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HISTORY OF HOLLAND and the Dutch Nation
FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE TENTH TO THE END OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
Including an account of the municipal institutions, commercial pursuits, and social habits of the people
The rise and progress of the protestant reformation in Holland.
The intestine dissentious foreign wars
BY C. M. DAVIES.
In Three Volumes
LONDON: G.Willis, Great Piazza,Covent Garden MDCCCXLI
Margaret of Savoy appointed Governess of the Netherlands. Terms of her Acknowledgment. State of the Netherland Forces. Continuation of the War with Guelderland. Alliance with England. League of Cambray. War between Holland and the Hanse Towns. Peace. Political Situation of Louis of France. He negotiates a Treaty between the Duke of Guelderland and the Emperor Maximilian. Ill-success of his Mediation. Truce with Guelderland. War between France and the Emperor. General Peace. Interrupted by Charles of Guelderland. Affairs of Groningen. And Friesland. Maximilian surrenders the Government of the Netherlands to his Grandson. Transfer of Friesland to Charles. Treaty with France. Charles becomes King of Spain. Philip of Burgundy made Bishop of Utrecht. Progress of the Reformation in Holland. Charles elected Emperor. Visits England on his way from Spain to Germany. Confirms Margaret in the Government of the Netherlands. Innovations in the Constitution of Holland. Penal Edicts against the Reformers. Death of the first Martyr. War with France. Treaty for the Protection of Commerce and Fishery. Charles of Guelderland obtains a footing in Overyssel. Friesland submits to the Government of the Count of Holland. Its Constitution. War in Italy. Confederacy against France. Battle of Pavia. Armistice between the Netherlands and France. Petitions demanded from the States of Holland. Threatened Hostilities with Denmark and the Hanse Towns. Truce. Treaty of Madrid. Marriage of Charles. The Pope and King of England make alliance with France. War. Charles of Guelderland occupies Utrecht. States of Holland refuse the demands of the Governess. Plunder of the Hague by the Guelderlanders. States consent to grant Supplies. Truce with France and England. Utrecht Retaken. United to Holland and Brabant. Peace of Cambray. Penal Edicts against Heretics. Death of Margaret of Savoy.
Charles, prince of Castile, being scarcely more than six years of age at the time of his father's death, the government of the Netherlands was once again placed in the hands of his grandfather Maximilian, as his legal guardian; but the emperor, little inclined to withdraw himself from his numerous avocations for the sake of administering the affairs of his Netherland subjects, between whom and himself, not the slightest feeling of attachment had ever existed, appointed his 1507 daughter Margaret, duchess-dowager of Savoy, governess-general of these provinces.
William de Croye, lord of Aarschot and Chievres, continued in the office of stockholder of the Netherlands, while the education of the young prince was entrusted to Adrian Florenceson of Utrecht, professor at the high school of Louvain, a man of low birth, but admirably adapted, from his virtues and attainments, to direct the mind of his pupil in the path to excellence and knowledge 1,2.
The governess, accompanied by the imperial deputies, made her public entry into Dordrecht, where the . states of Holland, immediately after the investiture, in the hope of inducing her to restore some of their most important privileges, voted that the petitions which had lately been levied should henceforward be continued. They soon perceived, however, that they had little to expect in return. To the demands that the j towns might be allowed their councils as formerly, to administer their affairs, and choose yearly a double number for the selection of the senate, and that the offices of the state should be given to natives only, the duchess replied, that she was bound to leave these matters as they had been in the time of Philip. The states also desired, that the supreme court of Holland should not receive appeals in causes under 100 crowns 3; this request she promised to take into consideration.
- Pont. Heut. Rer. Aust., lib. vii., cap. 2 ; lib. viii., cap. 1. Snoi. Rer. Bat., lib. xiii., p. 184.
- According to Du Bellay, liv. i, p. 2, Louis XII. was appointed by Philip guardian of his son ; but there is no allusion to it in Heuterus, in Snoius, or in the correspondence of Louis XII.; and the historian mistakes the age of Charles, who, he says, was eleven years old at his father's death.
- The reason of this provision was, that wealthy suitors sometimes appealed to the supreme court, for no other purpose than that of wearying out the poorer party by expense.
She consented that no letters of reprisal should be granted, without the advice, not only of the Stadtholder and council, as in the time of Philip, but also of the states; to the demand of the states, that the vassalsof the County should not be forced to serve unless within its boundaries, and for a fair remuneration, the governess replied that she should in this particular adhere to the old custom 1,2. After her installation in Holland, the governess was acknowledged in Zealand, where it does not appear that any conditions were proposed for her acceptance.
The harassing war with Guelderland gave Margaret no small anxietssy, in her new government. The finances of the Netherlands had been so effectually drained by the unceasing prodigality of the princes of the house of Burgundy, that the provinces of Holland and Brabant, from want of sufficient funds to pay troops to defend themselves, were kept in constant terror by an enemy so insignificant as Charles van Egmond, whose chief resource lay in the scanty and precarious assistance afforded by France. The whole force of the Netherlands, even since a new levy had been made, consisted of no more than 700 or 800 horse, 1500 German foot-soldiers, and 3500 Netherlanders, of whom the latter, dispirited, and ill-equipped, were not much to be depended on; while the whole of their artillery amounted to two small field pieces, and ten or twelve falconets, with two horses to each 3.
- Groot Plakaat, deel. iv., bl. 10.
- The heavy exactions lately levied under the name of Ruytergeld, or compensation for military service, had given rise to this demand of the states.
- Lettres du Roy Louis XIL, torn, i., p. 99,100.
On the other hand, Charles of Guelderland was no better provided; for as he depended entirely on France for the payment of his troops, and no supplies arrived from thence, he was obliged to lead them into Brabant and Holland, in order that they might furnish themselves with necessaries from the booty they could obtain there. They plundered a few small places in the former Country, when advancing into Holland, they made themselves masters of Muyden and Weesp, and even threatened Amsterdam itself: but a vigorous sally from a fort built between the Y and the Diemer, aided by a sharp fire from the vessels lying in both these waters, forced them to a hasty retreat. Charles, who was awaiting the issue of the attempt at Weesp, fearing, when he heard of its failure, that the Amsterdammers would besiege him in Gooiland, retired with all his forces into Guelderland 1.
Margaret, convinced that the surest method of weakening the Duke of Guelderland, was by depriving him of the assistance of France, concluded, in order to give that power sufficient employment elsewhere, a treaty of alliance and mutual defence with the King of England; and since Claude, daughter of Louis XII, the affianced bride of Prince Charles, had been in the year before espoused to Francis de Valois, a marriage was agreed upon between the young prince and Mary, daughter of Henry VII. The king was to give a portion of 250,000 crowns of gold, and the fulfilment of the contract was guaranteed under a penalty of 50,000 crowns by several of the Netherland nobles, and by the "good towns" of Dordrecht, Amsterdam, Lejden, Middleburg, and Zierikzee.
- Gugl. Hermanni Bell. Gelr., p. 338—346.
Yet, though the espousals were afterwards solemnized, the enfeebled condition of the king's health, and his death in the next year, prevented the beneficial effects which Mar-1508 garet expected from this treaty 1.
In the next campaign the Netherland arms were successful in the capture of the fort of Pouderoy from the French and Guelderlanders; they likewise laid siege to Weesp, when a truce for six weeks was agreed upon preparatory to a final peace between Louis of France and the Duke of Guelderland on the one side, and Maximilian and Charles, prince of Castile, on the other 2. For this ostensible purpose Louis proposed a meeting between the Duchess Margaret and his prime minister, the Cardinal d'Amboise, in the autumn of the year 1508; the real object of the conference being the formation of the celebrated league of Cambray against Venice, which had so nearly proved the entire destruction of that ancient and powerful republic.
The kings of France and Arragon, the Pope Julius II., and the emperor, were parties to this confederacy, which was left open for the accession of the King of England and the Duke of Savoy 3. In framing it, the two ablest negotiators in Europe had sought to give it stability, as well by removing as far as possible all subjects of contention 4, as by appropriating to each power such portion of the territories to be conquered from Venice as it might be supposed most desirous of acquiring 5.
- Rym. Feed., torn, xiii., p. 171—176,191, 213, 239.
- Lettres de Louis XII., torn, i., p. 122.
- Lettres du Roy Louis XII., torn, i., p. 120. Recueil des Traites, torn, ii., p. 59.
- This was not accomplished without vehement debates; one article, in particular, insisted on by Margaret, that the King of Navarre should » be included as an ally of Maximilian, gave rise to such lively contests that Margaret writes to her ambassadors at the court of England, "they had a headache not seldom, and she and the cardinal were often on the point of pulling each other's hair." Lettres de Louis XII., torn. i.,p. 132
- Thus the emperor was to have Roveredo, Verona, Padua, Vkenza, Treviso, Friuli, and all that the Venetians possessed, which had belonged to the empire or Austria; to the Pope was allotted Ravenna, Cervii, Faenza, Rimini, Imola, and Cesena, while the King of France was to be put in possession of all the territory which had been dismembered from the duchy of Milan, namely, Brescia, Pergamo, Crema, Cremona, and Chiaradadda. Recueil des Traites, torn, ii., p. 29*
But they were not able to extinguish the embers of jealousy which still lay smouldering in the breasts of its several members. Within three months after the signing of the treaty, which took place on the 10th of December, symptoms of mistrust began to appear among the allies. The Pope, fearing the designs of the French, refused to attack the Venetians until the former had first opened the campaign; while Maximilian suspected, not without reason, that Louis secretly encouraged Charles of Guelderland to violate the truce, in order to engage his attention elsewhere, that he himself might be left to pursue his conquests in Italy without interference 1.
By the truce concluded at the same time with Charles of Guelderland, he was to restore Weesp and Muyden, and both parties were to retain their present possessions till his claims upon the duchy were decided by the arbitration of the emperor and the kings of France, England, and Scotland. Trade was to continue free between the two Countries, and the King of France bound himself not to afford Charles any further assistance 2. It is most probable that neither party had the slightest intention of adhering to this compromise. 1509 Charles did indeed unwillingly surrender Weesp and Muyden, but very shortly after, alleging that the Netherlander» had broken the truce by laying Bommel under contribution, he recommenced hostilities.
- Guicciardini Storia d'ltalia, lib. viii., p. 414. Lettres de Louis XIL, torn, i., p. 161,162.
- Recueil des Traites, toni. ii., p. 61, 52.
Margaret, hereupon, sent ambassadors to the French court to complain to Louis of the conduct of his ally, and to require that he should henceforth entirely abandon him. This, however, Louis evaded, although be denied that he had promised him any assistance, and continued to use expressions of the sincerest friendship towards Maximilian, affecting to desire a marriage between the Duke of Guelderland and one of the sisters of the young Prince Charles. It is probable, indeed, that Charles of Guelderland did not receive any actual assistance from France, as his movements this summer were confined to ravaging the open Country 1.
While embarrassed with the hostilities of 1510 Guelderland, the Hollanders were involved in a war between John, king of Denmark, and the Hanse towns. During a long series of hostilities between Denmark and Sweden, the Hanse towns, in spite of recent treaties to the contrary, had persisted in carrying on their commerce with the latter nation, and the Danes, in consequence, seized their trading vessels. The Hanse towns, on the other hand, with a view of depriving Denmark of its profitable trade with Holland, published abroad that they would not permit any vessel to pass through the Sound under pain of forfeiture of ship and cargo; and without any further declaration of war, seized eight Dutch ships at Gripwalde 2.
- Lettres de Louis XII., torn., p. 266, 271; torn, ii., p. 24, 28.
- Vclius Hoorn, bl. 08, 99. Hist, de Dannemarc de Mallet, torn, y., p. 361—369.
In consequence of this hostile movement on the part of the Hanse towns, the towns of North Holland and West Friesland prepared a considerable fleet for the assistance of the King of Denmark, and having effected a junction with the Danish ships in the Baltic, they captured thirteen Hanse vessels in the port of Wismar, ravaged the island of Rugen, and made themselves masters of a rich booty. But not long after, the Lubekkers, having received a reinforcement from Stralsund, Wismar, Bostok, and Luneburg, fell in with a fleet of 200 Dutch ships near Dantzig, part of which they sunk, and dispersed the remainder, excepting 1511 sixty, which they carried away prisoners: they were principally laden with copper, and the loss to the city of Hoorn alone was estimated at 20,000 Rhenish guilders 1.
Notwithstanding this success, the Hanse towns, whose commerce was interrupted, and their supplies cut off by the Danish privateers, showed themselves willing to listen to terms of accommodation, and a convention was concluded between them and Denmark, which was followed by a treaty of peace in the ensuing year: the Hanse towns indemnifying the Holland merchants for a portion of the losses they had sustained during the war 2.
The peace between Denmark and the Hanse Towns gave occasion to Charles of Guelderland to renew hostilities with greater vigour, by enabling him to take into his pay 2000 foot soldiers dismissed the Danish service. With these he surprised Harderwyk and Bommel, and made himself master of Tiel and other small places 3.
Upon intelligence of these transactions, Louis of France despatched an ambassador to Guelderland, to prevail on Charles to restore Harderwyk.
- Hist, de Danne. de Mallet, torn, v., p. 370. Velius Hoorn, bl. 99.
- Groote Chronyk, divis. xxxii., cap. 40. Hist, de Danne. de Mallet, torn, v.,'pp. 372, 373.
- Lettres du Roy Louis XII., torn, ii., p. 116���120. Pont. Heut. Rer. Aust., lib, vii., cap. 3.
But whether the minister were furnished with secret instructions to the contrary, or that Charles thought himself sufficiently strong to refuse compliance with the request of Louis, he not only showed himself disinclined to deliver up the town, but committed further injuries against the Netherlander, by seizing eighty of their merchants» travelling from Cologne to Frankfort 1. As Louis vehemently denied the accusation of insincerity in this affair, and disclaimed having made any offer or promise of assistance to the Duke of Guelderlandq, it is probable that Charles was chiefly encouraged to persevere in the war by his knowledge of the low condition of the treasury in the Netherlands, and the small force then asssembled for their defence.
Such was the wretched state of exhaustion to which the continued prodigality of their sovereigns had reduced these once rich and flourishing provinces, that Margaret was unable to collect sufficient funds to defray the expenses of her ambassadors at foreign courts, whose demands of arrears and complaints of non-payment were incessant; and the same cause prevented her sending deputies to the council of Pisa, summoned in this year by Louis XIL 2. Nevertheless, the fears entertained by Holland of a new irruption on the part of Charles of Guelderland, enabled her to obtain the consent of the states assembled at Breda, that the war subsidies should be continued for three years longer. Only 1500 German foot soldiers were now in the field, the remainder of the troops being distributed among the several garrisons belonging to Margaret in Guelderland, when a seasonable succour of 1500 infantry arrived from England, under the command of Sir Edward Poynings.
- Lettres de Louis XII., torn, ii., p. 12G, 157, 150.
- Idem, p. 11)0, 210, 211, 250. r Idem, passim, torn, iii., p. 90.
By laying siege to Venloo, they kept Duke Charles's troops employed during the whole summer, but not sufficiently numerous to blockade the town; and failing in three attempts to carry it by assault, the siege was at length raised, and the troops» at the approach of winter, returned to their own Country 1.
Whatever may have been the sincerity of Louis's endeavours hitherto to effect a pacification between the Duke of Guelderland and Maximilian, a change now took place in the affairs of Italy, of such importance, as to leave him little either of power or inclination to support so burdensome an ally. By an article of the treaty of Cambray, it was provided, that no one of the confederates should make a peace or truce with the Venetians, without consent of the whole 2.
All the contracting parties successively violated this 1512 engagement. Pope Julius II. quickly repenting of the measures which his headstrong and short-sighted anger against the Venetians impelled him to pursue, and dreading the increase of the power of France so near his own states, bent his whole soul upon the project of again expelling "the barbarians" from Italy; for this purpose, he made an alliance with his former enemies, and, in conjunction with them, attacked the French in their newly-made conquests of Milan and Genoa. He had, likewise, invited to this alliance Ferdinand of Arragon, and had been the principal instrument in forming a confederacy between him and Henry VIII. of England, whereby Henry engaged to invade Guienne in concert with Ferdinand 3.
- Rym. Faed., torn, xiii., p. 302. Lettres de Louis XII., torn, ii., p. 131. Letter of the Governess to Maximilian, torn, iii., p. 88, 80.
- Recueil des Tiaite's, torn, ii., p. 61.
- Rym. Faed., torn, xiii., p. 311 et seq.
The emperor, the only one of the great powers of Europe not yet in actual hostility against Louis, made it a condition of the continuation of such friendship as he still thought it advisable to profess towards him, that he should renounce entirely the protection of the Duke of Guelderland. Louis, therefore, at length applied himself sincerely and earnestly to the mediation of a treaty between Charles and Maximilian, greatly to the advantage of the Netherlanders. The conditions offered by the emperor and Margaret were, that Charles should engage in the service of the Prince of Castile, where he should be honourably entertained; that he should possess Guelderland and Zutphen only as Stadtholder of the emperor; that the emperor might resume the duchy upon payment of a reasonable sum; and lastly, that things should be restored to the same state as they were at the time of the peace of Cambray. Charles, though he professed himself willing to listen to any reasonable terms of accommodation, absolutely rejected all these demands, although a report was current, that 15,000 of the troops from England, which had lately been landed at Calais, were to be employed on behalf of the emperor in Guelderland 1.
Upon the rupture of these negotiations, Charles advanced with 1100 men to Amsterdam, burnt the suburb, and destroyed some vessels lying in the old Waal. The Guelderlanders then retreated to the Carthusian monastery, near Utrecht, where the Lord of Wassenaar, making an attempt to dislodge them, at the head of only 400 men, was defeated, and taken prisoner. It is supposed, that, if Charles had at this time possessed sufficient funds to pay his soldiers for only two months longer, he would have reduced Holland to the last extremity.
- Lettres de Louis XII., torn, iii., p. 128,141,160, 224r—7.
Since the endeavours of Maximilian to raise troops or money were attended with slender success, and he either would not, or could not, repair in person |to the assistance of his daughter in the Netherlands, unless a sum of 10,000 guilders, at 1513 the least, were provided for his travelling expenses 1. Fortunately for Holland, the war with England, and the powerful league formed against Louis in Italy, rendered it utterly impossible for him to afford Charles the subsidies he so earnestly desired. The circumstances of both parties thus inclining them to pacific measures, a truce for four years was concluded, to commence on the 1st of August 2.
Maximilian now no longer seeking to conceal his unfriendly feelings towards Louis, entered into the alliance of the Pope and the Kings of Arragon and England, each party binding itself to make war on France within two months. The emperor, although professing that he had agreed to the treaty only in his own person, and not in the quality of guardian to his grandson, yet gave the English unlimited permission to levy troops in the Netherlands, and hire vessels in Holland and Zealand. To the remonstrances of Louis on this subject, Margaret did not hesitate to declare, that it was without her knowledge or connivance that her subjects enlisted into the English service, notwithstanding that she was at the same time receiving the sum of 200,000 crowns of gold to maintain a body of 4000 horse and 6000 foot for the service of Henry in the Netherlands 3.
- The plea of poverty advanced by Maximilian the " Moneyless " was most likely real, since he had been under the necessity of pawning a valuable setting of jewels, called the " riche fleur de lis," and containing a portion of the true cross, to the King of England, for 60,000 golden crowns.—Rym. Fod.1., tom.xiii., p. 234, 240, 241.
- Groote Chronyk, divis. xxxii., cap. 41. Lettres de Louis XII., torn, iii., p. 159; torn, iv., p. 13, 20. Velius Hoorn, bl. 100.
- Rym. Faed., torn, xiii., p. 355, 356, 380. Lettres de Louis XII., torn, iv., p. 110,137,154, 217.
This dubious policy met with the usual fete of half measures, that of satisfying neither party; Louis wrote to the citizens of Ghent, and the other towns of Flanders and Artois, to threaten them with the effects of his heavy displeasure, if they afforded any succours to his enemies, and declared to Margaret, that it was only the tender age of the Prince of Castile that prevented his summoning him in respect of these fiefs, to do service in the war against the English. Henry, on his side, complained, that the governess, by a command she had issued, forbidding the Netherland troops in his pay to commit hostilities m France, had violated the substance of the agreement made between them 1.
Neither did England and the Netherlands observe with more fidelity towards each other the contract of marriage which had now existed for nearly seven years between the young Prince of Castile, and Mary, sister of Henry VIII. It had been agreed that the nuptials 1514 should be completed as soon as Charles attained the age of fourteen, and the ceremony was fixed by the English monarch to take place at Calais, in the month of May of this year 2.
But Maximilian, whose character it was "to leave things when they were almost come to perfection, and end them by imagination 3," objected to this place of meeting, and required a further delay; and notwithstanding the heavy penalty under which the towns and nobles had guaranteed the treaty, and that Margaret, deeply anxious for the alliance, and weary of the vacillating policy of her father,
- Lettres de Louis XII., torn, iv., p. 120, 137, 356.
- Rym. Feed., torn, xiii., p. 381.
- Bacon's Henry VII., p. 67.
pressed him with sharp remonstrances to come to a speedy conclusion, he not only refused to repair to Calais, and neglected to send, in compliance with the treaty, an ambassador to England with full powers to celebrate the marriage by proxy, but even entered into a negotiation with Louis of France, for the marriage of his grandson to Renée, daughter of that monarch. Henry considered himself justified by this conduct in accepting the offers made him by the King of France; and concluding a peace with that Country, bestowed on Louis, then at the age of fifty-two, the hand of his youthful sister Mary, at that time one of the most beautiful and graceful women in Europe 1.
Louis had, in the beginning of the year, effected a peace with the republic of Venice, and a truce for a year with Ferdinand of Arragon: the empire was included as an ally of England in the peace with France, and the accession of the young Prince of Castile was notified shortly after 2. But the repose which should have followed this general pacification, was disturbed by the restless spirit of Charles of Guelderland, who, after his truce with Margaret, found a new theatre of action in Groningen and Friesland.
Albert of Saxony, the imperial Stadtholder of Friesland, had at the same time been appointed Stadtholder of Groningen. But the inhabitants of this province, anciently belonging to the bishopric of Utrecht, refused to acknowledge Albert; and, finding the bishop unable to protect them, had placed themselves under the government of Edward, Count of East Friesland, in the year 1506. Since that time Edward had not only been able to maintain himself in Groningen in defiance of Duke George of Saxony, who had succeeded Albert as imperial Stadtholder , but, by means of a secret understanding with the Frieslanders, had attempted to reduce that province also under his dominion.
- Lettres de Louis XII., torn, iv., p. 271, 305,319, 338. Recueil des Traites, torn, ii., p. 91. Rym. Feed., torn, xiii., p, 413, 431.
- Recueil des Traites, torn, ii., p. 93, 100. Rym. Feed., torn, xiil, p. 419,457.
George of Saxony, forming an alliance with the Bishop of Utrecht, invaded Groningen, and laid siege to the city; and the Count of East Friesland, unable to procure auxiliaries from Holland, besought the assistance of Charles of Guelderland 1. An admirable opportunity was thus afforded to this ambitious prince, for taking measures to extend his own authority in Groningen and Friesland, under pretext of assisting his ally. Repairing in person to the court of France, he negotiated a treaty between Louis and Count Edward, whereby the latter was to hold Groningen as a fief of the French crown, and he himself received a command, as the liegeman of the king, to secure the Count in his possessions. This he engaged to do, on condition that Edward should pay him 35,000 guilders. With difficulty Edward collected half this sum, and by means of these slender resources Charles contrived to raise an army by the September of the same year 2.
Duke George of Saxony, meanwhile engaged at the siege of Groningen, sent ambassadors into France to represent to Louis, that Groningen being a fief of the empire, any interference on his part in its affairs, would be a violation of the peace, and to desire that he would neither receive the allegiance of Edward, nor permit his vassal, Charles of Guelderland, to commit hostilities there. This remonstrance had no effect; and Charles, perceiving that Count Edward had not sufficient forces to oppose his designs, proposed to the citizens of Groningen, that as there appeared no other means of ridding themselves of the Saxons, they should acknowledge him as their sovereign, under the King of France; threatening, if they refused, to surrender them to the mercy of Duke George.
- Bening. Chron. Orient. Fris. apud Matthsi Analecta, p. 236.
- Lettres de Louis XIL, torn, iv., p. 318. Bening., p. 251, 257.
Hardly a choice being left to the inhabitants, they did homage to the Duke of Guelderland in the person of his marshal, William van Oye, and Count Edward renounced in his favour all right over Groningen and the Ommeland 1.
After thus possessing himself of Groningen, Duke Charles, upon the invitation of some of the inhabitants of Friesland, who were dissatisfied with the Saxon government, manned a number of ships at Harderwyk, 1515 and sent them to effect a landing in that province. The success of the expedition was almost instantaneous. Sneek, Bolsward, and several other towns, were mastered with but faint resistance; and the Duke of Saxony, on the tidings of these events, suddenly broke up his camp in Friesland, and withdrew into Germany, leaving his troops unpaid. These soldiers, abandoned by their leader, and without any other means of subsistence than plunder, became, by their licentiousness and rapine, a terror to the provinces of Friesland, Overyssel, and Utrecht, where they were known by the name of " zwarten hoop," or black band 2.
While matters were in this confusion in Friesland and Groningen, Maximilian, who from poverty was unable, or from the dislike with which he had always viewed his Netherland subjects, was unwilling to visit them in person, determined now to relieve himself of the guardianship both of' his grandson and his states.
- Lettres de Louis XII., torn, iv., p. 381, 382. Bening., p. 258—261.
- Lettres de Louis XII., 265—275. Velins Hoorn, LI. 106.
Charles was at this time no more than fifteen; but besides being an adept in all military exercises, he was already well skilled in the language and history of the principal Countries of Europe 1 and had given proofs of such superior intelligence, gravity, and application, that he was universally considered as capable of being entrusted with the government. He was therefore acknowledged in the spring of this year as sovereign in Brabant and Flanders, and early in the summer in Holland and Zealand, having first taken the oath to maintain their privileges 2.
Soon after his accession, George of Saxony made an attempt to repossess himself of Friesland, which proving unsuccessful, he transferred his right to that state to the new sovereign of the Netherlands for the som of 350,000 Rhenish guilders* Charles sent thither Egmond, Count of Buuren, who received the oath of allegiance in his name from Leeuwarden, Franeker, and the rest of those places which had not Guelderland garrisons 3. To provide for the payment of the sum stipulated, a general assessment was made on the houses and lands in Holland, and a capitation tax levied: it appears that only 200,030 acres 4 of land and 35,000 houses were assessed, the remainder being either church-lands, abbeys, or such as, belonging to the nobility, claimed an exemption from the County taxes, and that the capitation tax was paid by no more than 172,000 persons, the rest of the population, consisting either of clergy, nobles, or those whose plea of poverty was admitted for non-payment: we are not, however, able to estimate the number of these classes of the people, since the Netherlander were never accustomed to take any census of their population in general, but to reckon those only who were able to bear arms, and liable to pay the land-tax 5.
- He could not, however, be induced by any means to learn Latin, for which he afterwards expressed deep regret, being, "when emperor, unable to understand the Latin orations of the several ambassadors at his court. Bent. Rer. Aust., lib. viii.,cap. 1.
- Reigersberg, deel. ii., bL 884—387. Boxhom op Reig., deel, ii., bl. 613.
- Pont. Heut. Rer. Aust., lib. vii., cap. 11.
- The Dutch acre containing about two English acres.
- Vaterlandsclie Hist., iv. deel., bl.391. Guicc, Belg. Des. tom. i., p. 205.
The marriage treaty which had been set on foot by Maximilian in the year 1513, between Charles and Renée, second daughter of Louis XII., was confirmed 1515 by the young prince on his accession, and an alliance of commerce and friendship made at the same time with Francis I., who had now succeeded Louis on the throne of France.
To testify his gratification at the prospect of this union, Francis, on the request of Charles, consented to the marriage of Henry, Count of Nassau, the favoured follower of the latter, and whom he had appointed Stadtholder of Holland, with Claude, sister of Philibert de Chalons, prince of; Orange; by which marriage the principality of Orange, on the death of Philibert without issue, devolved on 1516 the house of Nassau.
On the death of his grandfather Ferdinand, king of Arragon, Charles, although his mother was still alive, assumed the title of King of Spain, and in this quality renewed his alliance with France, engaging to marry, not Renée, but Louise, the infant daughter of Francis 1. As it was necessary that he should repair to Spain for the ceremony 1517 of his coronation, he confided the government of the Netherlands to his aunt, Margaret of Savoy, nominating a privy council to assist her in the administration of affairs 2.
The influence which Philip the Good had obtained in Utrecht, by the nomination of his natural son David to the bishopric, had again been lost under the administration of his successor, Frederick of Baden: the Utrechters having frequently sided with the Guelderlanders in their wars against Holland.
- Recueil des Traites, torn, ii., p. 117,141.
- Groot Plakaat., deel. vi., bl. 13.
But Frederick, now weary of the cares of government, which he had sustained more than twenty years, was desirous of surrendering his bishopric, if an adequate remuneration were offered him. Charles, to whom Utrecht was of the last importance, on account of the passage it afforded the Guelderlanders into Holland, soon agreed 1516 with Frederick upon the terms of his resignation in favour of Philip of Burgundy, another natural son of Philip the Good.
As he was at this time an admiral, it was necessary to purchase the consent of the Pope to his election with a good sum of money, and 12,000 ducats was the price paid for the papal bull in confirmation of it, The states of Utrecht, though unwilling to change masters, and fearful lest Charles should, as Duke Philip had done, possess himself of the whole temporal sovereignty of the bishopric, were yet too much in dread of his power, and their treasury was in too exhausted a condition to admit of their making any 1517 resistance: they therefore received their new bishop, insisting only upon some few conditions of slight importance. This occurred before the departure of Charles for Spain, but it was not until nearly a year had elapsed that Philip was admitted into holy orders, and consecrated to the see 1.
It is one among the many instances of heedless rapacity, which Leo X. exhibited during the whole course of his reign, that he should at this critical period for the Catholic church, have been induced by pecuniary considerations to elevate to the episcopal dignity a man neither imbued with the dogmas of that church, nor bred up in the learning of the schools, so favourable to her doctrines; and it cannot be doubted that the influence of Bishop Philip contributed in no small degree towards the spread of the principles of -the Reformers, now fast gaining ground in Holland.
- Gerardus Noviomagus apud Analecta Matthsei, torn. L, p. 166-186. Heda in Fred., p. 318, 319.
All are familiar with the causes and leading events of the phenomenon of modern times—the Reformation, of which, if Saxony was the nursing mother in its infancy, Holland was the guardian and defender of its naturer growth. Such a part, the character and disposition of her people peculiarly fitted her to perform, Partaking in a high degree of the enthusiastic spirit, and contemplative imagination, remarkable perhaps in the natives of Teutonic origin, the tangible and (if we may so express it) sensual mode of worship of the Romish church, was far less adapted to her moral nature than the purer, more mysterious, and more imaginative creed of the early Reformers; while the dissolute lives and extravagant luxury of the Catholic clergy were most unsuitable to the simple manners and frugal habits of the great body of the Dutch nation.
We have seen that, as early as the reign of Philip the Good, men's minds were prepared for this great revolution; and had this prince opposed any violent obstacle to the current of public opinion, instead of gently turning it aside while appearing to yield to its force, it is most probable that, overleaping the barriers of custom and prejudice, (afterwards so much weakened by the diffusion of knowledge consequent on the invention of printing,) it would have hurried Holland so far forward in the march of events, that the rest of Europe being as yet unprepared to support her, she must have yielded in the struggle, and the reformed religion have been trampled under foot on that soil, where she has since raised her throne of glory.
The immediate exciting causes of the Reformation, the sale of indulgences tinder pretext of a war against the Turks, with the misapplication of the funds derived from that source, and the vehement disputes of the Franciscan and Dominican monks-operated no less strongly in Holland than in other Countries; and the writings of Luther, printed and publicly sold in the neighbouring County of East Friesland, had found their way thither, where they were soon widely diffused, and greedily devoured.
Philip, bishop of Utrecht, exempt by his education and habits from all the bigotry of a churchman, hesitated not to express his conviction of the necessity of checking the rapacity of the clergy, of lessening the number of saints days, and of substituting good and effective preachers in the place of the ignorant and careless monks, who but too frequently filled this office. He both practised and recommended the study of the Holy Scriptures, instead of the lives of the saints, which he considered as idle fables, and was a strong advocate for the marriage of the clergy.
In these opinions he was fortified by the learned and illustrious Erasmus of Rotterdam, with whom he entertained a correspondence, and who was himself not opposed to many of the doctrines of Luther, however averse the headstrong character and violent proceedings of the latter may have been from his own gentle temper and Christian forbearance 1.
Erasmus would have purified and repaired the venerable fabric of the Church with a light and cautious touch, fearful lest learning, virtue, and religion should be buried in its fell; while Luther struck at the tottering ruin with a hold and reckless hand, confident that a new and more beautiful temple would rise from its ashes.
- Brandt's Hist, der Ref., boek ii., bl. 62, 63.
Under the example and encouragement of such men as the Bishop of Utrecht and Erasmus, it was no wonder that the Netherlanders lent a willing ear to the new tenets, even if other circumstances had not prepared for them a favourable reception; nor was their diffusion materially checked by the subsequent persecution which the political situation of Charles, no less than his natural disposition, prompted him to exercise.
1519 The death of the Emperor Maximilian in the January of this year, gave occasion to a general war throughout Europe. Charles, king of Spain, and Francis I., of France, both claimants for the imperial dignity, professed towards each other a generous rivaliy, without jealousy, and without animosity 1. But they greatly overrated the strength of their own moderation, and the chagrin of Francis at the success of his competitor, was accompanied by so powerful an aversion, that it was never extinguished during the remainder of his life. He scrupled not to sacrifice to this passion all considerations of prudence and policy, and it was to gratify its immediate impulse, that he anxiously sought a pretext for declaring war against the new emperor.
Charles was in Spain at the time of his election, 1520 where he was detained until the May of the following year by the tumults that had arisen in consequence of his employment of Netherlanders in the administration of affairs 2. On his way to Germany he visited the court of England, where he remained some days, and during that time so successfully flattered the vanity, and gratified the cupidity of Wolsey, the favourite and prime minister of Henry VIII., that by his means he attached the king firmly to his interests' 3.
- Du Bellay, liv. i., p. 25.
- Pont. Heut. Rer. Aust., lib. viii., cap. 4.
- Rym. Feed., torn, xiii., pp. 769, 771.
In passing through the Netherlands the states voted him a subsidy of 200,000 crowns to defray the expenses of his approaching coronation at Abe. The emperor once more confirmed the Duchess Margaret in the office of governess, appointing the Bishops of Liege and Utrecht as heads of a privy council which he appointed to assist her in the management of affairs, and made some other arrangements in the government of Holland and Zealand, such as manifested a strong disinclination to be fettered in the exercise of his authority by any popular rights. He gave the governess power to summon the states when and where she pleased; and they were commanded to abide by her instructions, not only generally, but on each particular question.
The great council of Mechlin, as well as the supreme court of Holland, were to be subject to appeals before the governess in privy council. Thus a new power was created, unrecognized by the constitution, and superseding at once the legislative functions of the states and the administration of justice in the regular courts, while it deprived the supreme court of Holland of the dignity it had always enjoyed as council of the sovereign. He likewise ordered the supreme court of Holland to suspend or abrogate entirely, all such privileges as were appealed to against the execution of his ordinances 1.
These measures, destructive of the civil liberty of the Netherlander were followed by restraints on the freedom of religious belief. Charles, desirous of strengthening himself by every means in his power 1521 against the threatened hostility of France, sought U gain the favour of the Pope by publishing in the Netherlands his bull, condemning the heretical doctrines and writings of Luther.
- Groot Plakaatb., deel. ii., bl. 13.
This he followed up by an edict, forbidding the printing or publishing of lampoons against the Pope and clergy, or of any works on matters of faith, on pain of punishment according to temporal and spiritual justice; by which terms, as it afterwards appeared, the penalty of death was understood; and the like punishment was inflicted on all who should be convicted of holding heretical opinions, so much favour being extended to those who recanted, as to permit them to be beheaded, instead of burnt or buried alive, as were the obstinate and relapsed heretics. Notwithstanding the infringement upon the authority of the states, by pressing on them a measure of so much importance without their consent, or even previous knowledge, they ventured to offer no opposition to the publication of the edict either in Holland or Zealand 1. 1522
As, nevertheless, the general disposition both of the governments of the towns and of the people occasioned its being but languidly carried into execution, the emperor, in the following year, appointed Francis van der Hulst, councillor of Brabant, to search out the Lutheran writings, as well as the followers of the reformed doctrines; and issued a new edict summoning every one suspected of heresy to appear within a certain time, that he may be " mercifully corrected, purified, and instructed*. 2
- Brandt's Hist. der Reform, boek ii., bl. 67, 70. Meteren Ned. Hist., boek i., fol. 10. Velius Hoorn, bl. 120.
- Brandt's Hist, der Ref., boek ii., bl. 71. Report, der Plakaat Tan Holland, bl. 9.
In the year 1525 another edict appeared, forbidding the study of the Epistles and other spiritual writings, directed probably against the new German translation of the Bible by Luther, which had been printed in Amsterdam two years before. About the time of the publication of this edict, the death of the first martyr in Holland signalised the commencement of the fearful persecution which afterwards desolated this devoted Country.
John Bakker, a priest of Woerden, who had married, and was accused of holding heretical opinions, was tried at the Hague, condemned to death, impaled, and burnt 1. He perished in silence and obscurity, but his blood was not shed in vain; from it sprung a "noble army of martyrs," who presented their undaunted breasts as a rampart to defend the struggling faith. Several more shared the same fate with Bakker, and many citizens of Amsterdam, Leyden, Haarlem, and other places expiated in solitary dungeons this newly-discovered crime.
If the complaisance of Charles towards the Pope were hostile to the religious views of the Dutch, so was his enmity towards France prejudicial to their financial and commercial interests. The pretext for war which Francis desired so much to find, was not far to seek. The possession of the kingdom of Navarre, disputed since 1512 between the crowns of France and Spain, afforded one always ready at hand; and it was with the invasion of this state that Francis began the campaign early in 1521, while Charles was yet embarrassed by the disputes between his Spanish subjects and his Netherland ministers 2.
For a time the fortune of war was favourable to the French, but a total defeat in a pitched battle fought near Pampeluna, afterwards threw the whole of Navarre, except Fontarabia, into the hands of the Spaniards.
- Brandt's Hist. Ref., boek ii., bl. 92—06.
- Pout. Heut, Rer, Aust., lib. viii., cap. 8, p, 193.
Meanwhile the Count of Nassau, Stadtholder of Holland, invaded Champagne by order of the emperor, received Monson by capitulation, and invested Mezieres, which, defended by the Chevalier Bayard, sustained the siege until a reinforcement of troops and provisions arrived from the French army, when Nassau, despairing of carrying the town either by assault or famine, determined upon a retreat; Monson was soon re-captured, Hedin and some smaller places surrendered to the French arms, while, on the other hand, Tournay was taken by the imperialists after a siege of five months 1.
For this war Holland was forced to supply troops from all her towns, and the vassals were summoned to serve, not the County, but the emperor 2. It does not appear that they made any remonstrance against this innovation, nor do I find that they ever ventured to assert their privilege of not serving beyond the boundaries of the County, except the war were undertaken with their own consent, under the princes of the house of Burgundy and Austria.
The anxious care of Margaret preserved the commerce and fisheries of Holland from much of the injury they would otherwise have suffered from these hostilities, 1521 since, by her efforts, an agreement was concluded with the ambassadors of France at Calais, under the mediation of Wolsey, that the vessels engaged in the herring fishery should remain unmolested during the ensuing season, and that no merchant ships should be attacked by the subjects of either power, in the ports belonging to the King of England, more especially in the Downs 3.
- Mem. de Du Bellay, liv. L, chap. 37, 38,47, 49.
- Plakaat van Holland, bl. 9.
- Recueil des Traites, torn, il., p. 182. Rym. Feed., tom. xiii. p. 763.
The Duke of Guelderland, whether incited by France, or encouraged by the circumstance that the soldiers were drawn out of the Netherlands for the war with that Country, ventured to come disguised into Holland, for the purpose of reconnoitring the frontiers, and singling out the most advantageous place of attack 1. The trace with him had been prolonged in 1515, under the mediation of Francis I., and often since renewed, but ill observed on both sides, particularly by sea, since Charles of Guelderland had constantly kept in his pay a freebooting captain, known and dreaded by the name of "Groote Pier," or great Peter, who, commanding some vessels manned by Frieslanders of the Guelderland party, kept Holland in terror, and rendered the Zuyderzee unsafe by his continual piracies; seizing all the herring boats or merchant ships he fell in with, and putting the crews to death without mercy 2.
Whatever designs Charles may have formed upon Holland, were postponed by the occurrences which happened in Overyssel, where, on the occasion of a dispute between Zwol and Kampen, he procured himself to be named protector of the former town, and having thus obtained a footing in the province, conquered the greater part of it, and obliged the Overysselers to conclude a treaty with him, engaging to acknowledge no other Bishop of Utrecht after the death of Philip, unless he first swore to live in peace with the Guelderlanders 3.
The extension of his authority in Overyssel was more than Counterbalanced to Charles of Guelderland by the entire loss of Friesland. The burghers of Sneek, having forced the Guelderland garrison to surrender the keys of the gates, changed the government, and invited the Hollanders into the province.
- Velius Hoorn, bl. 121.
- Idem, bl. 110—115.
- Pontanus, Hist. Gel., lib. xi., p. 704, Heut. Rer, A\ist7 l*b, viiu, cap. 12.
A body of troops, therefore, under George Schenck and John van Wassenaar, accompanied by some of the Friesland nobles, landed near Staveren, of which they took possession. Immediately after the occupation of the town, Schenck summoned the states thither, when it was 1522 agreed that the Counts of Holland should henceforth govern Friesland in the name of the emperor, the states reserving to themselves the power of choosing a "Podestate," as of old, who should administer the affairs of the province in conjunction with a council of twelve of the principal nobles. The remainder of the 1523 strong towns fell during the next year into the hands of Schenck, and thus Friesland, after so many centuries of obstinate and bloody wars, was finally reduced to submission under the Counts of Holland 1.
The constitution of Friesland differed considerably from that of the other Netherland states, and was perhaps, the purest relic that remained in Europe, of the old Saxon mode of government. Friesland was divided into three parts, Oostergouwe, Westergouwe, and Islegouwe, each having separate states, who deliberated alone, or in conjunction with the other two according as the nature of the business required: these three divisions were again subdivided into twenty-eight districts, or bailliages, of which Oostergouwe comprised twelve, Westergouwe and Islegouwe eight each; the inhabitants of these districts chose each a " Grietssman,' or bailiff, who, with a certain number of assessors, administered and executed justice in his bailliage, was the guardian of the public peace, received fines, and collected taxes imposed by the states, combining thus the offices of judge, sheriff of a County, and treasurer; their office, as well as that of their assessors, was annual.
- Pontanus, lib. xi., p. 699. Beut., Rer. Aust., lib, yin., cap. 19, p. 209.
Each bailliage sent two deputies to the states; the towns, eleven in number, had nothing in common with the rural districts, except that they sent each two deputies to the general assembly of the states of Friesland. The electors of the deputies from the bailliages were nobles, possessors of land, whether they let or cultivated it themselves, renters of land, and ministers of the church: the grietssman had great influence in the elections, and was often named one of the deputies 1.
The death of Pope Leo X., who had done all that lay in his power to keep alive the animosities between the emperor and France, and the election to the papal see of Adrian Florenceson of Utrecht, formerly tutor to Charles, appeared likely to present an opportunity for pacific overtures; but Francis, dissatisfied that a Pope should have been chosen so entirely in the emperor's interests, determined to carry on the war with renewed vigour, more particularly in Italy. The events of the campaign, however, proved most unpropitious to him; his general-in-chief, Lautrec, sustained a severe defeat at the Bicoque, a Country house near Milan, and the Marshal de Foix, who succeeded him in the command, was forced to withdraw his troops 1522 from the whole of Lombardy, except the citadels of Milan, Novarra, and Cremona 2.
The favourable aspect of his affairs determined Charles to pass over into Spain, where fresh insurrections, amounting now to an actual civil war, urgently required his presence.
- Des. Belg. addit. ad Lud. Guic. Francis. Vitellii, torn, ii., p. 230, 237, 242.
- Du Bella/, liv. ii., p. 60—70.
Setting sail from Arnemuydeo, in Zealand, he once more landed in England, where he renewed the alliance with Henry, each party engaging to invade France before the end of May, 1524. A marriage was also agreed upon between Charles and Mary, daughter of Henry (the same who afterwards married his son Philip), so soon as she should have attained the age of twelve years. The emperor, after a stay of six weeks in England, proceeded on his journey to Spain 1.
Another ally was soon added to this confederacy, i in the person of Pope Adrian VI., who, though devoted ! to the interests of Charles, had hitherto so for preserved the appearance of neutrality, as to issue a bull, commanding the princes of Christendom to conclude a truce for three years, and to prepare themselves for war against the Turks 2.
The rejection of this proposal by Francis, left Adrian at liberty to espouse the side of his former master, who was likewise supported in Italy by the Duke of Milan, and the republics of Venice, Florence, Genoa, Sienna, and Lucca. According to the terms of the treaty between the emperor and Henry VIII., the combined forces of the English and Netherlanders, the former commanded by the Duke of Suffolk, the latter by Egmond, Count of Buuren, invaded Picardy; but the events of the campaign were limited to little more than an unsuccessful attempt to 1523 capture Hedin. It was late in the next season before the Count de Buuren, at the head of 12,000 Netherlanders, joining the Duke of Suffolk with a like number of English, again marched into Picardy. The French, prudently evading a general engagement, threw strong garrisons into all the towns likely to be besieged.
- Heut. Rer. Aust., lib. viii., cap. 13.
- Rym. Feed., torn, xiii., p. 790.
The allies haying mastered Bray, a small town on the Somme, besieged and took Montdidier, whence they proceeded to the Oise, and marched direct to within eleven leagues of Paris: but, fearful of being surrounded, from haying left so many strong places behind them, they hastily retreated, abandoned Montdidier, and returned home without reaping the smallest permanent benefit from their great preparations 1.
During this war, a decree was issued in Holland, prohibiting monks, or other ecclesiastics, from going into France, or coming thence into Holland, under pain of being tied up in a sack and drowned 2. From the extreme severity of this prohibition, we should be led to suppose that it had been the custom to employ these persons as spies.
The defection of the Duke of Bourbon, constable of France, (caused by the persecutions which Louise of Savoy, mother of the King of France, had raised against him, as well as by a secret discontent which be had nourished since the campaign of 1521 in the Netherlands, when the king deprived him of the command of the advanced guard, to bestow it on the Duke of Alenqon 3,) brought a powerful coadjutor to the camp of the allies. In conjunction with the Spanish forces under the Marquis de Pescara, he laid siege to Marseilles, which he was forced by Francis to abandon, when he retired into Italy. Thither he was followed by the king, who having conquered the Milanese, laid siege to Pavia. The celebrated battle fought near the walls of this city, terminated, as it is well known, in the entire defeat of the French, and the capture of their monarch, who was conducted prisoner to Madrid 4.1525
- Du Bellay, liv. ii., p. 78,82—97. Heut. Rer. Aust., lib. viii.,cap. 18,19,
- Repert der Plakaat., bl. 11.
- Du Bellay, liv. i., p. 45 ; liv. ii., p. 83.
- Idem, liv. ii., p. 103—10G, 119.
The news of this victory was received with the liveliest joy in Holland, as it gave hopes of an approaching peace. The governess despatched envoys without delay to England, to treat of a renewal of the trace, as far as regarded the fisheries, with the ambassador whom the Queen-mother of France sent to that court, upon the imprisonment of the king. This was followed by a general armistice for six months, negotiated at Breda between Anthony de Lalaing, Count of Hochstradt, successor of Henry of Nassau as Stadtholder of Holland, and Carondelet, bishop of Palermo deputies of Margaret on the one side, and De Warti, the ambassador of Louise, on the other 1. This cessation of arms, though short, was still a timely relief to the towns of Holland, from the heavy expenses attendant on the protection of their trade and fishing; which they were the less able to bear, since the repeated demands for subsidies had drained their resources to the lowest ebb.
The inevitable consequence of a prodigal expenditure of the national finances, the arbitrary and excessive taxation of the people, has so frequently occasioned the overthrow of the government attempting it; and the struggle of passions and resentments thereby called forth, has shaken so often the very foundations of the social edifice, that the termination of all disputes on this point, between a nation and its government, is watched by the politician with interest and anxietssy. It is not to the sordid love of lucre that we must attribute the jealous care with which a people attached to freedom have always been observed to guard the public purse; but to the conviction that when they hare once surrendered into the hands of their rulers so powerful an engine of oppression,
- Recueil des Traites, torn, ii., p. 194.
they have given them the means, not only of crushing liberty in its growth, but of striking a death-blow at its very root; of rendering the fountain of justice corrupt, and the press venal; and have left themselves destitute of the only method consistent with peace and order,—that of withholding supplies,—by which they might force their sovereigns to repair the defects, or abide by the principles of the constitution.
This observation is confirmed by the fact, that the English and Dutch, the people most tenacious in refusing the demands, when suspicions of the designs of their courts, have in times of public necessity, or when secure of the proper application of the funds they contributed, cheerfully borne a burden of taxation, of which other nations could scarcely form an idea. The exhaustion of the public treasury, and the rash or arbitrary measures adopted to replenish it, were the source from whence sprung, not only the long wars between our own Charles I. and his. parliament, and the French revolution in later times, but we shall ere long see Holland herself fearfully convulsed, owiug to the same cause. It will not, therefore, be uninteresting to remark the devices used to obtain extraordinary supplies, by the delegates of a monarch so powerful as Charles, and the resistance opposed to his demands by the guardians of the interests of the commonwealth, whose strength, however, was vastly disproportioned to their integrity and diligence.
The harassing and ruinous wars which Holland had now for so protracted a period been compelled to sustain, had rendered the scarcity of money so great, that even the ordinary petitions were slowly and unwillingly produced, more particularly by the smaller towns, who complained that their proportions were rated too highly. To remedy this evil, Charles had, 1518 soon after his accession, appointed commissioners to value the property of the inhabitants in general, and to divide an assessment of 60,000 guilders in relative proportions amongst the towns and the open Country.
This assessment, called the "Schildtalen 1," remained in force during the whole life of Charles. 1525 In this year the governess made a petition extraordinary in behalf of the emperor, to the states of Holland, of 100,000 guilders for the defence of the Country against the Guelderlanders. This the states refused; alleging that a truce with Guelderland was now in progress, and pleading the extreme poverty caused by the suspension of trade, and the heavy contributions levied on them since the death of King Philip. The deputy from the governess, Jeronimo van Dorpe, then lessened the demand to 80,000 guilders, which was in like manner refused.
In consequence of this failure, a fresh assembly was summoned at Geertruydenberg where the Count of Hochstradt, Stadtholder of Holland, used his influence with each of the deputies separately, to induce them to consent to the petition. To those of Delft, which had shown itself the most backward in compliance, and whose quota of the 80,000 guilders was 6800, he promised a quittance of the half of the sum, if they would consent to give their vote in favour of the petition; and as the deputies objected, that the town was too much in debt to take upon itself any new burden; from persuasion he had recourse to threats, affirming that the welfare of the town depended on the emperor, and that if they consented to the petition, endeavours should be made to relieve them of their debts; but if not, commissioners should be sent to Delft, who would examine their accounts, change the government, and do many other things which would prove very vexatious to them.
- Schild is an old coin, value fifteen pence, and "tal" means number; therefore, by " Schildtalen," is understood the number of schilds each town or village had to pay.
He used similar arguments with the deputies of the other towns, who at length promised to make a report to their constituents» and obtain, if possible, a more favourable answer. On their reunion at Breda, the nobles and towns voted compliance with the emperor's demand, except Delft, Leyden, Gouda, Alkmaar, Gorinchem, and Oudewater, vho excused themselves on the plea of poverty. The petition was at length levied 1. The Netherland towns granted the pecuniary demands of their sovereign, the more reluctantly, since they were now threatened with a war, of all others, the most injurious to their commerce. Christian II., king of Denmark, having fled in the year 1523 from his rebellious subjects, to whom he had made himself obnoxious by his tyranny and cruelty, sought refuge in the Netherlands, and his seat on the Danish throne was filled by Frederic, Duke of Holstein, the friend and ally of Lubek, and the Hanse towns of the Baltic.
Christian, having in vain endeavoured to procure assistance from the King of England, and some of the princes of Germany, fitted out in the beginning of this year, five men-of-war at Veere, in Zealand, commissioned to cruise against the Hanse towns, without consent or permission of the states either of Holland or Zealand, who feared lest this proceeding might occasion the recal of a licence which Frederic had granted the year before to the Netherlanders, to carry on a free trade throughout his kingdom. Soon after Christian had fixed his residence in the Netherlands, the Hanse towns forbad the Hollanders and Zealanders the navigation of the Baltic, and laid an embargo on all the ships they found there;
- Register van Aert van der Goes, deel. i., bl. 8—20. VOL. I. 2B
and the Hollanders saw with vexation that the merchants of those towns went to France to procure salt» which they themselves were accustomed to carry to all the northern Countries. In answer to the earnest remonstrances of the Advocate of Holland, Aert van der Goes, Christian solemnly promised that he would send out no more ships from Zealand; but 6harüj after, intelligence was brought to Holland that a privateering galleon was again cruising under his colon» The governess, therefore, at the desire of the states; wrote to the town of Lubek, that this ship having pat to sea without permission, the crew might be treated as pirates. They were, in fact, some time after captured by the Hamburghers, and put to death 1.
The Hollanders finding themselves unable to persuade the Hanse towns to make a separate truce with them, urgently besought the states of Zealand and Brabant to send ambassadors for this purpose to Lubek; but as they either were unwilling to restore the goods of the Hanse towns, or to pay the expenses of the embassy, they declined the proposal; and the governess took upon herself to obtain the consent of these provinces to whatever the Holland ambassadors should 1526 agree upon. A truce for two years was therefore concluded, during which time the injuries on both sides should be estimated, and compensation given 2.
1527 A peace was likewise made in the January of the next year, between the emperor and his prisoner the King of France, on such terms as might have been expected from their relative situations. Margaret having before made a separate armistice for the Netherlands, it concerned Holland no further than inasmuch as Francis promised to oblige Charles of Guelderland to surrender all his possessions in Guelderland 1527 and Zutphen, in favour of the emperor, who should enter upon them immediately after the Duke's death 3.
- Hist, de Danne. de Mallet, torn, v., p. 693—699; torn, vi., p. 18,19. Plakaat van Holland, bl. 9, 10. Reigereberg, deel. ii., bl. 415.
- Aert van der Goes Regist., bl. 24—27.
- Recueil des Traites, torn, ii., p. 230.
Although, as the war had now ceased, no pretext remained for demanding extraordinary supplies, the governess again required of the states a subsidy of 80,000 guilders, and the Stadtholder Hochstradt was 1526 likewise commissioned to induce them to vote her a benevolence. He did not at once venture upon this novel and unprecedented requisition in the assembly, but first sounded the disposition of each of the deputies separately, observing, that Hainaut and Brabant had not long before offered the duchess a present in acknowledgment of her excellent administration; and that Holland ought not to show itself less grateful, or to offer a less sum for her acceptance than 20,000 guilders. After some hesitation, the states consented to both demands, on condition that out of the petition then granted, to be paid annually, for the term of four year years, a fourth of the annuities of 5000 guilders, which the towns had borrowed on account of the emperor, should be liquidated; that the surplus should be applied wholly to the defence of the Country; and that no new petition should be raised until this had run out, nor should the payment be demanded in any other coin than that received as current in the County 1.
The Emperor Charles, whom we have seen contracted successively to three princesses of France, and two of England 2, at length married his own niece, Isabella, daughter of Emmanuel, king of Portugal, and of Eleanor, his eldest sister.
- Aert van der Goes, bl. 23—52.
- First to Claude, eldest daughter of Louis XII., then to Mary, youngest daughter of Henry VII. of England, to Renée, third daughter of Louis XII., to Louise, daughter of Francis L, and lastly to Mary, eldest daughter of Henry VIII.
She gave birth in the next year to a son, Philip, afterwards so renowned as Philip II., king of Spain. 1527 The truce between the emperor and the King of France was not of long duration, since the latter had no sooner obtained his release, than he refused to ratify the treaty of Madrid, under the plea that it vm extorted by force 1,2. The political feelings of two of the courts of Europe, important allies of Charles, had now undergone a great change in favour of his rival. Adrian VI., the only Netherlander ever raised to the papal chair, had enjoyed his power but a short time, since he died in 1523, the year after his elevation, and was succeeded by Clement VII., of the family of the Medici, and strongly inclined to the interests of France.
The issue of the battle of Pavia and the imprisonment of the French monarch had prostrated, to all appearance, the strength of the only nation which could serve as a Counterpoise to the increasing power and influence of Charles. It is probable, therefore, that the King of England, after that event, began to be sensible of the grave error he had committed, in contributing to give to any one state so great a preponderance in the affairs of Europe. Accordingly, on the imprisonment of Francis, he hastened to conclude a treaty of peace with the queen-mother of France, promising to use his endeavours to obtain the release of the king upon reasonable conditions; and after the return of the latter to his kingdom he formed with him an alliance offensive and defensive, both kings engaging to prosecute the war jointly in the Netherlands with an army of 80,000 foot and 1000 men at arms 3.
- Pont. Heat Rer. Aust., lib. ix., cap. 5
- He made a secret protestation to this effect before the signature of the treaty, and in this manner excused to his conscience the notorious breach of faith he committed. Recueil des Traites, torn, ii., p. 210.
- Rym. Feed., torn, xiv., p. 62,195.
The 1527 capture and sack of Rome by the emperor's troops under the constable of Bourbon, and the imprisonment of Pope Clement VII., by removing the scene of hostilities to Italy, spared the Netherlander for a time the miseries of a warfare conducted on their own soil, to promote interests in which they had no share, and to gratify passions with which they had no sympathy. Francis likewise bound himself to incite the Duke of Guelderland to a renewal of the war with Holland; and it was probably in consequence of his intrigues that Charles prepared himself for an attack on that province by gaining possession of Utrecht.
Henry of Bavaria, who in 1524 succeeded Philip of Burgundy in the bishopric, had promised to pay Charles of Guelderland a large sum of money, provided he would evacuate entirely Overyssel, (or the upper bishopric). On the requisition of the bishop for a supply from the states of Utrecht for this purpose, the government of the town peremptorily refused to contribute, urging that it was already oppressed with heavy debts. Henry, therefore, proposed that a general capitation tax should be levied throughout the bishopric upon the nobility and clergy as well as the people, without distinction. But the two former estates showed themselves wholly unwilling to forego the privilege of exemption from taxes, which they deemed a right inherent in their constitution, and many among them applied themselves successfully to excite the people to disaffection 1.
From this time the animosity between the bishop and his subjects continued to increase, frequently breaking out into open hostilities, until the summer of this year, when the bishop attempting 1527 to enter the city at the head of a body of cavalry supplied him by Egmond, Count of Buuren, for the purpose of reducing the inhabitants to submission, was forced to retire by the citizens, who instantly despatched messengers to solicit the aid of the Duke of Guelderland.
- Lambertus Hortensras Rer. Ultraject., lib. i., p. 17, 22, 23.
Charles, whose ambitious designs were constantly backed by the counsels of France, eagerly snatched at this opportunity for extending his influence in Utrecht, and sent so large a number of troops into the city that the bishop, despairing of obtaining his readmission dither by persuasion or force, since the states had publicly abrogated his authority, formed an encampment around Utrecht, and raised a fort on the banks of the vaart, or canal, with a view of stopping the passage of supplies 1.
Although the tidings of the occupation of Utrecht by Charles caused extreme consternation in Holland, yet the frontier towns, always jealous of the presence of foreign soldiers, would not consent to increase the number of their garrisons. In an assembly of the states held to devise means of providing for the security of the Country, it was declared, that Amsterdam, having sent some troops under the command of a burgomaster to the fort of Muyden, defended only by a deputy-governor and two or three soldiers, they had been refused admittance; and that the same thing had occurred at Oudewater to some troops sent from Gouda. The governess, therefore, made a requisition through her council, that the states would levy 320 native soldiers at their own expense, for the protection of the boundaries; but to this the states unanimously replied, that they had no authority to comply with her desire, declaring that the last petition had been granted, and levied on the express promise, that a part of its proceeds should be applied to the public defence.
- Lambert. Horten., lib, iv., p. 94, 95; lib. v., p. 97—108.
1527 In a subsequent assembly, however, held in the October of the same year, the duchess succeeded in obtaining immediate payment of that portion of the subsidy which would fall due at Christmas, for the purpose of providing the frontiers with a force of 340 foot soldiers and 250 cavalry. The fortifications of the frontier towns were found in a miserable state of defence by the Lord of Castres, who inspected them in the quality of sub-Stadtholder , having been appointed to that office by the Stadtholder , Hochstradt, who judged that he could better serve the Country by remaining at the court of the governess than by residing in Holland 1.
As the Duke of Guelderland was making rapid advances in the conquests of Utrecht, the bishop repaired in person to Schoonhoven, where he earnestly solicited immediate and effectual assistance, both in money and troops, of the deputies whom Margaret had sent thither to meet him. This requisition was referred to the consideration of the states at the Hague, whither the Stadtholder himself repaired from Brussels. The Stadtholder then desired to know from the deputies, where they considered the danger from the Guelderlanders most imminent, so that the Lord of Castres might take measures to avert it. Each of the towns, as might be expected, recommended that those places should be reinforced which were most essential to its own security. Having thus obtained the opinions of the deputies, and demonstrated from their own mouths the necessity of additional subsidies, he proposed, as they were preparing to separate, unsuspicious of any new demand, that on account of the war between France and the emperor, and in order to be prepared for the invasion of the Guelderlanders, the states should grant a petition of 80,000 guilders, to be paid in two instalments, at Christmas and on St. John's day ensuing, towards the maintenance of 18,000 infantry and 1500 cavalry, which had been decreed by the states-general of the Netherlands 2.
- Aert van der Goes., bl. 44—61.
- Lambert Horten, lib. vi., p. 133. Aert van der Goes Regist., ML 51,52. Hent. Rer. Aust., lib. ix., cap. 9, p. 223.
But the deputies not being authorised to consent to any further grants of money, they were obliged to refer to their constituents, when Dordrecht alone voted for the subsidy, all the other towns pleading poverty and the decay of their trade; Delft, in particular, was so burdened with debt, that her citizens were constantly liable to arrest 1; they objected also, that these measures were likely to provoke the Duke of Guelderland to make an attack on Holland, whereas he had not long before sent letters to the council, expressing his desire to live on terms of friendship and good neighbourhood, wishing probably to defer hostilities with the province till he should have secured Utrecht.
At length, however, all the states, except 1528 Delft, consented to the demand of the governess, on the express condition that the monies should be applied to the defence of Holland alone, and in case of peace with France, to the service of the County, and according to the advice of the states 2. The requisition of the Bishop of Utrecht for succours had alone been laid before the states, the remainder of the negotiations being kept for a time carefully concealed, that they might afford another opportunity of assembling the states of Holland to demand subsidies.
- Aert van der Goes, bl. 44, 53—55.
- Vide Chap. II.
The deputies had separated little more than a month, when they were again summoned to Dordrecht, and informed, through the medium of the Griffier (registrar), that 1528 "the Bishop of Utrecht, and deputies from Kampen, Zwol, and Deventer, had offered to surrender the whole temporalities of the bishopric to the emperor as Duke of Brabant and Count of Holland; and that the governess, reflecting how advantageous would be the possession of this state to Holland, Brabant, and Friesland, had accepted the offer in the emperor's name 1; but that since a great portion of Overyssel, although the states had acknowledged the emperor, was still in the power of Charles of Guelderland, its re-conquest, and the defence of the rest of the upper bishopric, would prove very expensive; and as the supplies already voted did not suffice for these exigencies, and the other Netherlands were sufficiently burdened by the support of the war with France, no better means of raising funds appeared (since Holland had so lately granted a petition of 80,000 guilders that the governess did not wish immediately to require another) than that the towns should become surety for a loan upon annuities of 5000 guilders a year, at 6 1/4 per cent., to be paid by them for three years, the emperor promising to redeem them at the end of that time.
The states agreed to this loan, under certain conditions relating to the defence of the County, and that the free exportation of foreign corn from Holland should be restored. The prohibition to export corn had been laid on during a season of scarcity some years before, and continued after the occasion which gave rise to it had ceased, since the granting of permits in favour of individuals brought no mean harvest into the imperial coffers. As it was, however, an innovation, to which the inhabitants of Holland were until latterly wholly unaccustomed, the towns required, 1528 as an indispensable condition to their becoming guarantees for the proposed loan, that the entire freedom of the corn trade should be first restored.
- Mimi Dipl, Bdg., torn, i., p. 600,603.
The governess, having considered the conditions, declared that it waft not in her power to take off the prohibition on the export of corn, since such a measure would tend to lessen the dignity of the emperor. This answer excited deep murmurs among the deputies, and it is probable that they would have withheld the loan altogether, had not an event occurred which hurried them on to a speedy conclusion 1.
This was the capture and sack of the Hague by the troops of Charles of Guelderlaad, who had placed a body of 2000 foot and 200 horse under the command of Martin van Rossem, lord of Pouderoy, a soldier of fortune in his service. Rossem, marching from Utrecht, under Austrian colours, passed unmolested by Woerden and Leyden, and suddenly appeared before the Hague, at the hour of midnight.
Even had the attack been expected, the Hague, an open village, without walls, or even a troop of soldiers in the neighbourhood, was wholly incapable of resistance. No sooner, therefore, was the war-cry, " Guelder, Guelder !" of this band of pillagers heard, than the inhabitants fled in haste and dismay, leaving their money and all their valuable effects behind; the roads were crowded with fugitives, some of whom fell into the hands of their enemies; but more eager for plunder than slaughter, they killed no more than three. Two days and nights they revelled in undisturbed license; and scarcely able to carry away their booty, they filled beds, previously emptied of the feathers, with gold, silver, and jewels, with which they loaded wagons, boats, and every species of vehicle they could find.
- Aert van der Goes, tl. 6^-65.
At last the citizens obtained a cessation of pillage by the payment of 20,000 guilders 1528 , when the Guelderlanders returned to Utrecht, levying heavy contributions on all the villages in their route 1.
It was found impossible to persuade the populace of Holland, that Margaret had not connived at the invasion of Martin van Rossem, in order to reduce the states to her terms; the Stadtholder , they said, had neither kept soldiers prepared to repel this aggression, nor would he permit the burgher guards of the neighbouring towns to attack the Guelderlanders on their retreat, when, enfeebled by excess, and laden with booty, they might have been easily overcome. Added to this, the few houses which remained untouched belonged to her courtiers, and the archives of the council of state were preserved 2. Whether or not their suspicions were well founded, the effect was undeniable; for the states having assembled at Delft, petitioned the governess to send immediately the Stadtholder , Hochstradt, and the Count of Buuren, captain-general, to Holland, to stop the further incursions of the Guelderlanders, and unanimously consented to guarantee the annuities of 5000 guilders without any condition; the six great towns, moreover, as it did not readily find purchasers, bound themselves to contribute each 2000 guilders a month, towards the payment of 8000 infantry and 500 cavalry, to be levied for the defence of the County; the remainder of 20,000 guilders a month, the estimated cost of their entertainment, as to be drawn from the monasteries, or such other sources as might seem most available.
- Heut. Rer. Aust., lib. ix., cap. 9, p. 224. Lambert. Horten., p. 140 and note.
- Heut. Rer. Aust., lib. ix., cap. 9, p. 224. Lambert. Horten., p. 14L
Besides the levy of land troops, the Hollanders filled the rivers and 1528 channels with vessels, both large and small; they likewise entered into an union for three months with the towns of Brabant, the latter engaging to pay 48,000 guilders towards the war with Guelderland, and the towns of Holland 32,000,
At the same assembly, the states consented to anticipate the next payment of the petition, and promised to guarantee a further loan to the emperor of 2000 guilders, annuity, at 6 1/4 per cent 1, In return for this liberality, the Stadtholder having summoned the states to Mechlin, communicated to them the welcome intelligence, that the emperor had concluded a truce for eight months with France and England, which secured to the Netherlander free navigation and fishery on the coasts of both Countries.
This information was accompanied by a declaration, new, and not a little startling to the ears of Hollanders; the Stadtholder observing that the emperor, because they had heartily supported him in the war, had shown them greater honour than was their du$ since it was free for him to make either peace or truce, without the knowledge or consent of his subjects 2. It was a special provision of the Dutch constitution, that the Counts could not make war or peace without consulting the nobles and "good towns 3' the principle of which they were hardly prepared to hear disputed, however much it may have been lost sight of in practice; they, nevertheless, thanked the Stadtholder for the honour done them, without any further remark.
- Aert van der Goes Regist.» bl. 79—82.
- Recueil des Traites, torn, ii., p. 338. Rym. Feed., torn, xiv., p. flft Aert van der Goes Regist., bl. 84.
- Handvesten van 1346 in Groot Plakaatb., deel. v., bl. 113. D* Witt. Politische Gronden, (fee, deel. ii., cap. 3, p. 233. Grotius de Ant Reip. Bat., p. 61,
Although a stipulation was made in the truce with France, that the Duke of Guelderland should be at liberty to accede to it, on condition that he previously 1528 evacuated the city of Utrecht, and all the places he occupied in Overyssel, Groningen, and the Ommeland, the Hollanders did not wait for the declaration of his intentions, but proceeded without delay to revenge the injuries he had committed on them by the plunder of the Hague. The Count of Buuren, who, before the conclusion of the truce, had, in conjunction with George Schenck, reduced Hattem in Guelderland, shortly after made himself master of Elberg and Harderwyk, about the same time that Utrecht was surprised and taken by one William Turk, in the service of the bishops.
On the capture of Utrecht, the states of Holland earnestly petitioned that the city and the lower bishopric might be united to their County, and even offered a large sum of money to give weight to their solicitations; but as Brabant, as well as Holland, had contributed to sustain the war against the Guelderlanders, the states of Utrecht surrendered that province and Overyssel to the emperor, as Duke of Brabant and Count of Holland.
This event was soon followed by a peace with the Duke of Guelderland, who engaged to hold henceforward Guelderland and Zutphen as a fief of the emperor, in the quality of Duke of Brabant and Count of Holland, to surrender Groningen, the Ommeland, Coevoerden, and Drent; and to abandon the alliance of France for that of the emperor, who, on his side, was to pay Duke Charles 3000 guilders yearly, and to abstain from using the name and arms of the duchy of Guelderland and Zutphen; if the Duke should die without issue male, his states were to revert to the heirs of the emperor, Dukes of Brabant and Counts of Holland 2.
- Lambert. Horten., liv. vi., p. 149—157.
- Aert von der Goes, bl. 84. Meteren Ned. Hist., fol. ix. Heut. Rer. Aunt., lib. ix., cap. 11.
At the time of the conclusion of the truce between the emperor and Kings of France and England, all parties were sufficiently inclined towards a permanent peace; the emperor foresaw that the princes of Germany who had embraced the Lutheran doctrines, were likely to give him full employment in his own states; Henry was absorbed by his disputes with the papal see, on the subject of his divorce from Catherine of Arragon; while the long wars, joined to the prodigality of the court, had utterly drained the resources of France; added to which, the last campaign in Naples had been signalized by heavy misfortunes attendant on the French arms.
Before its expiration, therefore, negotiations for a final peace had been begun at Cambray, and prolonged for a considerable time, when, in 1529 the July of the next year, Louise, queen-mother of France, and Margaret, governess of the Netherlands, repaired thither, and brought matters to a speedy termination 1,2. By this treaty, which is generally termed the "Ladies' Peace, that of Madrid was confirmed, the claim of suzerainty over the Counties of Flanders and Artois was surrendered by the King of France, and the *droit d'aubaine," a law by which the property of a person dying in a foreign Country became forfeited to the sovereign of the place where he died, was abolished, as far as regarded the French in the Netherlands, or the Netherlanders in France. On the same day, a treaty of peace and alliance was concluded between the emperor and King of England, by which the freedom of trade with England was entirely restored to the Netherlands.
- Heut. Rer. Aust., lib. x., cap. 3, p. 203.
- Du Bellay (liv. iii., p. 156) fixes this meeting in May, 1530; bat this must be an error, since both treaties are dated August 3,1529. Vide Recueil des Traites, torn, ii., p. 146; and Dumont Corps Dip., torn, iv., p. 2, pa. 42.
The emperor had before 1529 effected a separate peace with the Pope, upon terms surprisingly favourable to the latter 1, probably, to induce him to perform the ceremony of his coronation, which he did at Bologna in the February of the year following.
The general pacification of Europe gave the emperor leisure to pursue measures for arresting the progress of heresy in his dominions, which his own conduct to the Pope, and the virulent manifesto he had published against him at the time of their quarrel, had contributed not a little to encourage. The whole of Holland was accused of being infected with the new doctrines, particularly the towns of Delft and Amsterdam; and this suspicion was the more strongly confirmed, since (he senate of the latter would neither take any measures itself against the heretics, nor allow of their being brought to trial at Louvain, which, as they justly asserted, would be a violation of their privileges.
The celebrated Protest against the decree of the Dietss at Spires, which gave the name of Protestants to the professor, of the new doctrines, was followed by the renewal of the penal edicts against the Reformers. Of these, one appeared in Holland, in the October of this year, by which obstinate heretics were condemned, if men, to death by the sword, and if women, to be buried alive 2.
- Recueil des Traites, torn, ii., p. 351, 858. Dumont Corps Dip., torn. ir., p. 2, pa. 42.
- The usual mode of executing this punishment was to lay the sufferer in a deep open coffin, placed on the scaffold, of a length and breadth just sufficient to contain her; three iron bars were then placed, one on the neck, another on the stomach, and another on the legs; through a hole at the upper end of the coffin was passed a rope, fastened round the neck, which the executioner drew tight from under the scaffold, as the body was covered with earth.
Relapsed heretics, that 1529 is those who recanted, and again returned to heresy, were condemned to be burned at the stake. The governess had shown herself not unwilling to reform some of the most flagrant abuses prevalent among the Catholic clergy, especially that of incapable men being appointed to the ministry, to prevent which, she had, in the year 1525, commanded that none should presume to exercise the office of preacher but such as were learned, prudent, and of good morals 1.
Her death, which happened the 30th of November, 1530, was a grievous loss to the Netherlander. Happy would it have been for them if the entire sovereignty of their Country had been placed in the hands of this able and wise princess but under the constant necessity of obeying the mandates of a superior power, she was not only forced to bear a part in wars eminently prejudicial to the states she governed, but likewise to load them with heavy burdens, in order to supply the expenses of a foreign court, and to support enterprises in which they had neither interest nor concern.
This evil of her government, which was wholly beyond her control, she remedied as far as in her lay, by the vigilant care she exercised in the protection of commerce. Her talents for negotiation were displayed in the four treaties which she had the principal hand in framing: that of Cambray, in 1508; another made with France in 1522, establishing the neutrality of Burgundy; the truce for the security of the herring fishery, concluded shortly after the battle of Pavia; and the peace of Cambray, in 1529. To her great capacity for public affairs, she added a taste for literature and the arts, being a lyric poet of some celebrity, and author of several small works in prose 2.
- Repert. der Plakaat. van Holl., bl. 14. Brant's Hist. der. Ref., boek ii., bl. 97.
- Bib. Belg. ia Marg.
She gave in early youth an instance of the most extraordinary personal courage 1530. During her voyage to Spain, for the purpose of being married to John, heir apparent of that kingdom, the vessel in which she sailed was overtaken by a violent tempest, and when on the point of shipwreck, and all hope of safety appeared to be lost, she retained, amidst the general terror, so much of her usual hilarity, as to make the following epitaph on her own fate:—* Cy gist Margole, noble damoiselle Deux fois mariee, et morte pucelle 1,"desiring that it might be rolled in wax, and fastened to her hand 2,3.
She cannot, however be exonerated from the blame of encouraging the extreme venality which prevailed among her courtiers, although it is mainly attributable to the example and influence of William de Croye, Stadtholder of the Netherlands, the guardian of Charles during his minority, and his prime minister and favourite for some years after: the rapacity of himself and his followers had excited formidable disturbances in Spain, and had established in the Netherlands the pernicious custom of bribing the ministers with large sums of money, in order to carry any desired measure at court.
- Pont. Heut. Rer. Aust., lib. v., cap. 5, p. 128.
- * Here gentle Margaret sleeps beneath the tide, Who twice was wedded, yet a maiden died.
- It was the custom of the Netherland sailors, when in extreme danger of shipwreck, to tie something inside the hand, by which they might be known if picked up or washed ashore. Heut. ubi sup. They resemble the Scotch in their love of a " decent burial," and it was probably in the desire to secure it that this custom originated.