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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



William V. War with Utrecht. Mediation between Brabant and Flanders. William visits England. His Lunacy. Government of his Brother Albert. Parties of the Hooks and Cods. Albert favours the Hooks. Revolt of the Cod Nobles, and of Delft. Claims of Edward III. of England surrendered. Interference of Holland in the Affairs of Flanders. Matrimonial Alliances between Burgundy and Holland. Death of the Countess of Holland. Favour of Alice van Poelgeest and the Cod Nobles at Court. Murder of Alice by the Hooks. William, Son of Albert, retires to France. Returns to his Father. Expeditions to Friesland. Truce. Revolt of the Lord of Arkel. Compromise. Death and Character of Albert. His Widow renounces her Claims on his Estate. William VI. Violence of Party-spirit. Disturbances in the Towns. Hostilities committed by the Lord of Arkel. Solicits the Aid of Guelderland. Treaty between Holland and Guelderland. Hollanders evacuate Friesland. Marriage of the Count's Daughter, Jacoba with the Duke of Touraine. Duke of Touraine becomes Dauphin. Affairs of France. Death of the Dauphin. Nobles and Towns acknowledge Jacoba as Successor to the County. Death and Character of William VI. Herring Fishery.


We find ho event worthy to arrest our attention during the reign of this prince, since the only transactions in which he was engaged, were a petty warfare with the Bishop of Utrecht, unattended by any important results; and the mediation of a peace between Wenceslaus, Duke of Brabant, and the Count of Flanders. As the price of his interference on this occasion, 1357 he received from the former the lordship of Heusden, and having afterwards adjudged the town of Mechlin, the subject of contention, to Louis of Flanders, this decision, whereby Brabant was deprived of both these possessions, gave rise to the old saying common in the Country, "Heusden mine, Mechlin thine. 1

  1. Beka in Johan., iv., p. 119. Johan. a Leid, lib. xxx., cap. 16.


Edward of England, finding it impossible to overcome the opposition of the Hollanders and Zealanders, to any dismemberment of their State, had, during the life of Margaret, ceased to press his claims, and subsequently acknowledged William, who now went to the court of England to pay a visit of ceremony to the king and his aunt the Queen Philippa 1. After his return, he began to show symptoms of aberration of intellect, which soon increased to uncontrollable frenzy. He killed with his own hand, and without any cause of offence, Gerard van Wateringen, a nobleman highly esteemed in the Country; in consequence of which act he was deprived of the government, and placed in confinement at the Hague, whence he was removed to the Castle of Quesnoi in Hainaut, where he continued a hopeless lunatic until his death, which did not occur till twenty years afterwards 2. It was thought that the remorse which William endured for his conduct towards his mother, was the occasion of this calamity; but as he is represented to have been naturally of a fierce and cruel disposition, it is probable that the seeds of his malady had always lurked in his constitution.

As William and the Emperor Louis his father, had declared Albert, younger brother of the former, heir to the County, if he should die without issue, the government in the present case appeared naturally to devolve on him, as standing next in succession. The cods, however, thinking that Albert was inclined to the party of the hooks, and that they should consequently be deprived of the authority which now rested wholly in their hands, used their utmost efforts to obtain the nomination of Matilda of Lancaster, the wife of William, to the regency, although, (such is the perversion of party spirit,) their principal objection against the government of the Countess Margaret, had been the dislike they felt to be ruled by a woman, "vervrouwd."

  1. Acta Pubi Aug., tern. Hi., par. L, p. 252, 364.
  2. Johan. a Leid, lib. xxx., cap. 17; xxxi., cap. 29. Annal. Egmund, cap. 61.


As, however, they found it impossible to sustain the claims of Matilda upon any plausible ground, since she was a foreigner, and had no children to succeed, they yielded to the wishes of the nation in general, and acknowledged Albert as governor 1, 1359 , securing a pension of 12,000 schilde (750/.) to the Countess Matilda 2.


On assuming the administration, Albert pledged himself to govern during his brother's incapacity, with the assistance of the "good towns," and according to the advice of those whom he and the good towns should appoint; and to do justice in all cases according to the laws and customs of the land6. Albert's first care was to diminish somewhat of the power of the cods, by bestowing the offices of the County upon the nobles of the hook party; the principal of these, Reynold van Brederode, he invested with the office of Bailiff of Kemmerland, of which he deprived John van Blomestein, a cod nobleman. On Reynold's first journey as bailiff through Kemmerland, he was attacked by a party of cods, who lay in wait for him near Kastrichem, three of his retinue were killed, and he escaped with his life only by taking sanctuary in the church of the village. Immediately after this outrage, the cods shut themselves up in the fort of Heemskerk, where they maintained a siege of eleven weeks, chiefly by the assistance of the citizens of Delft, who themselves broke out into open rebellion, chose Henry van Woerden, Gilbert van Nyenrode, with other nobles, as their leaders, and making an irruption into the Hague, threw open all the prisons, and carried the inmates with them back to Delft.

  1. Suff. Pet, p. 147. • Boxhorn op Reigersberg, deel. i., bl. 293.
  2. *Ruwaard," a word signifying Conservator of the Peace.


Albert was at that time in Zealand, but on the news of these commotions, repaired immediately to Holland, raised a general levy of troops, and laid siege to Delft. The citizens withstood the powerful force which he brought against them in person, for the space of more than ten weeks. At length they were obliged to surrender, on condition that the town should pay a fine of 40,000 schilds 1, that its walls should be thrown down, and that the inhabitants should humbly sue for pardon, from which their leaders and the strangers found among them were excluded. Only one of the nobles, Henry van Woerden, suffered death; the rest made their escape to Heusden, which they held out during a twelvemonth, and, in fine, obtained a pardon, on promise of making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land 2. Edward III. of England, although he had acknowledged William as Count of Holland, Zealand, Hainaut, and Friesland, perhaps from his being too much engaged in the wars with France to enforce his pretensions, was yet so far from having surrendered the claim of Philippa, that, after her death, which happened in 1364 this year, he bestowed the portion to which she was entitled on his son Edmund, Earl of Cambridge, between whom and Margaret, daughter of Louis van der Male, Count of Flanders, a negotiation of marriage was then on foot 3. It was upon the knowledge of this fact, probably, that Albert summoned an assembly of the nobles and towns at Geertruydenberg, and obtained from them a decree, that the late Queen of England had no right to any portion of Holland, which being one undivided County, had lawfully devolved upon Count William, in right of his mother, and upon himself as governor 4.

  1. An old coin, value 15d.
  2. Johan. k Leid, lib. xxxi., cap. 3, 4, 5, 6. Suff. Pet., p. 147. Beka in Johan., p. 121. Boxhom, Theat. Urb., p. 163.
  3. Acta Pub. Ang., torn, iii., par. ii., p. 779. Froissart, vol. iii., ch. 226.
  4. Boxhorn op Rcigersberg, deel. i., bl. 68.


Fortified with this declaration, and provided with full powers from the towns, Albert set out for the court of England, accompanied by several 1366 nobles» in order to terminate the affair, which, nevertheless, was not done until six years after. The good fortune that had hitherto attended the arms of Edward in France, had then so far deserted him, that he was no longer in a condition voluntarily to provoke an enemy, or lose an ally; and he therefore gratified the Governor of Holland by a final surrender of all claims 1372 in right of his wife, to a share in the inheritance of William III 1.

Although the continual wars between Holland and Flanders had now ceased, the former found herself still involved in the affairs of her former foe, though in 1370s) a somewhat different manner; and, on the present occasion, the feelings of the people and government were arrayed in opposition to each other. The extravagance and rapacity of Louis van der Male, Count of Flanders, had excited discontent and hatred among his subjects, especially the inhabitants of Ghent, who, weary of his extortions, at length flatly refused to contribute another farthing 2. The Count, deeply offended, quitted Ghent, and retired to Bruges, the inhabitants of which town having accommodated him with a moderate sum, obtained permission to dig a canal from the river Leys, above Ghent, to Bruges.

  1. Acta Pub. Aug., torn, iii., par. ii., p. 789, 946—947.
  2. Meyer, Ann, Bland., lib. xiii., ad ann. 1379, p. 170. Herm. Cor., col. ii., p. 1131.


To these causes of discontent wfcs added the imprisonment of a burgess of Ghent by the court's bailiff; in contravention of the privileges of the city. Irritated by these circumstances, the Ghenters broke out into hostilities assumed the white hood» the usual insignia of revolt drove the pioneers from the canal at Bruges; murdered the Count's bailiff, who, with two hundred men, had been sent to arrest the ringleaders; and plundered and burnt Adeghem, a favourite Country residence of Louis, near Ghent 1.

From this beginning, the revolt soon extended itself to the other towns: the burghers chose leaden from among themselves, and, under their command, laid siege to Oudenarde, and made an assault on Dendermonde, which still continued faithful to the Count. They were foiled in the latter enterprise by the courage and conduct of Theodore van Brederode, a Holland nobleman, whom Louis had placed in command of the garrison; but the siege of Oudenarde 1380 lasted until a compromise was effected between the 1381 Count and his subjects, which, however, was soon broken, and Louis, in the next year, having subdued Courtray and Ypres, laid siege to Ghent 2.

Albert of Holland constantly supported the cause of Louis, and afforded him such assistance as he was able, which, nevertheless, was but trifling, since he himself was slenderly provided with funds, and the inclinations of the great majority of his subjects were decidedly favourable to the success of the insurgents.

  1. Froissart, vol. v., chap. 20—23. Pontus Heuterus, Rer. Burgund., lib. ii., cap. 7.
  2. Meyer, Ann. Fland., lib. xiii., ad ann. 1370,1380,1381, p. 172—17& Froissart, chap. 25, 26, 50.


In defiance of his express prohibition, they continued daring the whole war to send them stores of provision, ammunition, and other necessaries, especially daring the siege of Ghent, when the inhabitants, having secured the conveyance by water from Holland and Zealand, received from thence regular supplies of meal and bread, when shut out by the besieging army from the resources of their own Country. But their aid, however liberally afforded, was insufficient to prevent scarcity among the immense multitude collected within the walls of the town; and it became at last so excessive, that the men of Ghent besought the mediation of the Duchess of Brabant and Albert of Holland, to procure peace and pardon from their sovereign. Six of their number, therefore, with the ambassadors of the two princes, repaired for this purpose to Louis, at Bruges, who, well knowing the straits to which the town was reduced, haughtily replied, that "he would consent to no peace unless the whole population, both male and female, from the age of fifteen to sixty, came out to meet him on the road to Bruges, barefoot and bareheaded, with halters about their necks, when he would pardon or put them to death, according to his pleasure 1. This answer being reported to the citizens, it was determined to select five thousand of their choicest troops, and to send them, under the command of Philip van Artevelde, to attack the Count in Bruges. They accordingly marched thither, when Louis no sooner heard of their approach, than he collected his troops, to the number of forty thousand, among whom were eight hundred lances, and advanced about a league beyond the town to give them battle, determined to extirpate them to a man, and thus put an end to the war.

  1. Froiasart, vol. vi., chap. 1, 2,13,14. Meyer, Ann, Fland., ad ann, 1381, p. 180^-183.


The host of enemies in front, with ruin and starvation behind, gave to the Ghenters the courage of despair; at the first fierce onset, they drove back the citizens of Bruges: the lances, though composed of the flower of the nobility and knights of Flanders, made not the smallest resistance; the flight soon became universal. The Count, with about forty more, hurried back to Bruges, closely pursued by the Ghent men, who entered at the same time with the fugitives, and speedily made themselves masters of the city. Louis himself escaped capture only by means of a poor woman, who concealed him in her hut, whence he fled in disguise, and by night, to Lille, in Brabant. After this victory, all the towns in Flanders, except Oudenarde and Dendermonde, submitted to the Ghenters 1382 . In this distress, Louis was forced to supplicate the aid of his liege lord, Charles VI., king of France, who, at the age of fourteen, marched into Flanders in person, at the head of a powerful army, and defeated the insurgents in a battle near Roozbeech, where their leader, Philip van Artevelde, was slain 1.

This event restored, in some measure, the affaire of Louis; but the Ghenters obtaining not long after the assistance of a large body of English troops, under the command of the Bishop of Norwich, he was unable to effect the pacification of his states during his lifetime. 1384 His death, which happened in January, 1384, made way for the succession of Philip, Duke of Burgundy 2 in right of his wife, Margaret, the only legitimate child of Louis, to the Counties of Flanders and Artois; and these rich and flourishing provinces thus became a portion of the Burgundian state.

  1. Meyer, lib. adii., ad ann. 1381—1382, p. 183—191. Froissart* vol. vL, chap. 16,17,19, 45. Herm. Cor., col. ii., p. 1133,1137.
  2. Philip was the youngest son of John II., king of France, by whom he was invested with the duchy of Burgundy, after the death of Elides, the last male descendant of Robert I. of France, who had received the duchy as a fief from King Henry I., his brother, in 1032.—Villaret Con. de Velly, torn, ix., p. 484.


Margaret was likewise heiress to the duchy of Brabant, through her aunt, Joanna, the present duchess, (widow, first, of William IV. of Holland, and afterwards, of Wenceslaus of Luxemburg,) who, in order to extend still further the influence of her family in the Netherlands, laboured effectually to promote an union between the houses of Burgundy and Holland. Through her means, a double marriage was concluded between William, Count of Oostervant, eldest son of the Count of Holland, and Margaret, daughter of Philip of Burgundy; and between John, eldest son of the Duke of Burgundy, and Margaret, daughter of Albert. Their nuptials, attended by the King of France in person, 1385 were celebrated at Cambray, in a style of unparalleled magnificence. After his accession to the County of Flanders, Philip of Burgundy made a reconciliation with his new subjects, granting to the citizens of Ghent full pardon and restitution of all their franchises and immunities, on condition only of their return to obedience 1.

The marriage of William and Margaret was followed early in the next spring by the death of their mother, Margaret, daughter of the Duke of Brieg, in Silesia; an event which caused a great change in the state of parties, and much confusion in Holland. Albert, after the loss of his wife, formed an illicit connection with Alice van Poelgeest, the daughter of a nobleman of the cod party, whose youth, beauty, and insinuating manners, soon gained such an ascendancy over the mind of her lover, that the whole court was henceforward governed according to her caprices.

  1. Froissart, vol. vi., chap. 54, 67, 73, 74; vol. vii., chap. 21. VOL I. N


The cod party, in consequence, daily increased in power and influence, to the great dissatisfaction of the hook nobles, now long accustomed to enjoy alone the favour and Countenance of their sovereign; and instigated at once by ambition and revenge^ they resolved upon a deed of horror and blood, to which, it is said, they induced William van Oostervant to lend his assistance 1. A number of them assembled at the Hague, where the Lady Alice was then residing at the 1390 court-house, and on the night of the 21st of August forced their way, completely armed, into her apartment. On their entrance, William Kuser, the Count's steward, threw himself before them to defend the terrified girl from their violence. He was slaughtered on the spot; and, a moment after, Alice herself fell dead, and covered with wounds, at their feet 2 The instant they had perpetrated this act of savage atrocity, the murderers betook themselves to flight. However deeply Albert might have felt the outrage committed against his feelings and dignity, yet, whether from the number and station of the guilty, or that there still lingered some relics of goodwill towards his former friends, he took no measures to bring them to justice, until urged by the importunate solicitations of Conrad Kuser, the father of the murdered man, when he at length determined to cite the hook nobles, to the number of fifty-four, who were supposed to have had a share in the transaction, before the supreme court of 1393 Holland.

  1. Petrus Suffridus accuses William of participation in this crime, and the accusation has been adopted by later authors, but, as it seems, without sufficient foundation. Neither John of Leyden, his contemporary, nor Beka, attribute to him any share in it; that he befriended the perpetrators when brought to justice three years after, is undoubted; among them were some of the most illustrious of the nobility, and his personal friends (" diligens predictos nobiles." Johan a Leid., lib. xxxL, cap. 47) ; but that he should, if he had been a party concerned, hare forsaken his accomplices to attend a tournament in England a month after, is highly improbable: he is mentioned by Froissart as being present at the one held about Michaelmas in this year by Richard IL, when he was made knight of the garter. Vol. x., chap. 21.
  2. Johan, a Leid., lib. xxxi., cap. 37—42. Suff. Pet, p. 149.


As not one appeared, their lives and estates were declared forfeit. William van Oostervant repeatedly besought his father to pardon the criminals; but, finding him deaf to his intreaties, he retired in anger to the fortress of Altena, and thence to the court of France, whither he had been summoned to do 1394 homage for the County of Oostervant 1.

While there a circumstance occurred, which was the occasion of bringing about a reconciliation between the father and son. As the Count of Oostervant sat one day at the king's table, a herald reproached him with having neither shield nor arms, since both lay buried with his great-uncle William 2 on the shore of Friesland. Stung with this affront, and eager to wipe out the disgrace, William solicited permission of Philip, 1395 Duke of Burgundy, to accompany his son, John de Nevers, in the crusade he was then preparing against the Turks in Hungary. Philip advised him rather to seek a reconciliation with his father, by proposing an expedition into Friesland, that he might at once avenge the death of his uncle, and re-conquer his inheritance; an enterprise which the present condition of Friesland rendered it highly probable would be successful 3.

Since the death of William IV., the Counts of Holland had not attempted to interfere in the government of Friesland, or even to get themselves acknowledged as lords of it.

  1. Johan a Leid., lib. xxxi., cap. 47, 48. Beka in Floren., p. 121, Froiasart, vol. x., chap. 21.
  2. William IV, who was kiUed in Friesland in 1345.
  3. Johan a Leid., lib. xxxi., cap. 60. Froiasart, vol. xi., chap. SO.


Meanwhile, two factions had sprung up of the nobles and people, analogous to those of the cods and hooks in Holland 1 which persecuted each other with unrelenting fury; and the Country, distracted and enfeebled by their dissensions, appeared to present an easy prey to the conqueipr, Albert, therefore, was readily induced to favour the designs of his son, and to entrust to him the conduct of the proposed expedition: he solicited succours from France and England, who each sent a body of troops to his aid, the former under the command of the Count Waleren de St. Pol, the latter under the Earl of Cornwall: 1396 these joined the army of Holland, strengthened still ; further by a number of German auxiliaries, at Enkhuysen 2. From hence the allied troops set sail on the 22nd of August, in a fleet of four thousand and forty ships 3, and arrived in safety and good order at the Kuinder, where the landing was to be effected. The Frieslanders, meanwhile, had not neglected to take; measures for their defence; they made an alliance with the Bishop of Utrecht, preventing by this means the passage of the Holland troops into their Country by land; and assembled together in arms to the number of thirty thousand men.

  1. They are distinguished by the untranslatable terms of " Vetkoope» and Schieringers."
  2. Ubbo Emmius Rer. Frisic, lib. xiv., p. 227. Johan. a Leid., lib. xxxi., cap. 50, 61. Froissart, vol. xi., chap. 37, 38.
  3. This number appears immense; but John of Leyden, a contemporary, estimates the number of troops to be conveyed across the Zuydenee at one hundred and eighty thousand, in which the historian of Friesland agrees. Froissart says they were more than one hundred thousand; consequently, if, as we may suppose, the vessels were for the most part small, they must have had this number for their transport, since five and twenty men would have been a sufficient average complement for each. The men of Haarlem alone are said to have supplied twelve hundred mariners. Froissart, vol. xi., chap. 3D.


Unfortunately, however, they refused to follow the wise counsel of one of the chief of their nobility, Juwo Juwinga, who advised that they should shut themselves up in their fortresses, allowing the enemy to land unmolested, and to waste their strength in sieges, when hunger would soon compel their retreat out of a Country totally destitute of the means of supporting so vast a multitude. Heedless of his monition, the Frieslanders advanced to meet the invaders in three divisions, and declaring that they would prefer to die " free Frieslanders," rather than submit to a foreign master, they determined to make their stand at the dyke nearest the landing-place. They were full of spirit and courage; but being ill armed, and clad only in coats of leather or coarse cloth, they were ill able to withstand the well-tempered weapons and heavy armour of their enemies, who were said, moreover, to have amounted to one hundred and eighty thousand strong. In spite of these disadvantages, they maintained a fierce and obstinate contest for some hours: fourteen hundred were slain, and the rest forced to take flight; numbers more perished in the pursuit, in which only fifty were made prisoners, since they persisted to the last in their resolution rather to die than yield. The victorious army carried fire and sword through the Country, but on the other hand suffered much injury from the frequent skirmishes in which they were engaged by the Frieslanders, until the approach of the rainy season obliged them to retire into winter quarters: they carried with them the body of Count William, which had been taken up from the place of its sepulture. Count Albert was, for the time, acknowledged Lord of Friesland 1.

  1. Froiwart, vol. xi. chap. 39. Johan. a Leid., lib. xxxi., cap. 51,


But little more than a year elapsed, however, before the Frieslanders again threw off their forced subjection, surprised Staveren, and forced the garrison to evacuate. At the same time, the people of the Ommeland of Groningen made a treaty of union with the town, one of the articles of which purported, that 1398 they should mutually assist each other to keep the Hollanders out of their Country. From henceforward Groningen and the Ommeland remained permanently united. William of Oostervant once more conducted an army into Friesland, and forced the inhabitants to do homage to his father, and to promise a subsidy of sixpence for every house: but no sooner had he departed than they again revolted; and at length Count 1400 Albert found himself obliged to make a truce with them for six years, without insisting upon their acknowledgment of him as lord of Friesland 1.

The principal reason which prompted him to the adoption of this unpalatable measure was the exhausted condition of his finances. He had been obliged to sell, or mortgage, several of his personal estates; the towns likewise, and many private individuals, had bought annuities of him, stripping themselves of their ready money to supply his necessities; but notwithstanding their efforts he now found himself destitute of resources to carry on the war: added to this, was the rebellion of one of his own subjects, which, giving him full employment in Holland, left him no leisure to pursue the subjugation of Friesland 2.

John, lord of Arkel, had long filled the office of Stadtholder 3 of Holland, Zealand, and Friesland, as well as that of treasurer of the Count's private domains, without having given any account of his administration of the revenues.

  1. Ubbo Emmius, lib. xvi., xvii. Johan. a Leid., lib. xxxi., cap. 55.
  2. Velius Chronyck van Hoorn, p. 14. Handvesten van Kemmerland in't Vat. Hist, boek ii., deel. 20.
  3. This office appears to have been created by Count Albert.


This was now sharply demanded of him by the connt; but Arkel, a man of an ambitious and insolent temper, instead of obeying, declared war against his sovereign, and endeavoured to take by surprise the strong frontier town of Oudewater: failing 1401 in this attempt, he made an irruption into Krimpen, whence he returned with considerable booty to Gorinchem, a town confided to his government by Albert some time before 1. The warfare had lasted two years, rather to the advantage of John of Arkel, when William, of Oostervant, himself took the command of 1403 an army, composed of native troops and auxiliaries from England, Cleves, and Utrecht, for the raising of which the towns once more contributed funds, and laid siege to Gorinchem. But although the immense number of his soldiers enabled him to surround the town entirely, and cut off all communication from without, he could not, after a blockade of twelve weeks, force it to a surrender. He therefore listened to the terms of accommodation proposed by the mediation of his brother, the bishop elect of Liege, that John van Arkel should retain all his possessions, but be obliged to sue for pardon on his knees, and permit the connt'8 flag to wave a whole day on the tower of Arkel. As Arkel's principal object was to evade the inspection of his accounts, he gladly acceded to any terms of which that was not made a condition 2.

This was- the last event of importance which occurred under Count Albert's administration. He died on the 15th of December of the next year, at the 1404 age of sixty-seven, having governed the County for forty-six years.

  1. Heda in Fred., p. 266. Johan. a Leid., lib. xxri., cap. 60, 61.
  2. Johan. a Leid., lib» xxxi., cap. 61, 62, Heda in Tred., p. 267. , Suff. Pek, p. 151.


By his first wife, Margaret, daughter of the Duke of Brieg, he left three sons, William, who succeeded him, Albert, Duke of Mubingen, and John, bishop elect of Liege; and four daughters, Joanna of Luxemburg, queen of Bohemia, who died without issue; Catherine, duchess of Guelderland, who likewise died childless; Margaret, married to John, son of the Duke of Burgundy; and another Joanna, wife of the Duke of Austria. He had no issue by his second wife, Margaret of Cleves, who survived him 1. Albert appears to have been, on the whole, a mild, just, and pious prince, but remarkably deficient in talent, energy, and decision. He allowed the hook and cod party alternately to obtain the mastery over him, and both to exercise with impunity deeds of violence and injustice 2; nor had he sufficient courage and activity to quell in time the sedition of his rebellious subject, the Lord of Arkel, with whom, as we have seen, he was forced to make a discreditable compromise: the people also regarded his authority with so little reverence, that, during the revolt of the Ghenters, they persisted in supplying them with provisions in despite of his strict prohibition.

  1. Johan. a Leid., lib. xxxi., cap. 2.
  2. Two remarkable instances of his feeble and irresolute character are given by different authora. A certain toll-gatherer, appointed by the Count, having practised great extortions in Merkenshoeck, near Dordrecht, was admonished by several letters from Otho, lord of Arkel, to desist: finding his remonstrances of no avail, Otho despatched some of his attendants to seize the offender and put him to death. Immediately after the commission of this act he went to the Hague, followed by a numerous retinue of servants and soldiers, to demand pardon of the Count, which was not only granted, but new honours were conferred upon him. Johan» a Leid., lib. xxxi., cap. 11. On another occasion, Albert, instigated by some calumniators, had caused the Lord of Adinghem, a nobleman of Hainaut, to be beheaded: his seven brothers, taking up arms to avenge his death, forced Albert to conclude a dishonourable treaty with them, of which one condition was, that he should endow a church with thirteen canons to pray for the soul of the deceased. Suff. Pet., p. 147.


Under a government so little feared or respected, it may be supposed that all classes of people accustomed themselves to exercise a liberty greater than they had hitherto enjoyed; while his constant necessities enabled the towns to purchase of him many valuable additions to their privileges. The debts which he left unpaid at his death were so heavy that his widow found it advisable to make a "boedel-afetandt," or formal renunciation of all claim to his estate. The particulars of this ceremony, not uncommon in the Netherlands 1, are thus described: the widow, having chosen a guardian, demanded, through him, permission, before a court composed of the bailiff of the place and four assessors, to renounce the hereditary estate of her husband, according to the law of Rhynktnd. Permission being given, the body of the Count was placed on a bier and brought before the door of the court: the lady, then, dressed in borrowed clothes, and retaining nothing in her possession which she had received from her late husband, went out with a straw in her hand: this she gave to her guardian, who threw it on the bier, renouncing and surrendering in her name the right of dower, and all interest in the estate of the late Count, and in all debts due to or from him 2,3.

  1. Shortly before, the widow of Guy de Chatillon had refused in like manner to administer to the effects of her husband. Froissart, rol. arii., chap. 22.
  2. Politike Regeeringe van den Briel. Vat. Hist., boek xi., No. 21. Crrotius, Inleydinge tot de Hollandtsche Rechtsgeleerdheyt, p. 76.
  3. It was an ancient custom among the Franks to renounce an alliance of service by breaking and throwing a straw. Velly, Hist, de France, torn, ii., p. 203.



As William had for along period before his father's death performed all the more active functions of the government, it might have been supposed that his accession to the title of Count would have caused little or no change in the state of affairs; nevertheless, the animosities between the cod and hook parties, which appeared to have been mitigated for a few yean, now revived with increased fury. The cods had regained their ascendancy with the rise of Alice van Poelgeest, and though many of the hook nobles, suspected of a knowledge or participation in her murder, had been included in the reconciliation between William and Albert in 1395, they were never admitted to any share of power. Now, however, by the favour of Count William, they were advanced to offices in the County, and to a participation in the government of the towns; which the cods being as unwilling to lose as the hooks were eager to obtain, for neither party yielded to the other in cupidity or ambition, their rivalry caused violent commotions in several towns, particularly Delft, Haarlem, and Amsterdam, where a number of the most respectable burghers lost their lives. Dordrecht narrowly escaped a general massacre 1.

Half of the senate of this town is changed on a certain day in every year, the Count appointing the new members from a double number, nominated by the great council of forty; but this year, William, fearing lest any change might be the occasion of disturbances, left the same magistrates in office, a proceeding as yet unheard of in the towns. The majority of the members of the senate at that time were of the cod party, and, after this unexpected mark of favour from their Count, they began to guide affairs entirely according to their pleasure, and to exercise acts of oppression on the hooks.

  1. Johan. a Leid, lib. xxxi., cap. 61.


This excited murmurs of discontent among the people, mostly inclining to the latter, and they took occasion to present frequent petitions for the reformation of abuses, which they alleged to exist; a course F of conduct so deeply resented by the cods, that, with a I view of keeping the citizens in check, they passed a I resolution in the senate, that a fort should be erected I within the walls of the town. The burghers, hardly [believing they would carry so bold a measure into execution, made no movement, but quietssly allowed it to be finished, provided with ammunition, and garrisoned with the adherents of the cod party. Numbers of the people then assembled in arms around the fort, and were no sooner perceived by the cods within, than with a loud shout of " Assault, assault!" they sent a shower of arrows among them. The burghers in return attacked the fort with such vigour, that they forced the cods to evacuate it, and retreat on every side. Many of both parties were killed; but the leaders of the hooks stopped the slaughter upon the retreat of their adversaries, securing only the persons of their chiefs. The Bailiff and Treasurer of South Holland, the Schout of Dordrecht, with two burgomasters, and four sheriffs, were committed to the city gaol, where they remained for some time in considerable danger of being sacrificed to the popular vengeance. On the arrival of Count William to appease the tumult, he testified high disapprobation of these lawless proceedings ; but at the same time appointed new magistrates, and gave the senate permission to banish a certain number of persons from Holland. The remainder of the cods effected a reconciliation with the new government early in the following year, and peace was by degrees restored to Dordrecht 1.

The disturbed state of the towns was not the only difficulty with which William had to contend in the first years of his government.

  1. Balen Dordrecht, bl. 283 et seq.


The Lord of Arkel, dreading, probably, that he should now be forced to 1405 surrender his accounts, again took up arms, and made himself master of Woudrichem, which he plundered and burnt. But the Count having besieged and taken his forts of Gaspen and Everstein, he repaired for assistance to Reynold, Duke of Guelderland, whose sister he had married; and, in order to bind him the 1407 more closely to his interests, he surrendered to him his Lordship of Arkel, on condition that it should never be dismembered from the Duchy of Guelderland 1. Arkel shared the usual fate of the feeble who seek the protection of the powerful. After some ineffective hostilities, the Duke of Guelderland and Count of Holland agreed to a truce, which was followed by a treaty of peace, wherein the interests of Arkel were wholly sacrificed. Reynold of Guelderland surrendered Gorinchem and the Lordship of Arkel to the Count of Holland for 100,000 French crowns, on condition that the castle of Ayen, and the Lordship of Born, should 1412 be conferred on William, son of the Lord of Arkel, with a pension of five thousand guilders during his life. This treaty was concluded, as may be supposed, without the intervention or consent of the Lord of Arkel, who was then in Brabant. He was afterwards seized by the Lord of Zevenbergen, and brought prisoner to the Hague: thence he was conducted to Gouda, and finally to Zevenbergen, where he remained in confinement until 1426, when he was released, and died not long after. Of how much disquietss he had been the occasion to William, may be judged from the recompense bestowed on the Lord of Zevenbergen for his capture, amounting to four thousand five hundred French crowns, as well as considerable sums to those who had assisted him 2.

  1. Johan. a Leid, lib. xxxii., cap. 8. Suff. Pet., p. 153.
  2. Heda in Fred., p. 268, 269. Johan. a Leid, lib. xxxii., cap. 16, 22.


The Hollanders, under the government of William, entirely lost their footing in Friesland: Staveren only had remained in the actual possession of the Count, by the truce made between Albert and the Frieslanders in the year 1400. The truce had since been renewed from time to time, and the last, made in 1412, now drew to a close. The Frieslanders, observing that but negligent watch was kept by the garrison of Staveren, suddenly surprized the city, drove out the Holland troops, and forced them to evacuate the whole province. William, enraged as he might have been at this loss, made no attempt to repossess himself of Staveren; but, on the contrary, concluded a truce with the Frieslanders, who thus at length found themselves free from all foreign dominion; and in the year 1417 they obtained from the Emperor Sigismund a charter, confirming the entire independence of their state 1. William was the less inclined to undertake any expedition into Friesland, as the alliance he had formed between his only daughter, Jacoba, or Jacqueline, and a son of the King of France, involved him in some degree in the cabalsof that court.

The insanity of the king, Charles VI., and the weak and vicious character of the queen, Isabella of Bavaria, had rendered the royal authority in France utterly inefficient, giving unrestrained licence to the ambition of the nobles, and leaving the kingdom a prey to the fury of the rival factions, so celebrated in history, of Burgundy and Orleans.

  1. Ubbo Emmius " Rerum Frisicarum," lib. xviL xviii. Johan. a !*&, lib. xxxii., cap. 19.


It was during the ascendancy of the former that John, Duke of Touraine, 1406 second son of the King of France, had been betrothed to Jacoba of Holland, niece of the Duke of Burgundy 1. John had, since that time, resided chiefly with his future father-in-law; but owing to the youth of the parties, the marriage was not completed until 1415, when Jacoba was declared heir to Hainaut. Holland, and Friesland; which, after the death of William, were to be governed by the Duke of Touraine, and to descend undivided to the eldest son, or, in default of heirs male, to the eldest daughter, of this marriage. The ancient laws, privileges, and customs of the land were to be preserved unimpaired, and no offices conferred on foreigners 2.

By the death of his elder brother, Louis, without issue, John succeeded, a few months after, to the title of dauphin, and became heir-apparent to the French crown. Immediately upon that event, therefore, ambassadors were despatched to Hainaut to invite him to the court of his father; but the state of France was not such as to induce William to risk the safety of the young prince, the husband of his only child, by sending him thither. That Country, besides being desolated by civil dissensions, was now engaged in a dangerous and ruinous war with Henry V. of England: nine thousand of her bravest knights lay dead on the field of Agincourt, and the hope of arresting the progress of the conqueror appeared almost chimerical. The Orleans faction had now entire possession of the courts and iewed both William and the young dauphin with dislike and suspicion, on account of their close connection with the Duke of Burgundy.

  1. Monstrelet, vol. i., chap 27.
  2. ViUaret Con. de Velly, torn, xii., p. 470. Groot Plakaatb., 3 deel, bl.6.


These feelings were still further increased on finding that the deputies sent by the Duke to Valenciennes, during the stay of the French Ambassadors there, had been admitted to more than one secret conference with the Count, while the latter were obliged to content themselves with a public audience. In consideration of these circumstances, William persisted in retaining the dauphin under his own protection.

While matters were thus pending, the Emperor Sigismund arrived at Dordrecht, on his way from the court of Paris to that of London, whither he was accompanied 1416 by the Count of Holland, for the purpose of negotiating in concert a peace between France and England 1. But whether Sigismund had never been sincere in his endeavours to effect a reconciliation, or that, finding it impossible to bring the belligerents to reasonable terms, he thought it best, considering the enfeebled and distracted condition of France, to consult his own interest by siding with the stronger, he abandoned ere long the character of mediator, and concluded with England a treaty of alliance against France. William, disgusted at this selfish policy, abruptly left England, without waiting for the emperor, having succeeded only in effecting a truce between England and France for five months, which was afterwards prolonged 2.

Repose being thus for a season secured to France from without, William determined to use his endeavours to allay the distractions prevailing within the kingdom. He therefore yielded to the reiterated solicitations of the French ambassadors, and conducted the Dauphin as far as Compeigne, he himself proceeding to Paris to arrange the terms of his reception. After long contestations with the members of the Orleans faction in that court, William declared, formally, that the young prince should either come to court in company with the Duke of Burgundy, or return immediately to Hainanlt 3.

  1. Rym. Feed., torn, ix., p. 362. Johan. k Leid., lib. xxxii., cap. 22.
  2. Rym* Feed., torn, ix., p. 380. Johan. a Leid., lib. xxxii., cap. 22.
  3. Monstrelet, vol. iv., chap. 46, p. 256.


Either his dread of the Orleans party must have been extreme, to make him insist in such a determined manner on the return of the Duke of Burgundy to a court where he was so justly obnoxious 1, or he must have entertained for him an esteem and confidence but ill deserved or requited; since John, the most crafty and selfish prince of the age in which he lived, made about this time a secret treaty of alliance with England, wherein the interests of the young dauphin were wholly sacrificed, inasmuch as he acknowledged the right of Henry and his heirs to the kingdom of France, promising to aid him to the 1416 utmost of his power against his enemies in that Country, and declaring null and void any exception before made in favour of the dauphin 2.

The French government, finding William so obstinately resolved upon the subject of the Duke of Burgundy, determined to arrest him; but, having obtained intelligence of their design, he precipitately quitted Paris, attended by only two servants, and retired to Compeigne. On his arrival there, he found, with mingled grief and consternation, that the object 1417 of all his anxietssy and cares lay at the point of death, occasioned, as some say, by the bursting of a tumour in the head 3, but the more general opinion prevailed, that the youth died by poison 4.

  1. Rym. Feed., torn, ix., p. 995.
  2. From his assassination of the Duke of Orleans (1407), and his open avowal and justification of that crime.
  3. Monstrelet, vol. i., chap. 46, p. 256.
  4. According to John of Leyden, a magnificent suit of armour was sent him, poisoned, which, with the eagerness of youth, he immediately put on, and died a short time after: the historian does not mention from whence it came.—Lib. xxxii., cap. 26. -Aegidius de Roya gives a similar account, with the addition that the armour was sent by his mother (Chron. Belg., ad ann. 1417, p. 70); an opinion adopted by Heda, p. 171. Meyer, liowever, says, that he lived eight days after, which would seem to contradict the suspicion of poison.—P. 260.


Both the Burgundian and Orleans parties accused each other of this crime, but suspicion chiefly rested on the Duke of Anjou, who both feared and hated the Duke of Burgundy, and whose son-in-law, Charles, due de Ponthieu, became by this untimely death heir apparent to the crown 1.

To William his loss was irreparable. The succession to the County had been settled on his only legitimate child, Jacoba, with the condition that the government was to remain in the hands of her husband. On both the previous occasions, when the County had been left without a male heir, a great proportion of the Hollanders had shown a vehement dislike to submit to the authority of a female; and he, therefore, dreaded lest the claims of his daughter might be set aside in favour of his brother, John, bishop elect of Liege. To guard against any such attempt, he assembled the nobles and towns of Holland, who, at his requisition, solemnly swore to acknowledge Jacoba lawful heir and successor, in case he should die without a son. Most of the principal nobles and the large towns of Holland signed this agreement, as well as the states of Zealand; and William, thinking he had now placed the succession of his daughter on a firm footing, returned to Hainaut 2.

  1. Meyer Ann. Fland., lib. xv., ad ann. 1417, p. 250. Pont. Heut., Hb. iii., cap. 8.
  2. Heda in Fred., p. 271, 280. Groot Plakaat., deel. iii., bl. 8.


Here he soon after died, from a swelling in the thigh, which he was persuaded to have lanced, in order to relieve the pain; but the exhaustion attendant on the operation, combined with grief for the miserable fate of the young dauphin, proved too much for his constitution: he languished only a few days, and died at Bouchain, in May, 1417 1. He was a prince of undoubted courage and conduct in war; and in his domestic government, he appears to have been guilty of no act of injustice or oppression during his whole reign. Such was the opinion generally entertained of his integrity and prudence, that the two hostile and embittered factions of Burgundy and Orleans did not hesitate to choose him as arbiter of their differences, and guarantee for the security of both parties 2: he was, moreover, handsome in person, and "a knight of a gallant and noble bearing, excelling most others of his time in tilting 3'.

It was perhaps a proof of his judgment, that he made no endeavour to reduce Friesland to submission. A vast expense of blood and treasure had already been lavished upon this futile and chimerical project, which, even if successful, would only have added to Holland a number of restless and unprofitable subjects; and he might be well satisfied to have made instead the more useful, though less imposing acquisitions, of the lordship of Arkel 4, and the strong town of Ysselstein, surrendered to him by the Lord of Egmond, both of which he permanently united to Holland: the fortifications of the latter were razed in the beginning of the next reign, after an attempt made by John van Egmond and William van Ysselstein to repossess themselves of their paternal inheritance 5.

  1. Meyer Ann., lib. xv., ad ann. 1417, p. 250. Johan. k Leid., lib. xxxii., cap. 25, 27.
  2. Villaret, Con. de Velly, torn, xiii., p. 74.
  3. Pont. Heut. Rer. Bur., lib. hi., cap. 5. Froissart, vol. x., chap. 21, and passim.
  4. This ancient barony had been granted, it is said, in the early part of the tenth century, to one Heyneman, a Hungarian refugee in the service of Theodore II.—Johan. a Leid., lib, vii., cap. 27.
  5. Heda in Fred., p. 271. * Veliua, Chronyck van Hoorn, boek i., p. 17.


During the reign of William, the herring fishery, a source of such immense national wealth to Holland, began rapidly to increase. In 1414, Jacob Beukelson, of Beervlietss, discovered the new and excellent method still in use, of drying and barrelling herrings, and two years after, the .first large herring sein was manufactured at Hoorn *•

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