By the Rev. GEORGE EDMUNDSON, M.A., formerly Fellow and Tutor of Brasenose College, Oxford.

Abdication of sovereignty of the Netherlands by Charles V, 1555. 182

Character and policy of Philip II . 183

Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis, 1659 . 184

financial and religious causes of discontent in the Netherlands. 185

The Inquisition. Increase of the episcopate . 186

Philip's departure . 187

Margaret of Parma Regent . . 188

Granvelle . . 189

Egmont. William of Orange. His early life . 190

Growth of antagonism between him and Philip . 191

The great nobles and the Consulta . 192

Orange marries Anne of Saxony . 193

League of nobles against Granvelle . 194

Letter of the leaders to Philip II. 195

The liveries. 196

Granvelle leaves the Netherlands . 197

Abolition of the Consulta. Order for carrying out the Decrees of Council of Trent . 198

Protest of Orange. Egmont in Spain . 199

Failure of his mission . 200

Enforcement of the Placards and the Tridentine Decrees. Movement among the lesser nobility . 201

The " Compromise." Lewis of Nassau . 202

The "Request". . 203

The Culemburg Banquet. The "Gueux" . 204

Montigny and Berghen in Spain . 205

The Calvinist preachers . 206

Meeting at St Trond . 207

Iconoclastic riots and outrages . 208

Meeting of leaders at Dendermonde . 210

Orange at Antwerp. Massacre of Austruweel . 211

Orange leaves the Netherlands . 213

Alva at Brussels, 1567. His reception by Margaret . 214

Arrest of Egmont and Hoorn . 215

The "Council of Blood" . 216

Departure of Margaret of Parma . 217

Kidnapping of Count van Buren . 218

Condemnation of Egmont and Hoorn . 219

Their execution, 1568, and its effects . 220



IN 1555 an event occurred, destined to be of critical importance in the history of the Netherlands-the world-famous abdication of Charles V. The Emperor was but fifty-five years old, when, prematurely aged and already worn out by a life of incessant care and strife, he took the momentous resolve which he had for some years meditated, to hand over his dominions to his son Philip, and spend the rest of his days in the retirement of a monastery.

Philip, already invested with the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily and the duchy of Milan, and compensated for the loss of the Empire by becoming, through his marriage with Mary Tudor, King-Consort of England, was residing in that country, when in the early summer of 1555 he was summoned by his father to Brussels. Charles was the wearer of many crowns, but amongst them all, as a final token of his peculiar affection for his native land, it was his abdication of the sovereignty of the seventeen Provinces of the Burgundian Netherlands that he resolved to mark specially by an act of solemn and impressive publicity. The ceremony took place in the great hall of the palace of Brussels. Hither, on the afternoon of Friday, October 25, 1555, the deputies of the Provinces repaired. They took their seats before a dais, in the centre of which, beneath a canopy emblazoned with the arms of Burgundy, were three gilt chairs of state, the central one for the Emperor, that on the right for King Philip, that on the left for the Regent, Maria, Queen of Hungary. On one side sat the Knights of the Golden Fleece, on the other the great notables, in front the members of the Council of State, the Privy Council, and the Council of Finance. After executing the deed of abdication and attending mass in the private chapel Charles entered the hall, walking with difficulty, his right hand resting upon the shoulder of the youthful William, Prince of Orange. He was followed by Philip, Queen Maria of Hungary, his sister Eleanor, Dowager Queen of France, his nephew Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy, and a resplendent train of great nobles and officials. The spacious hall was crowded to the door; and the vast assemblage, which had risen to greet their sovereign for

the last time, waited now breathlessly expectant for what was to follow. After Duke Philibert had stated, at the Emperor's command, the reasons for which the assemblage had been called together, Charles himself rose to speak. He gave an account of his long and eventful reign, thanked his subjects for their constant dutifulness and affection, and asked them to show to his son the same love and loyalty that they had exhibited towards himself. He specially commended to them the maintenance of the true faith and obedience to the Church, and concluded by asking them to forgive any errors into which he might have fallen, and any wrongs which he might have unwittingly committed.

At this point, overcome by his growing emotion, the Emperor's voice refused to proceed. The delivery of a lengthy and fulsome reply on behalf of the States General by Jacques Maes, Pensionary of Antwerp, despite its prolixity, came no doubt as a not unwelcome interlude between the outburst of deep feeling which Charles' words had aroused, and that which was called forth when the Emperor again rose, and proceeded to invest his son, who knelt before him, with the sovereignty of the Netherlands. It was a moment when, in the tension of men's minds, Philip might have seized his opportunity to use gracious language, which would have gained him at once a place in the hearts of his new subjects. That he did not do so was less due to his coldness of temperament than to his inability to express himself in any language but Spanish. Flemish he could not speak at all ; and, after a few words in French, he found himself obliged to call upon Antoine Perrenot, Bishop of Arras, to address the audience in his place. The contrast between father and son could scarcely have been more strikingly exhibited.

The new ruler of the Netherlands, who had thus publicly proclaimed himself a foreigner in their midst, was twenty-eight years of age. His general outward appearance was not unlike his father's, and distinctively that of a man with Teutonic blood in his veins. But it was not possible for two human beings to be further apart in temper and character than were the grave, silent, sedentary, undecided Philip, and the restless, purposeful, energetic warrior-statesman, whose promptitude of resource alike in the Cabinet and in the field was no less conspicuous than the good-humoured geniality of his manner, which subdued men's hearts.

On October 26, 1555, the day following the grand ceremony of the abdication, Philip received the deputies of the seventeen Provinces, who renewed the oath of allegiance they had already taken to him as heir-apparent in 1548 ; and he on his part again solemnly swore to maintain in each province all ancient rights, privileges, and customs, without infringing the same or suffering them to be infringed. Possibly, when he took those oaths, Philip had no intention of deliberately committing an act of perjury. The policy he adopted at the outset in the Netherlands certainly followed with precision the lines laid down by his father.

It was the man, far more than the measures, that was the inciting cause of the troubles that ended in revolt.

One of his first acts was to appoint his cousin Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy, to be Regent. Scarcely any but Spaniards were admitted to his intimate counsels with the exception of the Bishop of Arras, the son of Charles' trusted adviser, Granvelle. This statesman, though at first kept in the background, by force of sheer ability and proved usefulness gradually acquired greater and greater influence.

On February 5, 1556, through the mediation of the Queen of England, a truce for five years was patched up with France at Vaucelles. It was not, however, on either side intended to last any longer than was convenient ; and in the following year it was wantonly broken by King Henry. War ensued, in which the English Queen, much against the will of her people, was induced by her husband to take part. It was marked by the great victories achieved over the French at St Quentin (August 10, 1557), and at Gravelines (July 13, 1558). Both of these were won by the impetuous valour of Lamoral, Count of Egmont, at the head of the Flemish cavalry, who at Gravelines was much assisted by the cannon of the English fleet. These two crushing defeats brought France to her knees ; and a peace was concluded in February, 1559, at Cateau-Cambrésis. The terms were entirely to the advantage of the Spanish King, who had no scruple in allowing the French to recoup themselves at the expense of his English ally. In the course of the war Calais had been captured in the winter by a coup-de-main by a French force under the Duke of Guise. The death of Queen Mary severed the only link which bound together the interests of Philip and the island realm. The restoration of all the French conquests of the previous eight years and the hand of the Princess Elizabeth of France were cheaply purchased by acquiescence in the surrender of a town, whose fate was now to the Spanish negotiators a matter of little or no moment.

The success of Philip in thus triumphantly dictating terms to the ancient enemy of his House was not accompanied by equal success in his efforts to enforce his will on his subjects within his own borders. It was during this time that the first seeds were sown of that dissatisfaction and discontent which were to bring forth so terrible a crop of misfortunes and bloodshed. The outbreak of the Revolt of the Netherlands has been almost universally assigned by historians to a series of well-defined causes, all of which are to be traced to the course of internal policy pursued by Philip during the opening years of his rule.

These causes may be discussed under the following heads : financial embarrassments ; the placards against heresy ; the Inquisition ; the new bishoprics ; and hatred of foreign domination.

Charles V had drawn from the Netherland Provinces the necessary supplies for carrying on his wars. To this end he was obliged to impose heavy taxation. By a tactful admixture of persuasion and of force he

succeeded in wringing from his subjects vast sums, which they grudged because they were so often expended on objects in which the Nether-landers felt no interest and had no concern. He left the country and the treasury burdened with debt. Philip, on ascending the throne, found himself face to face with a most difficult financial situation, and, despite his dislike of popular assemblies, was compelled to call together the States General to vote supplies. They met accordingly at Brussels, March 12, 1556. He asked for a grant of 1,300,000 florins to meet the charges that must be paid, and proposed the levy of a tax of one per cent, (the hundredth penny) upon real estate and of two per cent, upon moveable property, to be paid in three instalments. This proposition at once aroused strong opposition, and was rejected by all the larger Provinces. Philip was too haughty to follow the example of his father in using personal means for securing the support of influential members of the States to his proposals, his ignorance of the language being in itself a considerable hindrance to his attempting such a course. He was thus obliged to accept a commutation offered by the States, and to submit at the outset of his reign to a rebuff, which was the prelude to others of a like kind. The debt which Philip had to discharge was not of his own making; the sum he asked for was no larger than the grants that had been frequently voted at the demand of Charles. Yet such was the prejudice excited from the first by their new ruler's manner and temper that, in the eyes of his suspicious subjects, when he lifted up his little finger it seemed to be thicker than his father's loins.

In the matter of the placards against heresy, Philip again simply followed in the footsteps of his predecessor, and endeavoured loyally to carry out the solemn injunctions laid upon him by the Emperor on the day of his abdication. Charles had issued during his reign a succession of Placards, or edicts, to put down the spread of the reformed doctrines in his dominions, the last and most severe of these bearing the date September 25, 1550. This edict abolished all previous enactments as not sufficiently thorough, its object as stated in the preamble being " to exterminate the root and ground of this pest." It decreed the punishment of death, by the sword, by the pit, and by fire, against all who sold, read, copied, or received heretical books, who broke or injured images of the Blessed Virgin or of the Saints, who held or permitted conventicles, who disputed upon the Holy Scriptures in public or secretly, or who preached or maintained the doctrines of condemned writers. It offered to informers half the property of the accused, and it expressly forbade the judge to mitigate the punishments on any pretext whatsoever. It even threatened with the same fate as the delinquents any person or persons who should presume to intercede on their behalf. During the regency of Maria of Hungary thousands had miserably perished by the hand of the executioner under these terrible decrees. That Philip was nothing loth to undertake the charge laid

upon him we may well believe. The doctrines which Charles had so strenuously endeavoured to repress, chiefly from motives of political expediency, his son wished to extirpate under the burning impulse of bigoted religious zeal. Nevertheless he made at first no innovation. He merely confirmed the edict of 1550, just as it stood, and directed that it should be enforced.

In an exactly similar way the papal Inquisition was introduced into the greater part of the Netherland Provinces by Charles, and was handed on as a legacy to his successor. The first Inquisitor-General was commissioned at the request of the Emperor by Pope Adrian VI ; and the system thus begun continued with gradually extended powers until, by the instructions issued in 1550, all judicial officers were made subservient to the Inquisition, and they were ordered to carry out its sentences, notwithstanding any privileges or charters to the contrary.

In the matter of the increase of the episcopate Philip again was but attempting to remedy an admitted evil, which the pressure of other affairs had alone prevented his father from dealing with. In 1555 there were but three dioceses in the whole of the Netherland Provinces, those of Tournay, Arras, and Utrecht, all of unwieldy size, especially the last-named, which comprised the whole of Holland, Zeeland, and Utrecht, besides the greater part of the provinces of Friesland, Overyssel, Drenthe and Groningen. A considerable portion of the Netherlands moreover lay outside the boundaries of these three dioceses, and was under the jurisdiction of foreign prelates. Luxemburg for instance was divided between six Bishops, none of whom resided in the duchy. Charles early in his career sought to remedy this state of things ; and but for the sudden demise of Adrian VI a scheme for the erection of a number of new sees would in all probability have received the papal sanction in 1522. The Emperor's quarrel with Clement VII and other causes rendered the later efforts of Charles abortive, though they were renewed at intervals, his last instruction on the subject bearing the date of 1551.

Philip, then, when he obtained a bull from Paul IV for the erection of a number of new bishoprics, was merely carrying out a previously conceived plan. His scheme differed from his father's only in proposing that the number of sees should be fourteen, instead of six. In 1522 the change would probably have been accepted readily as a much needed reform. In 1557 both the man and the time had altered. Everything that Philip did was viewed with mistrust; and the great increase in the number of bishops was looked upon as a first step to the introduction of the dreaded form of the Inquisition, as established in Spain. The Spanish Terror had in fact already gained possession of men's minds and aroused a feeling of instinctive opposition, mingled with antipathy to the Spanish King and all his countrymen. Here we come upon the cause which underlies all the other causes of the troubles in the Netherlands,

and which furnishes the key to the right understanding of all that follows. It was not so much the measures of Philip, however questionable these might be, which stirred up a sullen resistance, so soon to be fanned into open revolt, as his personality, that of a foreigner and the representative of a hateful foreign despotism.

These various causes of dissatisfaction were already stirring up widespread discontent throughout the provinces, when with the departure of the King a fresh stage began. Philip after his accession spent four years in the midst of his northern subjects, but he had never loved them or their ways ; and the treaty of Cateau -Cambresis was no sooner signed than he determined at the earliest opportunity to return to Spain. By the provisions of that treaty the Duke of Savoy had once more entered into the possession of his ancestral domains, and was therefore no longer able to fill the post of Governor of the Netherlands. Philip had some little difficulty in selecting among many aspirants a suitable person for the vacant dignity. His choice finally fell upon his half-sister, Margaret, Duchess of Parma. This question settled, the King at once made his arrangements for a speedy leave-taking. In July, 1559, he summoned the Chapter of the Golden Fleece (the last that ever met) to assemble at Ghent. Over this assembly, which filled up no fewer than fourteen vacancies in the Order, he presided in person. A few weeks later he bade farewell in the same town to the States General ; and finally he set sail from Flushing on August 26 for Spain. He was never again to visit the Netherlands.

Margaret, Duchess of Parma, into whose hands the reins of power now fell, was at this time thirty-seven years of age. She was a natural daughter of Charles V. Her mother was a Fleming, and she had been brought up in the Netherlands under the charge of her aunts Margaret of Austria and Maria of Hungary. At the age of twelve she had been married to Alessandro de' Medici, who died a year later. After eight years of widowhood she had to accept as her second husband Ottavio Farnese, nephew of Pope Paul III, while yet a boy of thirteen years. Margaret was a woman of masculine character and marked ability, a worthy niece of the two eminent women who had been her predecessors in the regency. The reasons which influenced Philip in his choice were doubtless, in the first place, that Margaret was a native of the country and could speak the language freely ; in the second, that owing to her long residence in Italy she had no connexion with any of the parties or party leaders in.the Netherlands, and was moreover through her position entirely dependent upon himself. The power entrusted to the new Governor, though nominally extensive, was in fact strictly limited by secret instructions, which bound her to carry out the edicts against heretics without infraction, alteration, or moderation, and enjoined her to follow in all matters the advice of the three Councils-the Council of State, the Privy Council, and the Council of Finance. These three

Councils were supposed to be quite independent of each other; but in reality the wide range of the functions of the Council of State caused it to overshadow in importance the other two. The President of the Council of Finance, which had the superintendence of the public expenditure, was at this time Baron de Barlaymont; the Privy Council, which had the control of law and justice, was under the presidency of Viglius, the author of the edict of 1550; the Council of State, to which were entrusted the conduct of foreign affairs, inter-provincial relations, the making of treaties, and all other affairs of the highest national importance, consisted at first of Viglius and Barlaymont, and the Bishop of Arras, together with the Prince of Orange and Count Egmont. It was soon found however that the last two, though it was deemed advisable because of their great influence with the people to make them nominally Councillors of State, were as a matter of fact rarely consulted. The whole power rested with the inner conclave of these three colleagues, devoted adherents of Philip ; and of these the Bishop of Arras held indisputably the first place, alike from his preeminent abilities and tried . experience in affairs.

Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle was born on August 20, 1517. He was one of the numerous children of Nicholas Perrenot, afterwards Seigneur de Granvelle, who, springing from a middle-class family of Omans in Franche-Comté near Besançon, attracted by his talents and capability the favourable notice of Charles V, and became for thirty years that sovereign's chief confidant and adviser. On the death of his father in 1550, Granvelle, who had at the youthful age of twenty-three been made Bishop of Arras, and had already been entrusted with many important commissions, was called by the Emperor to take his father's place. He now found such full scope for the display of extraordinary capacity as to win the entire confidence and esteem, not only of Charles, but of Philip. During the four years of Philip's residence at Brussels Granvelle had succeeded in rendering himself indispensable to his master. Such was his facility that he was said to be able to tire out five secretaries while dictating to them in five different languages at the same time. A keen observer, the Venetian ambassador Michèle Surraino, when describing the chief counsellors and favourites of Philip, said that "all of them together were not worth the Bishop of Arras." It was in the hands of this man that the King in a large measure placed the government of the Netherlands when his sister was appointed regent. Viglius and Barlaymont were his trusty coadjutors, but the direction of affairs and of policy remained with Granvelle alone. He corresponded directly with Philip on all matters of State ; and all dispatches and letters passed under his eyes before they were submitted to the Regent, or were discussed by his colleagues. Only such documents, or portions of documents, as were indicated by the Bishop were laid by Margaret before the Council of State. It is not to be wondered at,

therefore, that many of the leading members of the ancient nobility of the country should resent the virtual monopolisation of the Regent's ear and of the administration by this small body of the King's friends, and should view with particular jealousy the ever-growing power of the ambitious and masterful ecclesiastic, who in the privacy of his cabinet secretly controlled all the springs of government. Foremost among these dissatisfied nobles stood the Count of Egmont and the Prince of Orange.

Lamoral, Count of Egmont and Prince of Gavre, the victor of St Quentin and of Gravelines, was the head of an ancient and distinguished family, and possessed of large estates. Through his mother, Françoise of Luxemburg, he had inherited the principality of Gavre, and through his wife, Sabina of Bavaria, he was brother-in-law of the Elector Palatine Frederick III. Born in 1522, he had from his youth devoted himself to the pursuit of arms, and gained early distinction in the field. So early as 1546 Charles V recompensed his services with the collar of the Golden Fleece. In 1554 he went to England to ask the hand of Mary Tudor for his master's son, and was present at the marriage celebrated in Winchester Cathedral. His greatest fame was won in the campaigns of 1557 and 1558, when by his conduct and courage he so largely brought about the complete defeat of the French arms. He had been since appointed Stadholder of Brabant and Artois. His fine presence, open manner, and splendid exploits combined to make him a popular hero. Unfortunately his intelligence was not deep ; he was vain, easily led, and not endowed with a firm will. His intentions were good, but the resolution to carry them out was sometimes wanting at the critical moment.

A very different man was his younger contemporary, William of Nassau, Prince of Orange. Born at Dillenburg on April 25,1533, he was, when Margaret came to the Netherlands, but twenty-six years of age. The family of Nassau had long held a very high position among the ruling families of the Rhineland ; and by a series of splendid marriages the younger branch of Dillenburg had during successive centuries acquired vast possessions not only in Germany, but to an even larger extent in the Netherlands. At the beginning of the fifteenth century Engelbert I, by his marriage with the heiress of the lord of Polanen, became possessed of great estates in Brabant, which included the town of Breda, henceforth the family home. His son Engelbert II, who during a long lifetime served the Houses of Burgundy and Habsburg with the highest distinction, was succeeded by his brother John, who on his death bequeathed his Netherland possessions to his elder son Henry, and his German to his second son William, the father of William the Silent. Henry became the foremost member of the whole House of Nassau. He was one of those appointed to take charge of the education of the young Archduke Charles, and remained through life his most trusted friend and servant, being largely instrumental in securing for him in 1520 the

Imperial Crown. In 1515 Charles obtained for Henry the hand of Claude, sister of Philibert, Prince of Orange-Chalons. This Prince, dying childless, by his will left his nephew René, the son of Henry and Claude, his heir ; thus this small principality, situated in the midst of French territory, passed into the hands of the House of Nassau, with which the titular dignity has been ever since. The intrinsic value of the territory was trifling, but to their rule of it, dependent on no over-lord, the possessors of Orange owed their status of sovereign Princes. René, who had succeeded to his father's place in the Emperor's affections, was at the early age of twenty-six years mortally wounded at the siege of St Dizier in 1544, and having no legitimate children, bequeathed by will all his titles and immense possessions to his cousin William. The boy had up till this time lived with his parents at the ancestral home, the Castle of Dillenburg. His mother, Juliana of Stolberg, had first been married to Count Philip of Hainault, then to Count William of Nassau ; by her second husband she had five sons, of whom the new Prince of Orange was the eldest, and seven daughters. Both William and Juliana had embraced the Lutheran faith ; but they were obliged to allow their son to go to Brussels to be henceforth educated as a Catholic under the eye of the Regent, Maria of Hungary. This was a condition imposed by Charles in giving his ratification to René's testamentary dispositions. The Emperor from the first showed a remarkable interest in the boy, who, under the tuition of Jerome Perrenot, a younger brother of the Bishop of Arras, made rapid progress in his studies, and learnt to speak and write with ease in five languages, Flemish, German, Spanish, French, and Latin. In 1550, when he was seventeen years of age, Charles had given him the hand of Anne of Egmont, only child and heiress of Maximilian, Count of Buren. The marriage, to judge from the extant correspondence between them, would seem to have been a fairly happy one. Eight years later Anne died, leaving as the issue of their union a son Philip William and a daughter. As favourite page of the Emperor, William early became acquainted with the ways of Courts, and at nineteen he began to serve his military apprenticeship. So well did he acquit himself under the critical eye of the most experienced soldier of his day that, when William was only twenty-one years of age, Charles gave him the command-in-chief of an army of 20,000 men. It was from this command that he was called away to take so prominent a place at the ceremony of the abdication. As a general William did nothing brilliant during this time, but he committed no false step, and secured the country from threatened invasion.

He was even more successful as a diplomatist, when named with Ruy Gomes and Granvelle as a plenipotentiary for concluding peace with France; and the treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis was in no small measure due to his skill as a negotiator. He was one of the State hostages, the others being Count Egmont and the Dukes of Alva and Aerschot, who went to

Paris as a security for the carrying out of the terms of peace. It was at this time, according to the account given in his own famous Apologia, that he first became aware of a secret understanding between the Kings of Spain and France to extirpate heresy by fire and sword from their dominions, and, although still nominally a Catholic, was so filled with pity and compassion, as to resolve henceforth to try and drive away, to use his own words, "this vermin of Spaniards out of my country." At this time, too, apparently by his habitual discreetness he first gained that sobriquet of " le Taciturne,'" " the Silent," which has ever since been attached to his name. There had doubtless never been much sympathy between Philip and William. The King had indeed on his assumption of the sovereignty made his father's youthful favourite a Councillor of State and a Knight of the Golden Fleece, had employed him on important missions, and had appointed him Stadholder of Holland, Zeeland, and Utrecht; but there was a feeling of coolness between them, which gradually passed into antagonism. Already before the departure of Philip the Prince had assumed the leadership of constitutional resistance to royal despotism. It was he that had urged the States General in 1559 to press for the withdrawal of the Spanish troops and to make this withdrawal a condition for voting supplies. The King knew to whom he owed this rebuff; for, when he was bidding farewell to the nobles before setting foot on the ship that was to carry him to Spain, he took the opportunity of publicly upbraiding the Prince for his action. In vain William with all deference submitted that what had been done was the action of the States. " No, not the States, but you, you, you," shouted Philip in fierce anger.

Margaret of Parma was most assiduous in her attention to her new duties, and, had circumstances been more favourable, would doubtless have made a good Regent. From the beginning, however, her path was beset with difficulties. The presence of the Spanish troops, the enforcing of the edicts against heresy, and the carrying out of the Bull of Paul IV, renewed by Pius IV in January, 1560, for the formation of the new bishoprics, irritated the people. Margaret with her Consulta, as it was called-the three confidential advisers Granvelle, Viglius, and Barlaymont imposed on her by the King-found themselves confronted with opposition on every side. Orange and Egmont resigned their commands of the Spanish regiments, as a protest against the continued presence of the foreigners in the land. They absented themselves from meetings of the Council of State, and finally (July, 1561) wrote to Philip, himself protesting against matters of great public importance being transacted without their knowledge or concurrence, and asked to be relieved of functions which were merely nominal. At this stage of affairs both the government and its opponents were manifestly, in their own belief, acting loyally in the best interests of King and country. The attitude of Orange and Egmont was no doubt in part due to jealousy

of Granvelle; and Granvelle on his side was certainly ambitious of power for its own sake and provokingly overbearing in the exercise of it. But the voluminous correspondence still extant, from a period prolific in letter-writers, enables the historian of to-day to judge the motives and conduct of the principal actors in the Netherland drama with an impartial clearness impossible to contemporary writers, however painstaking or well-informed. The published records of the time reveal much that is commendable not only in Margaret, but in Granvelle and Viglius likewise. Both the Regent and Granvelle urged the withdrawal of the Spanish troops ; and it was by their action that the regiments, which had been marched from the frontiers to the island of Walcheren, were, without awaiting direct orders from Madrid, embarked for the Mediterranean. Cardinal Granvelle (he had obtained the hat in February, 1561) was not at heart a persecutor ; he did not believe, nor did Viglius, in the efficacy of repressing opinions by brute force and cruelty; and they would, if left to themselves, have exercised a politic discretion and moderation in inflicting punishment. They were, however, only the servants of a master, who, though undecided in will and procrastinating in temper, kept all authority in his own hands. In the recesses of his cabinet in far off Spain every detail of policy in the Netherlands was weighed and considered by the King himself; and none dared act or refrain from acting without his permission. All who held office under Philip knew well that to show the smallest mercy to heretics would forfeit for ever the favour of the King.

Orange on his side was certainly at this time perfectly loyal to his sovereign, and conformed outwardly to the Catholic faith. In urging Egmont, as to whose fidelity alike to King and faith no question can be raised, and other great nobles to stand up in defence of the chartered liberties of Brabant, of Flanders, and of Holland against despotic rule, he was acting with perfect constitutional propriety. How far the local independence of provinces and municipalities was compatible with the good government and welfare of the Netherlands as a whole was not the problem which he had just now to determine. It may fairly be pleaded that he was acting entirely within his rights as a great magnate and officer in using these charters and privileges, sanctioned as they had so lately been by the King's solemn oath, to prevent the encroachments of foreign and autocratic rule. The blame for everything that was wrong, notably for the increase in the number of the bishoprics, was placed on the shoulders of Granvelle by the malcontents, foremost among whom, with Orange and Egmont, was now to be found Philip de Montmorency, Count van Hoorn and Admiral of Flanders. By his contemporaries the Cardinal was believed to be the author and proposer of the bishoprics scheme. The archives of Madrid and Besançon tell us, however, that it was not so. The Bishop of Arras had been kept in entire ignorance of the proposal until the Pope's Bull had actually been obtained, and at

first he was not in favour of it. " It is more honourable," such were his own words, "to be one of four than one of seventeen." But he yielded to the King's wishes and accepted with some demur the offer of the primacy, as Archbishop of Malines, and having done so henceforth exerted himself to the utmost to carry the matter through. Nothing that he did probably cost him so much unpopularity. Soon he and Orange grew estranged from one another, and finally ceased further intercourse.

During this time the negotiations for the second marriage of William were proceeding; and they occupy a very large space in contemporary records. His first wife died in March, 1558, and only a few months later we find him again turning his thoughts to matrimony. As an ambitious politician, he probably looked upon a good match as a matter of great importance for his future prospects. After being disappointed in obtaining the hand of Rene'e of Lorraine, he turned his eyes in another and somewhat unexpected direction. The object of his choice was Anne, daughter and heiress of the Elector Maurice, of Saxony, and grand-daughter of Philip of Hesse. She was in her seventeenth year, not well favoured, and only fairly well endowed ; but from her near relationship to the two great German Protestant leaders her alliance carried with it great potential influence. For almost two years the Prince had to use all his diplomatic talents to secure his end. King Philip objected to so important a subject marrying a heretic, and, above all others, " the daughter of a man who had conducted himself towards the Emperor his father as Duke Maurice had " ; while the old Landgrave of Hesse, who for his faith had suffered cruel treatment from Charles, was even more strongly opposed to his grand-daughter's union with a papist. At last William had his way. No pressure was to be put upon Anne in the matter of her religious opinions and worship, but she was to live " catholically." The marriage ceremony took place with Lutheran rites at Dresden, August, 1561 ; and so lavish was the expenditure on the occasion, that it was said that the bride's entire dowry would not cover the cost.

In December, 1561, Granvelle, as Archbishop, made his State entry into Malines, but found a cold reception. No nobles or Knights of the Fleece were there to greet him. The new bishoprics aroused general opposition. A protest was raised against the diversion of the revenues of the monasteries, and against the nomination by the King of so many official members of the States ; but it was the increase in the number of episcopal Inquisitors that was especially dreaded. The Reformation had been making great headway in the Netherlands, more particularly in the commercial centres; and a considerable minority of the population were more or less infected by the new Protestant doctrines. Philip continually urged the government to enforce the edicts in the most rigorous manner. Strenuous efforts were accordingly made, with the result that the Inquisition, papal and episcopal, whose delegates were to

be found in every district, daily rendered itself more and more odious to the people by its merciless persecution. Notorious among its agents was a certain Peter Titelman, of whose barbarities the annals of the time are full. The Regent found, however, the greatest difficulty in getting the civil authorities to carry out the executions. More especially the Marquis of Berghen, Stadholder of Hainault, Valenciennes and Cambray, and Floris de Montmorency (brother of Hoorn), Baron of Montigny and Stadholder of Tournay, expressed their detestation of the system by declining, as far as possible, to give effect to the sentences of the Inquisitors. All the blame was laid on Granvelle, and discontent steadily grew.

Hoorn, who on his return from Spain had been made a Councillor of State, proposed the formation of a league against the Cardinal, and allied himself closely with Orange and Egmont in their efforts to overthrow his authority. The three nobles henceforth worked together, and had no difficulty in securing the active cooperation of Counts Meghem, Hoogstraeten, Brederode, and Mansfeld, and the Seigneur de Glayon, the last a Councillor of State. Overtures were made to the Duke of Aerschot, Count Aremberg, and Baron Barlaymont ; but these threw in their lot with the attacked Ministers, and Barlaymont went so far as to reveal all he knew about the malcontents and their plans to the Regent. The league was a declaration of war by the nobles against the Cardinal ; and henceforth they did their utmost by secret intrigue as well as by open opposition to wreck his influence. But little scruple was shown on either side as to choice of means.

In the autumn of 1562 Montigny went to Spain to expose the grievances of the nobility against Granvelle to Philip. He achieved nothing. Philip denied that he had made out any cause for complaint, but promised that he would himself visit the Netherlands, and then make enquiry. Finding, however, that there was little immediate prospect of a royal visit and meanwhile no redress of grievances, the three leaders determined (March, 1563) to write to the King, stating that they declined to sit with Granvelle in the Council, and begging, as loyal Catholic subjects and vassals, that the King would save the country from ruin by the removal of a man who was detested by all. They had no complaint, they added, against the Duchess of Parma. The letter, though approved by Berghen and Montigny, was only signed by Orange, Egmont, and Hoorn. After a delay of some months the King (June 6) answered shortly that he was not accustomed to aggrieve any of his ministers without cause, and invited one of the signatories to go to Madrid to discuss the matter by word of mouth. He also wrote privately to Egmont asking him to undertake the mission. This was done fcy Granvelle's own advice, who believed that Egmont might by skilful flattery and promises be induced to detach himself from his friends. But after consulting with Orange and Hoorn, he made bold to decline the

royal invitation. From this time all three abstained entirely from attending the sittings of the Council of State.

The next step taken by the confederates was to press upon the Regent the advisability of convoking the States General, and in an interview attended by Orange, Egmont, Hoorn, Berghen, Mansfeld and Meghem (Montigny was ill), the Prince, as spokesman, discussed the position of affairs at length, and reaffirmed the determination of himself and his colleagues not to take any part in the Council of State, as their advice was disdained and so many things of moment transacted without their cognisance. Margaret replied that she could not summon the States General of her own initiative, and tried to defend the Cardinal and to persuade the nobles not to persist in their resolution. It was in vain. Three days after this interview (July 29, 1563) another letter was despatched to the King by Orange, Egmont, and Hoorn, reiterating their complaints against Granvelle, and asking outright for his dismissal.

Meanwhile, the Duchess was beginning to feel overwhelmed by difficulties out of which she saw no way. Little by little her confidence in the Cardinal began to wane; and, tired perhaps of his arrogance and dominating manners, she determined to send her own secretary, Armenteros, to Spain to consult with the King. On September 15 he reached Philip at Monzon, and was at once granted an interview of four hours' duration. Margaret, in her letter, laid before her brother the miserable condition of the finances and the failure of the edicts to check the rapid spread of heretical opinions, and discussed at length the quarrel between the Cardinal and the nobles. She had, she said, the highest opinion of the minister's merits, devotion, and capacity ; but to keep him in the Netherlands against the will of the nobles would entail grave inconveniences and might lead to insurrection. Alarmed and puzzled at the course that affairs were taking, Philip at this juncture sought the advice of the Duke of Alva. " Every time," he answered, " that I see the missives of these three seigniors they fill me with rage, so that unless I exerted the utmost control over myself, my opinions would appear to your Majesty those of one frenzied." It was, he urged, simple effrontery to propose that the Cardinal should retire, and very inconvenient. The right method to deal with them was chas tisement; but since it was not practicable at the moment "to cut off the heads of the leaders as they deserved, it would be best to dissemble with them," and try to divide them, by gaining over Egmont. Meanwhile, as the King was deliberating, things in the Netherlands were going from bad to worse. It happened that on December 15 Egmont, Berghen and Montigny were present at a banquet given by Gasper Schets, Seigneur de Grobbendonck, the King's financial agent at Brussels. During dinner the conversation chanced to fall upon the sumptuousness displayed by the Netherland nobles, more particularly in the matter of liveries, as compared with what was usual in Germany. The ostentation

of the Cardinal was specially dwelt upon, and on the spur of the minute it was resolved by the guests that they would set the example of a simpler style by all agreeing to adopt a quite plain livery. The question arose, who should choose it ? It was agreed that the lot should decide. This fell upon Egmont. In a few days, accordingly, his servants appeared clad in coarse grey frieze with long hanging sleeves. On the sleeve was embroidered, what might have been taken for a monk's cowl or a fool's cap and bells. The device caught hold of the popular imagination, and was rapidly adopted as a party badge by the anti-Cardinalists. The Regent protested to Egmont against the badge, which was supposed to caricature Granvelle, and it was replaced by a bundle of arrows. This emblem, being found on the escutcheon of Castile, was taken to signify that the wearers were bound together in dutiful obedience to their sovereign. Whatever it might mean, the new liveries caused an extraordinary excitement.

Philip at last felt that, despite the advice of Alva, Granvelle must be sacrificed ; but it must not appear that he was dismissed by the King. After some months of cogitation, Philip on January 23,1564, despatched Armenteros with a reply to his sister's letter, in which he touched upon the various points she had raised, expressed his strong displeasure at the letter received by him from the three nobles, and added that, as to Granvelle, since they would not specify the grounds of their complaints, he must deliberate further. He also sent a private note to Margaret, stating that for a special reason he had kept back his reply to the lords, as he wished her letter to arrive first. He enclosed two private letters for Egmont-one of which only the Duchess was to deliver, as seemed to her judgment preferable-severally accepting and declining a recent offer of Egmont to visit Spain. It was the latter that the Regent handed to Egmont. There were letters also both for him and for Orange written by the Secretary Erasso, in which the King said that he placed great confidence in them, and flattered himself that they would not only be obedient to his orders, but would do their best not to compromise his service and the good of the land. But Armenteros was the bearer of yet another dispatch addressed to the Cardinal, containing a letter headed, " By the hand of the King. Secret." In this Philip, after expressing his regret at the ill-will shown to his minister in the Netherlands, proceeds : " For these causes I have thought it would be well, in order to allow the hatred which they bear you to grow calm and to see how they will remedy matters, that you should leave these Provinces for some days in order to see your mother, and that, with the knowledge and permission of the Duchess of Parma, you should beg her to write to me to obtain my approbation. In this manner neither your authority nor mine will be touched." On March 1, about a week after Armenteros had reached Brussels and delivered his missives, the courier arrived bringing the King's reply to the nobles. It briefly ordered them

to resume their seats in the Council of State, and said that with regard to Granvelle the charges must be substantiated and time given to consider the matter maturely. This letter, though written at the same time as the others, bore a date, February 19, more than three weeks later. Such was the complicated arrangement by which Philip hoped to accomplish the removal of the Cardinal without anyone but Granvelle himself knowing that the dismissal came from the King. He succeeded; for Granvelle, who had for some time perceived that his day was over, loyally and submissively bowed to his master's decision. So well indeed was the secret preserved that, until Gachard's discovery in 1862 of the minute of Philip's letter at Simancas, the truth, although suspected, was never actually revealed.

All happened according to the prearranged plan. Granvelle asked leave to visit his mother, whom he had not seen for nineteen years, and on March 13, accompanied by his brother, the Count of Chantonnay, and a brilliant suite, he left Brussels, never to return. The demonstration of public rejoicing at his departure was almost indecent. " The joy of the nobles," writes Viglius, " was like that of school-boys on getting away from their master." The Cardinal retired to his paternal estates near Besançon, without indeed withdrawing from public affairs, for he corresponded with rulers and statesmen in many countries ; but the tone of even more than philosophical resignation which breathes through the Cardinal's letters during this quiet interlude in his busy life was probably no pretence. There is much that is really great in his character ; and the odium which was aroused against his administration was largely due to misrepresentations wilfully disseminated as to his conduct and his motives. Many of these emanated from Simon Renard, a Burgundian like Granvelle, who had, by the friendship of the Cardinal and his father before him, become Spanish Ambassador in France and England, but who, disappointed at not being made Councillor of State, had turned on his benefactor. A study of the great minister's correspondence makes it quite clear that nearly all the grievances alleged against him were without foundation, and that, so far from being cruel or vindictive, his counsels were always on the side of moderation ; and his conduct towards his enemies, with the single exception of Renard, who may be said to have been undeserving of clemency, was magnanimity itself.

The immediate result of Granvelle's departure was the reappearance of Orange, Egmont, and Hoorn in the Council of State, and the complete discomfiture of the Cardinalists. The Regent, tired of the tutelage in which she had been held, welcomed the change, and at once admitted the nobles to her full confidence and favour. She advised Philip to employ Granvelle elsewhere, and constantly invited the leading lords, especially Egmont, to her table. Orange and Hoorn wrote to the King (March 27), expressing their desire to serve him with zeal and devotion ; and Orange

sent a private letter to the same effect, in which he recalled the constant fidelity and brilliant services of the Nassaus to the House of Austria. For a short while things looked more hopeful-but it was in appearance only. The nobles as a body were self-seeking, and many of them burdened with debts and eager to replenish their empty purses by getting hold of lucrative appointments at the hands of the government. One of the consequences of the fall of Granvelle had been the abolition of the Consulta. This was the name given in Spain to the body whose duty was to submit at regular intervals to the King's approval the names of persons to fill vacant preferments. This Spanish institution had been transferred by Philip to the Netherlands; and the duty was discharged by Granvelle, Viglius, and Barlaymont. The power thus delegated to them was a distinct invasion of the privileges hitherto enjoyed by the Stallholders and the Regent, and was deeply resented not merely by the nobles, but by Margaret herself. The time had now come to make up for lost opportunities. Granvelle was gone, Viglius and Barlaymont thrust on one side and treated with contumelious indifference.

But if the appointments made by the Consulta were dictated by political motives, those of their successors were tainted by sheer corruption and venality. The public sale of offices became a matter of common talk. The chief offender was Tomas Armenteros, the private secretary of the Regent. This man lodged at the Palace and was consulted on all public matters by the Duchess, who allowed the bestowal of all preferments and benefices to pass through his hands. His nicknames, " the Barber of Madame" and " Argenterios(tm) sufficiently point to the contemptuous hatred which he excited, and to the cause of it. But he was not alone in filling his pockets with bribes and largesses. Margaret herself stooped to share the spoils, and the nobles connived or shut their eyes so long as their own greed was satisfied. The scenes at the Council were far from edifying ; and it is scarcely to be wondered at that Philip, who had spies everywhere and was fully informed by Granvelle and his other correspondents of all that was taking place, should have felt small confidence in the new order of things. It probably pleased him to see the weakness and faults of the administration, since it thus became less likely to offer opposition to his will. But a collision was soon to follow.

An Order arrived from Philip for carrying out the Decrees of the Council of Trent throughout the Netherlands. The Council had held its last sitting on December 4,1563. On August 18, 1564, Philip issued his order. It caused a great sensation. The nobles protested. It was urged that the Decrees, which dealt with a number of matters relating to the doctrine of the Church, the reform of ecclesiastical abuses, and the education of the people, could not be imposed on the Netherlands, as they contained provisions which constituted a breach of the privileges of the Provinces and an invasion of the Royal prerogatives. At a joint

meeting of the Privy Council and the Council of State, despite the opposition of Viglius, it was determined to suspend the publication, and to beg the King not to insist on such ordinances as were not in conformity with the fundamental laws of the country. Philip, however, was inexorable. Throughout the country public opinion expressed itself with increasing bitterness against the Inquisition, the Placards, and the Decrees. In the Council Orange pleaded earnestly for a mitigation of religious persecution. The Regent did not know what course to take. In this emergency it was determined to send Egmont on a special mission, to lay before the King an exact account of the state of affairs, and to endeavour to obtain from him redress of grievances. Egmont expressed his willingness to go. Viglius performed the duty of drawing up his instructions. When the draft was laid before the Council for approval, Orange was far from satisfied with the tone and character of the document, and expressed his opinion with boldness and force. It was his wish, he said, that the King should be plainly informed that it was impossible to carry out the Placards or the Decrees of the Council of Trent. Although a good Catholic, he denied to human authority the right to crush out by force liberty of conscience and of faith. He desired that the King should be asked plainly and directly to moderate the Placards, to enquire into the prevalent venality and corruption, to reform the administration of justice and finance, and so to reorganise the Council of State as to increase its authority and pre-eminence. He spoke with an eloquence and earnestness which made a deep impression on his audience. It was a truly revolutionary proposal. Such was its effect upon Viglius that at night, when engaged in preparing his reply, the President, now an old man and in broken health, was struck with apoplexy. Next day the instructions were revised by the Council in accordance with the suggestions of Orange.

Egmont started with a great train on January 18, 1565 ; but proceeded so slowly as not to arrive at Madrid till the first week of March. Philip resolved to receive him graciously. He knew the weak points of the victor of Gravelines, and thought it would not be difficult to cajole him with flatteries and blandishments. The Spanish grandees followed their sovereign's lead. Egmont was entertained magnificently, and gratified by considerable largesses, which, having a large family of daughters and being embarrassed with debts, he only too gladly accepted. But, although on other questions the King avowed his readiness to grant concessions, on the subject of religion he would not yield ; and, if Egmont was deceived as to his Catholic Majesty's intentions, it can only have been that he was blinded by the splendour of his reception. The King had in fact called a gathering of some of the most learned theologians in Spain to consult them upon the religious position in the Netherlands. This conclave gave it as their opinion that the King might grant liberty of worship, to prevent the greater evil of revolt. Philip

replied, " He had not asked them whether he might, but whether he must.'1'' On receiving a negative answer, the King prayed aloud to be enabled always to persevere in his resolution never to consent to be called the master of those who rejected God as their Lord. From this solemn moment Philip's course was inexorably marked out. Henceforth and through life he was resolved never to allow personal or political considerations to weigh for a moment against that which he conceived to be his simple duty to God, whose anointed minister he was.

In any case Egmont's mission was doomed to inevitable failure. On the subject of the greatest of all the grievances from which the Nether-landers suffered the King had inflexibly made up his mind never to yield, cost what it might. However much he temporised and dissembled as to other reforms, in the letter which Egmont carried back with him Philip gave the malcontent nobles no hopes in the matter of religion ; for he plainly stated that he would rather sacrifice a hundred thousand lives than make any change of policy. Only in some small points of detail was he willing to modify the Placards, and he suggested a conference of bishops and theologians to consider the best course to adopt.

The Regent took steps to carry out the Royal wishes ; but the conferences led to nothing. Egmont was angry at the deception which he thought had been practised on him ; and Orange and Hoorn refused to have anything to do with the matter, as the Council had not been directly consulted. Margaret was fully aware of the dangers of the situation and did her utmost to persuade her brother either to make her position easier by concessions, or to visit Brussels in person. He could then, she urged, learn for himself the true state of men's minds ; the Royal influence and authority could alone allay the spirit of unrest and discontent that was spreading through the Provinces. But Philip was not like his father. Though he always professed his intention of visiting the recalcitrant Provinces, he did so, there can be little doubt, merely to gain time. He was a man constitutionally averse from adopting energetic measures or acting with decision. Of him the ambassador Chantonnay (Granvelle's brother) most truly said, " Everything is deferred from to-morrow till to-morrow, and his chief resolution is to remain irresolute." He had great belief in his powers of tortuous diplomacy ; and, instead of taking the prompt measures which are essential in a crisis, he sat brooding in his cabinet at Segovia, and slowly evolving by what course of action he could best circumvent his difficulties, cajole his adversaries, and, it may be added, deceive his friends.

Amidst the prevailing gloom of this anxious autumn of 1565 the splendid festivities attending the marriage of Alexander of Parma with Maria of Portugal lit up the Court of Brussels with a passing semblance of gaiety. The wedding took place on November 11. On the 5th dispatches from Philip had been placed in the Regent's hands of such

fateful import that she resolved to keep them secret till the ceremony was over. On the 14th she informed the Council of State that the King required the strict execution of the Placards from all governors and magistrates, considered it inexpedient to extend the power of the Council of State or to summon the States General, and ordered that the proclamation of the Inquisition and of the Decrees of the Council of Trent should be made in every town and village in the Provinces. At last, after long delay, His Majesty had spoken, and no choice was now left between obedience and rebellion. All the members of the Council felt that the King's will had been expressed in such peremptory and unequivocal terms that discussion was useless. " Now," the Prince of Orange is reported to have whispered to his neighbour, " we shall see the beginning of a fine tragedy."

The proclamation was made ; the Inquisitors displayed redoubled energy; but intense indignation and excitement were aroused among the people. Orange, Berghen, and the magistrates generally refused to carry out the edicts. Rather, they said, would they resign their functions than be responsible for the consequences of a policy bidding them to burn fifty or sixty thousand of their fellow-countrymen. Lawlessness spread rapidly. The populace was furious at the sight of the barbarous executions. Lampoons, broadsheets, and hand-bills fiercely denouncing the Inquisitors were scattered broadcast ; and petitions were found affixed to the doors of the houses of Orange, Egmont, and other men of mark, asking them to intervene. The Duchess was utterly bewildered.

At this time a new order of men, the lesser nobility, began to take an active and leading part in fomenting the rising spirit of resistance to arbitrary authority. Foremost amongst these were Lewis of Nassau (William's younger brother), Henry Viscount of Brederode, Philip de Marnix, lord of Sainte Aldegonde, and Nicolas de Harnes, King-at-arms of the Golden Fleece. The movement first took shape at a gathering of twenty young gentlemen at the mansion of the Count of Culemburg at Brussels, on the very day of the Parma wedding, to hear a sermon from the missionary preacher, François du Jon (Franciscus Junius), a disciple of Calvin, who had just taken charge at great personal hazard of the French Reformed Church at Antwerp. At this, and other secret meetings, it was agreed to form a confederacy of nobles, whose principles were set forth in a document, drawn up and early in 1566 circulated for signature, known as " the Compromise." It declared that the King had been induced by evil counsellors, chiefly foreigners, in violation of his oaths to establish in the country the Inquisition-which is spoken of as a tribunal opposed to all laws human and divine. The confederates bound themselves by a solemn oath to unite in resisting it in every form, and in extirpating it from the land. In taking this course they professed to be acting as loyal subjects of the King and in his interests. Finally they promised to help and protect one another against

persecution or molestation, as brothers and faithful comrades, with life and goods. This Compromise is generally believed to have been written by Marnix with the cooperation of Lewis and Brederode. The signatures soon amounted to more than two thousand, the most zealous agent of the propaganda being Nicolas de Harnes, in whose custody the dangerous paper remained. The signatories comprised a goodly number of Catholics as well as Protestants, the majority belonging to the lower nobility and the landed gentry ; but many were substantial burghers and well-to-do merchants. As in all insurrectionary movements, not a few who rushed into the fray were reckless and riotous youths and spendthrift adventurers.

Lewis of Nassau, "le bon chevalier,'" as his brother well named him, brave, high-spirited, chivalrous, a good comrade, a loyal friend, and withal an earnestly religious, God-fearing man, was by birth and education a Lutheran. During a too short, but brilliant career, no one played a more noble or more distinguished part than he in defence of religious liberty against foreign oppression. Of a different type, but scarcely less conspicuous for the services he was to render, was Philip de Marnix, lord of Sainte Aldegonde, one of the most accomplished men of his day, poet, pamphleteer, theologian, orator, diplomatist, soldier, eminent in all the various fields of his many-sided activity. Both he and Count Lewis were at this time twenty-eight years of age, and alike full of restless energy and religious zeal ; but with Sainte Aldegonde, who was a stern Calvinist, resistance to the Inquisition did not imply, as with the humane and kindly Lewis, any hatred of intolerance. To Marnix, not less than to Philip, liberty of conscience was an inconceivable thing. Henry of Brederode, the representative of the more reckless section of the confederates, was a lineal descendant of the ancient Counts of Holland ; but of all the possessions that had once belonged to his House only the lordship of Vianen remained. Brederode was bold and downright by temperament, extravagant and dissipated in his habits, free of access, courteous, generous and convivial. He was a Catholic, but thoroughly at one in his opposition to tyranny with William of Orange and his brother Lewis, to both of whom he was deeply attached. Brederode had many faults, but his popularity and loyalty gave him for awhile a commanding place in the councils of the malcontents.

At the outset, however, the Compromise met with little favour in the eyes of the great nobles. Its methods did not commend themselves more especially to the cautious spirit of Orange. He himself, indeed, had not been reticent. On January 24, 1566, he had written with his own hand to Margaret : " I should prefer, in case His Majesty insists without delay on the Inquisition and the execution [of the edicts], that he place some other person in my place, who understands better the humours of the people, and has more skill than I have in keeping them in peace and quietness, rather than run the risk of staining the reputation

of myself and my family, should any harm accrue to the country through my government and during my tenure of it." He lays stress upon his loyal devotion to sovereign and land; but it is noteworthy, as pointing to the change that was already coming over his opinions, that he speaks of himself as a " good Christian," not as a " good Catholic." Under the pretence of festivity, conferences were held during the early part of March first at Breda, and afterwards at Hoogstraeten. The principal nobles, as well as a number of confederates, were present. Discussion turned on a petition or request drawn up by Lewis of Nassau, on behalf of the signatories of the Compromise, setting forth their grievances and aims. It was not without difficulty that Orange assented to the presentation of this petition to the Regent, and only on condition that the language was modified in many places. His moderation was, indeed, far from satisfying the more hot-blooded of the leaguers. But if William held aloof, others like Meghem and Egmont himself were alarmed and not a little alienated by the audacious and almost treasonable character of the Compromise movement. The conferences, in fact, rather intensified than otherwise growing divergences of opinion. On March 28 the Regent summoned a great assembly of notables, councillors, and Knights of the Fleece to the Palace to advise with her on the critical state of the country ; and, courageous though she usually was, she proposed to them that the Court should be removed for the present from Brussels to Mons. From this project she was dissuaded. As to "the Request" which the Duchess had been asked to receive, while some urged that the doors should be shut in the petitioners' faces, Barlaymont did not scruple to propose that they should be allowed to enter and then be cut to pieces; but by the advice of Orange, supported by Egmont, more moderate counsels prevailed. On April 3 the confederates began to crowd into Brussels. On the 5th more than six hundred, mostly young men of birth, assembled at midday at the Hotel Culemburg ; and a little later some two hundred and fifty of these marched in a serried column to the Council Chamber of the Palace. Lewis of Nassau and Brederode, as the leaders, brought up the rear. The Regent was at first disquieted at seeing the approach of so numerous a body, but was reassured by Barlaymont, who exclaimed, "What, Madam, is your Highness afraid of these beggars (ces gueux) ?.. .by the living God, if my advice were taken, their request should be annotated by a sound cudgelling, and they should be made to descend the steps of the court more quickly than they came up."

Brederode was the chosen spokesman. The " Request " was couched in far more conciliatory language than the Compromise. Nevertheless the petitioners, while strongly protesting their loyalty and good intentions, pointed out the menacing condition of the country, and besought the Duchess to send an envoy to the King, asking him to abolish the Inquisition and the Placards, and to publish by the advice and consent

of the States General other ordinances less dangerous to the common weal. They further begged the Duchess to suspend the Inquisition and the Placards until the King's further pleasure should be known. Margaret, fully aware of the seriousness of the crisis, gave her reply on the following day. It was to the effect that she had no authority to suspend the Inquisition and the Placards, but would give instructions to mitigate their exercise until the King's answer on the subject had been received.

On April 8 the visit of the confederates to Brussels closed with a great carousal at the Hotel Culemburg, at which Brederode presided over three hundred associates. Hoogstraeten, who had come upon a commission from the Regent, was persuaded to remain for the feast. Brederode purposely turned the conversation upon the presentation of " the Request," and particularly dwelt upon the offensive term by which Barlaymont had stigmatised himself and his companions, Brederode loudly declaring that he for his part had no objection to the name, for that they were all ready to become " beggars " if need were, in the cause of their King and country. The words were taken up by the excited assembly, and the vast dining-hall rang with the cry, which the succeeding decades were to hear again and again repeated, "Vivent les Gueux ! " There can be no doubt that this little episode had been carefully prearranged by the chief actor. Brederode knew well the value of a striking party appellation, and he seized the moment of enthusiasm to appear suddenly at the head of the table with a beggar's wallet suspended from his neck and a wooden bowl in his hand. Filling the bowl, he drank to the health of all present, and of the good cause. Redoubled exclamations greeted him ; and the bowl passed from hand to hand, each guest as he drank pledging himself to be loyal to his friends and the League. It chanced that at the time when the excitement was at its highest, Orange, Egmont, and Hoorn passed the Hotel Culemburg on their way to attend the Council. Hearing the noise, they determined to go in, on the pretence of asking Hoogstraeten to accompany them to the Palace, really with the intention of getting the uproarious banqueters, if possible, to disperse. Despite pressure from Brederode and the other leaders, they refused to sit down ; but, as they stood there, the confederates drank their health, and once more the hall shook with thunderous shouts of " Vivent les Gueux!"" The three nobles quickly left with Hoogstraeten after saying a few words of caution to the revellers, little thinking that their well-intentioned visit would furnish a ground of accusation against them.

From this day forward the party of movement bore the name of " Gueux."" Many of the confederates at once adopted a costume of coarse grey material, and carried the emblems of their beggarhood, the wallet and the bowl, at their girdles or in their hats. The fashion spread rapidly, and the beggars' insignia were to be seen, worn as trinkets, among all sorts and conditions of men, especially in the large towns.

A gold medal was also struck for the use of members of the League. On one side was the effigy of Philip, on the other two clasped hands with the motto, "Fidèle au Roy,jusques à porter la besace."" A few days after the banquet the confederates left Brussels and dispersed to their various homes. Meanwhile the Council had been anxiously deliberating ; and the Marquis of Berghen and the Baron of Montigny were, on the refusal of Egmont again to go to Spain, selected as envoys to Philip. Not without much difficulty were they persuaded to accept the task. Instructions were drawn up to moderate the execution of the Placards ; and, in her letters to her brother, Margaret exposed to him fully the dangerous state of the country, and besought him either to expedite his proposed visit, or to allow the envoys to bring back such concessions as would avert the outbreak of a storm. She was somewhat relieved by receiving, on June 6, a letter dated May 6, in which the King declared that he had no intention of introducing the Spanish Inquisition, and announced his speedy arrival. On the subject of the Placards, whilst asserting that only by punishment of transgressors could the Catholic faith be maintained, Philip expressed his willingness to change the mode of chastisement so long as it was efficacious. "For God knows,1" he adds, " that there is nothing I so willingly avoid as effusion of human blood, especially that of my Netherland subjects, and I should reckon it the very happiest thing in my reign if there were never any need to spill it." The letter was read to the Council, who expressed their pleasure at the announcement of the King's visit and his benevolent intentions.

There was no eagerness on the part of either Berghen or Montigny to hasten their departure ; and a slight accident to the former was the excuse for a considerable delay. Montigny at length started alone, and reached Madrid on June 17, Berghen following some time after; but meanwhile events had been moving fast. The apparent success of the confederates at Brussels gave great encouragement to the sectaries throughout the country. Refugees began to return in great numbers ; and missionary preachers from France, Germany, Switzerland, and England to make their appearance, first in west Flanders and along the southern frontier, then in many other parts of the land. These men were chiefly Calvinists, trained in the school of Geneva ; but there were also many Anabaptists. The Lutherans, though the smallest of the sects in numbers, had the largest following among the educated classes. The missioners, some of them recusant monks and friars, others men of the people naturally gifted with homely eloquence, attracted ever-increasing crowds to their preachings. At first the conventicles were held at night in woods, or in inaccessible spots ; but, growing gradually bolder, the sectaries ventured into the open country by day, then into the villages, and at last into the environs of the great towns. At Ghent, Bruges, and Ypres, and especially at Antwerp, thousands came out to hear them, arms in hand. Bands of men paraded the streets, chanting the Psalms

in the popular versions of Marot or Dathenus, and raising in the pauses of the singing loud shouts of " Vivent les Gueux ! " The people laughed to scorn the so-called "moderation" of the Placards, and ironically called it " murderation." On July 3 the Regent, feeling that something must be done, issued a new Placard against the preachers and the conventicles. It remained a dead letter. Margaret was at her wits' end. She felt herself powerless without money, soldiers, or willing help from the nobility, all of whom, while professing their readiness to obey the King's orders, followed the lead of Egmont and declined to employ their armed retainers against the people. The Duchess complained bitterly to her brother of the position in which she found herself, and besought his speedy intervention. The only policy, she urged, was that of concession. To attempt to enforce the Inquisition and Placards would mean a revolution. " Everything is in such disorder," she said in a letter of July 19, " that in the greater part of the country there is neither law, faith, nor King." The majority of the Council of State demanded the summoning of the States General as the only adequate remedy, and declaimed against Philip's dilatoriness. He still let month after month pass by without taking any definite steps ; and both the Regent and her advisers saw nothing but ruin staring them in the face.

The chief centre of disturbance was Antwerp. Crowds of armed Calvinists thronged to the preachings and bade defiance to the magistrates. Business was interrupted. It was feared that the reckless and disorderly part of the population might, under cover of religious zeal, attempt to pillage the houses of the well-to-do Catholic merchants. The simultaneous arrival of Meghem and Brederode in the town only added fuel to the flame. The loyalists looked to Meghem, the revolutionary party to the leader of the Gueux, as their champions. Thoroughly alarmed, the magistracy applied to the Duchess of Parma to save the city from threatened destruction. Margaret in this emergency turned to Orange, who was " burgrave " of Antwerp, and asked him to undertake the task of restoring order in that important centre of trade. Very reluctantly the Prince consented to the Regent's request ; but he knew that he was already an object of distrust to the government. For a public declaration of his sympathy with sedition and heresy the times were not yet ripe.

As the Prince drew near to Antwerp thousands of the inhabitants came out to meet him. He was greeted with tumultuous enthusiasm and loud shouts of " Vivent les Gueux ! " Such a demonstration was not to William's taste, and he did not scruple to say so. For some weeks he remained in the town, and succeeded in appeasing the discord that had raged so fiercely. The settlement arrived at was of the nature of a compromise. The Calvinists were at length persuaded to lay down their arms on condition that the reformed worship, though excluded from the city, should be tolerated in the suburbs. Armenteros was not far wrong

when about this time he wrote to the King that " the Prince has changed his religion." If " the Taciturn " had not yet become a Protestant, he had ceased to be a Catholic. The principles, which were to guide the rest of his life, were already clearly in evidence-those principles of toleration in matters of faith and conscience which mark him out from his contemporaries in an age of bitter intolerance.

About the middle of July a great meeting of confederates was held at St Trond, in the principality of Liege. About two thousand assembled ; and a much more determined tone was adopted than previously. Lewis of Nassau was the directing spirit. By the express wish of the Duchess the leaders had an interview with Orange and Egmont at Duffel, near Antwerp, on July 18. As this led to nothing, the confederates resolved to send a deputation of twelve members, with Lewis at their head, to see the Regent herself at Brussels. With their grey costumes and " beggar " emblems suspended at their necks, they presented themselves before her on July 26. The courtiers, in derision, gave them the name of " the Twelve Apostles." Their language was far less conciliatory than before. They did not, they said, ask for pardon for their past conduct ; what they had done and were doing was for the country's good, and deserved applause. They asked that Orange, Egmont, and Hoorn should be nominated upon a special commission to safeguard their interests, and to give counsel as to the best means for remedying the evils they complained of. In these three they were willing to confide ; but, if their wishes in this and other matters were disregarded, they went so far as to hint that they might be obliged to seek foreign aid. Margaret, on her side, took no pains to conceal her anger. The threat of looking to the foreigner for assistance was no idle one. Lewis had for some time been in correspondence with the Huguenot leaders in France and the Protestant Princes in Germany. He now, with something more than connivance on the part of his brother, set to work to subsidise among the latter a force of four thousand horse and forty companies of foot-soldiers. William was quite aware of Philip's secret designs, and he was already preparing for the worst.

At Madrid Montigny and Berghen continued to be treated with all outward marks of courtesy. They were invited to attend the meetings of the Council of State at which the affairs of the Netherlands were discussed. To outward semblance their representations might have seemed to have been successful. In a letter addressed to the Duchess of Parma, dated July 31, Philip consented to abolish the papal Inquisition, and promised toleration so far as it was consistent with the maintenance of the Catholic faith, and a general pardon to all whom the Regent should deem deserving. He wrote almost affectionately to Orange and Egmont. To one thing alone he opposed an inflexible negative-the summoning of the States General. The archives of Simancas have revealed the duplicity of these concessions. On August 9,

at Segovia, the King, in the presence of the Duke of Alva and two notaries, executed an instrument in which he declared that the concession of a general pardon had been wrung from him against his will, and that he did not, therefore, feel bound by it ; and three days later, August 12, in a confidential dispatch to Requesens, at Rome, he authorised his ambassador to inform the Pope secretly that his abolition of the papal Inquisition was a mere form of words, because it could not be effectual without the sanction of the authority which had imposed it, the Pope himself. As to toleration and pardon, his Holiness might rest assured ; " for I will lose all my States, and a hundred lives if I had them, rather than be the lord of heretics.1" Philip was playing false, only until he should feel himself in a position to compel obedience by force. How long he might have procrastinated before he had made up his mind to act can never be known, for events forced his hand.

On August l3 the signal was given for an outburst of iconoclastic fury by the attack of a mob of Protestant fanatics upon the churches of St Omer. They wrecked the altars, smashed the images to pieces, and destroyed all the objects of art and beauty which fell in their way. On the next day a similar scene was enacted at Ypres ; and the movement spread rapidly from town to town. At Courtray, Valenciennes, Tournay, and elsewhere, infuriated bands made havoc of churches and religious houses ; and these deeds of savage and sacrilegious destruction reached their climax by the irreparable ruin which on August 16 and 17 befell the magnificent cathedral at Antwerp. The great procession on the Festival of the Assumption (August 15) had passed through the streets of the city amidst jeers and angry exclamations from the crowd. But the Prince of Orange was at the Town Hall, and no overt act of violence was attempted. Unhappily he left at night for Brussels at the urgent summons of the Regent. On the next day a small party of rioters found their way into the cathedral and created a scandalous tumult, which was only appeased after a struggle, that ended in the expulsion of the offenders. But nothing was done for the safety of the sacred edifice, which was the glory of Antwerp and the pride of the whole country. Thus emboldened, a small body of men, women, and boys, not more than one hundred in number, and drawn from the very lowest scum of the population, remained in the building after the conclusion of vespers, and were allowed with impunity to wreak their will upon its accumulated treasures. When at last the priceless contents had been with brutal contumely destroyed or carried off as plunder, the rioters, encouraged by their success, hastened to make the round of the other churches, which they treated in the same way. An English eye-witness declared that the parties thus engaged sometimes numbered not more than ten or a dozen persons. Not till the next day, when the work of destruction was accomplished, did the magistracy attempt to put an end to these disgraceful disorders. Hereupon the epidemic of iconoclasm ran

its course with a rapidity that was truly alarming. It broke out in the northern Provinces with the same virulence as in the southern, and for a fortnight ensued an orgy of outrage and plundering. No insults were too coarse, no indignities too gross to be perpetrated upon places and objects sanctified by the worship of centuries and dear to the hearts of all faithful Catholics. The penalty afterwards paid for these criminal excesses was not undeserved either by the offenders themselves, or by the cowardly magistrates and citizens, who, by standing aloof, connived at their atrocities.

The effect of this outbreak was in many ways disastrous. It alienated the more liberal Catholics from the cause of the confederates. It excited the fears of the Duchess Regent to such an extent that she made secret preparations to leave Brussels for Mons. Neither entreaties nor threats would have turned her aside from her purpose, had not the town magistracy, on hearing of her intention, ordered the gates to be closed. Henceforth Margaret looked upon the great popular nobles, whom she had so lately favoured, as her enemies. She denounced Orange, Egmont, and Hoorn to the King as secret traitors and instigators of revolt. For a while, indeed, she felt it necessary to dissemble, and to make a kind of compact with the confederates. She promised, for her part, that those of the Reformed faith should have liberty to worship in places where such worship had already taken place, and that members of the League should be held free from blame for anything that they had done. An instrument to this effect was signed by her on August 23 ; and two days later Lewis of Nassau and his allies solemnly undertook to assist the government in putting down disorder, and in bringing disturbers of the peace to justice. The iron entered deeply into Margaret's soul before she degraded herself, as she thought, by assenting to such an accord. Her intense indignation breaks forth in her correspondence with her brother ; and she finds comfort in the thought that force had compelled her action, and that the King was not bound by her agreement. Nay, she besought him to come, and, arms in hand, make himself master in his own dominions. Meanwhile the concessions she had made, and the exertions of the various governors in their respective Provinces, secured for the moment an outward appearance of calm.

The news of the iconoclastic outrages, as may well be imagined, awakened vehement indignation at Madrid. The King for once forgot his habitual dissimulation, and broke out angrily, "It shall cost them dear, I swear it by the soul of my father.1'' His councillors were unanimous in urging upon him the necessity of hastening in person to the Netherlands, and of taking with him such a force as to crush opposition, if conciliatory measures failed. Philip listened to their advice in silence. He had his own plans, which for the present he divulged to no one. He succeeded in keeping his sister and all his trusted advisers ignorant of his intention, but not his wary and wakeful adversary, the Prince of Orange. William learnt from his well-paid spies that Philip was secretly

gathering large bodies of troops together, and discovered that the King laid the blame for all the troubles that had arisen, not on the rioters, or the sectaries, or even on the confederates, but first and foremost on the great nobles. These, he had been heard to declare, had stirred up the spirit of disaffection ; and exemplary punishment must fall on their heads, as the originators and sources of the evil. The Prince took his measures accordingly. On October 3 he arranged a conference at Dender-monde between himself, accompanied by his brother Lewis, and Egmont, Hoorn, and Hoogstraeten. On none of the accounts of what took place can absolute reliance be placed. One thing however is certain, that the chief interest of the discussion turned on an intercepted letter from Don Francis de Alava, the Spanish ambassador at Paris, to the Duchess of Parma. In this letter the King is represented as speciously luring on the Netherland leaders to their destruction by an outward show of gentleness, in order that he might with greater certainty visit them, and especially the three great lords, Orange, Egmont, and Hoorn, with the swift and condign punishment they deserved. Speaking for himself and his brother, Lewis of Nassau urged the necessity of armed resistance, and even went so far as to advise under certain eventualities the transference of the sovereignty to the German branch of the House of Austria. But his arguments failed to move Egmont or to convince Hoorn. Egmont refused absolutely to take up arms against the King ; and Hoorn, though sullen and despondent, declined to commit himself to a policy of active disloyalty. Margaret, when confronted with Alava's letter, declared most indignantly that it was an impudent forgery. Such a denial proves little. Forgery or not, its revelations of the King's designs were in no sense fiction, but literally and entirely true.

William left the conference sad and disillusioned. He saw that he Could count henceforth on no help from those who had hitherto been his chief friends and allies. He knew with his clear insight that they were walking straight into the jaws of destruction ; and so, though now isolated and almost in despair, he went quickly on with his preparations to meet force with force, and to prevent his country from being trampled under foot defenceless beneath the heel of Spanish tyranny. With the ready help of the Counts John and Lewis, his brothers, he entered into active communications with the Elector of Saxony, the Elector Palatine, the Landgrave of Hesse and the Duke of Württemberg, with the object of forming a German League in defence of the cause of the Reformed Faith in the Netherlands. He met with many difficulties. Urged to declare himself a Lutheran, William at length in November, writing to the Landgrave of Hesse, went so far as to admit that it was his intention to inform the King secretly of his adhesion to the Confession of Augsburg. This he never did, but henceforth he may be regarded as having definitely given up his nominal conformity to the Roman Church. His own personal adhesion to the Confession of Augsburg was

not however enough ; and for many weary months his pleadings and his arguments were exerted in vain. " Surely," he pleads, " the German Protestants will not permit these hapless Christians to be crushed without an effort." In this way the year ended amidst gathering storms.

On February 4, 1567, William, who had been since October energetically engaged in his own provinces of Holland and Utrecht in the task of repressing disorder and, by conciliatory measures, appeasing the minds of the people, returned to Antwerp, where his presence was urgently required. His moderation towards the sectaries in Amsterdam and other places did not meet with the approval of the Regest ; but the States of Holland, consisting chiefly of Catholics, voted him a gratuity of 50,000 florins for the services he had rendered to the Province. The Prince, though at the time in sore straits for money, declined to receive any recompense. Arrived at Antwerp, he found the town thronged with Protestants, congregated there from many quarters, and in a most defiant and bellicose humour. Their number was placed by Thomas Gresham, Queen Elizabeth's agent, as high as 40,000. Margaret was at this time doing her best to render of no effect the unwilling concessions she had made to the Reformed congregations. She refused to allow their ministers to baptise or to marry, and she called upon the governors to aid her in keeping the sectaries in order. She had now in the country several German and Walloon regiments, recently levied. These she placed under the command of Aremberg, Meghem, and other loyalists, showing clearly that it was her intention to crush opposition by force. The measures of the government were calculated to provoke insurrections, perhaps were intended to do so ; and it was not long in coming. John de Marnix, lord of Thoulouse(the elder brother of Sainte Aldegonde), one of the most hot-headed and able among the confederates, had no difficulty in gathering around him a band of 2000 Calvinist zealots, principally drawn from Antwerp, and with these he endeavoured to make himself master of the island of Walcheren. Foiled in this, he encamped himself at a place called Austruweel, about a couple of miles from Antwerp, with the hope of getting possession of that city. The Duchess-Regent, on hearing of this outbreak, lost no time in despatching a picked force of Walloons under the command of Lannoy with orders " to exterminate the miscreants without mercy."

On March 13 the conflict ensued. The rebels were utterly routed, and almost the whole of them, with their gifted leader, perished. This massacre-for it was little else-was perpetrated almost within sight of the walls of Antwerp; and the Calvinists in the town, hearing the sounds of battle, rushed to arms with the intention of helping their fellows. They found the gates locked and guarded by order of the Prince of Orange. The sectaries then gathered in threatening masses in the great Place de Meir. Here William, accompanied by Hoogstraeten, and followed by an armed force of Catholics and Lutherans, came to

parley with them. The gates, he declared, were shut to prevent the victorious cavalry of Lannoy from entering ; and at great personal risk he endeavoured to persuade the angry crowd that only by abstaining from violence could they hope to be saved from destruction at the hands of the Regent's mercenaries. On this occasion the Prince showed himself possessed of extraordinary courage. He was greeted with cries of " false traitor," " soldier of the Pope," " servant of Antichrist," and the like, and one artisan went so far as to present a loaded arquebus to his breast. His efforts at accommodation were long in vain. The hostile bodies of citizens stood face to face, on the one side the Catholics and Lutherans, on the other thirteen or fourteen thousand fierce Calvinists. But at length Orange prevailed; and an accord was agreed to on the same basis as that of the previous September. William, as he proclaimed it, raised the cry of " Vive le Roi!" It met with a feeble and sullen response from the congregated masses, who then dispersed to their homes.

Meanwhile a strong force had been placed under the orders of Philip de Noircarmes, Governor of Hainault, to suppress certain seditious movements in that province. He had an easy task in dispersing some bands of undisciplined insurgents at Lassy, and then proceeded to lay siege to Valenciennes, the chief centre of disturbance. Here he met with obstinate resistance ; and it was not until after a lengthy blockade that the city capitulated on April 2. The sufferings of the inhabitants were terrible ; and a savage vengeance was taken, in order to give a lesson to other recalcitrant towns. For a while, indeed, the routs of Austruweel and Lassy and the capture of Valenciennes broke down the spirit of resistance in the country.

The time was now come, the Regent felt, for dealing with the Prince of Orange, whose doubtful attitude was particularly disquieting to her. His courage and tact in keeping the peace in Holland, and at Utrecht and Antwerp, far from gaining the thanks and recognition of the government, made him only appear the more dangerous. The terms he had offered, Margaret said, were " strange and preposterous " ; and she insisted on putting his loyalty to the test by peremptorily, though with insinuating words, requiring him to take an oath, which had already been subscribed by many of the leading nobles, including Egmont, " to serve the King, and act for or against whomsoever his Majesty might order without restriction or limitation," on pain of dismissal from the service of the State. Brederode had already bluntly refused to take the oath, and had given up his military command. Hoorn and Hoogstraeten also had preferred to resign their appointments rather than commit themselves to such a declaration. But Orange had as yet by various excuses managed to avoid taking definite action. He now answered unequivocally that he could not undertake to do what might be contrary to his conscience, adding that he henceforth regarded himself as discharged from all his functions. Margaret however was still unwilling to

accept his resignation. She sent therefore on March 23 her secretary, Bertz, to Antwerp on a special mission of persuasion, but with no effect. As a last resort Berty proposed that Orange should meet Egmont and Meghem to discuss the matter. He agreed, and the momentous conference took place at Willebroek on April 2 (the day of Valenciennes1 surrender) in presence of Berty, who took notes of all that passed. These notes were seen by Strada, whose narrative of the interview may therefore be regarded as authentic. The deputed nobles did their utmost to shake the Prince's resolution, but he was immovable. In his turn William made overtures to Egmont. "Take arms," he said, "and I will join you." Much impressed by the earnestness of his old and trusted comrade, Egmont in his turn urged him not to leave the country ; " It will be the ruin of your House" he said. "The loss of my property," William rejoined, "does not trouble me"; then, with tears in his eyes, he added, " Your confidence will destroy you. You will be the bridge over which the Spaniards will pass to enter the Netherlands." The two friends embraced in deep emotion, and parted, never to meet again. Two days after this meeting William wrote to the Duchess, asking that his posts might be filled by others, and withdrew his daughter, Marie of Nassau, from the Court. On April 11 he retired to Breda. Arrived there, and fearing for his personal security, he set to work to make preparations for quitting the Netherlands. On April 22 he started with his whole household and made his way into exile at his ancestral home of Dillenburg.

Circumstances were quickly to show that the step taken by the Prince of Orange was not dictated by groundless forebodings. Philip had not been brooding over the condition of the Netherlands for months without result. His mind was at last irrevocably made up. He determined to follow the relentless policy advocated by the Duke of Alva, and to send that stern and redoubtable captain in person with a picked body of troops to carry it out. The fiction of a royal visit was still sedulously proclaimed. The ships for the escort were actually got ready. "Alva," so Philip declared, " was only going to prepare the way for his sovereign." The deception was kept up to the last, and with such thoroughness that even now it is impossible to say positively- though the probability amounts almost to certainty-that the King never intended to leave Spain. Alva had his final audience with Philip about the middle of April, 1567 ; and a fortnight later (April 27) he set sail from Cartagena, where a fleet of 36 vessels under Prince Andrea Doria awaited him, for Genoa. Arrived in Italy, he assembled from the garrisons of Lombardy and Naples four terdos, about 9000 men, of veteran Spanish infantry and 1300 Italian troopers. With these, afterwards increased by a body of German mercenaries, Alva started in June upon his long and hazardous march across the Mont Cenis, and then through Burgundy, Lorraine, and Luxemburg to Brussels. The army threaded its way along defiles and through forests in three divisions,

shadowed on the one flank by a French, on the other by a Swiss force, who suspiciously watched its progress northwards ready to repel any invasion of their respective territories. But aü went well. On August 8 Alva crossed the frontier of the Netherlands. Such was the iron discipline enforced by him that no acts of depredation or violence were committed during the slow and toilsome march. Contemporary writers speak with admiration of the splendid armour and martial bearing of this choice body of veteran troops, which for the first time in the history of war included a corps of musketeers. To give his soldiers the very best equipment he could procure and to keep them under the strictest control was in the opinion of this wary and successful commander far more important than mere numbers. He preferred even to regulate the very vices of his army rather than connive at licence. With a train of some two thousand Italian courtesans organised into battalions and companies, the champion of the Catholic faith and the defender of the Divine right of Kings entered the Netherlands.

On his way to the capital Alva was met by many of the Flemish nobles. Among them was Egmont. When he saw him approaching the Duke was overheard to exclaim, " There comes the great heretic." The words were said loud enough to reach the Count's ears, but the subsequent cordiality of his reception did away with any bad impression. The Duke placed his arm round Egmont's neck, accepted from him a present of two beautiful horses, and afterwards rode side by side with him, both conversing apparently in the friendliest manner. On August S3, attended by a detachment of foot-soldiers, Alva made his entry into Brussels, and taking up his quarters in lodgings that had been prepared for him, at once proceeded to the Palace to pay his respects to the Duchess of Parma.

For some time the Regent had been doubtful as to the reception she should give to the new Captain-General. Not only were the man and his mission distasteful to her, but she looked upon the step taken by her brother as a direct insult and aspersion upon herself and disastrous to the country. Just after she had succeeded by extraordinary exertions in restoring order in the Provinces, she found herself, in what she considered a humiliating manner, superseded. In her letters to her brother she gave full vent to her indignation, and again and again requested to be relieved of her charge. " You have shown no regard for my wishes or reputation,...the name of Alva is so odious here that it is enough to make the whole Spanish nation detested.... She could never have imagined that the King would have made such an appointment without consulting her; she was hurt to the very bottom of her soul by the King's conduct towards her."" Her reception of Alva was chilling. The audience, according to the custom of the Court, took place in the Duchess of Parma's bedchamber. Margaret stood in the middle of the room, with Aerschot, Barlaymont, and Egmont by her side, without

advancing a single step to greet her visitor. The Duke, though a Spanish grandee, with deferential courtesy took off his hat, but was requested to replace it. The interview, which was of the stiffest and most formal character, lasted for half-an-hour. The next day the Council of State asked the Duke to exhibit his powers. He at once sent the various commissions he had received from the King. There was general surprise at the extent of the powers conferred upon him by these instruments. The bare title of Regent was left to the Duchess ; but all real authority, civil as well as military, was placed in the hands of the Captain-General.

Alva at once proceeded to introduce garrisons into the principal towns. When Margaret protested against the quartering of Spanish troops in Brussels, the Duke quietly rejoined, " I am ready to take all the odium upon myself." Not at first, however, did he unmask his full intentions. To get his prey into his net, not to frighten it away, was his chief care. The nobles were attracted to Brussels by brilliant festivities ; Egmont was soothed and flattered ; all the arts of cajolery were used to draw Hoorn from his retreat at Weert to the capital. Egmont, though repeatedly warned of his danger, could not make up his mind to fly ; and Hoorn, though full of suspicion, thought it the best policy not to refuse Alva's pressing invitation. He came to Brussels, and all was now ready for the carrying out of a daring and deep-laid plan. On September 9 Counts Egmont and Hoorn, with other councillors, were invited to the Duke's residence for the ostensible purpose of deliberating upon the plans of a citadel to be erected at Antwerp. After dining with the Prior Frederick of Toledo (a natural son of Alva) they accordingly went to the Captain-General's quarters about four o'clock in the afternoon. The Duke received them in the friendliest manner, and, after entering into a discussion with them and the other councillors and some engineers about the plans upon the table, suddenly withdrew, pleading indisposition. The consultation lasted for three hours. At seven o'clock, as Egmont was leaving the room, Don Sancho d'Avila, Captain of the Guard, saying that he had a communication to make to him, drew him on one side. At a signal the doors were thrown open, and the Count found himself surrounded by a company of Spanish troops. Thereupon d'Avila demanded his sword. With a gesture of surprise and anger Egmont threw it on the ground, exclaiming, " I have often done the King good service with it." He was then arrested and confined in a darkened chamber on the upper floor. Hoorn, who had been allowed to leave the hall of audience, was at the same time arrested in the courtyard and separately confined. Both remained thus immured for a fortnight, shut off from all communication with their friends, and were then taken under the escort of a strong military force, for greater security, to the Castle of Ghent. On the afternoon of this same day three other arrests of importance were made, those of Egmont's private secretary,

Bakkerzeel, of Antony de la Loo, who served Hoorn in the same capacity, and also of Orange's friend, Antony van Stralen, the well-known and influential burgomaster of Antwerp. The whole design had been so skilfully arranged that the victims were all secured at one swoop, without so much as a blow being struck or an effort made to escape.

This coup-de-main had a stunning effect upon men's minds ; and absolute tranquillity, caused by terror, prevailed everywhere. Alva himself was astonished at the apparent completeness of his success. " Thank God," he wrote to his gratified master, " all is quiet in the country." The boast that he had made on entering the Netherlands seemed justified. " I have tamed men of iron in my day," he is reported to have said, " I shall know how to deal with these men of butter."

But Alva was not satisfied with arrests. He required a tribunal which should know how to execute summary justice upon his prisoners. He proceeded therefore to create one. It was known officially as the "Council of Troubles"; but it has passed down to history branded by popular repulsion with the terrible name of the " Council of Blood." Alva announced its formation to the King in the same letter in which he relates the story of the arrests. This tribunal exercised an authority overriding that of all other tribunals in the Provinces, even that of the Council of State ; and yet it was an absolutely informal body, erected by the mere fiat of the Duke without any legal status whatsoever. Its members could show no letters-patent or charter from the King, not even commissions signed by the Captain-General. The Duke was president, and reserved to himself the final decision upon all cases. Two members, Vargas and del Rio, alone had the privilege of voting ; and these two were Spaniards. Of the nobles, Barlaymont and Noircarmes, who had already shown that they were thorough supporters of the Royal policy, had seats on the tribunal, as well as the Chancellor of Gelderland, the Presidents of Flanders and Artois, and the Councillors Blasere and Hessels ; but the authority of all these Netherlanders was practically nil ; they were the tools, and unfortunately the willing and zealous tools, of Spanish tyranny. Both Vargas and del Rio were lawyers, and well fitted for the part they had to play, the former by his unscrupulous inhumanity, the latter by his subserviency. Of Juan de Vargas history has nothing to record but what is infamous ; and nothing casts a darker stain upon the memory of Alva than his deliberate choice of this execrable instrument.

The Council of Troubles was not long in getting to work. A swarm of commissioners were appointed to ransack the Provinces in search of delinquents ; and informers were encouraged to accuse their neighbours and acquaintance. Truck-loads of such information were not slow in arriving, and were duly placed before the tribunal. For the purpose of dealing with these the Council was divided into committees ; but all committees reported to Vargas, and all sentences were submitted to Alva. The Council sat regularly morning and afternoon ; and the Duke himself

was frequently present for seven hours in the day. From a judicial point of view the proceedings were a mere farce. Whole batches of the accused were condemned together off-hand; and from one end of the Netherlands to the other the executioners were busy with stake, sword, and gibbet, until the whole land ran red with blood. Barlaymont and Noircarmes were speedily disgusted with such wholesale butchery, and soon absented themselves from the sittings ; their example was followed after a time by the Chancellor and the two Presidents. But their absence only served to accelerate the progress of the work of death and confiscation. Vargas was indefatigable in the execution of his congenial task, relieving its grim monotony from time to time with jokes and jeers in bad Latin ; and he was almost rivalled in diligence and cruelty by his Flemish colleague Hessels. Alva reckoned on receiving 500,000 ducats in the year from confiscated property. He cared nothing for the impoverishment of the country, so long as the exchequer grew rich.

Meanwhile the Duchess of Parma, irritated beyond measure by the humiliation of her position, had sent her secretary, Machiavelli, to Madrid to demand the King's permission for her retirement. Machiavelli returned on October 6, bearing a dispatch by which the King informed his sister that he accepted her resignation, and in token of his satisfaction with her services raised her pension from 8000 florins to 14,000 per annum. Machiavelli brought with him another dispatch conferring on Alva the offices of Regent and Governor-General. The Duchess left the Netherlands in December for her home at Parma, amidst general signs of popular affection and regret. One of her last acts had been to write to Philip to beg him to temper justice with mercy, and not to confound the good and the bad in the same punishment. She had been an able administrator, and possessed many good qualities ; but the praise of clemency can scarcely be claimed for her government. Her harshness, however, at this moment of her departure seemed to be mildness itself when contrasted with her successor's almost inhuman temper.

The Duchess gone, Alva's judicial murders and plunderings continued with growing energy. As a single instance of their sweeping character, it may be mentioned that in the early hours of Ash-Wednesday, when it was known that most people would be at home after the Carnival, not less than fifteen hundred persons were seized in their beds and hurried off to prison. Their fate is recorded in a letter written by the Governor, in which, after informing his master of the arrest, he quietly adds, " I have ordered all of them to be executed." One of the first acts of the Council in 1568 was to address a summons (which proved futile) to the Prince of Orange, his brother Lewis, the Counts Hoogstraeten, Culem-burg, and van den Berg, and Baron Montigny to appear within a fortnight before the tribunal, on pain of perpetual banishment and confiscation of their estates. William replied by denying that either Alva or his Council had any jurisdiction over him. But though the

head of the House of Nassau was out of their reach, William's son and heir was, by an oversight of extraordinary imprudence on his father's part, at this time studying at the University of Louvain. A dastardly act of revenge was planned by the Spanish tyrant. In February, 1568, Philip William, Count of Buren, was kidnapped and conveyed to Spain, to be there brought up in the principles which his father detested, and taught to hate the cause for which that father sacrificed his life. When the professors of the University ventured to protest to Vargas against such a breach of their privileges, they met with the barbarous reply, " Non curamus privilégias vestros."" Vargas had an equal contempt for the laws of the land and for those of grammar.

The process of the two prisoners in the Castle of Ghent had been handed over to Vargas and del Rio ; and in the middle of November, 1567, they were separately subjected to a lengthened interrogatory. Not till the very end of the year, however, were they furnished with a copy of the charges made against them. These consisted of ninety counts in the case of Egmont, of sixty-eight in that of Hoorn ; and replies were demanded within five days. And this, although (in accordance, be it admitted, with the barbarous custom of a cruel age) they had been languishing all these months in solitary confinement, with all access to them barred, and with all their papers and documents in the possession of their accusers. The charges were met on the part of both prisoners by indignant denials of any treasonable or disloyal practices or intentions; and, as a concession to their remonstrances and those of their friends, the use of counsel was at length permitted to them. Meanwhile, ceaseless efforts were being made on their behalf to secure their pardon, or at least their trial, as Knights of the Fleece, before a Court of the Order. The wife of Egmont and the Dowager-Countess van Hoorn, the Admiral's stepmother, were especially active. The former, who was a Bavarian princess, had, with her eleven young children, been reduced to absolute penury by the sequestration of her husband's estates. She wrote most touching appeals to the King, to Alva, to the Emperor, and to different Knights of the Fleece. Her efforts were not without effect. The Emperor Maximilian wrote two letters to his cousin pleading the services of Egmont, and the privileges of both lords as Knights of the Fleece, and of Hoorn as a Count of the Holy Roman Empire. Several of the German Princes took a similar course. Even Barlaymont and Mansfeld, staunch loyalists, shrank from being parties to condemnation without a fair trial, and Granvelle himself counselled clemency. But nothing moved Philip or the stony-hearted Alva,

Before the latter left Spain the death of the nobles had been determined and irrevocably fixed. Neither privileges nor entreaties were of the very slightest avail. An armed irruption by Hoogstraeten from the south, and a more formidable one under Lewis of Nassau from Friesland sealed their fate. Hoogstraeten was easily overthrown, but Lewis gained on

May 11,1568, a victory which necessitated Alva's departure for the north. He was, therefore, in a hurry to finish with his victims before he left. A decree on May 28 declared the two Nassaus, Hoogstraeten, and others, banished for ever from the land, and their property confiscated. This was followed by the execution of a number of distinguished persons, and by another decree on June 1, which suddenly announced that no further evidence on behalf of Egmont and Hoorn could be received, thus shutting out all the elaborate testimony in their defence collected by their counsel. On the following day, June 2, their case was submitted to the Council of Blood-in other words to Vargas and del Rio, who pronounced the prisoners guilty of high treason and sentenced them to death. The sentences were at once confirmed and signed by Alva. The next day the two lords were brought in carriages from Ghent to Brussels, escorted by three thousand troops, and were placed in separate chambers in the Broodhuis-a large building still standing in the great square of the Hôtel de Ville and facing that edifice. On the afternoon of the 4th Alva attended a meeting of the Council, at which the secretary read aloud the sentences : that the Counts of Egmont and Hoorn, as guilty of treasonable and rebellious practices, should be beheaded by the sword, their heads being set on poles and their estates confiscated. The Duke then sent for the Bishop of Ypres, and commissioned him to inform the condemned that their execution would take place on the following morning, and to prepare them for their fate.

Entreaties for delay were unavailing. The Bishop entered Egmonfs chamber shortly before midnight, and found the unfortunate man, wearied after his long imprisonment by the fatigue of his journey, fast asleep. He awakened him, and unable to speak silently placed in his hands a copy of the terrible sentence. The Count had no suspicion that his doom was immediate. Of naturally sanguine temper he was even hoping that his removal to Brussels might be the prelude to his release. He was rudely undeceived, and was at first far more overcome by astonishment than by dismay. Then the thought of his devoted wife and young family rushed into his mind, and the idea of their being left desolate and penniless filled him with anguish. But he speedily grew calm, and listened attentively to the good Bishop's exhortations, confessed himself, and with much solemnity received the Sacrament. This done, and some hours of life still remaining to him, he composed himcelf to make preparations for his end. He wrote a touching letter to the King, protesting his loyalty and begging him to forgive him, and in regard for his past services to have compassion on his poor wife and children; it was signed, "From Brussels, this 5th June, 1568, at the point of death, Your Majesty's most humble and loyal vassal and servant, Lamoral d'Egmont." At 10 a.m. a body of soldiers came to conduct Egmont to the block. The great square was full of people, and every window and roof crowded, while the scaffold in the middle was surrounded by serried lines of Spanish

infantry. On this were placed two black cushions, and a small table with a silver crucifix. As Egmont walked along he recited the 5lst Psalm. His countenance was serene, and he gravely acknowledged the salutations that were addressed to him. Following the advice of the Bishop, he did not attempt to speak to the people ; but, after spending some time in earnest devotion and kissing the crucifix repeatedly, knelt down on one of the cushions. As the words were on his lips, " Into Thy hands I commend my spirit," the executioner struck off his head.

We know less of the last hours of Hoorn than we do of those of his more brilliant companion in misfortune. The Admiral was attended by the curate of La Chapelle. His first feelings on hearing the dread news were those of indignant resentment ; but when this outburst was over he showed, like Egmont, the greatest fortitude and self-composure in facing the ordeal which awaited him. He had a pang to endure, which had been spared to Egmont-the sight of his friend's corpse covered with a blood-stained cloth. But he instantly controlled his emotion, and, after a few words of inaudible prayer, briefly asked the people to forgive his faults and to pray God to have mercy upon his soul. Before the stroke fell he was heard to exclaim, " In manus tuas, Domine.'" Thus the two men, whose names have gone down to history so indissolubly linked, died with equal courage, and with the same solemn words, though in different tongues, made their parting appeal to the Divine mercy.

The heads of both the victims were exposed for three hours and were then removed. The bodies were placed in coffins and taken, that of Egmont to the convent of St Clara, that of the Admiral to the church of St Gudule. Here they were visited-especially that of the popular victor of Gravelines-by crowds of weeping people, who uttered vows of fierce revenge against the perpetrators of what they regarded as a judicial murder. The remains were finally transferred to the family vaults of the Egmonts and Montmorencys.

These executions were intended to serve as a great example and to strike terror into the minds of all opponents of the government. As a matter of fact, they aroused a perfect frenzy of undying hatred against the Spaniard and against Spanish rule, and surrounded the memories of Egmont and Hoorn with a halo of martyrdom for the cause of freedom which they had done little to deserve. There can be small doubt that neither of them was a dangerous enemy, and that Egmont at any rate, with skilful management, would have been found a most tractable tool in the hands of the King, ready to do anything that was required of him. By making them the victims of one of the most dramatic tragedies recorded in all history Philip and Alva committed an act which was not only an unnecessary crime, but an irretrievable blunder.