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Chambers's miscellany of useful and entertaining tracts (Volume v.5-6) online

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for all past offences, to any one who should assassinate the
Prince of Orang'e. In reply to this brutal proclamation the
prince published a defence of his own conduct, which, under
the name of " The Apology," has been always admired as one
of the noblest refutations ever penned. It is believed to have
been the composition of a Protestant clergyman, a friend of the

For some time no effects followed the issuing of Philip's pro-
clamation, and William was quietly engaged in consolidating the
government under the Duke of Anjou. He had gone to Antwerp
to attend the ceremony of the new sovereign's inauguration, and
was to stay there some time, until everything" was fairly settled.
On the 18th of March 1582, he gave a great dinner at the castle
of the town to celebrate the duke's birthday. Leaving the hall
to ascend to his own chamber, he was met at the door by a silly
melancholy-looking young man, who desired to present a peti-
tion. AYhile he was looking at the paper, the young man tired
a pistol at his head. The ball entered below the rig-ht ear, and
passing through his mouth, came out at the other side. The
prince fell apparently dead, and the assassin was instantly put to
death by the attendants. It appeared, from papers found on his
person, that he was a Spaniard named John Jaureguay, clerk to
Gaspar Anastro, a Spanish merchant in the town. Anastro had
engaged to Philip, for a reward of 28,000 ducats, to effect the
object which the proclamation had not been able to accomplish;
but, unwilling' to undertake the assassination in person, he had
fixed upon his melancholy half-crazed clerk as his deputy ; and
the poor wretch had been persuaded by a Domiiiican monk of the
name of Timmerman, that the death he was sure to die in the
performance of so glorious an act of duty would be an immediate



entrance into paradise. Timmerman, and Venero, Anastro's
cashier, who was also implicated in the murder, were seized and
executed ; but Anastro himself escaped. It was long- feared that
the wound was mortal ; but it proved not to be so ; and in a short
time the prince was again able to resume his duties, dearer now
than ever to the people of the Netherlands. He had scarcely
recovered, when he was summoned to act in a new crisis. The
Duke of Anjou began to act falsely towards his subjects. Fail-
ing* in a treacherous attempt to seize the town of Antwerp,
Anjou was oblig-ed to become a fugitive from his own kingdom.
Perplexed and uncertain how to act, the states again had re-
course to the counsel of the Prince of Orange ; and after much
hesitation, he gave it as his deliberate opinion, that, upon the
whole, in the present state of matters, nothing; was so advisable as
to readmit the duke to the sovereignty, after binding* him by new
and more stringent obligations. In giving this advice, William
spoke from his intimate knowledge of the state of Europe.
The reasons, however, which actuated the Prince of Orange
in advising the recall of Anjou, although very satisfactory to
men experienced in statecraft, and gifted with the same political
insight as himself, were too subtle to be appreciated by the
popular understanding ; and it began to be murmured by the
gossips of Antwerp that the Prince of Orange had gone over to
the French interest, and was conspiring to annex the Nether-
lands to France. Hurt at these suspicions, which impeded his
measures, and rendered his exertions fruitless, William left
Antwerp, and withdrew to his own northern provinces, where
the people would as soon have burnt the ships in their harbours
as suspected the good faith of their beloved stadtholder " Vader
Willem." By removing into the north, however, William did
not mean to cease taking any part in the affairs of the southern
provinces. He continued to act by letters and messengers,
allaying various dissensions among the nobility, and smooth-
ing the way for the return of the Duke of Anjou, who was then
residing in France. But it was destined that the treacherous
Frenchman should never again set his foot within the Nether-
lands. Taken suddenly ill at the Chateau-Thierry, he died there
on the 10th of June 1584, aged thirty years.

Again were the Netherlands thrown into a state of anarchy
and confusion. The northern provinces alone, under the govern-
ment of William, enjoyed internal tranquillity and freedom from
war. The southern provinces were torn by religious dissension ;
while, to aggravate the evil, the Prince of Parma was conducting
military operations within the territory. And now that the
sovereign they had elected was dead, what should be done?
Who should be elected next? Rendered wise and unanimous
by their adversity, the secret wishes of all turned to William ;
and negotiations were set on foot for electing William, Prince of
Orange, and stadtholder of the northern provinces, to the con-



stitutional sovereignty of the Netherlands. He was to accept
the crown on nearly the same terms as he had himself proposed
in the case of the Duke of Anjou.

These hopes were doomed to be disappointed. "William had
g'one to Delft, and was there engaged in business, preparatorjr to
his accession to the sovereignty. On the 10th of July, having
left .his dining'-room in the palace, he had just placed his foot on
the fii^st step of the staircase leading to the upper part of the house,
when a pale man with a cloak, who had come on pretence of get-
ting a passport, pointed a horse-pistol at his breast and fired.
The prince fell. " God have mercy on me and on this poor
people," were the only words he was able to utter ; and in a few
moments he was dead; his wife, Louisa de Coligni, whose father
and first husband had also been murdered, bending over him.
The assassin was seized, attempting to escape. His name was
Balthasar Gerard, a native of Burg'undy. Like Jaureguay, he
had been actuated to the crime by the hopes of fame on earth
and glory in heaven. Documents also exist which show that he
was an instrument of the Spanish authorities, and had communi-
cated his design to several Spanish monks. He suffered death in
the most horrible form which detestation for his crime could de-
vise ; his right hand being first burnt oif, and the flesh being*
then torn from his bones with red-hot pincers. He died with the
composure of a martyr.

The Prince of Orange was fifty-two years of age at the time
of his murder. He had been four times married, and left tea
children, three sons and seven daughters.


The death of the Prince of Orang'e left the Netherlands divided
into two parts — the northern or Protestant provinces, united in a
confederacy, and to all intents and purposes independent of
Spain ; and the southern or Catholic provinces, either subject to
Spain, or only struggling" for independence. The subsequent;
histories of these two portions of the Netherlands are different.

Holland, as the seven united provinces of Holland, Zealand,
Utrecht, Guelderland, Friesland, Overyssel, and Groningen came
to be called, successfully resisted all the attempts of Spain to re-
subjugate it. Prince Maurice inherited his father's abilities and
his honours, and for many years he conducted the war in which
the determination of Spain to recover its territory involved the
provinces. On his death, in 1625, he was succeeded in the govern-
ment by his young-est brother, Frederic Henry ; and before his
death, in 1647, the existence of Holland as an independent
European state was recognised by almost every foreign cabinet,
and Spain saw that it was in vain to continue the war. His sou
William II. died, after a short and turbulent reign, in 1650, leav-
ing a widow, who, within a week of her husband's death, gave
birth to a son, William III.



On the abdication of James II. of England, this William III,,
the great-grandson of the hero of the Netherlands, came from
Holland to ascend the throne of Great Britain, in conj miction
with his wife Mary, James's daughter. Dm'ing his reign, Great
Britain and Holland were under one rule ; but when he died child-
less in 1701, the States-General of the Seven Provinces, instead
of appointing a new stadtholder, took the government into their
own hands. The title of Prince of Orange, however, did not
become extinct ; it was inherited by his cousin. Prison of Nassau,
who was governor of the single province of Friesland. The acti-
vity and energy of this new Prince of Orange and of his son soon
gave them an ascendancy in all the provinces; and in 1747, in
the person of the latter, the House of Orange again acceded to
the dignity of the stadtholderate of the United Provinces. At
the close of the last century, Holland suffered from the invasion
of the French, and was for some time in their hands ; but finally,
in 1813, the Prince of Orange was restored to power; being
admitted to the government as a sovereign prince.

Having thus traced the history of the northern provinces of
the Netherlands down to 1815, let us trace that of the southern
ones down to the same year.

After the death of William of Orange, the Prince of Parma
continued his victorious career in the southern provinces ; and if
he did not altogether crush the spirit of patriotism, he at least
rendered it weak and powerless. Although, therefore. Prince
Maurice and Prince Frederic Henry, while repelling the attempts
of the Spaniards to reconquer Holland, endeavoured also to drive
them out of the rest of the Netherlands, they were never able
fully to effect this, and Spain still kept possession of all the
southern provinces. In 1713, Philij) III. of Spain gave these
southern provinces as a marriage portion to his daughter Isabella
when she espoused Albert, Archduke of Austria ; and from that
time they ceased to be called the Spanish provinces, and obtained
the name of the Belgian provinces, or of the Austrian Nether-
lands. This arrangement lasted till 1795, w^hen it was swept
away by the French Revolution. After a struggle between
France and Austria, the Austrian Netherlands and the province
of Liege were divided into nine departments, forming an integral
part of the French republic ; and they continued to be so till the
fall of Napoleon in 1815.

At this great epoch, when Europe, recovering from the shock
of the French Revolution, had leisure to arrange its various
territories according to its own pleasure, separating some countries
which had been long joined, and joining others which had been
long separated, it was determined once more to unite Holland
and the Belgian provinces into one state. Accordingly, in 1815,
the Prince of Orange had the southern j)rovinces added to his
dominions, and was recognised by the various powers of Europe
as king of the whole Netherlands. In 1579 the country had



been broken up into two parts ; and now, in 1815, they were re-
united, with no chance, so far as appearances went, of ever being-
separated again. But appearances were fallacious. As we have
already informed our readers, there had always been certain
marked differences of lineage, religion, language, and habits,
between the people of the northern and those of the southern pro-
vinces of the Netherlands. In 1830, when the second French
revolution took place, the Belgians revolted from their allegiance,
and insisted on being separated from Holland, and erected into an
independent kingdom. The demand was, after some delay, com-
plied with by foreign powers. On the 15th of November 1831
the boundary-line was fixed, and the Netherlands were divided
into the two independent states of Holland and Belgium. The
crown of the latter was accepted by Leopold of Saxe-Coboui'g,
now sovereign of the country.

The modern kingdom of Holland consists of the following ten
provinces : — North Holland, South Holland, Zealand, North
Brabant, Guelderland, Utrecht, Friesland, Overyssel, Groningen,
and Drenthe ; its capital is the Hague. The population on the
1st of January 1839 amounted to 2,583,271. The prevailing
form of worship is the Calvinistic ; but all other forms enjoy
perfect toleration. Holland is celebrated for its excellent educa-
tional institutions, which are on a liberal footing, and acceptable
to all sects and classes.

The kingdom of Belgium consists of nine provinces — Limbourg,
Liege, Namur, Luxemburg, Hainault, South Brabant, East
Flanders, West Flanders, Antwerp ; its capital is Brussels. The
population of Belgium in 1830 was 4,064,235. The Belgians
are almost altogether Roman Catholics. The ancient Teutonic
language, which has taken the form of Dutch in Holland, has
degenerated into Flemish in Belgium ; besides which, there is
the language called Walloon, a species of old French mingled
with German, and spoken principally in Hainault, on the borders
of France. Nevertheless, modern French may be described as
the predominating language of Belgium.

We have now shown how the Netherlands effected their inde-
pendence ; how the countiy became divided into the two modern
kingdoms of Holland and Belgium ; and it only remains for us
to say that, successful as were the struggles of the people against
oppression, the Netherlands, taken as a whole, have not till this
hour attained the opulence and prosperity of which they were
deprived by the iniquitous aggressions of Philip II. in the six-
teenth century. In travelling through the country, we every-
where see symptoms of fallen grandeur. Antwerp, once the
most opulent mercantile city in Europe, is now m a state of de-
cay ; while Louvain, Mechlin, Utrecht, Leyden, Dort, Delft, aU
exhibit similar tokens of desertion. To " the Spaniards " is every-
where ascribed the ruin of trade, the destruction of works of art,
and the distresses to which the country has been exposed. Such



Sire the results of the unhappy m' ar which scourged the Nether-
lands in the sixteenth century. Although advancing by new
efforts towards its former condition, three centuries have not obli-
terated the traces of this fearful struggle for civil and religious
freedom. Considering the services performed by William of
'Orange in this great effort, no one can look without emotion on
the splendid monument erected over his tomb in the New Church
of Delft, of which we append a representation. It is a lofty
structure of marble, embellished with many figures, one of which
is that of the prince, in bronze, sitting with his truncheon of
office, and his helmet at his feet; while behind is a figure of
Fame sounding with her trumpet the praises of the hero.



OULD you like me to do anything" for you, dear
mother? said Lizette, a sweet-tempered girl, to her
mother, who was lying* to all appearance on her
deathbed, in a cottage in the environs of Marseilles.
"Would you like me to raise your head a little? I am
sure you would — now, I think you will he more comfort-
able. I am glad I thought of that."

" Lizette," said the dying woman, with some deg-ree of
effort, " you kill me with kindness — you are far too g-ood to

" Kindness ! — do not speak of such a thing". It is my duty to
be kind and attentive to my poor dear mother. You know I
would do anything- I could think of for you, and it would be
all little enough. Do try to compose yourself, dear mother.
Perhaps you may yet get well."

" Never," answered Dame IMargaret ; " I know I have not
long to live, and yet I cannot die. Had you been less dutiful,
less kind, it would have been easier for me now. I could have
endured your want of affection, but your g"oodness overcomes
me. Oh, what a dreadful thing it is to receive kindness from
those you have wronged ! " Ancl here the poor woman stopped,
as if convulsed with some strong" emotion,
Lizette exhausted every persuasive to compose the agx)ny of
No. 43. 1


the sufferer, whom she imag-ined was becoming delirious ; but all
was in vain.

" Dear, dear mother," said she tenderly, her large black eyes
filling- with tears, as she fixed them on the ag-itated countenance
of the dying woman ; " do not speak thus. You have never done
me any wrong ; you have always been the best of mothers."

" Do not call me mother ; I am not your mother."

" I fear you are suffering' a great deal/' said Lizette, not heed-
ing her strange observation.

" Oh, yes," answered Dame Margaret, who was perceptibly
getting weaker; "I am dying, and cannot appear before God
with such a heavy sin upon my conscience, Lizette."

" If it is a sin, dear mother, you ought to tell it to the cure,
and not to me : he will console you. Would you like me to go
and call him ?"

" Go, my child ; but come back quickly : I feel I am very ill."
■ When Lizette returned, accompanied by the pastor, they both
observed terror in every feature of the dying woman. Lizette
fell on her knees at the foot of her mother's bed, and poured out-
her full heart in prayer.

" Well, Dame Margaret," said the pastor, seating himself on a
stool, and taking the hand of the poor woman, as if to feel her
pulse, " you are ill ; but I trust you are at peace with God ?"

" No, sir, no," replied the woman ; " there is no peace for me :
I have wronged that innocent child. Oh, Lizette, Lizette," added
she, turning to the young girl, " promise not to curse me."

** Dearest mother," said Lizette caressingly.

" Hush, hush. For pity's sake do not call me mother : it kills
me." And Dame Margaret, then raising herself in the bed,
clasped her hands, and with an effort for which she seemed
obliged to collect all her remaining strength — "I am verily
guilty, sir. I am not the mother of that child. Lizette, I am
not your mother ;" and, as if she had but been given strength for
this avowal, she fell back in utter exhaustion.

" Explain yourself, and hope still in God," said the pastor, as
he bent over the couch ; whilst Lizette's anxious gaze seemed to
inquire the meaning of these mysterious words.

Dame Margaret, after a few moments, recovered sufficiently to
answer — " Sixteen years ago I lost my husband, just as I became
the mother of a little girl ; and I was soon after hired as nurse to
the daughter of the Baroness de Pons, who then resided in Mar-
seilles. Three weeks had hardly gone by when the child fell
sick, and so sick that I thought she was going to die. I was a
poor widow. If I lost the nursing, I must lose the money that I
intended to lay out in purchasing a bit of ground near my house,
which would set me above want for the rest of my days." Here
the dying woman paused, either to collect strength or to delay a
painful confession. The cure pressed her hand, as if to encourage
her. "Alas! your reverence," she resumed, in broken accents,



*' one morning that my poor nursling" was lying" as if slie were
dead, a fine coach stopped at my door, and the Baroness de Pons
alig'hted from it, looking very happy, and crying, ' Mj child,
my Clotilda. Quick, Dame Margaret ; bring me my child.'
Well, sir, what can I say for myself? My heart failed me, I had
not courage to grieve that beautiful young" mother, who had come
in her joy. Besides, my evil genius kept whispering to me to
keep the bit of ground. I took my own child, my little Lizette
— she was thought like my nursling' — and without saying a word
— it would have stuck in my throat — I put her into the arms of
Madame de Pons."

Lizette was listening" with breathless attention, at times invo-
luntarily articulating the words that fell from the lips of the
dying" woman.

Finding' her strength failing, Dame Marg'aret went on quickly.
^^ Madame de Pons covered the child with kisses. ' How pretty
she is ! ' said she, with all a mother's pride. ' She is like a child
of four months old, and she only six weeks ! How delighted
Albert will be to see her so rosy, so healthy!' But all on a
sudden — then indeed I trembled — Madame de Pons began to
•undress the child, to look for a little red mark which her baby-
had below the elbow."

" Here it is," said Lizette in great ag'itation, as she pulled up
her sleeve ; " here it is. Heavenly Father, leave me my senses."

" Hush ! " said the cure, gently laying his hand on the young
girl's arm.

" The lady's-maid relieved me from my embarrassment," con-
tinued the nurse ; " for, as you may well guess, the red mark
was not to be found. 'Did I not tell you so, my lady?' cried
she. ' I said it was only a heat in the skin, and not the mark of
a strawberry ; and your ladyship would not believe me ; and now,
my lady, you see I was rig'ht.' ' Oh, what happiness to have her
so strong, so healthy!' was the only answer of Madame de Pons.
'How could I have ventured to hope it with such delicate health
as I have always had. But I cannot leave her again; I will
stay here till she is to be weaned,' And this, sir, was the way I
changed the children."

The nurse ceased speaking. There was a profound silence,
which Lizette was the first to break. "And you are not my
mother ? "

" But I love you as if I were. Had it not been for me, for my
cares, you would have died. Lizette, Lizette," said the poor
woman, clasping her trembling hands, " be not more inexorable
than the God before whom I am about to appear. Forgive, for-
give me."

" I do, I do," said Lizette, throwing herself, bathed in tears,
into the arms of her nurse ; " for it was you who made me so big
and strong ; you loved me, you made me happy. Are not these
tears the first you ever caused to flow ? Be at peace, my own


-poor mother ; far from vexing your last moments, your child
blesses you."

" You are a good and generous girl," said the cure to Lizette.
"As for you, Dame Margaret, though you have done a grievous
wrong, Madame de Pons will scarcely blame you, since you have
•saved her child."

" But I gave her my own child," interrupted Dame Margaret;
" and now I must die without one look at her, without one kiss
•of her sweet lips."

"Am I not your child too, mother?" said Lizette in a tone
of soft reproach.

" Blessings be on your head, my child, for that one sweet word ;
it makes death less bitter." Her voice now failed her, and in a
few moments she had ceased to breathe.


One forenoon, shortly after the death of Dame Margaret, a
young country girl descended from a diligence which had just
arrived at the place of its destination in Paris. Her dress was
the costume of the peasantry of Marseilles. A short petticoat
displayed a pretty pair of ankles, and two small feet in black
shoes, with silver buckles. A clear muslin handkerchief trimmed
with lace gave to view a neck embrowned by the noonday sun,
while a little cap, surmounted by a large hat of black felt, with a
broad gold band, shaded a fine and marked countenance. The
diligences in France do not set down their passengers in the open
street, as is the custom with stage-coaches in England. They
drive into a spacious courtyard, to which no strangers for mere
curiosity are admitted, and therefore the passengers are not in-
commoded by a crowd. Lizette, as the young girl was who had
now arrived in Paris, having received her trunk, and had
it examined by the attendant custom-house officers,* felt herself
alone and friendless, and sat down to compose her feelings before
venturing out to the long busy streets of which she had seen
something in coming through the city. How long she might
have sat ruminating on the object of her enterprise, is uncertain ;
her meditations were suddenly broken in upon by the abrupt
request of one of the clerks, that she would move out of the way.
Aroused by the discourteous order, the poor girl proceeded to
procure a porter, and asked him to show her the way to the house
of Madame de Pons in the Rue de Rivoli ; and, as if to prove

* More correctly, officers of tlie octroi. The octroi is a tax collected
in every French town for the benefit of the municipality ; it is levied in
the form of a duty on certain articles entering the town ; and so rigorously
is this exacted, that the appointed officers search the trunks of travellers,
and even the baskets which the country people bring to market. An
enormous sum is thus raised annually by the octroi duties in Paris.


that she was not mistaken in tlie address, she drew from hep
pocket a letter, and handed it to the porter.

" It is quite rig-ht ; the very thing-," said he : " follow me.'^

Online LibraryWilliam ChambersChambers's miscellany of useful and entertaining tracts (Volume v.5-6) → online text (page 12 of 59)