Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything


Books Menu

Author Catalog
Title Catalog
Sectioned Catalog


- The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-59 - 1/14 -

[NOTE: There is a short list of bookmarks, or pointers, at the end of the file for those who may wish to sample the author's ideas before making an entire meal of them. D.W.]






1555-1558 [CHAPTER II.]

Sketch of Philip the Second--Characteristics of Mary Tudor--Portrait of Philip--His council--Rivalry of Rup Gomez and Alva--Character of Rup Gomez--Queen Mary of Hungary--Sketch of Philibert of Savoy-- Truce of Vaucelles--Secret treaty between the Pope and Henry II.-- Rejoicings in the Netherlands on account of the Peace--Purposes of Philip--Re-enactment of the edict of 1b60--The King's dissimulation --"Request" to the provinces--Infraction of the truce in Italy-- Character of Pope Paul IV.--Intrigues of Cardinal Caraffa--War against Spain resolved upon by France--Campaign in Italy--Amicable siege of Rome--Pence with the pontiff--Hostilities on the Flemish border--Coligny foiled at Douay--Sacks Lens--Philip in England-- Queen Mary engages in the war--Philip's army assembled at Givet-- Portrait of Count Egmont--The French army under Coligny and Montmorency--Siege of St. Quentin--Attempts of the constable to relieve the city--Battle of St. Quentin--Hesitation and timidity of Philip--City of St. Quentin taken and sacked--Continued indecision of Philip--His army disbanded--Campaign of the Duke of Guise-- Capture of Calais--Interview between Cardinal de Lorraine and the Bishop of Arran--Secret combinations for a league between France and Spain against heresy--Languid movements of Guise--Foray of De Thermes on the Flemish frontier--Battle of Gravelines--Popularity of Egmont--Enmity of Alva.

Philip the Second had received the investiture of Milan and the crown of Naples, previously to his marriage with Mary Tudor. The imperial crown he had been obliged, much against his will, to forego. The archduchy of Austria, with the hereditary German dependencies of his father's family, had been transferred by the Emperor to his brother Ferdinand, on the occasion of the marriage of that prince with Anna, only sister of King Louis of Hungary. Ten years afterwards, Ferdinand (King of Hungary and Bohemia since the death of Louis, slain in 1526 at the battle of Mohacz) was elected King of the Romans, and steadily refused all the entreaties afterwards made to him in behalf of Philip, to resign his crown and his succession to the Empire, in favor of his nephew. With these diminutions, Philip had now received all the dominions of his father. He was King of all the Spanish kingdoms and of both the Sicilies. He was titular King of England, France, and Jerusalem. He was "Absolute Dominator" in Asia, Africa, and America; he was Duke of Milan and of both Burgundies, and Hereditary Sovereign of the seventeen Netherlands.

Thus the provinces had received a new master. A man of foreign birth and breeding, not speaking a word of their language, nor of any language which the mass of the inhabitants understood, was now placed in supreme authority over them, because he represented, through the females, the "good" Philip of Burgundy, who a century before had possessed himself by inheritance, purchase, force, or fraud, of the sovereignty in most of those provinces. It is necessary to say an introductory word or two concerning the previous history of the man to whose hands the destiny of so many millions was now entrusted.

He was born in May, 1527, and was now therefore twenty-eight years of age. At the age of sixteen he had been united to his cousin, Maria of Portugal, daughter of John III. and of the Emperor's sister, Donna Catalina. In the following year (1544) he became father of the celebrated and ill-starred Don Carlos, and a widower. The princess owed her death, it was said, to her own imprudence and to the negligence or bigotry of her attendants. The Duchess of Alva, and other ladies who had charge of her during her confinement, deserted her chamber in order to obtain absolution by witnessing an auto-da-fe of heretics. During their absence, the princess partook voraciously of a melon, and forfeited her life in consequence.

In 1548, Don Philip had made his first appearance in the Netherlands. He came thither to receive homage in the various provinces as their future sovereign, and to exchange oaths of mutual fidelity with them all. Andrew Doria, with a fleet of fifty ships, had brought him to Genoa, whence he had passed to Milan, where he was received with great rejoicing. At Trent he was met by Duke Maurice of Saxony, who warmly begged his intercession with the Emperor in behalf of the imprisoned Landgrave of Hesse. This boon Philip was graciously pleased to promise, --and to keep the pledge as sacredly as most of the vows plighted by him during this memorable year. The Duke of Aerschot met him in Germany with a regiment of cavalry and escorted him to Brussels. A summer was spent in great festivities, the cities of the Nether lands vieing with each other in magnificent celebrations of the ceremonies, by which Philip successively swore allegiance to the various constitutions and charters of the provinces, and received their oaths of future fealty in return. His oath to support all the constitutions and privileges was without reservation, while his father and grandfather had only sworn to maintain the charters granted or confirmed by Philip and Charles of Burgundy. Suspicion was disarmed by these indiscriminate concessions, which had been resolved upon by the unscrupulous Charles to conciliate the good will of the people. In view of the pretensions which might be preferred by the Brederode family in Holland, and by other descendants of ancient sovereign races in other provinces, the Emperor, wishing to ensure the succession to his sisters in case of the deaths of himself, Philip, and Don Carlos without issue, was unsparing in those promises which he knew to be binding only upon the weak. Although the house of Burgundy had usurped many of the provinces on the express pretext that females could not inherit, the rule had been already violated, and he determined to spare no pains to conciliate the estates, in order that they might be content with a new violation, should the contingency occur. Philip's oaths were therefore without reserve, and the light-hearted Flemings, Brabantines, and Walloons received him with open arms. In Valenciennes the festivities which attended his entrance were on a most gorgeous scale, but the "joyous entrance" arranged for him at Antwerp was of unparalleled magnificence. A cavalcade of the magistrates and notable burghers, "all attired in cramoisy velvet," attended by lackies in splendid liveries and followed by four thousand citizen soldiers in full uniform, went forth from the gates to receive him. Twenty-eight triumphal arches, which alone, according to the thrifty chronicler, had cost 26,800 Carolus guldens, were erected in the different streets and squares, and every possible demonstration of affectionate welcome was lavished upon the Prince and the Emperor. The rich and prosperous city, unconscious of the doom which awaited it in the future, seemed to have covered itself with garlands to honor the approach of its master. Yet icy was the deportment with which Philip received these demonstrations of affection, and haughty the glance with which he looked down upon these exhibitions of civic hilarity, as from the height of a grim and inaccessible tower. The impression made upon the Netherlanders was any thing but favorable, and when he had fully experienced the futility of the projects on the Empire which it was so difficult both for his father and himself to resign, he returned to the more congenial soil of Spain. In 1554 he had again issued from the peninsula to marry the Queen of England, a privilege which his father had graciously resigned to him. He was united to Mary Tudor at Winchester, on the 25th July of that year, and if congeniality of tastes could have made a marriage happy, that union should have been thrice blessed. To maintain the supremacy of the Church seemed to both the main object of existence, to execute unbelievers the most sacred duty imposed by the Deity upon anointed princes, to convert their kingdoms into a hell the surest means of winning Heaven for themselves. It was not strange that the conjunction of two such wonders of superstition in one sphere should have seemed portentous in the eyes of the English nation. Philip's mock efforts in favor of certain condemned reformers, and his pretended intercessions in favor of the Princess Elizabeth, failed entirely of their object. The parliament refused to confer upon him more than a nominal authority in England. His children, should they be born, might be sovereigns; he was but husband of the Queen; of a woman who could not atone by her abject but peevish fondness for himself, and by her congenial blood-thirstiness towards her subjects, for her eleven years seniority, her deficiency in attractions, and her incapacity to make him the father of a line of English monarchs. It almost excites compassion even for Mary Tudor, when her passionate efforts to inspire him with affection are contrasted with his impassiveness. Tyrant, bigot, murderess though she was, she was still woman, and she lavished upon her husband all that was not ferocious in her nature. Forbidding prayers to be said for the soul of her father, hating her sister and her people, burning bishops, bathing herself in the blood of heretics, to Philip she was all submissiveness and feminine devotion. It was a most singular contrast, Mary, the Queen of England and Mary the wife of Philip. Small, lean and sickly, painfully near- sighted, yet with an eye of fierceness and fire; her face wrinkled by the hands of care and evil passions still more than by Time, with a big man's voice, whose harshness made those in the next room tremble; yet feminine in her tastes, skilful with her needle, fond of embroidery work, striking the lute with a touch remarkable for its science and feeling, speaking many languages, including Latin, with fluency and grace; most feminine, too, in her constitutional sufferings, hysterical of habit, shedding floods of tears daily at Philip's coldness, undisguised infidelity, and frequent absences from England--she almost awakens compassion and causes a momentary oblivion of her identity.

Her subjects, already half maddened by religious persecution, were exasperated still further by the pecuniary burthens which she imposed upon them to supply the King's exigencies, and she unhesitatingly confronted their frenzy, in the hope of winning a smile from him. When at last her chronic maladies had assumed the memorable form which caused Philip and Mary to unite in a letter to Cardinal Pole, announcing not the expected but the actual birth of a prince, but judiciously leaving the date in blank, the momentary satisfaction and delusion of the Queen was unbounded. The false intelligence was transmitted every where. Great were the joy and the festivities in the Netherlands, where people were so easily made to rejoice and keep holiday for any thing. "The Regent, being in Antwerp," wrote Sir Thomas Gresham to the lords of council, "did cause the great bell to rings to give all men to understand that the news was trewe. The Queene's highness here merchants caused all our Inglishe ships to shoote off with such joy and triumph, as by men's arts and pollicey coulde be devised--and the Regent sent our Inglishe maroners one hundred crownes to drynke." If bell-ringing and cannon-firing could have given England a Spanish sovereign, the devoutly-wished consummation would have been reached. When the futility of the royal hopes could no longer be concealed, Philip left the country, never to return till his war with France made him require troops, subsidies, and a declaration of hostilities from England.

The personal appearance of the new sovereign has already been described. His manner was far from conciliatory, and in this respect he was the

The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-59 - 1/14

    Next Page

  1    2    3    4    5    6   10   14 

Schulers Books Home

 Games Menu

Dice Poker
Tic Tac Toe


Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything