming very 
close between Henry and the Republic. Despite the 
change in religion on the part of the king, and the pangs 
which it had occasioned in the hearts of leading Nether- 
landers, there was still the traditional attraction between 
France and the states, which had been so remarkably 
manifested during the administration of William the 
Silent. The Republic was more restive than ever under 
1 Bor, 846-859. 2 ibid. 


the imperious and exacting friendship of Elizabeth, and, 
feeling more and more its own strength, was making 
itself more and more liable to the charge of ingratitude, 
so constantly hurled in its face by the queen. And 
Henry, now that he felt himself really King of France, 
was not slow to manifest a similar ingratitude or an 
equal love of independence. Both monarch and Repub- 
lic, chafing under the protection of EUzabeth, were 
drawn into so close a union as to excite her anger and 
jealousy— sentiments which in succeeding years were to 
become yet more apparent. And now, while Henry still 
retained the chivalrous and flowery phraseology, so 
sweet to her ears, in his personal communications to the 
queen, his ministers were in the habit of using much 
plainer language. " Mr. de Sancy said to me," wrote 
the Netherland minister in France, Calvaert, '' that his 
Majesty and your Highnesses [the States-General] must 
without long delay conclude an alliance offensive and de- 
fensive. In regard to England, which perhaps might 
look askance at this matter, he told me it would be in- 
vited also by his Majesty into the same alliance ; but if, 
according to custom, it shilly-shallied, and, without com- 
ing to deeds or to succor, should put him off with 
words, he should in that case proceed with our alliance 
without England, not doubting that many other poten- 
tates in Italy and Germany would join in it likewise. 
He said, too, that he, the day before the departure of the 
English ambassador, had said these words to him in the 
presence of his Majesty, namely, that England had en- 
tertained his Majesty sixteen months long with far- 
fetched and often-repeated questions and discontents; 
that one had submitted to this sort of thing so long as 
his Majesty was only king of Mantes, Dieppe, and Lou- 


viers, but that liis Majesty, being now king of Paris, 
would be no longer a servant of those who should advise 
him to suffer it any longer or accept it as good payment ; 
that England must treat his Majesty according to his 
quality, and with deeds, not words. He added that the 
ambassador had very anxiously made answer to these 
words, and had promised that when he got back to Eng- 
land he would so arrange that his Majesty should be 
fully satisfied, insisting to the last on the alliance then 
proposed." ^ 

In Germany, meanwhile, there was much protocoUing, 
and more hard drinking, at the Diet of Ratisbon. The 
Protestant princes did little for their cause against the 
new designs of Spain and the moribund League, while 
the Catholics did less to assist Philip. In truth, the Holy 
Roman Empire, threatened with a Turkish invasion, had 
neither power nor inclination to help the new universal 
Empire of the West into existence. So the princes and 
grandees of Germany, while Amurath was knocking at 
the imperial gates, busied themselves with banqueting 
and other diplomatic work, but sent few reiters either to 
the East or West.^ 

1 M. L. van Deventer, Gedenkstukken van Johan van Olden- 
Barneveldt en zign Tijd, ii. 20, 21, April 22, 1594. De Sancy 
expressed himself in still stronger language a few weeks later. 
"Should England delayer interpose difficulties," said he, "tlien 
the king will at once go into company with the States-General ; 
aye, he will bring this alliance forward principally in considera- 
tion and respect for the states, whose authority he wishes to 
establish, . . . declaring with many words that your Highnesses 
are exactly the power in the whole world to which the king is 
under the gi'eatest obligation, and in which he places his chief 
confidence."— Ibid., 24, 25, May 11, 1594. 
2 Bor, iii. 852-854. 


Philip's envoys were indignant at the apathy displayed 
toward the great Catholic cause, and felt humbled at 
the imbecility exhibited by Spain in its efforts against 
the Netherlands and France. San Clemente, who was 
attending the diet at Ratisbon, was shocked at the 
scenes he witnessed. '' In less than three months," said 
that temperate Spaniard, '^ they have drunk more than 
five million florins' worth of wine, at a time when the 
Turk has invaded the frontiers of Germany ; and among 
those who have done the most of this consumption of 
wine there is not one who is going to give any assistance 
on the frontier. In consequence of these disorders my 
purse is drained so low that unless the king helps me I 
am ruined. You must tell our master that the reputa- 
tion of his grandeur and strength has never been so low 
as it is now in Germany. The events in France and 
those which followed in the Netherlands have thrown 
such impediments in the negotiations here that not only 
our enemies make sport of Marquis Havre and myself, 
but even our friends— who are very few— dare not go to 
public feasts, weddings, and dinners, because they are 
obliged to apologize for us." ^ 

Truly the world-empire was beginning to crumble. 
"The emperor has been desiring twenty times," con- 
tinued the envoy, " to get back to Prague from the diet, 
but the people hold him fast like a steer. As I think 
over all that passes, I lose all judgment, for I have no 
money, nor influence, nor reputation. Meantime I see 
this rump of an empire keeping itself with difficulty 
upon its legs. 'T is full of wrangling and discord about 
religion, and yet there is the Turk with two hundred 

1 Intercepted letters of San Clemente to Idiaquez, August 30, 
1594, apud Bor, ubi sup. 


thousand men besieging a place forty miles from Vienna, 
whicli is the last outpost. God grant it may last." ^ 

Such was the aspect of the Christian world at the close 
of the year 1594. 

1 Intercepted letters of San Clemente to Idiaquez, ubi sup. 


Formal declaration of war against Spain— Marriage festivities- 
Death of Archduke Ernest— His year of government— Fuentes 
declared governor-general — Disaffection of the Duke of Aerschot 
and Count Aremberg- Death of the Duke of Aerschot— Fuentes 
besieges Le Catelet — The fortress of Ham, sold to the Spanish 
by De Gomeron, besieged and taken by the Duke of Bouillon— 
Execution of De Gomeron— Death of Colonel Verdugo— Siege of 
Dourlens by Fuentes— Death of La Motte— Death of Charles 
Mansfeld — Total defeat of the French— Murder of Admiral de 
Villars — Dourlens captured, and the garrison and citizens put to 
the sword — Military operations in eastern Netherlands and on 
the Rhine— Maurice lays siege to Groenlo — Mondragon hastening 
to its relief, Prince Maurice raises the siege— Skirmish between 
Maurice and Mondragon— Death of Philip of Nassau— Death of 
Mondragon— Bombardment and surrender of Weerdt Castle— 
Maurice retires into winter quarters— Campaign of Henry FV.- 
He besieges Dijon — Surrender of Dijon— Absolution granted to 
Henry by the pope— Career of Balagny at Cambray— Progress of 
the siege— Capitulation of the town— Suicide of the Princess of 
Cambray, wife of Balagny. 

The year 1595 opened with a formal declaration of war 
by the King of France against the King of Spain. ^ It 
would be difficult to say for exactly how many years the 
war now declared had already been waged, but it was a 
considerable advantage to the United Netherlands that 
the manifesto had been at last regularly issued. And 

1 Bor, iv. XXX. 2 seq. De Thou, t. xii. liv. iii. 342 seq. 


the manifesto was certainly not deficient in bitterness. 
Not often in Christian history has a monarch been sol- 
emnly and officially accused by a brother sovereign of 
suborning assassins against his Hfe. Bribery, strata- 
gem, and murder were, however, so entirely the com- 
monplace machinery of Philip's administration as to 
make an allusion to the late attempt of Chastel appear 
quite natural in Henry's declaration of war. The king 
further stigmatized in energetic language the long suc- 
cession of intrigues by which the monarch of Spain, as 
chief of the Holy League, had been making war upon 
him, by means of his own subjects, for the last half-dozen 
years. Certainly there was hardly need of an elaborate 
statement of grievances. The deeds of Philip required 
no herald, unless Henry was prepared to abdicate his 
hardly earned title to the throne of France. 

Nevertheless, the politic Gascon subsequently regretted 
the fierce style in which he had fulminated his challenge. 
He was accustomed to observe that no state paper re- 
quired so much careful pondering as a declaration of 
war,' and that it was scarcely possible to draw up such 
a document without committing many errors in the 
phraseology. The man who never knew fear, despon- 
dency, nor resentment was already instinctively acting 
on the principle that a king should deal with his enemy 
as if sure to become his friend, and with his friends as 
if they might easily change to foes.^ 

The answer to the declaration was delayed for two 
months. When the reply came, it of course breathed 
nothing but the most benignant sentiments in regard to 
France, while it expressed regret that it was necessary 
to carry fire and sword through that country in order to 

1 Bor, De Thou, ubi sup. a gully, i, liv. vii. 412. 


avert the unutterable woe whicli the crimes of the here- 
tic Prince of Beam were bringing upon all mankind.^ 

It was a solace for Philip to call the legitimate king 
by the title borne by him when heir presumptive, and to 
persist in denying to him that absolution which, as the 
whole world was aware, the Vicar of Christ was at that 
very moment in the most solemn manner about to bestow 
upon him. 

More devoted to the welfare of France than were the 
French themselves, he was determined that a foreign 
prince— himself, his daughter, or one of his nephews- 
should supplant the descendant of St. Louis on the 
French throne. More Catholic than the pope, he could 
not permit the heretic, whom his Holiness was just wash- 
ing whiter than snow, to intrude himself into the society 
of Christian sovereigns. 

The winter movements by Bouillon in Luxemburg, 
sustained by Philip Nassau campaigning with a meager 
force on the French frontier, were not very brilliant. 
The Netherland regiments quartered at Yssoire, La 
Ferte, and in the neighborhood accomplished very little, 
and their numbers were sadly thinned by dysentery^ 
A sudden and successful stroke, too, by which that dar. 
ing soldier Heraugiere, who had been the chief captor of 
Breda, obtained possession of the town and castle of 
Huy, produced no permanent advantage. This place, 
belonging to the Bishop of Li^ge, with its stone bridge 
over the Meuse, was an advantageous position from 
which to aid the operations of Bouillon in Luxemburg. 
Heraugiere was, however, not sufficiently reinforced, and 
Huy was a month later recaptured by La Motte.^ The 
campaigning was languid during that winter in the 

1 Bor, De Thou, ubi sup. 2 Bor, iv. 8, 10. 


United Netherlands, but the merrymaking was energetic. 
The nuptials of Hohenlo with Mary, eldest daughter 
of William the Silent and own sister of the captive Philip 
William ; of the Duke of Bouillon with Elizabeth, one of 
the daughters of the same illustrious prince by his third 
wife, Charlotte of Bourbon; and of Count Everard 
Solms, the famous general of the Zealand troops, with 
Sabina, daughter of the unfortunate Lamoral Egmont, 
were celebrated with much pomp during the months of 
February and Marcli.^ The states of Holland and of 
Zealand made magnificent presents of diamonds to the 
brides, the Countess Hohenlo receiving besides a j^early 
income of three thousand florins for the lives of herself 
and her husband.^ 

In the midst of these merry marriage bells at The 
Hague a funeral knell was sounding in Brussels. On the 
20th February the governor-general of the obedient 
Netherlands, Archduke Ernest, breathed his last. His 
career had not been so illustrious as the promises of the 
Spanish king and the allegories of Schoolmaster Hou- 
waerts had led him to expect. He had not espoused the 
Infanta nor been crowned King of France. He had not 
blasted the rebellious Netherlands with Cyclopean thun- 
derbolts, nor unbound the Belgic Andromeda from the 
rock of doom. His brief ^''ear of government had really 
been as dismal as, according to the announcement of 
his sycophants, it should have been amazing. He had 
accomplished nothing, and all that was left him was to 
die at the age of forty-two, over head and ears in debt, 
a disappointed, melancholy man. He was very indo- 
lent, enormously fat, very chaste, very expensive, fond 
of fine liveries and fine clothes, so solemn and stately as 

1 Bor, iv. 13. 2 Ibid. 

VOL. IV.— 23 


never to be known to laugh, but utterly without capacity 
either as a statesman or a soldier. '^ He would have 
shone as a portly abbot ruling over peaceful friars, hut 
he was not born to ride a revolutionary whirlwind, nor 
to evoke order out of chaos. Past and Present were 
contending with each other in fierce elemental strife 
within his domain, A world was in dying agony, an- 
other world was coming, full-armed, into existence 
within the handbreadth of time and of space where he 
played his little part, but he dreamed not of it. He 
passed away like a shadow, and was soon forgotten. 

An effort was made, during the last illness of Ernest, 
to procure from him the appointment of the Elector of 
Cologne as temporary successor to the government, but 
Count Fuentes was on the spot and was a man of action. 
He produced a power in the French language from 
Philip, with a blank for the name. This had been in- 
tended for the case of Peter Ernest Mansfeld's possible 
death during his provisional administration, and Fuentes 
now claimed the right of inserting his own name,^ 

The dying Ernest consented, and upon his death 
Fuentes was declared governor-general until the king's 
further pleasure should be known. 

Pedro de Guzman, Count of Fuentes, a Spaniard of the 
hard and antique type, was now in his sixty-fourth year. 
The pupil and near relative of the Duke of Alva, he was 
already as odious to the Netherlanders as might have 
been inferred from such education and such kin. A 
dark, grizzled, baldish man, with high, steep forehead, 
long, haggard, leathern visage, sweeping beard, and 

1 Bor, iv. 12. Coloma, viii. 162. 

2 Diego de Ybarra to Philip, February 19, 1595. Est. de Ybarra 
to the secretaries, same date, Arch, de Sim. MS. 


large, stern, commanding, menacing eyes, with his Brus- 
sels ruff of point-lace and his Milan coat of proof, he was 
in personal appearance not unlike the terrible duke 
whom men never named without a shudder, although a 
quarter of a century had passed since he had ceased to 
curse the Netherlands with his presence. Elizabeth of 
England was accustomed to sneer at Fuentes because he 
had retreated before Essex in that daring commander's 
famous foray into Portugal.^ The queen called the 
Spanish general a timid old woman. If her gibe were 
true, it was fortunate for her, for Henry of France, and 
for the Republic that there were not many more such 
old women to come from Spain to take the place of the 
veteran chieftains who were destined to disappear so 
rapidly during this year in Flanders. He was a soldier 
of fortune, loved fighting, not only for the fighting's 
sake, but for the prize-money which was to be accumu- 
lated by campaigning, and he was wont to say that he 
meant to enter paradise sword in hand.^ 

Meantime his appointment excited the wrath of the 
provincial magnates. The Duke of Aerschot was beside 
himself with frenzy, and swore that he would never serve 
under Fuentes nor sit at his council-board. The duke's 
brother. Marquis Havre, and his son-in-law, Count Arem- 
berg, shared in the hatred, although they tried to miti- 
gate the vehemence of its expression. But Aerschot 
swore that no man had the right to take precedence of him 
in the council of state, and that the appointment of this 
or any Spaniard was a violation of the charters of the 
provinces and of the promises of his Majesty.^ As if it 

1 Vol. iii. of this work, p. 437. 

2 Fniin, Tien Jaaren, etc., 192, note. 

3 Est. de Ybarra to Philip, March 6, 1595, Arch, de >Sim. MS. 


were for the nobles of the obedient provinces to prate 
of charters and of oaths ! Their brethren under the 
banner of the Republic had been teaching Philip for a 
whole generation how they could deal wdth the privileges 
of freemen and with the perjury of tyi-ants. It was late 
in the day for the obedient Netherlanders to remember 
their rights. Havre and Aremberg, dissembling their 
own wrath, were abused and insulted by the duke when 
they tried to pacify him. They proposed a compromise, 
according to which Aerschot should be allowed to preside 
in the council of state, while Fuentes should content 
himself with the absolute control of the army. This 
would be putting a bit of fat in the duke's mouth, they 
said.^ Fuentes would hear of no such arrangement. 
After much talk and daily attempts to pacify this great 
Netherlander, his relatives at last persuaded him to go 
home to his country place. He even promised Aremberg 
and his wife that he would go to Italy, in pursuance of 
a vow made to Our Lady of Loretto. Aremberg privately 
intimated to Stephen Ybarra that there was a certain 
oil, very apt to be efficacious in similar cases of in*ita- 
tion, which might be applied with prospect of success. 
If his father-in-law could only receive some ten thousand 
florins which he claimed as due to him from government, 
this would do more to quiet him than a regiment of sol- 
diers could. He also suggested that Fuentes should call 
upon the duke, while Secretary Ybarra shoidd excuse him- 
self by sickness for not having already paid his respects. 
This was done. Fuentes called. The duke returned the 
caU, and the two conversed amicably about the death of 
the archduke, but entered into no political discussion. 

1 Ybarra to Philip, March 6, 1595, Arch, de Sim. MS.: "Una 
pella de sebo en la boca para acquietarle." 


Aerschot then invited the whole council of state, except 
John Baptist Tassis, to a great dinner. He had pre- 
pared a paper to read to them, in which he represented 
the great dangers likely to ensue from such an appoint- 
ment as this of Fuentes, but declared that he washed his 
hands of the consequences, and that he had determined 
to leave a country where he was of so little account. 
He would then close his eyes and ears to everything 
that might occur, and thus escape the infamy of remain- 
ing in a country where so little account was made of 
him. He was urged to refrain from reading this paper 
and to invite Tassis, After a time he consented to sup- 
press the document, but he manfully refused to bid the 
objectionable diplomatist to his banquet.^ 

The dinner took place and passed off pleasantly enough. 
Aerschot did not read his manifesto, but, as he warmed 
with wine, he talked a great deal of nonsense which, ac- 
cording to Stephen Ybarra, much resembled it, and he 
vowed that thenceforth he would be blind and dumb to 
all that might occur.- A few days later he paid a visit 
to the new governor-general, and took a peaceful fare- 
well of him. " Your Majesty knows very well what he 
is," wrote Fuentes : '^ he is nothing but talk." ^ Before 
leaving the country he sent a bitter complaint to Ybarra, 
to the effect that the king had entirely forgotten him, 
and imploring that financier's influence to procure for 
him some gratuity from his Majesty. He was in such 
necessity, he said, that it was no longer possible for him 
to maintain his household.* 

1 Ybarra to Philip, March 6, 1595, Arch, de Sim. MS. ^ ibid. 
3 Fuentes to Philip, March 28, 1595, Arch, de Sim. MS. : " Es 
el que V. MagJ sabe, contentandose con hablar." 
* Letters of Ybarra, ubi sup. 


And with this petition the grandee of the obedient 
provinces shook the dust from his shoes and left his 
natal soil forever. He died on the 11th December of 
the same year in Venice. 

His son the Prince of Chimay, his brother and son-in- 
law, and the other obedient nobles soon accommodated 
themselves to the new administration, much as they had 
been inclined to bluster at first about their privileges. 
The governor soon reported that matters were proceed- 
ing very smoothly.^ There was a general return to the 
former docility now that such a disciplinarian as Fuentes 
held the reins. 

The opening scenes of the campaign between the 
Spanish governor and France were, as usual, in Picardy. 
The Marquis of Varambon made a demonstration in the 
neighborhood of Dourlens, a fortified town on the river 
Authie, lying in an open plain, very deep in that prov- 
ince, while Fuentes took the field with eight thousand 
men and laid siege to Le Catelet. He had his eye, how- 
ever, upon Ham. That important stronghold was in the 
hands of a certain nobleman called De Gomeron, who 
had been an energetic Leaguer, and was now disposed, 
for a handsome consideration, to sell himself to the King 
of Spain. In the auction of governors and generals then 
going on in every part of France it had been generally 
found that Henry's money was more to be depended 
upon in the long run, although Philip's bids were often 
very high, and, for a considerable period, the payments 
regular. Gomeron's upset price for himself was twenty- 
five thousand crowns in cash and a pension of eight 
thousand a year. Upon these terms he agreed to receive 
a Spanish garrison into the town, and to cause the 
1 Ybarra to Philip, March 16, 1595. 


French in the citadel to be sworn into the service of the 
Spanish king. Fuentes agreed to the bargain, and paid 
the adroit tradesman, who knew so well how to turn a 
penny for himself, a large portion of the twenty-five 
thousand crowns upon the nail. 

De Gomeron was to proceed to Brussels to receive the 
residue. His brother-in-law, M. d'Orville, commanded 
in the citadel, and so soon as the Spanish troops had 
taken possession of the town its governor claimed full 
payment of his services. 

But difficulties awaited him in Brussels. He was in- 
formed that a French garrison could not be depended 
upon for securing the fortress, but that town and citadel 
must both be placed in Spanish hands. De Gomeron, 
loudly protesting that this was not according to contract, 
was calmly assured, by command of Fuentes, that unless 
the citadel were at once evacuated and surrendered he 
would not receive the balance of his twenty-five thou- 
sand crowns, and that he should instantly lose his head. 
Here was more than De Gomeron had bargained for ; 
but this particular branch of commerce in revolutionary 
times, although lucrative, has always its risks. De 
Gomeron, thus driven to the wall, sent a letter by a 
Spanish messenger to his brother-in-law, ordering him 
to surrender the fortress. D'Orville, who meantime 
had been making his little arrangements with the other 
party, protested that the note had been written under 
duress, and refused to comply with its directions. 

Time was pressing, for the Duke of Bouillon and the 
Count of Saint-Pol lay with a considerable force in the 
neighborhood, obviously menacing Ham. 

Fuentes accordingly sent that distinguished soldier 
and historian, Don Carlos Coloma, with a detachment of 


soldiers to Brussels, with orders to bring Gomeron into 
camp. He was found seated at supper with his two 
young brothers, aged respectively sixteen and eighteen 
years, and was just putting a cherry into his mouth as 
Coloma entered the room. He remained absorbed in 
thought, trifling with the cherry without eating it, which 
Don Carlos set down as a proof of guilt. The three 
brothers were at once put in a coach, together with their 
sister, a nun of the age of twenty, and conveyed to the 
headquarters of Fuentes, who lay before Le Catelet, but 
six leagues from Ham. 

Meantime D'OrvHle had completed his negotiations 
with Bouillon, and had agreed to surrender the fortress 
so soon as the Spanish troops should be driven from the 
town. The duke, knowing that there was no time to lose, 
came with three thousand men before the place. His 
summons to surrender was answered by a volley of can- 
non-shot from the town defenses. An assault was made 
and repulsed, D'Humiferes, a most gaUant ofl&cer and a 
favorite of King Henry, being killed, besides at least 
two hundred soldiers. The next attack was successful ; 
the town was carried, and the Spanish garrison put to 
the sword. 

D'Orville then, before giving up the citadel, demanded 
three hostages for the lives of his three brothers-in-law. 

The hostages availed him little. Fuentes had already 
sent word to Gomeron's mother that if the bargain were 
not fulfilled he would send her the heads of her three 
sons on three separate dishes. The distracted woman 
made her way to D'Orville, and fell at his feet with tears 
and entreaties. It was too late, and D'Orville, unable 
to bear her lamentations, suddenly rushed from the 
castle, and nearly fell into the hands of the Spaniards as 


he fled from the scene. Two of the four cuirassiers who 
alone of the whole garrison accompanied him were taken 
prisoners. The governor escaped to unknown regions. 
Madame de Gomeron then appeared before Fuentes, 
and tried in vain to soften him. De Gomeron was at 
once beheaded in the sight of the whole camp. The two 
younger sons were retained in prison, but ultimately set 
at liberty.^ The town and citadel were thus permanently 
acquired by their lawful king, who was said to be more 
afflicted at the death of D'Humieres than rejoiced at the 
capture of Ham. 

Meantime Colonel Verdugo, royal governor of Fries- 
land, whose occupation in those provinces, now so nearly 
recovered by the Republic, was gone, had led a force of 
six thousand foot and twelve hundred horse across the 
French border, and was besieging La Ferte, on the Cher. 
The siege was relieved by Bouillon on the 26th May, and 
the Spanish veteran was then ordered to take command 
in Burgundy. But his days were numbered. He had 
been sick of dysentery at Luxemburg during the sum- 
mer, but after apparent recovery died suddenly on the 
2d September, and of course was supposed to have been 
poisoned,^ He was identified with the whole history of 
the Netherland wars. Born at Talavera de la Reina, of 
noble parentage, as he asserted, although his mother 
was said to have sold dogs' meat, and he himself when 
a youth was a private soldier, he rose by steady con- 
duct and hard fighting to considerable eminence in his 
profession. He was governor of Haarlem after the 
famous siege, and exerted himself with some success to 

1 Bor, iv. 18, 19, 27. Meteren, 355, 356. De Thou, xii. 382 seq. 
Coloma, 173. 

2 Duyck, 662. Compare Bor, iv. 29. 


mitigate the ferocity of the Spaniards toward the Nether- 
landers at that epoch. He was marshal-general of the 
camp under Don John of Austria, and distinguished 
himself at the battle of Gembloux. He succeeded Count 
Renneberg as governor of Friesland and Groningen, and 
bore a manful part in most of the rough business that had 
been going on for a generation of mankind among those 
blood-stained wolds and morasses. He was often vic- 
torious, and quite as often soundly defeated ; but he en- 
joyed campaigning, and was a glutton of work. He 
cared little for parade and ceremony, but was fond of 
recalling with pleasure the days when he was a soldier 
at four crovms a month, with an undivided fourth of 
one cloak, which he and three companions wore by turns 
on holidays. Although accused of having attempted to 
procure the assassination of Louis William Nassau, he 
was not considered ill-natured, and he possessed much 
admiration for Prince Maurice. An iron-clad man, who 
had scarcely taken harness from his back all his Hfe, he 
was a type of the Spanish commanders who had im- 
planted international hatred deeply in the Netherland 
soul, and who, now that this result and no other had 
been accomplished, were rapidly passing away. He had 
been baptized Franco, and his family appellation of Ver- 
dugo meant executioner. Punning on these names, he 
was wont to say that he was frank for all good people, 
but a hangman for heretics; and he acted up to his 

Foiled at Ham, Fuentes had returned to the siege of 

Catelet, and had soon reduced the place. He then 

turned his attention again to Doui-lens, and invested 

that city. During the preliminary operations another 

1 Coloma, leS'". 

1595] DEATH OF LA MOTTE 363 

veteran commander in these wars, Valentin Pardieu de 
la Motte, recently created Count of Everbecq by- 
Philip, who had been for a long time general-in-chief of 
the artillery, and was one of the most famous and ex- 
perienced officers in the Spanish seiTice, went out one 
fine moonlight night to reconnoiter the enemy and to 
superintend the erection of batteries. As he was usu- 
ally rather careless of his personal safety, and rarely 
known to put on his armor when going for such pur- 
poses into the trenches, it was remarked with some sur- 
prise, on this occasion, that he ordered his page to bring 
his accoutrements, and that he armed himself cap-a-pie 
before leaving his quarters. Nevertheless, before he 
had reached the redout a bullet from the town struck 
him between the fold of his morion and the edge of his 
buckler, and he fell dead without uttering a sound.^ 

Here again was a great loss to the king's service. La 
Motte, of a noble family in Burgundy, had been educated 
in the old fierce traditions of the Spanish system of war- 
fare in the Netherlands, and had been one of the very 
hardest instruments that the despot could use for his 
bloody work. He had commanded a company of horse 
at the famous battle of St.-Quentin, and since that open- 
ing event in Philip's reign he had been unceasingly en- 
gaged in the Flemish wars. Alva made him a colonel of 
a Walloon regiment ; the Grand Commander Requesens 
appointed him governor of Gravelines. On the whole, 
he had been tolerably faithful to his colors, having 
changed sides but twice. After the Pacification of Ghent 
he swore allegiance to the States- General, and assisted 
in the bombardment of the citadel of that place. Soon 
afterward he went over to Don John of Austria, and 

1 Bor, xii. 39. Meteren, 356. Coloma, 176. 


surrendered to him the town and fortress of Gravelines, 
of which he then continued governor in the name of the 
king. He was fortunate in the accumulation of office 
and of money, rather unlucky in his campaigning. He 
was often wounded in action, and usually defeated when 
commanding in chief. He lost an arm at the siege of 
Sluis, and had now lost his life almost by an accident. 
Although twice married, he left no children to inherit his 
great estates, while the civil and military offices left 
vacant by his death were sufficient to satisfy the claims 
of five aspiring individuals. The Count of Varax suc- 
ceeded him as general of artillery ; but it was difficult to 
find a man to replace La Motte, possessing exactly the 
qualities which had made that warrior so valuable to his 
king. The type was rapidly disappearing, and most 
fortunately for humanity, if half the stories told of him 
by grave chroniclers, accustomed to discriminate between 
history and gossip, are to be believed. He had com- 
mitted more than one cool homicide. Although not re- 
joicing in the same patronymic as his Spanish colleague 
of Friesland, he, too, was ready on occasion to perform 
hangman's work. When sergeant-major in Flanders, he 
had himself volunteered— so ran the chronicle— to do 
execution on a poor wretch found guilty of professing 
the faith of Calvin, and with his own hands had pre- 
pared a fire of straw, tied his victim to the stake, and 
burned him to cinders.^ Another Netherlander for the 
same crime of heresy had been condemned to be torn to 
death by horses. No one could be found to carry out 
the sentence. The soldiers under La Motte's command 
broke into mutiny rather than permit themselves to be 
used for such foul purposes ; but the ardent young ser- 

1 Meteren, ubi sup. 


geant-major came forward, tied the culprit by the arms 
and legs to two horses, and himself whipped them to 
their work till it was duly accomplished.^ Was it 
strange that in Philip's reign such energy should be 
rewarded by wealth, rank, and honor ? Was not such a 
laborer in the vineyard worthy of his hire ? 

Still another eminent chieftain in the king's service 
disappeared at this time — one who, although unscrupu- 
lous and mischievous enough in his day, was, however, 
not stained by any suspicion of crimes like these. Count 
Charles Mansf eld, tired of governing his decrepit parent 
Peter Ernest, who, since the appointment of Fuentes, 
had lost all further chance of governing the Netherlands, 
had now left Philip's service and gone to the Turkish 
wars. For Amurath III., who had died in the early 
days of the year, had been succeeded by a sultan as war- 
like as himself. Mohammed III., having strangled his 
nineteen brothers on his accession, handsomely buried 
them in cypress coffins by the side of their father, and 
having subsequently sacked and drowned ten infant 
princes posthumously born to Amurath,^ was at leisure 
to carry the war through Transylvania and Hungary, up 
to the gates of Vienna, with renewed energy. The Turk, 
who could enforce the strenuous rules of despotism by 
which all secundogenitures and collateral claimants in 
the Ottoman family, were thus provided for, was a foe to 
be dealt with seriously. The power of the Moslems at 
that day was a full match for the Holy Roman Empire. 
The days were far distant when the grim Turk's head 
was to become a mockery and a show, and when a pagan 

1 Meteren, ubi sup. 

2 De Thou, t. xii. liv. cxiv. 500 seq. Compare Herrera, iii. 476, 



empire, bom of carnage and barbarism, was to be kept 
alive in Europe, when it was ready to die, by the collec- 
tive efforts of Christian princes. Charles Mansfeld had 
been received with great enthusiasm at the court of 
Rudolph, where he was created a prince of the empire 
and appointed to the chief command of the imperial 
armies under the Archduke Matthias. But his warfare 
was over. At the siege of Gran he was stricken with 
sickness and removed to Comorn, where he lingered 
some weeks. There, on the 24th August, as he lay half 
dozing on his couch, he was told that the siege was at 
last successful, upon which he called for a goblet of 
wine, drained it eagerly, and then lay resting his head 
on his hand, like one absorbed in thought. When they 
came to arouse him from his reverie they found that he 
was dead.i His father still remained superfluous in the 
Netherlands, hating and hated by Fuentes, but no 
longer able to give that governor so much annoyance as 
during his son's lifetime the two had been able to create 
for Alexander Famese. The octogenarian was past 
work and past mischief now ; but there was one older 
soldier than he still left upon the stage, the grandest 
veteran in Philip's service, and now the last survivor, 
except the decrepit Peter Ernest, of the grim comman- 
ders of Alva's school. Christopher Mondragon— that 
miracle of human endurance, who had been an old man 
when the great duke arrived in the Netherlands— was 
still governor of Antwerp citadel, and men were to 
speak of him yet once more before he passed from the 

I return from this digression to the siege of Dourlens. 
The death of La Motte made no difference in the plans 

1 Bor, iv. 30. Meteren, 349'"'. De Thou, xii. 523. 


of Fuentes. He was determined to reduce the place 
preparatively to more important operations. Bouillon 
was disposed to relieve it, and to that end had assembled 
a force of eight thousand men within the city of Amiens. 
By midsummer the Spaniards had advanced with their 
mines and galleries close to the walls of the city. Mean- 
time Admiral Villars, who had gained so much renown 
by defending Rouen against Henry IV., and who had 
subsequently made such an excellent bargain with that 
monarch before entering his service,^ arrived at Amiens. 
On the 24th July an expedition was sent from that city 
toward Dourlens. Bouillon and Saint-Pol commanded 
in person a force of six hundred picked cavalry. Villars 
and Sanseval each led half as many and there was a 
supporting body of twelve hundred musketeers. This 
little army convoyed a train of wagons containing am- 
munition and other supplies for the beleaguered town. 
But Fuentes, having sufficiently strengthened his works, 
sallied forth with two thousand infantry and a flying 
squadron of Spanish horse to intercept them. It was 
the eve of St. James, the patron saint of Spain, at the 
sound of whose name as a war-cry so many battle-fields 
had been won in the Netherlands, so many cities sacked, 
so many wholesale massacres perpetrated. Fuentes 
rode in the midst of his troops, with the royal standard 
of Spain floating above him. On the other hand, Vil- 

1 He had been receiving six thousand per month from the King 
of Spain, but on reconciling himself with Henry after the sur- 
render of Paris he received a sum of three hundred thousand 
ducats secured by estates in Normandy, and a yearly pension of 
thirty thousand ducats, together with the office of Admiral of 
France. For these considerations he had surrendered Roiien, 
Havre de Gran, and the castle of Pont de I'Arche. (Herrera, Hist. 
gen. del Mundo, iii. 423.) 


lars, glittering in magnificent armor and mounted on a 
superbly caparisoned charger,^ came on, with his three 
hundred troopers, as if about to ride a course in a 
tournament. The battle which ensued was one of the 
most bloody for the numbers engaged, and the victory 
one of the most decisive recorded in this war. Villars 
charged prematurely, furiously, foolishly. He seemed 
jealous of Bouillon, and disposed to show the sovereign 
to whom he had so recently given his allegiance that an 
ancient Leaguer and papist was a better soldier for his 
purpose than the most grizzled Huguenot in his army. 
On the other hand, the friends of Villars accused the 
duke of faint-heartedness, or at least of an excessive 
desire to save himself and his own command. The first 
impetuous onset of the admiral was successful, and he 
drove half a dozen companies of Spaniards before him. 
But he had ventured too far from his supports. Bouil- 
lon had only intended a feint, instead of a desperate 
charge ; the Spaniards were rallied, and the day was 
saved by that cool and ready soldier, Carlos Coloma. In 
less than an hour the French were utterly defeated and 
cut to pieces. Bouillon escaped to Amiens with five 
hundred men ; this was all that was left of the expedi- 
tion. The horse of Villars was shot under him, and the 
admiral's leg was broken as he fell. He was then taken 
prisoner by two lieutenants of Carlos Coloma ; but while 
these warriors were enjoying, by anticipation, the enor- 
mous ransom they should derive from so illustrious a 
captive, two other lieutenants in the service of Marshal 
de Rosne came up and claimed their share in the prize. 
While the four were wrangling, the admiral called out 
to them in excellent Spanish not to dispute, for he had 
1 "Muy vistoso y galan y en gallardo cavallo."— Coloma, 180. 


money enough to satisfy them all. Meantime the Span- 
ish commissary-general of cavalry, Oontreras, came up, 
rebuked this unseemly dispute before the enemy had 
been fairly routed, and, in order to arrange the quarrel 
impartially, ordered his page to despatch De Villars on 
the spot. The page, without a word, placed his harque- 
bus to the admiral's forehead and shot him dead. 

So perished a bold and brilliant soldier and a most 
unscrupulous politician. Whether the cause of his mur- 
der was mere envy on the part of the commissary at hav- 
ing lost a splendid opportunity for prize-money, or 
hatred to an ancient Leaguer thus turned renegade, it is 
fruitless now to inquire. Villars would have paid two 
hundred thousand crowns for his ransom, so that the 
assassination was bad as a mercantile speculation; but 
it was pretended by the friends of Contreras that rescue 
was at hand. It is certain, however, that nothing was 
attempted by the French to redeem their total overthrow. 
Coimt Belin was wounded and fell into the hands of 
Coloma. Sanseval was killed, and a long list of some 
of the most brilliant nobles in France was published by 
the Spaniards as having perished on that bloody field. 
This did not prevent a large number of these victims, 
however, from enjoying excellent health for many long 
years afterward, although their deaths have been duly 
recorded in chronicle from that day to our own times.i 

1 Bor, iv. 28-30. Meteren, 356 seq. Coloma, 180 seq. 
Bentivoglio, 411, 412, 413. De Thou, xii. 403 seq. 

Count Louis Nassau wrote to his brother John that besides the 
admiral (Villars) not more than three or at most four nobles of 
distinction perished. He also ascribes the defeat entirely to the 
foolhardiness of the French, who, according to his statement, 
charged up-hill and through a narrow road, with a force of one 
thousand foot and three hundred cavalry, against the enemy's whole 
VOL. IV.— 24 


But Villars and Sanseval were certainly slain, and 
Fuentes sent their bodies, with a courteous letter, to the 
Duke of Nevers, at Amiens, who honored them with a 
stately funeral.^ 

There was much censure cast on both Bouillon and 
Villars respectively by the antagonists of each chieftain, 
and the contest as to the cause of the defeat was almost 
as animated as the skirmish itseK. Bouillon was cen- 
sured for grudging a victory to the Catholics, and thus 
leaving the admiral to his fate; yet it is certain that 
the Huguenot duke himself commanded a squadron 
composed almost entirely of papists. Villars, on the 
other hand, was censured for rashness, obstinacy, and 
greediness for distinction ; yet it is probable that Fuentes 
might have been defeated had the charges of Bouillon 
been as determined and frequent as were those of his 
colleague. Savigny de Rosne, too, the ancient Leaguer, 
who commanded under Fuentes, was accused of not hav- 
ing sufficiently followed up the victory, because unwill- 
ing that his Spanish friends should entirely trample 
upon his own countrymen ; yet there is no doubt what- 
ever that De Rosne was as bitter an enemy to his own 
country as the most ferocious Spaniard of them all. It 
has rarely been found in civil war that the man who 

army, dra-wTi tip in battle array, and consisting of two thousand 
horse and ten thousand infantry, well provided with artillery. 
Certainly the result of such an encounter could hardly he doubt- 
ful, but Count Louis was not in the battle, nor in France at the 
time, and the news received by him was probably inaccurate. 

I have preferred to rely mainly on Carlos Coloma, who fought 
in the action, upon De Thou, and upon the Dutch chroniclers, 
Bor, Meteren, and others. 

See Groen v. Prinsterer, Archives, II. S. i. 342. 

1 Ibid. 


draws his sword against his fatherland, under the ban- 
ner of the foreigner, is actuated by any lingering ten- 
derness for the nation he betrays, and the renegade 
Frenchman was in truth the animating spirit of Fuentes 
during the whole of his brilliant campaign. The Span- 
iard's victories were, indeed, mainly attributable to the 
experience, the genius, and the rancor of De Rosne.^ 

But debates over a lost battle are apt to be barren. 
Meantime Fuentes, losing no time in controversy, ad- 
vanced upon the city of Dourlens, was repulsed twice, 
and carried it on the third assault, exactly one week after 
the action just recounted. The Spaniards and Leaguers, 
howling " Remember Ham ! " butchered without mercy 
the garrison and all the citizens, save a small number of 
prisoners likely to be lucrative. Six hundred of the 
townspeople and two thousand five hundred French sol- 
diers were killed within a few hours. Well had Fuentes 
profited by the relationship and tuition of Alva ! 

The Count of Dinant and his brother De Ronsoy were 
both slain, and two or three hundred thousand florins 
were paid in ransom by those who escaped with life. 
The victims were all buried outside of the town in one 
vast trench, and the effluvia bred a fever which carried 
off most of the surviving inhabitants. Dourlens became 
for the time a desert.^ 

Fuentes now received deputies with congratulations 
from the obedient provinces, especially from Hainault, 
Artois, and Lille. He was also strongly urged to at- 
tempt the immediate reduction of Cambray, to which 
end those envoys were empowered to offer contributions 
of four hundred and fifty thousand florins and a contin- 

1 De ThoTi, Bor, Coloma, Bentivoglio, et al,, ubi sup, 


gent of seven thousand infantry. Berlaymont, too, 
Bishop of Tonmay and Archbishop of Cambray, was 
ready to advance forty thousand florins in the same 

Fuentes, in the highest possible spirits at his success, 
and having just been reinforced by Count Bucquoy with 
a fresh Walloon regiment of fifteen hundred foot and 
with eight hundred and fifty of the mutineers from 
Tirlemont and Chapelle, who were among the choicest 
of Spanish veterans, was not disposed to let the grass 
grow under his feet. Within four days after the sack 
of Dourlens he broke up his camp, and came before 
Cambray with an army of twelve thousand foot and 
nearly four thousand horse. But before narrating the 
further movements of the vigorous new governor-gen- 
eral it is necessary to glance at the military operations 
in the eastern part of the Netherlands and upon the 

The States-General had reclaimed to their authority 
nearly aU that important region lying beyond the Yssel, 
—the solid Frisian bulwark of the Republic,— but there 
were certain points nearer the line where Upper and 
Nether Germany almost blend into one which yet 
acknowledged the name of the king. The city of 
Groenlo, or Grol, not a place of much interest or impor- 
tance in itself, but close to the frontier and to that des- 
tined land of debate, the duchies of Cleves, Juliers, and 
Berg, still retained its Spanish garrison. On the 14th 
July Prince Maurice of Nassau came before the city with 
six thousand infantry, some companies of cavalry, and 
sixteen pieces of artillery. He made his approaches in 
form, and after a week's operations he fired three vol- 
leys, according to his custom, and summoned the place 


to capitulate.^ Governor Jan van Stirum replied stoutly 
that he would hold the place for God and the king to 
the last drop of his blood. Meantime there was hope of 
help from the outside. 

Maurice was a vigorous young commander, but there 
was a man to be dealt with who had been called the 
" good old Mondragon " when the prince was in his 
cradle, and who still governed the citadel of Antwerp, 
and was still ready for an active campaign. 

Christopher Mondragon was now ninety-two years 
old. Not often in the world's history has a man of that 
age been capable of personal participation in the joys of 
the battle-field, whatever natural reluctance veterans are 
apt to manifest at relinquishing high military control. 

But Mondragon looked, not with envy, but with ad- 
miration on the gi'owing fame of the Nassau chieftain, 
and was disposed, before he himself left the stage, to 
match himself with the young champion. 

So soon as he heard of the intended demonstration of 
Maurice against Grol, the ancient governor of Antwerp 
collected a little army by throwing together all the 
troops that could be spared from the various garrisons 
within his command. With two Spanish regiments, 
two thousand Swiss, the Walloon troops of De Grisons, 
and the Irish regiment of Stanley,— in all seven thousand 
foot and thirteen hundred horse,— Mondragon marched 
straight across Brabant and Gelderland to the Rhine. 
At Kaiserswerth he reviewed his forces, and announced 
his intention of immediately crossing the river. There 
was a murmur of disapprobation among officers and 
men at what they considered the foolhardy scheme of 
mad old Mondragon. But the general had not eam- 

1 Bor, xii. 42. 


paigned a generation before, at the age of sixty-nine, in 
the bottom of the sea, and waded chin-deep for six hours 
long of an October night, in the face of a rising tide 
from the German Ocean and of an army of Zealanders, 
to be frightened now at the summer aspect of the peace- 
ful Rhine. 

The wizened little old man, walking with difficulty by 
the aid of a staff, but armed in proof, with plumes wav- 
ing gallantly from his iron headpiece, and with his 
rapier at his side, ordered a chair to be brought to the 
river's edge. Then calmly seating himself in the pres- 
ence of his host, he stated that he should not rise from 
that chair until the last man had crossed the river. ^ 
Furthermore, he observed that it was not only his pur- 
pose to relieve the city of Grol, but to bring Maurice to 
an action, and to defeat him, unless he retired. The 
soldiers ceased to murmur, the pontoons were laid, the 
river was passed, and on the 25th July Maurice, hearing 
of the veteran's approach, and not feeling safe in his 
position, raised the siege of the city.^ Burning his camp 
and everything that could not be taken with him on his 
march, the prince came in perfect order to Borkulo, two 
Dutch miles from Grol. Here he occupied himself for 
some time in clearing the country of brigands who in the 
guise of soldiers infested that region and made the little 
cities of Doetinchem, Anholt, and Heerenberg unsafe. 
He ordered the inhabitants of these places to send out 
detachments to beat the bushes for his cavalry, while 
Hohenlo was ordered to hunt the heaths and wolds thor- 
oughly with packs of bloodhounds until every mar and 
beast to be found lurking in those wild regions shoidd 

1 Carnero, lib. xi. cap. xvi. 374. 

2 D)id. Compare Bor, xii. 42. 

1595] RELIEF OF GROL 375 

be extirpated. By these vigorous and cruel, but per- 
haps necessary, measures the brigands were at last ex- 
tirpated, and honest people began to sleep in their beds.^ 

On the 18th August Maurice took up a strong position 
at Bisslich, not far from Wesel, where the river Lippe 
empties itself into the Rhine. Mondragon, with his 
army strengthened by reinforcements from garrisons 
in Gelderland and by four hundred men brought by 
Frederick van den Berg from Grol, had advanced to a 
place called Walston in den Ham, in the neighborhood 
of Wesel. The Lippe flowed between the two hostile 
forces. Although he had broken up his siege, the prince 
was not disposed to renounce his whole campaign before 
trying conclusions with his veteran antagonist. He 
accordingly arranged an ambush with much skill, by 
means of which he hoped to bring on a general engage- 
ment and destroy Mondragon and his little army. 

His cousin and favorite lieutenant Philip Nassau was 
intrusted with the preliminaries. That adventurous 
commander, with a picked force of seven hundred cav- 
alry^ moved quietly from the camp on the evening of 
the 1st September. He took with him his two younger 
brothers, Ernest and Louis Gunther, who, as has been 
seen, had received the promise of the eldest brother of 
the family, Louis William, that they should be employed 
from time to time in any practical work that might be 
going forward. Besides these young gentlemen, several 
of the most famous English and Dutch commanders were 
on the expedition, the brothers Paul and Marcellus Bax, 
Captains Parker, Cutler, and Robert Vere, brother of Sir 
Francis, among the number. 

Early in the morning of the 2d September the force 

1 Bor, iv. 43. 


crossed the Lippe, according to orders, keeping a pon- 
toon across the stream to secure their retreat. They 
had instructions thus to feel the enemy at early dawn, 
and, as he was known to have foraging parties out every 
morning along the margin of the river, to make a sud- 
den descent upon their pickets, and to capture those 
companies before they could effect their escape or be 
reinforced. Afterward they were to retreat across the 
Lippe, followed, as it was hoped would be the case, by the 
troops of Mondragon, anxious to punish this piece of 
audacity. Meantime Maurice, with five thousand infan- 
try, the rest of his cavalry, and several pieces of artillery, 
awaited their coming, posted behind some hills in the 
neighborhood of Wesel. 

The plot of the young commander was an excellent 
one, but the ancient campaigner on the other side of the 
river had not come all the way from his comfortable 
quarters in Antwerp to be caught napping on that Sep- 
tember morning. Mondragon had received accurate 
information from his scouts as to what was going on 
in the enemy's camp, and as to the exact position of 
Maurice. He was up long before daybreak,— the " good 
old Christopher,"— and himself personally arranged a 
counter-ambush. In the fields lying a little back from 
the immediate neighborhood of the Lippe he posted the 
mass of his cavalry, supported by a well-concealed force 
of infantry. The pickets on the stream and the forag- 
ing companies were left to do their usual work as if 
nothing were likely to happen. 

Philip Nassau galloped cheerfully forward, according 
to the well-concerted plan, sending Cutler and Marcellus 
Bax with a handful of troopers to pounce upon the 
enemy's pickets. When those officers got to the usual 


foraging-ground they came upon a mucli larger cavalry 
force than they had looked for, and, suspecting some- 
thing wrong, dashed back again to give information to 
Count Philip. That impatient commander, feeling sure 
of his game unless this foolish delay should give the 
foraging companies time to escape, ordered an immedi- 
ate advance with his whole cavalry force. The sheriff 
of Zallant was ordered to lead the way. He objected 
that the pass, leading through a narrow lane and open- 
ing by a gate into an open field, was impassable for 
more than two troopers abreast, and that the enemy was 
in force beyond. Philip, scorning these words of cau- 
tion, and exclaiming that seventy-five lancers were 
enough to put fifty carbineers to rout, put on his casque, 
drew his sword, and sending his brother Louis to sum- 
mon Kinski and Donck, dashed into the pass, accom- 
panied by the two counts and a couple of other nobles. 
The sheriff, seeing this, followed him at full gallop, and 
after him came the troopers of Barchon, of Du Bois, and 
of Paul Bax, riding single file, but in much disorder. 
When they had all entered inextricably into the lane, 
with the foremost of the lancers already passing through 
the gate, they discovered the enemy's cavalry and infan- 
try drawn up in force upon the watery, heathery pas- 
tures beyond. There was at once a scene of confusion. 
To use lances was impossible, while they were all strug- 
gling together through the narrow passage, oifering 
themselves an easy prey to the enemy as they slowly 
emerged into the fields. The foremost defended them- 
selves with saber and pistol as well as they could. The 
hindmost did their best to escape, and rode for their 
lives to the other side of the river. All trampled upon 
each other and impeded each other's movements. There 


was a brief engagement, bloody, desperate, hand to 
hand, and many Spaniards fell before the entrapped 
Netherlanders. But there could not be a moment's 
doubt as to the issue. Count Philip went down in the 
beginning of the action, shot through the body by an 
harquebus, discharged so close to him that his clothes 
were set on fire. As there was no water within reach, 
the flames could be extinguished at last only by rolhng 
him over and over, wounded as he was, among the sand 
and heather. Count Ernest Solms was desperately 
wounded at the same time. For a moment both gentle- 
men attempted to effect their escape by mounting on 
one horse, but both fell to the ground exhausted and 
were taken prisoners. Ernest Nassau was also captured. 
His young brother, Louis Gunther, saved himself by 
swimming the river. Count Kinski was mortally 
wounded. Robert Vere, too, fell into the enemy's hands, 
and was afterward murdered in cold blood. MarceUus 
Bax, who had returned to the field by a circuitous path, 
still under the delusion that he was about handsomely 
to cut off the retreat of the foraging companies, saved 
himself and a handful of cavalry by a rapid flight so 
soon as he discovered the enemy drawn up in line of 
battle. Cutler and Parker were equally fortunate. 
There were less than a hundred of the states' troops 
killed, and it is probable that a larger number of the 
Spaniards fell. But the loss of Philip Nassau, despite 
the debauched life and somewhat reckless valor of that 
soldier, was a very severe one to the army and to his 
family. He was conveyed to Rheinberg, where his 
wounds were dressed. As he lay dying, he was cour- 
teously visited by Mondragon and by many other Span- 
ish officers, anxious to pay their respects to so distin- 


guished and warlike a member of an illustrious house. 
He received them with dignity, and concealed liis 
physical agony so as to respond to their conversation as 
became a Nassau. His cousin, Frederick van den Berg, 
who was among the visitors, indecently taunted him 
with his position, asking him what he had expected by 
serving the cause of the Beggars. Philip turned from 
him with impatience and bade him hold his peace. At 
midnight he died. 

William of Orange and his three brethren had already 
laid down their lives for the Republic, and now his eldest 
brother's son had died in the same cause. "He has 
carried the name of Nassau with honor into the grave," 
said his brother, Louis William, to their father. ^ Ten 
others of the house, besides many collateral relations, 
were still in arms for their adopted country. Rarely in 
history has a single noble race so entirely identified it- 
self with a nation's record in its most heroic epoch as 
did that of Orange-Nassau with the liberation of 

Young Ernest Solms, brother of Count Everard, lay in 
the same chamber with Philip Nassau, and died on the 
following day. Their bodies were sent by Mondragon 
with a courteous letter to Maurice at Bisslich. Ernest 
Nassau was subsequently ransomed for ten thousand 

This skirmish on the Lippe has no special significance 
in a military point of view, but it derives more than a 
passing interest not only from the death of many a 

1 Groen v. Prinsterer, Archives, II. S. i. 345. 

2 Bor (iv. 42-44), Metereu (361^°), Reyd (xi. 271), Coloma 
(192), Carnero (xi. xvi. 574 seq), Bentivoglio (422, 423), Duyck 
(652-659), are chief authorities for the incidents of this skirmish- 


brave and distinguished soldier, but for the illustration 
of human vigor triumphing, both physically and men- 
tally, over the infirmities of old age, given by the achieve- 
ment of Christopher Mondragon. Alone he had planned 
his expedition across the country from Antwerp ; alone 
he had insisted on crossing the Rhine, while younger 
soldiers hesitated ; alone, with his own active brain and 
busy hands, he had outwitted the famous young chief- 
tain of the Netherlands, counteracted his subtle policy, 
and set the counter-ambush by which his choicest cavalry 
were cut to pieces and one of his bravest generals slain. 
So far could the icy blood of ninety-two prevail against 
the vigor of twenty-eight. 

The two armies lay over against each other, with the 
river between them, for some days longer, but it was 
obvious that nothing further would be attempted on 
either side. Mondragon had accomplished the object 
for which he had marched from Brabant. He had 
spoUed the autumn campaign of Maurice, and was now 
disposed to return before winter to his own quarters. He 
sent a trumpet accordingly to his antagonist, begging 
him, half in jest, to have more consideration for his in- 
firmities than to keep him out in his old age in such 
foul weather, but to allow him the miUtary honor of 
being last to break up camp. Should Maurice consent 
to move away, Mondragon was ready to pledge himself 
not to pursue him, and within three days to leave Ms 
own intrenchments. 

The proposition was not granted, and very soon after- 
ward the Spaniard, deciding to retire, crossed the Rhine 
on the 11th October. Maurice made a slight attempt at 
pursuit, sending Count Louis William with some cav- 
alry, who succeeded in cutting off a few wagons. The 


army, however, returned safely, to be dispersed into 
various garrisons.^ 

This was Mondragon's last feat of arms. Less than 
three months afterward, in Antwerp citadel, as the 
veteran was washing his hands previously to going to 
the dinner-table, he sat down and died.^ Strange to say, 
this man, who had spent almost a century on the battle- 
field, who had been a soldier in nearly every war that 
had been waged in any part of Europe during that most 
belligerent age, who had come an old man to the Nether- 
lands before Alva's arrival, and had ever since been 
constantly and personally engaged in the vast Flemish 
tragedy which had now lasted well-nigh thirty years, 
had never himself lost a drop of blood. His battle-fields 
had been on land and water, on ice, in fire, and at the 
bottom of the sea, but he had never received a wound. 
Nay, more; he had been blown up in a fortress,— the 
castle of Danvilliers in Luxemburg, of which he was 
governor,— where all perished save his wife and himself, 
and when they came to dig among the ruins they ex- 
cavated at last the ancient couple, protected by the 
framework of a window in the embrasure of which they 
had been seated, without a scratch or a bruise.^ He 
was a Biscayan by descent, but born in Medina del 
Campo. A strict disciplinarian, very resolute and per- 
tinacious, he had the good fortune to be beloved by his 
inferiors, his equals, and his superiors. He was called 
the father of his soldiers, the good Mondragon, and his 
name was unstained by any of those deeds of ferocity 
which make the chronicles of the time resemble rather 

1 Bor, Meteren, Reyd, Coloma, Carnero, Bentivoglio, Duyck, 
ubi sup. 

2 Bor, iv. 167. 3 ii^i^. Carnero, 378, 379. 


thehistoryof wolves than of men. Toamarried daughter, 
mother of several children, he left a considerable fortune.^ 

Maurice broke up his camp soon after the departure 
of his antagonist, and paused for a few days at Arnheim 
to give honorable burial to his cousin Philip and Count 
Solms. Meantime Sir Francis Vere was detached, with 
three regiments, which were to winter in Overyssel, 
toward Weerdt Castle, situate at a league's distance from 
Ysselsburg, and defended by a garrison of twenty-six 
men under Captain Pruys. That doughty commandant, 
on being summoned to surrender, obstinately refused. 
Vere, according to Maurice's orders, then opened with 
his artillery against the place, which soon capitulated in 
great panic and confusion. The captain demanded the 
honors of war. Vere told him in reply that the honors 
of war were halters for the garrison who had dared to 
defend such a hovel against artillery. The twenty-six 
were accordingly ordered to draw black and white 
straws. This was done, and the twelve drawing white 
straws were immediately hanged, the thirteenth receiv- 
ing his life on consenting to act as executioner for his 
comrades. The commandant was despatched first of all. 
The rope broke, but the English soldiers held him under 
the water of the ditch until he was drowned. The castle 
was then thoroughly sacked, the women being sent un- 
harmed to Ysselsburg.2 

Maurice then shipped the remainder of his troops 

1 Bor, iv. 167. 

In the Ambras Museum in the Imperial Belvedere Palace at 
Vienna may stiU be seen a black, battered old iron corselet of 
Mondragon, with many an indentation, looking plain and practi- 
cal enough among the holiday suits of steel inlaid with gold, which 
make this collection of old armor the most remarkable in the 
world. 2 Bor, iv. 47, 131. 


along the Rhine and Waal to their winter quarters, and 
returned to The Hague. It was the feeblest year's 
work yet done by the stadholder. 

Meantime his great ally, the Huguenot-Catholic 
Prince of Beam, was making a dashing and, on the 
whole, successful campaign in the heart of his own king- 
dom. The constable of Castile, Don Fernando de Ve- 
lasco, one of Spain's richest grandees and poorest 
generals, had been sent with an army of ten thousand 
men to take the field in Burgundy against the man with 
whom the great Farnese had been measuring swords so 
lately, and with not unmingled success, in Picardy. 
Biron, with a sudden sweep, took possession of Aussone, 
Autun, and Beaune, but on one adventurous day found 
himself so deeply engaged with a superior force of the 
enemy in the neighborhood of Fontaine Frangaise, or 
St.-Seine, where France's great river takes its rise, as to 
be nearly cut off and captured. But Henry himself was 
already in the field, and by one of those mad, reckless 
impulses which made him so adorable as a soldier and 
yet so profoundly censurable as a commander-in-chief, 
he flung himself, like a young lieutenant, with a mere 
handful of cavalry, into the midst of the fight, and at 
the imminent peril of his own life succeeded in rescuing 
the marshal and getting off again unscathed. On other 
occasions Henry said he had fought for victory, but on 
that for dear life ; and, even as in the famous and fool- 
ish skirmish at Aumale three years before, it was absence 
of enterprise or lack of cordiality on the part of his an- 
tagonists that alone prevented a captive king from being 
exhibited as a trophy of triumph for the expiring League.^ 

1 Bor, iv. 52 seq. De Thou, t. xii. liv. cxii. o59-;jG4 sei[. 
P<5refixe, 191, 192. 


But the constable of Castile was not born to cheer the 
heart of his prudent master with such a magnificent 
spectacle. Velasco fell back to Gray and obstinately 
refused to stir from his intrenchments, while Henry 
before his eyes laid siege to Dijon. On the 28th June 
the capital of Burgundy surrendered to its sovereign, 
but no temptations could induce the constable to try the 
chance of a battle.^ Henry's movements in the interior 
were more successful than were the operations nearer 
the frontier, but while the monarch was thus cheerfully 
fighting for his crown in France his envoys were win- 
ning a still more decisive campaign for him in Rome. 

D'Ossat and Perron had accomplished their diplomatic 
task with consummate ability, and, notwithstanding the 
efforts and the threats of the Spanish ambassador and 
the intrigues of his master, the absolution was granted. 
The pope arose early on the morning of the 5th August, 
and walked barefoot from his palace of Mount Cavallo 
to the Church of Maria Maggiore, with his eyes fixed on 
the ground, weeping loudly and praying fervently. He 
celebrated mass in the church, and then returned as he 
went, saluting no one on the road and shutting himself 
up in his palace afterward. The same ceremony was 
performed ten days later, on the festival of Our Lady's 
Ascension. In vain, however, had been the struggle on 
the part of his Holiness to procure from the ambassador 
the deposition of the crown of France in his hands, in 
order that the king might receive it back again as a free 
gift and concession from the chief pontiff. Such a tri- 
umph was not for Rome, nor could even the publication 
of the Council of Trent in France be conceded except 
with a saving clause " as to matters which could not be 

1 Bor, ubi sup. 


put into operation without troubling the repose of the 
kingdom " ; and to obtain this clause the envoys declared 
" that they had been obliged to sweat blood and water." ^ 

On the seventeenth day of September the absolution 
was proclaimed with great pomp and circumstance from 
the gallery of St. Peter's, the Holy Father seated on the 
highest throne of majesty, with his triple crown on his 
head, and all his cardinals and bishops about him in their 
most effulgent robes.^ 

The silver trumpets were blown, while artillery roared 
from the castle of St. Angelo, and for two successive 
nights Rome was in a blaze of bonfires and illumination, 
in a whirl of bell-ringing, feasting, and singing of hosan- 
nas. There had not been such a merrymaking in the Eter- 
nal City since the pope had celebrated solemn thanks- 
giving for the massacre of St. Bartholomew. The king 
was almost beside himself with rapture when the great 
news reached him, and he straightway wrote letters, 
overflowing with gratitude and religious enthusiasm, to 
the pontiff, and expressed his regret that military opera- 
tions did not allow him to proceed at once to Rome in 
person to kiss the Holy Father's feet.^ 

The narrative returns to Fuentes, who was left before 
the walls of Cambray. 

That venerable ecclesiastical city, pleasantly seated 
amid gardens, orchards, and green pastures, watered by 
the winding Schelde, was well fortified after the old 
manner, but it was especially defended and dominated 

1 Letters of D'Ossat, in Bor, iv. 107 seq. De Thou, t. xii. liv. 
cxiii. 468-479. 

2 Letters of D'Ossat, ubi sup 

3 MS. B^thune, Bibl. Imp., No. 8967, fols. 10 and 20, cited in 
Capefigue, vii. 292 seq. Feria to Philip, September 17, 1595, 
Arch, de Sim. (Paris), B. 84, 20, cited by Capefigue, ubi sup. 

VOL. IV.— 25 


by a splendid pentagonal citadel built by Charles V. It 
was filled with fine churches, among which the magnifi- 
cent cathedral was preeminent, and with many other 
stately edifices. The population was thrifty, active, and 
turbulent, like that of all those Flemish and Walloon 
cities which the spirit of medieval industry had warmed 
for a time into vehement little republics. 

But, as has already been depicted in these pages, the 
Celtic element had been more apt to receive than con- 
sistent to retain the generous impress which had once 
been stamped on all the Netherlands. The Walloon 
provinces had fallen away from their Flemish sisters 
and seemed likely to accept a pennanent yoke, while in 
the territory of the United States, as John Baptist Tassis 
was at that very moment pathetically observing in a 
private letter to Philip, "with the coming up of a new 
generation educated as heretics from childhood, who had 
never heard what the word ' king ' means, it was likely to 
happen at last that, the king's memory being wholly for- 
gotten, nothing would remain in the land but heresy 
alone." ^ From this sad fate Cambray had been saved. 
Gavre d'Inchy had seventeen years before surrendered 
the city to the Duke of Alen^on during that unlucky 
personage's brief and base career in the Netherlands, all 
that was left of his visit being the semi-sovereignty 
which the notorious Balagny had since that time enjoyed 
in the archiepiscopal city. This personage, a natural 
son of Montluc, Bishop of Valence, and nephew of the 
distinguished Marshal Montluc, was one of the most for- 
tunate and the most ignoble of all the soldiers of fortune 
who had played their part at this epoch in the Nether- 
lands. A poor creature himself, he had a heroine for a 

I Letter of Tassis, in Bor, iv. 126. 


wife. Renee, the sister of Bussy d'Amboise, had vowed 
to unite herself to a man who would avenge the assas- 
sination of her brother by the Count Montsoreau,^ Ba- 
lagny readily agreed to perform the deed, and accord- 
ingly espoused the high-born dame, but it does not 
appear that he ever wreaked her vengeance on the mur- 
derer. He had now governed Cambray until the citizens 
and the whole country-side were galled and exhausted 
by his grinding tyranny, his inordinate pride, and his 
infamous extortions.^ His latest achievement had been 
to force upon his subjects a copper currency bearing the 
nominal value of silver, with the same blasting effects 
which such experiments in political economy are apt to 
produce on princes and peoples. He had been a Royal- 
ist, a Guisist, a Leaguer, a Dutch republican, by turns, 
and had betrayed all the parties at whose expense he 
had alternately filled his coffers. During the past year 
he had made up his mind, like most of the conspicuous 
politicians and campaigners of France, that the mori- 
bund League was only fit to be trampled upon by its 
recent worshipers, and he had made, accordingly, one of 
the very best bargains with Henry IV. that had yet been 
made, even at that epoch of self -vending grandees. 

Henry, by treaty ratified in August, 1594, had created 
him Prince of Cambray and Marshal of France, so that 
the man who had been receiving up to that very moment 
a monthly subsidy of seven thousand two hundred dol- 
lars from the King of Spain was now gratified with a 
pension to about the same yearly amount by the King 
of France.^ During the autumn Henry had visited 

1 De Thou, xii 414, 415. 2 ibjd. 

3 Ibid., xii. 291 seq. Seventy thousand crowns a year were 
to be paid, according to agreement, by Henry IV. to Balagny, 


Cambray, and the new prince had made wondrous ex- 
hibitions of loyalty to the sovereign whom he had done 
his best all his life to exclude from his kingdom. There 
had been a ceaseless round of tournaments, festivals, 
and masquerades ^ in the city in honor of the Huguenot 
chieftain, now changed into the most orthodox and most 
legitimate of monarchs, but it was not until midsummer 
of the present year that Balagny was called on to defend 
his old possessions and his new principality against a 
well-seasoned army and a vigorous commander. Mean- 
while his new patron was so warmly occupied in other 
directions that it might be difficult for him to send assis- 
tance to the beleaguered city. 

On the 14th August Fuentes began his siege opera- 
tions. Before the investment had been completed the 
young Prince of Rhetelois, only fifteen years of age, son 
of the Duke of Nevers, made his entrance into the city, 
attended by thirty of his father's archers. De Vich, too, 
an experienced and faithful commander, succeeded in 
bringing four or five hundred dragoons through the 
enemy's lines. These meager reinforcements were all 
that reached the place ; for although the States-General 
sent two or three thousand Scotchmen and Zealanders, 
under Justinus of Nassau, to Henry, that he might be 
the better enabled to relieve this important frontier city, 
the king's movements were not sufficiently prompt to 

to maintain city and citadel of Cam"bray, by treaty made No- 
vember 29, 1593, but ratified in August, 1594. Besides this, 
Balagny received property in France equal in value to twenty 
thousand livres a year, to reimburse him for expenses in fortify- 
ing and defending Cambray. 

The sums paid to him simultaneously by Philip II. for opposing 
Henry have been already mentioned. 
1 De Thou, ubi sup. 


turn the force to good account. Balagny was left with a 
garrison of three thousand French and Walloons in the 
city, besides five hundred French in the fortress. 

After six weeks' steady drawing of parallels and. dig- 
ging of mines Fuentes was ready to open his batteries. 
On the 26th September the news, very much exagger- 
ated, of Mondragon's brilliant victory near Wesel, and 
of the deaths of Philip Nassau and Ernest Solms, reached 
the Spanish camp. Immense was the rejoicing. Tri- 
umphant salutes from eighty-seven cannon and many 
thousand muskets shook the earth and excited bewilder- 
ment and anxiety within the walls of the city. Almost 
immediately afterward a tremendous cannonade was 
begun, and so vigorously sustained that the burghers 
and part of the garrison, already half rebellious with 
hatred to Balagny, began loudly to murmur as the balls 
came flying into their streets. A few days later an in- 
surrection broke out. Three thousand citizens, with red 
flags flying and armed to the teeth, were discovered at 
daylight drawn up in the market-place. Balagny came 
down from the citadel and endeavored to calm the 
tumult, but was received with execrations. They had 
been promised, shouted the insurgents, that every road 
about Cambray was to swarm with French soldiers under 
their formidable king, kicking the heads of the Span- 
iards ^ in all directions. And what had they got ? A child 
with thirty archers, sent by his father, and half a man 
at the head of four hundred dragoons.- To stand a siege 
under such circumstances against an army of fifteen 
thousand Spaniards, and to take Balagny's copper as if 

1 Coloma, 195: "Surey formidabile pisando las cabe<;as de los 
Espanoles," etc. 

2 Ibid. 


it were gold, was more than could be asked of respec- 
table burghers. 

The allusion to the young Prince of Rhetelois and to 
De Vich, who had lost a leg in the wars, was received with 
much enthusiasm. Balagny, appalled at the fury of the 
people, whom he had so long been trampling upon while 
their docility lasted, shrank back before their scornful 
denunciations into the citadel. 

But his wife was not appalled. This princess had 
from the beginning of the siege shown a courage and 
an energy worthy of her race. Night and day she had 
gone the rounds of the ramparts, encouraging and direct- 
ing the efforts of the garrison. She had pointed batter- 
ies against the enemy's works, and with her own hands 
had fired the cannon. She now made her appearance in 
the market-place, after her husband had fled, and did 
her best to assuage the tumult and to arouse the muti- 
neers to a sense of duty or of shame. She plucked from 
her bosom whole handfuls of gold which she threw 
among the bystanders, and she was followed by a num- 
ber of carts filled with sacks of coin ready to be ex- 
changed for the debased currency. 

Expressing contempt for the progress made by the 
besieging army, and for the slight impression so far pro- 
duced upon the defenses of the city, she snatched a pike 
from a soldier and offered in person to lead the garrison 
to the breach. Her audience knew full well that this 
was no theatrical display, but that the princess was 
ready as the boldest warrior to lead a forlorn hope or to 
repel the bloodiest assault. Nor, from a military point 
of view, was their situation desperate. But their hatred 
and scorn for Balagny could not be overcome by any 
passing sentiment of admiration for his valiant though 


imperious wife. No one followed her to the breach. 
Exclaiming that she at least would never surrender, and 
that she would die a sovereign princess rather than live 
a subject, Renee de Balagny returned to the citadel. 

The town soon afterward capitulated, and as the 
Spanish soldiers, on entering, observed the slight dam- 
age that had been caused by their batteries, they were 
most grateful to the faint-hearted or mutinous condition 
by which they had been spared the expense of an assault. 

The citadel was now summoned to surrender, and Ba- 
lagny agreed, in case he should not be relieved within 
six days, to accept what were considered honorable terms. 
It proved too late to expect succor from Henry, and 
Balagny, but lately a reigning prince, was fain to go 
forth on the appointed day and salute his conqueror. 
But the princess kept her vow. She had done her best 
to defend her dominions and to live a sovereign, and 
now there was nothing left her but to die. With bitter 
reproaches on her husband's pusillanimity, with tears 
and sobs of rage and shame, she refused food, spurned 
the idea of capitulation, and expired before the 9th of 

On that day a procession moved out of the citadel 
gates. Balagny, with a son of eleven years of age, the 
Prince of Rhetelois, the Commander De Vich, and many 
other distinguished personages, all magnificently attired, 
came forth at the head of what remained of the garrison. 
The soldiers, numbering thirteen hundred foot and two 
hundred and forty horse, marched with colors flying, 

1 Bor, iv. 54-56 ; BentivogUo, 416-421 ; De Thou, xii. 414-436 ; 
Coloma, 185-198, et mult, al., for the siege of Cambray. 

All the historians, French, Italian, Si^anish, Flemish, give the 
same account of the conduct and death of the princess. 


drums beating, bullet in mouth, and all the other recog- 
nized palliatives of military disaster. Last of all came 
a hearse bearing the cofl&n of the Princess of Cambray. 
Fuentes saluted the living leaders of the procession, and 
the dead heroine, with stately courtesy, and ordered an 
escort as far as Peronne.^ 

Balagny met with a cool reception from Henry at St.- 
Quentin, but subsequently made his peace, and espoused 
the sister of the king's mistress, Gabrielle d'Estrees.^ 
The body of Gavre d'Inchy, which had been buried for 
years, was dug up and thrown into a gutter.^ 

1 Authorities last cited. 2 De Thou, ubi sup. 

3 Ibid. 


Archduke Cardinal Albert appointed governor of the Netherlands 
—Return of Philip William from captivity— His adherence to 
the King of Spain — Notice of the Marquis of Varambon, Count 
Varax, and other new officers— Henry's communications with 
Queen Elizabeth— Madame de Monceaux— Conversation of Henry 
with the English ambassador— Marseilles secured by the Duke of 
Guise— The fort of Rysbank taken by De Rosne— Calais in the 
hands of the Spanish— Assistance from England solicited by 
Henry — Unhandsome conditions proposed by Elizabeth — 
Annexation of Calais to the obedient provinces— Pirates of 
Dunkirk— Uneasiness of the Netherlanders with regard to the 
designs of Elizabeth — Her protestations of sincerity— Expedition 
of Dutch and English forces to Spain— Attack on the Spanish 
war-ships- Victory of the allies— Flag of the Republic planted 
on the fortress of Cadiz— Capitulation of the city— Letter of 
Elizabeth to the Dutch admiral— State of affairs in France— Prop- 
osition of the Duke of Montpensier for the division of the king- 
dom—Successes of the cardinal archduke in Normandy— He 
proceeds to Flanders— Siege and capture of Hulst— Projected 
alliance against Spain— Interview of De Saney with Lord 
Burghley — Diplomatic conference at Greenwich — Formation of a 
league against Spain— Duplicity of the treaty— Affairs in Ger- 
many — Battle between the emperor and the Grand Turk — 
Endeavors of Philip to counteract the influence of the League— 
His interference in the affairs of Germany — Secret intrigue of 
Henry with Spain— Philip's second attempt at the conquest of 

Another governor-general arrived in the early days of 
the year 1596 to take charge of the obedient provinces- 



It had been rumored for many months that Philip's 
choice was at last fixed upon the Archduke Cardinal 
Albert, Archbishop of Toledo, youngest of the three sur- 
viving brothers of the Emperor Rudolph, as the candi- 
date for many honors. He was to espouse the Infanta, 
he was to govern the Netherlands, and, as it was sup- 
posed, there were wider and wilder schemes for the 
aggrandizement of this fortunate ecclesiastic brooding 
in the mind of Philip than yet had seen the light. 

Meantime the cardinal's first care was to unfrock him- 
self. He had also been obliged to lay down the most 
lucrative episcopate in Christendom, that of Toledo, the 
revenues of which amounted to the enormous sum of 
three hundred thousand doUars a year.^ Of this annual 
income, however, he prudently reserved to himself fifty 
thousand dollars by contract with his destined suc- 

The cardinal reached the Netherlands before the end 
of January. He brought with him three thousand Span- 
ish infantry and some companies of cavalry, while his 
personal baggage was transported on three hundred and 
fifty mules.- Of course there was a triumphal procession 
when, on the 11th February, the new satrap entered the 
obedient Netherlands, and there was the usual amount 
of bell-ringing, cannon-firing, trumpet-blowing, with 
torch-light processions, blazing tar-barrels, and bediz- 
ened platforms, where Allegory, in an advanced state 
of lunacy, performed its wonderful antics. It was 
scarcely possible for human creatures to bestow more 
adulation, or to abase themselves more thoroughly, than 

1 Soranzo, Relazione apud Barozzi et Berchet, Le Belazioni 
degli Ambasciatori Veneti, i. 45. 

2 Bor, iv. 167. 


the honest citizens of Brussels had so recently done in 
honor of the gentle, gouty Ernest, but they did their 
best. That mythological conqueror and demigod had 
sunk into an unhonored grave, despite the loud hosan- 
nas sung to him on his arrival in Belgica, and the 
same nobles, pedants, and burghers were now ready and 
happy to grovel at the feet of Albert. But as it proved 
impossible to surpass the glories of the holiday which 
had been culled out for his brother, so it would be super- 
fluous now to recall the pageant which thus again de- 
lighted the capital. 

But there was one personage who graced this joyous 
entrance whose presence excited perhaps more interest 
than did that of the archduke himself. The procession 
was headed by three grandees riding abreast. There 
was the Duke of Aumale, pensionary of Philip, and one 
of the last of the Leaguers^ who had just been condemned 
to death and executed in effigy at Paris as a traitor to 
his king and country ; there was the Prince of Chimay, 
now since the recent death of his father at Venice become 
Duke of Aerschot ; and between the two rode a gentleman 
forty-two years of age, whose grave, melancholy features, 
although wearing a painful expression of habitual 
restraint and distrust, suggested, more than did those 
of the rest of his family, the physiognomy of William 
the Silent ^ to all who remembered that illustrious rebel. 

It was the eldest son of the great founder of the 
Dutch Republic. Philip William, Prince of Orange, had 
at last, after twenty-eight years of captivity in Spain, 
returned to the Netherlands, whence he had been kid- 
napped while a school-boy at Louvaiu, by order of the 
Duke of Alva. Rarely has there been a more dreary 

1 Fruin, 207, note. 


fate,' a more broken existence than his. His almost life- 
long confinement, not close nor cruel, but strict and in- 
exorable, together with the devilish arts of the Jesuits, 
had produced nearly as blighting an effect upon his 
moral nature as a closer dungeon might have done on 
his physical constitution. Although under perpetual 
arrest in Madrid, he had been allowed to ride and to 
hunt, to go to mass, and to enjoy many of the pleasures 
of youth. But he had been always a prisoner, and his 
soul, a hopeless captive, could no longer be liberated 
now that the tjTant, in order to further his own secret 
purposes, had at last released his body from jail. Al- 
though the eldest-born of his father, and the inheritor 
of the great estates of Orange and of Buren, he was no 
longer a Nassau except in name. The change wrought 
by the pressure of the Spanish atmosphere was complete. 
All that was left of his youthful self was a passionate 
reverence for his father's memory, strangely combined 
with a total indifference to all that his father held dear, 
all for which his father had labored his whole lifetime, 
and for which his heart's blood had been shed. On 
being at last set free from bondage he had been taken 
to the Escorial and permitted to kiss the hand of the 
king— that hand still reeking with his father's murder. 
He had been well received by the Infante and the 
Infanta, and by the empress mother, daughter of Charles 
v., while the artistic treasures of the palace and cloister 
were benignantly pointed out to him. It was also sig- 
nified to him that he was to receive the order of the 
Golden Fleece and to enter into possession of his pater- 
nal and maternal estates. And Philip William had ac- 
cepted these conditions as if a born loyal subject of his 
Most Catholic Majesty. 


Could better proof be wanting that in that age religion- 
was the only fatherland, and that a true papist could 
sustain no injury at the hands of his Most Catholic Maj- 
esty ? If to be kidnapped in boyhood, to be imprisoned 
during a whole generation of mankind, to be deprived 
of vast estates, and to be made orphan by the foulest of 
assassinations, could not engender resentment against 
the royal perpetrator of these crimes in the bosom of his 
victim, was it strange that Philip should deem himself 
something far more than man, and should placidly ac- 
cept the worship rendered to hii6 by inferior beings, as 
to the holy impersonation of Almighty Wrath ? 

Yet there is no doubt that the prince had a sincere 
respect for his father and had bitterly sorrowed at his 
death. When a Spanish officer, playing chess with him 
in prison, had ventured to speak lightly of that father, 
Philip William had seized him bodily, thrown him from 
the window, and thus killed him on the spot.^ And 
when on his arrival in Brussels it was suggested to him 
by President Richardot that it was the king's intention 
to reinstate him in the possession of his estates, but that 
a rent-charge of eighteen thousand florins a year was 
still to be paid from them to the heirs of Balthazar Gerard, 
his father's assassin, he flamed into a violent rage, drew 
his poniard, and would have stabbed the president had 
not the bystanders forcibly interfered.^ In consequence 
of this refusal — called magnanimous by contemporary 
writers — to accept his property under such conditions, 
the estates were detained from him for a considerable 
time longer. During the period of his captivity he had 

1 De la Pise, in voce. The anecdote has already been 
mentioned in The Rise of the Dutch Republic. 

2 Ibid. 


been allowed an income of fifteen thousand livres, but 
after his restoration his household, gentlemen, and ser- 
vants alone cost him eighty thousand livres annually. 
It was supposed that the name of Orange-Nassau might 
now be of service to the king's designs in the Nether- 
lands. Philip "William had come by way of Rome, 
where he had been allowed to kiss the pope's feet and 
had received many demonstrations of favor, and it was 
fondly thought that he would now prove an instrument 
with which king and pontiff might pipe back the rebel- 
lious Republic to its ancient allegiance. But the Dutch- 
men and Frisians were deaf. They had tasted liberty 
too long, they had dealt too many hard blows on the 
head of regal and sacerdotal despotism, to be deceived 
by coarse artifices. Especially the king thought that 
something might be done with Count Hohenlo. That 
turbulent personage, having recently married the full 
sister of Philip "William, and being already at variance 
with Count Maurice, both for military and political 
causes and on account of family and pecuniary disputes, 
might, it was thought, be purchased by the king, and 
perhaps a few towns and castles in the United Nether- 
lands might be thrown into the bargain. In that huck- 
stering age, when the loftiest and most valiant nobles of 
Europe were the most shameless sellers of themselves, 
the most cynical mendicants for alms, and the most infi- 
nite absorbers of bribes in exchange for their temporary 
fealty, when Mayenne, Mercoeur, Guise, Villars, Egmont, 
and innumerable other possessors of ancient and illus- 
trious names alternately and even simultaneously drew 
pensions from both sides in the great European conflict, 
it was not wonderful that Philip should think that the 
boisterous Hohenlo might be bought as well as another. 


The prudent king, however, gave his usual order that 
nothing was to be paid beforehand, but that the service 
was to be rendered first, and the price received after- 

The cardinal applied himself to the task on his first 
arrival, but was soon obliged to report that he could 
make but little progress in the negotiation, ^ 

The king thought, too, that Heraugiere, who had com- 
manded the memorable expedition against Breda, and 
who was now governor of that stronghold, might be 
purchased, and he accordingly instructed the cardinal 
to make use of the Prince of Orange in the negotiations 
to be made for that purpose. The cardinal, in effect, 
received an offer from Heraugiere in the course of a few 
months not only to surrender Breda, without previous 
recompense, but likewise to place Gertruydenberg, the 
governor of which city was his relative, in the king's 
possession. But the cardinal was afraid of a trick, for 
Heraugiere was known to be as artful as he was brave, 
and there can be little doubt that the Netherlander was 
only disposed to lay an ambush for the governor-general.*' 

And thus the son of William the Silent made his reap- 
pearance in the streets of Brussels, after twenty-eight 
years of imprisonment, riding in the procession of the 
new viceroy. The cardinal archduke came next, with 
Fuentes riding at his left hand. That vigorous soldier 
and politician soon afterward left the Netherlands to 
assume the government of Milan. 

1 " Que en todas platicas semejantes ha do preceder el servicio 
a la reeompensa que se ofreeiere a trueeo de el."— Philip to 
Archduke Albert, January 13, 1596, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

2 Albert to Philip, March 28, 1596, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

3 Same to same, July 18, 1596, Arch, de Sim. MS. 


There was a correspondence between the Prince of 
Orange and the States-General, in which the republican 
authorities, after expressing themselves toward him with 
great propriety and affectionate respect, gave him plainly 
but delicately to understand that his presence at that 
time in the United Provinces would neither be desirable, 
nor, without their passports, possible.^ They were quite 
aware of the uses to which the king was hoping to turn 
their reverence for the memory and the family of the 
great martyr, and were determined to foil such idle pro- 
jects on the threshold. 

The Archduke Albert, born on the 3d of November, 
1560, was nowin his thirty-sixth year. A small, thin, pale- 
faced man, with fair hair and beard, commonplace fea- 
tures, and the hereditary underhanging Burgundian jaw 
prominently developed, he was not without a certain 
nobility of presence. His manners were distant to 
haughtiness and grave to solemnity. He spoke very 
little and very slowly. He had resided long in Spain, 
where he had been a favorite with his uncle, as much as 
any man could be a favorite with Philip, and he had 
carefully formed himself on that royal model. He 
looked upon the King of Spain as the greatest, wisest, 
and best of created beings, as the most illustrious speci- 
men of kingcraft ever yet vouchsafed to the world. He 
did his best to look somber and Spanish, to turn his 
visage into a mask, to conceal his thoughts and emo- 
tions not only by the expression of his features but by 
direct misstatements of his tongue, and in all things to 
present to the obedient Flemings as elaborate a repro- 
duction of his great prototype as copy can ever recall 
inimitable original. Old men in the Netherlands, who 

1 Bpr, iv. 153, 154 seq. 


remembered in how short a time Philip had succeeded, 
by the baleful effect of his personal presence, in lighting 
up a hatred which not the previous twenty years of his 
father's burnings, hangings, and butcherings in those 
provinces had been able to excite, and which forty sub- 
sequent years of bloodshed had not begun to allay, 
might well shake their heads when they saw this new 
representative of Spanish authority. It would have been 
wiser, so many astute politicians thought, for Albert 
to take the Emperor Charles for his model, who had 
always the power of making his tyranny acceptable to 
the Flemings, through the adroitness with which he 
seemed to be entirely a Fleming himself.^ 

But Albert, although a German, valued himself on 
appearing like a Spaniard. He was industrious, regular 
in his habits, moderate in eating and drinking, fond of 
giving audiences on business. He spoke German, Span- 
ish, and Latin, and understood French and Italian. He 
had at times been a student, and especially had some 
knowledge of mathematics. He was disposed to do his 
duty — so far as a man can do his duty who imagines 
himself so entirely lifted above his fellow-creatures as to 
owe no obligation except to exact their obedience and to 
personify to them the will of the Almighty. To Philip 
and the pope he was ever faithful. He was not without 
pretensions to military talents, but his gravity, slowness, 
and silence made him fitter to shine in the cabinet than 
in the field. Henrj^ IV., who loved his jest, whether at his 
own expense or that of friend or foe, was wont to observe 
that there were three things which nobody would ever 
believe, and which yet were very true — that Queen 

1 Bentivoglio, Relazione delle Provincie ubbedienti di Fiandra. 
Soranzo, Relazione. 

VOL. IV.— 26 


Elizabeth deserved her title of the throned vestal, that 
he was himself a good Catholic, and that Cardinal Albert 
was a good general. It is probable that the assertions 
were all equally accurate. 

The new governor did not find a very able group of 
generals or statesmen assembled about him to assist in 
the difficult task which he had undertaken. There were 
plenty of fine gentlemen, with ancient names and lofty 
pretensions, but the working men in field or council had 
mostly disappeared. Mondragon, La Motte, Charles 
Mansfeld, Frank Verdugo, were all dead. Fuentes was 
just taking his departure for Italy. Old Peter Ernest 
was a cipher, and his son's place was filled by the Mar- 
quis of Varambon, as principal commander in active 
military operations. This was a Burgundian of con- 
siderable military ability, but with an inordinate opinion 
of himself and of his family. " Accept the fact that his 
lineage is the highest possible, and that he has better 
connections than those of anybody else in the whole 
world, and he will be perfectly contented," said a sharp, 
splenetic Spaniard in the cardinal's confidence. *' 'T is a 
faithful and loyal cavalier, but full of impertinences." ^ 
The brother of Varambon, Count Varax, had succeeded 
La Motte as general of artillery, and of his doings there 
was a tale ere long to be told. On the whole, the best 
soldier in the archduke's service for the moment was 
the Frenchman Savigny de Rosne, an ancient Leaguer, 
and a passionate hater of the Bearnese, of heretics, and 
of France as then constituted. He had once made a 
contract with Henry by which he bound himself to his 

1 Eelacion de los Senores de titulo y otras personas de qualidad 
que hay en estoa estados;— di6se a eu Alt* en Valenciennes, 
2 Abril, 1596, Arch, de Sim, MS. 


service ; but after occasioning a good deal of injury by 
his deceitful attitude, lie had accepted a large amount 
of Spanish dollars, and had then thrown off the mask 
and proclaimed himself the deadliest foe of his lawful 
sovereign, "He was foremost," said Carlos Coloma, 
" among those who were successfully angled for by the 
Commander Moreo with golden hooks." ^ Although 
prodigiously fat, this renegade was an active and experi- 
enced campaigner, while his personal knowledge of his 
own country made his assistance of much value to those 
who were attempting its destruction. 

The other great nobles, who were pressing themselves 
about the new viceroy with enthusiastic words of wel- 
come, were as like to give him embarrassment as sup- 
port. All wanted office, emoluments, distinctions, nor 
could much dependence be placed on the ability or the 
character of any of them. The new Duke of Aerschot 
had in times past, as Prince of Chimay, fought against 
the king, and had even imagined himself a Calvinist, 
while his wife was still a determined heretic. It is true 
that she was separated from her husband. He was a 
man of more quickness and acuteness than his father 
had been, but if possible more mischievous both to 
friend and foe, being subtle, restless, intriguing, fickle, 
ambitious, and deceitful. The Prince of Orange was 
considered a man of very ordinary intelligence, not more 
than half witted, according to Queen Elizabeth,^ and it 
was probable that the peculiar circumstances of his 
life would extinguish any influence that he might other- 
wise have attained with either party. He was likely to 

1 Coloma, 229. Calvaert's letter, in Deventer, ii. 108. 

2 "Ende niet halff wys."— Caron to States-General, in De- 
venter, ii. 12. 


affect a neutral position, and in times of civil war to be 
neutral is to be nothing. 

Aremberg, unlike the great general on the Catholic 
side who had made the name illustrious in the opening 
scenes of the mighty contest, was disposed to quiet 
obscurity so far as was compatible with his rank. Hav- 
ing inherited neither fortune nor talent with his ancient 
name, he was chiefly occupied with providing for the 
wants of his numerous family. A good papist, well in- 
clined and docile, he was strongly recommended for the 
post of admiral, not because he had naval acquirements, 
but because he had a great many children.^ The Mar- 
quis of Havre, uncle to the Duke of Aerschot, had played 
in his time many prominent parts in the long Nether- 
land tragedy. Although older than he was when Re- 
quesens and Don John of Austria had been governors, 
he was not much wiser, being to the full as vociferous, 
as false, as insolent, as self-seeking, and as mischievous 
as in his youth. Alternately making appeals to popular 
passions in his capacity of high-born demagogue, or 
seeking crumbs of bounty as the supple slave of his sov- 
ereign, he was not more likely to acquire the confidence 
of the cardinal than he had done that of his predecessors. 

The most important and opulent grandee of all the 
provinces was the Count de Ligne, who had become by 
marriage or inheritance Prince of Espinoy, Seneschal of 
Hainault, and Viscount of Ghent. But it was only his 
enormous estates that gave him consideration, for he 
was not thought capable of either good or bad intentions. 
He had, however, in times past, succeeded in the chief 
object of his ambition, which was to keep out of trouble 
and to preserve his estates from confiscation. His wife, 

1 Relacion de los Senores, etc., ubi sup. 


who governed him, and had thus far guided him safely, 
hoped to do so to the end. The cardinal was informed 
that the Golden Fleece would be all-sufficient to keep 
him upon the right track. ^ 

Of the Egmonts, one had died on the famous field of 
Ivry ; another was an outlaw, and had been accused of 
participation in plots of assassination against William 
of Orange; the third was now about the archduke's 
court, and was supposed to be as dull a man as Ligne, 
but likely to be serviceable so long as he could keep his 
elder brother out of his inheritance. Thus devoted to 
church and king were the sons of the man whose head 
Philip had taken off on a senseless charge of treason. 
The two Counts van den Berg, Frederick and Hermann, 
sons of the sister of William the SUent, were, on the 
whole, as brave, efficient, and trustworthy servants of 
the king and cardinal as were to be found in the obedi- 
ent provinces. 

The new governor had come well provided with funds, 
being supplied for the first three quarters of the year 
with a monthly allowance of one million one hundred 
thousand florins.^ For reasons soon to appear, it was 
not probable that the States-General would be able very 
soon to make a vigorous campaign, and it was thought 
best for the cardinal to turn his immediate attention to 

The negotiations for effecting an alliance, offensive 
and defensive, between the three powers most interested 
in opposing the projects of Spain for universal empire 
were not yet begun, and will be reserved for a subse- 
quent chapter. Meantime there had been much informal 
discussion and diplomatic trifling between France and 

1 Eelacion de los Senores, etc. 2 Reyd, 275. 


England for the purpose of bringing about a sincere 
cooperation of the two crowns against the Fifth Mon- 
archy, as it was much the fashion to denominate Philip's 
proposed dominion. 

Henry had suggested at different times to Sir Robert 
Sydney, during his frequent presence in France as spe- 
cial envoy for the queen, the necessity of such a step, 
but had not always found a hearty sympathy. But as 
the king began to cool in his hatred to Spain, after his 
declaration of war against that power, it seemed desir- 
able to Elizabeth to fan his resentment afresh, and to 
revert to those propositions which had been so coolly 
received when made. Sir Henry Umton, ambassador 
from her Majesty, was accordingly provided with espe- 
cial letters on the subject from the queen's own hand, 
and presented them early in the year at Coucy (Febru- 
ary 13, 1596). No man in the world knew better the 
tone to adopt in his communications with Elizabeth 
than did the chivalrous king. No man knew better than 
he how impossible it was to invent terms of adulation 
too gross for her to accept as spontaneous and natural 
effusions of the heart. He received the letters from the 
hands of Sir Henry, read them with rapture, heaved 
a deep sigh, and exclaimed: "Ah, Mr. Ambassador, 
what shall I say to you ? This letter of the queen, my 
sister, is full of sweetness and affection. I see that she 
loves me, while that I love her is not to be doubted. 
Yet your commission shows me the contrary, and this 
proceeds from her ministers. How else can these ob- 
liquities stand with her professions of love? I am 
forced, as a king, to take a course which, as Henry, her 
loving brother, I could never adopt." 

They then walked out into the park, and the king fell 


into frivolous discourse, on purpose to keep the envoy 
from the important subject which had been discussed 
in the cabinet. Sir Henry brought him back to busi- 
ness, and insisted that there was no disagreement be- 
tween her Majesty and her councilors, all being anxious 
to do what she wished. The envoy, who shared in the 
prevailing suspicions that Henry was about to make a 
truce with Spain, vehemently protested against such a 
step, complaining that his ministers, whose minds were 
distempered with jealousy, were inducing him to sacri- 
fice her friendship to a false and hollow reconciliation 
with Spain. Henry protested that his preference would 
be for England's amity, but regretted that the English 
delays were so great, and that such dangers were ever 
impending over his head, as to make it impossible for 
him, as a king, to follow the inclinations of his heart. 

They then met Madame de Monceaux, the beautiful 
Gabrielle, who was invited to join in the walk, the king 
saying that she was no meddler in politics, but of a 
tractable spirit. 

This remark, in Sir Henry's opinion, was just, for, said 
he to Burghley, she is thought incapable of affairs, and 
very simple. The duchess unmasked very graciously as 
the ambassador was presented ; but, said the splenetic 
diplomatist, "I took no pleasure in it, nor held it any 
grace at all." " She was attired in a plain satin gown," 
he continued, " with a velvet hood to keep her from the 
weather, which became her very ill. In my opinion, she 
is altered very much for the worse, and was very grossly 
painted." The three walked together, discoursing of 
trifles, much to the annoyance of Umton. At last a 
shower forced the lady into the house, and the king soon 
afterward took the ambassador to his cabinet. "He 


asked me how I liked his mistress," wrote Sir Henry to 
Burghley, " and I answered sparingly in her praise, and 
told him that, if without offense I might speak it, I had 
the picture of a far more excellent mistress, and yet did 
her picture come far from the perfection of her beauty." 

" As you love me," cried the king, " show it me, if you 
have it about you ! " 

" I made some difificulty," continued Sir Henry, " yet 
upon his importunity I offered it to his view very 
secretly, still holding it in my hand. He beheld it with 
passion and admiration, saying that I was in the right." 

'*I give in," said the king (" Je me rends"). 

Then, protesting that he had never seen such beauty 
all his life, he kissed it reverently twice or thrice. Sir 
Henry still holding the miniature firmly in his hand. 

The king then insisted upon seizing the picture, and 
there was a charming struggle between the two, ending 
in his Majesty's triumph. He then told Sir Henry that 
he might take his leave of the portrait, for he would 
never give it up again for any treasure, and that to 
possess the favor of the original he would forsake all 
the world. He fell into many more such passionate and 
incoherent expressions of rhapsody, as of one suddenly 
smitten and spellbound with hapless love, bitterly re- 
proaching the ambassador for never having brought him 
any answers to the many affectionate letters which he 
had written to the queen, whose silence had made him 
so wretched. Sir Henry, perhaps somewhat confounded 
at being beaten at his own fantastic game, answered as 
well as he could. '' But I found," said he, " that the dumb 
picture did draw on more speech and affection from him 
than all my best arguments and eloquence. This was 
the effect of our conference, and, if infiniteness of vows 


and outward professions be a strong argument of inward 
affection, there is good likelihood of the king's continu- 
ance of amity with her Majesty ; only I fear lest his 
necessities may inconsiderately draw him into some 
hazardous treaty with Spain, which I hope confidently 
it is yet in the power of her Majesty to prevent." ^ 

The king, while performing these apish tricks about 
the picture of a lady with beady black eyes, a hooked 
nose, black teeth, and a red wig, who was now in the 
sixty-fourth year of her age, knew very well that the 
whole scene would be at once repeated to the fair object 
of his passion by her faithful envoy ; but what must have 
been the opinion entertained of Elizabeth by contem- 
porary sovereigns and statesmen when such fantastic 
folly could be rehearsed and related every day in the 

And the king knew, after all, and was destined very 
soon to acquire proof of it which there was no gainsay- 
ing, that the beautiful Elizabeth had exactly as much 
affection for him as he had for her, and was as capable 
of sacrificing his interests for her own, or of taking ad- 
vantage of his direct necessities as cynically and as 
remorselessly, as the King of Spain, or the Duke of May- 
enne, or the pope had ever done. 

Henry had made considerable progress in reestablish- 
ing his authority over a large portion of the howling 
wilderness to which forty years of civil war had reduced 
his hereditary kingdom. There was still great danger, 
however, at its two opposite extremities. Calais, key to 
the Norman gate of France, was feebly held, while Mar- 
seilles, seated in such dangerous proximity to Spain on 
the one side, and to the republic of Genoa, that alert 

1 Sir Henry Umton to her Majesty, Coucy, February 3, 1595-96. 


vassal of Spain, on the other, was still in the possession 
of the League. A concerted action was undertaken by 
means of John Andrew Doria, with a Spanish fleet from 
Genoa on the outside and a well-organized conspiracy 
from within, to carry the city bodily over to Philip. Had 
it succeeded, this great Mediten-anean seaport would 
have become as much a Spanish possession as Barcelona 
or Naples, and infinite might have been the damage to 
Henry's future prospects in consequence. But there 
was a man in Marseilles, Petrus Libertas by name, whose 
ancestors had gained this wholesome family appellation 
by a successful effort once made by them to rescue the 
little town of Calvi, in Corsica, from the tyranny of 
Genoa. Peter Liberty needed no prompting to vindi- 
cate, on a fitting occasion, his right to his patronymic. 
In conjunction with men in Marseilles who hated oppres- 
sion, whether of kings, priests, or renegade republics, as 
much as he did, and with a secret and well-aiTanged 
understanding with the Duke of Guise, who was burn- 
ing with ambition to render a signal benefit to the cause 
which he had just espoused, this bold tribune of the 
people succeeded in stirring the population to mutiny at 
exactly the right moment, and in opening the gates of 
Marseilles to the Duke of Guise and his forces before it 
was possible for the Leaguers to admit the fleet of Doria 
into its harbor. Thus was the capital of Mediterranean 
France lost and won.^ Guise gained great favor in 
Henry's eyes, and with reason ; for the son of the great 
Balafre, who was himself the League, had now given 
the League the stroke of mercy. Peter Liberty became 
consul of Marseilles, and received a patent of nobility. 
It was difi&cult, however, for any diploma to confer any- 

1 De Thou, t. xii. liv. cxvi. 613 seq. Bor, iv. 177-179. 


thing more noble upon him than the name which he had 
inherited, and to which he had so well established his 

But while Henry's cause had thus been so weU served 
in the south, there was danger impending in the north. 
The king had been besieging, since autumn, the town of 
La F^re, an important military and strategic position, 
which had been Farnese's basis of operations during his 
memorable campaigns in France, and which had ever 
since remained in the hands of the League. 

The cardinal had taken the field with an army of fif- 
teen thousand foot and three thousand horse, assembled 
at Valenciennes, and after hesitating some time whether 
or not he should attempt to relieve La F^re, he decided 
instead on a diversion. In the second week of April 
De Rosne was detached at the head of four thousand men, 
and suddenly appeared before Calais.^ The city had 
been long governed by De Gordan, but this wary and 
experienced commander had unfortunately been for two 
years dead. Still more unfortunately, it had been in his 
power to bequeath not only his fortune, which was very 
large, but the government of Calais, considered the most 
valuable command in France, to his nephew, De Vidosan. 
He had, however, not bequeathed to him his adminis- 
trative and military genius. 

The fortress called the Risban, or Rysbank, which 
entirely governed the harbor, and the possession of 
which made Calais nearly impregnable, as inexhaustible 
supplies could thus be poured into it by sea, had fallen 
into comparative decay. De Gordan had been occupied 
in strengthening the work, but since his death the nephew 
had entirely neglected the task. On the land side, the 
1 De Thou, xii. 631. 


bridge of Nivelet was the key to the place. The faubourg 
was held by two Dutch companies, under Captains Le 
Gros and Dominique, who undertook to prevent the 
entrance of the archduke's forces. Vidosan, however, 
ordered these faithful auxiliaries into the citadel. 

Do Rosne, acting with great promptness, seized both 
the bridge of Nivelet and the fort of Rysbank by a sud- 
den and well-concerted movement. This having been 
accomplished, the city was in his power, and after sus- 
taining a brief cannonade it surrendered. Vidosan, 
with his garrison, however, retired into the citadel, and 
it was agreed between himself and De Rosne that unless 
succor should be received from the French king before 
the expiration of six days the citadel should also be 

Meantime Henry, who was at Boulogne, much dis- 
gusted at this unexpected disaster, had sent couriers to 
the Netherlands, demanding assistance of the States- 
General and of the stadholder. Maurice had speedily 
responded to the appeal. Proceeding himself to Zea- 
land, he had shipped fifteen companies of picked troops 
from Middelburg, together with a flotilla laden with muni- 
tions and provisions enough to withstand a siege of 
several weeks. When the arrangements were completed, 
he went himself on board of a ship of war to take com- 
mand of the expedition in person. ^ On the 17th of 
April he arrived with his succors off the harbor of Cal- 
ais, and found, to his infinite disappointment, that the 
Rysbank fort was in the hands of the enemy.^ As not 
a vessel could pass the bar without almost touching that 
fortress, the entrance to Calais was now impossible.^ 
Had the incompetent Vidosan heeded the advice of his 

1 Bor, iv. 188, 2 Ibid. s n,id. 


brave Dutch officers, the place might still have been 
saved, for it had surrendered in a panic on the very day 
when the fleet of Maurice arrived off the port. 

Henry had lost no time in sending, also, to his English 
allies for succor. The possession of Calais by the Span- 
iards might well seem alarming to Elizabeth, who could 
not well forget that up to the time of her sister this im- 
portant position had been for two centuries an English 
stronghold. The defeat of the Spanish husband of an 
English queen had torn from England the last trophies 
of the Black Prince, and now the prize had again fallen 
into the hands of Spain, but of Spain no longer in alli- 
ance, but at war, with England. Obviously it was most 
dangerous to the interests and to the safety of the Eng- 
lish realm that this threatening position, so near the 
gates of London, should be in the hands of the most 
powerful potentate in the world and the dire enemy of 
England. In response to Henry's appeal, the Earl of 
Essex was despatched with a force of six thousand men 
—raised by express command of the queen on Sunday, 
when the people were all at church — to Dover, where 
shipping was in readiness to transport the troops at once 
across the Channel. At the same time the politic queen 
and some of her councilors thought the opening a good 
one to profit by the calamity of their dear ally. Cer- 
tainly it was desirable to prevent Calais from falling 
into the grasp of Philip. But it was perhaps equally 
desirable, now that the place without the assistance of 
Elizabeth could no longer be preserved by Henry, that 
Elizabeth, and not Henry, should henceforth be its pos- 
sessor. To make this proposition as clear to the French 
king as it seemed to the English queen. Sir Robert Syd- 
ney was despatched in all haste to Boulogne, even while 


the gTins of De Rosne were pointed at Calais citadel, and 
while Maurice's fleet, baffled by the cowardly surrender 
of the Rysbank, was on its retreat from the harbor. 

At two o'clock in the afternoon of the 21st of April 
Sydney landed at Boulogne. Henry, who had been in- 
tensely impatient to hear from England, and who sus- 
pected that the delay was boding no good to his cause, 
went down to the strand to meet the envoy, with whom 
then and there he engaged instantly in the most ani- 
mated discourse. 

As there was little time to be lost, and as Sydney on 
getting out of the vessel found himself thus confronted 
with the soldier king in person, he at once made the 
demand which he had been sent across the Channel to 
make. He requested the king to deliver up the town 
and citadel of Calais to the Queen of England as soon 
as, with her assistance, he should succeed in recovering 
the place. He assigned as her Majesty's reasons for this 
peremptory summons that she would on no other terms 
find it in her power to furnish the required succor. Her 
subjects, she said, would never consent to it except on 
these conditions. It was perhaps not very common with 
the queen to exhibit so much deference to the popular 
will, but on this occasion the supposed inclinations of 
the nation furnished her with an excellent pretext for 
carrying out her own. Sydney urged, moreover, that her 
Majesty felt certain of being obliged, in case she did 
not take Calais into her own safe-keeping and protection, 
to come to the rescue again within four or six months 
to prevent it once more from being besieged, conquered, 
and sacked by the enemy. 

The king had feared some such proposition as this, 
and had intimated as much to the states' envoy, Cal- 


vaert, who had walked with him down to the strand, and 
had left him when the conference began. Henry was not 
easily thrown from his equanimity, nor wont to exhibit 
passion on any occasion, least of all in his discussions with 
the ambassadors of England, but the cool and insolent 
egotism of this communication was too much for him. 

He could never have believed, he said in reply, that, 
after the repeated assurances of her Majesty's affection 
for him which he had received from the late Sir Henry 
Umton 1 in their recent negotiations, her Majesty would 
now so discourteously seek to make her profit out of his 
misery. He had come to Boulogne, he continued, on 
the pledge given by the Earl of Essex to assist him with 
Beven or eight thousand men in the recovery of Calais. 
If this, after all, should fail him— although his own repu- 
tation would be more injured by the capture of the place 
thus before his eyes than if it had happened in his ab- 
sence — he would rather a hundred times endure the loss 
of the place than have it succored with such injurious 
and dishonorable conditions. After all, he said, the loss 
of Calais was substantially of more importance to the 
queen than to himself. To him the chief detriment 
would be in the breaking up of his easy and regular 
communications with his neighbors through this posi- 
tion, and especially with her Majesty. But as her affec- 
tion for him was now proved to be so slender as to allow 
her to seek a profit from his misfortune and dishonor, it 
would be better for him to dispense with her friendship 
altogether and to strengthen his connections with truer 
and more honorable friends. Should the worst come to 

1 Sir Henry Umton had died in France soon after the interview 
with Henry IV. mentioned on a previous page of this volume. 
(Meteren, 371.) 


the worst, he doubted not that he should be able, being 
what he was and much more than he was of old, to make 
a satisfactory arrangement with the King of Spain. He 
was ready to save Calais at the peril of his life, to con- 
quer it in person, and not by the hands of any of his 
lieutenants ; but having done so, he was not willing, at 
so great a loss of reputation without and at so much 
peril within, to deliver it to her Majesty or to any one 
else. He would far rather see it fall into the hands of 
the Spaniards. 

Thus warmly and frankly did Henry denounce the 
unhandsome proposition made in the name of the queen, 
while, during his vehement expostulations, Sydney grew 
red with shame, and did not venture to look the king for 
one moment in the face.^ He then sought to mitigate 
the effect of his demand by intimating, with much em- 
barrassment of demeanor, that perhaps her Majesty 
would be satisfied with the possession of Calais for her 
own lifetime, and, as this was at once plumply refused, 
by the suggestion of a pledge of it for the term of one 
year. But the king only grew the more indignant as 
the bargaining became more paltry, and he continued to 
heap bitter reproaches upon the queen, who, without 
having any children or known inheritor of her posses- 
sions, should nevertheless be so desirous of compassing 
his eternal disgrace and of exciting the discontent of his 
subjects for the sake of an evanescent gain for herself. 
At such a price, he avowed, he had no wish to purchase 
her Majesty's friendship. 

1 "Deur dewelke S. M. den voors. Ambassadeur soo 
schaemroot maekte, dat hy (soo S. M' my gheseyt heeft) S. M. 
niet in't aensicht dorste te sien," etc.— Calvaert's despatch, in 
Deventer, ii. 166. 


After this explosion the conference became more ami- 
cable. The English envoy assured the king that there 
could be, at all events, no doubt of the arrival of Essex 
with eight thousand men on the following Thursday to 
assist in the relief of the citadel, notwithstanding the 
answer which he had received to the demand of her 

He furthermore expressed the strong desire which he 
felt that the king might be induced to make a personal 
visit to the queen at Dover, whither she would gladly 
come to receive him, so soon as Calais "should have been 
saved. To this the king replied, with gallantry, that it 
was one of the things in the world that he had most at 
heart. The envoy rejoined that her Majesty would con- 
sider such a visit a special honor and favor. She had 
said that she could leave this world more cheerfully, 
when God should ordain, after she had enjoyed two 
hours' conversation with his Majesty. 

Sydney, on taking his departure, repeated the assur- 
ance that the troops under Essex would arrive before Cal- 
ais by Thursday, and that they were fast marching to the 
English coast ; forgetting, apparently, that at the begin- 
ning of the interview he had stated, according to the 
queen's instructions, that the troops had been forbidden 
to march until a favorable answer had been returned by 
the king to her proposal. 

Henry then retired to his headquarters for the purpose 
of drawing up information for his minister in England, 
De Sancy, who had not yet been received by the queen, 
and who had been kept in complete ignorance of this 
mission of Sydney and of its purport. 

While the king was thus occupied, the English envoy 
was left in the company of Calvaert, who endeavored, 
VOL. IV.— 37 


without much success, to obtain from him the result of 
the conference which had just taken place. Sydney was 
not to be pumped by the Dutch diplomatist, adroit as he 
unquestionably was, but, so soon as the queen's ambas- 
sador was fairly afloat again on his homeward -track, 
which was the case within three hours after his arrival 
at Boulogne, Calvaert received from the king a minute 
account of the whole conversation.^ 

Henry expressed unbounded gratitude to the States- 
General of the Republic for their prompt and liberal as- 
sistance, and he eagerly contrasted the conduct of Prince 
Maurice, sailing forth in person so chivalrously to his 
rescue, with the sharp bargainings and shortcomings of 
the queen. He despatched a special messenger to con- 
vey his thanks to the prince, and he expressed his hope 
to Calvaert that the states might be wiUing that their 
troops should return to the besieged place under the com- 
mand of Maurice, whose presence alone, as he loudly and 
publicly protested, was worth four thousand men. 

But it was too late. The six days were rapidly pass- 
ing away. The governor of Boulogne, Campagnolo, 
succeeded, by Henry's command, in bringing a small 
reinforcement of two or three hundred men into the 
citadel of Calais during the night of the 22d of April. 
This devoted little band made theii* way, when the tide 
was low, along the flats which stretched between the 
fort of Rysbank and the sea. Sometimes wading up to 
the neck in water, sometimes swimming for their lives, 
and during a greater part of their perilous march cling- 
ing so close to the hostile fortress as almost to touch its 

1 Calvaert's letter of April 22, 1596, recounting this remark- 
able interview, is given at length in Van Deventer's valuable 
publication, ii. 105-110. 


guns, the gallant adventurers succeeded in getting into 
the citadel in time to be butchered with the rest of the 
garrison on the following day. For so soon as the hand- 
ful of men had gained admittance to the gates, although 
otherwise the aspect of affairs was quite unchanged, 
the rash and weak De Vidosan proclaimed that, the rein- 
forcements stipulated in his conditional capitulation 
having arrived, he should now resume hostilities. 
Whereupon he opened fire upon the town, and a sentry 
was killed. De Rosne, furious at what he considered a 
breach of faith, directed a severe cannonade against the 
not very formidable walls of the castle. During the 
artillery engagement which ensued the Prince of Orange, 
who had accompanied De Rosne to the siege, had a very 
narrow escape. A cannon-ball from the town took off 
the heads of two Spaniards standing near him, bespat- 
tering him with their blood and brains. He was urged 
to retire, but assured those about him that he came of 
too good a house to be afraid. His courage was com- 
mendable, but it seems not to have occurred to him that 
the place for his father's son was not by the side of the 
general who was doing the work of his father's murderer. 
While his brother Maurice, with a fleet of twenty Dutch 
war-ships, was attempting in vain to rescue Calais from 
the grasp of the Spanish king, Philip William of Nassau 
was looking on, a pleased and passive spectator of the 
desperate and unsuccessful efforts at defense. The as- 
sault was then ordered.^ The first storm was repulsed, 
mainly by the Dutch companies, who fought in the 
breach until most of their numbers were killed or 
wounded, their captains Dominique and Le Gros having 
both fallen. The next attack was successful, the citadel 

1 Meteren, 370. De la Pise. 


was carried, and the whole garrison, with exception of 
what remained of the Hollanders and Zealanders, put to 
the sword. De Vidosan himself perished. Thus Calais 
was once more a Spanish city, and was reannexed to 
the obedient provinces of Flanders. Of five thousand 
persons, soldiers and citizens, who had taken refuge in 
the castle, all were killed or reduced to captivity.^ 

The conversion of this important naval position into 
a Spanish-Flemish station was almost as disastrous to 
the Republic as it was mortifying to France and dan- 
gerous to England. The neighboring Dunkirk had long 
been a nest of pirates, whence small, fast-sailing vessels 
issued, daily and nightly, to prey indiscriminately upon 
the commerce of all nations. These corsairs neither gave 
nor took quarter, and were in the habit, after they had 
plundered their prizes, of setting them adrift, with the 
sailors naUed to the deck or chained to the rigging, 
while the ofl&cers were held for ransom. In case the 
vessels themselves were wanted, the crews were indis- 
criminately tossed overboard, while, on the other hand, 
the bucaneers rarely hesitated to blow up their own 
ships when unable to escape from superior force. Cap- 
ture was followed by speedy execution, and it was but 
recently that, one of these freebooters having been 
brought into Rotterdam, the whole crew, forty-four in 
number, were hanged on the day of their arrival, while 
some five-and-twenty merchant captains held for ransom 
by the pirates thus obtained their liberty.^ 

And now Calais was likely to become a second and 

1 Bor, iv. 184-188. De Thou, xii. 631-637. Meteren, 369, 370. 
Bentivoglio, 439, 440. Coloma, 211-217. Albert to Philip, April 
24, 1596, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

2 Bor, iv. 50, 129. Meteren. Reyd. 


more dangerous sea-robbers' cave than even Dunkirk 
had been. 

Notwithstanding this unlucky beginning of the cam- 
paign for the three allies, it was determined to proceed 
with a considerable undertaking wnicn had been ar- 
ranged between England and the Republic. For the 
time, therefore, the importunate demands of the queen 
for repayment by the states of her disbursements dur- 
ing the past ten years were suspended. It had, indeed, 
never been more difficult than at that moment for the 
Republic to furnish extraordinary sums of money. The 
year 1595 had not been prosperous. Although the gen- 
eral advance in commerce, manufactures, and in every 
department of national development had been very 
remarkable, yet there had recently been, for exceptional 
causes, an apparent falling off,^ while, on the other 
hand, there had been a bad harvest in the north of Europe. 
In HoUand, where no grain was grown, and which yet 
•was the granary of the world, the prices were trebled. 
One hundred and eight bushels (a last) of rye, which 
ordinarily were worth fifty florins, now sold for one hun- 
dred and fifty florins, and other objects of consumption 
were equally enhanced in value.^ On the other hand, 
the expenses of the war were steadily increasing, and 
were fixed for this year at five millions of florins. The 
Republic, and especially the states of Holland, never 
hesitated to tax heroically. The commonwealth had no 
income except that which the several provinces chose to 
impose upon themselves in order to fill the quota as- 
signed to them by the States-General ; but this defect in 
their political organization was not sensibly felt so long 
as the enthusiasm for the war continued in full force. 

1 Reyd, 300. 2 Bor, iv. 152. 


The people of the Netherlands knew full well that there 
was no liberty for them without fighting, no fighting 
without an army, no army without wages, and no wages 
without taxation ; and although by the end of the cen- 
tury the imposts had become so high that, in the lan- 
guage of that keen observer. Cardinal Bentivoglio, nuncio 
at Brussels, they could scarcely be imagined higher, yet, 
according to the same authority, they were laid unflinch- 
ingly and paid by the people without a murmur.^ Dur- 
ing this year and the next the states of Holland, whose 
proportion often amounted to fiif ty per cent, of the whole 
contribution of the United Provinces, and who ever set 
a wholesome example in taxation, raised the duty on 
imports and all internal taxes by one eighth, and laid a 
fresh impost on such articles of luxury as velvets and 
satins, pleas and processes. Starch, too, became a source 
of considerable revenue. With the fast-rising prosperity 
of the country luxury had risen likewise, and, as in all 
ages and countries of the world of which there is record, 
woman's dress signalized itself by extravagant and very 
often tasteless conceptions. In a countrj' where, before 
the doctrine of popular sovereignty had been broached 
in any part of the world by the most speculative theo- 
rists, very vigorous and practical examples of democracy 
had been afforded to Europe ; in a country where, ages 
before the science of political economy had been dreamed 
of, lessons of free trade on the largest scale had been 
taught to mankind by republican traders instinctively 
breaking in many directions through the nets by which 
monarchs and oligarchs, gilds and corporations, had 
hampered the movements of commerce, it was natural 
that fashion should instinctively rebel against restraint. 

1 Belazione delle Provincie Unite. 


The honest burgher's vrouw of Middelburg or Eukhuizen 
claimed the right to make herself as grotesque as Queen 
Elizabeth in all her glory. Sumptuary laws were an un- 
wholesome part of feudal tyranny, and, as such, were 
naturally dropping into oblivion on the free soil of the 
Netherlands. It was the complaint, therefore, of moral- 
ists that unproductive consumption was alarmingly in- 
creasing. Formerly starch had been made of the refuse 
parts of corn, but now the manufacturers of that article 
made use of the bloom of the wheat and consumed as 
much of it as would have fed great cities. In the little 
village of Wormer the starch-makers used between three 
and four thousand bushels a week. Thus a substantial 
gentlewoman in fashionable array might bear the food 
of a parish upon her ample bosom. A single manufac- 
turer in Amsterdam required four hundred weekly 
bushels. Such was the demand for the stiffening of the 
vast ruffs, the wonderful head-gear, the elaborate lace- 
work, stomachers, and streamers, without which no lady 
who respected herself could possibly go abroad to make 
her daily purchases of eggs and poultry in the market- 

" May God preserve us," exclaimed a contemporary 
chronicler, unreasonably excited on the starch question, 
" from further luxury and wantonness, and abuse of his 
blessings and good gifts, that the punishment of Jero- 
boam, which followed upon Solomon's fortunate reign 
and the gold-ships of Ophir, may not come upon us." ^ 

The states of Holland, not confounding — as so often 

has been the case — the precepts of moral philosophy with 

those of political economy, did not, out of fear for the 

doom of Jeroboam, forbid the use of starch. They sim- 

1 Keyd, 351. 


ply laid a tax of a stiver a pound on the commodity,^ or 
about six per cent, ad valorem ; and this was a more 
wholesome way of serving the state than by abridging 
the liberty of the people in the choice of personal attire. 
Meantime the preachers were left to thunder from their 
pulpits upon the sinfulness of starched ruffles and orna- 
mental topknots, and to threaten their fair hearers with 
the wrath to come, with as much success as usually at- 
tends such eloquence. 

There had been uneasiness in the provinces in regard 
to the designs of the queen, especially since the states 
had expressed their inability to comply in full with her 
demands for repayment. Spanish emissaries had been 
busily circulating calumnious reports that her Majesty 
was on the eve of concluding a secret peace with Philip, 
and that it was her intention to deliver the cautionary 
towns to the king. The government attached little cre- 
dence to such statements, but it was natural that Envoy 
Caron should be anxious at their perpetual recurrence 
both in England and in the provinces. So one day he 
had a long conversation with the Earl of Essex on the 
subject ; for it will be recollected that Lord Leicester 
had strenuously attempted at an earlier day to get com- 
plete possession not only of the pledged cities, but of 
Leyden also, in order to control the whole country 
Essex was aflame with indignation at once, and ex- 
pressed himself with his customary recklessness. He 
swore that if her Majesty were so far forsaken of God 
and so forgetful of her own glory as through evil coun- 
sel to think of making any treaty with Spain without 
the knowledge of the States-General and in order to 
cheat them, he would himself make the matter as public 

1 Eeyd, 351. 


as it was possible to do, and would place himself in direct 
opposition to such a measure, so as to show the whole 
world that his heart and soul were foreign at least to 
any vile counsel of the kind that might have been given 
to his sovereign.^ Caron and Essex conversed much in 
this vein, and although the envoy especially requested 
him not to do so, the earl, who was not distinguished 
for his powers of dissimulation, and who suspected 
Burghley of again tampering, as he had often before 
tampered, with secret agents of Philip, went straight to 
the queen with the story. Next day Essex invited Caron 
to dine and to go with him after dinner to the queen. 
This was done, and so soon as the states' envoy was 
admitted to the royal presence her Majesty at once 
opened the subject. She had heard, she said, that the 
reports in question had been spread through the prov- 
inces, and she expressed much indignation in regard to 
them. She swore very vehemently, as usual, and pro- 
tested that she had better never have been born than 
prove so miserable a princess as these tales would make 
her. The histories of England, she said, should never 
describe her as guilty of such falsehood. She could 
find a more honorable and fitting means of making peace 
than by delivering up cities and strongholds so sincerely 
and confidingly placed in her hands. She hoped to re- 
store them as faithfully as they had loyally been in- 
trusted to her keeping. She begged Caron to acquaint 
the States- General with these asseverations, declaring 
that never since she had sent troops to the Netherlands 
had she lent her ear to those who had made such under- 
hand propositions. She was aware that Cardinal Albert 
had propositions to make, and that he was desirous of 
1 Letter of Caron, December 3, 1595, apud Bor, iv. 150, 151. 


inducing both the French king and herself to consent 
to a peace with Spain; but she promised the states' 
envoy solemnly before God to apprise him of any such 
overtures so soon as they should be made known to her- 

Much more in this strain, with her usual vehemence 
and mighty oaths, did the great queen aver, and the 
republican envoy, to whom she was on this occasion 
very gracious, was fain to believe in her sincerity. Yet 
the remembrance of the amazing negotiations between 
the queen's ministers and the agents of Alexander Far- 
nese, by which the invasion of the Armada had been 
masked, could not but have left an uneasy feeling in 
the mind of every Dutch statesman. '^ I trust in God," 
said Caron, "that he may never so abandon her as to 
permit her to do the reverse of what she now protests 
with so much passion. Should it be otherwise,— which 
God forbid,— I should think that he would send such 
chastisement upon her and her people that other princes 
would see their fate therein as in a mirror, should they 
make and break such oaths and promises. I tell you 
these things as they occur, because, as I often feel uneasi- 
ness myself, I imagine that my friends on the other side 
the water may be subject to the same anxiety. Never- 
theless, beat the bush as I may, I can obtain no better 
information than this which I am now sending you." ^ 

It had been agreed that for a time the queen should 
desist from her demands for repayment,— which, accord- 
ing to the treaty of 1585, was to be made only after 
conclusion of peace between Spain and the provinces, 
but which Elizabeth was frequently urging on the ground 
that the states could now make that peace when they 

1 Letter of Caron, ubi sup. 2 Ibid. 


chose,— and in return for such remission the Republic 
promised to furnish twenty-four ships of war and four 
tenders for a naval expedition which was now projected 
against the Spanish coast. These war-ships were to be 
of four hundred, three hundred, and two hundred tons, 
eight of each dimension, and the estimated expense of 
their fitting out for five months was 512,796 florins.^ 

Before the end of April, notwithstanding the disap- 
pointment occasioned in the Netherlands by the loss of 
Calais, which the states had so energetically striven to 
prevent, the fleet under Admiral John of Duvenwoord, 
Seigneur of Warmond, and Vice-Admirals Jan Ger- 
brantz and Cornelius Leusen, had arrived at Plymouth, 
ready to sail with their English allies.^ There were 
three thousand sailors of Holland and Zealand on board, 
the best mariners in the world, and two thousand two 
hundred picked veterans from the garrisons of the Neth- 
erlands.3 These land troops were English, but they be- 
longed to the states' army, which was composed of Dutch, 
German, Walloon, Scotch, and Irish soldiers, and it was 
a liberal concession on the part of the republican gov- 
ernment to allow them to serve on the present expedi- 
tion. By the terms of the treaty the queen had no more 
power to send these companies to invade Spain than to 
campaign against Tyr Owen in Ireland, while, at a mo- 
ment when the cardinal archduke had a stronger and 
better appointed army in Flanders than had been seen 
for many years in the provinces, it was a most hazard- 
ous experiment for the states to send so considerable a 
portion of their land and naval forces upon a distant 
adventure. It was also a serious blow to them to be 
deprived for the whole season of that valiant and ex- 

1 Bor, iv. 148, 182. 2 ibid., iv. 191. 3 Ibid. 


perienced commander, Sir Francis Vere, the most valu- 
able lieutenant, save Louis William, that Maurice had at 
his disposition. Yet Vere was to take command of this 
contingent thus sent to the coast of Spain, at the very- 
moment when the republican army ought to issue from 
their winter quarters and begin active operations in the 
field. The consequence of this diminution of their 
strength and drain upon their resources was that the 
states were unable to put an army in the field during the 
current year, or make any attempt at a campaign. 

The queen wrote a warm letter of thanks to Admiral 
Warmond for the promptness and efl&ciency with which 
he had brought his fleet to the place of rendezvous, and 
now all was bustle and preparation in the English ports 
for the exciting expedition resolved upon. Never during 
Philip's lifetime, nor for several years before his birth, 
had a hostile foot trod the soil of Spain, except during 
the brief landing at Coruna in 1590, and although the 
king's beard had been well singed ten years previously 
by Sir Francis Drake, and although the coast of Portu- 
gal had still more recently been invaded by Essex and 
Vere, yet the present adventure was on a larger scale 
and held out brighter prospects of success than any pre- 
ceding expedition had done. In an age when the line 
between the land and sea service, between regular cam- 
paigners and volunteers, between public and private 
warfare, between chivalrous knights errant and buca- 
neers, was not very distinctly drawn, there could be 
nothing more exciting to adventurous spirits, more 
tempting to the imagination of those who hated the 
pope and Philip, who loved fighting, prize-money, and 
the queen, than a foray into Spain. 

It was time to return the visit of the Armada. Some 


of the sea-kings were gone. Those magnificent free- 
booters, Drake and Hawkins, had just died in the West 
Indies, and doughty Sir Roger Williams had left the 
world in which he had bustled so effectively, bequeathing 
to posterity a classic memorial of near a half-century of 
hard fighting, written, one might almost imagine, in his 
demi-pike saddle. But that most genial, valiant, im- 
practicable, reckless, fascinating hero of romance, the 
Earl of Essex, still a youth although a veteran in ser- 
vice, was in the springtide of favor and glory, and was 
to command the land forces now assembled at Plymouth. 
That other corsair, ^ as the Spaniards called him, that 
other charming and heroic shape in England's checkered 
chronicle of chivalry and crime, famous in arts and 
arms, politics, science, literature, endowed with so many 
of the gifts by which men confer luster on their age and 
country, whose name was already a part of England's 
eternal glory, whose tragic destiny was to be her undy- 
ing shame, Raleigh, the soldier, sailor, scholar, states- 
man, poet, historian, geographical discoverer, planter of 
empires yet unborn, was also present, helping to organ- 
ize the somewhat chaotic elements of which the chief 
Anglo-Dutch enterprise for this year against the Span- 
ish world-dominion was compounded. 

And, again, it is not superfluous to recall the com- 
paratively slender materials, both in bulk and numbers, 
over which the vivid intelligence and restless energy of 
the two leading Protestant powers, the Kingdom and 
the Republic, disposed. Their contest against the over- 
shadowing empire which was so obstinately striving to 

1 "Otro eorsario llamado Guateral," says the historian Herrera, 
ingeniously fusing into one the Christian and family names of Sir 
Walter Kaleigh (iii. 585). 


become the Fifth Monarchy of history was waged by 
land and naval forces which in their aggregate numbers 
would scarce make a startling list of kiUed and wounded 
in a single modem battle ; by ships such that a whole 
fleet of them might be swept out of existence with half 
a dozen modern broadsides; by weapons which would 
seem to modern eyes Uke clumsy toys for children. Such 
was the machinery by which the world was to be lost 
and won less than three centuries ago. Could science, 
which even in that age had made gigantic strides out of 
the preceding darkness, have revealed its later miracles 
and have presented its terrible powers to the despotism 
which was seeking to crush all Christendom beneath its 
feet, the possible result might have been most tragical 
to humanity. While there are few inventions in morals, 
the demon Intellect is ever at his work, knowing no 
fatigue and scorning contentment in his restless de- 
mands upon the infinite Unknown. Yet moral truth 
remains unchanged, gradually through the ages extend- 
ing its influence, and it is only by conformity to its sim- 
ple and eternal dictates that nations, like individuals, 
can preserve a healthful existence. In the unending 
warfare between right and wrong, between liberty and 
despotism, Evil has the advantage of rapidly assuming 
many shapes. It has been well said that constant vigi- 
lance is the price of liberty. The tendency of our own 
times, stimulated by scientific discoveries and their prac- 
tical application, is to political consolidation, to the ab- 
sorption of lesser communities in greater, just as disin- 
tegration was the leading characteristic of the darker 
ages. The scheme of Charlemagne to organize Europe 
into a single despotism was a brilliant failure because 
the forces which were driving human society into local 


and gradual reconstruction around various centers of 
crystallization were irresistible to any countervailing 
enginery which the emperor had at his disposal. The 
attempt of Philip, eight centuries later, at universal mon- 
archy was frivolous, although he could dispose of ma- 
terial agencies which in the hands of Charlemagne might 
have made the dreams of Charlemagne possible. It was 
frivolous because the rising instinct of the age was for 
religious, political, and commercial freedom in a far 
intenser degree than those who lived in that age were 
themselves aware. A considerable republic had been 
evolved as it were involuntarily out of the necessities of 
the time, almost without self-consciousness that it was a 
republic, and even against the desire of many who were 
guiding its destinies. And it found itself in constant 
combination with two monarchs, despotic at heart and 
of enigmatical or indifferent religious convictions, who 
yet reigned over peoples largely influenced by enthusiasm 
for freedom. Thus liberty was preserved for the world ; 
but, as the law of human progress would seem to be ever 
by a spiral movement, it seems strange to the superficial 
observer not prone to generalizing that Calvinism, 
which unquestionably was the hard receptacle in which 
the germ of human freedom was preserved in various 
countries and at different epochs, should have so often 
degenerated into tyranny. Yet notwithstanding the 
burning of Servetus at Geneva and the hanging of Mary 
Dyer at Boston, it is certain that France, England, the 
Netherlands, and America owe a large share of such 
political liberty as they have enjoyed to Calvinism. It 
may be possible for large masses of humanity to accept 
for ages the idea of one infallible church, however 
tyrannical ; but the idea once admitted that there may 


be many churches, that what is called the state can be 
separated from what is called the church, the plea of 
infallibility and of authority soon becomes ridiculous — 
a mere fiction of political or fashionable quackery to im- 
pose upon the uneducated or the unreflecting. 

And now Essex, Raleigh, and Howard, Vere, Warmond, 
and Nassau, were about to invade the shores of the despot 
who sat in his study plotting to annex England, Scot- 
land, Ireland, France, the Dutch Republic, and the Ger- 
man Empire to the realms of Spain, Portugal, Naples, 
Milan, and the Eastern and Western Indies, over which 
he already reigned. 

The fleet consisted of fifty-seven ships of war, of which 
twenty-four were Dutch vessels under Admiral War- 
mond, with three thousand sailors of Holland and Zea- 
land. Besides the sailors there was a force of six thou- 
sand foot-soldiers, including the English veterans from 
the Netherlands under Sir Francis Vere. There were 
also fifty transports laden with ammunition and stores. 
The expedition was under the joint command of Lord 
High Admiral Howard and of the Earl of Essex. Many 
noble and knightly volunteers, both from England and 
the Republic, were on board, including, besides those al- 
ready mentioned, Lord Thomas Howard, son of the Duke 
of Norfolk ; Sir John Wingfield, who had commanded at 
Gertruydenberg when it had been so treacherously sur- 
rendered to Farnese ; Count Louis Gunther of Nassau, 
who had so recently escaped from the disastrous fight 
with Mondragon in the Lippe, and was now continuing 
his education according to the plan laid down for him 
by his elder brother Louis William ; Nicholas Meetker- 
ken, Peter Regesmortes, Don Christopher of Portugal, 
son of Don Antonio, and a host of other adventurers. 


On the last day of June the expedition arrived off 
Cadiz. Next morning they found a splendid Spanish 
fleet in the harbor of that city, including four of the 
famous apostolic great galleons, St. Philip, St. Matthew, 
St. Thomas, and St. Andrew, with twenty or thirty great 
war-ships besides, and fifty-seven weU-armed Indiamen, 
which were to be convoyed on their outward voyage, 
with a cargo estimated at twelve millions of ducats. 

The St. Philip was the phenomenon of naval architec- 
ture of that day, larger and stronger than any ship 
before known. She was two thousand tons burden, 
carried eighty-two bronze cannon, and had a crew of 
twelve hundred men. The other three apostles carried 
each fifty guns and four hundred men. The armament 
of the other war-ships varied from fifty-two to eighteen 
guns each. The presence of such a formidable force 
might have seemed a motive for discouragement, or at 
least for caution. On the contrary, the adventurers 
dashed at once upon their prey, thus finding a larger 
booty than they had dared to expect. There was but a 
brief engagement. At the outset a Dutch ship acciden- 
tally blew up, and gave much encouragement to the 
Spaniards. Their joy was but short-lived. Two of the 
great galleons were soon captured ; the other two, the St. 
Philip and the >S'^. Thomas, were run aground and 
burned. The rest of the war-ships were driven within 
the harbor, but were unable to prevent a landing of the 
enemy's forces. In the eagerness of the allies to seize the 
city, they unluckily allowed many of the Indiamen to 
effect their escape through the puente del Zuazzo, which 
had not been supposed a navigable passage for ships of 
such burden. Nine hundred soldiers under Essex and 
four hundred noble volunteers under Louis Gunther of 

VOL. IV.— 28 


Nassau now sprang on shore, and drove some eleven 
hundred Spanish skirmishers back within the gates of the 
city, or into a bastion recently raised to fortify the point 
when the troops had landed, Yoimg Nassau stormed 
the bulwark sword in hand, carried it at the first assault, 
and planted his colors on its battlement. It was the flag 
of William the Silent, for the republican banner was 
composed of the family colors of the founder of the new 
commonwealth. 1 The blazonry of the proscribed and 
assassinated rebel waved at last defiantly over one of the 
chief cities of Spain. Essex and Nassau and all the rest 
then entered the city. There was little fighting. 
Twenty-five English and Hollanders were killed, and 
about as many Spaniards. Essex knighted about fifty 
gentlemen. Englishmen and Hollanders, in the square 
of Cadiz for their gallantry. Among the number were 
Louis Gunther of Nassau, Admiral Warmond, and Peter 
Regesmortes. Colonel Nicholas Meetkerken ^ was killed 
in the brief action, and Sir John Wingfield, who insisted 
on prancing about on horseback without his armor, defy- 
ing the townspeople and neglecting the urgent appeal 
of Sir Francis Vere, was also slain. The Spanish sol- 
diers, discouraged by the defeat of the ships on which 
they had relied for protection of the town, retreated with 
a great portion of the inhabitants into the citadel. 
Next morning the citadel capitulated without striking a 
blow, although there were six thousand able-bodied, 
well-armed men within its walls. It was one of the 
most astonishing panics ever recorded. The great fleet, 
making a third of the king's navy, the city of Cadiz and 
its fortress, were surrendered to this audacious little 
force, which had only arrived oflf the harbor thirty-six 

1 Fruin, 357. 2 gge note, p. 543. 

1596] SACK OF CADIZ 435 

hours before. The invaders had, however, committed a 
great mistake. They had routed and, as it were, cap- 
tured the Spanish galleons, but they had not taken pos- 
session of them, such had been their eagerness to enter 
the city. It was now agreed that the fleet should be 
ransomed for two million ducats ; but the proud Duke of 
Medina Sidonia, who had already witnessed the destruc- 
tion of one mighty armada, preferred that these splen- 
did ships, too, should perish rather than that they should 
pay tribute to the enemy. Scorning the capitulation of 
the commandant of the citadel, he ordered the fleet to be 
set on fire. Thirty-two ships, most of them vessels of 
war of the highest class, were burned, with all their 
equipments. Twelve hundred cannon sank at once to 
the bottom of the Bay of Cadiz, besides arms for five or 
six thousand men. At least one third of Philip's effec- 
tive navy was thus destroyed. 

The victors now sacked the city very thoroughly, but 
the results were disappointing. A large portion of the 
portable wealth of the inhabitants, their gold and their 
jewelry, had been so cunningly concealed that, although 
half a dozen persons were tortured till they should reveal 
hidden treasures, not more than five hundred thousand 
ducats' worth of plunder was obtained. Another sum 
of equal amount having been levied upon the citizens, 
forty notable personages, among them eighteen ecclesi- 
astical dignitaries, were carried off as hostages for its 
payment. The city was now set on fire by command of 
Essex in four different quarters. Especially the cathe- 
dral and other churches, the convents and the hospitals, 
were burned. It was perhaps not unnatural that both 
Englishmen and Hollanders should be disposed to wreak 
a barbarous vengeance on everything representative of 


the church which they abhorred, and from which such 
endless misery had issued to the uttermost comers of 
their own countries. But it is at any rate refreshing to 
record amid these acts of pillage and destruction, in 
which, as must ever be the case, the innocent and the 
lowly were made to suffer for the crimes of crowned and 
mitered culprits, that not many special acts of cruelty 
were committed upon individuals. No man was mur- 
dered in cold blood, no woman was outraged. ^ The 
beautiful city was left a desolate and blackened ruin, 
and a general levy of spoil was made for the benefit of 
the victors, but there was no infringement of the theory 
and practice of the laws of war as understood in that 
day or in later ages. It is even recorded that Essex 
ordered one of his soldiers, who was found stealing a 
woman's gown, to "be hanged on the spot, but that, 
wearied by the intercession of an ecclesiastic of Cadiz, 
the canon Quesada, he consented at last to pardon the 

It was the earnest desire of Essex to hold Cadiz in- 
stead of destroying it. With three thousand men, and 
with temporary supplies from the fleet, the place could 
be maintained against all comers, Holland and Eng- 
land together conmianding the seas. Admiral Warmond 
and all the Netherlanders seconded the scheme, and offered 
at once to put ashore from their vessels food and muni- 

1 This is the express testimony of the Spanish historian 
Herrera, whose evidence will hardly be disputed. (Herrera, iii. 

2 The chief authorities consulted for this expedition are Bor, 
iv, 232-235 ; Meteren, 374-377 ; Reyd, 278-281 ; Herrera, iii. 632- 
645 ; De Thou, t. xii. liv. cxvi, 671-674 ; Camden, 517-523 ; Fruin, 


tions enough to serve two thousand men for two months. 
If the English admiral would do as much, the place 
might be afterward supplied without limit and held 
till doomsday, a perpetual thorn in Philip's side. Sir 
Francis Vere was likewise warmly in favor of the project, 
but he stood alone. All the other Englishmen opposed 
it as hazardous, extravagant, and in direct contravention 
of the minute instructions of the queen. With a sigh or 
a curse for what he considered the superfluous caution of 
his royal mistress and the exaggerated docility of Lord 
High Admiral Howard, Essex was fain to content him- 
self with the sack and the conflagration, and the allied 
fleet sailed away from Cadiz. 

On their way toward Lisbon they anchored off Faro, 
and landed a force, chiefly of Netherlanders, who expedi- 
tiously burned and plundered the place. When they 
reached the neighborhood of Lisbon they received in- 
formation that a great fleet of Indiamen, richly laden, 
was daily expected from the Flemish Islands, as the 
Azores were then denominated. Again Essex was 
vehemently disposed to steer at once for that station in 
order to grasp so tempting a prize, again he was strenu- 
ously supported by the Dutch admiral and Vere, and 
again Lord Howard peremptorily interdicted the plan. 
It was contrary to his instructions and to his ideas of 
duty, he said, to risk so valuable a portion of her Maj- 
esty's fleet on so doubtful a venture. His ships were 
not fitted for a winter's cruise, he urged. Thus, although 
it was the very heart of midsummer, the fleet was 
ordered to sail homeward. The usual result of a divided 
command was made manifest, and it proved in the 
sequel that, had they sailed for the islands, they would 
have pounced at exactly the right moment upon an un- 


protected fleet of mercliantmen, with cargoes valued at 
seven millions of ducats. Essex, not being willing to 
undertake the foray to the Azores with the Dutch ships 
alone, was obliged to digest his spleen as best he could. 
Meantime the English fleet bore away for England, leav- 
ing Essex in his own ship, together with the two cap- 
tured Spanish galleons, to his fate. That fate might 
have been a disastrous one, for his prizes were not fully 
manned, his own vessel was far from powerful, and there 
were many rovers and cruisers upon the seas. The 
Dutch admiral, with all his ships, however, remained in 
company, and safely convoyed him to Plymouth, where 
they arrived only a day or two later than Howard and 
his fleet.i Warmond, who had been disposed to sail 
up the Thames in order to pay his respects to the 
queen, was informed that his presence would not be 
desirable, but rather an embarrassment. He, how- 
ever, received the following letter from the hand of 
Elizabeth : 

"Monsieur Duvenwoord: The report made to me 
by the generals of our fleet, just happily arrived from 
the coast of Spain, of the devoirs of those who have been 
partakers in so famous a victory, ascribes so much of it 
to the valor, skill, and readiness exhibited by yourself 
and our other friends from the Netherlands under your 
command, during the whole course of the expedition, as 
to fill our mind with special joy and satisfaction, and 
with a desire to impart these feelings to you. No other 
means presenting themselves at this moment than that 
of a letter (in some sense darkening the picture of the 
conceptions of our soul), we are willing to make use of 
1 Bor, Meteren, Reyd, De Thou, ubi sup. 


it while waiting for means more effectual. Wishing 
thus to disburden ourselves, we find ourselves confused, 
not knowing where to begin, the greatness of each part 
exceeding the merit of the other. For the vigor and 
promptness with which my lords the States-General 
stepped into the enterprise made us acknowledge that 
the good favor which we have always borne the United 
Provinces, and the proofs thereof which we have given 
in the benefits conferred by us upon them, had not been 
ill bestowed. The valor, skill, and discipline manifested 
by you in this enterprise show that you and your whole 
nation are worthy the favor and protection of princes 
against those who wish to tyrannize over you. But the 
honorableness and the valor shown by you. Sir Admiral, 
toward our cousin the Earl of Essex on his return, when 
he unfortunately was cut off from the fleet, and deep in 
the night was deprived of all support, when you kept 
company with him and gave him escort into the harbor 
of Plymouth, demonstrate, on the one hand, your fore- 
sight in providing thus by your pains and patience 
against all disasters, which through an accident falling 
upon one of the chiefs of our armada might have dark- 
ened the great victory, and, on the other hand, the fervor 
and fire of the affection which you bear us, increasing 
thus, through a double bond, the obligation we are 
owing you, which is so great in our hearts that we have 
felt bound to discharge a part of it by means of this 
writing, which we beg you to communicate to the whole 
company of our friends under your command, saying 
to them besides that they may feel assured that even 
as we have before given proof of our good will to their 
fatherland, so henceforth, incited by their devoirs and 
merits, we are ready to extend our bounty and affection 


in all ways which may become a princess recompensing 
the virtues and gratitude of a nation so worthy as 
yours. " Elizabeth R. 

"14th August, 1596."! 

This letter was transmitted by the admiral to the 
States-General, who furnished him with a copy of it, 
but enrolled the original in their archives, recording as 
it did, in the hand of the great English queen, so strik- 
ing a testimony to the valor and the good conduct of 

The results of this expedition were considerable, for 
the king's navy was crippled, a great city was destroyed, 
and some millions of plunder had been obtained. But 
the permanent possession of Cadiz, which, in such case, 
Essex hoped to exchange for Calais, and the destruction 
of the fleet at the Azores,— possible achievements both, 
and unwisely neglected,— would have been far more 
profitable, at least to England. It was also matter of 
deep regret that there was much quarreling between 
the Netherlanders and the Englishmen as to their re- 

1 The letter, translated, of course, into Flemish, is given in full 
by Bor, iv. 235. Incredible as it may seem, Camden not only 
makes no allusion to this special and memorable service of the 
Dutch admiral, and to the enthusiastic approbation bestowed upon 
him and his comrades by the queen, but he never once mentions 
him in his account, save that toward the end of a list of persons 
knighted after the taking of the city the name of John van 
Duvenvord appears. The English historian, indeed, carefully 
suppresses the share taken by the sailors and soldiers of the 
Dutch Republic in the expedition, scarcely the faintest allusion 
being made to them from the beginning to the end of his nar- 
rative. The whole affair is represented as a purely English 
adventure and English triumph. 

2 Bor, ubi sup. 


spective share of the spoils, the Netherlanders com- 
plaining loudly that they had been defrauded. Moreover, 
the merchants of Middelburg, Amsterdam, and other 
commercial cities of Holland and Zealand were, as it 
proved, the real owners of a large portion of the property 
destroyed or pillaged at Cadiz, so that a loss estimated 
as high as three hundred thousand florins fell upon those 
unfortunate traders through this triumph of the allies.^ 
The internal consequences of the fall of Calais had 
threatened at the first moment to be as disastrous as 
the international results of that misfortune had already 
proved. The hour for the definite dismemberment and 
partition of the French kingdom, not by foreign con- 
querors, but among its own self-seeking and disloyal 
grandees, seemed to have struck. The indomitable 
Henry, ever most buoyant when most pressed by mis- 
fortune, was on the way to his camp at La F^re, encour- 
aging the faint-hearted, and providing as well as he 
could for the safety of the places most menaced, when 
he was met at St.-Quentin by a solemn deputation of the 
principal nobles, military commanders, and provincial 
governors of France. The Duke of Montpensier was 
spokesman of the assembly, and, in an harangue care- 
fully prepared for the occasion, made an elaborate prop- 
osition to the king that the provinces, districts, cities, 
castles, and other strongholds throughout the kingdom 
should now be formally bestowed upon the actual gov- 
ernors and commandants thereof in perpetuity and as 
hereditary property, on condition of rendering a certain 
military service to the king and his descendants. It 
seemed so amazing that this temporary disaster to the 
national arms should be used as a pretext for parceling 

1 Bor, Meteren, Reyd, ubi sup. 


out France and converting a great empire into a num- 
ber of insignificant duchies and petty principalities, that 
this movement should be made, not by the partizans of 
Spain, but by the adherents of the king, and that its 
leader should be his own near relative, a prince of the 
blood, and a possible successor to the crown, that Henry 
was struck absolutely dumb. Misinterpreting his silence, 
the duke proceeded very confidently with his well-conned 
harangue, and was eloquently demonstrating that, under 
such a system, Henry, as principal feudal chief, would 
have greater military forces at his disposal whenever he 
chose to summon his faithful vassals to the field than 
could be the case while the mere shadow of royal power 
or dignity was allowed to remain, when the king, find- 
ing at last a tongue, rebuked his cousin, not angrily, but 
with a grave melancholy which was more impressive 
than wrath. 

He expressed his pity for the duke that designing in- 
triguers should have thus taken advantage of his facility 
of character to cause him to enact a part so entirely un- 
worthy a Frenchman, a gentleman, and a prince of the 
blood. He had himself, at the outset of his career, been 
much farther from the throne than Montpensier was at 
that moment, but at no period of his life would he have 
consented to disgrace himself by attempting the dismem- 
berment of the realm. So far from entering for a mo- 
ment into the subject-matter of the duke's discourse, he 
gave him and all his colleagues distinctly to understand 
that he would rather die a thousand deaths than listen 
to suggestions which would cover his family and the 
royal dignity with infamy. ^ 

1 Sully, M6moires, t. i. liv. vii. 417, 418. Compare De Thou, 
t. adii. liv. cxviii. 136. 


Rarely has political cynicism been displayed in more 
revolting shape than in this deliberate demonstration by 
the leading patricians and generals of France, to whom 
patriotism seemed an unimaginable idea. Thus signally 
was their greediness to convert a national disaster into 
personal profit rebuked by the king. Henry was no 
respecter of the People, which he regarded as something 
immeasurably below his feet. On the contrary, he was 
the most sublime self-seeker of them all ; but his cour- 
age, his intelligent ambition, his breadth and strength 
of purpose, never permitted him to doubt that his own 
greatness was inseparable from the greatness of France. 
Thus he represented a distinct and wholesome principle 
—the national integrity of a great homogeneous people 
at a period when that integrity seemed, through domes- 
tic treason and foreign hatred, to be hopelessly lost. 
Hence it is not unnatural that he should hold his place 
in the national chronicle as Henry the Great. 

Meantime, while the military events just recorded had 
been occurring in the southern peninsula, the progress 
of the archduke and his lieutenants in the north against 
the king and against the Republic had been gratifying to 
the ambition of that martial ecclesiastic. Soon after the 
fall of Calais, De Rosne had seized the castles of Guynes 
and Hames, while De Mexia laid siege to the important 
stronghold of Ardres. The garrison, commanded by 
Count Belin, was sufficiently numerous and well sup- 
plied to maintain the place until Henry, whose triumph 
at La F^re could hardly be much longer delayed, should 
come to its relief. To the king's infinite dissatisfaction, 
however, precisely as Don Alvario de Osorio was sur- 
rendering La F^re to him, after a seven months' siege, 
Ardres was capitulating to De Mexia. The reproaches 


upon Belin for cowardice, imbecility, and bad faith were 
bitter and general. All his officers had vehemently pro- 
tested against the surrender, and Henry at first talked 
of cutting off his head.^ It was hardly probable, how- 
ever, had the surrender been really the result of treach- 
ery, that the governor would have put himself, as he 
did at once, in the king's power; for the garrison 
marched out of Ardres with the commandant at their 
head, banners displayed, drums beating, matches lighted, 
and bullet in mouth, twelve hundred fighting men strong, 
besides invalids. Belin was possessed of too much influ- 
ence, and had the means of rendering too many pieces 
of service to the politic king, whose rancor against 
Spain was perhaps not really so intense as was com- 
monly supposed, to meet with the condign punishment 
which might have been the fate of humbler knaves. 

These successes having been obtained in Normandy, 
the cardinal, with a force of nearly fifteen thousand men, 
now took the field in Flanders, and after hesitating for 
a time whether he should attack Breda, Bergen, Ostend, 
or Gertruydenberg, and after making occasional feints 
in various directions, came, toward the end of June, 
before Hulst. This rather insignificant place, with a 
population of but one thousand inhabitants, was de- 
fended by a strong garrison under command of that 
eminent and experienced oflBcer, Count Everard Solms. 
Its defenses were made more complete by a system of 
sluices, through which the country around could be laid 
under water ; and Maurice, whose capture of the town 
in the year 1591 had been one of his earliest military 
achievements, was disposed to hold it at all hazards. 
He came in person to inspect the fortifications, and ap- 

1 So Justiuus of Nassau wrote to Prince Maurice. (Bor, iv. 194.) 


peared to be so eager on the subject, and so likely to 
encounter unnecessary hazards, that the states of Hol- 
land passed a resolution imploring him " that he would 
not, in his heroic enthusiasm and laudable personal ser- 
vice, expose a life on which the country so much de- 
pended to manifest dangers." ^ The place was soon 
thoroughly invested, and the usual series of minings and 
counterminings, assaults and sorties, followed, in the 
course of which that courageous and corpulent renegade, 
De Rosne, had his head taken off by a cannon-ball, while 
his son, a lad of sixteen, was fighting by his side.^ On 
the 16th August the cardinal formally demanded the 
surrender of the place, and received the magnanimous 
reply that Hulst would be defended to the death. This 
did not, however, prevent the opening of negotiations 
the very same day. All the officers save one united in 
urging Solms to capitulate ; and Solms, for somewhat 
mysterious reasons, and, as was stated, in much confu- 
sion, gave his consent. The single malcontent was the 
well-named Matthew Held, whose family name meant 
hero, and who had been one of the chief actors in the 
far-famed capture of Breda. He was soon afterward 
killed in an unsuccessful attack made by Maurice upon 

Hulst capitulated on the 18th August.^ The terms 
were honorable, but the indignation throughout the 
country against Count Solms was very great. The 
states of Zealand, of whose regiment he had been com- 

1 Van der Kemp, iii. 162. 

2 Bor, iv. 219. Bentivoglio, 440. 

^ For the siege and capture of Hulst, see Bor, iv. 213-230 ; 
Meteren, 380 seq; Bentivoglio, 439, 440; Eeyd, 285-287; 
Coloma, 225-229. 


mander ever since the death of Sir Philip Sydney, dis- 
missed him from their service, while a torrent of wrath 
flowed upon him from every part of the country. Mem- 
bers of the States-General refused to salute him in the 
streets ; eminent personages turned their backs upon him, 
and for a time there was no one willing to listen to a 
word in his defense. The usual reaction in such cases 
followed : Maurice sustained the commander, who had 
doubtless committed a grave error, but who had often 
rendered honorable service to the Republic; and the 
States-General gave him a command as important as 
that of which he had been relieved by the Zealand 
states. It was mainly on account of the tempest thus 
created within the Netherlands that an affair of such 
slight importance came to occupy so large a space in 
contemporary history. The defenders of Solms told 
wild stories about the losses of the besieging army. The 
cardinal, who was thought prodigal of blood, and who 
was often quoted as saying "his soldiers' lives belonged 
to God and their bodies to the king," ^ had sacrificed, it 
was ridiculously said, according to the statement of the 
Spaniards themselves, five thousand soldiers before the 
walls of Hulst.2 It was very logically deduced therefrom 
that the capture of a few more towns of a thousand in- 
habitants each would cost him his whole army. People 
told each other, too, that the conqueror had refused a 
triumph which the burghers of Brussels wished to pre- 
pare for him on his entrance into the capital, and that 
he had administered the very proper rebuke that, if they 
had more money than they knew what to do with, they 
should expend it in aid of the wounded and of the 

1 Reyd, ubi sup. 

2 Bor, Meteren, Reyd, Coloma, ubi sup., especially Beyd. 


families of the fallen, rather than in velvets and satins 
and triumphal arches.^ The humanity of the suggestion 
hardly tallied with the bloodthirstiness of which he was 
at the same time so unjustly accused, although, it might 
well be doubted whether the commander-in-chief, even 
if he could witness unflinchingly the destruction of five 
thousand soldiers on the battle-field, would dare to con- 
front a new demonstration of Schoolmaster Houwaerts 
and his fellow-pedants. 

The fact was, however, that the list of casualties in 
the cardinal's camp during the six weeks' siege amounted 
to six hundred, while the losses within the city were at 
least as many.^ There was no attempt to relieve the 
place ; for the states, as before observed, had been too 
much cramped by the strain upon their resources and by 
the removal of so many veterans for the expedition 
against Cadiz to be able to muster any considerable 
forces in the field during the whole of this year. 

For a vast war in which the four leading powers of 
the earth were engaged, the events, to modern eyes, of 
the campaign of 1596 seem sufficiently meager. Mean- 
time, during all this campaigning by land and sea in the 
West, there had been great but profitless bloodshed in 
the East. With difficulty did the Holy Roman Empire 
withstand the terrible, ever-renewed assaults of the 
unholy realm of Ottoman, then in the full flush of its 
power; but the two empires still counterbalanced each 
other, and contended with each other at the gates of 

1 Eeyd. 

2 Relacion de la presa de la villa de Hulst en Flandes, August 
17, 1596. There seems no reason why the cardinal in these 
private despatches should not have told the truth. 


As the fighting became more languid, however, in the 
western part of Christendom, the negotiations and in- 
trigues grew only the more active. It was most desir- 
able for the Republic to effect, if possible, a formal alli- 
ance, offensive and defensive, with France and England 
against Spain. The diplomacy of the Netherlands had 
been very efficient in bringing about the declaration of 
war by Henry against Philip, by which the current year 
had opened, after Henry and Philip had been doing 
their best to destroy each other and each other's subjects 
during the half-dozen previous years. Elizabeth, too, 
although she had seen her shores invaded by Philip with 
the most tremendous armaments that had ever floated 
on the seas, and although she had herself just been 
sending fire and sword into the heart of Spain, had 
very recently made the observation ^ that she and PhOip 
were not formally at war with each other. It seemed, 
therefore, desirable to the States-General that this very 
practical warfare should be, as it were, reduced to a 
theorem. In this case the position of the Republic to 
both powers and to Spain itself might perhaps be more 
accurately defined. 

Calvaert, the states' envoy,— to use his own words,— 
haunted Henry like his perpetual shadow, and was ever 
doing his best to persuade him of the necessity of this 
alliance.2 De Sancy, as we have seen, had just arrived 
in England when the cool proposition of the queen to 
rescue Calais from Philip on condition of keeping it for 
herself had been brought to Boulogne by Sydney. Not- 
withstanding the indignation of the king, he had been 

1 "jf welck haer Mag. pretendeerde tot noch nict gedaen te 
hebben."— Calvaert to the States-General, apud Deventer, ii. 117. 

2 Ibid., ii. 114. 


induced directly afterward to send an additional em- 
bassy to Elizabeth, with the Duke of Bouillon at its 
head, and he had insisted upon Calvaert's accompanying 
the mission. He had, as he frequently observed,^ no 
secrets from the States-General, or from Calvaert, who 
had been negotiating upon these affairs for two years 
past and was so well acquainted with all their bearings. 
The Dutch envoy was reluctant to go, — for he was seri- 
ously ill and very poor in purse,— but Henry urged the 
point so vehemently that Calvaert found himself on 
board ship within six hours of the making of the prop- 
osition.2 The incident shows of how much account the 
republican diplomatist was held by so keen a judge of 
mankind as the Bearnese ; but it will subsequently 
appear that the candor of the king toward the States- 
General and their representative was by no means with- 
out certain convenient limitations. 

De Sancy had arrived just as, without his knowledge, 
Sydney had been despatched across the Channel with 
the brief mission already mentioned. "When he was 
presented to the queen the next day, she excused her- 
self for the propositions by which Henry had been so 
much enraged by assuring the envoy that it had been 
her intention only to keep Calais out of the enemy's 
hand so long as the king's forces were too much occu- 
pied at a distance to provide for its safety. As diplo- 
matic conferences were about to begin in which, even 
more than in that age, at least, was usually the case, 
the object of the two conferring powers was to deceive 
each other, and at the same time still more decidedly to 
defraud other states, Sancy accepted the royal explana- 

1 Calvaert to the States-General, apud Deventer, ii. 118. 

2 Ibid. 

VOL. IV.— 29 


tion, although Henry's special messenger, Lomenie, had 
just brought him from the camp at Boulogne a minute 
account of the propositions of Sydney.^ 

The envoy had, immediately afterward, an interview 
with Lord Burghley, and at once perceived that he was 
no friend to his master. Cecil observed that the queen 
had formerly been much bound to the king for religion's 
sake. As this tie no longer existed, there was nothing 
now to unite them save the proximity of the two states 
to each other and their ancient alliances, a bond purely 
of interest, which existed only so long as princes found 
therein a special advantage. 

De Sancy replied that the safety of the two crowns 
depended upon their close alliance against a very pow- 
erful foe who was equally menacing to them both. 
Cecil rejoined that he considered the Spaniards deserv- 
ing of the very highest praise for having been able to 
plan so important an enterprise, and to have so well 
deceived the King of France by the promptness and the 
secrecy of their operations as to allow him to conceive 
no suspicion as to their designs. 

To this not very friendly sarcasm the envoy, indig- 
nant that France should thus be insulted in her misfor- 
tunes, exclaimed that he prayed to God that the affairs 
of Englishmen might never be reduced to such a point 
as to induce the world to judge by the result merely, as 
to the sagacity of their counsels. He added that there 
were many passages through which to enter France, and 
that it was difficult to be present everywhere in order to 
defend them all against the enemy. 

A few days afterward the Duke of Bouillon arrived 

1 See especially for these negotiations De Thou, t. xii, liv. cxvi. 
247 seq. Compare Bor, iv. 253-257. 


in London. He had seen Lord Essex at Dover as he 
passed, and had endeavored without success to dissuade 
him from his expedition against the Spanish coast. The 
conferences opened on the 7th May, at Greenwich, be- 
tween Burghley, Cobham, the lord chamberlain, and 
one or two other commissioners, on the part of the queen, 
and Bouillon, Sancy, Du Vair, and Ancel, as plenipo- 
tentiaries of Henry. 

There was the usual indispensable series of feints at 
the outset, as if it were impossible for statesmen to 
meet around a green table except as fencers in the field 
or pugilists in the ring. 

"We have nothing to do," said Burghley, "except to 
listen to such propositions as may be made on the part 
of the king, and to repeat them to her Highness the 

"You cannot be ignorant," replied Bouillon, "of the 
purpose for which we have been sent hither by his Very 
Christian Majesty. You know very well that it is to 
conclude a league with England. 'T is necessary, there- 
fore, for the English to begin by declaring whether they 
are disposed to enter into such an alliance. This point 
once settled, the French can make their propositions, 
but it would be idle to dispute about the conditions of 
a treaty if there is, after all, no treaty to be made." 

To this Cecil rejoined that, if the king were reduced 
to the necessity of asking succor from the queen and of 
begging for her alliance, it was necessary for them, on 
the other hand, to see what he was ready to do for the 
queen in return, and to learn what advantage she could 
expect from the league. 

The duke said that the English statesmen were per- 
fectly aware of the French intention of proposing a 


league against the common enemy of both nations, and 
that it would be unquestionably for the advantage of 
both to unite their forces for a vigorous attack upon 
Spain, in which case it would be more difficult for the 
Spanish to resist them than if each were acting sepa- 
rately. It was no secret that the Spaniards would rather 
attack England than France, because their war against 
England, being colored by a religious motive, would be 
much less odious, and would even have a specious pre- 
text. Moreover, the conquest of England woidd give 
them an excellent vantage-ground to recover what they 
had lost in the Netherlands. If, on the contrary, the 
enemy should throw himself with his whole force upon 
France, the king, who would perhaps lose many places 
at once, and might hardly be able to maintain himself 
single-handed against domestic treason and a concen- 
trated effort on the part of Spain, would probably find it 
necessary to make a peace with that power. Nothing 
could be more desirable for Spain than such a result, for 
she would then be free to attack England and Holland, 
undisturbed by any fear of France. This was a piece 
of advice, the duke said, which the king offered, in the 
most friendly spirit, and as a proof of his affection, to 
her Majesty's earnest consideration. 

Burghley replied that all this seemed to him no reason 
for making a league. " What more can the queen do," 
he observed, "than she is already doing? She has in- 
vaded Spain by land and sea; she has sent troops to 
Spain, France, and the Netherlands ; she has lent the 
king fifteen hundred thousand crowns in gold. In short, 
the envoys ought rather to be studying how to repay her 
Majesty for her former benefits than to be soliciting 
fresh assistance." He added that the king was so much 


stronger by the recent gain of Marseilles as to be easily- 
able to bear the loss of places of far less importance, 
while Ireland, on the contrary, was a constant danger to 
the queen. The country was already in a blaze, on 
account of the recent landing effected there by the Span- 
iards, and it was a very ancient proverb among the Eng- 
lish that to attack England it was necessary to take the 
road of Ireland. 

Bouillon replied that in this war there was much differ- 
ence between the position of France and that of Eng- 
land. The queen, notwithstanding hostilities, obtained 
her annual revenue as usual, while the king was cut off 
from his resources and obliged to ruin his kingdom in 
order to wage war. Sancy added that it must be ob- 
vious to the English ministers that the peril of Holland 
was likewise the peril of England and of France, but 
that at the same time they could plainly see that the 
king, if not succored, would be forced to a peace with 
Spain. All his councilors were urging him to this, and 
it was the interest of aU his neighbors to prevent such 
a step. Moreover, the proposed league could not but be 
advantageous to the English, whether by restraining 
the Spaniards from entering England, or by facilitating 
a combined attack upon the common enemy. The queen 
might invade any portion of the Flemish coast at her 
pleasure, while the king's fleet could sail with troops from 
his ports to prevent any attack upon her realms. 

At this Burghley turned to his colleagues and said 
in English : " The French are acting according to the 
proverb : they wish to sell us the bearskin before they 
have killed the bear." ^ 

^ De Thou, 653. The historian, probably, according to Fruin, 
346, took his account from the papers of Du Vair. 


Sancy, who understood English, rejoined : " We have 
no bearskin to sell, but we are giving you a very good 
and salutary piece of advice. It is for you to profit by 
it as you may," 

"Where are these ships of war of which you were 
speaking ? " asked Burghley. 

" They are at Rochelle, at Bordeaux, and at St.-Malo," 
replied De Sancy. 

" And these ports are not in the king's possession," 
said the lord treasurer. 

The discussion was growing warm. The Duke of 
Bouillon, in order to put an end to it, said that what 
England had most to fear was a descent by Spain upon 
her coasts, and that the true way to prevent this was to 
give occupation to Philip's army in Flanders. The sol- 
diers in the fleet then preparing were raw levies with 
which he would not venture to assail her kingdom. The 
veterans in Flanders were the men on whom he relied 
for that purpose. Moreover, the queen, who had great 
influence with the States-General, would procure from 
them a prohibition of all commerce between the prov- 
inces and Spain ; all the Netherlands would be lost to 
Philip ; his armies would disperse of their own accord ; 
the princes of Italy, to whom the power of Spain was a 
perpetual menace, would secretly supply funds to the 
allied powers, and the Germans, declared enemies of 
Philip, would furnish troops. 

Burghley asserted confidently that this could never be 
obtained from the Hollanders, who lived by commerce 
alone. Upon which Sancy, wearied with all these diffi- 
culties, interrupted the lord treasurer by exclaiming: 
" If the king is to expect neither an alliance nor any 
succor on your part, he wiU be very much obliged to the 


queen if she will be good enough to inform him of the 
decision taken by her, in order that he may, upon his 
side, take the steps most suitable to the present position 
of his affairs." 

The session then terminated. Two days afterward, in 
another conference, Burghley offered three thousand 
men on the part of the queen, on condition that they 
should be raised at the king's expense, and that they 
should not leave England until they had received a 
month's pay in advance. 

The Duke of Bouillon said this was far from being 
what had been expected of the generosity of her Maj- 
esty, that if the king had money he would find no diffi- 
culty in raising troops in Switzerland and Germany, and 
that there was a very great difference between hired 
princes and allies.^ The English ministers having an- 
swered that this was all the queen could do, the duke 
and Sancy rose in much excitement, saying that they 
had then no further business than to ask for an audience 
of leave, and to return to France as fast as possible. 

Before they bade farewell to the queen, however, the 
envoys sent a memoir to her Majesty, in which they set 
forth that the first proposition as to a league had been 
made by Sir Henry Umton, and that now, when the king 
had sent commissioners to treat concerning an alliance, 
already recommended by the queen's ambassador in 
France, they had been received in such a way as to in- 
dicate a desire to mock them rather than to treat with 
them. They could not believe, they said, that it was her 
Majesty's desire to use such language as had been ad- 
dressed to them, and they therefore implored her plainly 

1 "Beaueoup de difference entre des princes k gages et des 
alli4s."-De Thou, 655. 


to declare her intentions, in order that they might waste 
no more time unnecessarily, especially as the high offices 
with which their sovereign had honored them did not 
allow them to remain for a long time absent from France, 

The effect of this memoir upon the queen was that 
fresh conferences were suggested, which took place at 
intervals between the 11th and the 26th of May. They 
were characterized by the same mutual complaints of 
overreachings and of shortcomings by which all the 
previous discussions had been distinguished. On the 
17th May the French envoys even insisted on taking 
formal farewell of the queen, and were received by her 
Majesty for that purpose at a final audience. After they 
had left the presence, the preparations for their home- 
ward journey being already made, the queen sent Sir 
Robert Cecil, Henry Brooke, son of Lord Cobham, and 
La Fontaine, minister of a French church in England, 
to say to them how very much mortified she was that 
the state of her affairs did not permit her to give the 
king as much assistance as he desired, and to express 
her wish to speak to them once more before their 

The result of the audience given accordingly to the 
envoys, two days later, was the communication of her 
decision to enter into the league proposed, but without 
definitely concluding the treaty until it should be ratified 
by the king. 

On the 26th May articles were finally agreed upon, by 
which the king and queen agreed to defend each other's 
dominions, to unite in attacking the common enemy, and 
to invite other princes and states equally interested with 
themselves in resisting the ambitious projects of Spain 
to join in the league. It was arranged that an army 


should be put in the field as soon as possible, at the 
expense of the king and queen and of such other powers 
as should associate themselves in the proposed alliance ; 
that this army should invade the dominions of the Span- 
ish monarch ; that the king and queen were never with- 
out each other's consent to make peace or truce with 
Philip; that the queen should immediately raise four 
thousand infantry to serve six months of every year in 
Picardy and Normandy, with the condition that they 
were never to be sent to a distance of more than fifty 
leagues from Boulogne ; that when the troubles of Ire- 
land should be over the queen should be at liberty to 
add new troops to the four thousand men thus prom- 
ised by her to the league ; that the queen was to furnish 
to these four thousand men six months' pay in advance 
before they should leave England, and that the king 
should agree to repay the amount six months afterward, 
sending meanwhile four nobles to England as hostages. 
If the dominions of the queen should be attacked it was 
stipulated that, at two months' notice, the king should 
raise four thousand men at the expense of the queen and 
send them to her assistance, and that they were to serve 
for six months at her charge, but were not to be sent to 
a distance of more than fifty leagues from the coasts of 

The English were not willing that the States-General 
should be comprehended among the powers to be in- 
vited to join the league, because, being under the pro- 
tection of the Queen of England, they were supposed to 
have no will but hers.^ Burghley insisted accordingly 
that, in speaking of those who were thus to be asked, no 
mention was to be made of peoples nor of states, for fear 

1 De Thou, 647-660 seq. 2 ibid., 660. 


lest the States- General might be included under those 
terms.i The queen was, however, brought at last to yield 
the point, and consented, in order to satisfy the French 
envoys, that to the word " princes " should be added the 
general expression "orders or estates."^ The obstacle 
thus interposed to the formation of the league by the 
hatred of the queen and of the privileged classes of 
England to popular liberty, and by the secret desire en- 
tertained of regaining that sovereignty over the prov- 
inces which had been refused ten years before by Eliza- 
beth, was at length set aside. The Republic, which 
might have been stifled at its birth, was now a formida- 
ble fact, and could neither be annexed to the English 
dominions nor deprived of its existence as a new mem- 
ber of the European family. 

It being no longer possible to gainsay the presence of 
the young commonwealth among the nations, the next 
best thing, so it was thought, was to defraud her in 
the treaty to which she was now invited to accede. 
This, as it will presently appear, the King of France and 
the Queen of England succeeded in doing very thor- 
oughly, and they accomplished it notwithstanding the 
astuteness and the diligence of the states' envoy, who, at 
Henry's urgent request, had accompanied the French 
mission to England. Calvaert had been very active in 
bringing about the arrangement, to assist in which he 
had, as we have seen, risen from a sick-bed and made 
the journey to England. "The proposition for an 
offensive and defensive alliance was agreed to by her 
Majesty's council, but under intolerable and impractica- 
ble conditions," said he, " and, as such, rejected by the 
duke and Sancy, so that they took leave of her Majesty. 

1 Bor, iv. 256. De Thou, ubi sup. a Ibid. 


At last, after some negotiation in which, without boast- 
ing, I may say that I did some service, it was again 
taken in hand, and at last, thank God, although with 
much difficulty, the league has been concluded." ^ 

When the task was finished the French envoys de- 
parted to obtain their master's ratification of the treaty. 
Elizabeth expressed herself warmly in regard to her 
royal brother, inviting him earnestly to pay her a visit, 
in which case she said she would gladly meet him half- 
way, for a sight of him would be her only consolation in 
the midst of her adversity and annoyance. "He may 
see other princesses of a more lovely appearance," she 
added, " but he will never make a visit to a more faith- 
ful friend." 2 

But the treaty thus concluded was for the public. 
The real agreement between France and England was 
made by the commissioners a few days later, and re- 
duced the ostensible arrangement to a sham, a mere 
decoy to foreign nations, especially to the Dutch Repub- 
lic, to induce them to imitate England in joining the 
league, and to emulate her likewise in affording that 
substantial assistance to the league which in reality 
England was very far from giving. 

"Two contracts were made," said Secretary of State 
Villeroy, " the one public, to give credit and reputation 
to the said league, tJie other secret, which destroyed the 
effects and the promises of the first. By the first his Maj- 
esty was to be succored by four thousand infantry, which 
number was limited hy the second contract to two thousand, 
who were to reside and to serve only in the cities of Bou- 
logne and Montreidl, assisted by an equal number of 
French, and not otherwise, and on condition of not 

1 Calvaert's report, in Deventer, 117. ^ Ibid. 


being removed from those towns unless his Majesty 
should be personally present in Picardy with an army, 
in which case they might serve in Picardy, but nowhere 
else." 1 

An English garrison in a couple of French seaports, 
over against the English coast, would hardly have seemed 
a sufficient inducement to other princes and states to 
put large armies in the field to sustain the Protestant 
league, had they known that this was the meager result 
of the protocolling and disputations that had been going 
on all the summer at Greenwich. 

Nevertheless, the decoy did its work. The envoys re- 
turned to France, and it was not until three months 
later that the Duke of Bouillon again made his appear- 
ance in England, bringing the treaty duly ratified by 
Henry. The league was then solemnized, on the 26th 
August, by the queen with much pomp and ceremony. 
Three peers of the realm waited upon the French am- 
bassador at his lodgings, and escorted him and his suite 
in seventeen royal coaches to the Tower. Seven splen- 
did barges then conveyed them along the Thames to 
Greenwich. On the pier the ambassador was received by 
the Earl of Derby, at the head of a great suite of nobles 

1 Fruin, in his masterly "Tien Jaren nit den taehtigjarigen 
Oorlog." is the first, so far as I know, that ever called public at- 
tention to the extraordinary perfidy of these transactions. See, 
in particular, pp. 372-374. 

Camden, however, alludes to the fact that " shortly after there 
was another treaty had, wherein it was agreed that this year no 
more than two thousand English should he sent over, which 
should serve only in Boulogne and Montreuil, unless the king 
should come personally to Picardy," etc. (b. iv. 525). But the 
essence of this " other treaty " was that it was kept secret from 
those most interested in knowing its existence. 


and high functionaries, and conducted to the palace of 

There was a religious ceremony in the royal chapel, 
where a special pavilion had been constructed. Stand- 
ing within this sanctuary, the queen, with her hand on 
her breast, swore faithfully to maintain the league just 
concluded. She then gave her hand to the Duke of 
Bouillon, who held it in both his own, while psalms were 
sung and the organ resounded through the chapel. 
Afterward there was a splendid banquet in the palace, 
the duke sitting in solitary grandeur at the royal table, 
being placed at a respectful distance from her Majesty, 
and the dishes being placed on the board by the highest 
nobles of the realm, who, upon their knees, served the 
queen with wine. No one save the ambassador sat at 
Elizabeth's table, but in the same hall was spread an- 
other, at which the Earl of Essex entertained many dis- 
tinguished guests, young Count Louis Gunther of Nassau 
among the number. 

In the midsummer twilight the brilliantly decorated 
barges were again floating on the historic river, the gaily 
colored lanterns lighting the sweep of the oars, and the 
sound of lute and viol floating merrily across the water. 
As the ambassador came into the courtyard of his house, 
he found a crowd of several thousand people assembled, 
who shouted welcome to the representative of Henry, 
and invoked blessings on the head of Queen Elizabeth 
and of her royal brother of France. Meanwhile all the 
bells of London were ringing, artillery was thundering, 
and bonfires were blazing, until the night was half spent.^ 

Such was the holiday-making by which the league be- 
tween the great Protestant queen and the ex-chief of the 

1 Bor, iv. 256, 257. 2 ibid. 


Huguenots of France was celebrated witliin a year after 
the pope had received him, a repentant sinner, into the 
fold of the Church. Truly it might be said that religion 
was rapidly ceasing to be the line of demarcation among 
the nations, as had been the case for the two last genera- 
tions of mankind. 

The Duke of Bouillon soon afterward departed for the 
Netherlands, where the regular envoy to the common- 
wealth, Paul Chouart, Seigneur de Buzanval, had already 
been preparing the States-General for their entrance 
into the league. Of course it was duly impressed upon 
those republicans thatthey should think themselves highly 
honored by the privilege of associating themselves with 
so august an alliance. The queen wrote an earnest letter 
to the states urging them to join the league. " Especially 
should you do so," she said, " on account of the reputa- 
tion which you will thereby gain for your affairs with 
the people who are under you, seeing you thus sustained 
(besides the certainty which you have of our favor) by 
the friendship of other confederated princes, and par- 
ticularly by that of the Most Christian King." ^ 

On the 31st October the articles of agreement under 
which the Republic acceded to the new confederation 
were signed at The Hague. Of course it was not the 
exact counterpart of the famous Catholic association. 
Madam League, after struggling feebly for the past few 
years, a decrepit beldam, was at last dead and buried. 
But there had been a time when she was filled with 
exuberant and terrible life. She, at least, had known 
the object of her creation, and never, so long as life was 
in her, had she faltered in her dread purpose. To ex- 
tirpate Protestantism, to murder Protestants, to bum, 

1 Bor, iv. 260. 


hang, butcher, bury them alive, to dethrone every Prot- 
estant sovereign in Europe, especially to assassinate 
the Queen of England, the Prince of Orange, with all 
his race, and Henry of Navarre, and to unite in the ac- 
complishment of these simple purposes all the powers of 
Christendom under the universal monarchy of Philip of 
Spain— for aU this, blood was shed in torrents, and the 
precious metals of the "Indies" squandered as fast as 
the poor savages, who were thus taking their first lessons 
in the doctrines of Jesus of Nazareth, could dig them from 
the mines. For this America had been summoned, as it 
were by almighty fiat, out of previous darkness, in order 
that it might furnish money with which to massacre all 
the heretics of the earth. For this great purpose was 
the sublime discovery of the Genoese sailor to be turned 
to account. These aims were intelligible, and had in 
part been attained, William of Orange had fallen, and 
a patent of nobility, with a handsome fortune, had been 
bestowed upon his assassin. Elizabeth's life had been 
frequently attempted. So had those of Henry, of Mau- 
rice, of Olden-Barneveldt. Divine Providence might 
perhaps guide the hand of future murderers with greater 
accuracy, for even if Madam League were dead, her 
ghost still walked among the Jesuits and summoned 
them to complete the crimes left yet unfinished. 

But what was the design of the new confederacy? 
It was not a Protestant league. Henry of Navarre could 
no longer be the chief of such an association, although it 
was to Protestant powers only that he could turn for 
assistance. It was to the commonwealth of the Nether- 
lands, to the Northern potentates, and to the Calvinist and 
Lutheran princes of Germany that the king and queen 
could alone appeal in their designs against Philip of Spain. 


The position of Henry was essentially a false one 
from the beginning. He felt it to be so, and the ink 
was scarce dry with which he signed the new treaty 
before he was secretly casting about him to make peace 
with that power with which he was apparently summon- 
ing aU the nations of the earth to do battle. Even the 
cautious Elizabeth was deceived by the crafty Bearnese, 
while both united to hoodwink the other states and 

On the 31st October, accordingly, the States-General 
agreed to go into the league with England and France, 
" in order to resist the enterprises and ambitious designs 
of the King of Spain against aU the princes and poten- 
tates of Christendom." As the queen had engaged, 
according to the public treaty or decoy, to furnish four 
thousand infantry to the league, the states now agreed 
to raise and pay for another four thousand to be main- 
tained in the king's service at a cost of four hundred 
and fifty thousand florins annually, to be paid by the 
month. The king promised, in case the Netherlands 
should be invaded by the enemy with the greater part 
of his force, that these four thousand soldiers should 
return to the Netherlands. The king further bound 
himself to carry on a sharp offensive war in Artois and 

The States-General would have liked a condition in- 
serted in the treaty that no peace should be made with 
Spain by England or France without the consent of the 
provinces ; but this was peremptorily refused. 

Perhaps the Republic had no special reason to be 

^ Articles of agreement between the king and the States- 
General of the Netherlands, signed by Bouillon and Buzanval, 
October 31, 1596, apud Bor, iv. 265-267. 


grateful for the grudging and almost contemptuous 
manner in which it had thus been virtually admitted 
into the community of sovereigns ; but the men who 
directed its affairs were far too enlightened not to see 
how great a step was taken when their political position, 
now conceded to them, had been secured. In good 
faith they intended to ca,rry out the provisions of the 
new treaty, and they immediately turned their attention 
to the vital matters of making new levies and of impos- 
ing new taxes, by means of which they might render 
themselves useful to their new allies. 

Meantime Ancel was deputed by Henry to visit the 
various courts of Germany and the North in order to 
obtain, if possible, new members for the league.^ But 
Germany was difficult to rouse. The dissensions among 
Protestants were ever inviting the assaults of the pa- 
pists. Its multitude of sovereigns were passing their 
leisure moments in wrangling among themselves, as 
usual, on abstruse points of theology, and devoting their 
serious hours to banqueting, deep drinking, and the 
pleasures of the chase. The jeremiads of old John of 
Nassau grew louder than ever, but his voice was of one 
crying in the wilderness. The wrath to come of that 
horrible Thirty Years' War, which he was not to wit- 
ness, seemed to inspire all his prophetic diatribes. But 
there were few to heed them. Two great dangers 
seemed ever impending over Christendom, and it is diffi- 
cult to decide which fate would have been the more ter- 
rible, the establishment of the universal monarchy of 
Philip II., or the conquest of Germany by the Grand 
Turk. But when Ancel and other emissaries sought to 

1 See an account of Ancel's missions, speeches, and negotia- 
tions, in De Thou, t. xiii. liv. cxviii. 77-87 ; Bor, iv. 289. 
VOL. IV.— 30 


obtain succor against the danger from the southwest, he 
was answered by the clash of arms and the shrieks of 
horror which came daily from the southeast.^ In vain 
was it urged, and urged with truth, that the Alcoran was 
less cruel than the Inquisition, that the soil of Europe 
might be overrun by Turks and Tartars, and the cres- 
cent planted triumphantly in every village, with less 
disaster to the human race, and with better hope that 
the germs of civilization and the precepts of Christianity 
might survive the invasion, than if the system of Philip, 
of Torquemada, and of Alva should become the univer- 
sal law. But the Turk was a frank enemy of Chris- 
tianity, while Philip murdered Christians in the name of 
Christ. The distinction imposed upon the multitudes, 
with whom words were things. Moreover, the danger 
from the young and enterprising Mohammed seemed 
more appalling to the imagination than the menace, 
from which experience had taken something of its ter- 
rors, of the old and decrepit Philip. 

The Ottoman Empire, in its exact discipHne, in its ter- 

1 " J'ai cru de devoir ici sur la foi de eeux qui en ont 6t6 
t^moins ociilaires, afin de donner par la une juste idee de la 
splendour de I'empire Ottoman, de ses richesses, de sa puissance 
et de la discipline exaete qui s'observe au dedans et au dehors, 
afin que nos peuples ne soient plus 6tonn68 ni si indign^s, si 
tandis que nos princes Chretiens languissent dans l'oisevet6 et 
dans une mollesse infame et travaillent sans cesse a se detruire 
les uns les autres par leurs haines ou par leurs jalousies, les Turcs 
dont les commencements ont 6t6 si peu de chose ont fomi6 un si 
grand empire. Quand on fera reflexion sur la severity de leur 
discipline, stir leur ^loignement du luxe et de tous les vices que 
traine avec soi la mollesse, et qu'il n'y a point d'autre route parmi 
eux poor s'61ever aux grands emplois, et faire de grandes for- 
tunes, que les vertus militaires, leurs vaste progres n'auront plus 
rien qui surprenne." Such are the admiring words of so 


rible concentration of purpose, in its contempt for all 
arts and sciences, and all human occupation save the 
trade of war and the pursuit of military dominion, 
offered a strong contrast to the distracted condition of 
the Holy Roman Empire, where an intellectual and indus- 
trious people, distracted by haK a century of religious 
controversy and groaning under one of the most elab- 
orately perverse of all the political systems ever invented 
by man, seemed to offer itself an easy prey to any con- 
queror. The Turkish power was in the fullness of its 
aggressive strength, and seemed far more formidable 
than it would have done had there been clearer percep- 
tions of what constitutes the strength and the wealth of 
nations. Could the simple truth have been thoroughly 
comprehended that a realm founded upon such principles 
was the grossest of absurdities, the Eastern might have 
seemed less terrible than the Western danger. 

But a great campaign, at no considerable distance 
from the walls of Vienna, had occupied the attention 
of Germany during the autumn. Mohammed had taken 
the field in person with a hundred thousand men, and the 
emperor's brother Maximilian, in conjunction with the 
Prince of Transylvania, at the head of a force of equal 

enlightened a statesman and historian as Jacques Auguste de 
Thou (t. xii. liv. exv. 580). 

"Wol zu wiinschen wehre," said old John of Nassau, "das 
man in Zeiten uffwachen und uff die wage gedenken wolte, wie 
nicht, allein diesem bluthundt dem Tiirken sondern aueh dem 
Pabst, welchen D. Luther seliger in seinem christlichen Gesang, 
'Erhalt uns Herr bei deinem Wort,' vor und den Tiirken naehsetzt, 
mit verleihung Gottlicher hiilfife moge widerstanden, und viel 
jamer und ehlendt und blut vergiessen, ja die verherung der 
ganzen Teutschen nation sambt andren christlichen Konigreichen 
und Landern vorkommen werden," etc.— Groen v. Prinsterer, 
Archives, II. S. i. 330. 


magnitude, had gone forth to give him battle. Between 
the Theiss and the Danube, at Kovesd, not far from the 
city of Erlau, on the 26th October, the terrible encounter 
on which the fate of Christendom seemed to hang at 
last took place, and Europe held its breath in awful sus- 
pense until its fate should be decided. When the result 
at last became known, a horrible blending of the comic 
and the tragic, such as has rarely been presented in his- 
tory, startled the world. Seventy thousand human 
beings, Moslems and Christians, were lying dead or 
wounded on the banks of a nameless little stream which 
flows into the Theiss, and the commanders-in-chief of 
both armies were running away as fast as horses could 
carry them. Each army believed itself hopelessly de- 
feated, and abandoning tents, baggage, artillery, am- 
munition, the remnants of each betook themselves to 
panic-stricken flight. Generalissimo Maximilian never 
looked behind him, as he fled, until he had taken refuge 
in Kaschau, and had thence made his way, deeply mor- 
tified and despondent, to Vienna. The Prince of Tran- 
sylvania retreated into the depths of his own principality. 
Mohammed, with his principal of&cers, shut himself up 
in Buda, after which he returned to Constantinople and 
abandoned himself for a time to a voluptuous ease, in- 
consistent with the Ottoman projects of conquering the 
world. The Turks, less prone to desperation than the 
Christians, had been utterly overthrown in the early 
part of the action ; but when the victors were, as usual, 
greedily bent upon plunder before the victory had been 
fairly secured, the tide of battle was turned by the 
famous Italian renegade Cicala. The Turks, too, had 
the good sense to send two days afterward and recover 
their artillery trains and other property, which ever 

<Vv.a > 


since the battle had been left at the mercy of the first 


So ended the Turkish campaign of the year 1596.^ 
Ancel, accordingly, fared ill in his negotiations with 
Germany. On the other hand, Mendoza, Admiral of 
Aragon, had been industriously but secretly canvassing 
the same regions as the representative of the Spanish 
king.3 It was important for Philip, who put more faith 
in the league of the three powers than Henry himself 
did, to lose no time in counteracting its influence. The 
condition of the Holy Roman Empire had for some time 
occupied his most serious thoughts. It seemed plaiu 
that Rudolph would never marry. Certainly he would 
never marry the Infanta, although he was very angry 
that his brother should aspire to the hand which he him- 
self rejected. In case of his death without children, 
Philip thought it possible that there might be a Protes- 
tant revolution in Germany, and that the house of Haps- 
burg might lose the imperial crown altogether. It was 
even said that the emperor himself was of that opinion, 
and preferred that the empire should end with his own 
life.* Philip considered ° that neither Matthias nor Max- 

1 De Thou, t. xii. 1. cxv. 567-594. Meteren, 388. Reyd, 297. 

2 Ibid. 

3 Bor, iv. 293. 

* "Siendo comun opinion en Alemania que desea que con su 
muerte se acabe el imperio en estas partes."— Relacion de lo que el 
Almirante de Aragon ha colegido en el tiempo que ha estado en 
Alemana y en la corte Cesarea tratando con personas prudentes 
cerca el neg" de Rey de Romanes y sucesion a los estados 
electivos de Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia y Ungria, Arch, de Sim. 

s Admiral of Aragon to Philip, December 17, 1596, Arch, de 
Sim. MS. 


imilian was fit to succeed their brother, being both of 
them lukewarm in the Catholic faith, i In other words, 
he chose that his destined son-in-law, the Cardinal 
Albert, should supersede them, and he was anxious to 
have him appointed as soon as possible King of the 

" His Holiness the Pope and the King of Spain," said 
the Admiral of Aragon, " think it necessary to apply 
most stringent measures to the emperor to compel him 
to appoint a successor, because, in case of his death 
without one, the administration during the vacancy 
would faU to the Elector Palatine, a most perverse Cal- 
vinistic heretic, and as great an enemy of the house of 
Austria and of our holy religion as the Turk himself, 
as sufficiently appears in those diabolical laws of his 
published in the Palatinate a few months since. A 
vacancy is so dreadful that in the north of Germany 
the world would come to an end ; yet the emperor, being 
of rather a timid nature than otherwise, is inclined to 
quiet, and shrinks from the discussions and conflicts 
likely to be caused by an appointment. Therefore his 
Holiness and his Catholic Majesty, not choosing that we 
should all live in danger of the world's falling in ruins, 
have resolved to provide the remedy. They are to per- 
mit the electors to use the faculty which they possess of 
suspending the emperor and depriving him of his power, 
there being examples of this in other times against em- 
perors who governed iU." ^ 

The admiral further alluded to the great effort made 
two years before to elect the King of Denmark emperor, 

1 Admiral of Aragon to Philip, December 17, 1596, Arch, 
de Sim. MS. 

2 Relacion del Almirante de Aragon, etc., ubi sup. 


reminding Philip that in Hamburg they had erected tri- 
umphal arches and made other preparations to receive 
him. This year, he observed, the Protestants were renew- 
ing their schemes. On the occasion of the baptism of the 
child of the Elector Palatine, the English envoy being 
present, and Queen Elizabeth being godmother, they 
had agreed upon nine articles of faith much more hostile 
to the Catholic creed than anything ever yet professed. 
In case of the death of the emperor, this Elector Pala- 
tine would of course make much trouble, and the em- 
peror should therefore be induced, by fair means if 
possible, on account of the great inconvenience of for- 
cing him, but not without a hint of compulsion, to 
acquiesce in the necessary measures. Philip was repre- 
sented as willing to assist the empire with considerable 
force against the Turk, as there could be no doubt that 
Hungary was in great danger, but in recompense it was 
necessary to elect a King of the Romans in all respects 
satisfactory to him. There were three objections to the 
election of Albert, whose recent victories and great abili- 
ties entitled him, in Philip's opinion, to the crown. 
Firstly, there was a doubt whether the kingdoms of 
Hungary and Bohemia were elective or hereditary, and 
it was very important that the King of the Romans 
should succeed to those two crowns, because the electors 
and other princes having fiefs within those kingdoms 
would be unwilling to swear fealty to two suzerains, and 
as Albert was younger than his brothers he could 
scarcely expect to take by inheritance. 

Secondly, Albert had no property of his own, but the 
admiral suggested that the emperor might be made to 
abandon to him the income of the Tyrol. 

Thirdly, it was undesirable for Albert to leave the 


Netherlands at that juncture. Nevertheless, it was 
suggested by the easy-going admiral, with the same tran- 
quil insolence which marked all his proposed arrange- 
ments, that as Rudolph would retire from the govern- 
ment altogether, Albert, as King of the Romans and 
acting emperor, could very well take care of the Nether- 
lands as part of his whole realm. Albert being, moreover, 
about to marry the Infanta, the handsome dowry which 
he would receive with her from the king would enable 
him to sustain his dignity.^ 

Thus did Philip, who had been so industrious during 
the many past years in his endeavors to expel the here- 
tic Queen of England and the Huguenot Henry from the 
realms of their ancestors, and to seat himself or his 
daughter, or one or another of his nephews, in their 
places, now busy himself with schemes to discrown 
Rudolph of Hapsburg, and to place the ubiquitous In- 
fanta and her future husband on his throne. Time would 
show the result. 

Meantime, while the Protestant Ancel and other 
agents of the new league against Philip were traveling 
about from one court of Europe to another to gain ad- 
herents to their cause, the great founder of the confed- 
eracy was already secretly intriguing for a peace with 
that monarch. The ink was scarce dry on the treaty to 
which he had affixed his signature before he was closeted 
with the agents of the Archduke Albert and receiving 
affectionate messages and splendid presents from that 
military ecclesiastic. 

In November, 1596, La Balvena, formerly a gentle- 
man of the Count de la Fera, came to Rouen. He had 

1 Relacion del Almirante, ubi sup. Letter of the admiral, 
December 17, 1596, last cited. 


a very secret interview with Henry IV. at three o'clock 
one morning, and soon afterward at a very late hour in 
the night. The king asked him why the archduke was 
not willing to make a general peace, including England 
and Holland. Balvena replied that he had no authority 
to treat on that subject, it being well known, however, 
that the King of Spain would never consent to a peace 
with the rebels, except on the ground of the exclusive 
maintenance of the Catholic religion.^ 

He is taking the very course to destroy that religion, 
said Henry. The king then avowed himself in favor of 
peace for the sake of the poor afflicted people of all 
countries. He was not tired of arms, he said, which 
were so familiar to him, but his wish was to join in a 
general crusade against the Turk. This would be better 
for the Catholic religion than the present occupations of 
all parties. He avowed that the Queen of England was 
his very good friend, and said he had never yet broken 
his faith with her, and never would do so. She had sent 
him the Garter, and he had accepted it, as his brother 
Henry III. had done before him, and he would negotiate 
no peace which did not include her.^ The not very dis- 
tant future was to show how much these stout profes- 

1 Relacion de lo que ha hecha La Balvena, November, 1596, 
Arch, de Sim. MS. 

1 am not quite sure as to the orthography of the name of this 
secret agent. Van Deventer (ii. 141-146) prints it Vulneve, but as 
the B and V in Spanish are nearly identical, I am inclined to 
prefer the name given in the text. It is, however, difficult to as- 
certain how obscurer men were correctly called in days when 
grave historians could designate so illustrious a personage as Sir 
Walter Raleigh as Guateral. 

2 2a Relacion que Balvena ha hecha a su Alteza volviendo de 
Francia, December, 1596, Arch, de Sim. MS. 


sions of sincerity were worth. Meantime Henry charged 
Balvena to keep their interviews a profound secret, es- 
pecially from every one in France. The king expressed 
great anxiety lest the Huguenots should hear of it, and 
the agent observed that any suspicion of peace negotia- 
tions would make great disturbance among the heretics, 
as one of the conditions of the king's absolution by the 
pope was supposed to be that he should make war upon 
his Protestant subjects. On his return from Rouen 
the emissary made a visit to Monlevet, marshal of the 
camp to Henry IV., and a Calvinist. There was much 
conversation about peace, in the course of which Mon- 
levet observed : '^ We are much afraid of you in negotia- 
tion, for we know that you Spaniards far surpass us in 

'^ Nay," said Balvena ; " I will only repeat the words of 
the Emperor Charles V. : ' The Spaniards seem wise, 
and are madmen j the French seem madmen, and are 
wise.' " ^ 

A few weeks later the archduke sent Balvena again to 
Rouen. He had another interview with the king, at 
which not only Villeroy and other Catholics were pres- 
ent, but Monlevet also. This proved a great obstacle to 
freedom of conversation. The result was the same as 
before. There were strong professions of a desire on 
the part of the king for a peace, but it was for a gen- 
eral peace, nothing further. 

On the 4th December Balvena was sent for by the king 
before daylight, just as he was mounting his horse for 
the chase. 

" Tell his Highness," said Henry, " that I am all frank- 

1 "Los Espanoles pareeen sabios y son locos, y los franceses 
parecen locos y son sabios." 


ness, and incapable of dissimulation, and ttat I believe 
him too much a man of honor to wish to deceive me. 
Go tell him that I am most anxious for peace, and that 
I deeply regret the defeat that has been sustained 
against the Turk. Had I been there I would have come 
out dead or victorious. Let him arrange an agreement 
between us, so that presto he may see me there with my 
brave nobles, with infantry, and with plenty of Switzers. 
Tell him that I am his friend. Begone. Be diligent." ^ 

On the last day but two of the year, the archduke, 
having heard this faithful report of Henry's affectionate 
sentiments, sent him a suit of splendid armor, such as 
was then made better in Antwerp than anywhere else, 
magnificently burnished of a blue color, according to 
an entirely new f ashion.^ 

With such secret courtesies between his Most Catho- 
lic Majesty's vicegerent and himself was Henry's league 
with the two Protestant powers accompanied. 

Exactly at the same epoch Philip was again preparing 
an invasion of the queen's dominions. An armada of a 
hundred and twenty-eight ships, with a force of fourteen 
thousand infantry and three thousand horse, had been 
assembled dui-ing the autumn of this year at Lisbon, not- 
withstanding the almost crushing blow that the Eng- 
lish and Hollanders had dealt the king's navy so recently 
at Cadiz.3 "phis new expedition was intended for Ire- 
land, where it was supposed that the Catholics would be 
easily roused. It was also hoped that the King of Scots 

1 2* Relacion, etc. 

2 Albert to Philip, December 29, 1596, Arch, de Sim. MS. : 
"Armas buenas de las que se labran en Anveres que son pabo- 
nadas de eierta labor nueva." Compare Reyd, 290. 

3 Philip to Albert, October 4, 1596, Arch, de Sim. MS. 


might be induced to embrace this opportunity of wreak- 
ing vengeance on his mother's destroyer. '' He was on 
the watch the last time that my armada went forth 
against the English," said Philip, ''and he has now no 
reason to do the contrary, especially if he remembers 
that here is a chance to requite the cruelty which was 
practised on his mother." ^ 

The fleet sailed on the 5th October, under the command 
of the Count Santa Gadea. Its immediate destination 
was the coast of Ireland, where they were to find some 
favorable point for disembarking the troops. Having 
accomplished this, the ships, with the exception of a few 
light vessels, were to take their departure and pass the 
winter in Ferrol. In case the fleet should be forced by 
stress of weather on the English coast, the port of Mil- 
ford Haven, in "Wales, was to be seized, " because," said 
Philip, "there are a great many Catholics there well 
affected to our cause, and who have a special enmity to 
the English." In case the English fleet should come 
forth to give battle, Philip sent directions that it was to 
be conquered at once, and that after the victory Milf ord 
Haven was to be firmly held.^ 

This was easily said. But it was not fated that this 
expedition should be more triumphant than that of the 
Unconquerable Armada which had been so signally con- 
quered eight years before. Scarcely had the fleet put to 
sea when it was overtaken by a tremendous storm, in 
which forty ships foundered with five thousand men.^ 
The shattered remnants took refuge in Ferrol. There 
the ships were to refit, and in the spring the attempt 

1 Philip to Albert, October 4, 1596, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

2 Same to same, October 5, 1596, MS. last cited. 

3 Same to same, December 31, 1596, ibid. Reyd, 297. 


was to be renewed. Thus it was ever with the King of 
Spain. There was a placid unconsciousness on his part 
of defeat which sycophants thought sublime. And such 
insensibility might have been sublimity had the monarch 
been in person on the deck of a frigate in the howling 
tempest, seeing ship after ship go down before his eyes, 
and exerting himself with tranquil energy and skill to 
encourage his followers and to preserve what remained 
afloat from destruction. Certainly such exhibitions of 
human superiority to the elements are in the highest 
degree inspiring. His father had shown himself on 
more than one occasion the master of his fate. The 
King of France, too, bareheaded, in his iron corselet, 
leading a forlorn hope, and by the personal charm of 
his valor changing fugitives into heroes and defeat into 
victory, had afforded many examples of sublime uncon- 
sciousness of disaster, such as must ever thrill the souls 
of mankind. But it is more difficult to be calm in bat- 
tle and shipwreck than at the writing-desk ; nor is that 
the highest degree of fortitude which enables a mon- 
arch, himself in safety, to endure without flinching the 
destruction of his fellow-creatures. 

No sooner, however, was the remnant of the tempest- 
tossed fleet safe in Ferrol than the king requested the 
cardinal to collect an army at Calais and forthwith to 
invade England. He asked his nephew whether he could 
not manage to send his troops across the Channel in 
vessels of hght draft, such as he already had at com- 
mand, together with some others which might be fur- 
nished him from Spain. In this way he was directed to 
gain a foothold in England, and he was to state imme- 
diately whether he could accomplish this with his own 
resources, or should require the assistance of the fleet at 


Ferrol. The king further suggested that the enemy, 
encouraged by his success at Cadiz the previous sum- 
mer, might be preparing a fresh expedition against 
Spain, in which case the invasion of England would be 
easier to accomplish. 

Thus, on the last day of 1596, Philip, whose fleet, sent 
forth for the conquest of Ireland and England, had been 
too crippled to prosecute the adventure, was proposing 
to his nephew to conquer England without any fleet at 
aU. He had given the same advice to Alexander Far- 
nese so soon as he heard of the destruction of the Invin- 
cible Armada. 


Struggle of the Netherlands against Spain— March to Tumhout 
—Retreat of the Spanish commander- Pursuit and attack- 
Demolition of the Spanish army— Surrender of the garrison of 
Turnhout— Improved military science— Moral effect of the battle 
—The campaign in France— Attack on Amiens by the Spaniards 
—Sack and burning of the city— De Rosny's plan for reorganiza- 
tion of the finances— Jobbery and speculation— Philip's re- 
pudiation of his debts— Effects of the measure— Renewal of 
persecution by the Jesuits— Contention between Turk and 
Christian— Envoy from the King of Poland to The Hague to plead 
for reconciliation with Philip— His subsequent presentation to 
Queen Elizabeth— Military events— Recovery of Amiens— Feeble 
operations of the confederate powers against Spain— Marriage of 
the Princess Emilia, sister of Maurice— Reduction of the castle 
and town of Alphen— Surrender of Rheinberg— Capitulation of 
Meurs— Surrender of Grol- Storming and taking of Brevoort 
— Capitulation of Enschede, Ootmarsum, Oldenzaal, and Lingen 
— Rebellion of the Spanish garrisons in Antwerp and Ghent — 
Progress of the peace movement between Henry and Philip— 
Relations of the three confederate powers— Henry's scheme for 
reconciliation with Spain— His acceptance of Philip's offer of 
peace announced to Elizabeth— Endeavors for a general peace. 

The old year had closed with an abortive attempt of 
Philip to fulfil his favorite dream, the conquest of Eng- 
land. The new year opened with a spirited effort of 
Prince Maurice to measure himself in the open field with 
the veteran legions of Spain. 



Turnhout, in Brabant, was an open village, the largest 
in all the Netherlands, lying about twenty-five Eng- 
lish miles in almost a direct line south from Gertruy- 
denberg. It was nearly as far distant in an easterly 
direction from Antwerp, and was about five miles nearer 
Breda than it was to Gertruydenberg. 

At this place the cardinal archduke had gathered a 
considerable force, numbering at least four thousand of 
his best infantry, with several squadrons of cavalry, the 
whole under command of the general-in-chief of artil- 
lery, Count Varax. People in the neighborhood were 
growing uneasy, for it was uncertain in what direction 
it might be intended to use this formidable force. It 
was perhaps the cardinal's intention to make a sudden 
assault upon Breda, the governor of which seemed not 
inclined to carry out his proposition to transfer that 
important city to the king, or it was thought that he 
might take advantage of a hard frost and cross the 
frozen morasses and estuaries into the land of Ter 
Tholen, where he might overmaster some of the impor- 
tant strongholds of Zealand. 

Marcellus Bax, that boldest and most brilliant of 
Holland's cavalry ofl&cers, had come to Maurice early in 
January with an urgent suggestion that no time might 
be lost in making an attack upon the force of Turnhout 
before they should succeed in doing any mischief. The 
prince pondered the proposition, for a little time, by 
himself, and then conferred very privately upon the sub- 
ject with the state council. On the 14th January it was 
agreed with that body that the enterprise should be 
attempted, but with the utmost secrecy. A week later 
the council sent an express messenger to Maurice urging 
him not to expose his own life to peril, but to apprise 


them as soon as possible as to the results of the 

Meantime patents had been sent to the various garri- 
sons for fifty companies of foot and sixteen squadrons 
of horse. On the 22d January Maurice came to Ger- 
truydenberg, the place of rendezvous, attended by Sir 
Francis Vere and Count Solms. Colonel Kloetingen 
was already there with the transports of ammunition 
and a few pieces of artillery from Zealand, and in the 
course of the day the whole infantry force had assem- 
bled. Nothing could have been managed with greater 
promptness or secrecy. 

Next day, before dawn, the march began. The bat- 
talia was led by Van der Noot, with six companies of 
Hollanders. Then came Vere with eight companies of 
the reserve, Dockray with eight companies of English- 
men, Murray with eight companies of Scotch, and Kloe- 
tingen and La Corde with twelve companies of Dutch 
and Zealanders. In front of the last troop under La 
Corde marched the commander of the artillery, with two 
demi-cannon and two field-pieces, followed by the am- 
munition- and baggage-trains. Hohenlo arrived just as 
the march was beginning, to whom the stadholder, not- 
withstanding their frequent differences, communicated 
his plans and intrusted the general command of the 
cavalry. That force met the expedition at Osterhout, a 
league's distance from Gertruydenberg, and consisted of 
the best-mounted companies, English and Dutch, from 
the garrisons of Breda, Bergen, Nimwegen, and the Zut- 
phen districts. 

It was a dismal, drizzly, foggy morning, the weather 
changing to steady rain as the expedition advanced. 
There had been alternate frost and thaw for the few 

VOL. IV.— 31 


previous weeks, and had that condition of the atmo- 
sphere continued the adventure could not have been at- 
tempted. It had now turned completely to thaw. The 
roads were all under water, and the march was suffi- 
ciently difficult. Nevertheless, it was possible ; so the 
stout Hollanders, Zealanders, and Englishmen struggled 
on manfully, shoulder to shoulder, through the mist and 
the mire. By nightfall the expedition had reached 
Ravels, at less than a league's distance from Turnhout, 
having accomplished, under the circumstances, a very 
remarkable march of over twenty miles. A stream of 
water, the Nethe, one of the tributaries of the Schelde, 
separated Ravels from Turnhout, and was crossed by a 
stone bridge. It was an anxious moment. Maurice 
discovered by his scouts that he was almost within 
cannon-shot of several of the most famous regi- 
ments in the Spanish army, lying fresh, securely 
posted, and capable of making an attack at any 
moment. He instantly threw forward Marcellus Bax 
with four squadrons of Bergen cavalry, who, jaded as 
they were by their day's work, were to watch the bridge 
that night and to hold it against all comers and at every 

The Spanish commander, on his part,had reconnoitered 
the advancing foe, for it was impossible for the move- 
ment to have been so secret or so swift over those inun- 
dated roads as to be shrouded to the last moment in 
complete mystery. It was naturally to be expected, 
therefore, that those splendid legions, the famous Nea- 
poHtan tercio of Trevico, the veteran troops of Sultz and 
Hachicourt, the picked Epirote and Spanish cavalry of 
Nicholas Basta and Guzman, would be hurled upon the 
wearied, benumbed, bemired soldiers of the Republic, as 


they came slowly along after their long march through 
the cold winter's rain. 

Varax took no such heroic resolution. Had he done 
so that January afternoon, the career of Maurice of 
Nassau might have been brought to a sudden close, de- 
spite the affectionate warning of the state council. 
Certainly it was difflcult for any commander to be placed 
in a more perilous position than that in which the stad- 
holder found himself. He remained awake and afoot 
the whole night, perfecting his arrangements for the 
morning, and watching every indication of a possible 
advance on the part of the enemy. Marcellus Bax and 
his troopers remained at the bridge till morning, and 
were so near the Spaniards that they heard the voices 
of their pickets and could even distinguish in the dis- 
tance the various movements in their camp. 

But no attack was made, and the little army of Mau- 
rice was allowed to sleep off its fatigue. With the 
dawn of the 24th January, a reconnoitering party, sent 
out from the republican camp, discovered that Varax, 
having no stomach for an encounter, had given his 
enemies the slip. Long before daylight his baggage- 
and ammunition-trains had been sent off in a southerly 
direction, and his whole force had already left the vil- 
lage of Turnhout. It was the intention of the com- 
mander to take refuge in the fortified city of Heronthals 
and there await the attack of Maurice. Accordingly, 
when the stadholder arrived on the fields beyond the 
immediate precincts of the village, he saw the last of the 
enemy's rear-guard just disappearing from view. The 
situation was a very peculiar one. 

The rain and thaw, following upon frosty weather, 
had converted the fenny country in many directions into 


a shallow lake. The little river which flowed by the vil- 
lage had risen above its almost level banks, and could 
with difficulty be traversed at any point, while there was 
no permanent bridge, such as there was at Ravels. The 
retreating Spaniards had made their way through a nar- 
row passage, where a roughly constructed causeway of 
planks had enabled the infantry to cross the waters 
almost in single file, while the cavalry had floundered 
through as best they might. Those who were acquainted 
with the country reported that beyond this defile there 
was an upland heath, a league in extent, fuU of furze 
and thickets, where it would be easy enough for Varax 
to draw up his army in battle array and conceal it 
from view. Maurice's scouts, too, brought information 
that the Spanish commander had left a force of muske- 
teers to guard the passage at the farther end. 

This looked very like an ambush. In the opinion of 
Hohenlo, of Solms, and of Sydney, an advance was not 
to be thought of ; and if the adventure seemed perilous 
to such hardy and experienced campaigners as these 
three, the stadholder might well hesitate. Nevertheless, 
Maurice had made up his mind. Sir Francis Vere and 
Marcellus Bax confirmed him in his determination, and 
spoke fiercely of the disgrace which would come upon the 
arms of the Republic if now, after having made a day's 
march to meet the enemy, they should turn their backs 
upon him just as he was doing his best to escape. 

On leave obtained from the prince, these two cham- 
pions, the Englishman and the Hollander, spurred 
their horses through the narrow pass, with the waters 
up to the saddle-bow, at the head of a mere handful of 
troopers, not more than a dozen men in all. Two hun- 
dred musketeers followed, picking their way across the 


planks. As they emerged into the open country beyond, 
the Spanish soldiers guarding the passage fled without 
firing a shot. Such was already the discouraging effect 
produced upon veterans by the unexpected order given 
that morning to retreat. Vere and Bax sent word for 
all the cavalry to advance at once, and meantime hovered 
about the rear-guard of the retreating enemy, ready to 
charge upon him so soon as they should be strong 

Maurice lost no time in plunging with his whole 
mounted force through the watery defile, directing the 
infantry to follow as fast as practicable. When the 
commander-in-chief with his eight hundred horsemen. 
Englishmen, Zealanders, Hollanders, and Germans, came 
upon the heath, the position and purpose of the enemy 
were plainly visible. He was not drawn up in battle 
order, waiting to sweep down upon his rash assailants 
so soon as, after struggling through the difficult pass, 
they should be delivered into his hands. On the con- 
trary, it was obvious at a glance that his object was still 
to escape. The heath of Tiel, on which Spaniards, Ital- 
ians, Walloons, Germans, Dutchmen, English, Scotch, 
and Irishmen now all found themselves together, was a 
ridgy, spongy expanse of country, bordered on one side 
by the swollen river, here flowing again through steeper 
banks which were overgrown with alders and pollard 
willows. Along the left of the Spanish army, as they 
moved in the direction of Herenthals, was a continuous 
fringe of scrub-oaks, intermixed witli tall beeches, skirt- 
ing the heath, and forming a leafless but almost imper- 
vious screen for the movements of small detachments of 
troops. Quite at the termination of the open space, 
these thickets, becoming closely crowded, overhung an- 


other extremely narrow passage, whieli formed the only 
outlet from the plain. Thus the heath of Tiel, upon that 
winter's morning, had but a single entrance and a single 
exit, each very dangerous or very fortunate for those 
capable of taking or neglecting the advantages offered 
by the position. 

The whole force of Varax, at least five thousand 
strong, was advancing in close marching order toward 
the narrow passage by which only they could emerge 
from the heath. Should they reach this point in time, 
and thus effect their escape, it would be useless to at- 
tempt to follow them, for, as was the case with the first 
defile, it was not possible for two abreast to go through, 
while beyond was a swampy country in which military 
operations were impossible. Yet there remained less 
than half a league's space for the retreating soldiers to 
traverse, while not a single foot-soldier of Maurice's army 
had thus far made his appearance on the heath. All 
were still wallowing and struggling, single file, in the 
marshy entrance, through which only the cavalry had 
forced their way. Here was a dilemma. Should Mau- 
rice look calmly on while the enemy, whom he had made 
so painful a forced march to meet, moved off out of 
reach before his eyes ? Yet certainly this was no slight 
triumph in itself. There sat the stadholder on his horse at 
the head of eight hundred carbineers, and there marched 
four of Philip's best infantry regiments, garnished with 
some of his most renowned cavalry squadrons, anxious 
not to seek but to avoid a combat. First came the 
Germans of Count Sultz, the musketeers in front, and 
the spearsmen, of which the bulk of this and of all the 
regiments was composed, marching in closely serried 
squares, with the company standards waving over each. 


Next, arranged in the same manner, came the Walloon 
regiments of Hachicourt and of La Barlotte. Fourth 
and last came the famous Neapolitans of Marquis Trevico. 
The cavalry squadrons rode on the left of the infantry, 
and were commanded by Nicholas Basta, a man who had 
been trampling upon the Netherlanders ever since the 
days of Alva, with whom he had first come to the 

And these were the legions, these very men or their 
immediate predecessors, these Italians, Spaniards, Ger- 
mans, and Walloons, who during so many terrible 
years had stormed and sacked almost every city 
of the Netherlands, and swept over the whole breadth 
of those little provinces as with the besom of de- 

Both infantry and cavalry, that picked little army of 
Varax was of the very best that had shared in the devil's 
work which had been the chief industry practised for 
so long in the obedient Netherlands. Was it not mad- 
ness for the stadholder, at the head of eight hundred 
horsemen, to assail such an army as this ? Was it not to 
invoke upon his head the swift vengeance of Heaven ? 
Nevertheless, the painstaking, cautious Maurice did not 
hesitate. He ordered Hohenlo, with all the Brabantine 
cavalry, to ride as rapidly as their horses could carry 
them along the edge of the plain and behind the tangled 
woodland, by which the movement would be concealed. 
He was at all hazards to intercept the enemy's vanguard 
before it should reach the fatal pass. Vere and Marcel- 
lus Bax meanwhile, supported now by Edmont with the 
Nimwegen squadrons, were to threaten the Spanish rear. 
A company of two under Laurentz was kept by Maurice 
near his person in reserve. 


The Spaniards steadily continued their march, but as 
they became aware of certain slight and indefinite move- 
ments on their left, their cavalry, changing their posi- 
tion, were transferred from the right to the left of the 
line of march, and now rode between the infantry and 
the belt of woods. 

In a few minutes after the orders given to Hohenlo, 
that dashing soldier had circumvented the Spaniards, 
and emerged upon the plain between them and the en- 
trance to the defile. The next instant the trumpets 
sounded a charge, and Hohenlo fell upon the foremost 
regiment, that of Sultz, while the rear-guard, consisting 
of Trevico's Neapolitan regiment, was assailed by Du 
Bois, Donck, Rysoir, Marcellus Bax, and Sir Francis 
Vere. The effect seemed almost supernatural. The 
Spanish cavalry, those far-famed squadrons of Guzman 
and Basta, broke at the first onset and galloped off for 
the pass as if they had been riding a race. Most of 
them escaped through the hollow into the morass be- 
yond. The musketeers of Sultz's regiment hardly fired 
a shot, and fell back in confusion upon the thickly clus- 
tered pikemen. The assailants, every one of them in 
complete armor, on powerful horses, and armed not with 
lances but with carbines, trampled over the panic-stricken 
and struggling masses of leather-jerkined pikemen and 
shot them at arm's-length. The charge upon Trevico's 
men at the same moment was just as decisive. In less 
time than it took afterward to describe the scene, those 
renowned veterans were broken into a helpless mass of 
dying, wounded, or fugitive creatures, incapable of strik- 
ing a blow. Thus the Germans in the front and the 
Neapolitans in the rear had been simultaneously shat- 
tered, and rolled together upon the two other regiments, 


those of Hachicourt and La Barlotte, which were placed 
between them. Nor did these troops offer any better 
resistance, but were paralyzed and hurled out of exis- 
tence like the- rest. In less than an hour the Spanish 
army was demolished. Varax himself lay dead upon the 
field, too fortunate not to survive his disgrace. It was 
hardly more than daylight on that dull January morn- 
ing, nine o'clock had scarce chimed from the old brick 
steeples of Turnhout, yet two thousand Spaniards had 
fallen before the blows of eight hundred Netherlanders, 
and there were five hundred prisoners besides. Of Mau- 
rice's army not more than nine or ten were slain. The 
story sounds like a wild legend. It was as if the arm 
of each Netherlander had been nerved by the memory 
of fifty years of outrage, as if the specter of their half- 
century of crime had appalled the soul of every Span- 
iard. Like a thunderbolt the son of William the Silent 
smote that army of Philip, and in an instant it lay 
blasted on the heath of Tiel. At least it could hardly be 
called sagacious generalship on the part of the stad- 
holder. The chances were all against him, and if instead 
of Varax those legions had been commanded that morn- 
ing by old Christopher Mondragon there might perhaps 
have been another tale to tell. Even as it was, there 
had been a supreme moment when the Spanish disaster 
had nearly been changed to victory. The fight was 
almost done when a small party of states' cavalry, who 
at the beginning of the action had followed the enemy's 
horse in its sudden retreat through the gap, came whirl- 
ing back over the plain in wild confusion, pursued by 
about forty of the enemy's lancers. They swept by the 
spot where Maurice, with not more than ten horsemen 
around him, was directing and watching the battle, and 


in vain the prince threw himself in front of them and 
strove to cheek their flight. They were panic-stricken, 
and Maurice would himself have been swept off the field 
had not Marcellus Bax and Edmont, with half a dozen 
heavy troopers, come to the rescue. A grave error had 
been committed by Parker, who, upon being ordered by 
Maurice to cause Louis Laurentz to charge, had himself 
charged with the whole reserve and left the stadholder 
almost alone upon the field. Thus the culprits, who 
after pursuing the Spanish cavalry through the pass had 
been plundering the enemy's baggage until they were set 
upon by the handful left to guard it and had become 
fugitives in their turn, might possibly have caused the 
loss of the day after the victory had been won, had 
there been a man on the Spanish side to take in 
the situation at a glance. But it is probable that 
the rout had been too absolute to allow of any such 
sudden turning to account of the serious errors of 
the victors. The cavalry, except this handful, had long 
disappeared, at least half the infantry lay dead or 
wounded in the field, while the remainder, throwing 
away pipe and matchlock, were running helter-skelter 
for their lives. 

Besides Prince Maurice himself, to whom the chief 
credit of the whole expedition justly belonged, nearly 
all the commanders engaged obtained great distinction 
by their skill and valor. Sir Francis Vere, as usual, was 
ever foremost in the thickest of the fray, and had a horse 
killed under him. Parker erred by too much readiness 
to engage, but bore himself manfully throughout the 
battle. Hohenlo, Solms, Sydney, Louis Laurentz, Du 
Bois, all displayed their usual prowess ; but the real hero 
of the hour, the personal embodiment of the fortunate 


madness which prompted and won the battle, was un- 
doubtedly Marcellus Bax.^ 

Maurice remained an hour or two on the field of battle, 
and then, returning toward the village of Turnhout, 
summoned its stronghold. The garrison of sixty, under 
Captain van der Delf , instantly surrendered. The victor 
allowed these troops to go off scot-free, saying that there 
had been blood enough shed that day. Every standard 
borne by the Spaniards in the battle— thirty-eight in 
number— was taken, besides nearly all their arms. The 
banners were sent to The Hague to be hung up in the 
great hall of the castle. The dead body of Varax was 
sent to the archduke with a courteous letter, in which, 
however, a categorical explanation was demanded as to 
a statement in circulation that Albert had decided to 
give the soldiers of the Republic no quarter.^ 

No answer being immediately returned, Maurice 
ordered the five hundred prisoners to be hanged or 
drowned unless ransomed within twenty days, and this 

1 I place together in one note the authorities used by me for 
this famous action. Not an incident is mentioned that is not 
vouched for by one or more of the contemporary chronicles or 
letter-writers cited, but I have not thought it necessary to 
encumber each paragraph with reference to a foot-note. Bor, iv. 
301-304. Meteren, 393, 394. Bentivoglio, 443, 444. Eeyd, 302 
seq. Camero, 402-407. Coloma, 237. Albert to Philip, January 
30, 1597, Arch, de Sim. MS. Van der Kemp, ii. 25-29, 167-171. 

2 The letter of Maurice was as follows : 

"Sir: I had intended to send the soldiers who were taken 
prisoners yesterday, and to manifest the same courtesy which I 
am accustomed to show toward those who fall into my hands. 
But as I have been apprised that your Highness has published an 
order according to which military commanders are forbidden 
henceforth to give quarter to those of this side, I have desired 
first to have this doubt made clear to me before I pei'mit them to 


horrible decree appears from official documents to be 
consistent with the military usages of the period. The 
arrival of the letter from the cardinal archduke, who 
levied the money for the ransom on the villagers of Bra- 
bant,^ prevented, however, the execution of the menace, 
which could hardly have been seriously intended.- 

Within a week from the time of his departure from 
The Hague to engage in this daring adventure, the stad- 
holder had returned to that little capital, having achieved 
a complete success. The enthusiastic demonstrations 
throughout the land on account of so signal a victory 
can easily be imagined. Nothing like this had ever be- 
fore been recorded in the archives of the young common- 
go free, in order that, having understood your Higliness's inten- 
tion on this point, I may conduct myself as I shall find most 
fitting. Herewith I humbly kiss the hands of your Highness, and 
pray God to give you long and healthy life. 

" TuENHOUT, January 25, 1597." 

The archduke thus replied : 

"Count : I have received your letter, and can do no otherwise 
than praise the courtesy which you have manifested toward the 
dead body of the late Count Varax, and signify to you the thanks 
which you deserve, and which I render you from my heart. 
Touching the other point, you will not find that I have thus far 
resolved on keeping no quarter, and I hope never to have occa- 
sion for such a determination, inasmuch as to do so is against 
my nature. And inasmuch as in this conjuncture you use the 
courtesy toward me which you signify in your letter, I shall take 
care to do the same when occasions present themselves. And 
herewith I pray the Creator to have you in his holy keeping. 

"Your good friend, 
"Albert, Cardinal. 

"Brussels, January 28, 1597." 

1 Meteren, xix. 394. 

2 Ibid. Van der Kemp, 28, 171, who cites Besol. St. -Gen., May 
18, 1599, for an example. 


wealth. There had been glorious defenses of beleaguered 
cities, where scenes of heroic endurance and self-sacrifice 
had been enacted, such as never can be forgotten so long 
as the history of human liberty shall endure, but a vic- 
tory won in the open field over the most famous legions 
of Spain and against overwhelming numbers was an 
achievement entirely without example. It is beyond all 
doubt that the force under Varax was at least four times 
as large as that portion of the states' army which alone 
was engaged ; for Maurice had not a foot-soldier on the 
field until the battle was over, save the handful of muske- 
teers who had followed Vere and Bax at the beginning 
of the action. 

Therefore it is that this remarkable action merits a 
much more attentive consideration than it might de- 
serve regarded purely as a military exploit. To the 
military student a mere cavalry affair, fought out upon 
an obscure Brabantine heath between a party of Dutch 
carbineers and Spanish pikemen, may seem of little 
account — a subject fitted by picturesque costume and 
animated action for the pencil of a Wouvermans or a 
Terburg, but conveying little instruction. As illustrat- 
ing a period of transition in which heavy-armored troop- 
ers, each one a human iron-clad fortress moving at 
speed and furnished with the most formidable portable 
artillery then known, could overcome the resistance of 
almost any number of foot-soldiers in light marching 
gear and armed with the antiquated pike, the affair may 
be worthy of a moment's attention ; and for this improve- 
ment, itself now as obsolete as the slings and cataphracts 
of Roman legions, the world was indebted to Maurice. 
But the shock of mighty armies, the manoeuvering of vast 
masses in one magnificent combination, by which the 


fate of empires, the happiness or the miseiy of the peo- 
ples for generations, may perhaps be decided in a few 
hours, undoubtedly require a higher constructive genius 
than could be displayed in any such hand-to-hand en- 
counter as that of Turnhout, scientifically managed as it 
unquestionably was. The true and abiding interest of 
the battle is derived from its moral effect, from its influ- 
ence on the people of the Netherlands. And this could 
scarcely be exaggerated. The nation was electrified, 
transformed in an instant. Who now should henceforth 
dare to say that one Spanish fighting man was equal to 
five or ten Hollanders ? At last the days of Jemmingen 
and Mooker Heath needed no longer to be remembered 
by every patriot with a shudder of shame. Here at 
least in the open field a Spanish army, after in vain re- 
fusing a combat and endeavoring to escape, had literally 
bitten the dust before one fourth of its own number. 
And this effect was a permanent one. Thenceforth for 
foreign powers to talk of mediation between the Republic 
and the ancient master, to suggest schemes of reconcilia- 
tion and of a return to obedience, was to offer gratuitous 
and trivial insult, and we shall very soon have occasion 
to mark the simple eloquence with which the thirty-eight 
Spanish standards of Turnhout, hung up in the old hall 
of The Hague, were made to reply to the pompous rheto- 
ric of an interfering ambassador. 

This brief episode was not immediately followed by 
other military events of importance in the provinces dur- 
ing what remained of the winter. Very early in the 
spring, however, it was probable that the campaign 
might open simultaneously in France and on the fron- 
tiers of Flanders. Of aU the cities in the north of 
France there was none, after Rouen, so important, so 


populous, so wealthy as Amiens. Situate in fertile fields, 
within three days' march of Paris, with no intervening 
forests or other impediments of a physical nature to free 
communication, it was the key to the gates of the capi- 
tal. It had no garrison, for the population numbered 
fifteen thousand men able to bear arms, and the inhabi- 
tants valued themselves on the prowess of their trained 
militiamen, five thousand of whom they boasted to be 
able to bring into the field at an hour's notice, and they 
were perfectly loyal to Henry. 

One morning in March there came a party of peasants, 
fifteen or twenty in number, laden with sacks of chest- 
nuts and walnuts, to the northernmost gate of the town. 
They offered them for sale, as usual, to the soldiers at 
the guard-house, and chaffered and jested, as boors and 
soldiers are wont to do, over their wares. It so hap- 
pened that in the course of the bargaining one of the 
bags became untied, and its contents, much to the dis- 
satisfaction of the proprietor, were emptied on the 
ground. There was a scramble for the walnuts, and 
much shouting, kicking, and squabbling ensued, grow- 
ing almost into a quarrel between the burgher soldiers 
and the peasants. As the altercation was at its height a 
heavy wagon, laden with long planks, came toward the 
gate for the use of carpenters and architects within the 
town. The portcullis was drawn up to admit this lum- 
bering vehicle, but, in the confusion caused by the chance 
medley going on at the guard-house, the gate dropped 
again before the wagon had fairly got through the pas- 
sage, and remained resting upon the timber with which 
it was piled. 

At that instant a shrill whistle was heard, and as if 
by magic the twenty chestnut-selling peasants were sud- 


denly transformed to Spanish and Walloon soldiers 
armed to the teeth, who were presently reinforced by as 
many more of their comrades, who sprang from beneath 
the plank- work by which the real contents of the wagon 
had thus been screened. Captain Dognano, his brother 
the sergeant-major, Captain d'Arco, and other officers of 
a Walloon regiment stationed in Dourlens, were the 
leaders of the little party, and while they were busily 
occupied in putting the soldiers of the watch, thus taken 
unawares, to death, the master spirit of the whole adven- 
ture suddenly made his appearance and entered the city 
at the head of fifteen hundred men. This was an ex- 
tremely smaU, yellow, dried-up, energetic Spanish cap- 
tain ^ with a long red beard, Heman Tello de Porto 
Carrero by name, governor of the neighboring city of 
Dourlens, who had conceived this plan for obtaining 
possession of Amiens. Having sent these disguised sol- 
diers on before him, he had passed the night with his 
men in ambush until the signal shoidd sound. The 
burghers of the town were mostly in church ; none were 
dreaming of an attack, as men rarely do,— for otherwise 
how should they ever be surprised ?— and in half an hour 
Amiens was the property of Philip of Spain. There 
were not very many lives lost, for the resistance was 
small, but great numbers were tortured for ransom, and 
few women escaped outrage. The sack was famous, for 
the city was rich and the captors were few in number, 
so that each soldier had two or three houses to plunder 
for his own profit. 

Wlien the work was done the faubourgs were all de- 
stroyed, for it was the intention of the conquerors to 
occupy the place, which would be a most convenient 

1 Coloma, 262. 


basis of operations for any attack upon Paris, and it 
was desirable to contract the limits to be defended. 
Fifteen hundred houses, many of them beautiful villas 
surrounded with orchards and pleasure-gardens, were 
soon in flames, and afterward razed to the ground. The 
governor of the place. Count Saint-Pol, managed to effect 
his escape. His place was now supplied by the Marquis 
of Montenegro, an Italian in the service of the Spanish 
king. Such was the fate of Amiens in the month of 
March, 1597 ; ^ such the result of the refusal by the citi- 
zens to accept the garrison urged upon them by Henry. 
It would be impossible to exaggerate the consternation 
produced throughout France by this astounding and 
altogether unlooked-for event. " It seemed," said Presi- 
dent de Thou, ''as if it had extinguished in a moment 
the royal majesty and the French name." A few nights 
later than the date of this occurrence Maximilian de 
Bethune ^ (afterward Duke of Sully, but then called Mar- 
quis de Rosny) was asleep in his bed in Paris. He had 
returned, at past two o'clock in the morning, from a 
magnificent ball given by the Constable of France. The 
capital had been uncommonly brilliant during the win- 
ter with banquets and dances, tourneys and masquerades, 
as if to cast a lurid glare over the unutterable misery of 
the people and the complete desolation of the country ; 
but this entertainment — given by Montmorency in 
honor of a fair dame with whom he supposed himself 
desperately in love, the young bride of a very ancient 
courtier— surpassed in splendor every festival that had 

1 Bor, iv. 314, 315. Meteren, 395, 396. Bentivoglio, 447. 
Coloma, 238-262. De Thou, xiii. 103-109, 118. Albert to Philip, 
March 14, 1597, Arch, de Sim. MS. 

2 De Thou, xiii. 109. 

VOL. IV.— 32 


been heard of for years. De B^thune had hardly lost 
himself in slumber when he was startled by Beringen, 
who, on drawing his curtains in this dead hour of the 
night, presented such a ghastly visage that the faithful 
friend of Henry instantly imagined some personal dis- 
aster to his well-beloved sovereign. ''Is the king 
dead?" he cried. ^ 

Being reassured as to this point and told to hasten to 
the Louvre, Rosny instantly compKed with the command. 
When he reached the palace he was admitted at once to 
the royal bedchamber, where he found the king in the 
most unsophisticated of costumes, striding up and down 
the room, with his hands clasped together behind his 
head, and with an expression of agony upon his face. 
Many courtiers were assembled there, stuck all of them 
like images against the wall, staring before them in 
helpless perplexity.^ 

Henry rushed forward as Rosny entered, and wring- 
ing him by the hand, exclaimed : *' Ah, my friend, what 
a misfortune ! Amiens is taken." 

"Very well," replied the financier, with unperturbed 
visage ; " I have just completed a plan which will restore 
to your Majesty not only Amiens but many other places." 

The king drew a great sigh of relief and asked for his 
project. Rosny, saying that he would instantly go and 
fetch his papers, left the apartment for an interval, in 
order to give vent to the horrible agitation which he had 
been enduring and so bravely concealing ever since the 
fatal words had been spoken. That a city so important, 
the key to Paris, without a moment's warning, without 
the semblance of a siege, should thus fall into the hands 
of the enemy, was a blow as directly to the heart of De 

1 Sully, M6moires, i. 484 seq. 2 Ibid. 


Bethune as it could have been to any other of Henry's 
adherents. But while they had been distracting the 
king by unavailing curses or wailings, Henry, who had 
received the intelligence just as he was getting into bed, 
had sent for support and consolation to the tried friend 
of years, and he now reproachfully contrasted their 
pusillanimity with De Rosny's fortitude. 

A great plan for reorganizing the finances of the king- 
dom was that very night submitted by Eosny to the 
king, and it was wrought upon day by day thereafter 
until it was carried into effect. 

It must be confessed that the crudities and immorali- 
ties which the project revealed do not inspire the politi- 
cal student of modern days with so high a conception of 
the financial genius of the great minister as his calm 
and heroic deportment on trying occasions, whether on 
the battle-field or in the council-chamber, does of his 
natural authority over his fellow-men. The scheme was 
devised to put money in the king's coffers, which at that 
moment were completely empty. Its chief features 
were to create a great many new offices in the various 
courts of justice and tribunals of administration, all to 
be disposed of by sale to the highest bidder ; to extort a 
considerable loan from the chief courtiers and from the 
richest burghers in the principal towns ; to compel all the 
leading peculators, whose name in the public service was 
legion, to disgorge a portion of their ill-gotten gains 
on being released from prosecution ; and to increase the 
tax upon salt.^ 

Such a project hardly seems a masterpiece of ethics or 
political economy, but it was hailed with rapture by the 
needy monarch. At once there was a wild excitement 

1 Sully, M^moires, i. liv. ix. 485 seq. 


among the jobbers and speculators in places. The 
creation of an indefinite number of new judgeships and 
magistracies, to be disposed of at auction, was a tempt- 
ing opportunity even in that age of corruption. One of 
the most notorious traders in the judicial ermine, limp- 
ing Robin de Tours by name, at once made a private 
visit to Madame de Rosny, and offered seventy-two thou- 
sand crowns for the exclusive right to distribute these 
new offices. If this could be managed to his satisfac- 
tion, he promised to give her a diamond worth two thou- 
sand crowns, and another worth six thousand to her 
husband. The wife of the great minister, who did not 
comprehend the whole amount of the insult, presented 
Robin to her husband. She was enlightened, however, 
as to the barefaced iniquity of the offer when she heard 
De Bethune's indignant reply and saw the jobber limp 
away crestfallen and amazed. That a financier or a 
magistrate should decline a bribe or interfere with the 
private sale of places, which were, after all, objects of 
merchandise, was to him incomprehensible. The in- 
dustrious Robin, accordingly, recovering from his dis- 
comfiture, went straightway to the chancellor, and con- 
cluded the same bargain in the council-chamber which 
had been rejected by De Bethune, with the slight differ- 
ence that the distribution of the places was assigned to 
the speculator for seventy-five thousand instead of 
seventy-two thousand crowns. It was with great diffi- 
culty that De Bethune, who went at once to the king 
with complaints and insinuations as to the cleanness of 
the chancellor's hands, was able to cancel the operation.^ 
The day was fast approaching when the universal im- 
poverishment of the great nobles and landholders— the 

1 Sully, M^moires, i. liv. ix. 490. 


result of the long, hideous, senseless massacres called 
the wars of religion— was to open the way for the labor- 
ing classes to acquire a property in the soil. Thus that 
famous fowl in every pot was to make its appearance, 
which vulgar tradition ascribes to the bounty of a king 
who hated everything like popular rights, and loved no- 
thing but his own glory and his own amusement. It was 
not until the days of his grandchildren and great-grand- 
children that Privilege could renew those horrible out- 
rages on the People, which were to be avenged by a dread 
series of wars, massacres, and crimes, compared to which 
even the religious conflicts of the sixteenth century grow 

Meantime De Bethune comforted his master with these 
financial plans, and assured him in the spirit of prophecy 
that the King of Spain, now tottering, as it was thought, 
to his grave, would soon be glad to make a favorable 
peace with France, even if he felt obliged to restore not 
only Amiens but every other city or stronghold that he 
had ever conquered in that kingdom. Time would soon 
show whether this prediction were correct or delusive ; 
but while the secret negotiations between Henry and 
the pope were vigorously proceeding for that peace with 
Spain which the world in general and the commonwealth 
of the Netherlands in particular thought to be furthest 
from the warlike king's wishes, it was necessary to set 
about the siege of Amiens. 

Henry assembled a force of some twelve or fifteen 
thousand men for that purpose, while the cardinal arch- 
duke, upon his part, did his best to put an army in the 
field in order to relieve the threatened city so recently 
acquired by a coarse but successful artifice. 

But Albert was in even a worse plight than that in 


which his great antagonist found himseK. When he had 
first arrived in the provinces, his exchequer was over- 
flowing, and he was even supposed to devote a consider- 
able portion of the military funds to defray the expenses 
of his magnificent housekeeping at Brussels.^ But those 
halcyon days were over, A gigantic fraud just per- 
petrated by Philip had descended like a thunderbolt 
upon the provinces and upon all commercial Europe, 
and had utterly blasted the unfortunate viceroy. In 
the latter days of the preceding year the king had issued 
a general repudiation of his debts. 

He did it solemnly, too, and with great religious unc- 
tion, for it was a peculiarity of this remarkable sover- 
eign that he was ever wont to accomplish his darkest 
crimes, whether murders or stratagems, as if they were 
acts of virtue. Perhaps he really believed them to be 
such, for a man before whom so many millions of his 
fellow-worms had been writhing for half a century in 
the dust might well imagine himseK a deity. 

So the king, on the 20th November, 1596, had pub- 
licly revoked all the assignments, mortgages, and other 
deeds by which the royal domains, revenues, taxes, and 
other public property had been transferred or pledged 
for moneys already advanced to merchants, bankers, and 
other companies or individuals, and formally took them 
again into his own possession, on the ground that his 
exertions in carrying on this long war to save Chris- 

1 "Non possiede 1' amore di quei popoli quanto bisognerebbe, 
oltrecchS ha nome di non favorir molto la soldatesca e di gettar 
gran parte di denaro che doverebbe esser distribuito alle milizie in 
quelli deUa sua propria casa e nel sostentar la propria albagia. 
Da che nasce poi che si veggono tante soUevazioni e le cose di 
quella guerra prendono sempre peggior piega."— Soranzo, 
Belazione, before cited, 168. 


tianity from destruction had reduced him to beggary, 
while the money-lenders, by charging him exorbitant in- 
terest, had all grown rich at his expense.^ 

This was perfectly simple. There was no attempt to 
disguise the villainy of the transaction. The massacre 
of so many millions of Protestants, the gigantic but 
puerile attempts to subjugate the Dutch Republic and 
to annex France, England, and the German Empire to 
his hereditary dominions, had been attended with more 

1 "Whereas it has come to our knowledge," so ran this famous 
proclamation of repudiation in its principal paragraphs, "that 
notwithstanding all which our royal incomes from this monarchy 
and from without have yielded, together with the assistance ren- 
dered to us by his Holiness to maintain the war against the Eng- 
lish and to protect the Catholic religion, and with the steady 
burdens borne for this object by the subjects and vassals of the 
crown, according to their ancient and great fidelity, and besides 
the great abundance of the gold and silver produced by our 
Indies, likewise all that has come from the sums furnished by the 
farmers of our finances and revenues, we find ourselves now so 
wholly exhausted and ruined, and our royal inherited estates so 
diminished, and, as it were, reduced to nothing, that, although the 
foremost cause of this ruin is the great and incredible expense 
which we have sustained and are still enduring for the protection 
of Christendom, of our kingdom and domains, other chief causes 
are the grievous damages, discounts, and interest which have 
been forced upon us, and which at present obtain in the finances, 
bills of exchange, and other obligations which have been made 
and taken up in our name, since we could not escape the same in 
order to be able to provide for our so entirely necessary and 
pressing necessities. Thus all our domains, taxes, revenues, and 
all ordinary and extraordinary resources stand burdened and cov- 
ered with obligations in the hands of merchants. And what is 
most oppressive, our afl'airs are come to extremities through our 
having no means by which we might help ourselves, nor do we know 
of any other resources that we can make use of. And now the 
said merchants, who hitherto have given on bills of exchange 


expense than Philip had calculated upon. The enormous 
wealth which a long series of marriages, inheritances, 
conquests, and maritime discoveries had heaped upon 
Spain had been exhausted by the insane ambition of the 
king to exterminate heresy throughout the world, and 
to make himself the sovereign of one undivided, univer- 
sal Catholic monarchy. All the gold and silver of 
America had not sufficed for this purpose, and he had 

such moneys as were necessary to provide for the protection of our 
royal state and to carry on the war which we are waging for these 
righteous and special reasons, refuse to do this any longer, and 
make diflScultios in further dealing with us, seeing that they have 
in their own hands and power all the royal revenues by means of 
the said pledges, certificates, and transfers, and hereby such 
embarrassments arise that if they are not provided against it 
would be enough to put in hazard all that which God the Lord has 
80 highly commanded us to perform, namely, the protection and 
maintenance of the Catholic Church, of our subjects and vassals 
and all those who dwell under our government. . . . 

"Therefore to put an end to such financiering and unhallowed 
practices with bills of exchange which have been introduced and 
have spread abroad among so many people, who in order to follow 
such pursuits have abandoned agriculture, cattle-raising, and 
mechanical works, and embarked in trade, finding therein gain 
and profit to the disservice of the Lord God and of us, with great 
injury to our kingdom, . . . and which have brought great masses 
of coin and species to flow out of India [i. e., America] into the 
kingdoms and lands of the rebels and foes of Christianity and of 
us, enabling them to keep everything in commotion, so that we 
are compelled to increase our armaments and our forces, and to 
incur more expenses, we have now given command to devise some 
means of restoring order and of accomplishing in the best possible 
way that which we are so highly and legally bound to do, where- 
upon hang the protection of Christendom and the security of our 
realms ; and we have found no other remedy than to call in and to 
disburden our royal incomes, liberating the same from the unjust 
damage put upon them through this financiering and bills of ex- 


seen with an ever-rising indignation those very precious 
metals which, in his ignorance of the laws of trade, he 
considered his exclusive property flowing speedily into 
the coffers of the merchants of Europe, especially those 
of the hated commonwealth of the rebellious Nether- 

Therefore he solemnly renounced all his contracts, 
and took God to witness that it was to serve his divine 
will.i How else could he hope to continue his massacre 
of the Protestants? 

The effect of the promulgation of this measure was 
instantaneous. Two millions and a half of bills of ex- 
change sold by the Cardinal Albert came back in one 

change, which we have suffered and are continuing to suffer at the 
time we made such contracts, in order to avoid still greater embar- 
rassments that would have arisen had there been want of provision 
for our military affairs. . . . Having decided to cancel and anni- 
hilate all the aforesaid interests and impositions, we shall afterward 
meditate upon ways and means by which may be paid to the 
merchants and traders what may seem to us properly due to them 
in regard to these contracts, transfers, and assignments. . . . 
Accordingly, we suspend and declare suspended all such assig- 
nations made by us in any manner whatsoever since September 1, 
1575, and December 1, 1577, unto this date, to the said merchants 
and traders, whether of taxes, gifts, domains, rents, or any other 
property or revenues whatsoever, on account of such bills of ex- 
change or other advances. And we order the moneys coming from 
such pledged property to be henceforth paid into our royal 
treasury, for the support of our own necessities, declaring from 
this day forth all payments otherwise made to be null and void. 

"November 20, 1596." 

Bor, iii. |318, 319. Herrera, iii. 711 seq. Compare Reyd, 301, 
302. Meteren, 388-391. It was found necessary after the expira- 
tion of a year to revoke these orders, as the usual consequences of 
repudiation followed. 

1 Bor, Herrera, ubi sup. 


day protested. The chief merchants and bankers of 
Europe suspended payment. Their creditors became 
bankrupt. At the Frankfort fair there were more fail- 
ures in one day than there had ever been in all the years 
since Frankfort existed.^ In Genoa alone a million dol- 
lars of interest were confiscated.^ It was no better in 
Antwerp ; but Antwerp was already ruined. There was 
a general howl of indignation and despair upon every 
exchange, in every counting-room, in every palace, in 
every cottage of Christendom. Such a tremendous 
repudiation of national debts was never heard of before. 
There had been debasements of the currency, petty 
frauds by kings upon their unfortunate peoples, but 
such a crime as this had never been conceived by human 
heart before. 

The archduke was fain to pawn his jewelry, his plate, 
his furniture, to support the daily expenses of his house- 
hold. Meantime he was to set an army in the field to 
relieve a city beleaguered by the most warlike monarch 
in Christendom. Fortunately for him, that prince was 
in very similar straits, for the pressure upon the pub- 
lic swindlers and the auction sales of judicial ermine 
throughout his kingdom were not as rapidly productive 
as had been hoped. 

It was precisely at this moment, too, that an incident 
of another nature occurred in Antwerp, which did not 
tend to make the believers in the possibility of religious 
or political freedom more in love with the system of 
Spain and Rome. Those blood-dripping edicts against 
heresy in the Netherlands, of which enough has been 
said in previous volumes of this history, and which had 
caused the deaths, by ax, fagot, halter, or burial alive, 
1 Bor, Reyd, ubi sup. 2 ihi^. 


of at least fifty thousand human creatures, however 
historical skepticism may shut its eyes to evidence, had 
now been dormant for twenty years. Their activity had 
ceased with the Pacification of Ghent 5 but the devilish 
spirit which had inspired them still lived in the persons 
of the Jesuits, and there were now more Jesuits in the 
obedient provinces than there had been for years. We 
have seen that Champagny's remedy for the ills the 
country was enduring was '■'■ more Jesuits." And this, 
too, was Albert's recipe. Always more Jesuits.^ And 
now the time had come when the Jesuits thought that 
they might step openly with their works into the day- 
light again. Of late years they had shrouded them- 
selves in comparative mystery, but from their seminaries 
and colleges had gone forth a plentiful company of 
assassins against Elizabeth and Henry, Nassau, Barne- 
veldt, and others who, whether avowedly or involun- 
tarily, were prominent in the party of human progress. 
Some important murders had already been accomplished, 
and the prospect was fair that stUl others might follow, 
if the Jesuits persevered. Meantime those ecclesiastics 
thought that a wholesome example might be set to hum- 
bler heretics by the spectacle of a public execution. 

Two maiden ladies lived on the north rampart of Ant- 
werp. They had formerly professed the Protestant 
religion, and had been thrown into prison for that crime ; 
but the fear of further persecution, human weakness, 
or perhaps sincere conviction, had caused them to re- 
nounce the error of their ways, and they now went to 
mass. But they had a maid-servant, forty years of age, 
Anna van den Hove by name, who was stanch in that 
Reformed faith in which she had been born and bred. 

1 Albert to Philip, May 3, 1596, Arch, de Sim. MS. 


The Jesuits denounced this maid-servant to the civil 
authority, and claimed her condemnation and execution 
under the edicts of 1540, decrees which every one had 
supposed as obsolete as the statutes of Draco, which they 
had so entirely put to shame. 

The sentence having been obtained from the docile 
and priest-ridden magistrates, Anna van den Hove was 
brought to Brussels and informed that she was at once 
to be buried alive. At the same time the Jesuits told 
her that by converting herself to the Church she might 
escape punishment.^ 

When King Henry IV. was summoned to renounce 
that same Huguenot faith of which he was the political 
embodiment and the military champion, the candid man 
answered by the simple demand to be instructed. When 
the proper moment came, the instruction was accom- 
plished by an archbishop with the rapidity of magic. 
Half an hour undid the work of half a lifetime. Thus 
expeditiously could religious conversion be effected when 
an earthly crown was its guerdon. The poor serving- 
maid was less open to conviction. In her simple fanati- 
cism she, too, talked of a crown, and saw it descending 
from heaven on her poor, forlorn head as the reward, not 
of apostasy, but of steadfastness. She asked her tor- 
mentors how they could expect her to abandon her re- 
ligion for fear of death. She had read her Bible every 
day, she said, and had found nothing there of the pope 
or purgatory, masses, invocation of saints, or the abso- 
lution of sins except through the blood of the blessed 
Redeemer. She interfered with no one who thought 
differently ; she quarreled with no one's religious belief. 
She had prayed for enlightenment from Him, if she 
1 Bor, iv. 334, 335. Meteren, 400. 


were in error, and the result was that she felt strength- 
ened in her simplicity, and resolved to do nothing against 
her conscience. Rather than add this sin to the mani- 
fold ones committed by her, she preferred, she said, to 
die the death. So Anna van den Hove was led, one fine 
midsummer morning, to the hay-field outside of Brus- 
sels, between two Jesuits, followed by a number of a 
peculiar kind of monks called love-brothers. Those holy 
men goaded her as she went, telling her that she was 
the devil's carrion, and calling on her to repent at the 
last moment, and thus save her life and escape eternal 
damnation besides. But the poor soul had no ear for 
them, and cried out that, like Stephen, she saw the 
heavens opening, and the angels stooping down to con- 
duct her far away from the power of the evil one. When 
they came to the hay-field they found the pit already 
dug, and the maid-servant was ordered to descend into 
it. The executioner then covered her with earth up to 
the waist, and- a last summons was made to her to re- 
nounce her errors. She refused, and then the earth was 
piled upon her, and the hangman jumped upon the 
grave till it was flattened and firm.^ 

Of all the religious murders done in that hideous six- 
teenth century in the Netherlands, the burial of the 
Antwerp servant-maid was the last and the worst. The 
worst, because it was a cynical and deliberate attempt 
to revive the demon whose thirst for blood had been at 
last allayed, and who had sunk into repose. And it was 
a spasmodic revival only, for, in the provinces at least, 
that demon had finished his work. 

Still, on the eastern borders of what was called civili- 
zation, Turk and Christian were contending for the 

1 Bor, Meteren, ubi sup. 


mastery. The great battle of Kovesd had decided 
nothing, and the crescent still shone over the fortified 
and most important Hungarian stronghold of Raab, 
within arm's-length of Vienna. How rapidly might that 
fatal and menacing emblem fill its horns, should it once 
be planted on the walls of the imperial capital ! It was 
not wonderful that a sincere impatience should be felt 
by all the frontier states for the termination of the in- 
surrection of the Netherlands. Would that rebellious 
and heretical Republic only consent to go out of exis- 
tence, again bow its stubborn knee to Philip and the 
pope, what a magnificent campaign might be made 
against Mohammed ! The King of Spain was the only 
potentate at all comparable in power to the Grand Turk. 
The King of France, most warlike of men, desired 
nothing better, as he avowed, than to lead his brave 
nobles into Hungary to smite the unbelievers. Even 
Prince Maurice, it was fondly hoped, might be induced 
to accept a high command in the united armies of 
Christendom, and seek for glory by campaigning, in 
alliance with Philip, Rudolph, and Henry, against the 
Ottoman, rather than against his natural sovereign. 
Such were the sagacity, the insight, the power of fore- 
casting the future possessed in those days by monarchs, 
statesmen, and diplomatists who were imagining that 
they held the world's destiny in their hands. 

There was this summer a solemn embassy from the 
emperor to the States-General, proposing mediation, re- 
ferring in the usual conventional phraseology to the 
right of kings to command and to the duty of the peo- 
ple to submit, and urging the gentle-mindedness and 
readiness to forgive which characterized the sovereign 
of the Netherlands and of Spain. 


And the statesmen of the Republic had answered as 
they always did, showing, with courteous language, ir- 
resistible logic, and at unmerciful length, that there 
never had been kings in the Netherlands at all, and that 
the gentle-mindedness of Philip had been exhibited in 
the massacre of a hundred thousand Netherlanders in 
various sieges and battles, and in the murder, under the 
Duke of Alva alone, of twenty thousand human beings 
by the hangman.^ 

They liked not such divine right nor such gentle- 
mindedness. They recognized no duty on their part to 
consent to such a system. Even the friendly King of 
Denmark sent a legation for a similar purpose, which 
was respectfully but very decidedly allowed to return as 
it came; 2 but the most persistent in schemes of interfer- 
ence for the purpose of putting an end to the effusion of 
blood in the Netherlands was Sigismund of Poland. This 
monarch, who occupied two very incompatible positions, 
being sovereign at once of fanatically Protestant Sweden 
and of orthodox Poland, and who was, moreover, son-in- 
law of Archduke Charles of Styria, — whose other daugh- 
ter was soon to be espoused by the Prince of Spain,— 
was personally and geographically interested in liberat- 
ing Philip from the inconvenience of his Netherland war. 
Only thus could he hope to bring the Spanish power to 
the rescue of Christendom against the Turk. Troubles 
enough were in store for Sigismund in his hereditary 
Northern realms, and he was to learn that his intermar- 
riage with the great Catholic and imperial house did not 
enable him to trample out Protestantism in those hardy 
Scandinavian and Flemish regions where it had taken 
secure root. Meantime he despatched, in solemn mis- 
1 Bor, iv. 358. 2 i^id., iv. 376. 


sion to the Republic and to the heretic queen, a diplo- 
matist whose name and whose oratorical efforts have by 
a caprice of history been allowed to endure to our times. 

Paul Dialyn was solemnly received at The Hague on 
the 21st July.i A pragmatical fop, attired in a long, 
magnificent Polish robe, covered with diamonds and 
other jewels, he was yet recognized by some of those 
present as having been several years before a student at 
Leyden under a different name, and with far less gor- 
geous surroundings.^ He took up his position in the 
council-chamber,in the presence of the stadholder and the 
leading members of the States-General, and pronounced 
a long Latin oration, in the manner, as it was said, of a 
monk delivering a sermon from the pulpit. He kept his 
eyes steadily fixed on the ceiling, never once looking at 
the men whom he was addressing, and speaking in a 
loud, nasal, dictatorial tone, not at all agreeable to the 
audience. He dwelt in terms of extravagant eulogy on 
the benignity and gentleness of the King of Spain,— 
qualities in which he asserted that no prince on earth 
could be compared to him, — and he said this to the very 
face of Maurice of Nassau. That the benignant and 
gentle king had caused the stadholder's father to be 
assassinated, and that he had rewarded the murderer's 
family with a patent of nobility and with an ample rev- 
enue taken from the murdered man's property, appeared 
of no account to the envoy in the full sweep of his 
rhetoric. Yet the reminiscence caused a shudder of dis- 
gust in all who heard him. 

He then stated the wish of his master the Polish king 
to be that, in consideration of the present state of Eu- 
rope in regard to the Turk, the provinces might reconcile 

1 Bor, iv. 332-334. Reyd, 304, 305. 2 Reyd, ubi sup. 


themselves to their natural master, who was the most 
powerful monarch in Christendom, and the only one 
able to make head against the common foe. They were 
solemnly warned of the enormous power and resources 
of the Great King, with whom it was hopeless for them 
to protract a struggle sure to end at last in their utter- 
most destruction. It was for kings to issue commands, 
he said, and for the people to obey ; but Philip was full 
of sweetness, and would accord them full forgiveness for 
their manifold sins against him. The wish to come to 
the rescue of Christendom, in this extreme peril from 
the Turk, was with him paramount to all other consid- 

Such, in brief, was the substance of the long Latin 
harangue by which it was thought possible to induce 
those sturdy republicans and Calvinists to renounce their 
vigorous national existence and to fall on their knees 
before the Most Catholic King. This was understood to 
be mediation, statesmanship, diplomacy, in deference to 
which the world was to pause and the course of events 
to flow backward. Truly, despots and their lackeys 
were destined to learn some rude lessons from that vigor- 
ous little commonwealth in the North Sea before it 
should have accomplished its mission on earth. 

The States-General dissembled their disgust, however, 
for it was not desirable to make open enemies of Sigis- 
mund or Rudolph. They refused to accept a copy of 
the oration, but they promised to send him a categori- 
cal answer to it in writing. Meantime the envoy had 
the honor of walking about the castle with the stad- 
holder, and in the course of their promenade Maurice 
pointed to the thirty-eight standards taken at the battle 

^ Bor, ubi sup. 
VOL. IV.— 33 


of Tumhout, which hung from the cedarn rafters of the 
ancient banqueting-hall.^ The mute eloquence of those 
tattered banners seemed a not illogical reply to the diplo- 
matic Paul's rhetoric in regard to the hopelessness of a 
contest with Spanish armies. 

Next, Van der Werken, pensionary of Leyden, and a 
classical scholar, waited upon the envoy with a Latin 
reply to his harangue, together with a courteous letter 
for Sigismund. Both documents were scathing denun- 
ciations of the policy pursued by the King of Spain and 
by all his aiders and abettors, and a distinct but polished 
refusal to listen to a single word in favor of mediation 
or of peace. 

Paul Dialyn then received a courteous permission to 
leave the territory of the Republic, and was subsequently 
forwarded in a states' vessel of war to England. 

His reception, about a month later, by Queen Elizabeth 
is an event on which all English historians are fond of 
dwelling. The pedant, on being presented to that im- 
perious and accomplished sovereign, deported himself 
with the same ludicrous arrogance which had character- 
ized him at The Hague. His Latin oration, which had 
been duly drawn up for him by the chancellor of Sweden, 
was quite as impertinent as his harangue to the States- 
General had been, and was delivered with the same con- 
ceited air. The queen replied on the instant in the same 
tongue. She was somewhat in a passion, but spoke with 
majestic moderation.^ 

" Oh, how I have been deceived ! " she exclaimed. " I 
expected an ambassador, and behold a herald ! In all 

1 Bor, ubi sup. 

2 Camden, 536, 537. Bor, iv. 350. Wright, Queen Elizabeth 
and her Times, ii. 480. 


my life I never heard of such an oration. Your bold- 
ness and unadvised temerity I cannot suflBciently admire. 
But if the king your master has given you any such 
thing in charge— which I much doubt— I believe it is 
because, being but a young man, and lately advanced to 
the crown, not by ordinary succession of blood, but by 
election, he understandeth not yet the way of such 
affairs." And so on for several minutes longer. 

Never did envoy receive such a setting down from 

" God's death, my lords ! " said the queen to her minis- 
ters, as she concluded, "I have been enforced this day 
to scour up my old Latin that hath lain long in rusting." ^ 

This combination of ready wit, high spirit, and good 
Latin justly excited the enthusiasm of the queen's sub- 
jects, and endeared her still more to every English heart. 
It may, however, be doubted whether the famous reply 
was in reality so entirely extemporaneous as it has usu- 
ally been considered. The States- General had lost no 
time in forwarding to England a minute account of the 
proceedings of Paul Dialyn at The Hague, together with 
a sketch of his harangue and of the reply on behalf of 
the states.^ Her Majesty and her councilors therefore, 
knowing that the same envoy was on his way to Eng- 
land with a similar errand, may be supposed to have had 
leisure to prepare the famous impromptu. Moreover, it 
is difficult to understand, on the presumption that these 
classic utterances were purely extemporaneous, how 
they have kept their place in all chronicles and histories 
from that day to the present, without change of a word 
in the text. Surely there was no stenogr