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History of the United Netherlands: from the death of William the Silent to twelve years' truce--1609 (Volume 4) online

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Online LibraryJohn Lothrop MotleyHistory of the United Netherlands: from the death of William the Silent to twelve years' truce--1609 (Volume 4) → online text (page 1 of 66)
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N'll scire tulissima fidfts.

r'loiilisp'.ere. Vol. IV.






1 600-9.





The Right of Translation is reserved.




Military events — Aggressive movement of the Netherlanders — State of
the Archduke's provinces — Mutiny of the Spanish forces — Proposed
invasion of Flanders by the States-General — Disembarkation of the
troops on the Spanish coasts — Capture of Oudenburg and other places —
Surprise of Nieuport — Conduct of the Archduke — Oudenburg and the
other forts re-taken — Dilemma of the States' army — Attack of the
Archduke on Count Ernest's cavalry — Panic and total overthrow of the
advance-guard of the States' army — Battle of Nieuport — Details of
the action — Defeat of the Spanish army — Results of the whole expedi-
tion Page 1


Effects of the Nieuport campaign — The general and the statesman — The
Roman empire and the Turk — Disgraceful proceedings of the mutinous
soldiers in Hungary — The Dunkirk pirates — Siege of Ostend by the
Archduke — Attack on Rheinberg by Prince Maurice — Siege and capi-
tulation of Meurs — Attempt on Bois-le-Duc — Concentration of the
war at Ostend — Account of the belligerents — Details of the siege —
Feigned offer of Sir Francis Vere to capitulate — Arrival of reinforce-
ments from the States — Attack and overthrow of the besiegers .. 52


Protraction of the siege of Ostend — Spanish invasion of Ireland — Prince
Maurice again on the march — Siege of Grave — State of the Archduke's
ai-my — Formidable mutiny — State of Europe — Portuguese expediticu
to Java — Foundation there of the first Batavian trading settlement —

o 2


Exploits of Jacob Heemske) k — Capture of a Lisbon carrack — Progress
of Dutch commerce — Oriental and Germanic republics — Commercial
embassy fi-om the King of Atsgen in Sumatra to the Netlieilands —
Surrender of Grave — Privateer work of Frederick Spinola — Destruc-
tion of Spinola's fleet by English and Dutch cruisers — Continuation of
the siege of Ostend — Fearful hurricane and its effects — The attack —
Capture of external forts — Encounter between Spinola and a Dutch
squadron — Execution of prisoners by the Archduke — Philip Fleming
and his diary — Continuation of operations before Ostend — Spanish
veterans still mutinous — Their capital besieged by Van den Berg —
Maurice marches to their relief — Convention between the prince and the
mutineers — Great commercial progress of the Dutch — Opposition to
international commerce — Organization of the Universal East India
Company Page 88


Death of Queen Elizabeth — Condition of Spain — ^Legations to James I. —
Union of England and Scotland — Characteristics of the new monarch —
The English Court and Government — Piratical practices of the Eng-
lish — Audience of the States' envoy vtith King James — Queen Eliza-
beth's scheme for remodeUing Europe — Ambassador extraordinary from
Henry IV. to James — De Kosny's strictures on the English people —
Private interview of De Rusny with the States' envoy — De Rosny's
audience of the king — Objects of his mission — Insinuations of the Duke
of Northumberland — Invitation of the embassy to Greenwich — Promise
of James to protect the Netherlands against Spain — Misgivings of
Barneveld — Conference at Arundel House — Its unsatisfactory termina-
tion — Contempt of De Rosny for the English counsellors — Political
aspect of Europe — De Rosny's disclosure to the king of the secret object
of his mission — Agreement of James to the proposals of De Rosny —
Ratification of the treaty of alliance — Return of De Rosny and suite to
France — Arrival of the Spanish ambassador 1-7


Siege of Ostend — The Marquis Spinola made commander-in-chief of the
besieging army — Discontent of the troops — General aspect of the opera-
tions — Gradual encioachment of the enemv 1B9



Policy of the King of France — Operations of Prince Maurice — Plans for
a Flemish Campaign — Passage into Flanders — Fort St. Catharine —
Flight of its garrison, and occupation by Maurice — Surrender of Ysen-
dyke and Aardenburg — Skirmish at Stamper's Hook — Siege of Sluys
by Prince Maurice — InelTectaal attempt of Spinola to relieve the town —
Its capitulation and restoration to the States — Death of Lewis Gunther
of Nassau — Operations at Ostend — Surrender of the garrison — Desola-
tion of the scene after its evacuation Page 186


Equation between the contending Powers — Treaty of peace between King
James and the Archdukes and the King of Spain — Position of the Pro-
vinces — States' envoy in England to be styled ambassador — Protest of
the Spanish ambassador — Effect of James's peace-treaty on the people
of England — Public rejoicings for the victory of Sluys — Spinola
appointed commander-in-chief of the Spanish forces — Preparations for
a campaign against the States — Seizure of Dutch cruisers — Inter-
national discord — Destruction of Sarmiento's fleet by Admiral Haultain
— Projected enterprise against Antwerp — Descent of Spinola on the
Netherland frontier — Oldenzaal and Lingen taken — Movements of
Prince Maurice — Encounter of the two armies — Panic of the Nether-
landers — Consequent loss and disgrace — Wachtendonk and Cracow-
taken by Spinola — Spinola's reception in Spain — Effect of his vic-
tories — Results of the struggle between Freedom and Absolutism —
Affairs in the East — Amboyna taken by Van der Hagen — Contest for
possession of the Clove Islands — Commercial treaty between the States
and the King of Ternate — Hostilities between the Kings of Ternate and
Tydor — Expulsion of the Portuguese from the Moluccas — Du Terrail's
attempted assault on Bergen-op-Zoom — Attack on the Dunkirk pirate-
tieet — Practice of executing prisoners captured at sea .. .. 203


Preparations for the campaign of 1606 — Diminution of Maurice's popu-
larity — Quarrel between the pope and the Venetian republic — Sur-
prise of Sluys by Du Terrail — Dilatoriness of the Republic's operations
— Movements of Spinola — Influence of the weather on the military


transactions of the year — Endeavours of Spinola to obtain possession
of the Waal and Yssel — Surrender of Lochem to Spinola — Siege of
Groll — Siege and loss of Rheinberg — Mutiny in the Catholic army —
Recovery of Lochem by Maurice — Attempted recovery of Groll —
Sudden appearance of the enemy — Withdrawal of the besieging army
— Close of the campaign — End of the war of independence — Motives
of the Prince in his actions before Groll — Cruise of Admiral Haultain
to the coast of Spain and Portugal — His encounter with the war-ships
of Fazardo — Com-ageous conduct of the vice-admiial — Deaths of Justus
Lipsius, Hohenlo, and Count John of Nassau Page 236


General desire for peace — Political aspect of Europe — Designs of the
kings of England, France and Spain concerning the United Provinces —
Miitrimonial schemes of Spain — Conference between the French
ministers and the Dutch envoy — Confidential revelations — Henry's
desire to annex the Netherlands to France — Discussion of the subject —
Artifice of Bameveld — Impracticability of a compromise between the
Provinces and Spain — Fonnation of a West India Company — Secret
mission from the Archdukes to the Hague — Reply of the States-General
— Return of the Archdukes' envoy — Arrangement of an eight months'
ai-mistice 257


A Dutch fleet under Heemskerk sent to the coast of Spain and Portugal —
Encounter with the Spanish war-fleet under D'Avila — Death of both
commandei-s-in-chief — Victory of the Netherlanders — Massacre of the
Spaniards 295


Internal condition of Spain — Character of the people — Influence of the
Inquisition — Population and Revenue — Incomes of Church and Govern-
ment — Degradation of Labour — Expulsion of the Moors and its con-
sequences — Venality the special characteristic of Spanish polity —
Maxims of the foreign polity of Spain — The Spanish army and navy —
Insolvent state of the Government — The Duke of Lerma — His position
in the State — Origin of his power — System of bribei y and trafficking
— Philip III. — His character — Domestic life of the king and queen . . 306



Peace deliberations in Spain — Unpopularity of the project — Disafferition
of the courtiers — Complaints against Spinola — Conference of the
Catholic party — Position of Henry IV. towards the Republic — State
of France — Furtiier peace negotiations — Desiie of King James of
England for the restoration of the States to Spain — Arrival of the
French commissioners — President Jeaimin before the States-General —
Dangers of a truce with Spain — Dutch legation to England — Amval
of Lewis Verreyken at the Hague with Philip's ratification — Rejection
of the Spanish treaty — Withdrawal of the Dutch fleet from the Penin-
sula — The peace project denounced by the party of Prince Maurice —
Opposition of Maurice to the plans of Barneveld — Amended ratification
presented to the States-General— Discussion of the conditions — Deter-
mination to conclude a peace — Indian trade — Exploits of Admiral
Matelieil' in the JIalay peninsula — He lays siege to Malacca — Victory
over the Spanish fleet — Endeavour to open a trade with China — Return
of Matelieff to Holland Pase 335


Movements of the Emperor Rudolph — Marquis Spinola's reception at the
Hague — Meeting of Spinola and Prince Maurice — Treaty of the Re-
public with the French Government — The Spanish commissioners
before the States-General — Beginning of negotiations — Stormy dis-
cussions — Real object of Spain in the negotiations — Question of the
India trade — Abandonment of the peace project — Negotiations for a
truce — Prolongation of the armistice — Further delays — Treaty of the
States with England — Proposals of the Spanish ambassadors to Henry
of France and to James of England — Friar Neyen at the court of Spain
— Sjianish procrastination — Decision of Philip on the conditions of
peace — Further conference at the Hague — Answer of the States-General
to the proposals of the Spanish Government — General rupture .. 394


Designs of Henry IV. — New marriage project between France and Spain —
Formal proposition of negotiating for a truce between the States and
Spain — Exertions of Prince Maurice to counteract the desisus of
Barneveld — Strife between the two parties in the republic — Animosity
of the people against Barneveld — Return of the Spanish commissioners


— Kurther triflincj — Dismissal of the commis-Moners — Close of the
negotiations — Accidental discovery of the secret instructions of the Arch-
diilies to the commissioners — Opposing factions in the Republic —
Oration of President Jeannin before the States-General — Comparison
between the Dutch and Swiss republics — Calumnies against the Advo-
cate — Ambassador Lambert in France — Henry's letter to Prince
Mauiice — Reconciliation of Maurice and Barneveld — Agreement of the
States to accept a truce Page 430


Vote of the States-General on the groundwork of the treaty — Meeting of
the plenipotentiaries for aiTangement of the truce — Signing of the
twelve years' truce — Its purport — The negotiations concluded —
Ratification by the States-General, the Archdukes, and the King of
Spain — Question of toleration — Appeal of President Jeannin on behalf
of the Catholics — Rebgious liberty the fruit of the war — Internal
arrangements of the States under the rule of peace — Death of John
Duke of Cleves and Jacob Arminius — Doctrines of Arminius and
Gomarus — Theological warfare — Twenty years" truce between the
Turkish and Roman empires — Ferdinand of Styria — Religious peace —
Prospects of the future 478


Conclusion 502

Index .. .. .. 531



Military events — Aggressive movement of the Netherlauders — State of the
Archduke's provinces — Mutiny of the Spanish forces — Proposed invasion of
Flanders by the States-General — Disembarkation of the troops on the Spanish
coasts — Capture of Oudenburg and other places — Surprise of Nieuport — Conduct
of the Archduke — Oudenburg and the other forts re-taken — Dilemma of the
States' army — Attack of the Archduke on Count Ernest's cavalry — Panic and
total overthrow of the advance-guard of tlie States' army — Battle of Nieuport —
Details of the action — Defeat of the Spanish army — Results of the whole

The eifect produced in the republic by the defensive and
uneventful campaigning of the year 1599 had naturally
been depressing. There was miirmuring at the vast
amount of taxation, especially at the new imposition of
one-half per cent, upon all property, and two-and-a-half
per cent, on all sales, which seemed to produce so few
results. The successful protection of the Isle of Bommel
and the judicious purchase of the two forts of Crevecceur
and St. Andrew, early in the following year, together
with their garrisons, were not military events of the first
magnitude, and were hardly enough to efface the morti-
fication felt at the fact that the enemy had been able st)
lately to construct one of those strongholds within the
territory of the commonwealth.

It wiis now secretly determined to attempt an aggi'es-
sive movement on a considerable scale, and to carry the
war once for all into the heart of the obedient provinces.
It was from Flanders that the Spanish armies drew a
great portion of their supplies. It was by the forts
erected on the coast of Flanders in the neighbourhood of
Ostend that this important possession of the States was
rendered nearly valueless. It was by privateers swarm-



ing from the ports of Flanders, especially from Xieiiport
and Dunkirk, that the foreign trade of the republic
was crippled, and its intercommunications by river and
estuary rendered unsafe. Diinkiik was simply a robbers'
cave, a station from which an annual tax was levied upon
the commerce of the Netherlands, almost sufficient, had
it been paid to the national treasury instead of to the
foreign freebooters, to support the expenses of a con-
siderable army.

On the other hand the condition of the archdukes
seemed deplorable. Never had mutiny existed before in
so well-organised and definite a form even in the Spanish

Besides those branches of the " Italian republic," which
had been established in the two fortresses of Crevecoeur
and yt. Andrew, and which had already sold themselves
to the States, other organizations quite as formidable
existed in various other portions of the obedient pro-
vinces. Especially at Diestand Thionville the rebellious
Spaniards and Italians were numbered by thousands, all
veterans, well armed, fortified in strong cities, and sup-
plying themselves with perfect regularity by contribu-
tions levied upon the peasantry, obeying their Eletto and
other officers with exemplary promptness, and paying
no more heed to the edicts or the solicitations of the
archduke than if he had been the Duke of Muscovy.

The opportunity seemed tempting to stiike a great
blow. How could Albeit and Isabella, with an empty
exchequer and a mutinous army, hope either to defend .
their soil from attack or to aim a coimter blow at the
republic, even if the republic for a season should be
deprived of a portion of its defenders ?

The reasoning was plausible, the prize tempting. The
States-General, who habitually discountenanced rash-
ness, and were wont to impose superfluous restraints upon
the valiant but discreet Lewis William, and upon the
deeply pondering but energetic Maurice, were now grown
as ardent as they had hitherto been hesitating. In the
early days of June it was determined in secret session
to organize a gi'eat force in Holland and Zeeland, and to
embark suddenly for Nieuport, to carry that important
position by surprise or assault, and from that basis to
redeem Dunkirk. The possession of these two cities,


besides that of Ostend, which had always been letained
by the Republic, would ensure the complete subjugation
of Flanders. The trifling force of two thousand men
under Rivas — all that the archduke then had in that
province — and the sconces and earthworks which had
been constriicted around Ostend to impede the move-
ments and obstruct the supplies of the garrison, would
be utterly powerless to prevent the consummation of the
plan. Flanders once subjugated, it would not be long
before the Spaniards were swept from the obedient
Netherlands as thoroughly as they had been from the
domains of the commonwealth, and all the seventeen
provinces, trampling out every vestige of a hated foi'eign
tyranny, would soon take their natural place as states
of a free, prosperous, and powerful union.

But Maurice of Nassau did not share the convictions
of the States-General. The unwonted ardour of Barne-
veld did not inflame his imagination. He urged that
the enterprise was inexcusably rash ; that its execution
would require the whole army of the States, except the
slender garrisons absolutely necessary to protect im-
portant places from surprise ; that a defeat would not
be simply disaster, but annihilation ; that retreat with-
out absolute triumph would be impossible, and that amid
such circumstances the archduke, in spite of his poverty
and the rebellious condition of his troops, would doubt-
less assemble a sufficient force to dispute with reasonable
pi'ospects of victory, this invasion of his teiTitory.

Sir Francis Vere, too, was most decidedly opposed
to the plan. He pointed out with great clearness its
dangerous and possibly fatal character ; assuring the
States that, within a fortnight after the expedition had
begixn, the archduke would follow upon their heels with
an army fully able to cope with the best which they
could put into the field. But besides this experienced
and able campaigner, who so thoroughly shared the
opinions of Pi-ince Maurice, every military man in
the provinces of any consideration was opposed to the
scheme. Especially Lewis William, than whom nf»
more sagacious military critic or accomplished strategist
existed in Eu7-ope, denounced it with energy and even
with indignation. It was, in the opinion of the young
stadholder of Friesland, to suspend the existence of the

a 2


whole commonweal til upon a silken thread. Even suc-
cess, he prophesied, would bring no permanent fruits,
while the consequences of an overt hroAv were fearful to
contemplate. The immediate adherents and most trusted
counsellors of William Lewis were even more unmea-
sured in their denunciations than he was himself. " 'Tis
all the work of Barneveld and the long-gowns," cried
Everard van Eeyd. " We are led into a sack from which
there is no extrication. We are marching to the Caudine

Certainl}' it is no small indication of the vast influence
and the indomitable resolution of Barneveld that he
never faltered in this storm of indignation. The Ad-
vocate had made up his mind to invade Flanders and
to capture Kieuport, and the decree accordingly went
forth, despite all opposition. The States-General were
sovereign, and the Advocate and the States-General
were one.

It was also entirely characteristic of Maurice that he
should submit his judgTnent on this great emergency
to that of Ulden-Barneveld. It was difiicult for him to
resist the influence of the great intellect to which he
had always willingly deferred in affairs of state, and
from which, even in military matters, it was hardly
possible for him to escape. Yet in military matters
Maurice was a consummate pirofessor, and the Advocate
in comparison but a school-boy\

The ascendency of Barneveld was the less wholesome,
therefore, and it might have been better had the stad-
holder manifested tnore resolution. But Maurice had not
a resolute character. Thorough soldier as he was, he
was singularly vacillating, at times almost infirm of pur-
pose, but never before in his career had this want of
decision manifested itself in so striking a manner.^

Accordingly the States -General, or in other words
John of Olden-Barneveld, proposed to invade Flanders,
and lay siege to Nieuport.- The States-General were

1 " Un gleich wie seiner Esc. manheit tremitet gestellet als mit Fabio dieselbe

und gute ordnung zu loben ist," says, Veracliten wollen und das er nit geant-

with some bitterness, that devot«l adhe- wort : mdlo prudens hostis me metuat

rent of the Nassaus, Van Keid, "so quam, stulti cives laudent." —Groea v.

kbnnen sie nit allerdings entschuldigt Prinst., Archives II. Serie ii. 15.

■werden das sie sich lieber uf importu- 2 ■• 1^ Prince Maurice n'a pas manque

iiitet kriegsonerfamer lent in solche ex- de remontrer un plus asseure chemin


sovereign, and Maurice bowed to their authority. After
the matter had been entirely decided upon the state-
council was consulted, and the state-council attempted
no opposition to the project. The preparations were
made with matchless energy and extraordinary secrecy.
Lewis William, who meanwhile was to defend the
eastern frontier of the republic against any possible
attack, sent all the troops that it was possible to s]mre,
but he sent them with a heavy heart. His forebodings
were dismal. It seemed to him that all was about to
be staked upon a single cast of the dice. Moreover it
was painful to him while the terrible game was playing
to be mertdy a looker-on and a prophet of evil from a
distance, forbidden to contribute by his personal skill
and experience to a fortunate result. Hohenlo too was
appointed to protect the southern border, and was ex-
cluded from all participation in the great expedition.

As to the enemy, such rumours as might come to
them from day to day of mysterious military prepara-
tions on the part of the rebels only served to excite sus-
picion in other directions. The archduke was uneasy in
regard to the Ehine and the Gueldrian quarter, but never
dreamt of a hostile descent upon the Flemish coast.

Meantime, on the 19th June, Maurice of Nassau made
his appearance at Castle Eammekens, not far from Flush-
ing, at the mouth of the Scheld, to superintend the great
movement. So large a fleet as was there assembled had
never before been seen or heard of in Christendom. Of
war-ships, transports, and flat-bottomed barges there
were at least thirteen hundred. Many eye-witnesses,
who counted however with their imaginations, declared
that there were in all at least three thousand vessels,
and the statement has been reproduced by grave and
trustworthy chroniclers. As the number of troops to be
embarked upon the enterprise certainly did not exceed
fourteen thousand, this would have been an allowance
of one vessel to every five soldiers, besides the army

pour Jetter la guerre dans le dit paj-s de ayment mieux hazarder ce coup de de,

KUindres et y prendre un pied qui les ccpendant ils se voyent de belles forces

pourroit conduire peu a pcu au but tant en main et celles de leur ennenii affoi-

desire. Mais ce^ Messieurs, comme en- bli^s," &c. — Buzanval to Villeroy, 18

Online LibraryJohn Lothrop MotleyHistory of the United Netherlands: from the death of William the Silent to twelve years' truce--1609 (Volume 4) → online text (page 1 of 66)