HISTORY OF HOLLAND and the Dutch Nation
FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE TENTH TO THE END OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
Including an account of the municipal institutions, commercial pursuits, and social habits of the people
The rise and progress of the protestant reformation in Holland.
The intestine dissentious foreign wars
BY C. M. DAVIES.
In Three Volumes
LONDON: G.Willis, Great Piazza,Covent Garden MDCCCXLI
Philip becomes Sovereign of the greater portion of the Netherland States. Institution of the Order of the Golden Fleece. Effects of Philip*s Government on Holland. War with England. Its unpopularity. Truce. War with the Hanse Towns. Truce. Renewal of party dissensions in Holland. Riots at Haarlem. At Leyden. Philip comes in person to effect the pacification of Holland. Reform of the Church. Revolt of Ghent. Charles, Count of Charolois. Affairs of Utrecht. David of Burgundy made Bishop. Attempt to regain Friesland. Discontents between Philip and the King of France. Death of the King of France. Accession of Louis XI. Intrigues of the Count of Charolois against him. War; and Treaty of Conflans. Charles attacks Liege and Dinant. Changes made by him in Holland. Death of Philip. His love of Peace. Prodigality of his Court.
Upon the surrender of Holland, Zealand, Friesland, and Hainaut by Jacoba, Philip became possessed of the most considerable states of the Netherlands. John, Duke of Burgundy, his father, had succeeded to Flanders and Artois, in right of his mother Margaret, sole heiress of Louis van der Male, Count of Flanders. In the year 1429, Philip entered into possession of the County of Namur, by the death of Theodore, its last native prince without issue, of whom he had purchased it during his lifetime for 132,000 crowns of gold 1. To Namur was added in the next year the neighbouring duchy of Brabant, by the death of Philip (brother of John, who married Jacoba of Holland,) without issue; although Margaret, Countess-dowager of Holland, aunt of the late Duke, stood the next in succession, since the right extended to females, Philip prevailed with the states of Brabant to confer on him, as the true heir, that duchy and Limburg, to which the margraviate of Antwerp and the lordship of Mechlin were annexed 2.
- Mirei Dip., torn, iv., p. 611, 614. Pont. Heut., Rer. Bur., lib. iv., cap. 3.
- Pont. Heut. Rer. Bur., lib. iv., cap. 4.
As he equalled many of the sovereigns of Europe in the extent, and excelled all of them in the riches, of his dominions, so he now began to rival them in the splendour and dignity of his court. On the occasion of his marriage with Elizabeth, or Isabella, daughter of John, king of Portugal, celebrated at Bruges in January 1430, he instituted the famous Order of the Golden Fleece, "to preserve the ancient religion, and to extend and defend the boundaries of the state 1." The insignia of the order were a golden fleece, hanging to a collar likewise of gold, and carved with the Duke's symbol of the steel and flint striking fire, and also two laurel boughs placed crosswise 2; the motto of the order was "Pretium non vile laborum". The long robe worn by the knights at their chapter, was made at first of purple woollen cloth, but exchanged by Charles, the son of Philip, in 1478, for one less appropriate of silken velvet. The number of knights, at the time of their institution, was twenty-four, besides the Duke himself as president, and was subsequently increased by the Emperor Charles V. to fifty-one. The first chapter of the order was not held until November 1431, at the church of St. Peter in Ryssel, when the festival continued three days 3.
- Miraei Dip. Belg., torn, i., cap. 110, p. 230.
- The latter device had been assumed by Duke John the Bold, with the motto " Flammescet uterque."
- Pont. Heut., lib. iv., cap. 3. Meyer, lib. xvi., ad ann. 1429—1431, p. 274, 275. Miraei Dipl. Belg., torn, i., cap. 114, p. 235.
The accession of a powerful and ambitious prince to the government of the County, was anything but a source of advantage to the Dutch, excepting, perhaps, in a commercial point of view. Its effects were soon perceived in the declaration made by the council of Holland, that the charters and privileges, acknowledged by the Duke as governor and heir, were of none effect, unless afterwards confirmed by him* as Count. Nor was the diminution of their civil liberties the only evil which foreign dominion brought upon them. They found likewise, that their political welfare, or national attachments, were of no weight compared with the personal interests of their sovereign, or even with the gratification of his passions; and that for purposes subservient to either, they were forced to take part in a war against an ally, with whom they had not only not the slightest cause of quarrel, but to whom they were attached, as well by the ties of interest, as those of habit and inclination. The last nation in Europe with which Holland would voluntarily wage war was perhaps England, and yet it was against her that she was now called upon to lavish her blood and treasure in an unprofitable contest. We will therefore examine briefly the causes of the different relation in which this nation and Burgundy, at present stood towards each other, to what they had formerly done.
The zeal of Philip for the English alliance had received its first check by the marriage of Jacoba with the Duke of Gloucester; but the ready acquiescence of Humphry in the decision of the Pope, and his abandonment of his wife, had softened his resentment; and immediately after his compromise with the Countess in 1428, he obtained for Holland and Zealand, a restoration of the commerce with England, which had been somewhat interrupted, during the previous contests for the County 1.
- Rym. Faed., torn, x., p. 403.
In the same year, however, the refusal of the Duke of Bedford to allow the city of Orleans, then besieged by the English to be sequestrated to the Duke of Burgundy, on the proposal made by deputies from Orleans to that effect, renewed his feelings of dissatisfaction. Until this time the tide of success had flown uniformly in favour of the English; but the raising of the siege of Orleans, and the subsequent achievements of the renowned Joan d'Arc, with the coronation of Charles VII. at Rheims, changed the face of affairs, and rendered Philip less sanguine of the advantages to be reaped from the connection with England; added to these causes of estrangement, was the death of his sister Anne, duchess of Bedford, and the subsequent marriage of the Duke to his vassal, Jaqueline of Luxemburg, eldest daughter of the Comte de St. Pol, without his consent or knowledge 1.
On the rejection, therefore, of the terms offered by France at the conferences held at Arras, with a view to the conclusion of a peace, the Duke pursued that course, (though not without affecting great hesitation,) 1435 to which he had long been secretly inclined; and concluded a separate treaty with Charles VII., in which the latter, pleading his youth and ignorance as an excuse for his connivance in the murder of Duke John, professed his detestation of the crime, and that he would use every means to bring the perpetrators to justice 2.
Before Philip took the oaths to observe this peace, Pope Eugene IV. despatched from the Council of Basle two cardinals to release him from his engagements to Henry of England, although he had declared to the latter not long before, that he never would grant the Duke of Burgundy any such dispensation 3.
- Snoi, Rer. Bat., lib. x., p. 147. Monstrelet, vol. vii., chap. 37,99.
- Recueil des Traites de Leonard, toni. i., p. 3. Monstrelet, rol. vil, chap. 68, 87, 88.
- Rym. Faed., torn, x., p. 613.
The English had so little suspicion of the intention of the Duke, that he had been named one of the delegates to treat of peace on the part of England; and accordingly, their indignation at this treachery, as they termed it, knew no bounds. The populace of London, Tenting their rage indiscriminately on all the subjects of the Duke of Burgundy, spared not, in the general pillage, even the houses of the Holland and Zealand merchants then residing in England, several of whom they seized and murdered. Notwithstanding the outrages committed on this occasion, the regency of England had sufficient confidence in the favourable dispositions of Holland and Zealand, to request the inhabitants, by letters addressed to the principal towns, to take no part in the war which the Duke of Burgundy designed against the nation 1.
They were disappointed, however, in the success of these applications; for whatever the secret wishes of the Hollanders and Zealanders, they were too good subjects to treat with a foreign power, without the knowledge of their sovereign, to whom they immediately sent the letters from England; and this occurrence served but to strengthen the determination that the Duke had already formed of declaring war against England, which he did in the following year. He 1436 opened the campaign with the siege of Calais, which the cowardice or disaffection of his Flemish troops, and the backwardness of the Hollanders in bringing a fleet to his assistance, soon forced him to raise 2.
- Rym. Faed., torn, x., p. 611, 637, 646, 662. Monstrelet, vol. vii., cliap. 92, 96. Pont. Heut., lib. vi., cap. 6
- Sooi. Rer. Bat., lib. x., p. 148. Monstrelet, vol. vii., chap. 97,100, p. 365,377.
Meanwhile, on the appearance of an English fleet in the Zwin, Hugh de Lannoy, Stadtholder , in the room of Francis van Borselen, and the council of Holland, had ordered a general levy of troops, both there and in Zealand; but as it was soon ascertained that the English ships had not only avoided offering any hostility to Zealand, but had even supplied themselves with provisions from thence, the Hollanders declared it useless to advance to the assistance of that province, unless it were attacked; nor would the towns of Haarlem, Delft, Leyden, and Amsterdam, permit their deputies to attend the summons of the Stadtholder to Zierikzee, to consider of means for its defence. While the Hollanders thus manifested their unwillingness to take part in this unpopular war, the seditious state of the Flemish towns, caused by the imposition of a tax on salt, rendered Philip unable to prevent the ravages of the Duke of Gloucester's army, which, marching from Calais, overran Flanders and Hainaut. 1437 The same cause embarrassed all his future operations against the English, and he was at length forced by his rebellious subjects to supplicate the King of England, through his wife, Isabella of Portugal, for the re-establishment of the commerce between the English and the Dutch and Flemings 1. This requisition being granted, was followed by negotiations for a truce, which, prolonged until the year 1443, were at length concluded, and the peace agreed upon, until either party should think proper to renounce it, when he should give three months' notice of his intention 2. During the war between Burgundy and England, the Hollanders were engaged in hostilities more immediately on their own account with the JBasterlings, or Hanse Towns of the Baltic, who had plundered some of their ships, and refused, although repeatedly urged, to make any restitution.
- AEgid. de Roya, ad ann. 1435, p. 78. Monstrelet, vol. vii., chap. 108, 109. Rym Faed., torn, x., p. 713, 714, 733.
- Rym. Faed., torn, x., p. 769; torn, xi., p. 25, G7.
During the conferences held on the subject, the Holland and Zealand ships sailed to the Baltic in quest of corn as usual; but on their return, they were attacked by the vessels of the Hanse towns, the whole of the cargoes seized, and the crews taken prisoners. The Baltic fleet had been awaited with eager expectation in Holland, on account of the general failure of the crops, and its loss caused a severe famine through the Country; the rye loaf now rose to half a guilder (10d.), and the poorer classes were forced to use rape, hempseed, and beans, as substitutes for corn 1. Some approaches towards an accommodation were made by the Duke of Burgundy, which proving fruitless, it was resolved to equip for war all the 1438 vessels, both large and small, then in Holland and Zealand, and to build without delay eighty "baards" (a species of large men-of-war), which were to be supplied by the different towns, in the proportion of from one to four each, according to their capability, or their interest in the issue of the contest 2.
These ships were soon ready to put to sea, when several sharp engagements were fought with the fleet of the Hanse Towns, in which the Dutch generally had the advantage, though without any decisive event, until the spring of 1440, when the former, on its return from the Bay of Biscay, laden with salt, fell in with the Dutch vessels; after a vain attempt to escape, the whole of the fleet was captured with little resistance, when the victors, sparing the lives of their prisoners, set them ashore without ransom, bringing the ships and valuable cargoes into the ports of Holland and Zealand.
- Veluis Hoorn, bl. 32.
- De Riemer's Graavenhnge, ii. deel., bl. 409.
This heavy loss inclined the Hanse Towns towards a peace, which the Dutch, loth to continue a war so injurious to their trade, no less desired.
1441 A truce was therefore concluded with the towns of Lubeck, Hamburgh, Rostok, Stralsund, Wismar, and Lunenburg, for twelve years, within which period their differences were to be adjusted by five towns chosen by each party. This truce being renewed from time to time, had all the beneficial effects of a regular and stable peace 1.
The cessation of foreign wars was, ere long, followed by the renewal of those intestine commotions which had now for so protracted a period been the bane of Holland. Although actual hostilities had ceased between the hook and cod parties with the overthrow of Jacoba, neither the article of the treaty between her and the Duke, directing that no one should reproach another with these names, nor the subsequent efforts of the latter, had been able to extinguish their animosity 2. Philip, indeed, himself attached to the cods, regularly appointed Stadtholder s of that party; and as they, in the continued absence of the sovereign, possessed in a manner the supreme power of the County, the principal offices of the state were constantly filled by their adherents. William de Lalaing, however, who succeeded Lannoy in 1440, having married Yolande, daughter of Reynold van Brederode, the! head of the hook nobles, began to incline more and! more to their faction, and from that time they enjoyed I a considerable share in the administration of affairs.
- Velius Hoorn, bl. 33��35.
- Pont. Heut., lib. iv., cap. 9.
1443 The envy and spleen excited by this change in the breasts of the cod nobles, failed not to aggravate to the utmost the discontent which existed, not without reason, among the people in general. A severe winter, followed by a wet and cold summer, in the year 1443, raised the price of provisions to an excessive height; while an extraordinary ten years' "petition," which had been granted to the Duke, proved at such a time an unusually heavy burden on the working classes 1. Notwithstanding this, another subsidy was soon after demanded of the towns in the assembly of the states; 1444 but the deputies declaring that they were not empowered to consent to any new demand, offered the Duke a loan from their private purses. This generous proposal did not, however, remove the fears of the people that fresh taxes would still be added, and it was industriously circulated by the cods, that the present distresses had arisen from the maladministration of the hook party.
In consequence of these injurious rumours, the populace in many of the towns which were favourable to the cods broke out into sedition. In Haarlem, the cods having gained possession of the town bell, caused it to be rung, at which signal the whole of their party assembled in arms in the marketplace; the hooks hereupon likewise took up arms, and stationed themselves in battle array opposite their adversaries; thus they stood for the space of two days, during the whole of which time a priest walked up and down between the ranks, carrying the host, and thus prevented a blow being struck on either side. A heavy storm of hail at length forced them to retreat; the hooks first, under the conduct of Nicholas van Adrichem, the burgomaster, who fortified himself in his house, where he was afterwards besieged by his own brother, Simon van Adrichem, at the head of the guild of butchers.
- Snoi. Rer. Bat., lib. x., p. 149. Vellus Hoorn, bl. 35.
The houses of the other hooks, who had followed his example, were vigorously assaulted 1.
Matters were in this condition when Philip despatched his wife Isabella, in the quality of governess of the County, to appease the tumults. She approached Haarlem, in company with the Stadtholder Lalaing; but the latter, receiving information at Hillegom that the Haarlemmers designed to put him to death if he entered their city, immediately returned to the Hague. Isabella finding, on her arrival at Haarlem, that the inhabitants hesitated to deliver the keys of the town, forbade all communication with them, and threatened to confiscate the estates of all such as did not evacuate Haarlem within four days. This menace procured her admission within the walls, where she induced the hooks to withdraw, under a secret promise that she would bring them back in a short time. They accompanied her to Amsterdam, from which city the cods had been expelled, where they eventually remained, since Isabella subsequently found herself unable to fulfil her promise of re-establishing them in Haarlem 2. On her return to Bruges, she found Philip dissatisfied that the hooks should have been allowed to remain in the sole possession of Amsterdam, and attributing the disturbances that had arisen to the conduct of William Lalaing, the Stadtholder , the Duke deprived him of his office, and placed the government 1445 in the hands of Godwin de Wilde, a Fleming, under the title of president 3. It does not appear that the Hollanders made any remonstrance against this appointment, any more than that of the former Stadtholder s, Lannoy and Lalaing, both of whom were foreigners.
- Snoi. Rer. Bat., lib. x., p. 149.
- Pont. Heut., lib. iv. cap. 9. Snoi. Rer. Bat., lib. x., p. 149.
- Goudsche Chron., bl. 181. Snoi. Rot. Bat., lib. x., p. 150.
The new governor had scarcely assumed the duties of his office, when the two parties excited violent commotions in the town of Leyden. The immediate cause of the uproar was the substitution, by Duke Philip, of one Simon Frederickson, as schout of the city, in the place of Florence van Boshuyzen, an adherent of the hook party. Boshuyzen called in question the legality of this appointment, and the hooks refused to acknowledge the new schout, who, on the other hand, was supported by the whole power of the cods. At length the leaders of each party summoned the burghers to arms, when the streets and bridges of the city became a scene of violence and bloodshed: the cods, assisted by some forces sent from Delft and the Hague by the command of the President de Wilde, overpowered their adversaries, some of whom were slain, numbers wounded, and one hundred and twenty taken prisoners. Three of them were tried and beheaded at the Hague, but at the intercession of Francis van Borselen, the lives of the remainder were spared, and they were released upon payment of a heavy ransom; so beneficially did this humane and generous nobleman exert the influence which he had constantly maintained at court since the death of the Countess Jacoba. The defeat and dispersion of the hook party restored peace to Leyden, but as several other towns showed symptoms of disorder, the Duke of Burgundy thought it advisable to repair in person to Holland, whither he was accompanied by John of Nassau, lord of Breda, and John of Heusburg, bishop of Liege. Through their mediation the governments of the towns, which Philip, on the occasion of the disturbances, took upon himself to change out of the regular course, were, for the most part, equally divided between the two factions, and by this means the establishment of a good understanding was in a great degree effected.
The Duke, moreover, renewed the prohibition of the treaty made between himself and the Countess Jacoba in 1428, against the calling of party names; and the " Rederykers," or rhetoricians, a species of dramatic poets, whose art was much in vogue about this time, particularly in the Netherlands, were forbidden to represent satirical pieces, or to sing songs in ridicule of either party 1. Having thus lessened the incitements to hostilities, Philip took measures to prevent their actual commission, by prohibiting all liveries or distinguishing marks, except for household servants; as well as the wearing of hoods, the creation of new bodies of schuttery (or burgher-guard), and the wearing of armour, swords, long knives, or such like weapons. It is provided likewise, that in case of any death occurring in an affray, the relations on each side who were not present at the time, shall enjoy a peace of six weeks' duration, that they may have an opportunity of compromising the matter 2,3.
- The Troubadours of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries were accustomed to recite poems in dialogues sustained by two, three, or more characters, and called " tensiones;" these appear to have suggested the first idea of representing some sacred action, such as the passion of our Saviour, &c,: the popularity of such representations or "mysteries," as they were called, gare rise to a species of farce, which was accustomed to be acted in the streets for the amusement of the populace, the subject being generally afforded by some standing jest of the day, or ludicrous incident that had lately happened; the actors in this rude kind of drama, who were usually the composers of it also, were called " Rederykers."
- Scrivelius Haarlem, bl. 260.
- A similar ordinance was published in France by St, Louis two hundred years before, when the custom of private war was in full vigour, prohibiting any person to commence hostilities against the friends of his adversary until forty days after the commision of the offence, which was the cause of quarrel. Velly, Hist, de France, torn, v., p. 249. I am inclined to think that the custom of private war constantly prevailed more or less among the nobility in the Netherlands, even to this late period, when it had quite or nearly ceased in France and England; in the former Country it was, by an edict published in 1413, when the dissensions between the Burgundy and Orleans factions were at their height, punishable with imprisonment and confiscation of property. Monstrelet, vol. iii., p. 245.
These regulations sufficiently testify to what a lamentable state of disorganization, almost of anarchy, the prevalence of party spirit had reduced Holland.
Philip did not neglect to turn to his own advantage, the peace which he had thus endeavoured to secure. In the year 1447, he demanded a fresh ten years* petition of the states of Holland. They granted it, though with great reluctance; and the Duke sent commissioners into Holland to assess the portion to be paid by each of the different towns, and by the open Country- But the inequality of their valuation became a subject of complaint to many of the towns: the inhabitants of West Friesland and Waterland were 1448 especially dissatisfied with it, and the latter went so far as positively to refuse the payment of more than their customary quota. In order to force them to compliance, the Stadtholder , John de Lannoy, who now succeeded Godwin de Wilde, ordered a general levy of troops, marched into Waterland, and seizing the persons of some of the richest inhabitants, detained them prisoners in the Hague until the people paid to the full their allotted share of the petition 1; the states allowed this arbitrary and unconstitutional proceeding to pass without animadversion.
Having effected the pacification of Holland, Philip turned his attention to the accomplishment of an object which he had long had much at heart; the reform, namely, of those abuses in the Catholic Church, which were already paving the way for its signal overthrow in the next century.
- Groote Chron., divis. xxix., cap. 15. Velius Hoorn, bl. 36.
Besides the general causes of the disesteem into which the clergy of all the Christian nations had now sunk,—their ambition, luxury, and rapacity, the decay of learning and pietssy among them, their irregular and licentious lives, the simony, and profligate sale of indulgences they universally practised,—there were other reasons which rendered them peculiarly obnoxious to the Hollanders. Holland and Zealand had, from the earliest times, been under the spiritual superintendence of the bishops of Utrecht, and were divided into priories, or deaneries, in each of which the prior, or dean, collected the tithes, church-fines, and other episcopal revenues, on the part of the bishops. This jurisdiction was exercised with more or less authority, as the bishops happened to be on friendly terms or otherwise, with the couuts; and the hostilities for a long period existing between them, having of late years in a great measure ceased, the former had considerably extended their influence, claiming for their own courts the decision of all matters wherein a churchman was in any way concerned, and using this and every other pretext they could plead or invent, to transfer causes from the lay to the ecclesiastical tribunals 1. The clergy, moreover, vehemently insisted upon j the mischievous privilege of sanctuary, which had ! during the late internal troubles, increased to a most pernicious extent, making the churches, in many places little more than a harbour, as well for riotous and seditious persons, as for the most desperate criminals, and rendering the arm of temporal justice well nigh powerless 2. The monks, such even as had renounced the world, and taken a vow of poverty, had possessed themselves of large landed estates 3, and exercised, besides, every species of traffic and commerce: as they were exempt from most of the taxes levied on the laity, they were enabled to undersell them in the market, and thus inflicted incalculable injury on the fair and regular trader 4.
- Boxhorn, Nedcrl. Hist., bl. 195.
- Velius Hoorn, bl. 40.
- A decree had been issued by William III. in 1328, forbidding the sale of lands to monks and priests, tinder penalty of a fine of ten pounds upon every sale ; but it does not appear to have been attended with much effect,—Brandt, Hist, der Ref., boek i., bl. 25.
- Boxhorn, Nederl. Hist., bl. 272, 280.
As early as the year 1433, Philip had obtained from the Bishop of Utrecht, Rodolph van Diephout, a general edict, whereby the jurisdiction of the deans, as well as the privilege of sanctuary, was greatly limited, the latter being denied entirely to murderers and such as were accused of high treason 1; and some years later, he prohibited, by a severe decree, the trading of monks, and the acquisition of landed property by the mendicant orders 2. Yet, fearing that this attempt to decrease the wealth and influence of the clergy, would draw down upon him the displeasure of the Holy See, he addressed, through John Godfrey, bishop of Arras, a long and courteous letter to Pope Nicholas V., recommending his states to the discipline and protection of his Holiness, and beseeching him to adopt measures to terminate the schism then existing in the church 3. The Pope, pleased to be addressed in submissive terms by so powerful and haughty a prince, consented to send on the occasion of the jubilee of 1450, the Cardinal Nicholas Cusa as his legate, for the purpose of reforming the condition of the church, as well as of granting indulgences.
- Groot Plakaat., deel. iii., bl. 391.
- Boxhorn, Nederl. Hist., bl. 281, 282.
- AEgid. de Roya, ad ann. 1447.. p. 80��84.
The Pope, however, seems hardly to have examined with due care the orthodoxy of the opinions held by his minister, who, shortly after his arrival, began to promulgate doctrines such as his principal would be little inclined to Countenance. He did indeed openly preach the efficacy of indulgences in rescuing souls from the torments of purgatory; but hesitated not sometimes to add, that " the real remission, such as would avail at the last day, must be sought for in the Holy Scriptures; and that the papal indulgences served rather to enrich the clergy, than amend the laity 1." He openly opposed the superstitious practices then in use, declaring among other things, that the images of the saints should be held in honour only in so far as they recalled the memory of their virtues; but that when worshipped with a reverence that partook of idolatry, they ought to be removed from the churches. The bleeding images of the host also, which were looked upon as powerful to work miracles, and shown to the people for money, ought not, in his opinion, to be exhibited. The spirit of these bold innovations upon the customs, if not the principles, of the Romish Church, found ready approval from a large portion of the lay community, among whom the doctrines of the early reformers, John Huss and Jerome of Prague, introduced on the return of those who had accompanied the Emperor Sigismund as volunteers in his expedition against the heretics of Bohemia in 1420, had now spread to some 1451 extent 2. The Cardinal of Cusa, therefore, was enabled to effect some great and beneficial reforms in the church of Holland, though his efforts were attended with less success at Utrecht; and it was perhaps this temporary reformation of the most crying abuses, which delayed for yet some years the entire abandonment of their national church by the great body of the people.
- Boxhorn, Nederl. Hist., bl. 217.
- Idem, bl. 230.
The lavish expenditure constantly maintained by the Duke of Burgundy, had reduced his finances to so low an ebb, that he was obliged to have recourse to unpopular, and even arbitrary measures, for the purpose of replenishing his treasury. Of this nature was the duty on salt, called in France the gabelle, a tax long established in that Country, but hitherto unknown in any of the states of the Netherlands. Philip had not ventured to lay any impost of this kind upon Holland, but in Flanders he demanded eighteen pence upon every sack of salt sold there, which the Ghenters absolutely refused to pay 1; and a new duty on grain, proposed in the next year, met in like manner with an universal and decided negative 2.
In the first emotions of his anger, Philip removed every member, both of the senate and great council of Ghent, from their offices; and the city, being thus deprived of its magistrates, no power was left sufficiently strong to arrest the progress of sedition, for which men's minds were already too well prepared. The burghers, therefore, without delay, took an oath of mutual defence against the Duke, assumed the white hood, the customary badge of revolt, elected (hoofdmannen) captains of the burgher guards, and prepared to sustain a long siege, by laying up plentiful stores of ammunition and provisions. They then commenced hostilities with the siege of Oudenarde, which the Count d'Estampes forced them to raise, and to retire to Ghent with considerable loss.
- The plea of the Ghenters that they were unable to rapport this tax was well founded ; since the manufacture of salt, as well as the preparation of salted fish, was to the Flemings and Hollanders an object of extensive commerce. Philip, says the historian of Flanders (Meyer, p. 301), " Imitari enim studuit Gallorum regum detestabiles mores."
- Meyer, lib. xvi., ad aim. 1448, 1440, p. 301, 302. AEgid. de Roya, ad ami. 1460, p. 85.
Philip immediately placed troops in Dendermonde, Courtrai, and the other towns in the vicinity of Ghent, and several skirmishes were fought between the insurgents and the Duke's forces with alternate success. At length the latter, having attacked the Ghenters near Ruppelmonde, defeated them in a sharp engagement, wherein 2500 of their number were slain 1. 1452
This ill-success was followed by another still more signal defeat, at Hulst and Moerbeke, in which the Hollanders, under the Lord of Veere, bore the principal share. Notwithstanding the utter discomfiture sustained by the Ghenters, whose loss amounted to nearly five thousand slain, they resolutely refused the terms of accommodation proposed by the ambassadors whom the King of France had sent into Flanders to mediate between the contending parties. Upon the failure of the negotiations, the war was renewed with desolating fury; the villages around Ghent were sacked and burnt by each party as they fell into their hands: the prisoners on both sides were massacred without mercy, no quarter was given, and no amount of ransom accepted 2.
Eager to put an end to so ruinous a contest, Philip assembled an immense force, provided with a numerous train of artillery, and entering Flanders in person, captured the fortified village of Gaveren. The Ghenters hereupon rashly determined to stake their fortunes on the chance of a battle, and marching out of Ghent to the number of 24,000, among whom were 7,000 volunteers from England, advanced to the village of Senmerssaken, within a short distance of Gaveren.
- AEgid. de Roya, p. 86. Meyer, Ann. Fland., lib. xvi., ad ann. 1440, p. 302. Monstrelet, vol. ix., cbap. 29—83. Pont. Heut. Her. Bar., lib. \v.9 cap. 10,11.
- Monstrelet, vol. ix., cbap. 35—38. De la Marche, lir. i., chap. 25, p. 248.
The Duke hastily drew out his forces in readiness for the attack; but ere the engagement was well begun, the insurgent army was thrown into sudden and irremediable confusion, in consequence, it is said, of the desertion of two English captains, John Fox and John Wood, together with the whole of their Countrymen; by others, the panic was attributed to the explosion of a bag of gunpowder, accidently ignited by the master of the artillery. On the first charge of the enemy, the Ghenters fled in disorder towards the Scheldt, whither they were pursued by the Burgundians, when nearly the whole were slaughtered or drowned, in attempting to escape by crossing the 1453 river. This overwhelming misfortune effectually broke the spirit of the insurgents, who were fain to submit to the mercy of their sovereign. Two thousand of their citizens, headed by the sheriffs, councillors, and captains of the burgher guard, were obliged to meet the Duke a league without the walls of the city, and there to sue for pardon on their knees, bareheaded, barefoot, and ungirded: the citizens were deprived of the banners of their guilds; and the Duke was henceforward to have an equal voice with them in the appointment of their magistrates, whose judicial authority was considerably abridged; the inhabitants likewise bound themselves to liquidate the expenses of the war, and to pay the gabelle for the future 1.
The Duke of Burgundy was so highly gratified with the alacrity which the Hollanders and Zealanders had shown (with a short-sighted policy perhaps) in lending their assistance to subdue the Ghenters, that he promised to release the people from the ten years petition, in case of invasion, or the occurrence of a flood; and confirmed the valuable and important privilege, "de non evocando," that is, that no one should be brought to trial out of the boundaries of the County.
- Monstrelet, vol. ix., chap. 44—48. Aegid. de Roya, ad aim. 1453, p. 89.
Four cases, however, were excepted: when the cause could not be decided by reason of the contumacy of either of the parties;-when a dispute arose between any two towns which could not be settled by the council at the Hague; in case of any tumult or disorder which the council was unable to appease; and, lastly, all such cases were excepted, as could not be judged at the ordinary courts, without injury to the general laws of the Country 1. A reservation, such as arbitrary princes have ever been fond of inserting in grants of popular privileges, that Philip himself was to be sole judge of when a case of exception arose, considerably qualified this ancient right so deeply cherished by the Dutch nation. It was during the war with the Ghenters that the Count of Charolois, afterwards Charles the " Bold," or " Rash,' first began to draw attention to himself, and to manifest symptoms of that restless and headstrong character, of which we shall ere long have to remark the deplorable effects. Before hostilities had yet broken out, the Duke, his father, not wishing to encourage his passion for war, already excessive, sent him to Zealand in the quality of Stadtholder of the County. There he demanded of the states a petition in the name of Duke Philip, which he had no sooner obtained, than he hastened back to Brabant, to be ready to take a share in the expedition against the Ghenters. Philip still sought to detain him, under the pretext that there was no armour prepared for him. " I would rather," said the proud and impatient prince, " fight in my doublet, than not help my father to subdue these rebellious Ghenters."
- Monstrelet, vol. ix., chap. 35. Boxhom op Reigersbeig, ii. deel, bl. 229. Groot Plakaat., bl. 679.
To the entreaties of his mother, that he would remain at court for her sake, and for the sake of his subjects, he replied, that, " It would be better for his subjects to lose him young, than to have in him hereafter a cowardly and sluggish master;" and on her urging that it was sufficient for his father, Philip, to be exposed to danger, "It is therefore I ought to go," said he, "lest men think, that when my father and the chief nobility expose their lives for the state, I am prevented by fear from following them 1." At the end of the Ghentish war, 1464 he returned to Zealand, where the severity of his judgments in the supreme court, over which he presided as Stadtholder and representative of the Count, rendered his authority fully as much feared as respected. Upon his marriage with Isabella, daughter of Charles, Duke of Bourbon, which took place in the October of this year, he quitted Holland, and remained some time in Brabant. He had before been married, while yet a child, to Catherine, daughter of Charles VII. of France, who died in 1446, without issue 2.
During Charles's stay in Brabant, events occurred in Utrecht which prepared the way for the future junction of this ecclesiastical state with the rest of the Netherlands. Philip had long desired this see for his natural son, David of Burgundy, bishop of Terouanne; but upon the death of the bishop, Rodolph van Diephout, the chapter unanimously elected, in opposition to David, Gilbert van Brederode, archdeacon of the 1455 cathedral, who was proclaimed in the choir, took possession of the episcopal palace, and obtained confirmation of his temporal authority from the emperor, Frederick III.
- Mem. d'Olivier de la Marche, lir. L, chap. 23, p. 228; chap. 27, p. 204. Pont. Heut. Rer. Bur., lib. v., cap. 1.
- Pont. Heut., lib. iv., cap. 15. De la Marche, liv. i., cap. 31, p. 302.
Although not a single vote had declared in favour of David, Philip, after the election of Gilbert van Brederode, despatched John Godfrey, bishop of Arras, to the court of Rome, charging him to represent 1455 to Calixtus III., then Pope, that Gilbert was ineligible to be a bishop, because he had taken part in the war against the Ghenters; and to petition that his holiness would not only refuse to ratify the election, but bestow the bishopric of Utrecht on David of Burgundy. However ungraceful the objection to Brederode might sound in the mouth of Duke Philip, who had profited by his assistance, and however monstrous the proposal, that the Pope should nominate to a see, which had from time immemorial been elective, it was too agreeable in its nature, and too well supported by flatteries and presents on the part of Duke Philip, to permit his holiness to hesitate long as to the line of conduct he should pursue. He gave audience indeed to the ambassadors of Gilbert, received and retained the customary gift of 4000 ducats, which they brought him, but secretly delivered to the Bishop of Arras letters creating David of Burgundy bishop of Utrecht 1. While the affair was pending, Philip feeling little doubt in what manner it would terminate, and receiving intelligence that the states of Utrecht had appointed Gilbert van Brederode guardian and defender of the see, until the Pope's ratification of his election, prepared to secure by force the reception of his son in the bishopric; and for this purpose repaired to Holland to raise a general levy of troops 2.
- Snoi. Rer. Bat., lib. x., p. 151. Heda in Gisbert. et Dar., p. 291. Pont. Heut. Rer. Bur., lib. iv., cap. 1G.
- Snoi. Rer. Bat., lib. x., p. 151.
The Hollanders rarely failed to take advantage of a conjuncture when their sovereigns required their support, to recover or extend their privileges; and the historian has often to admire their steady patience in waiting their opportunity—the manly, but respectful, earnestness with which they vindicated their claims, and the generous patriotism with which they made vast pecuniary sacrifices for the sake of their highly prized liberties. On this occasion the West Frieslanders and Kemmerlanders, knowing that the Duke must have recourse to their assistance in the projected war against Utrecht, offered him a considerable sum of money for the restoration of the franchises of which they had been deprived in 1426; Alkmaar paid one hundred and ten pounds (Flemish), the whole of Kemmerland one pound for each house, and the remainder in proportion: the Duke, in return, reinstated them in the same privileges as they had enjoyed before that time, while this mark of favour so won upon the Hollanders in general, that they unanimously prepared to assist, both with men and money, the expedition to Utrecht 1.
The inhabitants of that state no sooner heard of the preparations making by Philip, than they resolved to supply the city with a numerous garrison and provisions for a siege; while Reynold van Brederode, Henry van Montfort, and such of the nobility as adhered to the side of Bishop Gilbert, threw themselves within its walls. Immediately on the reception of the Pope's letters of appointment, the Duke sent forward Adrian van Borselen, the husband of one of his natural daughters, with an army into Utrecht. 1456 On his arrival, Amersfoort and Reenen opened their gates without resistance, acknowledging David of Burgundy as bishop; and Philip himself followed shortly after at the head of 14,000 men to besiege the city of Utrecht.
- Handvest, van Kemmer., bl. 58. Boxhorn op Veldenaar, bl. 194.
The Bishop Gilbert and the citizens were seized with such alarm at his approach, that they gave to the Duke of Cleves, who had before offered his mediation, full powers, in conjunction with some other nobles, to make the best terms they could, in order to preserve them from an assault. An agreement was therefore concluded, by which Gilbert surrendered all claim to the bishopric in favour of David of Burgundy, retaining the archdeaconry of Utrecht and an annuity of 4000 guilders out of the revenues of the see, which were computed at 50,000 Rhenish guilders yearly. After this compromise the new bishop was received without difficulty through the whole state, except the town of Deventer, which did not submit until after a siege of eight weeks duration 1.
Having thus obtained a footing in Utrecht, Philip sought further to gratify his ambition by establishing his dominion over Friesland. Since the loss of Staveren, in the reign of William VI., the Counts of Holland had been deprived of even a shadow of authority in that province. They continued, it is true, to assume the title of Lord of Friesland, and John of Bavaria had even been formally acknowledged by the inhabitants, but they were still, " in fact, a free people, and subject to no foreign rule 2. The state was yet divided by the two factions of nobles and people, (Vetkoopers and Schieringers,) and the violence of their contentions had enfeebled both to such a degree^ that Philip thought it a favourable opportunity for bringing them under subjection. He therefore sent deputies from Utrecht to the Frieslanders of Ooetergouwe and Westergouwe, to promise them advantageous conditions if they would acknowledge him as lord, and threatening to visit them at the head of an army if they refused 3.
- Monstrelet, voL fat, chap. 65. Heda In Gisb. et Dav., pp. 292, 29a Snoi. Rer. Bat, lib. x., p. 151.
- Mmeas Sylvius de Statu, Europe cap, xxvii., p. 73.
- Boxhorn op Veldenaar, bl. 204.
The Frieslanders, dreading on the one hand the overwhelming power of the Duke, and unwilling on the other to sacrifice their long cherished independence» chose a middle course; they consented to send deputies to Haarlem, in obedience to the summons of the Duke, bat empowered them only to hear and report upon the terms offered. The Friesland deputies having appeared before the Stadtholder and council of Holland, it was proposed to them that, "the Frieslanders, especially those of Oostergouwe and Westergouwe had, for many years, withdrawn themselves from the authority of their lawful sovereign, contrary to all right and justice, and thus entailed upon their Country his high displeasure; nevertheless, if they would now receive and acknowledge him as lord, he was willing to confirm all their charters and privileges, to promote their commerce, and to raise them to a state of prosperity, similar to that which Holland and Zealand enjoyed under his government. The deputies having reported the result of their embassy to a full assembly of the states of Friesland, it was resolved, not only to leave the Duke's proposal unanswered, but to maintain with their lives and property their independence as ''free Frieslanders 1.
At this juncture, the Emperor Frederic III., whether desiring to assert his sovereignty over Friesland or that he found himself obliged to resort to every possible method of raising supplies, sent one Thomas 1457 von Guristeden, to demand the yearly payment supposed to be due from Friesland to the empire, with the arrears for a considerable period.
- Ubbo Emm. Her. Frk, lib. xxy., pp. 380—382. Boxhorn op Veldenaar, bl. 206.
The Emperor Sigismund had, in the year 1418, demanded a like tribute, on the ground that Friesland reverted to the empire as a male fief, on the death of William VI. Whether or not it was then paid, appears doubtful; but the Frieslanders now readily consented to its payment, on condition that the emperor would accede to the demands made on their side. These were, that the emperor should forbid Philip, Duke of Burgundy, to assume any authority in the province; and the Frieslanders, under heavy penalties, to acknowledge any lord but the emperor alone; that the emperor should renew the privileges of Charlemagne and Sigismund, with this addition, that no native should be brought to trial out of the boundaries of Friesland. The emperor, eager to grasp the offered monies, accepted the conditions, and despatched a letter-patent to the Duke of Burgundy, commanding him, on pain of his heavy displeasure, to desist from asserting any sovereignty over Friesland, promising to hear, and to do him justice, if he could establish his claim to that province 1. It is probable that Philip would have paid but little regard to the imperial mandate, had he felt much inclination to pursue so unprofitable and inglorious a war; from which, however, he was averted by domestic disquietssudes, and by circumstances which had occurred, calculated to weaken the tie of friendship between himself and France, and to place him in a hostile position with Charles VII., the able and powerful monarch of that Country.
- Eg. Beninga, Hist. Orien. Fris., lib. ii., cap. 82. Boxhorn op Veldexiaar, bl. 209, 214.
The dauphin of France, afterwards King Louis XL, had for many years been at variance with his father, and retiring from the court to Dauphiné, his appanage, governed that province independently of the royal authority. Charles, at length finding his remonstrances and offers of reconciliation alike ineffectual, sent an army to reduce his rebellious son to submission. Louis, 1466 destitute of support, and surrounded by the royal forces, fled in haste and secrecy to Brussels, where (the Duke being at that time in Utrecht,) he was received by the duchess and court with every demonstration of welcome and respect 1.
It seemed as though he carried the spirit of discord with him, since within a short time of his arrival, similar dissensions arose between Philip of Burgundy, and his son the Count of Charolois. It has been observed, that Philip, fearing the effects of the restless temper of his son at the court, had created him Stadtholder -general of Holland; he had since then been put in possession of several rich lordships in the County, and as he found his influence daily increasing, be began to assume a more haughty tone, and to give evident tokens of dissatisfaction with many parts of his father's government, particularly the favour he evinced towards the house of Croye; of which the head, John de Croye, was the principal minister of the Duke, and stood high in his confidence and esteem; while both himself and his family, were proportionally detested by Charles.
During the residence of the dauphin at Brussels, John de Croye paid constant and assiduous court to him, and this circumstance laid the germ of the hatred that ever after subsisted between Louis and Charles; a hatred which their different characters were well calculated to nourish, and their opposing interests to develop 2.
- Pont. Heut. R«r. Bur. lib. iv., cap. 16. Villaret Cont. de Velly, torn. xvL, p. 152.
- Mém. de Com., liv. vi., p. 180. De la Marche, liv. L, chap. 33, p. 307, 306. Pout. Heat., lib. iv., cap. 16.
The residence of his son at the court of his vassal, must necessarily be regarded by the King of France with feelings of jealousy and vexation. Philip had, upon the arrival of Louis, written a letter couched in most respectful terms, informing him of the event; and had afterwards attempted to reconcile the differences between the father and son; but the entire submission which Charles thought it necessary to exact, and the cold and suspicious temper of the dauphin, rendered his efforts abortive; it may be doubted indeed whether they were very sincere, since Philip could not view himself without pleasure possessed of so powerful a weapon against France.
There were also various other causes of dissatisfaction existing between the two sovereigns; each party made complaints of the violation of the treaty of Arras; and Charles had formed some alliances suspected by the Duke of Burgundy, especially with the emperor and the city of Liege; and had, moreover, promised his daughter Magdalen in marriage to Ladislaus, king of Hungary, rival of Duke Philip for the possession of Luxemburg. The Kings of France and Hungary agreed, at the same time, to unite their forces for the purpose of depriving the Duke, not only of Luxemburg, but likewise of Holland, Zealand, Friesland, and Hainaut; which, as they declared, he had illegally wrested from the Countess Jacoba 1. Ladislaus, dying before the completion of the marriage, left by will his claims upon Luxemburg to Magdalen of France.
In this threatening aspect of affairs, the Duke deemed it advisable to defer a crusade which he had sworn to undertake, on receiving the tidings of the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, and to prepare for war nearer his own boundaries 2.
- Duclos*, Sup. a 1'HisL de Louis XI., torn, iii., p. 136. Monstrelet, t*L ix., chap. 71, p. 411, chap. 72. Villaret, Cont. de Velly, tom. xvi,p.l91.
- Mem. d'Oliv. de la Marche, chap. 90, p. 294.
Nevertheless, either unwilling to engage in hostilities at his advanced age, while embarrassed by domestic cabals, or in order to gain time for putting matters in train, he sent John de Croye, with John of Lannoy 1460, Stadtholder of Holland, at the head of a solemn embassy, to demand the cause of the warlike preparations then making at the court of France. The breach, however, still widened, and war appeared inevitable, when the death of Charles VII. changed, for a short time, the state of affairs. The Duke accompanied the new monarch to his kingdom, assisted at his coronation at Rheims, where he did him voluntary homage, not only 1461 for the states he held of France, but for his possessions in general, and attended him to Paris with a train of 240 nobles; while the king, on his side, loaded Philip with compliments and caresses, and conferred on the Count of Charolois, the important office of Lieutenant* General of Normandy 1. Whether the conduct of Louis were prompted by sincere gratitude for the protection afforded him by Burgundy in his time of need, or whether adopted only to flatter the Duke into a compliance with his wishes, it is certain that he took advantage of the favourable dispositions of the latter, to press for the restoration of those towns which had been ceded to him by the peace of Arras. Charles VII. had been forced to buy this peace very dear; by the terms of the treaty, all the towns on the Somme, St. Quentin, Corbye, Amiens, Abbeville, the County of Ponthieu, Dourlens, St. Biquier, Arleux, and Mortaigne, were surrendered to Philip, but redeemable by Charles, or his successors upon payment of 400,000 crowns of gold 2.
- Monstrelet, vol. x., chap. 3,12. Pont. Heut., Rer. Bur., lib. iv., cap. 17. Duclos, Hist, de Louis XI., torn, i., liv. ii., p. 127.
- Recueil des Traites de Leonard, torn. L, p. 9.
Philip bad hitherto constantly refused to restore these towns, but he now consented to deliver them up 1463 to France immediately upon the payment of the stipulated ransom. The Count of Charolois was in Holland when he received intelligence of this transaction, which exasperated still further his hatred, both against Louis, and against John de Croye, by whose advice it was supposed the Duke had acted 1.
Not long after the accession of Louis, Charles had opened a secret correspondence with Francis II., Duke of Brittany, one of the principal members of a dangerous league formed by the nobles of France against him. Their negotiations were carried on through the medium of Jean de Roumillé, vice-chancellor of Brittany; and Louis, aware of the intrigue, determined, if possible, to possess himself of the person of 1464 the agent. For this purpose, he despatched a vessel manned with forty stout mariners, under the command of one Rubempré, to arrest him at Gorinchem, where he was expected to land on his way from England, for the purpose of obtaining an audience of the Count of Charolois, who usually resided there 2. It was this circumstance that gave rise to the report generally spread, that Charles himself was in reality the person aimed at; but though the character of Louis might well justify any such suspicion, yet it is hardly probable that he would seek to remove Charles from the states of his father, where the dissensions he caused so well answered his purpose, and in such a manner as would inevitably arouse the hostility of the whole nation, which it was his interest now more particularly to avoid.
- Mém. de Ph. de Commines, liv. i., chap. 1. Monstrelet, vol. x. chap. 23.
- Mém. de la Marche, liv. i., chap. 3d, p. 312. Pout. Heut. Her. Bur., lib. v., cap. 1. Monstrelet, vol. x., chap. 29.
Whatever the design might have been, it wholly failed. Rubempré was himself seized and thrown into prison, where he remained until 1409. The Duke of Burgundy was at this time holding a conference with King Louis at Heusden; and the Count of Charolois, in giving him information of the attempt, which he failed not to magnify to the utmost, declared, that Louis not only intended to seize him, but likewise to make himself master of the person of the Duke himself; and Philip, either believing, or affecting to believe, that he was no longer in safety near the king, precipitately quitted Heusden. Louis won after sent a solemn embassy to clear himself of this accusation; but his protestations of innocence proved utterly ineffective, nor could he prevent the reconciliation that a sense of their common danger brought about between Philip and his son. Charles having induced his father, during a severe fit of sickness which followed this event, to resign the cares of government into his hands, made the first use of his power by forcing all the members of the family of Croye to quit their offices, which proceeding rekindled the anger of the Duke against him to so violent a degree, that immediately on his recovery he revoked the appointment he had made. But a pacification being once more effected by the intercession of some of the knights of the golden fleece, Philip bestowed on the Count of Charolois the command of an army destined for the invasion of France, in concert with the nobles of that Country engaged in the league called the " Confederation for the public good," whose cause both Philip and Charles now openly espoused 1. 1465
- Monstrelet, vol. x., chop. 32, 36. Commiucö, liv. i., chap. 2.
At the head of 12,000 horse 1, and a numerous body of infantry, Charles marched with little resistance to the very gates of Paris, whence, as his forces were not sufficient to commence the siege, he retired to Montlhéri, to await the arrival of the Duke of Brittany with his army. The Bang of France, who was in the Botirbonnois at the time of the invasion, returnee} by hasty marches towards1 Paris, determined, if possible, to prevent the junction of his enemies; for this purpose, he made an attack on the Count of Charolois, while yet unsupported by his allies at Montlhéri; but the event of the battle proving indecisive, Louis was unable to effect his design, and Charles marching to Conflans, was there joined by the troops of the insurgent nobles. The confederates were already prepared to surround Paris, when Louis put an end to the war by a stroke of policy at once bold and successful. Accompanied by only four or five attendants, he placed himself in a small boat, and rowiüg up the Seine from Paris, approached close to Conflans. On the shore he perceived the Count of Charolois, standing with the Count de St. Pol, and surrounded by a large body of cavalry. Addressing the former, the king exclaimed, "Brother, will you promise me safety?" " Yes, as a brother," answered Charles. Louis, without further security, immediately sprang ashore, when the two princes embraced as affectionate and long tried friends, after which they held a long and private conference. This was followed by several interviews, which resulted in the treaty of Conflans, whereby Louis, anxious to remove Charles from the heart of his dominions, and determined at any price to dissolve the formidable league against him, consented to reinstate the Duke of Burgundy in the possesrion of the towns on the Somme, provided that, after the death of himself and Philip, they should be redeemable on payment of the sum of 200,000 golden crowns 2.
- According to Monstrelet, or his continuator, 28,000 horse, voL x., .310.
- Monstrelet, vol. x., chap. 41, 44. Commines, liv. i., chap. 12. Reveil des Traites, torn. i., p. 66.
After the conclusion of this peace, Charles proceeded to chastise the insolence of the burghers of Liege and Dinant, who, having made an alliance with Louis on the breaking out of the war between France and. Burgundy, invaded Brabant and Namur, and devastated the whole Country with fire and sword. Charles, on his return from France, laid siege to Liege, defeated an army of Liegois before its walls, and the town, hopeless of assistance from Louis, surrendered on conditions. The citizens were forced to pay a fine of 800,000 Rhenish guilders. Dinant was taken by storm and pillaged, its fortifications razed to the ground, and 8,000 of the inhabitants rowned in the 1466 Maas, by order of Charles 1.
Whether or not the Hollanders took part in either of these expeditions is uncertain; but it is clear that they were by no means exempt from a share in the expenses they entailed on the states. A ten years' petition was levied on Holland and West Friesland, amounting to 55,183 crowns a year; and Zealand was taxed in the same proportion. Charles, during his residence in these provinces, had found means so greatly to increase his influence, that he was little likely to meet with resistance to any of his demands, even if the example of Ghent had not afforded a 8evere lesson to such as might be inclined to offer it. He obtained, as we have seen, considerable baronies both in Holland and Zealand; he reduced the number of the council of state from eight-and-twenty to eight, besides the Stadtholder ; and as he professed to choose them rather for their skill in affairs, than for the nobility of their birth, they became entirely subservient to his will.
- Recueil des Traites, torn, i., p. 60. Commines, liv. i., chap. 12. Pont. Heut. Her. Bur., lib. iv., cap, 18.-
He likewise deprived the council of the office of auditing the public accounts, which it had hitherto exercised, uniting the chamber of finance at the Hague with that of Brussels 1. This was the first step towards an union between Holland and the rest of the Netherlands, which was afterwards partially, but never entirely, effected. Charles was recalled from Holland into Brabant in the early part of the year 1467, by the declining health of his father, who lay sick at Bruges of a quinsey, which terminated his existence on the 15th of February, in the seventy-second year of his age. He left by his wife, Isabella of Portugal, only one son, Charles. The number of his illegitimate children is said by some to have been thirty, but he made provision for no more than nineteen 2. Philip's humanity, benevolence, affability, and strict regard to justice, obtained for him the surname of Good; while his love of peace, and the advantageous treaties which the extent and importance of his dominions enabled him to make with foreign nations, tended greatly to increase the commerce of his subjects. The Dutch at this time maintained a considerable carrying trade with England, in gold, silver, and jewels 3, besides a valuable traffic in wools, cloths, linen, herrings, and salt, in the refining of which they were possessed of peculiar skill 4 The increase of trade was accompanied by a corresponding improvement in agriculture, particularly in that branch of it so important to Holland, the management of the dykes.
- Annal. Belg., torn, ii., p. 1.
- Mimi Dip. Belg., torn, ii., p. 1259, et seq.
- Rym. Faed., torn, x., p. 403.
- Idem, p. 761.
These had hitherto been constructed of reed and a species of sea-weed called wier, gathered principally in the island of Wieringen; but a new method was now adopted, of laying down long heayy beams, joined at certain distances by cross beams, made fast with strong iron bolts, and defended against the first break of the waters by a curtain of pile-work.
The wealth thus procured by the genius and industry of the Netherlander», enabled them to sustain the heavy burdens laid upon them by Duke Philip, with a comparative ease which led a contemporary author to suppose that they were, in fact, more lightly taxed than the subjects of other princes 1. As Philip, however, during the whole of his reign kept up a court which surpassed every other in Europe in luxury and magnificence 2, and contrived besides to amass vast sums of money, it is evident that his treasury must have been liberally supplied by his people 3.
- Commines, liv. v., chap. 2.
- During his attendance on Louis XI. at Paris, when that monarch went to take possession of his kingdom, "he excited the admiration of the Parisians by the splendour of his dress, table, and equipages; the hotel of Artois, where he lived, was hung with the richest tapestries ever seen in France. When he rode through the streets, he wore every day some new dress, or jewel of price—the frontlet of his horse was covered with the richest jewels; in his dining hall was a square sideboard with four steps to each side, which, at dinner time, was covered with the richest gold and silver plate. In the garden of his hotel was pitched a superb tent, covered on the outside with fine velvet, embroidered with mails in gold, and powdered over with gold sparkles. The fusils were the arms of all his Countries and lordships, very richly worked." Monstrelet, vol. x^ chap. 13.
- We are told by a native, though not contemporary author, that Philip " received more money from his subjects than they had paid in four centuries together before; but they thought little of it, since he used no force, nor the words' sic volo, sic jubeo.' M Pont. Heut. Rer. Bur., lib. iv., cap. xix, p. 120.
The supposition of the historian is contradicted also by the feet, that Philip excited a dangerous revolt in Ghent, by the imposition of new and oppressive taxes on the Flemings; while in Holland he introduced the unprecedented and unconstitutional custom of levying petitions for a number of yea, together. He left, at his death, a treasure amounting to 400,000 crowns of gold, and 100,000 marks of silver, with pictures, jewels, and furniture, supposed to be worth two millions more 1. In order to estimate truly the real value of this quantity of the precious metals, we must consider their scarcity at this period, and the consequent low price of corn and other necessaries. In years of ordinary plenty the price of the bushel of rye, (at that time the principal ingredient in the common bread of the Country,) was one penny halfpenny; for the same quantity of wheat two pence farthing; a stoup (two quarts) of Rhenish wine one penny halfpenny; for a cask of butter and 400 lbs. of cheese together, ninety-six Rhenish florins, or seven shillings and sixpence; a weight of hay, sufficient for the feeding of a cow during a whole winter, one shilling and sixpence; for a fat pig three shillings and nine-pence; for an ox thirteen shillings and sixpence 2. Owing to the failure of the crops in the year 1437, the bushel of wheat rose to an English noble, and during the famine caused by the capture of the fleet returning with corn from the Baltic in the next year, half a guilder was paid for the rye loaf 3. From 1455 to 1460, years of scarcity, the bushel of rye sold for somewhat more than eight-pence halfpenny.
- De la Marche, liv. i., chap. 87, p. 329.
- Recherches sur le Commerce, torn, i., pp. 197—199.
- Velius Hoorn, p. 32.
The dearth was followed, as it usually happens, by seasons of great abundance, so that in 1464 a bushel of wheat, the same of barley, rye, and oats^ a stoup of wine, a capon and a goose, were sold together for an old gold crown, value twenty-two pence 1,2. The salaries of public officers were proportionably low; the members of the council appointed by Philip and Jacoba jointly, had each a salary of 20/., 25/., or 30/., per annum 3; and that of the president was fixed at 120/. yearly 4. In the year 1426 the Duke of Burgundy appointing Herman Gaasbeek and Roland van Uytkerken, captains-general in Holland, gave them six florins, or ten shillings a day, for their expenses, and twelve florins and a half, or about one guinea a day for the maintenance of twenty-five men at anus and their horses 5. Thus the necessary expenses of the government must have been comparatively small* and the principal portion of the large sums Philip drew into his treasury, was expended on his private pleasures, or in festivals, shows, and entertainments.
The example of prodigality set by the sovereign infected his whole court: the nobles vied with each other in squandering their incomes upon articles of effeminate luxury, or puerile ostentation; and the poverty they thus entailed upon themselves and their posterity, was made a subject of bitter reproach to them under his successors. It is said that Philip encouraged this disposition among them, in order to render their dependence upon himself the more absolute.
- Heda, p. 293.
- Thus we see that the importation of corn did not prevent, as might be expected, great fluctuation in the price: the periods of scarcity were, however, of much shorter duration than in those Countries which depended on their own supplies.
- 400, 500, or 1000 schilds at 28 gros, or halfpence.
- 1200 ryders of 48 gros each.
- Recherches sur le Commerce, torn. i., pp. 212, 213.
But however imperfectly the true principles of government may have been understood at this period, we can hardly suppose that a prince so clear sighted as Philip, would have pursued such a mistaken course of policy as that of seeking to strengthen his authority by surrounding the ducal chair with a needy and rapacious nobility.
Nor was poverty the only evil which increasing luxury brought in its train; indolence, voluptuousness, and sensuality, were carried to an excess hitherto unheard of: both men and women adopted the most absurd and extravagant modes in dress 1 and equipage, and accustomed themselves to unbounded license in conversation and manners 2. With the exception of some of the nobility, however, the people of Holland and Zealand, at a distance from the court, which generally resided at Brussels, escaped its contaminating influence, and preserved their native integrity and purity of morals entire amidst the general corruption 3. Nevertheless, they were far from being exempt from national vices. The cabalsof the hook and cod parties had disseminated among them a spirit of faction, a bitterness of party hatred, and a disregard of law and order which brutalized their manners, annihilated all feelings of true patriotism, and afforded the sovereign a pretext for adopting measures to restrain their excesses, highly inimical to their civil liberties.
- On one occasion the Duke, being obliged by illness to hare his head shaved, issued an order that all the nobility in his states should in like manner shave their heads; five hundred were found willing to obey this injunction; with respect to the recusants, one Pierre Vacquembac, with others, were commanded to seize such as they could lay hands on, and cut off their hair by force. De la Marche, liv. i., chap. 34, p. 310.
- Commines, liv. i., chap. 2. De la Marche, liv. i, chap. 29, p. 287; chap. 37. Monstrelet, vol. x., chap. 54.
- Erasmus, "Auris Batava."
The same cause retarded in Holland the progress of literature and the arts, which in Flanders and Brabant, under the munificent patronage and encouragement of Philip, were making rapid advances: the Dutch had no name to oppose to that of John van Eyck, of Bruges, who, in the early part of this century, marked out an sera in the annalsof painting by his invention of oil colours: and it is in the works of foreigners and Flemings, as contemporary historians, of Monstrelet, de Roya, and de Commines, that we must seek for the passing notices of a Country which had produced a John of Leyden and a Melis Stoke.
The beneficial effects of printing in the general advancement of learning and civilization were not as yet perceived, since the expense of printed books being hitherto little less than that of manuscripts, the possession of them was still confined to the wealthy few. The honour of this invention is, as it is well known, disputed with Mentz by Haarlem. It is not my purpose to enter into this interminable controversy, but merely to observe, that if any share in the merit of a discovery is to be ascribed to him who first presents it in such a state of perfection as to draw the attention of mankind to its beauty or utility, so much is certainly due to Lawrence Coster of Haarlem 1; since he it was who 1428 gave the first idea of the art, by the invention of the fixed wooden types, which Faust, or Fust, and Schceffer afterwards improved by casting the types in metal, and John Guttemberg of Mentz completed, by making them moveable.
- His name was Lawrence John; the surname of "Koster," or churchwarden, being added, because this office, then esteemed honourable in Holland, was hereditary in his family.
The Chinese, it is true, had been for many centuries acquainted with a method of obtaining* impressions from figures carved in wood, but as this arfc was generally neglected in Europe, and it does not appear that it was even known in Holland, the invention, as far as Lawrence Coster is concerned, must be regarded as original 1.
- It is said to have been made in the following manner. While reposing one day in a wood near Haarlem, Lawrence, in the mere idleness of the moment, cut some letters backwards on a bit of beech-wood, when it occurred to him to take off the impression in the same way as from a seal for the amusement of his daughter's children. Improving' upon the idea, he afterwards, with the help of Thomas Peterson, their father, succeeded in forming a thick glutinous kind of ink, and "with these materials was accustomed to make for them little books containing pictures, and the explanations. Thus he seems to have carried the invention as far as the making of block-books. Boxhorn, Theat. Urb. Holl. in Haar., p. 195.