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
Standing Army established in the Netherlands. Scheme of Incorporating the Netherlands with the Empire. Death of Maximilian van Egmond. Acknowledgment of Philip. Settlement of the Succession. Oaths of Acknowledgment. Edicts against Heretics. Attempt to establish the Inquisition. Opposition of Antwerp. Treaty with Scotland. With France. Council of Trent. Removed to Bologna. Interim published by the Emperor. Council resumes its sittings at Trent. Netherland Prelates sent thither. Termination of its Deliberations. War between the Emperor and the Protestant Princes of Germany. War with France. Treaty of Passau. Towns captured in Lorraine. Protection of Navigation. Debates on Subsidies. Terouanne and Hesdin besieged and destroyed. Marriage of Philip with the Queen of England. Invasion of Hainaut and Artois. Naval Engagement. Demand of Subsidies. Violation of Privileges. Attempt to gain possession of the National Charters. Fresh Demands. Resignation of the Emperor. Observations on Holland.
The termination of the German war had created 1548 in the Netherlander a hope that they should now be freed from the burden of maintaining mercenary soldiers, which they had borne with somewhat of impatience for several years. They were not a little amazed, therefore, when the emperor declared his intention of keeping a force of 4000 horse constantly on the boundaries of the Netherlands, who should take the oath of allegiance to him alone 1. They had, until the time of Maximilian, been accustomed to consider their burgher guards, who swore allegiance to the governments of the cities to which they belonged, as sufficient for their defence in time of peace, though the princes of the house of Burgundy and Austria had always industriously sought pretexts for maintaining a standing army in these states.
- Rep. der Plak., bl. 57.
About this time (1548) a plan was formed for incorporating the Netherlands with the body of the Germanic empire, under the name of the circle of Burgundy, and rendering them liable to contribute their quota to its burdens in the same manner as the other circles. The question whether or not Holland was to be considered as a fief of the empire has given rise to vehement debates among her historians. As the County was partly indebted for its existence 1 to the grants made at different times by the emperors, it seems reasonable to conclude, that the Counts always owed allegiance to them; and from the retention of the impost called "hunslade," in that made by Otho III. to Count Theodore Il. 2, it appears that the homage due was originally a full, or liege homage; if so, it afterwards (probably on the decline of the imperial power under the princes of the house of Hohenstauffen in the twelfth century dwindled into nothing more than a simple homage (homagium planum), or mere acknowledgment of feudal superiority 3; the Counts were styled "liberi vassalli* of the empire 4, a term not precisely explained in Du Cange's Glossary, but which I take to mean such vassals as were bound to no other service than that expressed in the grant of the fiefs they held.
- I say partly, because however widely we may fix the bow uncertain limits of the grants made by the emperors, they will by no means suffice to account for the whole of the territories of which we find the Counts of Holland in possession; even supposing that by the "forest of Wasda* granted to Gerolf, Count in Friesland in 889, the island of Walcheren is meant, the remainder of Zealand, and the whole of West Friesland is nowhere mentioned in such of the imperial charters as remain to us; the conjecture therefore of later historians is very probable, that a portion of the County was conquered by the predecessors of Theodore I. from the Danes; it is most likely too that they governed their conquests as independent sovereigns.
- Vid. chap. 1.
- Vid. Du Cange in " Homagium."
- Beka, p. 77.
Accordingly, we 1548 find that the suzerainty of the emperor over Holland gave him no right to interfere in its internal government, as was the case with the King of France in respect of Flanders, nor did an appeal lie from the court of Holland to the court of the empire as in Utrecht 1. Neither did the Counts of Holland assist the emperors in the wars of the empire of necessity, and as Vassalsof the empire, but only when induced to do so by circumstances of family connection, or political interest. It is true that the emperors conferred the County more than once on different princes as an escheated fief 2; but the possession never followed the grant, except in the case of Margaret, wife of the Emperor Louis VII., and she would have inherited the County without any such grant, as next heir to William IV., Count of Holland, who died without issue 3.
That the Counts of Holland owed allegiance at all times to the emperors, in so far as regarded the bare acknowledgment of feudal superiority, there are innumerable documents to prove; but it seems no less clear that they were free and independent sovereigns in their sates, or, as it is expressed by a writer of the fourteenth century, "the Count of Holland is emperor in his County 4,5"
- Grotius de Ant. Reip. Bat., p. 59,
- Thes. Mart et Durand, torn, i., cap. 1153, 1154. Beka in Wil-helmo, p. 102. Ghemeene Chronyck, divis. xxviii., deel. 9.
- Beka in Johan., 4to», p. 119.
- Phil, a Leid. de cure Reip. Grotius de Ant. Reip. Bat., p. 60.
- On the demand made by Louis XI., king of France, that Philip I. should deliver up Rubempré, who was a prisoner in Holland, the Duke replied, that he was sovereign of Holland both by sea and land, without acknowledging any other lord but God. Monstrelet, vol. x., chap. 30, p. 179.
With regard to Utrecht and Guelderland, the question was far less difficult to decide; 1548 they were undoubtedly fiefs of the empire, although by virtue of their peculiar privileges, they claimed exemption from any share in its burdens. The matter long discussed between the princes of the dietss and the Netherlands, was at length submitted to the emperor, who decided that the hereditary states of the Netherlands, with the duchy of Guelderland, and County of Zutphen, and the lordships of Friesland, Utrecht, Overyssel, and Groningen, should form a circle of the empire, called the circle of the "Burgundiun hereditary states," and should furnish contingents of men and money equal to two electoral princes, except in case of a general war against the Turks, when they were to contribute as much as three; that they, on their part, should enjoy the protection and support of the empire, reserving all their remaining rights, jurisdictions, and privileges; the emperor, and his heirs, should be summoned to the diets of the empire, and vote as ArchDukes of Austria. If the provinces failed to bear their part in the burdens of the empire, they should for this cause, and for no other whatever, be summoned to the imperial council at Spires 1.
This agreement was ratified by all the states of the Netherlands; but not without considerable difficulty on the part of the Hollanders, who desired to make it a condition that their share of the contingent to be furnished to the empire, should be taken out of the petitions granted by the states. At length, induced by the example of the other provinces, they accepted and ratified the agreement simply, adding that as a request, which they at first were inclined to insist on as a condition 2.
- Meteren, fol. 11. Sleidan, lib. xx., p. 466. Thuanus, lib. v., cap. 7, p. 177. Dumont, Corps Dip., torn, ft., p. 2, pa. 340.
- Regist. van Adrian van der Goes op'tjaar, 1549, bl. 21.
1548 Charles at this time entertained a project of substituting his son Philip in the place of his brother, as King of the Romans, and rendering the imperial crown hereditary in the person of the former; but finding himself unable to carry it into effect, in consequence of the firm refusal of Ferdinand to dispossess himself of his dignity, he became shortly after, as anxious to separate the Netherlands again from the empire, as he had before been to incorporate them with it. This agreement, therefore, was unattended with any results to the provinces, nor was the claim to them as part of the empire subsequently put forward by the Emperor Rodolph II., and founded upon it, acknowledged either by Spain or the Netherlands 1.
Towards the end of this year, died Maximilian van Egmond, Count of Buuren, an able and experienced commander, for many years captain-general of the Netherlands. He left his lordships of Buuren, Leerdam, Ysselstein, &c, to his only child Anna, who, by her marriage with the young Prince of Orange in 1551, brought these estates into the family of Nassau-Orange 2.
During the emperor's visit to the Netherlands, 1549 after the conclusion of the civil war in Germany, he summoned thither his son Philip, for the purpose of obtaining his acknowledgment by the states as their ''future sovereign lord, and natural prince." There was only one precedent afforded by his predecessors, the Counts of Holland, for such an act; and that was in the case of William VI. (1417), who, fearing that his brother, John of Bavaria, might seek to deprive his daughter Jacoba of her inheritance, induced the nobles and towns to swear allegiance to her as future sovereign before his death.
- Thuanus, lib. v., cap. 9; lib. vii., cap. 1.
- Idem, lib. v., cap. 17.
But, however unusual such a proceeding might have been, or however uncalled for it may have appeared in the present case, where no dispute concerning the hereditary sucession could possibly arise, more than one reason prompted Charles to its adoption. His son, born in Spain, and totally ignorant of either the Flemish or Dutch languages, was regarded with but little affection by the Netherlanders; added to this, he had already obtained a sinister reputation for severity in matters of religion, to which, not only the people at large, but likewise the governments of the towns, were becoming daily more averse; while on the other hand, there were many of the native nobility who stood high in the public favour.
Among these was conspicuous, Reynold, lord of Brederode, a nobleman esteemed alike for his personal qualifications, and valued for his descent from the ancient Counts of Holland 1, whose memory was still fondly cherished by the people; and it appeared not unlikely that after the death of Charles, in case of the continued absence of Philip, he would be raised by the popular voice to the seat of his forefathers. He had some years before drawn upon himself the heavy displeasure of the emperor, by assuming the arms of Holland 2. Charles had besides, as it soon became evident, determined to cause the edicts against heresy to be executed to the utmost extent of rigour, wherein he judged that the assistance of Philip might be highly useful to him.
On the arrival of Philip at Brussels, the states of Holland sent deputies to welcome him, and, under the name of a gratuity, consented to the demand of 50,000 1549 Philip's guilders (5625 P), made by the Stadtholder on his behalf; similar presents were likewise made him by all the other states 3.
- His ancestor was Sigefrid, youngest son of Arnold, the third Count of Holland.
- Heut. Rer. Aust., lib. xl* cap. 16,270
- Magna quoque pecunia prestationis gratuite nomine exacta. Thuanus, lib. vi., cap. 2.
He was acknowledged first in Brussels and Louvain as future Duke of Brabant, and afterwards in the principal towns of the Counties of Flanders, Hainaut, and Artois; having been received in Mechlin as heir to that lordship, he passed over into Zealand, where, in order to save him the fatigues of a longer voyage, the states took the oath of allegiance at Reimerswale, instead of at Middleburg and Zierikzee, according to the ancient custom, with reservation, however, of the privileges of these towns for the future. After visiting all the great towns of Holland, Philip proceeded to the newly-acquired provinces of Utrecht, Overyssel, and Guelderland, the latter of which presented him with 13,000 lis d'or. The Count of Aremberg, in the name of the prince, received the homage of Groningen and Friesland, in the beginning of the following year 1.
At the same time that Charles signified his desire that the states should swear allegiance to his son, he declared that, since in some of the Netherlands the right of representative and collateral succession was not in use 2, and considering of how much importance 1549 it was to their welfare, that they should remain naked under one sovereign, he had resolved, with the consent and approbation of the states, to place the succession to the provinces on an uniform footing, by admitting in all of them the right of representative and collateral inheritance 3.
- Register van Adrian van der Goes, 1549, bl. 24—27. Heut. Rer. Aust, lib. xiii., cap. 2.
- The right of inheritance from a father who had never been seised of the estate, appears to have been by no means generally admitted in Europe during the earlier ages, either in regard to private property or the succession to the crown. Edward III. of England, before his intended departure for Guienne, in 1346, obtained an acknowledgment from the barons of the former Country, that, in case Edward, the Black Prince, died before his father, his son, Richard, should succeed as King of England, after the death of his grandfather. And subsequently to the death of the Black Prince, the king caused Richard to be acknowledged as his successor by all his children, as well as the earls, prelates, and knights of England.—Froissart, vol. iv., chap. ,43, p. 200; chap. #» p. 279.
- Boxhorn op Reigersberg, deel. ii., bl. 495.
The cause of the emperor's anxietssy on this paint was to secure the whole of the provinces to his grand- | son, Charles, the infant child of Philip, by his wife; Mary, daughter of John, king of Portugal, who died a short time after its birth. In the event of Philip"s decease before his father, a portion of Holland and Utrecht, where representative succession was not admitted, would not have descended to his son; while in Friesland and Guelderland, females were excluded from the right of succession, which Charles, by thus fixing it on a regular and uniform footing, secured to his daughters, Mary and Joanna, in case of the death both of Philip and his son, or to his sisters, on the failure of lineal heirs.
The states of all the provinces consented unanimously to his desire, at which proof of their complaisance he was so highly gratified, that he allowed them to make the oath administered to Philip on his acknowledgment as ample and as binding as they thought fit. According to the terms, therefore, in which it was conceived, the prince bound himself to "preserve to all the nobles, towns, commons, and subjects, whether lay or clerical, their ancient immunities and privileges, such as his ancestors, the Counts and Countesses of Holland 1, had granted them, as well 1550 as all their customs, usages, rights, and prescriptions, other general or particular."
- Thus expressly admitting the great Charter of Mary of Burgundy (1478).
In Zealand, he swore to "maintain all the customs and prescriptions which had been in use until the death of King Philip, and under the government of the emperor, Charles, 1". The nobles and six great towns of Holland, on their side, took an oath of allegiance to Philip, binding themselves "to support his rights and dignity; to obey and assist his officers in the proper execution of their duty; to be true, faithful, and serviceable in defending his person and state, as they are in justice and reason bound to be." The prelates, nobles, and towns of Zealand, swore to obey the prince as true and faithful subjects ought to do, according to the rights and privileges of the land 2.
After Philip's acknowledgment, the emperor, with the consent of the states, proclaimed the Netherlands to be from henceforward permanently united under the government of one sovereign. It is supposed that his design was to consolidate all the provinces into a kingdom, but that he was obliged to abandon it, because the peculiar customs and privileges, to which the inhabitants were devotedly attached, rendered it impossible to establish in them any regular and uniform system of government 3.
- It does not appear what reason there was for this exclusion of the fast years of the government of Margaret of Savoy.
- Groot Flakaat., deel. ir., bl. 35. Boxhorn op Reigersberg, deel. ii., bl. 498, 499.
- Grotius Annul. Belg., lib. i., p. 8, duod.
The Queen of Hungary, who had requested her dismissal upon the occasion of Philip's coming, was 1549 again confirmed in the government; but the emperor did not think it advisable to entrust to her alone the issuing of new and more harsh decrees against the heretics, since, according to his opinion, they had sot hitherto been treated with sufficient severity, which, indeed, the disposition of the people, and the gentleness of their municipal governments, hardly permitted 1. In the November of this year, he promulgated an edict, confirming all the former penal enactments against heretics, and ordaining that the estates of condemned heretics should be forfeited, notwithstanding all rights, customs, or privileges, to the contrary; he likewise commanded all the fugitive Jews from Portugal, whom fear of the inquisition had driven to take refuge in Holland, to quit the Country, upon pain of forfeiture of life and property.
This was only the step to still more bitter persecution, and to the introduction of the inquisition into the Netherlands, a tribunal formidable to every nation, but tending to the utter destruction of Holland, where the most entire toleration in religion, together with a large portion of civil liberty, is a matter of vital necessity for the happiness and security of the vast number of individualsof different nations, religions, and habits, whom her commerce draws to her shores 2.
A grand inquisitor of the Netherlands was now appointed by Pope Paul III., in the person of Ruard Tapper, of Enkhuyzen, who had obtained an ominous notorietssy as having sat in judgment on the first heretic ever condemned to death in Holland; and lest he should not be sufficiently inclined to persecution, he was specially exhorted to acquit himself well of his duty.
- Heretics were executed " not without deep commiseration among the burghers and even the greater part of the governments, who we* so disinclined to this work, that they vexed people on account of their religious opinions as little as they could possibly help, and the edict was received with great dismay, not only by those who were likely to feel its effects, but by the magistrates themselves, who were much dissatisfied with this great and excessive tyranny."—Veliua Hoorn, bl. 137,14&
- Brandt's Hist, der Bef., boek iii., bL 167.
Not long after the edict above mentioned, the emperor published another, commanding all who filled public offices to assist the inquisitors in bringing suspected persons to justice. Any one who informed 1550 against a heretic was to have half his property if he were condemned; and he who gave notice of any conventicle should also have half the property of those found guilty of attending it, provided he himself had not been there, or could satisfactorily prove himself to be a Catholic 1.
Its publication was, however, flatly refused by the citizens of Antwerp, then the most flourishing commercial town of the Netherlands, or even of Europe 2. The mere rumour that it was likely to be issued, had caused many substantial merchants to make preparations for quitting it ; trade was entirely at a stand; the rents of houses fell; and the workmen were thrown out of employ. The principal burghers and merchants, therefore, supported by the council of Brabant, presented a strong petition and remonstrance, in writing, to the governess, setting forth, that, by their privileges, they were exempt not only from the inquisition, but from spiritual jurisdiction altogether. Mary, averse, from her natural disposition, to all religious persecution, repaired in person to the emperor's court at Augsburg, where she represented to him so forcibly the evils that must result from the establishment of 1560 the inquisition at Antwerp, that at length she succeeded in persuading him to modify it in some degree with regard to foreign merchants.
- Sleidan, Hb. xxii., p. 497, 498. Brandt's Hist, der Kef., bl. 159.
- De Thou says of the whole Christian world, " Supra omnia orbis Christian emporia magnitudinem excreverat."—lib. vi„ cap. 17, p. 229; likewise Sleidan, lib. xxii., p. 501.
In the new edict published for that purpose, the name of inquisition, already odious in the Netherlands, was omitted, and that of spiritual judges given to the same persons. This pacified the discontents for a time, and Antwerp published the decree, though accompanied by a written protest, that it was in nowise to be understood as derogating from the privileges and customs of die town, which should be preserved entire 1.
The last war between the emperor and King of France had been the occasion of hostilities between the Netherlander and the Scotch, the zealous friends and allies of the French king. They had now for some years done considerable injury to the commerce and fishery of Holland by their privateering, which they still continued, even after the conclusion of the peace of Crespi between the two monarchs. To puts stop to the repeated capture of Holland merchant ships, the emperor had in the last year proposed to the states to equip twenty-five men-of-war, and for this purpose induced them to consent to a duty of five-pence an awn upon Rhenish wines. But though the import was strictly levied, the emperor forgot to apply the produce to the use for which it was intended, and no preparations were made until this year, when, as the Scots persisted in their aggressions, the court equipped eight of the twenty-five vessels promised, and for the expenses of these, a duty of a guilder upon every "last" of herrings 2 was demanded, which the Hollanders found themselves obliged to grant, since the 1550 Zealanders had offered three, or even four, guilders a last, provided they were permitted to enjoy the exclusive liberty of fishing.
- Brandt's Hist der Ref., boek iii., b). 160—162. Sleidan, lib. xxii, p. 501.
- The "last" contains fourteen barrels.
The small number of the Dutch fleet prevented their effecting anything more than the capture of a few prizes, which they brought into the ports of Zealand; but peace having been concluded between France and England, the Scots became unwilling to carry on the war alone, and towards the end of the summer a truce was made between them and the Netherlanders, followed by a treaty of peace, to the effect that all injuries committed on both sides were to be buried in oblivion; piracies were forbidden, and compensation was to be given for the hostilities committed during the time of truce 1.
A commercial treaty was likewise concluded about the same time, between the Netherlanders and Henry II., successor of Francis I. on the throne of France. The king had some time before commanded that the discovery of contraband wares in Netherland vessels should be followed by the forfeiture of the whole cargo; and the emperor had thereupon issued a similar order against the ships of France. It was now agreed that no other than contraband and enemies' goods should be declared liable to forfeiture 2.
It was not until this period that the Netherland ecclesiastics began to take any part in the general council of the Church summoned by Pope Paul III. in 1545, which continued to sit at Trent till 1547, when the successes of the emperor against the Protestant princes of Germany created alarm in the breast of the 1550 Pope, lest the vast increase of power he obtained by their subjugation should enable him to become sols arbiter of the decisions of an assembly held in the territories of the King of the Romans, his brother and subject.
- Aert van der Goes, op'tjaar 1550, bl. 41—45. Groot Plakaat., 4 deel., bl. 260.
- Dumont Corps Dip., torn, iv., p. 3, pa. 3.
Upon the pretext, therefore, of an infectious disorder having made its appearance in Trent, Paul transferred the council from thence to Bologna, not, withstanding the vehement protestations of the emperor, who forbad the German and Spanish prelates to leave Trent. The bishops of the empire also, m obedience to his desire, addressed a letter to the Pope on the subject, couched in strong and earnest terns of remonstrance. Nevertheless, such of the cardinals and prelates as had removed to Bologna, being entirely subservient to the holy see, refused to return to Trent; upon which Charles sent ambassadors, both to Bologna and to Rome, to protest against the translation of the council, as frivolous and unlawful 1.
Meanwhile, in order to heal the dissensions in religion, the emperor caused to be prepared his celebrated interim, with the purpose of reconciling the doctrines of the two churches. As it was framed by two catholic prelates, Julius Pflug, bishop of Narimberg, and Michael Sidonio, and one Protestant, John Agricola of Isleben, the catholic doctrines were, as may be supposed, but slightly modified. The interim met with the fate of all measures of the like nature particularly when applied to religious matters; it was satisfactory to neither party; and although Charles obtained from the dietss of Augsburg a decree to enforce its adoption, it was by no means so generally received as to obviate the necessity for another oecumenic council, whose decisions, from the infallibility with which he might profess to regard them as invested, he would be justified in carrying into effect, by any means, 1551 however violent.
- Sleidan, lib. xix., p. 425, 440, 447.
Soon after the accession of Julius III., therefore, he induced him to issue a bull, summoning the council to meet at Trent in the May of 1551 1. The emperor, besides the German prelates, among whom were the Archbishops of Metz, Treves, and Cologne, commissioned Anthony Perrenot, bishop of Arras, to select some of the best qualified of the Netherland ecclesiastics to support the emperor's interests, and to assist in reconciling the differences in religion, at the council of Trent. Viglius van Zuichem, president of the council, whom the bishop consulted on the subject, declared that he felt shame when he reflected how few capable persons were now to be found in the Netherlands, which formerly abounded with men of learning; and that he hardly knew where to find one who was fit to undertake the business of the court at Trent 2. He nevertheless named Francis Sonoy, canon of Utrecht, with two others; and recommended that they should be accompanied by two doctors, a canonist of the university of Louvain, and some monks; and that of the former, one should be Ruard Tapper, the grand inquisitor 3.
- Sleidan, lib. xx., p. 454—161; lib. xxii., p. 503.
- This accusation, a highly improbable one, against a Country which so short a time before had boasted of an Erasmus and an Agricola, is contradicted by the testimony of Vargas, a Spanish prelate, not likely to form a partial judgment in favour of the Netherlanders: he says that " the doctors of Louvain are excellent men, and of great modesty, distinguished for their learning, and the purity of their morals, and such theologians as the council should have gone to the ends of the world to leek; their dean (Ruard Tapper) is no less remarkable for knowledge than dignity." Let. et Mém. de Vargas, p. 173,188, 235, 236. The sweeping censure of the president would induce us to suppose that the Most learned and able were either not sufficiently subservient to the views of the emperor, or were suspected of heretical opinions.
- Vide his Letter, in Dip. Miraei, torn, iii., p. 463—465.
1551 The Protestants refused to attend the assembly, unless the safe conduct which the emperor had granted them in the most ample terms, were confirmed by the council, which the Pope's legate, who dreaded their appearance there, took every means to prevent. Meanwhile, the ecclesiastics already assembled, to the number of about sixty, decided upon many important points of dispute respecting confession, penance, and extreme unction. Events, however, occurred in the next year, which on a sudden broke off their deliberations 1.
The Prince Maurice of Saxony, nephew of the elector, although professing the reformed religion, had, from motives of vanity and self-interest, forsaken the cause of the confederates of Smalkalde; and either believing, or affecting to believe, the assertion of the emperor, that he had taken up arms in support of the laws and dignity of the empire, and not from religious causes, had been mainly instrumental in the war of 1546, to the ruin of his fellow Protestants.
For his services in that war, the emperor had recompensed him with the dominions and electoral dignity of his uncle. Now, however, whether disgusted at the discovery of the insincerity of Charles's professions, or because wider schemes of ambition opened to his view (for it is difficult to decide which of these motives to ascribe to him,—perhaps both had a share in influencing his conduct), he began to concert measures with the remaining Protestant princes, to secure the Protestant religion, and the liberties of Germany, against the power of the emperor, and to obtain the release of the Landgrave of Hesse; such, at least, were the reasons for taking up arms, which he professed to them and to foreign powers 2.
- Lett, et Mem. de Vargas, p. 117,128,168, 254» 385, 401. Sleidan, lib. xxiii., p. 530.
- Sleidan, lib. xvii., p. 880—410. Lett, de PEmpéreur aux trois Electèurs Ecclfoiastiqnes, in Lett, et Mem. de Vargas, p. 881 Thuauus, lib. viii. cap. 6 ; lib. ix., cap. 13.
His plans were formed with so much secrecy, and executed with such celerity, that before the emperor had time to prepare for his defence, he had possessed himself of some of the strongest places of the empire, and Charles with difficulty escaped being taken prisoner at Inspruck, where he was then residing, in order to be nearer to the Council at Trent.
Maurice had likewise gained over Henry II. of France to an alliance with; the Reformers, and the emperor, embarrassed at once in a war with that Country and with his own subjects, was reduced to accept of the peace of Passau, on terms 1552 the most favourable to the Protestants; by it he engaged to allow entire liberty of religion throughout Germany, to deliver the Landgrave of Hesse from his imprisonment, and to admit the members of the Augsburg confession to the imperial council.
The emperor had voluntarily released the Elector of Saxony before his flight from Inspruck, in order that he might embarrass Prince Maurice by claiming the restoration of the electorate. The prelates at the Council of Trent, on hearing of the advance of Maurice, took flight in different directions, and the council was not resumed until the year 1563, when its resolutions were attended with important and lasting effects to Holland 1.
The proceedings of Maurice in Germany had been anticipated by the seizure of the Netherland merchant vessels on the part of the French king in the year before, which led to a formal declaration of war between France and the emperor; 1552 but, as during the first campaign, nearly the whole force of both belligerents was concentrated in Italy, the events in the Netherlands were few and unimportant.
- Sleidan, lib, xxiv., p. 547, 550—55G. Lett, et Mém. de Vargas, p. 188. Thoanus, lib. x., cap. 4, 5,13.
Nearly at the same time that Maurice began hostilities against the emperor in Germany, Henry IL, in pursuance of the terms of the treaty, sent a powerful army into Lorraine, under the constable Anne de Montmorency, who took possession of Metz, Toul, and Verdun.
The king invaded Alsace in person; Haguenau and Weissemburg opened their gates to him. While in that province, he received intelligence of the pacifiction of Passau, which, although one of its articles was to the effect that the Protestant princes should renounce the alliance of France, did not prevent his marching into Luxemburg, where several strong places fell into his bands. On the side of the imperialists Marten van Rossem made an irruption into Champagne and Picardy, where he cruelly devastated the Country according to his usual custom.
The emperor, as soon as the peace of Passau left him at liberty to pursue the war against France without interruption, sent the Duke of Alva, at the head of the Spanish army and some troops he had drawn from Italy, assisted by Lamoral, Count of Egmond, and the Lord of Bossn with a body of Netherland forces to attempt the recovery of Metz, whither he himself repaired shortly after in person. The perpetual sallies and the destructive fire kept up by the garrison, prevented his making any progress in the siege, which the rigour of the season forced him to raise in the January of the next year. The campaigns in Picardy and Italy were equally unpropitious to the imperial arms, while at sea the French succeeded in capturing a large and rich fleet of Netherland merchant ships returning from 1552 Spain 1.
- Thuanus, lib. x., cap. 6, 7, 8,9,10 11,12. Heut. Rer. Aust, lib. xiii, cap. 12,14,17. Meteren, fol. xii.
The states of Holland haying voted a supply of 200,000 guilders for the support of the war, were anxious to find means of protecting the herring fishery, which had been almost stopped during the last autumn, from fear lest the "busses" should be captured by the French ships of war. Holland and Zealand were strongly inclined to exchange safe conducts with France, for the mutual security of this branch of trade; while Flanders and the governess thought it more advisable to provide a naval force sufficient to defend the boats from aggression.
As she refused to make any agreement with the French king for the safe conduct, declaring plainly that she could not trust him, the maritime towns of Holland interested in the fishery were obliged, if they would not lose it altogether, to equip on their own account eight men-of-war. Delft, Rotterdam, and Enkhuyzen, provided two each, Schiedam, together with several smaller towns, the remaining two between them. In spite of their precautions, however, they lost fifty boats.
The westward fleet fared better, for having put to sea under a strong convoy, they made a safe and profitable voyage to Spain. For the equipment of this convoy, an impost of two per cent had been laid on all commodities carried to or from the west; which some of the deputies of the states considered an infraction of the privilege of exemption from toll that they had obtained from the emperor in 1531; others judged that the duty, being levied at the desire of the merchants, for the protection of their trade, and not applied to the profit of the emperor, could not be considered as a toll.
They at length agreed to present a petition to the governess that it might be abolished, and to press still more earnestly for its removal upon the cessation or abatement of the present war. It was remitted in 1554 1.
The campaign was scarcely ended, when the emperor, finding himself in extreme want of funds, from the delay which had occurred in the arrival of specie from America, demanded another subsidy of the Netherlands: of Brabant 600,000 caroluses, and of the other provinces in proportion. The share of Holland was 300,000 guilders. The states, according to their custom, made difficulties about granting so large a sum; the nobles observing that the province had paid the emperor 700,000 guilders within the year. They endeavoured to obtain an abatement of 50,000 guilders, and to make several conditions, among which the principal were, the abolition of the two hundredth penny on exports; a free trade to the west; that the herring fishery should be placed under safe conduct; and that no office, except that of Stadtholder , should be given to foreigners.
To the last of these requisitions the governess coldly replied, that she had given but few offices to foreigners, and those only to such as were better qualified to serve them than the natives who were candidates at the same time; the remainder she refused either to comply with, or even to transmit to the emperor; declaring that the consequences of his heavy displeasure would fall upon the states, unless they proceeded to the immediate and unconditional grant of the whole subsidy. Alarmed by her threats, the nobles, Delft, and Dordrecht, and finally the other four great towns, consented to the entire sum of 300,000 guilders, to be levied by the tax of a tenth on immoveable property, and on the profits of the herring fishery 2.
- Regist. van Adrian van der Goes, 1552, bl. 41—61.
- Regist. van A. van der Goes, op'tjaar 1553, bl. 5—18.
The custom 1553 of summoning the small towns on questions of supply, had gradually fallen into disuse. As the great towns only were sufliciently wealthy to raise loans for the service of the sovereign, or anticipate the payment of the subsidies already voted, the government had been in the habit of summoning them alone, whenever a measure of this kind was found necessary 1. Hence the transition to the entire neglect of the small towns upon all questions of supply was easy; in the year 1538 they had presented a remonstrance on this subject, declaring that they did not consider themselves bound by the votes of the great towns, and obtained from the Stadtholder a promise, that they should always be summoned and consulted before the consent of the states to any subsidy was taken 2.
This promise, however, was not adhered to; the small towns were seldom summoned after 1542, never after 1548, nor could they recover the privilege of being present, as of old, in the states, so long as Holland remained under the government of sovereigns whose interest it was to render the states more tractable, by diminishing the number of deputies, and narrowing as much as possible the basis of popular representation.
The exaction of the two hundredth penny on exports was slightly modified by a proclamation from the emperor, who, in order to obtain provisions for his camp, declared that all articles brought thither should be exempt from the duty, Having by this means secured an abundant supply of every necessary, he commanded the Count of Roueulx to undertake the siege of Terouanne in Artois.
- Regist. van A. van der Goes, op'tjaar 1553, bl. 48, 95,140, 334, and passim.
- Idem, op'tjaar 1538, bl. 290.
This ancient city being 1553 taken by storm, was razed to the ground by order of the emperor, and has never since been rebuilt; Hesdin shortly after shared the same fate. A portion of the imperial army, under Lamoral, Count of Egmond, having advanced as far as Amiens, a sharp engagement took place between them and the French, under the Count de Montmorenci, in which neither party was decidedly victorious 1.
While Charles was thus carrying the war into the boundaries of France, he was engaged in forming an alliance which proved a source of no small disquietssude to Henry. On the death of Edward VI., Mary, the daughter of his aunt, Catherine of Arragon, had ascended the English throne; immediately after which event, he proposed to his son Philip a marriage with the new queen. Philip gave a ready consent, although Mary had before been contracted to his father 2, was now past thirty-eight, and totally destitute of personal attractions. The negotiations were carried on as covertly as possible, owing to the general unpopularity of the match with the English nation; and Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, who negotiated on the part of the queen the secret and preliminary treaty, made use of this feeling, and the eagerness of Charles for the conclusion of the marriage, to obtain such conditions as he thought proper. Matters being put in train, Lamoral, Count of Egmond, was sent at the head of 1554 a public and solemn embassy, to demand the hand of the queen, and in a few days the articles of the treaty were agreed upon.
- Thuanus, lib. xii., cap. 6, 7, 8. Meteren, fol. xv.
- Vid. part n., chap. 5.
1554 Philip was to be associated with the queen in the government of England, but the disposal of offices should rest solely with the latter; the dowry of the queen, amounting to 60,000 pounds 1 (of forty groots) yearly, was to be levied, 40,000 on Spain, and 20,000 on the Netherlands; the first-born son of the marriage was to have, besides England, Burgundy and the Netherlands; Charles, the son of Philip by his former wife, inheriting only Spain, Naples, Sicily, and the states in Italy; in case of no male issue, the eldest daughter should succeed to England, Burgundy, and the Netherlands, provided she married a native of either, or a foreigner with the consent of Charles, her brother; but if she married a foreigner without such consent, then the right of succession to the latter states was to return to Charles, who should settle a portion on her out of the revenues of Spain and the Netherlands: if prince Charles died without issue, the eldest son of Philip and Mary, or, in default of sons, the eldest daughter, should inherit all his dominions; the ancient laws, rights, customs, and privileges of both nations, were to be preserved, and the public offices conferred only on the natives of each respectively 2.
The marriage concluded on this footing was even less acceptable, if possible, to the Netherlanders, than to the English; they beheld their future sovereign, whose character for bigotry and severity they had already begun to dread, united to a princess who, if report spoke true, closely resembled him in these qualities;
- £5000 sterling. Hume (vol. ir., p. 387) has put down the jointure of Mazy at £60,000 sterling; but the sum specified in Rymer is 00,000 ponds "of forty groots," or halfpence. The "pond groot" was a coin common in the Netherlands, and is to be distinguished from the "pond vlaamsch," which was worth nearly ten shillings.
- Thuanus, lib. xiii., cap. 3. Heut. Rer. Aast., lib. xiii., cap. 20. Rym, Feed., torn, xv., p. 377.
in case of male issue, they foresaw that they 1554 would sink into a mere province of England; and in the event of a female succession, there was great probability that they would become once more the subjects of a foreign prince, a stranger to their laws and customs, the bitter fruits of which they had already fully experienced since the accession of the house of Burgundy.
The circumstances of this union, therefore, gave satisfaction to none except the merchants, who obtained on the occasion some important advantages. The privileges of the company of German and Netherland merchants in London, called the Stillyard, bad been abolished in 1552, on a representation to the king by the English clothiers, that it monopolised the whole trade, to the prejudice of the natives 1.
Since that time, in spite of the repeated efforts of the governess to obtain the restoration of the company's privileges, it had only been allowed to trade under payment of a heavy duty both on exports and imports; but during the negotiations for the marriage, the Hanse towns sent ambassadors to solicit their restoration which the queen granted, and likewise gave permission for the exportation of a certain sort of cloth that had hitherto been forbidden.
In the next year she farther fevoured the Netherland commerce, by re-opening the wool-staple at Calais, which the King of France had induced Henry VIII. to close in the year 1530 2.
The solemnization of the marriage was held at Winchester on the 25th of July 1554, after which Philip remained during a whole year in England.
- They complained that in the year 1551 the company had exported 44,000 pieces of cloth, while all the English merchants together had not sold more than 1,100 pieces in foreign Countries.
- Rym. Feed., torn, xv., p. 864,413.
During that time he became convinced that there could be no hope of an heir; when the principal advantages he expected to reap from the alliance being thus frustrated, and the English nation not affecting to conceal the dislike and contempt they entertained for him, he began to view them, and even his wife, notwithstanding her devoted attachment to him, with the utmost aversion.
The attention of Charles had been so engrossed by his favourite scheme, that he neglected in some degree the timely preparations necessary for the ensuing campaign. Henry II., who was himself not ready before June, forestalled the emperor by invading the Netherlands with three separate armies. The Prince de la Roche sur Yon, overran the open Country of Artois, while the Duke of Nevers possessed himself of some strong places in the Luxemburg, and the Constable de Montmorenci, with the main body, marched into Hainaut, where having taken Chimay, he laid siege to Mariemburg, a fort which the governess had strengthened with immense labour and expense, and named after herself.
It surrendered before the end of a month, and Bouvines, besieged by Henry in person, was carried by assault a few days after; Dinant also capitulated. Having mastered Bavoi and Binche in Hainaut, the king marched into Artois, where he sat down before Renti. At length the imperial forces were brought into a state of preparation, and under the command of Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy, the emperor himself being present in the camp, advanced to meet the French under the walls of Renti. The two armies came to a general engagement, in which the victory was claimed by the latter, but declared by the Netherlander to be doubtful. It most probably was so, since the French suffered so great loss, that 1554 they were obliged to raise the siege, and retire into Picardy 1.
- Heut. Rer. Auftt, lib. xiii, cap. 21. Meteren, fol. 15. Thuanus lib. xiii., cap. 10.
During this summer hostilities were carried on at sea between the French and Netherlanders with more than usual energy. Two and twenty vessels of war, returning from Spain to the Netherlands laden with merchandise, fell in with nineteen large and six smaller French ships, commanded by Espineville d'Harfleur, near the English coast at Dover. The Netherlanders, anxious to save their wares, sought to avoid the French, who were advancing for the purpose of boarding them; but though they kept up a heavy fire from a distance, they could not prevent the approach of the enemies vessels, fifteen of which closed with the same number of Netherlanders. The fight was continued with great fierceness from nine in the morning until three in the afternoon, when the French proposed a truce, which their opponents, sanguine of the event, refused.
At this time, the combustibles thrown by the Netherlanders, set fire to one of the enemy's vessels; the flames were rapidly communicated to five others, and from them to the Netherland ships; the crews, throwing themselves into the sea, swam to the nearest vessels that had escaped the conflagration, whether friend or enemy. This circumstance secured the victory to the French in an unlooked for manner. The Netherlanders rescued so great a number of their enemies, that the latter found themselves sufficiently strong to surprise and capture the crews of five of the vessels into which they had been taken, and bring them into the port of Dieppe. Besides these, the Netherlanders had six ships burnt; of the French the same number were burnt, and one sunk. The French writers say that 1000 of the Netherlanders were killed, and 400 of their own Countrymen; while the Netherlanders, though without much appearance of probability, place the larger number to the account of their opponents. Among the slain was the French admiral, Espineville 1.
- Thuanus, lib. xvi., cap. 9. Velius Hoorn, bl. 147,148. Heut. Rer. Aust.. lib. xiii., cap. 23.
To supply the expenses of this war, the states granted the sum of 200,000 guilders, of which 100,000 was raised by the sale of life annuities at sixteen and two-thirds per cent., and redeemable annuities at eight and a quarter per cent. They obtained in return for this subsidy, the abolition of the two hundredth penny on exports, and a bonus of 10,000 guilders for the protection of the fisheries.
A second demand of 200,000 guilders brought forward by the court, was more unwillingly complied with; the nobles remonstrated, that the Country was already burdened with 47,000 guilders of annuities, the principal amounting to 480,000, and several of the towns objected to be taxed according to the assessments, preferring rather to pay the tenth penny, while others insisted upon the ordinary methods of assessment, and the sale of annuities. This difference of opinion was occasioned by the great change which had taken place in the relative condition of the towns since the valuation had been made in the year 1518. Some had considerably increased in wealth and population, and consequently their share in the assessment no longer bore a due proportion to that of those towns which remained stationary. In the former situation were Dordrecht and Amsterdam, which were always desirous of being taxed by the assessment (schildtalen), while Leyden and Gouda, whose real property was of less value than that of the former towns, found their advantage in 1554 paying the tenth penny.
The perpetual demands for subsidies, which, to avoid tediousness, have only been noticed when accompanied by an attempt on the put of the Netherlander to secure their privileges in return, or by some other remarkable circumstance, afford strong evidence of the increase of wealth in the Netherlands.
Notwithstanding that the unceasing wars in which they were involved, sometimes entirely prevented their fisheries, and greatly embarrassed their commerce, the merchants contrived, by means of safe conducts and various other expedients, to carry on an advantageous traffic, even in the enemy's states; as an instance of which, may be cited one Melchior Schets, who in this year had procured from France 14,000 bales of wood, although a contraband article. The great increase of trade, and consequently of wealth and population, occasioned an augmented consumption of wine, beer, and other articles of excise; and this tax proved often so productive, that while the states incurred new debts to furnish the sums paid to the court, they were in a condition to redeem a large portion of the old.
They had done so to some extent immediately after the grant of 300,000 guilders in the last year; but these transactions they always industriously kept concealed from the court, and disguised, under heavy complaints of increasing poverty, lest they might give a suspicion of how much more taxes they were able to bear. Their precautions were not, however, always successful, and the discovery was sure to be followed by a fresh petition, or "proposition,' as the courtiers chose rather to call it; the old term of petition having fallen into bad odour, as expressive of too much dependence on the part of the sovereign, and too much power in the states to withhold it.
It was become so customary for the states to receive all petitions with murmurs, that the court manifested 1554 little disquietssude on that head, and indeed would have been rather astonished had they been suffered to pass in silence 1. A little grumbling apart, however, the people may be considered to have given their sovereign a liberal and generous support throughout the whole of the reign of Charles. Unfortunately, the sovereign did not return it by a just sense of what was due to the people. The privilege "de non evocando" was now perpetually violated, and the persevering endeavours of the states to put a stop to this abuse were of no avail.
The government insisted that accusations of treason were to be tried, not in the constitutional manner by the supreme court of Holland, but before a special tribunal appointed by the emperor; and we have seen sufficient proofs in the history of our own Country, how widely the law of treason might be interpreted. In Holland it was held, not only to include all manner of crimes against the emperor, but also against God, more especially heresy; and in consequence of this unwarrantable wresting of the meaning of terms, a cruel persecution was carried on by the court against the followers of the new doctrines; many pious and learned men, who would have been protected in their own Country, being dragged before a foreign tribunal, and condemned to death.
Among the most lamented was Engel Merula, an aged and beloved pastor of Heenvlietss, who, after being detained two years in the prison of Louvain, was condemned to the flames at Mons. Happily, he died as he was uttering his last prayer before the stake, and thus escaped the cruelty of his persecutors 2.
- Regist. van Adrian van der Goes, 1554, bl. 24—36.
- Brandt's Hist, der Re£, deel. i., bl. 212. Aert van der Goes, bl. 267. Adrian van der Goes, op'tjaar 1544, bl. 7; 1545, bl. 18, 51; jaar 1546, bl.9; 1554, bl. 36.
1554 Not content with trampling the privileges of the people under foot, the court made strenuous efforts to obtain possession of the ancient charters by which they had been confirmed. Until within a few years of this time, the principal of these documents were most unaccountably not in the possession of the states, bat scattered about in the different towns; the very important one "de non evocando" for instance, was kept by the government of Delft; some were in the custody of the advocate; others in the registry of the court of Holland; while there were some remaining even in the muniment chamber of the emperor in Brabant.
The states in the year 1545 had commanded the advocate of Holland, and the pensionaries of Delft and Leyden, to search for, and collect all the charters of privilege throughout the County, and had placed them in the Dominican monastery at the Hague. On one occasion William Snoekaart, a commissioner sent by the emperor for the ostensible purpose of examining the charters, endeavoured to persuade the prior of the monastery to open for him the chest which contained them; but not being able to prevail with him to do so, he commanded him from the emperor to keep the apartment constantly closed, and to let no one enter, threatening that himself and the whole cloister should feel the consequences of the sovereign's displeasure if he disobeyed.
The injunction was but little heeded; and some of the towns having been afterwards commanded to deliver their charters into the hands of the procuror-general, the states passed an unanimous resolution, that they would never entrust the court with the original charters of the Country, but, when occasion required, attested copies of them only should be given; and ordered the advocate of Holland to see that they were carefully preserved in a strong chest with six 1555 locks 1.
- Regist. van Adrian van der Goea, op'tjaar 1545, bl. 35; 1546, bl. 5, 1548 , bl.3,7,22.
The war with France, which had now continued for some years, had so exhausted the resources of both the belligerent powers, that hostilities were but slackly curried on during this campaign; and the plague breaking out in the emperor's camp, obliged him to retire early into winter quarters. Among the victims to the disease perished the celebrated Martin van Rossem, who, since the surrender of Guelderland by the Duke of Juliers, had constantly remained in the service of the emperor 1.
The subsidies demanded of the states were just as heavy as if the war had been pursued with the greatest vigour. Two extraordinary petitions were proposed, one payable in March of 200,000 guilders, and another of the same amount in September. The first was readily granted, but no small difficulty was found in pleasing the deputies as to the mode of levying the latter. Hearth money, they said, pressed too heavily on the poorer classes: a land tax could not be laid on by reason of the bad crops, and the small quantity of turf which had been cut during the last wet summer; while the cessation of trade, particularly of weaving, the clearness of provisions, and the losses sustained by the herring fishery, rendered the payment of a house assessment impossible.
They concluded with an entreaty to be spared further petitions in this miserable year; but the whole subsidy was insisted on, and they gained nothing by their debates but a delay of three months in its delivery. 1555 The nobles and deputies of the towns at this time judged it expedient to put the imposts in general upon a new and uniform footing.
- Heut. Rer, Aust., lib. xiii., cap. 23.
They had hitherto been received by one or more collectors in each town, in whose accounts many irregularities occurred: the duties on wine and beer, for instance, had, during the past year, yielded no more than 20,008 ponds (of forty groots). The states considered, therefore, that the taxes would be much more accurately levied, and at a smaller expense to the County if they were publicly let out to farm. From henceforward this method was universally adopted, and followed until so late a period as 1748 1.
In the autumn of this year (1555) the world was astonished by the declaration of the emperor's intention to resign all his vast dominions, and spend the remainder of his days in a cloister. Historians have bestowed infinite pains in searching for the motives of this apparently extraordinary resolution; and yet, perhaps, it is rather from the rarity than the improbability of such an act that it excites our surprise.
With respect to Charles especially, it is not difficult to suppose that, in a helpless condition of body, (from unceasing attacks of the gout,) and with a mind enfeebled by long diseases, embarrassed at once by a war with France, by exhausted finances, and by the increasing power of the Protestants in Germany, he should be desirous that the sceptre dropping from his now relaxed and nerveless hand should be held with a firm and vigorous grasp. Added to all the weighty political reasons which are generally supposed to influence him, may have been one more simple and natural.
He had, very many years before been struck with the situation of the monastery of St Justus, near Placentia in Spain, and it is not impossible that the image of repose presented by the peaceful beauty of that retreat may have often recurred to his mind in after years of turmoil and anxietssy; and, joined to that love of particular places, which in some minds amounts almost to a passion, may have produced a longing desire to return there once more, as to a haven of rest in his latter days.
- Regist. van Adrian van der Goes, op'tjaar 1655, bL 39—43; 1556, bl. 12.
It is certain that as early as the year 1542, long before the existence of any of the causes usually adduced for his abdication, he had declared to Don Francis de Borgia, Duke of Gandia, his intention to abandon the world as soon as his son Philip should be fit to govern 1.
The rumour of his intention excited no small dismay in the Netherlands, where men dreaded the resignation of the governess, to whose rule they had, in the course of five and twenty years become accustomed, and the accession of a stranger, ignorant alike of their language, habits, and constitution. To such an extent was this feeling carried in Holland, that the states commanded the deputies whom they sent to the assembly of the states general at Brussels to keep back their full powers until those of the other provinces had been produced, so that they might be able to support any one of them who appeared inclined to withhold their consent to the emperor's abdication 2.
On the 25th of October 3, the day appointed for the ceremony, the knights of the Golden Fleece, and the deputies of all the states of the Netherlands assembled at Brussels. The governess Mary, queen dowager of 1555 Hungary, Mary, daughter of the emperor, and Maximilian, his nephew, were likewise present on this solemn occasion, Philibert of Brussels, a member of the council of state of the Netherlands, having opened the business of the day, by declaring the purpose for which they were assembled, and the reasons which had prompted the emperor to adopt this resolution, the emperor rose, supported on the shoulder of the Prince of Orange, and holding a paper to assist his memory, took a review of his past life; of the campaigns he had conducted, the voyages he had undertaken, and the labours and fatigues he had endured for the service of his subjects; for the sake of whose welfare, he said, he now substituted a brave and active prince in the place of a feeble old man, sinking fast into the grave.
- Strada de Bello Belg., lib. i., p. 12,13.
- The surrender was made on the 25th, but the oaths to the new sovereign were not taken by the states of the several provinces until the 26th and following days, which may account for the discrepancy of authors as to the precise time of the resignation; some dating it from the day of the surrender, others from that of taking the oaths. Regist. van Adrian van der Goes op'tjaar 1555, bl. 54, 65.
- Regist. van Ad. van der Goes, op'tjaar 1555, bl. 51.
After the conclusion of his address to the states, he exhorted his son to repay the debt of gratitude he owed him for thus surrendering of his own free will so rich an empire, and which he himself had greatly augmented, by testifying so much the more tenderness and care towards his subjects, and to justify the confidence he had this day shown in him, by his zeal for the laws, rights, and privileges of the people, and for the maintenance of the Catholic faith.
Philip, bending on one knee, first asked and received his father's blessing: then turning towards the states, besought them, on account of his inability to express himself in the French language, to permit the Bishop of Arras to address them in his name. The bishop accordingly, in an eloquent discourse, expatiated upon the king's gratitude to his father and affection for his subjects. In conclusion, the Governess Mary, resigning the administration of the Netherlands which she had now held for twenty-five years, took leave of the states in a speech replete with modesty and good feeling.
She had often, she said, during the long course of her 1556 government, besought her brother to take off her shoulders a burden so unsuited to her feeble sex and inferior understanding; but that he had sought to provide a remedy for her defects, by placing around her men of sound judgment and veil skilled in public affairs. Her faults were to be attributed to the weakness of her nature, not to the perversion of her will; but had her ability equalled her love towards her people, she should have amply satisfied the emperor, and the Netherlands would have been better governed than any other nation of the earth; the little good she had been permitted to do was to be attributed to the able and wise men who had assisted her. She finished by exhorting them to peace and unanimity, and to obedience towards God, the Church, and their prince; declaring that, to the end of her life, she should be always ready to devote herself to the advantage of the Netherlanders, either generally or individually. Her address was answered by Jacob van der Maas, pensionary of Amsterdam, on the part of the states 1.
On the day after the emperor's resignation the mutual oaths were taken by Philip and the states of Holland; the former swore to maintain all the privileges which they now enjoyed, including those granted or confirmed at his installation as heir in 1549. He afterwards renewed the promise made by Charles in the month of May preceding, that no office in Holland, except that of Stadtholder , should be given to foreigners or to Netherlanders of those provinces in which Hollanders were excluded from offices. In the January of the next year the emperor resigned the crown of Spain 1556 to his son, reserving only an annuity of 100,000 crowns, and on the 7th of September 1556 following, having proceeded to Zealand to join the fleet destined to carry him to Spain, he surrendered the imperial dignity to his brother Ferdinand.
- Heut. Rer. Aust., lib. xiv., cap, 1, 2, 3.
The Prince of Orange was commissioned to bear the crown and sceptre to the King of the Romans, an office which he executed with extreme reluctance 1. Before his departure, Charles once more exhorted his son to maintain the Catholic religion in its purity, and earnestly besought him not to allow the Netherlanders to be oppressed by foreigners, if he would not plunge the Country into all the miseries of a civil war. He set sail on the 15th of September from Zeeburg, or Rammekens in Zealand, accompanied by his sisters Mary, and Eleanor, queen-dowager of France, and after a short and prosperous voyage landed at Laredo in Biscay. Thence he proceeded to Burgos; where he was delayed for some time by want of money, and took up his final abode in the cloister of St, Just, near Piacenza. In this retreat he spent his time chiefly in prayer, reading, and religious exercises, passing his hours of recreation in making watches and other mechanical works, in planting, and riding. In this manner he lived about two years, when a fever carried him to the grave on the 21st of August, 1558. His death was followed by that of his sister Mary, the late governess, three weeks after, at Genoa, on her way to the Netherlands 2.
The emperor had, for a quarter of a century, borne so little personal share in the government of the Netherlands, that his abdication was to them of little more importance than that it entailed the resignation of the„ Governess Mary. When he did mingle in their affairs it was, in general, not greatly to their advantage; his severe 1556 edicts against the Reformers were no less repugnant to the tolerant spirit of the people than his perpetual wars were to their industrious and frugal habits; on a few. occasions he did, indeed, remedy some grievances peculiarly obnoxious, and restore some privileges on which the popular mind was firmly bent; but this was done rarely and unwillingly, and. only, in return for liberty, to extort enormous subsidies. By the addition, however, of Utrecht, Friesland, and Guelderland, during his reign, the Netherlands increased much in strength and consideration.
- Regist van Adrian van der Goes, bl. 54,65. Heut. Rer. Aust, lib, xiv., cap. 6. Bor. Autthen. Stukken, deel ii., bl. 71.
- Heut. Rer. Aust., lib. xiv., cap. 6. Strada de Bello Belgico, dec. i, lib. i., p. 7.
The governess, Mary, to whom he entrusted the care of this part of his dominions, during so long a period, was a princess of considerable address, talent, and spirit. She wanted neither judgment to discern, nor inclination to protect, the commercial interests of the people she governed, though she sometimes lost sight of them in her eagerness to fill her own and the emperor's coffers. An enemy to religious persecution, die never heartily concurred in carrying the penal edicts into effect. We have seen that, by her influence, the emperor was induced to mitigate the rigour of the inquisition at Antwerp, and she manifested, at all times, so much tolerance towards the Reformers, that she was accused by Pope Paul III., to the emperor, of favouring, and even holding a secret understanding with them 1. On the other hand, she was inclined to strain the sovereign prerogative far beyond its utmost limits, and to treat the privileges of the people with levity and indifference. Yet the comparison of her government with the misrule, tyranny, and sufferings of after years, caused the Netherlander to look back to her memory with regret and affection.
- Brandt's Hist, der Ref., boek iii, bl. 61.
1556 Before we enter upon the scene of tumult, bloodshed, and sorrow, prepared for the pen of the historian, it may not be uninteresting to bestow a glance on the Netherlander, as they are depicted by a diligent and enlightened foreigner (Louis Guicciardini), resident for many years among them, whose observations were collected about this time, and published before the commencement of the civil war.
From him we learn, that Holland, within a circumference of sixty leagues, contained twenty-nine strong-walled cities, numerous smaller ones, and 400 villages, under which denomination the Hague is included. "This little corner of the earth," he says, " abounds with people, with fiches and virtue, and everything that the heart of man can desire. Not the most minute portion of the land is without its production; even the sand hills afford food and shelter to vast quantities of rabbits, esteemed for their delicate flavour and on every creek of the sea are to be found incredible numbers of Water-fowl and their eggs, both of which form a valuable article of export to the Belgic provinces 1." The inhabitants are described as brave, active, and industrious; devoted to freedom, but faithful and obedient subjects; not prone either to anger, insolence, or envy humane, benevolent, and affable; lively and facetious, but sometimes rather licentious in their jests; greatly addicted to feasting and drunkenness 2; upright and sincere, but greedy of gain; curious after novelty, and excessively credulous; 1666 rather given to conceit and loquacity; unmindful of benefits, but equally forgetful of injuries, and remarkably placable.
- Guicciardini Belg. Des., tom. ii, p. 95.
- Before the end of this century, they infected the English unhappily, with the same degrading vice, and the consequence of their pernicious example are felt perhaps even to the present time. Camden, in his History of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, tells us, that "the English who, of all the northern nations had been the moderatest drinkers and most commended for their sobrietssy, learned in the Netherland wan first to drown themselves with immoderate drinking, and by drinking others healths to impair their own. And ever since the vice of drunkenness hath so diffused itself over the whole nation, that in our days, first it was fain to be restrained by severe laws."—Book iii., p. 263.
Fond of learning and the arts, they could boast of a great number of learned and scientific Men among them, and Several authors of celebrity; most of the people were acquainted with the rudiments of grammar, and even the peasants were able to read and write well. Many of the nobles living a retired life, applied themselves wholly to literature; the rest of the inhabitants being chiefly occupied in merchandise, tillage, navigation, and fishing 1. The women» gifted with extraordinary beauty of shape and Countenance, were remarkable for their chastity and purity, but in no degree timid, shy, or reserved; they were Accustomed to enjoy a great share of liberty, and to walk or travel alone, in confidence and security; they mingled in all the active business of life, such as buying and selling, so much so, that the men usually left the Whole management of their property and affairs to their wives, which, as the author observes, With more frankness than gallantry, "must increase their natural love of domineering and grumbling, and, there can be no doubt, makes them imperious and capricious." The dress of both sexes was commodious and elegant; the abundance, beauty, and cleanliness of their furniture, the quantity of silver 2 and brass, of tapestry, paintings, and fine linen, was such as could not be met with in any other Country of the world.
- Guicciardini Belg. Des., torn, i., p. 57, 58; torn, ii., p. 140. Erasmus ad Adagium "Auris Batava."
- The table service of the wealthy burghers sometimes consisted entirely of silver.—Velius Hoom, bl. ii., p. 142.
Guicciardini informs 1556 us further, that the purveyors of the emperor, Charles V., who had opportunities of minute observation in nearly every nation of Europe, told him, that none could he compared with Holland for the excellence of its private houses, inns, warehouses, and shops; for the size and construction of its vessels; and for the skill of the people in the cultivation of their arable and meadow lands 1.
Among the many virtues which distinguished the Netherlander, was a judicious and humane care of their poor, which would seem to belong to a more advanced state of civilization than even that which they then enjoyed. Hospitals, provided with every necessary and comfort, were always open to the sick and aged. Besides these, were establishments ("provenhuysen,") in which old persons, by payment of a certain sum, secured for themselves lodging and subsistence during the remainder of their lives. Persons of wealth and respectability were appointed in each town, whose office was biennial, to receive alms in the churches and principal places of resort, and to administer, according to their discretion, the funds thus collected, added to a small yearly census on the population, and the bequests of the charitable. Under their direction, the poor, not only in the hospitals and eleemosynary institutions, but also at their own houses, were so abundantly supplied, that they were under no necessity to beg, which they were forbidden to do, except during stated hours on saints' days or holydays. The children of such as were too poor to support them, were brought up until a certain age at the public expense, under the inspection of the burgomasters, who bound them apprentices to some trade or manufacture, and they seldom failed to reward the care thus 1556 taken of them by their Country, by becoming worthy and industrious members of societssy.
- Guicciard. Belg. Des., torn, i., p. 58, 59; torn, ii., p. 145,146. Lett. of Aloysius Marlianus, quoted in Boxhorn's Theatrum Urb. Holl, p. 49.
In times of scarcity, the governments of the towns gave a loaf of bread, generally of about five pounds' weight, weekly, to every one who needed it, whether native or foreigner. Except on such occasions, indeed, the poor requiring alms were principally confined to the sick, maimed, and aged, since the varied and extensive demands for labour, and the industrious and careful habits of the working classes, enabled them generally to support themselves in plenty and independence 1.
Such were the useful and inoffensive people whom oppression goaded to frenzy; such the happy land, whose sons were driven by persecution in thousands from her shores.
- Guicciardini, Belg. Des., ton. i, p. 179. Boxhorn, Theat. Urb. HoL, p. 49.