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HISTORY OF HOLLAND and the Dutch Nation



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


In Three Volumes
Vol. I
LONDON: G.Willis, Great Piazza,Covent Garden MDCCCXLI

Volume I




Accession of John of Avennes. Resistance of the Zealand Nobles to his authority. Aided by the Emperor. Peace between the Emperor and Holland. War with Utrecht. Death of the Bishop. Guy of Hainaut appointed in his stead. War with Flanders. Conquest of Zealand—of North Holland. Invasion by the Duke of Brabant: repelled. Holland fried from the Invaders. Succours from France. Battle of Zierikzee. Guy of Flanders taken prisoner. Recovery of Zealand. Death and Character of John II. William III. Marriage. Truce with Flanders. War renewed. Final and lasting peace. Marriage of the Counts Daughters. Affairs of England—of Germany. Subjugation of Friesland. William's domestic government. Dispute with the Kemmerlanders. Staple of Dordrecht. Alliances of the King of England in the Netherlands. Death of the Count. His Children. Character of William. William IV. Renewal of the alliance with England. War between England and France. Battle of Slugs. Siege of Tournay. Truce. War with Utrecht. Truce. William sails to Friesland. Is slain there. Margaret. Claim of the King of England to a share in the County. Margaret acknowledged. Surrenders the government to her son William. Resumes it. War between Margaret and William. Accomodation. Death of Margaret.

Upon the death of his cousin, John of Avennes returned immediately to Holland, where he was acknowledged by the nobles, commons, and towns 1, as Count, in right of his mother, Adelaide, sister of William II. 2 In Zealand, however, he found the party of Wolferd van Borselen among the nobles, sufficiently powerful to offer a formidable resistance to his authority. John van Renesse, who had been 1300 banished by Wolferd, in consequence of an unsuccessful attempt to gain possession of the young Count's person, returned to Holland, after his death, and offered to clear himself of any participation in the treason against Count Florence, which he had concealed, although he did not take any active part in it.

  1. This is the first time that express mention is made of the acknowledgment of the Count by the commons or towns. Melis Stoke says, however, that it was done according to the custom.—" Na den zede."
  2. Wilhelm. Proc., ad ami. 1299. Melis Stoke, boek vii., bl. 1, deel. 3.


But as he could not find sureties for his future good conduct, the negotiation was broken off, and Renesse retired into Zealand, where he not only made a reconciliation with the friends and partizans of Borselen, his former rival, but even succeeded him as their leader 1.

Flanders, the general resource of the disaffected subjects of Holland, was now shut out from them the Count being a prisoner in the hands of Philip IV. of France, and the Country overrun by the troops of Charles of Valois 2. Renesse, therefore, turned his eyes towards Albert, emperor of Germany, to whom he represented that Holland and Zealand had now reverted to the empire as an escheated fief, of which it would be easy to take possession, since most of the nobles and towns were strongly averse to the government of a native of Hainaut 3. The emperor, flattering himself that Holland could not long resist his power, sent letters to each of the towns separately, demanding their homage, and shortly after marched at the head of an army, and accompanied by the archbishops of Metz, Treves, and Cologne, as far as Nimeguen. But the towns, instead of complying with the mandates of the emperor, transmitted his letters to Count John, and the people of all ranks assembled round his standard in such numbers, that he was able to advance to Nimeguen with a force far superior to that of the emperor, who, on his approach, hastily retreated to Kranenburg; and, suspecting that he had been purposely deceived by Renesse, consented without hesitation to a treaty proposed by the Archbishop of Cologne, in which he promised to retire immediately, and leave John in quietss possession of the County, on his doing homage for it as a fief of the empire 4.

  1. Melis Stoke, boek iv., bL 272; boek v., bl. 421; boek vii., bl, 2,3, deel. 3.
  2. Velly, Hist, de France, torn, vii., p. 142, 144.
  3. Beka in Wilhelm., ii., p. 102. Melis Stoke, boek vii., bl. 19.
  4. Melis Stoke, boek vii., bl. 21—25. Beka in Wilhelm., p. 102,109.


On the arrival of a fleet from Zealand in the Lek, to the assistance of the emperor, they found the treaty already concluded, and were advised by Albert to return without delay to their own Country. During their absence, John of Oostervant, son of the Count of Holland, entered Zealand, ravaged the open Country, threw down the forts, and made himself master of Schouwen, Walcheren, and South Beveland; and as the Zealanders sailed homewards down the Waal, they received intelligence that Count John had posted ships in the mouths of the Lek and Merwe, to intercept their passage. They, therefore, landed, and, after an unsuccessful attempt to surprise Schoonhoven, retired to Flanders, whence they made irruptions from time to time on the coasts of Zealand, where they were distinguished by the name of the exiles 1. In the summer of the next year, John went into Hainaut, leaving the government of Holland and Zealand in the hands of his brother Guy and his third son, William, now about fifteen. He had conferred upon the former, likewise, the lordships of Amstel and 1301 Woerden; and this afforded the Bishop of Utrecht a pretext for attempting the recovery of these estates, the loss of which he suffered with no small impatience. He accordingly marched towards Woerden in person, and laid waste the surrounding Country with fire and sword. Guy and William were at this time in Walcheren, but the burghers and people 2 of the neighbourhood assembled together and prepared for tho defence of Amstel and Woerden, as well as the short* ness of the time permitted.

  1. Melis Stoke, boek vii., bl. 26—34.
  2. The author of the " Vaterlandsche Historie," (boek x., p. 151,) says, that this defence was made by the nobles and towns; but Melis Stoke, from whom he quotes, attributes the principal share in it to the burghers and Country people, " poorters and lant vole," and admires the fidelity and courage displayed by a poor commonalty, " arme gemeente." —boek vii., bl. 56, 60.


Notwithstanding their efforts, however, the bishop's troops still outnumbered them, in the proportion of six to one, which did not prevent the Hollanders from invading the bishopric in order to transfer thither the seat of war, and they had advanced as far as the plain of Hoogtwoude, near Utrecht, when they found themselves entirely surrounded by their enemies. Deprived of all means of retreat, the Hollanders had no choice left but to conquer: the fortune of the battle >vas decided by the death of the bishop, who, fighting in the foremost ranks, was struck down by a blow from one of the heavy clubs used in the warfare of that period, the soldiers having a superstitious horror of shedding his blood. This event caused a general flight among his troops, and the Hollanders were admitted without opposition into the city of Utrecht 1. Guy of Hainaut arrived too late to take any part in the contest, but in time to procure for himself the election to the see, which he filled during sixteen years, and by this means Holland was secured from further molestation from that quarter 2.

She was not, however, left without enemies to combat. The Zealand exiles not being permitted by Count William to return to their Country, prevailed with Guy, son of the old Count of Flanders who was still a prisoner in France, to grant them large reinforcements of men and ships for the purpose of invading Walcheren.

  1. Melis Stoke, boek vii., bl. 53—60. Beka in Wilhelm., p. 103.
  2. Idem, p. 106, 100. Melis Stoke, boek vii., bl. 03.


This he was now enabled to do, 1302 since an obstinate and decisive battle fought with the French at Courtrai, had placed him in possession of Flanders, which they were forced entirely to evacuate 1. The narrow channel between Walcheren and Beveland was filled with Flemish vessels; and Count William, then in the former island, took post at Arnemuyden, sending forward part of his army to Veere, to oppose the landing of the Flemings. The latter attacked the 1303 Holland troops at Veere, when a considerable number of the Zealanders going over to the side of the Flemings, in the beginning of the engagement, spread such consternation among the remainder, that they fled with precipitation to Arnemuyden. Hither they were pursued by the enemy, when William, with great firmness and courage, made a short stand against them, but his army, being far inferior in numbers, was entirely defeated, and forced to retreat to Middleburg, which city, totally unprovided with supplies or ammunition, surrendered with little resistance. Count William escaped to Zierikzee, leaving Guy entire master of Walcheren 2. Determined to follow up his advantage, Guy endeavoured to carry Zierikzee by assault, but a brave sally on the part of the burghers rendered this attempt abortive; and leaving sufficient troops to carry on the blockade, he turned his steps towards Holland, where the Count, on his return from Hainaut, had, with the assistance of his brother Guy, bishop of Utrecht, assembled a large army at Schiedam 3.

  1. Meyer, Ann. Fland., lib. x., ad ann. 1032, p. 94.
  2. Melis Stoke, boek viii., bl. 92—104, Meyer, Ann. Fland., lib. x., ad ann. 1303, p. 99.
  3. The old chroniclers of Holland always speak of the national armies in this vague manner, never stating the numbers of which they consisted; it arises, perhaps, from the difficulty of ascertaining them exactly, for want of a regular division of the troops; the nobles appearing in the Acid, each at the head of his own vassals, and the citizens of the several towns serving separately under the standard of the town to which they belonged.


But, no sooner did the Flemish ships make their appearance in one of the mouths of the Maas, then called the Widel 1, than the Count of Holland opened negotiations for a treaty, whereby he engaged to surrender to Flanders the whole of Zealand, except Zierikzee, which was to have no additional fortifications. No reason whatever can be assigned for his making so disgraceful a compact, since the troops had shown the greatest alacrity in rallying round his standard, and were so eager to engage with the Flemings, that John was obliged to disband them before he could proceed with the negotiations 2.

Guy of Flanders did not long abide by this treaty, however advantageous to him. One of its provisions was to the effect that either party should give four months' notice of his intention to put an end to it, and Count John falling sick late in the autumn, Guy thought he could not choose a more favourable opportunity for renewing the war against him, and accordingly declared the truce terminated in the November following.

The Count, unable from the feeble state of his 1304 health to undergo the slightest exertion, surrendered the whole government of the County into the hands of his son William (now his heir, both the elder brothers being dead, of whom John, Count of Oostervant, was killed at the battle of Courtrai) and retired into Hai-nault for the last time 3.

  1. Supposed to be the channel between Voorn and Putten.—Huydecoper op Stoke, deel. iii., bl. 306.
  2. Wilhelm. Proc., ad ann. 1303. Melis Stoke, boek viii., bl. 106-119.
  3. Melis Stoke, boek viii., bl. 121—125.


The greatest zeal in the service of their Country, under the young Prince William, then just eighteen, was found to pervade all ranks of men: the nobility took the field at their own cost, and the towns voluntarily supplied double their quotas of troops, while Guy, bishop of Utrecht, brought to his aid a brave and numerous body of auxiliaries. With this army William embarked on board a considerable fleet of ships, with the design of intercepting the Flemings on their way to Zealand, But finding that they bad already landed in Duyveland, with Count Guy and John of Renesse at their head, the Holland troops hastily left the vessels, without the permission of Count William, and had hardly reached the shore when they were attacked, while yet in disorder, by the Flemings: a severe battle ensued, in which the Hollanders sustained a total defeat: several of the nobility were killed, the Bishop Guy was taken prisoner, and William only avoided the same fete by seeking refuge within the walls of Zierikzee 1. After this victory, Guy of Flanders sailed to North Holland, where the inhabitants, struck with dismay at the overthrow of an army on which they had relied, and whose equipment had left them nearly defenceless; and urged, moreover, by the intrigues and solicitations of John van Renesse, who laboured incessantly to forward Guy's interests, submitted with little resistance, and all the towns in that quarter, except Haarlem received Flemish garrisons 2.

  1. Melis Stoke, boek viii., bl. 126-138. Beka in Guid., p. 106.
  2. Melis Stoke, boek viii., bl. 146, 147. Beka in Guid., p. 106.


While affairs were in this troubled condition in North Holland, John IL, Duke of Brabant» with whom Gay of Flanders had formed an alliance the year before, invaded South Holland, made himself master of Zevenberg, and Geertruydenberg, and sat down before Dordrecht This ancient city was saved by the valour of one of its citizens, Nicholas van Putten, then in command of the garrison and burghers. After several sallies by the besieged, the Brabanters found themselves obliged to retreat to Waalwyk, where, being followed and attacked by the Dordrechters, they were defeated with great slaughter, and the Duke, with the remainder of his troops, lost no time in making the best of his way back to Brabant 1.

Guy of Flanders, meanwhile, had marched without check to Utrecht, of which he took possession. Nearly the whole of Holland was now overrun by Flemish troops; Zealand, except Zierikzee, subdued; Count John remained sick in Hainaut, bishop Guy, his brother, was a prisoner, and William shut up in Zierikzee. It seemed, indeed, as if the County had wholly fallen a prey to her ancient and inveterate fo$ when it was at once set free by one of those sudden bursts of enthusiastic energy which are characteristic of this remarkable people.

Witte van Hamstede, a natural son of Florence V., having sailed out of Zierikzee in a single vessel, was driven by stress of weather into Zandfort, and thence proceeded with a few followers to Haarlem, the only town of North Holland which had not submitted to the Flemings. From hence he sent letters to the other towns, upbraiding them with cowardice, and earnestly exhorting them to resist to the last their insolent enemies; he himself being come, he said, to deliver Holland from Flemish tyranny.

  1. Petrus Divans Ann. Brab., lib. x.> ad ann. 1903,1304* Boxhorn in Dordrecht, p. 108. Melis Stoke, boek viii., bl. 1C1,1G2.


His call did not remain unanswered: within two days the burghers of Delft, Leyden, and Schiedam, rose with one accord, slew or drove out the Flemish garrisons, and Nicholas van Putten, of Dordrecht, taking advantage of the occasion to attack the Flemings in South Holland, the County in the space of a single week was nearly cleared of her invaders. Guy of Flanders was at Utrecht at the time of this revolution, and immediately on hearing the intelligence, set sail in a number of cogs that were lying in the Yssel, and proceeded through Hollands Diep to the island of Schouwen, with the design of surprising William in Zierikzee; but, finding the garrison prepared to receive him, he retired by way of the Scheldt into Flanders 1. After the departure of the Flemings from Holland, William returned from Zierikzee to Dordrecht, where he was welcomed with the most extravagant joy: the citizens congratulated each other that he was come to avenge their disgrace; every house was illuminated; and the Country people, on hearing of his arrival, flocked in crowds to see him: the Lord Witte van Hamstede also brought a considerable force of Frieslanders and Kemmerlanders to place at his disposal 2.

The recovery of Holland was ere long followed by that of Zealand. Count William, hearing that Guy was preparing a fleet in Flanders for the reduction of Zierikzee, sent to petition for succours from Philip IV. of France. Since the separation of Hainaut from Flanders, the interests of the former state and those of Prance had been closely connected. Philip, therefore, at the request of his ally, sent sixteen Genoese and twenty French vessels to Holland, under the command of Rinaldo di Grimaldi, of Genoa, commonly called " the Admiral," an officer of superior skill and experience 3.

  1. Melis Stoke, boek viii., bl. 168,169—174.
  2. Idem, boek ix., bl. 189—191.
  3. Velly, Hist, de France, torn, vii., p. 324.


Hearing that a fleet was preparing in France to assist the Hollanders, Guy of Flanders hastened, before it was in readiness to act, to lay siege to Zierikzee; and made several attempts to carry it by assault, but was constantly repulsed by the valour of the inhabitants. During the whole of the siege, the women shared the fatigues and danger equally with the men: they carried the large stones from the streets to supply the engines on the walls, and when any fire occurred, from the combustible missiles 1 of the besiegers, they undertook to extinguish it alone, that the men might not be called off from the defence 2. Meanwhile the French fleet united with that of Holland in the mouth of the Meuse; and after being long delayed by contrary winds, came within sight of the Flemish ships, eighty in number 3, lying in the Gouwe, between Schouwen and Duyveland, on the evening of the 10th of August 4. Here four of the Holland vessels ran aground on the sands not far from Zierikzee; in consequence of which,

  1. They were chiefly torches fastened to the end of arrows: bat simple as this weapon may appear, it did great execution, as the houses were in general thatched with straw.
  2. Melis Stoke, boek ix., bl. 206, 207.
  3. It is not mentioned of how many vessels the French and Holland fleet consisted ; but it must have been inferior to that of Flanders, «nee the historian says that "he thinks it never happened before that so small a number should fight with so great a force." Melis Stoke, boek ix., bl. 251. He says also, that the Flemings were ten to one on the water, and three to one on land; but this assertion seems hardly worthy of credit. The Flemish historian of later times tells us, on the contrary, that the Hollanders excelled their adversaries in large ships, but that their number of small vessels was inferior.
  4. Melis Stoke, bl. 224—233.


William and the French admiral determined to delay the engagement till the following day. Hardly had they come to this resolution, when they perceived the Flemish ships advancing towards them in battle array: as they drew nigh, the Hollanders, encouraged by a short and spirited address from their leader 1 with loud shouts of " Holland, Holland! Paris, Paris " threw a shower of arrows and stones among the enemy, which the Flemings were not slow in returning. In the early part of the battle the latter mastered three of the Holland vessels, and greatly annoyed the rest by missiles thrown from the "cokets," or small stages fastened to their masts. Suddenly, however, the mast of one of the largest ships, to which a turret of this kind was attached, fell with a tremendous crash, and the Hollanders, taking advantage of the confusion, ran alongside, boarded, and took possession of her, putting the crew to the sword. At this moment the four stranded vessels, launched by the tide, came drifting down upon the combatants. The sailors, while they had been forced to remain inactive spectators of the contest, had prepared torches of dry wood, and tow, and other combustibles: these they now threw flaming into the faces of their adversaries, and created considerable disorder among them. The fight, however, was continued by moonlight with unremitting fury until past midnight, when the victory proved decisive on the side of the Hollanders; most of the Flemish ships being either captured or destroyed 2.

  1. Instead of the long and somewhat untimely orations which historians are apt to put into the mouth of their heroes, Melis Stoke attributes to William merely these few words:—" Let us defend ourselves bravely. I see the battle won : God will crown him who dies in heaven, and he who lives will be lauded through the whole world." Boek ix., bl. 251.
  2. Meyer, i., p. 104, gives the number captured as one thousand, but it is scarcely credible,


Partial skirmishes were renewed throughout the night with the few that remained, and early the next morning the vessel which contained Count Guy was observed with all her sails up, endeavouring to escape. Being prevented by the lightness of the wind, Grimaldi came up with her, and forced her to close combat: a long and destructive conflict ended in the capture of Count Guy, whom Grimaldi carried prisoner to France 1. The inhabitants of Zierikzee, unable from the uncertain light to distinguish the combatants, spent the night in the deepest anxietssy: they had come to a determination, in case their Countrymen were defeated, to make a general sally, women as well as men, and fight their way as they best might through the camp of the besiegers 2. On the news of the victory obtained by the Hollanders, the Flemish troops left the siege in confusion and dismay, concealing themselves for the most part among the sand-hills of Schouwen, where about five thousand were made prisoners 3.

The imprisonment of Count Guy terminated the war in Zealand, and William was received in Middleburg with lively expressions of satisfaction from all, except the partizans of Flanders, the greater part of whom subsequently quitted the city. The other towns of Zealand speedily followed the example of Middleburg, and many of the disaffected nobles, upon a promise of pardon, returned to their allegiance, while the more zealous adherents of Count Guy retired into Flanders. John van Renesse, the prime mover of these disturbances, was drowned with several others, within a week of the battle of Zierikzee, while attempting to cross the Lek in a ferry-boat; and thus the County was entirely freed from its enemies 4.

  1. Velly, Hist, de France, torn, vii., p. 325. Meyer, Ann. Fland., ad ami. 1304, p. 103,104.
  2. Melis Stoke, boek ix., M. 252—272.
  3. Idem, boek x., bl. 347—370.
  4. Melis Stoke, boek x., bl. 370—388.


Count John had scarcely received the intelligence of his son's success, when the sickness under which he had so long languished carried him to the grave, on the 22nd of the same month. John of Avennes was pious, affable, humane, and beneficent; but indolent and irresolute; 1304 negligent in the administration of justice, and averse to any kind of business; passionately fond of hunting and hawking, and too much addicted to the pleasures of the table; " he laughed in his very heart," says his historian, " when he saw a jolly company assembled round him 1."


Although the government of the County had been placed in the hands of William for some time before the death of his father, be received homage anew after that event from the nobles and towns 2. Early in the next year, he repaired to the court of France, to fulfil a contract of marriage which 1305 had been made for him in the lifetime of his father, with Joanna, daughter of Charles of Valois, and niece of King Philip IV 3,4.

Upon his arrival he found a treaty on foot between that Country and Flanders, wherein all the allies on both sides were included, except himself in respect of the Counties of Holland and Zealand. He therefore attempted to negotiate a separate peace with Robert III., successor to the County of Flanders, after the death of the old Count Guy in France, but could not succeed in obtaining anything further than a four years' 1306 truce 5. At its expiration, in the summer of 1310, Robert prepared to invade Hainaut with a considerable 1310 army.

  1. Melis Stoke, bl. 303—406.
  2. Wil. Proc, ad ann. 1305.
  3. Beka in Guid., p. 107.
  4. Vide Note E, at the end of the volume.
  5. Meyer, ann. Fland., lib. iv., ad ann. 1305, p. 109.

Note E. (Page 149.)

With the account of this marriage ends the Rhyme Chronicle of the monk of Egmond, Melis Stoke: a work which, whether in regard to the fidelity and judgment displayed in the relation of the facts, or (considering the age in which it was written) the purity and dignity of the language, is of inestimable value to the literature as well as to the history of Holland; and honourable alike to the author and to the Country which produced him, at a time when rude rhymes and monkish legends constituted the chief of the poetry and history of the northern nations of Europe.

The " Rym-chronyk" is written in the "ottava rima," or verses of eight feet, the measure being preserved less by the exact number of syllables, than by emphases and points, in the same manner as in our own Chaucer: the versification, well sustained throughout is in many parts by no means deficient in softness and harmony, but constantly adheres to the simplicity of history, being wholly destitute of poetical imagery, or rhetorical ornament. The early part of the Chronicle is brief, and often somewhat obscure, being probably intended merely as an introduction to the contemporary history, which commences with the reign of Florence V., when the details become sufficiently full, and the descriptions often graphic and striking; they are intermingled, however, with tedious and common place reflections, which the learned editor, Huydecoper, conjectures with great probability, to have been the interpolations of some of the transcribing monks: indeed, the terse and vigorous style of the author himself may be distinguished by the most superficial reader.

The farewell address to the young Count William, then about nineteen, is so remarkable for its boldness and simplicity, that I cannot resist the temptation of inserting it at length:

—" Lord of Holland, noble Count. I, Melis Stoke, your poor clerk, have finished this work for your behoof, and for the honour of God. Take heed that you lose not the good name you now have: else will your condition be worse than if you had never gained it, and all your foregone labour fruitless. Think always on virtue: give all you can, but be careful what you give, and to whom you give it Look into the mouths of your parasites, and see whether they flatter for gain. Do justice over the whole land, to the lord and to the peasant. Measure out right, and justice to every one according to his deserts; so if he complain, he shall complain without cause: if you do not this, you do ill, and he shall trample you under foot, and say, the devil may serve and love such a master. Reward him who serves you; so will he remain your constant friend. Judge the rich as well as the poor, and let not the poor make lamentation. If you do this, you shall do well. Be courteous in deed and word, and maintain a firm Countenance. Keep moderation in all things. Love the holy Church, and honour clerks, priests, and monks ; so shall our Lord strengthen you. Despise not the poor, but do good to him; that is to do well. God preserve your worldly honour in this life; and after this life, may you come to where holy angels praise the Lord. This may the Child of Mary grant; and let all who love the Count say, Amen."


Count William collected a sufficiently numerous body of cavalry to oppose him, but found himself nearly destitute of infantry, since the people of Holland and Zealand, when called upon to serve in the war, perceiving probably that the security of Holland was sacrificed to the welfare of Hainaut, resolutely refused obedience, declaring that they had enough to do in defending their own coasts from the threatened invasion. William was obliged to conclude a treaty with Robert on most disadvantageous terms, agreeing to hold the islands west of the Scheldt as a fief of Flanders; to pay to Guy, the brother of Robert, (the same who had been taken prisoner at Zierikzee,) a yearly sum equal to the revenue of those islands, and to resign all right to Waasland and the four manors 1.

Determined to abide by this covenant no longer than he was obliged, William readily joined Louis X. of France in his subsequent invasion of Flanders. 1315 But the rains which continued during the whole time of the campaign obliged both of the allies to return to their own Country, without having undertaken any action of importance; and in the next year Louis was succeeded by his brother Philip V;, who early showed a disposition to come to terms of t accommodation with 1320 Flanders 2. By the treaty made between France and Flanders, the disputes between the latter and Holland were referred to the arbitration of the King of France; and accordingly an agreement was afterwards entered 1323 into by the two Counts, under the mediation of Charles IV., whereby the Count of Flanders released the Counts of Holland from their homage for the Zealand Islands; and Williamson the other hand, renounced all right to Alost, Waasland, and the four manors.

  1. Meyer, aim. Fland., lib. iv., ad ann. 1310, p. 114.
  2. Beka in Guid., p. 108, Villaret Cont. de Vcllv, torn, viii., p. 43, 44, 83, 84.


Future differences were to be settled by the arbitration of six good men, chosen on each side. This treaty was confirmed by the principal towns of Holland, Hainaut, and Flanders 1.

After the conclusion of this propitious peace, which put a final termination to the long and desolating wars between Holland and Flanders, William strengthened himself still further by alliances with the families of the principal sovereigns of Europe. He himself was united to the first cousin of the reigning King of France, and in this year his daughter Margaret became 1324 the wife of Louis of Bavaria, emperor of Germany. The marriage of his younger daughter Philippa, though negotiated under less promising auspices, proved, in the sequel, an alliance no less honourable than advantageous to Holland.

Edward II., king of England, upon the pacification between that Country and France in 1298, had been married to Isabella, daughter of Philip IV.; but from his deficiency in courage and talent, as well as his weak subserviency to contemptible favourites, he failed in securing the love or esteem of the princess. She was now at the court of her brother Charles IV., whither 1325 she had gone for the purpose of making arrangements concerning the homage due for the County of Guienne, but prolonged her stay with a view of forming a party to deprive the husband she detested of the crown, and to place it on the head of her son. Charles IV., though he was said to encourage secretly the design of Isabella, yet, dreading a war with England, publicly refused her any Countenance or assistance, and even commanded her to leave the kingdom; it therefore became necessary to look to some quarter from whence she could receive speedy and efficient aid.

  1. Meyer, aim. Hand., lib. xiL, ad ann. 1322, p. 124. Villaret Cont. de VeUy, torn, viii., p. 135.


Such, William of Holland seemed the most likely to afford; and, in order to gain his support, Isabella opened negotiations for a marriage between her eldest son Edward, heir apparent to the crown, and Philippa, second daughter of the Count 1. 1326 Shortly after, she repaired in person to Hainaut, where she interested John de Beaumont, brother of Count William, so successfully in her cause, that he raised a body of three hundred lances 2 for her service 3 The Holland troops set sail in company with the Queen from Dordrecht, and, on their arrival in England, found a large majority of the nation so disgusted with the government of the court favourites, that scarcely an effort was made in defence of the sovereign. The young prince was proclaimed king by the name of Edward III., and within a short time after sent to Holland to demand his promised bride; but on account of the youth of the parties, and that their too near relationship made it necessary to procure a dispensation from the Pope, which there was considerable difficulty in obtaining, the marriage was not concluded till the year 1328, when William himself went over to be present at the ceremony 4.

As this connection led the Count of Holland to mingle in the political affairs of England, so did that of his daughter Margaret involve him in the discords then prevailing between the Emperor Louis VII. and the Pope.

  1. Rym. Feed., torn, iv., p. 153. Johnes's Froissart, chap. 67. (Edit, 1808.) Rym. Feed., torn, iv., p. 168.
  2. Each lance consisting of ten men.
  3. Rym. Foed., torn, iv., p. 271. Johnes's Froissart, chap. 8,12.
  4. Acta Pub. AugL, torn, ii., par. ii., p. 712, 714. Rym. Feed., torn. iv., p. 313. Froissart, chap. 10, 18.


At the same time with Louis of Bavaria, Frederick of Austria had been elected emperor; and while the success of the contending parties remained doubtful, Pope John XXII., who hoped to profit by the weakness and dissensions of Germany, and thereby to render Italy independent of the empire, had never in the slightest degree interfered between them 1. But no sooner had Louis consolidated his authority by the defeat and imprisonment of his rival, than John not only claimed the right of judging and deciding on the validity of the election, but declared that the administration of the empire meanwhile belonged to the Holy See; and commanded Louis, under pain of excommunication, to desist from the exercise of the imperial office, until his election had been ratified by the Pope. Finding that this mandate had no effect on the emperor, John declared him excommunicated and deprived of his honours and dignities, absolving from their oath all such as had sworn allegiance to him. The emperor, in his turn, appealed from the sentence of the Pope to a general Council of the Church 2.

But it was in Italy that this contest remained actually to be decided; there the Papal and Imperial factions of Guelf and Ghibelline were at their height, and, as it seemed, nearly equally powerful. The republics of Florence, Sienna, Perugia, and Bologna, with other smaller states, belonged to the former; while Milan, Pisa, Piacenza, and Parma, adhered to the side of the emperor; and the small republic of Lucca, imbued with a strength not its own by the government of the illustrious Castruccio Castracani, was now the rallying point of the Ghibellines. Louis, on the eve of an expedition into Italy, without money, and with a suite of no more than six hundred horse, summoned the 1327 Count of Holland to his assistance, not only as his father-in-law, but as a member of the empire 3,4.

  1. Herman. Corner. Col., torn, ii., p. 992.
  2. Vitodurani Chron. Col., torn, i., p. 1791.
  3. Wil. Proc., ad aim. 1327. Beka in Johan., 3d., p. 113.
  4. This is the only time that I remember to have seen military service demanded of the Counts of Holland, as vassalsof the empire.


William, associating with himself the Count of Cleres and Juliers, and the Count of Guelderland, assembled all the troops he could muster, and had even begun his march to Italy, when a message from the Pope, threatening him with excommunication, if he lent any aid to the enterprise of Louis, induced him to abandon his design: probably his own disinclination, and that of the greater portion of the nobles, rendered him glad to avail himself of this pretext for so doing 1. The emperor, supported principally by the talents, influence, and military skill of Castracani, triumphed over the 1328 Guelf faction, and on the 17th of January was crowned with his wife, Margaret of Holland, at Borne, by the Bishops of Castello and Oleria, the Pope being then resident at Avignon 2. As 'the emperors, however, were accustomed to receive the imperial crown from the hands of the Pope, Louis was aware that he could only give the appearance of validity to this ceremony by pronouncing the Holy See vacant: he therefore summoned a general assembly of the clergy at Rome,* in which he declared John deposed as a heretic deserving of death; and, in a second assembly, procured the election of Peter Bainalucci Corvaria in his stead, who assumed the name of Nicholas V 3.

  1. Johan. a Leid,Chron. Belg., lib. xxvii., cap. 24.
  2. Vide Letter of the Empress Margaret to the Abbot of Egmond, in Wil. Proc., ad ann. 1329. Herm. Cor., col. ii., p. 1032.
  3. Vitod. Chron., col. i., p. 1794,1795.


But the want of money to pay his troops, and the death of his chief supporter, Castracani, compelled the emperor to desert the new Pope, and return to Germany, when William 1329 of Holland applied his utmost endeavours to reconcile him with Pope John, and even undertook a voyage to the Papal court for that purpose. He had advanced to within three days' journey of Avignon, when John 1330 refused either to treat with or to see him, and he returned angry and disappointed to Holland: nor were his subsequent efforts to this effect attended with any better success, since the empire and the Holy See were never reconciled during the lifetime of Louis 1.

The County of Holland gained, under the administration of William, a considerable accession of territory by the subjection of Friesland. According to the treaty of 1165, made between Holland and Utrecht, they were to divide equally the government and revenues of this province: but since that time both the Counts and the bishops, being in general fully occupied in other matters, had left the Frieslanders nearly unmolested in the enjoyment of their native independence. Now, however, the state of the bishopric presented to Count William a favourable opportunity for securing to himself the sole authority over Friesland. John III., the present bishop, had pledged a considerable portion of his states to the Count of Holland 1327 for the loan of eleven thousand livres tournois, and in a little time had accumulated debts so enormous, that the whole of his revenues, except two thousand livres, were mortgaged to William and his other creditors 2. By this means the influence of the Count of Holland became absolute even within the limits of the diocese: still less, then, might the bishop venture to oppose any design he should form against his more distant possessions: and all inclination to resist was taken from the Frieslanders themselves by the presence of a powerful fleet of Holland ships in the Zuyderzee.

  1. Wil. Proc., ad ann. 1330.
  2. Beka in Johan iii., pp. 114,115. Wil. Proc., ad ans. 1327.


They consented, therefore, to become vassalsof Count William by surrendering their estate», to receive them back again as fiefs of Holland, and that he alone should appoint schouts, sheriffs, and other officers in Friesland. They did him homage by elevating him on men's shoulders, standing on a shield; a custom transmitted by the ancient Germans, and long after preserved amongst them 1. They appear to have submitted peaceably to his authority as long as he lived.

Notwithstanding this acquisition, the domestic affairs of William's government by no means corresponded to the brilliancy of his foreign administration. The disproportioned expenses of his court, caused principally by an excessive love he manifested for tournaments; the marriage of his daughters, on which occasion the Counts were accustomed to make "petitions," or Beden, as they were called, to the towns, together with his frequent journeys, cost the Country sums so immense as to excite the astonishment and discontent of the frugal Hollanders, and involved him in altercations with the Kemmerlanders, which, had his authority been less respected, might have proved as injurious to him as the revolts of the West Frieslanders had been to some of his predecessors. On one occasion, when William, according to the custom of the County, demanded in person a " petition" of the Kemmerlanders, they replied, that they would consent to pay it only on condition that the Count would sign a certain charter of privileges, which they presented to him. On his refusal, they persisted in withholding the subsidy, and William withdrew in auger to the Hague, whither he shortly after summoned the deputies from Kemmerland before the council, or supreme court of Holland.

  1. Johan. a Leyd., lib. xxvii., cap. 28. Tacit. Hist., lib. iv., cap. 15.


Here they offered to increase sixfold the sum required of them, provided the Count would accept their conditions; but, so far from yielding to their solicitations, he deprived them even of those immunities which they already enjoyed, and had purchased with infinite cost and pains; their sheriffs and burgomasters being imprisoned on a single word from the Count 1. The privileges of the towns, it is evident, stood even yet on a very insecure foundation.

The Dordrechters, in all probability, were in the habit of supplying liberally the demands of the Count, since William granted them freedom from tolls through the whole County, and extended still further the staple right they already enjoyed 2 in prejudice of the ancient privileges of the other towns. The people of Dordrecht exercised their rights with so little restraint, and with so many acts of extortion, that they not only roused the hostility of the whole of North Holland, but excited the anger of the Count himself, their principal defender. He commanded a general levy against them, the tidings of which reduced them to speedy submission; they were deprived of all their later privileges, and had no small difficulty in retaining those which they before possessed 3.

William, during the latter part of his life, was grievously tormented and enfeebled by the gout 4: yet his helpless condition did not prevent his espousing actively the cause of his son-in-law, Edward of England, now about to enforce his imaginary claims to the crown of France.

  1. Wil. Proc., ad ann. 1324.
  2. The privilege of having all merchandize brought up or down the Lek and Merwe exposed for sale first in their city.
  3. Wil. Proc., ad ann. 1325,1326.
  4. Wil. Proc., ad ann. 1332.


He induced the Duke of Brabant, the Archbishop of Cologne, and the Marquis of Juliers, to enter into the alliance with England, and 1337 he himself engaged to furnish the king with one thousand men at arms, at his own cost, who should remain a year in his service; and, in case of necessity, this subsidy was to be increased by a like number, to be paid by the king from the time he landed in the Netherlands. Edward, on his side, agreed to allow the Count, and his son the Count of Zealand, the yearly stipend of six thousand livres, in lieu of the annuity he had hitherto enjoyed from the King of France; and that Crevecoeur, St. Alliges, and St. Surpeth, in the Cambresis, should remain in possession of the Count of Zealand, who bound himself to fulfil the obligations of this treaty after his father's death 1. Scarcely a fortnight elapsed from the time of its signature when this event occurred. Worn out by his infirmities, the old Count expired at Valenciennes, on the 7th of June, leaving one son, William, who succeeded him, and four daughters, Margaret, empress of Germany, Philippa, queen of England, Joanna, married to the Count of Juliers, and Elizabeth 2.

William, besides the appellation of Good, or Pious, added to his name, was termed the Master of Knights and the Chief of Princes; he was brave in war, affable to his subjects, strict in the administration of justice, and his reputation for valour and sagacity stood so high, that Germany, France, and England eagerly courted his alliance 3.

  1. Acta Pub. Angl., torn, ii., par. 2, pp. 928,955,970,971,972. Froissart, vol. i., chap. 27.
  2. Beka in Johan., iii., pp. 115,107.
  3. Froissart,- vol. i., chap. 28. Beka in Johan., p. 115.


Yet was his government not altogether a happy one for Holland: he depressed the rising industry of the towns by the demand of enormous "petitions," to supply a lavish, and often unnecessary expenditure; and he is accused of sacrificing the interests of Holland to those of Hainaut, or, as his contemporary historian expresses it, " forsaking the fruitful Leah for the more beautiful Rachel 1. Added to this, he was negligent of the commercial interests of his subjects, since, although Edward III. forbad the exportation of wools from England 2, and gave special permission to the Brabanters to purchase them in that Country, while he encouraged the cloth manufacturers of Zealand to settle and carry on their trade in his dominions, it does not appear that the Count of Holland offered the slightest remonstrance against these acts, though so injurious to the manufactures of the County 3. He, however, effected a measure of great advantage to Holland, by incorporating with it the lordships of Amstel and Woerden after the death of his uncle, Guy, bishop of Utrecht; and from this time may be dated the rise of the celebrated city of Amsterdam 4.

The famine and plague which desolated the greater portion of Europe in the early part of this century, visited Holland with equal severity, but with less fatal effects, owing to the shortness of its duration: within a very few months after the scarcity had reached its greatest height, the Country, owing to plentiful crops, and the importation of corn from the Baltic, which now began to increase considerably, was blessed with such abundance, that the price of rye, a grain much used by the people in their manufacture of bread, fell from fifteen-pence to threepence halfpenny the bushel 5.

  1. Wil. Proc., ad ann. 1323.
  2. The prohibition was afterwards taken off, but the trade continued subject to many restrictions. Acta pub., torn, ii., par. 2, pp. 1322,1158, 1225. The staple of wool was at length (1362,) fixed at Calais. Rapin, Hist. Eng., book x., p. 437.
  3. Acte Pub. Aug., torn, ii., par. 2, pp. 943, 971, 969.
  4. Johan. a Leid., lib. xxvii., cap. 13.
  5. Wil. Proc, ad ann. 1314. Beka in Johan, p. 109.



1337 The first act of William's government was to renew the treaty made by his father with Edward of England, stipulating that, if summoned by the emperor, his vicar or lieutenant, to defend the boundaries of the empire, he would supply one thousand men at arms, to be paid by the king, at the rate of fifteen Florentine guilders, or forty-five shillings, a month, each man: and, in case of necessity, the Count should levy one thousand additional men at arms for the king's service: besides the expenses of the troops, Edward was to pay the Count the sum of thirty | thousand pounds sterling 1. The immense sacrifice at which Edward purchased the alliance of the princes of the Netherlands cannot fail to excite our astonishment, and events, in fact, proved that he rated it far above its 1338 value. On the king's arrival at Antwerp, he found how irreparable was the loss he had sustained in the old Count, his father-in-law, the centre and soul of the confederacy; since the allies now came to an unanimous resolution, that they could not engage in war against France without the command of the emperor, the liege lord of the greater portion of them. Edward immediately despatched the Count of Juliers to the imperial court, and through the influence of the Empress Margaret, his wife's sister, obtained the title of vicar-general of the empire 2, and the privilege of coining money in that quality.

  1. Acta, Pub. Ang., torn, ii., par. 2, p. 984.
  2. The Earl of Guelderland.was created a Duke on this ocasion.—Herm. Cor., Col. ii., p. 1054.


The emperor, likewise, addressed letters to the towns of Holland, "commanding and admonishing" them to furnish readily their quotas 1338 of armed men for the Count's service 1.

Thus satisfied, the allied armies united with Edward to lay siege to Cambray; but, finding that its reduction would prove a work of time, the king broke up the siege and began his march towards Picardy. Thither the Count of Holland refused to follow him, asserting that, being a vassal of the King of France, in respect of Hainaut, he was bound rather to defend than assist in invading his dominions. Edward, out of revenge, took his way through Hainaut, which suffered grievously from the passage of his troops. As this was in direct violation of a promise made by the king, not to allow Hainaut to sustain any injury, William immediately joined the French camp at Vironfosse. The two armies separated at the end of the campaign, without having come to any engagement 2.

In the next year, the Count of Holland, exasperated 1339 at the circumstance of Philip's having given the officers of the French army permission to supply themselves with provisions and money by plundering his territories, again returned to the English alliance, and declared war against France, which he now invaded, and took some places of small note; but, on the other hand, his County of Hainaut was cruelly ravaged by the French troops, under the Duke of Normandy, who laid siege to Thyn Eveque. The Count, anxious to preserve this fortress, besought the assistance of King Edward, then in England. In compliance with the solicitations of his ally, Edward embarked on the 22nd of June at Dover, and fell in with the French fleet of one hundred and twenty large, besides numerous smaller vessels, near Sluys.

  1. Froissart, vol. L, ch. 31, 3d. Beka in Johan., iii., p. 115. Boxhom, Theat. Urb. Holl., p. 133.
  2. Froissart, toI. i., ch. 37, 39, 41. Acta Pub., torn, ii., par. 2, p. 1088.


It does not appear that either William or the Hollanders had any share in the signal victory gained by the English and Flemish on this occasion; but the Count was present at a meeting of the confederates subsequently held at Vilvoorden, where the siege of Tournay was resolved on, and attended the king thither at the head of a powerful and well-equipped body of cavalry from Holland and Zealand. He did not, however, remain with the king's camp during the whole of the siege, but employed his troops in gaining possession of Mortaigne, St. Amand, and some other small towns 1.

While Edward was engaged in this enterprise, Joanna, Countess-dowager of Holland, 1340 his mother-in-law, sister to the French King, interposed her good offices between the belligerent powers, and a truce for nine months was brought about by her mediation, which was afterwards prolonged for two years 2.

It has been before mentioned, that the finances of the see of Utrecht were reduced to so dilapidated a condition, that the bishop, John III., had been forced to alienate nearly the whole of his revenues. His successor, John van Arkel, had, on the contrary, managed his affairs so well, that within a short time after his succession, he redeemed the whole of Overyssel, pledged to the Duke of Guelderland; and, in order to live with more frugality, he withdrew to Grenoble, leaving his brother Robert van Arkel, protector of the bishopric in his absence. Whether because the Count of Holland himself expected this trust, or upon some other ground of offence, he declared war against Utrecht immediately after the bishop's departure, and laid siege to the city with an army composed of one Duke (probably of Brabant), thirteen Counts, fifty-two barons, thirteen hundred knights, and twenty-eight thousand choice troops 3.

  1. Froissart, chap. 40—49, 51, 52, 59. Herm. Cor., col. ii., p. 1057.
  2. Froissart, vol. i., chap. 62. Herm. Cor., col. ii., p. 1058.
  3. Beka in Johan., iv., p. 117,118.


He had remained six weeks before the town, when he was induced by his uncle, John de Beaumont, to conclude a truce, to which he 1345 consented only on condition that four hundred citizens should sue for pardon, kneeling before him, barefoot and bareheaded, and that he should receive a sum of twenty thousand pounds Flemish for the expences of the war 1. When we call to mind the termination of a like siege in 1138, we cannot help being struck with the vast change which had taken place in the relative situation of the Count and bishop.

From Utrecht, William returned to Dordrecht, Whence he sailed shortly after to the Zuyderzee, for the purpose of chastising the Frieslanders, who, irritated by his continual and heavy exactions, had taken up arms against him. A storm separating his ships, the troops were forced to land in small bodies in different parts of the Country; the Frieslanders attacking them while thus divided, slew three thousand seven hundred; and the Count himself, with some of his nobility, being surrounded by a great number of the enemy, was killed exactly on the spot where the ancient sovereigns of Friesland were accustomed to hold their supreme court 2. He left no children by his wife, Joanna of Brabant. She afterwards married Wenceslaus, Count of Luxemburg, into whose family she brought the rich duchy of Brabant 3.

  1. Herm. Cor., col. ii., p. 1069. Beka in Johan., iv., p. 118.
  2. Vit. Chron., col. i., p. 1913. Beka in Johan., iv., p. 118. Froissart, vol. ii., chap. 115.
  3. Johan. a Leid., lib. xxix., cap. 4.


William was the first Count of Holland who resumed the imperfect fiefs which devolved to the County in default of direct heirs, and divided them amongst his vassals, instead of granting them to one of the nearest collateral heirs, upon payment of a reasonable price, as his predecessors were accustomed to do 1,2.

It is under the government of this Count, also, that we meet with the first mention of loans. To enable him to carry on the war with Utrecht, he urged the towns of Holland and Zealand to lend him a sum equivalent to three hundred pounds of our money, promising not to levy any more petitions till this debt were paid. The towns made it a condition of their compliance, that he should grant them new privileges, and required that the nobles should become surety for him 3.


William dying without issue, his nearest heirs were his four sisters; and as the County had always been an undivided hereditary state, it appeared naturally to devolve on Margaret the eldest. Edward, king of England, however, the husband of Philippa, the second daughter of William III., put in his claim to a share of the inheritance, and appointed Otho, lord of Cuyck, John de Clynton, and Adam de Shareshull, to arrange the terms of the division 4.

As the Emperor Louis considered himself entitled to the whole of the states, whether as husband of the elder daughter, or as suzerain of a fief escheated to the empire on failure of direct heirs, he delayed not to invest his wife with the titles of Countess of Holland, Zealand, Friesland, and Hainaut.

  1. Phil, a Leid. de Cure Reip., cap. 89, p. 276.
  2. This must not be confounded with the relief, which was paid by all heirs on coming into possession of a fief.
  3. Brief van Willem IV., in Jan van Hout, p. 25.
  4. Acta Pub. Aug., torn, iii., par. 1, p. 65, 80.


In spite of the rigorous season, Margaret repaired in the month of January to Holland, to secure herself in possession of 13*6 her states before the King of England could gain a footing there. The people took advantage of her anxietssy to be acknowledged, to obtain some desired rights and immunities, of which the most important was the engagement she entered into for herself and her successors, never to undertake a war beyond the limits of the County, unless with consent of the nobles, commons, and " good towns"; and if she did so, none should be bound to serve except by their own fovour and freewill 1. She was then unanimously acknowledged by all the members of the state, but shortly after recalled by her husband to Bavaria. As Louis, the eldest son of the emperor, had resigned his right to the succession 2 she sent her second son, William, then in early youth, to take the administration of affairs during her absence, surrendering to him 1347 Holland, Zealand, Friesland, and Hainaut, and retaining for herself merely a pension of ten thousand old crowns. After the death of the emperor, which happened in the October of 1347, Margaret, finding that William was either unable to pay, or purposely withheld this trifling annuity, and irritated at his breach of faith, returned to Holland, and resuming the government, obliged William to retire into Hainaut 3. He did not, however, remain tranquil under this deprivation, but secretly used every means in his power to conciliate the favour of the nobles; and the dissensions 1349 that now arose between the mother and son gave form and vigour to the two parties of nobles and people, which in this century divided Holland, as well as Germany and France 4.

  1. Beka in JohaiL, iv., p. 119. Vit Chron., Col. ii., p. 1913. Groot Plakaat, boek, 5 deel, bl. 713.
  2. Dip]. Ludovic, ad ann. Egmondani, p. 228.
  3. Johan. a Leid., lib. xxix., cap. 2,11. Beka in Johan», iv., p. 119.
  4. Vide account of the War between the Nobles and People in France. Froissart, vol. ii., chap. 180—182; likewise Schmidt, Hist, des Alle., liv. vii., chap. 10 ; also note F at the end of volume.

Note F. (Page 165)

A moment's reflection on the relative situation of the two classes at this period will show us, that hatred and dissensions must of necessity spring up between them. The feudal system was now on the decline: the sovereigns by such restraints as they had been able to impose on the custom of private war, and on the exercise of the hereditary jurisdictions of the nobles, (by the encouragement of appeals from the Barons, Courts to their own,) had lessened considerably the dread and respect which this order had formerly inspired: while the towns had, during the crusades, risen from various causes in wealth and importance.

The communication with the east, during the same period, had inspired the nobility with a taste for luxury and magnificence, which the extended commerce of the towns enabled them to gratify: and as the estates of the former no longer sufficed to supply their multiplied wants, and they had no other means of increasing their resources than the inadequate and uncertain expedient of military plunder, they were frequently reduced to solicit loans from the rich and industrious burghers, and were accordingly at once dependent upon, and jealous of them.

Debased by their poverty, and insolent from the pride of their high birth, they alternately cringed to, and plundered the wealthy and peaceful traders. The commons, on the other hand, sustaining alone the pecuniary burdens of the state, envied the privileges enjoyed by the nobles, whom they detested for their tyranny, rapacity, and debauchery, and despised for their ignorance and indolence, and the puerile vanity which led them to squander their incomes in splendid festivals and gauds for the decoration of their persons; while they themselves, beginning now pretty generally to assert and use the right of taking up arms in their own defence, rather sought to repel violence by violence, and repay aggression with aggression, than to shelter themselves under thé protection and restraint of the laws.

The sovereigns meanwhile, now supporting the people with a view of creating a balance to the aristocratic power, and flattering them in order to draw supplies from their pockets to their own empty exchequer—now prompted by ancient prejudices, and their instinctive dread of popular control, to lend their favour and Countenance to the nobles—rather exasperated than curbed the rancorous passions that agitated both.


The nobles espoused the side of William, while the people and inhabitants of the towns, with the exception of the larger and more aristocratic cities, adhered to Margaret, who was supported besides by the Lord of Brederode, and a few others of the most popular nobility. The former were called by the party name of " Cods," because the cod devours all the smaller fish; and the latter by that of "Hook," because with that apparently insignificant instrument one is able to catch the cod 1. It does not appear what occasion gave rise to these very primitive appellations, so characteristic of the people and their pursuits.

The cods, dissatisfied ere long with the somewhat feeble administration of Margaret, sent repeated messages to William in Hainaut, intreating him to come without delay into Holland, and assume the government of the County. After some hesitation, real or affected, he complied with their request, and secretly repaired to Gorinchem, where he was met by the men of Delft, who brought him in triumph into their city; and shortly after, most of the principal towns of HoIland and West Friesland acknowledged him as Count 2. Perceiving that the party of the hooks was not sufficiently strong to reinstate her in the government of Holland, Margaret besought the assistance of the King of England against her son, which she obtained, by promising to resign the government of the County for a certain number of years into the hands of Edward 3.

  1. Johan. a Leid., lib. xxix., cap. 116. Appendix ad Beka Suffridi Petri, p. 144.
  2. Johan. a Leid., lib. xxix., cap. 17.
  3. Acta Pub. Aug., torn, iii., par. i., p. 206—212.


During the negotiation, the "cods" in Holland seized and destroyed seventeen castles belonging to the hook nobles, who had gone to join Margaret in Hai-nault 1. As soon, therefore, as she could collect a fleet 1351 of English, French, and Hainaut ships, she sailed to the Island of Walcheren, where she fell in with a number of Holland vessels, commanded by her son in person. A sharp engagement ensued, in which William was totally defeated, and forced to retreat to Holland. Margaret, anxious to improve her advantage, followed him to the Maas, where, William having received some reinforcements, another desperate battle was fought, ending in the entire discomfiture of Margaret. A vast number of her adherents were slain, and Theodore van Brederode, one of the few nobles who espoused her cause, and the chief stay of her party, was taken prisoner. The remainder of the hook nobles were afterwards banished, and their castles and houses razed to the ground 2.

Margaret fled to England, where she prevailed upon the king to mediate a peace between herself and her son. She was shortly after followed by William himself, who married there Matilda, eldest daughter of Henry, Duke of Lancaster 3,4. William likewise accepted the mediation of Edward; but after affairs had been pending for a considerable time 5, the decision was referred to John de Beaumont, uncle to Margaret, and Walrave of Luxemburg.

  1. Suff. Pet, p. 144.
  2. Johan. a Leid., lib. xxix., cap. 18,19. Beka in Johan., iv., p. 119.
  3. Acta Pub., torn, iii., par. L, p. 227—236.
  4. Coheiress with Blanche, married to John of Ghent, the king's third son, who became by this marriage Duke of Lancaster; Matilda being, for some reason or other, excluded from the inheritance.
  5. Edward demanded that all the castles and forts besieged by either party should meanwhile be delivered up to his ambassadors, so that it may be supposed he was in no hurry to conclude. Acta Pub., torn. iiL, par. L, p. 234—236.


According to the terms of the agreement made under their auspices, 1354 William retained Holland, Zealand, and Friesland, while Hainaut remained in the possession of Margaret during her life, with a yearly income of about two thousand four hundred pounds (twenty-eight thousand pounds of forty groots) 1.

Margaret did not long survive the reconciliation with her son. She died in 1356, and thus the County was again transferred to a foreign family, passing from the house of Hainaut into that of Bavaria 2.

  1. Groot Plakaatb., 3 deel., bl. iv. Schryvei^s Graaven, 2 deel, bl. 80.
  2. Johan a Leid., lib. xxx., cap. 15.

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