1: Chapter I (1609)
Preface || 2: Chapter II (1609-10) >>
I propose to retrace the history of a great statesman's career. That
statesman's name, but for the dark and tragic scenes with which it was
ultimately associated, might after the lapse of two centuries and a half
have faded into comparative oblivion, so impersonal and shadowy his
presence would have seemed upon the great European theatre where he was
so long a chief actor, and where his efforts and his achievements were
foremost among those productive of long enduring and widespread results.
There is no doubt whatever that John of Barneveld, Advocate and Seal
Keeper of the little province of Holland during forty years of as
troubled and fertile an epoch as any in human history, was second to none
of his contemporary statesmen. Yet the singular constitution and
historical position of the republic whose destinies he guided and the
peculiar and abnormal office which he held combined to cast a veil over
his individuality. The ever-teeming brain, the restless almost
omnipresent hand, the fertile pen, the eloquent and ready tongue, were
seen, heard, and obeyed by the great European public, by the monarchs,
statesmen, and warriors of the time, at many critical moments of history,
but it was not John of Barneveld that spoke to the world. Those "high
and puissant Lords my masters the States-General" personified the young
but already majestic republic. Dignified, draped, and concealed by that
overshadowing title the informing and master spirit performed its never
Those who study the enormous masses of original papers in the archives of
the country will be amazed to find how the penmanship, most difficult to
decipher, of the Advocate meets them at every turn. Letters to monarchs,
generals, ambassadors, resolutions of councils, of sovereign assemblies,
of trading corporations, of great Indian companies, legal and historical
disquisitions of great depth and length on questions agitating Europe,
constitutional arguments, drafts of treaties among the leading powers of
the world, instructions to great commissions, plans for European
campaigns, vast combinations covering the world, alliances of empire,
scientific expeditions and discoveries--papers such as these covered now
with the satirical dust of centuries, written in the small, crabbed,
exasperating characters which make Barneveld's handwriting almost
cryptographic, were once, when fairly engrossed and sealed with the great
seal of the haughty burgher-aristocracy, the documents which occupied the
close attention of the cabinets of Christendom.
It is not unfrequent to find four or five important despatches compressed
almost in miniature upon one sheet of gigantic foolscap. It is also
curious to find each one of these rough drafts conscientiously beginning
in the statesman's own hand with the elaborate phrases of compliment
belonging to the epoch such as "Noble, strenuous, severe, highly
honourable, very learned, very discreet, and very wise masters," and
ending with "May the Lord God Almighty eternally preserve you and hold
you in His holy keeping in this world and for ever"--decorations which
one might have thought it safe to leave to be filled in by the secretary
or copying clerk.
Thus there have been few men at any period whose lives have been more
closely identical than his with a national history. There have been few
great men in any history whose names have become less familiar to the
world, and lived less in the mouths of posterity. Yet there can be no
doubt that if William the Silent was the founder of the independence of
the United Provinces Barneveld was the founder of the Commonwealth
itself. He had never the opportunity, perhaps he might have never had
the capacity, to make such prodigious sacrifices in the cause of country
as the great prince had done. But he had served his country strenuously
from youth to old age with an abiding sense of duty, a steadiness of
purpose, a broad vision, a firm grasp, and an opulence of resource such
as not one of his compatriots could even pretend to rival.
Had that country of which he was so long the first citizen maintained
until our own day the same proportionate position among the empires of
Christendom as it held in the seventeenth century, the name of John of
Barneveld would have perhaps been as familiar to all men as it is at this
moment to nearly every inhabitant of the Netherlands. Even now political
passion is almost as ready to flame forth either in ardent affection or
enthusiastic hatred as if two centuries and a half had not elapsed since
his death. His name is so typical of a party, a polity, and a faith, so
indelibly associated with a great historical cataclysm, as to render it
difficult even for the grave, the conscientious, the learned, the
patriotic of his own compatriots to speak of him with absolute
A foreigner who loves and admires all that is great and noble in the
history of that famous republic and can have no hereditary bias as to its
ecclesiastical or political theories may at least attempt the task with
comparative coldness, although conscious of inability to do thorough
justice to a most complex subject.
In former publications devoted to Netherland history I have endeavoured
to trace the course of events of which the life and works of the Advocate
were a vital ingredient down to the period when Spain after more than
forty years of hard fighting virtually acknowledged the independence of
the Republic and concluded with her a truce of twelve years.
That convention was signed in the spring of 1609. The ten ensuing years
in Europe were comparatively tranquil, but they were scarcely to be
numbered among the full and fruitful sheaves of a pacific epoch. It was
a pause, a breathing spell during which the sulphurous clouds which had
made the atmosphere of Christendom poisonous for nearly half a century
had sullenly rolled away, while at every point of the horizon they were
seen massing themselves anew in portentous and ever accumulating
strength. At any moment the faint and sickly sunshine in which poor
exhausted Humanity was essaying a feeble twitter of hope as it plumed
itself for a peaceful flight might be again obscured. To us of a remote
posterity the momentary division of epochs seems hardly discernible. So
rapidly did that fight of Demons which we call the Thirty Years' War
tread on the heels of the forty years' struggle for Dutch Independence
which had just been suspended that we are accustomed to think and speak
of the Eighty Years' War as one pure, perfect, sanguinary whole.
And indeed the Tragedy which was soon to sweep solemnly across Europe was
foreshadowed in the first fitful years of peace. The throb of the
elementary forces already shook the soil of Christendom. The fantastic
but most significant conflict in the territories of the dead Duke of
Clove reflected the distant and gigantic war as in a mirage. It will be
necessary to direct the reader's attention at the proper moment to that
episode, for it was one in which the beneficent sagacity of Barneveld was
conspicuously exerted in the cause of peace and conservation. Meantime
it is not agreeable to reflect that this brief period of nominal and
armed peace which the Republic had conquered after nearly two generations
of warfare was employed by her in tearing her own flesh. The heroic
sword which had achieved such triumphs in the cause of freedom could have
been bitter employed than in an attempt at political suicide.
In a picture of the last decade of Barneveld's eventful life his
personality may come more distinctly forward perhaps than in previous
epochs. It will however be difficult to disentangle a single thread from
the great historical tapestry of the Republic and of Europe in which his
life and achievements are interwoven. He was a public man in the fullest
sense of the word, and without his presence and influence the record of
Holland, France, Spain, Britain, and Germany might have been essentially
The Republic was so integral a part of that system which divided Europe
into two great hostile camps according to creeds rather than frontiers
that the history of its foremost citizen touches at every point the
general history of Christendom.
The great peculiarity of the Dutch constitution at this epoch was that no
principle was absolutely settled. In throwing off a foreign tyranny and
successfully vindicating national independence the burghers and nobles
had not had leisure to lay down any organic law. Nor had the day for
profound investigation of the political or social contract arrived.
Men dealt almost exclusively with facts, and when the facts arranged
themselves illogically and incoherently the mischief was grave and
difficult to remedy. It is not a trifling inconvenience for an organized
commonwealth to be in doubt as to where, in whom, and of what nature is
its sovereignty. Yet this was precisely the condition of the United
Netherlands. To the eternal world so dazzling were the reputation and
the achievements of their great captain that he was looked upon by many
as the legitimate chief of the state and doubtless friendly monarchs
would have cordially welcomed him into their brotherhood.
During the war he had been surrounded by almost royal state. Two hundred
officers lived daily at his table. Great nobles and scions of sovereign
houses were his pupils or satellites. The splendour of military
despotism and the awe inspired by his unquestioned supremacy in what was
deemed the greatest of all sciences invested the person of Maurice of
Nassau with a grandeur which many a crowned potentate might envy. His
ample appointments united with the spoils of war provided him with almost
royal revenues, even before the death of his elder brother Philip William
had placed in his hands the principality and wealthy possessions of
Orange. Hating contradiction, arbitrary by instinct and by military
habit, impatient of criticism, and having long acknowledged no master in
the chief business of state, he found himself at the conclusion of the
truce with his great occupation gone, and, although generously provided
for by the treasury of the Republic, yet with an income proportionately
Politics and theology were fields in which he had hardly served an
apprenticeship, and it was possible that when he should step forward as
a master in those complicated and difficult pursuits, soon to absorb the
attention of the Commonwealth and the world, it might appear that war
was not the only science that required serious preliminary studies.
Meantime he found himself not a king, not the master of a nominal
republic, but the servant of the States-General, and the limited
stadholder of five out of seven separate provinces.
And the States-General were virtually John of Barneveld. Could
antagonism be more sharply defined? Jealousy, that potent principle
which controls the regular movements and accounts for the aberrations of
humanity in widest spheres as well as narrowest circles far more
generally and conclusively than philosophers or historians have been
willing to admit, began forthwith to manifest its subtle and irresistible
And there were not to be wanting acute and dangerous schemers who saw
their profit in augmenting its intensity.
The Seven Provinces, when the truce of twelve years had been signed, were
neither exhausted nor impoverished. Yet they had just emerged from a
forty years' conflict such as no people in human history had ever waged
against a foreign tyranny. They had need to repose and recruit, but they
stood among the foremost great powers of the day. It is not easy in
imagination to thrust back the present leading empires of the earth into
the contracted spheres of their not remote past. But to feel how a
little confederacy of seven provinces loosely tied together by an ill-
defined treaty could hold so prominent and often so controlling a place
in the European system of the seventeenth century, we must remember that
there was then no Germany, no Russia, no Italy, no United States of
America, scarcely even a Great Britain in the sense which belongs to that
mighty empire now.
France, Spain, England, the Pope, and the Emperor were the leading powers
with which the Netherlands were daily called on to solve great problems
and try conclusions; the study of political international equilibrium,
now rapidly and perhaps fortunately becoming one of the lost arts, being
then the most indispensable duty of kings and statesmen.
Spain and France, which had long since achieved for themselves the
political union of many independent kingdoms and states into which they
had been divided were the most considerable powers and of necessity
rivals. Spain, or rather the House of Austria divided into its two great
branches, still pursued its persistent and by no means fantastic dream of
universal monarchy. Both Spain and France could dispose of somewhat
larger resources absolutely, although not relatively, than the Seven
Provinces, while at least trebling them in population. The yearly
revenue of Spain after deduction of its pledged resources was perhaps
equal to a million sterling, and that of France with the same reservation
was about as much. England had hardly been able to levy and make up a
yearly income of more than L600,000 or L700,000 at the end of Elizabeth's
reign or in the first years of James, while the Netherlands had often
proved themselves capable of furnishing annually ten or twelve millions
of florins, which would be the equivalent of nearly a million sterling.
The yearly revenues of the whole monarchy of the Imperial house of
Habsburg can scarcely be stated at a higher figure than L350,000.
Thus the political game--for it was a game--was by no means a desperate
one for the Netherlands, nor the resources of the various players so
unequally distributed as at first sight it might appear.
The emancipation of the Provinces from the grasp of Spain and the
establishment by them of a commonwealth, for that epoch a very free one,
and which contained within itself the germs of a larger liberty,
religious, political, and commercial, than had yet been known, was
already one of the most considerable results of the Reformation. The
probability of its continued and independent existence was hardly
believed in by potentate or statesman outside its own borders, and had
not been very long a decided article of faith even within them. The
knotty problem of an acknowledgment of that existence, the admission of
the new-born state into the family of nations, and a temporary peace
guaranteed by two great powers, had at last been solved mainly by the
genius of Barneveld working amid many disadvantages and against great
obstructions. The truce had been made, and it now needed all the skill,
coolness, and courage of a practical and original statesman to conduct
the affairs of the Confederacy. The troubled epoch of peace was even now
heaving with warlike emotions, and was hardly less stormy than the war
which had just been suspended.
The Republic was like a raft loosely strung together, floating almost on
a level of the ocean, and often half submerged, but freighted with
inestimable treasures for itself and the world. It needed an unsleeping
eye and a powerful brain to conduct her over the quicksands and through
the whirlpools of an unmapped and intricate course.
The sovereignty of the country so far as its nature could be
satisfactorily analysed seemed to be scattered through, and inherent in
each one of, the multitudinous boards of magistracy--close corporations,
self-elected--by which every city was governed. Nothing could be more
preposterous. Practically, however, these boards were represented by
deputies in each of the seven provincial assemblies, and these again sent
councillors from among their number to the general assembly which was
that of their High Mightinesses the Lords States-General.
The Province of Holland, being richer and more powerful than all its six
sisters combined, was not unwilling to impose a supremacy which on the
whole was practically conceded by the rest. Thus the Union of Utrecht
established in 1579 was maintained for want of anything better as the
foundation of the Commonwealth.
The Advocate and Keeper of the Great Seal of that province was therefore
virtually prime minister, president, attorney-general, finance minister,
and minister of foreign affairs of the whole republic. This was
Barneveld's position. He took the lead in the deliberations both of the
States of Holland and the States-General, moved resolutions, advocated
great measures of state, gave heed to their execution, collected the
votes, summed up the proceedings, corresponded with and instructed
ambassadors, received and negotiated with foreign ministers, besides
directing and holding in his hands the various threads of the home
policy and the rapidly growing colonial system of the Republic.
All this work Barneveld had been doing for thirty years.
The Reformation was by no mans assured even in the lands where it had
at first made the most essential progress. But the existence of the new
commonwealth depended on the success of that great movement which had
called it into being. Losing ground in France, fluctuating in England,
Protestantism was apparently more triumphant in vast territories where
the ancient Church was one day to recover its mastery. Of the population
of Bohemia, there were perhaps ten Protestants to one Papist, while in
the United Netherlands at least one-third of the people were still
attached to the Catholic faith.
The great religious struggle in Bohemia and other dominions of the
Habsburg family was fast leading to a war of which no man could even
imagine the horrors or foresee the vast extent. The Catholic League and
the Protestant Union were slowly arranging Europe into two mighty
They were to give employment year after year to millions of mercenary
freebooters who were to practise murder, pillage, and every imaginable
and unimaginable outrage as the most legitimate industry that could
occupy mankind. The Holy Empire which so ingeniously combined the worst
characteristics of despotism and republicanism kept all Germany and half
Europe in the turmoil of a perpetual presidential election. A theatre
where trivial personages and graceless actors performed a tragi-comedy of
mingled folly, intrigue, and crime, and where earnestness and vigour were
destined to be constantly baffled, now offered the principal stage for
the entertainment and excitement of Christendom.
There was but one king in Europe, Henry the Bearnese. The men who sat on
the thrones in Madrid, Vienna, London, would have lived and died unknown
but for the crowns they wore, and while there were plenty of bustling
politicians here and there in Christendom, there were not many statesmen.
Among them there was no stronger man than John of Barneveld, and no man
had harder or more complicated work to do.
Born in Amersfoort in 1547, of the ancient and knightly house of
Oldenbarneveldt, of patrician blood through all his ancestors both male
and female, he was not the heir to large possessions, and was a diligent
student and hardworking man from youth upward. He was not wont to boast
of his pedigree until in later life, being assailed by vilest slander,
all his kindred nearest or most remote being charged with every possible
and unmentionable crime, and himself stigmatized as sprung from the
lowest kennels of humanity--as if thereby his private character and
public services could be more legitimately blackened--he was stung into
exhibiting to the world the purity and antiquity of his escutcheon, and a
roll of respectably placed, well estated, and authentically noble, if not
at all illustrious, forefathers in his country's records of the previous
Without an ancestor at his back he might have valued himself still more
highly on the commanding place he held in the world by right divine of
intellect, but as the father of lies seemed to have kept his creatures so
busy with the Barneveld genealogy, it was not amiss for the statesman
once for all to make the truth known.
His studies in the universities of Holland, France, Italy, and Germany
had been profound. At an early age he was one of the first civilians of
the time. His manhood being almost contemporary with the great war of
freedom, he had served as a volunteer and at his own expense through
several campaigns, having nearly lost his life in the disastrous attempt
to relieve the siege of Haarlem, and having been so disabled by sickness
and exposure at the heroic leaguer of Leyden as to have been deprived of
the joy of witnessing its triumphant conclusion.
Successfully practising his profession afterwards before the tribunals of
Holland, he had been called at the comparatively early age of twenty-nine
to the important post of Chief Pensionary of Rotterdam. So long as
William the Silent lived, that great prince was all in all to his
country, and Barneveld was proud and happy to be among the most
trusted and assiduous of his counsellors.
When the assassination of William seemed for an instant to strike the
Republic with paralysis, Barneveld was foremost among the statesmen of
Holland to spring forward and help to inspire it with renewed energy.
The almost completed negotiations for conferring the sovereignty, not of
the Confederacy, but of the Province of Holland, upon the Prince had been
abruptly brought to an end by his death. To confer that sovereign
countship on his son Maurice, then a lad of eighteen and a student at
Leyden, would have seemed to many at so terrible a crisis an act of
madness, although Barneveld had been willing to suggest and promote the
scheme. The confederates under his guidance soon hastened however to lay
the sovereignty, and if not the sovereignty, the protectorship, of all
the provinces at the feet first of England and then of France.
Barneveld was at the head of the embassy, and indeed was the
indispensable head of all important, embassies to each of those two
countries throughout all this portion of his career. Both monarchs
refused, almost spurned, the offered crown in which was involved a war
with the greatest power in the world, with no compensating dignity or
benefit, as it was thought, beside.
Then Elizabeth, although declining the sovereignty, promised assistance
and sent the Earl of Leicester as governor-general at the head of a
contingent of English troops. Precisely to prevent the consolidation
thus threatened of the Provinces into one union, a measure which had been
attempted more than once in the Burgundian epoch, and always successfully
resisted by the spirit of provincial separatism, Barneveld now proposed
and carried the appointment of Maurice of Nassau to the stadholdership of
Holland. This was done against great opposition and amid fierce debate.
Soon afterwards Barneveld was vehemently urged by the nobles and regents
of the cities of Holland to accept the post of Advocate of that province.
After repeatedly declining the arduous and most responsible office, he
was at last induced to accept it. He did it under the remarkable
condition that in case any negotiation should be undertaken for the
purpose of bringing back the Province of Holland under the dominion of
the King of Spain, he should be considered as from that moment relieved
from the service.
His brother Elias Barneveld succeeded him as Pensionary of Rotterdam, and
thenceforth the career of the Advocate is identical with the history of
the Netherlands. Although a native of Utrecht, he was competent to
exercise such functions in Holland, a special and ancient convention
between those two provinces allowing the citizens of either to enjoy
legal and civic rights in both. Gradually, without intrigue or
inordinate ambition, but from force of circumstances and the commanding
power of the man, the native authority stamped upon his forehead, he
became the political head of the Confederacy. He created and maintained
a system of public credit absolutely marvellous in the circumstances, by
means of which an otherwise impossible struggle was carried to a
When the stadholderate of the provinces of Gelderland, Utrecht, and
Overyssel became vacant, it was again Barneveld's potent influence and
sincere attachment to the House of Nassau that procured the election of
Maurice to those posts. Thus within six years after his father's death
the youthful soldier who had already given proof of his surpassing
military genius had become governor, commander-in-chief, and high
admiral, of five of the seven provinces constituting the Confederacy.
At about the same period the great question of Church and State, which
Barneveld had always felt to be among the vital problems of the age, and
on which his opinions were most decided, came up for partial solution.
It would have been too much to expect the opinion of any statesman to
be so much in advance of his time as to favor religious equality.
Toleration of various creeds, including the Roman Catholic, so far as
abstinence from inquisition into consciences and private parlours could
be called toleration, was secured, and that was a considerable step in
advance of the practice of the sixteenth century. Burning, hanging, and
burying alive of culprits guilty of another creed than the dominant one
had become obsolete. But there was an established creed--the Reformed
religion, founded on the Netherland Confession and the Heidelberg
Catechism. And there was one established principle then considered
throughout Europe the grand result of the Reformation; "Cujus regio ejus
religio;" which was in reality as impudent an invasion of human right as
any heaven-born dogma of Infallibility. The sovereign of a country,
having appropriated the revenues of the ancient church, prescribed his
own creed to his subjects. In the royal conscience were included the
million consciences of his subjects. The inevitable result in a country
like the Netherlands, without a personal sovereign, was a struggle
between the new church and the civil government for mastery. And at this
period, and always in Barneveld's opinion, the question of dogma was
subordinate to that of church government. That there should be no
authority over the King had been settled in England.
Henry VIII., Elizabeth, and afterwards James, having become popes in
their own realm, had no great hostility to, but rather an affection for,
ancient dogma and splendid ceremonial. But in the Seven Provinces, even
as in France, Germany, and Switzerland, the reform where it had been
effected at all had been more thorough, and there was little left of
Popish pomp or aristocratic hierarchy. Nothing could be severer than the
simplicity of the Reformed Church, nothing more imperious than its dogma,
nothing more infallible than its creed. It was the true religion, and
there was none other. But to whom belonged the ecclesiastical edifices,
the splendid old minsters in the cities--raised by the people's confiding
piety and the purchased remission of their sins in a bygone age--and the
humbler but beautiful parish churches in every town and village? To the
State; said Barneveld, speaking for government; to the community
represented by the states of the provinces, the magistracies of the
cities and municipalities. To the Church itself, the one true church
represented by its elders, and deacons, and preachers, was the reply.
And to whom belonged the right of prescribing laws and ordinances of
public worship, of appointing preachers, church servants, schoolmasters,
sextons? To the Holy Ghost inspiring the Class and the Synod, said the
To the civil authority, said the magistrates, by which the churches are
maintained, and the salaries of the ecclesiastics paid. The states of
Holland are as sovereign as the kings of England or Denmark, the electors
of Saxony or Brandenburg, the magistrates of Zurich or Basel or other
Swiss cantons. "Cujus regio ejus religio."
In 1590 there was a compromise under the guidance of Barneveld. It was
agreed that an appointing board should be established composed of civil
functionaries and church officials in equal numbers. Thus should the
interests of religion and of education be maintained.
The compromise was successful enough during the war. External pressure
kept down theological passion, and there were as yet few symptoms of
schism in the dominant church. But there was to come a time when the
struggle between church and government was to break forth with an
intensity and to rage to an extent which no man at that moment could
Towards the end of the century Henry IV. made peace with Spain. It was a
trying moment for the Provinces. Barneveld was again sent forth on an
embassy to the King. The cardinal point in his policy, as it had ever
been in that of William the Silent, was to maintain close friendship with
France, whoever might be its ruler. An alliance between that kingdom
and Spain would be instantaneous ruin to the Republic. With the French
and English sovereigns united with the Provinces, the cause of the
Reformation might triumph, the Spanish world-empire be annihilated,
national independence secured.
Henry assured the Ambassador that the treaty of Vervins was
indispensable, but that he would never desert his old allies.
In proof of this, although he had just bound himself to Spain to give no
assistance to the Provinces, open or secret, he would furnish them with
thirteen hundred thousand crowns, payable at intervals during four years.
He was under great obligations to his good friends the States, he said,
and nothing in the treaty forbade him to pay his debts.
It was at this period too that Barneveld was employed by the King to
attend to certain legal and other private business for which he professed
himself too poor at the moment to compensate him. There seems to
have been nothing in the usages of the time or country to make the
transaction, innocent in itself, in any degree disreputable. The King
promised at some future clay, when he should be more in funds, to pay him
a liberal fee. Barneveld, who a dozen years afterwards received 20,000
florins for his labour, professed that he would much rather have had one
thousand at the time.
Thence the Advocate, accompanied by his colleague, Justinus de Nassau,
proceeded to England, where they had many stormy interviews with
Elizabeth. The Queen swore with many an oath that she too would make
peace with Philip, recommended the Provinces to do the same thing with
submission to their ancient tyrant, and claimed from the States immediate
payment of one million sterling in satisfaction of their old debts to
her. It would have been as easy for them at that moment to pay a
thousand million. It was at last agreed that the sum of the debt should
be fixed at L800,000, and that the cautionary towns should be held in
Elizabeth's hands by English troops until all the debt should be
discharged. Thus England for a long time afterwards continued to regard
itself, as in a measure the sovereign and proprietor of the Confederacy,
and Barneveld then and there formed the resolve to relieve the country of
the incubus, and to recover those cautionary towns and fortresses at the
earliest possible moment. So long as foreign soldiers commanded by
military governors existed on the soil of the Netherlands, they could
hardly account themselves independent. Besides, there was the perpetual
and horrid nightmare, that by a sudden pacification between Spain and
England those important cities, keys to the country's defence, might be
handed over to their ancient tyrant.
Elizabeth had been pacified at last, however, by the eloquence of the
Ambassador. "I will assist you even if you were up to the neck in
water," she said. "Jusque la," she added, pointing to her chin.
Five years later Barneveld, for the fifth time at the head of a great
embassy, was sent to England to congratulate James on his accession.
It was then and there that he took measure of the monarch with whom he
was destined to have many dealings, and who was to exert so baleful an
influence on his career. At last came the time when it was felt that
peace between Spain and her revolted provinces might be made. The
conservation of their ancient laws, privileges, and charters, the
independence of the States, and included therein the freedom to establish
the Reformed religion, had been secured by forty years of fighting.
The honour of Spain was saved by a conjunction. She agreed to treat
with her old dependencies "as" with states over which she had no
pretensions. Through virtue of an "as," a truce after two years'
negotiation, perpetually traversed and secretly countermined by the
military party under the influence of Maurice, was carried by the
determination of Barneveld. The great objects of the war had been
secured. The country was weary of nearly half a century of bloodshed.
It was time to remember that there could be such a condition as Peace.
The treaty was signed, ratifications exchanged, and the usual presents of
considerable sums of money to the negotiators made. Barneveld earnestly
protested against carrying out the custom on this occasion, and urged
that those presents should be given for the public use. He was overruled
by those who were more desirous of receiving their reward than he was,
and he accordingly, in common with the other diplomatists, accepted the
The various details of these negotiations have been related by the author
in other volumes, to which the present one is intended as a sequel. It
has been thought necessary merely to recall very briefly a few salient
passages in the career of the Advocate up to the period when the present
history really opens.
Their bearing upon subsequent events will easily be observed. The truce
was the work of Barneveld. It was detested by Maurice and by Maurice's
"I fear that our enemies and evil reports are the cause of many of our
difficulties," said the Advocate to the States' envoy in Paris, in 1606.
"You are to pay no heed to private advices. Believe and make others
believe that more than one half the inhabitants of the cities and in the
open country are inclined to peace. And I believe, in case of continuing
adversities, that the other half will not remain constant, principally
because the Provinces are robbed of all traffic, prosperity, and
navigation, through the actions of France and England. I have always
thought it for the advantage of his Majesty to sustain us in such wise as
would make us useful in his service. As to his remaining permanently at
peace with Spain, that would seem quite out of the question."
The King had long kept, according to treaty, a couple of French regiments
in the States' service, and furnished, or was bound to furnish, a certain
yearly sum for their support. But the expenses of the campaigning had
been rapidly increasing and the results as swiftly dwindling. The
Advocate now explained that, "without loss both of important places and
of reputation," the States could not help spending every month that they
took the field 200,000 florins over and above the regular contributions,
and some months a great deal more. This sum, he said, in nine months,
would more than eat up the whole subsidy of the King. If they were to be
in the field by March or beginning of April, they would require from him
an extraordinary sum of 200,000 crowns, and as much more in June or July.
Eighteen months later, when the magnificent naval victory of Heemskerk
in the Bay of Gibraltar had just made a startling interlude to the
languishing negotiations for peace, the Advocate again warned the French
King of the difficulty in which the Republic still laboured of carrying
on the mighty struggle alone. Spain was the common enemy of all. No
peace or hope was possible for the leading powers as long as Spain was
perpetually encamped in the very heart of Western Europe. The
Netherlands were not fighting their own battle merely, but that of
freedom and independence against the all-encroaching world-power. And
their means to carry on the conflict were dwindling, while at the same
time there was a favourable opportunity for cropping some fruit from
their previous labours and sacrifices.
"We are led to doubt," he wrote once more to the envoy in France,
"whether the King's full powers will come from Spain. This defeat is
hard for the Spaniards to digest. Meantime our burdens are quite above
our capacity, as you will understand by the enclosed statement, which is
made out with much exactness to show what is absolutely necessary for a
vigorous defence on land and a respectable position at sea to keep things
from entire confusion. The Provinces could raise means for the half of
this estimate. But, it is a great difference when the means differ one
half from the expenses. The sovereignst and most assured remedy would be
the one so often demanded, often projected, and sometimes almost prepared
for execution, namely that our neighbour kings, princes, and republics
should earnestly take the matter in hand and drive the Spaniards and
their adherents out of the Netherlands and over the mountains. Their own
dignity and security ought not to permit such great bodies of troops of
both belligerents permanently massed in the Netherlands. Still less
ought they to allow these Provinces to fall into the hands of the
Spaniards, whence they could with so much more power and convenience make
war upon all kings, princes, and republics. This must be prevented by
one means or another. It ought to be enough for every one that we have
been between thirty and forty years a firm bulwark against Spanish
ambition. Our constancy and patience ought to be strengthened by counsel
and by deed in order that we may exist; a Christian sympathy and a small
assistance not being sufficient. Believe and cause to be believed that
the present condition of our affairs requires more aid in counsel and
money than ever before, and that nothing could be better bestowed than to
further this end.
"Messieurs Jeannin, Buzenval, and de Russy have been all here these
twelve days. We have firm hopes that other kings, princes, and republics
will not stay upon formalities, but will also visit the patients here in
order to administer sovereign remedies.
"Lend no ear to any flying reports. We say with the wise men over there,
'Metuo Danaos et dons ferentes.' We know our antagonists well, and trust
their hearts no more than before, 'sed ultra posse non est esse.' To
accept more burthens than we can pay for will breed military mutiny;
to tax the community above its strength will cause popular tumults,
especially in 'rebus adversis,' of which the beginnings were seen last
year, and without a powerful army the enemy is not to be withstood. I
have received your letters to the 17th May. My advice is to trust to his
upright proceedings and with patience to overcome all things. Thus shall
the detractors and calumniators best be confounded. Assure his Majesty
and his ministers that I will do my utmost to avert our ruin and his
The treaty was made, and from that time forth the antagonism between the
eminent statesman and the great military chieftain became inevitable.
The importance of the one seemed likely to increase day by day. The
occupation of the other for a time was over.
During the war Maurice had been, with exception of Henry IV., the most
considerable personage in Europe. He was surrounded with that visible
atmosphere of power the poison of which it is so difficult to resist, and
through the golden haze of which a mortal seems to dilate for the vulgar
eye into the supernatural. The attention of Christendom was perpetually
fixed upon him. Nothing like his sieges, his encampments, his military
discipline, his scientific campaigning had been seen before in modern
Europe. The youthful aristocracy from all countries thronged to his camp
to learn the game of war, for he had restored by diligent study of the
ancients much that was noble in that pursuit, and had elevated into an
art that which had long since degenerated into a system of butchery,
marauding, and rapine. And he had fought with signal success and
unquestionable heroism the most important and most brilliant pitched
battle of the age. He was a central figure of the current history of
Europe. Pagan nations looked up to him as one of the leading sovereigns
of Christendom. The Emperor of Japan addressed him as his brother
monarch, assured him that his subjects trading to that distant empire
should be welcomed and protected, and expressed himself ashamed that so
great a prince, whose name and fame had spread through the world, should
send his subjects to visit a country so distant and unknown, and offer
its emperor a friendship which he was unconscious of deserving.
He had been a commander of armies and a chief among men since he came to
man's estate, and he was now in the very vigour of life, in his forty-
second year. Of Imperial descent and closely connected by blood or
alliance with many of the most illustrious of reigning houses, the
acknowledged master of the most royal and noble of all sciences, he was
of the stuff of which kings were made, and belonged by what was then
accounted right divine to the family of kings. His father's death had
alone prevented his elevation to the throne of Holland, and such
possession of half the sovereignty of the United Netherlands would
probably have expanded into dominion over all the seven with a not
fantastic possibility of uniting the ten still obedient provinces into a
single realm. Such a kingdom would have been more populous and far
wealthier than contemporary Great Britain and Ireland. Maurice, then a
student at Leyden, was too young at that crisis, and his powers too
undeveloped to justify any serious attempt to place him in his father's
The Netherlands drifted into a confederacy of aristocratic republics, not
because they had planned a republic, but because they could not get a
king, foreign or native. The documents regarding the offer of the
sovereign countship to William remained in the possession of Maurice, and
a few years before the peace there had been a private meeting of leading
personages, of which Barneveld was the promoter and chief spokesman, to
take into consideration the propriety and possibility of conferring that
sovereignty upon the son which had virtually belonged to the father. The
obstacles were deemed so numerous, and especially the scheme seemed so
fraught with danger to Maurice, that it was reluctantly abandoned by his
best friends, among whom unquestionably was the Advocate.
There was no reason whatever why the now successful and mature soldier,
to whom the country was under such vast obligations, should not aspire
to the sovereignty. The Provinces had not pledged themselves to
republicanism, but rather to monarchy, and the crown, although secretly
coveted by Henry IV., could by no possibility now be conferred on any
other man than Maurice. It was no impeachment on his character that he
should nourish thoughts in which there was nothing criminal.
But the peace negotiations had opened a chasm. It was obvious enough
that Barneveld having now so long exercised great powers, and become as
it were the chief magistrate of an important commonwealth, would not be
so friendly as formerly to its conversion into a monarchy and to the
elevation of the great soldier to its throne. The Advocate had even been
sounded, cautiously and secretly, so men believed, by the Princess-
Dowager, Louise de Coligny, widow of William the silent, as to the
feasibility of procuring the sovereignty for Maurice. She had done this
at the instigation of Maurice, who had expressed his belief that the
favourable influence of the Advocate would make success certain and who
had represented to her that, as he was himself resolved never to marry,
the inheritance after his death would fall to her son Frederick Henry.
The Princess, who was of a most amiable disposition, adored her son.
Devoted to the House of Nassau and a great admirer of its chief, she had
a long interview with Barneveld, in which she urged the scheme upon his
attention without in any probability revealing that she had come to him
at the solicitation of Maurice.
The Advocate spoke to her with frankness and out of the depths of his
heart. He professed an ardent attachment to her family, a profound
reverence for the virtues, sacrifices, and achievements of her lamented
husband, and a warm desire to do everything to further the interests of
the son who had proved himself so worthy of his parentage.
But he proved to her that Maurice, in seeking the sovereignty, was
seeking his ruin. The Hollanders, he said, liked to be persuaded and not
forced. Having triumphantly shaken off the yoke of a powerful king, they
would scarcely consent now to accept the rule of any personal sovereign.
The desire to save themselves from the claws of Spain had led them
formerly to offer the dominion over them to various potentates. Now that
they had achieved peace and independence and were delivered from the
fears of Spanish ferocity and French intrigue, they shuddered at the
dangers from royal hands out of which they had at last escaped. He
believed that they would be capable of tearing in pieces any one who
might make the desired proposition. After all, he urged, Maurice was a
hundred times more fortunate as he was than if he should succeed in
desires so opposed to his own good. This splendour of sovereignty was a
false glare which would lead him to a precipice. He had now the power of
a sovereign without the envy which ever followed it. Having essentially
such power, he ought, like his father, to despise an empty name, which
would only make him hated. For it was well known that William the Silent
had only yielded to much solicitation, agreeing to accept that which then
seemed desirable for the country's good but to him was more than
Maurice was captain-general and admiral-general of five provinces. He
appointed to governments and to all military office. He had a share of
appointment to the magistracies. He had the same advantages and the same
authority as had been enjoyed in the Netherlands by the ancient sovereign
counts, by the dukes of Burgundy, by Emperor Charles V. himself.
Every one now was in favour of increasing his pensions, his salaries, his
material splendour. Should he succeed in seizing the sovereignty, men
would envy him even to the ribbands of his pages' and his lackeys' shoes.
He turned to the annals of Holland and showed the Princess that there had
hardly been a sovereign count against whom his subjects had not revolted,
marching generally into the very courtyard of the palace at the Hague in
order to take his life.
Convinced by this reasoning, Louise de Coligny had at once changed her
mind, and subsequently besought her stepson to give up a project sure to
be fatal to his welfare, his peace of mind, and the good of the country.
Maurice listened to her coldly, gave little heed to the Advocate's logic,
and hated him in his heart from that day forth.
The Princess remained loyal to Barneveld to the last.
Thus the foundation was laid of that terrible enmity which, inflamed by
theological passion, was to convert the period of peace into a hell, to
rend the Provinces asunder when they had most need of repose, and to lead
to tragical results for ever to be deplored. Already in 1607 Francis
Aerssens had said that the two had become so embroiled and things had
gone so far that one or the other would have to leave the country. He
permitted also the ridiculous statement to be made in his house at Paris,
that Henry IV. believed the Advocate to have become Spanish, and had
declared that Prince Maurice would do well to have him put into a sack
and thrown into the sea.
His life had been regularly divided into two halves, the campaigning
season and the period of winter quarters. In the one his business, and
his talk was of camps, marches, sieges, and battles only. In the other
he was devoted to his stud, to tennis, to mathematical and mechanical
inventions, and to chess, of which he was passionately fond, and which he
did not play at all well. A Gascon captain serving in the States' army
was his habitual antagonist in that game, and, although the stakes were
but a crown a game, derived a steady income out of his gains, which were
more than equal to his pay. The Prince was sulky when he lost, sitting,
when the candles were burned out and bed-time had arrived, with his hat
pulled over his brows, without bidding his guest good night, and leaving
him to find his way out as he best could; and, on the contrary, radiant
with delight when successful, calling for valets to light the departing
captain through the corridor, and accompanying him to the door of the
apartment himself. That warrior was accordingly too shrewd not to allow
his great adversary as fair a share of triumph as was consistent with
maintaining the frugal income on which he reckoned.
He had small love for the pleasures of the table, but was promiscuous
and unlicensed in his amours. He was methodical in his household
arrangements, and rather stingy than liberal in money matters. He
personally read all his letters, accounts, despatches, and other
documents trivial or important, but wrote few letters with his own hand,
so that, unlike his illustrious father's correspondence, there is little
that is characteristic to be found in his own. He was plain but not
shabby in attire, and was always dressed in exactly the same style,
wearing doublet and hose of brown woollen, a silk under vest, a short
cloak lined with velvet, a little plaited ruff on his neck, and very
loose boots. He ridiculed the smart French officers who, to show their
fine legs, were wont to wear such tight boots as made them perspire to
get into them, and maintained, in precept and practice, that a man should
be able to jump into his boots and mount and ride at a moment's notice.
The only ornaments he indulged in, except, of course, on state occasions,
were a golden hilt to his famous sword, and a rope of diamonds tied
around his felt hat.
He was now in the full flower of his strength and his fame, in his forty-
second year, and of a noble and martial presence. The face, although
unquestionably handsome, offered a sharp contrast within itself; the
upper half all intellect, the lower quite sensual. Fair hair growing
thin, but hardly tinged with grey, a bright, cheerful, and thoughtful
forehead, large hazel eyes within a singularly large orbit of brow; a
straight, thin, slightly aquiline, well-cut nose--such features were at
open variance with the broad, thick-lipped, sensual mouth, the heavy
pendant jowl, the sparse beard on the glistening cheek, and the moleskin-
like moustachio and chin tuft. Still, upon the whole, it was a face and
figure which gave the world assurance of a man and a commander of men.
Power and intelligence were stamped upon him from his birth.
Barneveld was tall and majestic of presence, with large quadrangular
face, austere, blue eyes looking authority and command, a vast forehead,
and a grizzled beard. Of fluent and convincing eloquence with tongue and
pen, having the power of saying much in few words, he cared much more for
the substance than the graces of speech or composition. This tendency
was not ill exemplified in a note of his written on a sheet of questions
addressed to him by a States' ambassador about to start on an important
mission, but a novice in his business, the answers to which questions
were to serve for his diplomatic instructions.
"Item and principally," wrote the Envoy, "to request of M. de Barneveld
a formulary or copy of the best, soundest, wisest, and best couched
despatches done by several preceding ambassadors in order to regulate
myself accordingly for the greater service of the Province and for my
The Advocate's answer, scrawled in his nearly illegible hand, was--
"Unnecessary. The truth in shortest about matters of importance shall be
taken for good style."
With great love of power, which he was conscious of exerting with ease to
himself and for the good of the public, he had little personal vanity,
and not the smallest ambition of authorship. Many volumes might be
collected out of the vast accumulation of his writings now mouldering and
forgotten in archives. Had the language in which they are written become
a world's language, they would be worthy of attentive study, as
containing noble illustrations of the history and politics of his age,
with theories and sentiments often far in advance of his age. But he
cared not for style. "The truth in shortest about matters of importance"
was enough for him; but the world in general, and especially the world of
posterity, cares much for style. The vehicle is often prized more than
the freight. The name of Barneveld is fast fading out of men's memory.
The fame of his pupil and companion in fortune and misfortune, Hugo
Grotius, is ever green. But Grotius was essentially an author rather
than a statesman: he wrote for the world and posterity with all the love,
pride, and charm of the devotee of literature, and he composed his
noblest works in a language which is ever living because it is dead.
Some of his writings, epochmaking when they first appeared, are text-
books still familiar in every cultivated household on earth. Yet
Barneveld was vastly his superior in practical statesmanship, in law, in
the science of government, and above all in force of character, while
certainly not his equal in theology, nor making any pretensions to
poetry. Although a ripe scholar, he rarely wrote in Latin, and not often
in French. His ambition was to do his work thoroughly according to his
view of duty, and to ask God's blessing upon it without craving overmuch
the applause of men.
Such were the two men, the soldier and the statesman. Would the
Republic, fortunate enough to possess two such magnificent and widely
contrasted capacities, be wise enough to keep them in its service, each
supplementing the other, and the two combining in a perfect whole?
Or was the great law of the Discords of the World, as potent as that
other principle of Universal Harmony and planetary motion which an
illustrious contemporary--that Wurtemberg astronomer, once a soldier of
the fierce Alva, now the half-starved astrologer of the brain-sick
Rudolph--was at that moment discovering, after "God had waited six
thousand years for him to do it," to prevail for the misery of the
Republic and shame of Europe? Time was to show.
The new state had forced itself into the family of sovereignties somewhat
to the displeasure of most of the Lord's anointed. Rebellious and
republican, it necessarily excited the jealousy of long-established and
The King of Spain had not formally acknowledged the independence of the
United Provinces. He had treated with them as free, and there was
supposed to be much virtue in the conjunction. But their sovereign
independence was virtually recognized by the world. Great nations had
entered into public and diplomatic relations and conventions with them,
and their agents at foreign courts were now dignified with the rank and
title of ambassadors.
The Spanish king had likewise refused to them the concession of the right
of navigation and commerce in the East Indies, but it was a matter of
notoriety that the absence of the word India, suppressed as it was in the
treaty, implied an immense triumph on the part of the States, and that
their flourishing and daily increasing commerce in the farthest East and
the imperial establishments already rising there were cause of envy and
jealousy not to Spain alone, but to friendly powers.
Yet the government of Great Britain affected to regard them as
something less than a sovereign state. Although Elizabeth had refused
the sovereignty once proffered to her, although James had united with
Henry IV. in guaranteeing the treaty just concluded between the States
and Spain, that monarch had the wonderful conception that the Republic
was in some sort a province of his own, because he still held the
cautionary towns in pledge for the loans granted by his predecessor.
His agents at Constantinople were instructed to represent the new state
as unworthy to accredit its envoys as those of an independent power.
The Provinces were represented as a collection of audacious rebels,
a piratical scum of the sea. But the Sultan knew his interests better
than to incur the enmity of this rising maritime power. The Dutch envoy
declaring that he would sooner throw himself into the Bosphorus than
remain to be treated with less consideration than that accorded to the
ministers of all great powers, the remonstrances of envious colleagues
were hushed, and Haga was received with all due honours.
Even at the court of the best friend of the Republic, the French king,
men looked coldly at the upstart commonwealth. Francis Aerssens, the
keen and accomplished minister of the States, resident in Paris for many
years, was received as ambassador after the truce with all the ceremonial
befitting the highest rank in the diplomatic service; yet Henry could not
yet persuade himself to look upon the power accrediting him as a
thoroughly organized commonwealth.
The English ambassador asked the King if he meant to continue his aid and
assistance to the States during the truce. "Yes," answered Henry.
"And a few years beyond it?"
"No. I do not wish to offend the King of Spain from mere gaiety of
"But they are free," replied the Ambassador; "the King of Spain could
have no cause for offence."
"They are free," said the King, "but not sovereign."--"Judge then," wrote
Aerssens to Barneveld, "how we shall be with the King of Spain at the end
of our term when our best friends make this distinction among themselves
to our disadvantage. They insist on making a difference between liberty
and sovereignty; considering liberty as a mean term between servitude and
"You would do well," continued the Dutch ambassador, "to use the word
'sovereignty' on all occasions instead of 'liberty.'" The hint was
significant and the advice sound.
The haughty republic of Venice, too, with its "golden Book" and its
pedigree of a thousand years, looked askance at the republic of yesterday
rising like herself out of lagunes and sand banks, and affecting to place
herself side by side with emperors, kings, and the lion of St. Mark. But
the all-accomplished council of that most serene commonwealth had far too
much insight and too wide experience in political combinations to make
the blunder of yielding to this aristocratic sentiment.
The natural enemy of the Pope, of Spain, of Austria, must of necessity
be the friend of Venice, and it was soon thought highly desirable to
intimate half officially that a legation from the States-General to the
Queen of the Adriatic, announcing the conclusion of the Twelve Years'
Truce, would be extremely well received.
The hint was given by the Venetian ambassador at Paris to Francis
Aerssens, who instantly recommended van der Myle, son-in-law of
Barneveld, as a proper personage to be entrusted with this important
mission. At this moment an open breach had almost occurred between Spain
and Venice, and the Spanish ambassador at Paris, Don Pedro de Toledo,
naturally very irate with Holland, Venice, and even with France, was
vehement in his demonstrations. The arrogant Spaniard had for some time
been employed in an attempt to negotiate a double marriage between the
Dauphin and the eldest daughter of Philip III., and between the eldest
son of that king and the Princess Elizabeth of France. An indispensable
but secret condition of this negotiation was the absolute renunciation by
France of its alliance and friendly relations with the United Provinces.
The project was in truth a hostile measure aimed directly at the life of
the Republic. Henry held firm however, and Don Pedro was about to depart
malcontent, his mission having totally failed. He chanced, when going to
his audience of leave-taking, after the arrival of his successor, Don
Inigo de Cardenas, to meet the Venetian ambassador, Antonio Foscarini.
An altercation took place between them, during which the Spaniard poured
out his wrath so vehemently, calling his colleague with neat alliteration
"a poltroon, a pantaloon, and a pig," that Henry heard him.
What Signor Antonio replied has not been preserved, but it is stated that
he was first to seek a reconciliation, not liking, he said, Spanish
Meantime the double marriage project was for a season at least suspended,
and the alliance between the two republics went forwards. Van der Myle,
appointed ambassador to Venice, soon afterwards arrived in Paris, where
he made a very favourable impression, and was highly lauded by Aerssens
in his daily correspondence with Barneveld. No portentous shadow of
future and fatal discord between those statesmen fell upon the cheerful
scene. Before the year closed, he arrived at his post, and was received
with great distinction, despite the obstacles thrown in his way by Spain
and other powers; the ambassador of France itself, de Champigny, having
privately urged that he ought to be placed on the same footing with the
envoys of Savoy and of Florence.
Van der Myle at starting committed the trifling fault of styling the
States-General "most illustrious" (illustrissimi) instead of "most
serene," the title by which Venice designated herself.
The fault was at once remedied, however, Priuli the Doge seating the
Dutch ambassador on his right hand at his solemn reception, and giving
directions that van der Myle should be addressed as Excellency, his post
being assigned him directly after his seniors, the ambassadors of Pope,
Emperor, and kings. The same precedence was settled in Paris, while
Aerssens, who did not consider himself placed in a position of greater
usefulness by his formal installation as ambassador, received private
intimation from Henry, with whom he was on terms of great confidence and
intimacy, that he should have private access to the King as frequently
and as in formally as before. The theory that the ambassador,
representing the personality of his sovereign, may visit the monarch
to whom he is accredited, without ceremony and at his own convenience,
was as rarely carried into practice in the sixteenth century as in the
nineteenth, while on the other hand Aerssens, as the private and
confidential agent of a friendly but not publicly recognized
commonwealth, had been for many years in almost daily personal
communication with the King.
It is also important to note that the modern fallacy according to which
republics being impersonal should not be represented by ambassadors had
not appeared in that important epoch in diplomatic history. On the
contrary, the two great republics of the age, Holland and Venice,
vindicated for themselves, with as much dignity and reason as success,
their right to the highest diplomatic honours.
The distinction was substantial not shadowy; those haughty commonwealths
not considering it advantageous or decorous that their representatives
should for want of proper official designations be ranked on great
ceremonial occasions with the ministers of petty Italian principalities
or of the three hundred infinitesimal sovereignties of Germany.
It was the advice of the French king especially, who knew politics and
the world as well as any man, that the envoys of the Republic which he
befriended and which stood now on the threshold of its official and
national existence, should assert themselves at every court with the
self-reliance and courtesy becoming the functionaries of a great power.
That those ministers were second to the representatives of no other
European state in capacity and accomplishment was a fact well known to
all who had dealings with them, for the States required in their
diplomatic representatives knowledge of history and international law,
modern languages, and the classics, as well as familiarity with political
customs and social courtesies; the breeding of gentlemen in short, and
the accomplishments of scholars. It is both a literary enjoyment and a
means of historical and political instruction to read after the lapse of
centuries their reports and despatches. They worthily compare as works
of art with those diplomatic masterpieces the letters and 'Relazioni' of
the Venetian ambassadors; and it is well known that the earlier and some
of the most important treatises on public and international law ever
written are from the pens of Hollanders, who indeed may be said to have
invented that science.'
The Republic having thus steadily shouldered its way into the family of
nations was soon called upon to perform a prominent part in the world's
affairs. More than in our own epoch there was a close political
commingling of such independent states as held sympathetic views on the
great questions agitating Europe. The policy of isolation so wisely and
successfully carried out by our own trans-Atlantic commonwealth was
impossible for the Dutch republic, born as it was of a great religious
schism, and with its narrow territory wedged between the chief political
organizations of Christendom. Moreover the same jealousy on the part of
established powers which threw so many obstacles in its path to
recognized sovereignty existed in the highest degree between its two
sponsors and allies, France and England, in regard to their respective
relations to the new state.
"If ever there was an obliged people," said Henry's secretary of state,
Villeroy, to Aerssens, "then it is you Netherlanders to his Majesty. He
has converted your war into peace, and has never abandoned you. It is
for you now to show your affection and gratitude."
In the time of Elizabeth, and now in that of her successor, there was
scarcely a day in which the envoys of the States were not reminded of the
immense load of favour from England under which they tottered, and of the
greater sincerity and value of English friendship over that of France.
Sully often spoke to Aerssens on the subject in even stronger language,
deeming himself the chief protector and guardian angel of the Republic,
to whom they were bound by ties of eternal gratitude. "But if the
States," he said, "should think of caressing the King of England more
than him, or even of treating him on an equality with his Majesty, Henry
would be very much affronted. He did not mean that they should neglect
the friendship of the King of Britain, but that they should cultivate it
after and in subordination to his own, for they might be sure that James
held all things indifferent, their ruin or their conservation, while his
Majesty had always manifested the contrary both by his counsels and by
the constant furnishing of supplies."
Henry of France and Navarre--soldier, statesman, wit, above all a man
and every inch a king--brimful of human vices, foibles, and humours, and
endowed with those high qualities of genius which enabled him to mould
events and men by his unscrupulous and audacious determination to conform
to the spirit of his times which no man better understood than himself,
had ever been in such close relations with the Netherlands as to seem in
some sort their sovereign.
James Stuart, emerging from the school of Buchanan and the atmosphere of
Calvinism in which he had been bred, now reigned in those more sunny and
liberal regions where Elizabeth so long had ruled. Finding himself at
once, after years of theological study, face to face with a foreign
commonwealth and a momentous epoch, in which politics were so commingled
with divinity as to offer daily the most puzzling problems, the royal
pedant hugged himself at beholding so conspicuous a field for his
To turn a throne into a pulpit, and amaze mankind with his learning,
was an ambition most sweet to gratify. The Calvinist of Scotland now
proclaimed his deadly hatred of Puritans in England and Holland, and
denounced the Netherlanders as a pack of rebels whom it always pleased
him to irritate, and over whom he too claimed, through the possession of
the cautionary towns, a kind of sovereignty. Instinctively feeling that
in the rough and unlovely husk of Puritanism was enclosed the germ of a
wider human liberty than then existed, he was determined to give battle
to it with his tongue, his pen, with everything but his sword.
Doubtless the States had received most invaluable assistance from both
France and England, but the sovereigns of those countries were too apt to
forget that it was their own battles, as well as those of the Hollanders,
that had been fought in Flanders and Brabant. But for the alliance and
subsidies of the faithful States, Henry would not so soon have ascended
the throne of his ancestors, while it was matter of history that the
Spanish government had for years been steadily endeavouring to subjugate
England not so much for the value of the conquest in itself as for a
stepping-stone to the recovery of the revolted Netherlands.
For the dividing line of nations or at least of national alliances was a
frontier not of language but of faith. Germany was but a geographical
expression. The union of Protestantism, subscribed by a large proportion
of its three hundred and seven sovereigns, ran zigzag through the
country, a majority probably of the people at that moment being opposed
to the Roman Church.
It has often been considered amazing that Protestantism having
accomplished so much should have fallen backwards so soon, and yielded
almost undisputed sway in vast regions to the long dominant church. But
in truth there is nothing surprising about it. Catholicism was and
remained a unit, while its opponents were eventually broken up into
hundreds of warring and politically impotent organizations. Religious
faith became distorted into a weapon for selfish and greedy territorial
aggrandizement in the hands of Protestant princes. "Cujus regio ejus
religio" was the taunt hurled in the face of the imploring Calvinists of
France and the Low Countries by the arrogant Lutherans of Germany. Such
a sword smote the principle of religious freedom and mutual toleration
into the dust, and rendered them comparatively weak in the conflict with
the ancient and splendidly organized church.
The Huguenots of France, notwithstanding the protection grudgingly
afforded them by their former chieftain, were dejected and discomfited
by his apostasy, and Henry, placed in a fearfully false position, was an
object of suspicion to both friends and foes. In England it is difficult
to say whether a Jesuit or a Puritan was accounted the more noxious
animal by the dominant party.
In the United Provinces perhaps one half the population was either openly
or secretly attached to the ancient church, while among the Protestant
portion a dire and tragic convulsion was about to break forth, which for
a time at least was to render Remonstrants and Contra-Remonstrants more
fiercely opposed to each other than to Papists.
The doctrine of predestination in its sternest and strictest sense had
long been the prevailing one in the Reformed Church of the revolted
Netherlands, as in those of Scotland, France, Geneva, and the Palatinate.
No doubt up to the period of the truce a majority had acquiesced in that
dogma and its results, although there had always been many preachers to
advocate publicly a milder creed. It was not until the appointment of
Jacob Arminius to the professorship of theology at Leyden, in the place
of Francis Junius, in the year 1603, that a danger of schism in the
Church, seemed impending. Then rose the great Gomarus in his wrath,
and with all the powers of splendid eloquence, profound learning,
and the intense bigotry of conviction, denounced the horrible heresy.
Conferences between the two before the Court of Holland, theological
tournaments between six champions on a side, gallantly led by their
respective chieftains, followed, with the usual result of confirming
both parties in the conviction that to each alone belonged exclusively
The original influence of Arminius had however been so great that when
the preachers of Holland had been severally called on by a synod to sign
the Heidelberg Catechism, many of them refused. Here was open heresy and
revolt. It was time for the true church to vindicate its authority.
The great war with Spain had been made, so it was urged and honestly
believed, not against the Inquisition, not to prevent Netherlanders from
being burned and buried alive by the old true church, not in defence of
ancient charters, constitutions, and privileges--the precious result of
centuries of popular resistance to despotic force--not to maintain an
amount of civil liberty and local self-government larger in extent than
any then existing in the world, not to assert equality of religion for
all men, but simply to establish the true religion, the one church, the
only possible creed; the creed and church of Calvin.
It is perfectly certain that the living fire which glowed in the veins of
those hot gospellers had added intense enthusiasm to the war spirit
throughout that immense struggle. It is quite possible that without that
enthusiasm the war might not have been carried on to its successful end.
But it is equally certain that Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists, and
devotees of many other creeds, had taken part in the conflict in defence
both of hearth and altar, and that without that aid the independence of
the Provinces would never have been secured.
Yet before the war was ended the arrogance of the Reformed priesthood had
begun to dig a chasm. Men who with William the Silent and Barneveld had
indulged in the vision of religious equality as a possible result of so
much fighting against the Holy Inquisition were perhaps to be
Preachers under the influence of the gentle Arminius having dared to
refuse signing the Creed were to be dealt with. It was time to pass from
censure to action.
Heresy must be trampled down. The churches called for a national synod,
and they did this as by divine right. "My Lords the States-General must
observe," they said, "that this assembly now demanded is not a human
institution but an ordinance of the Holy Ghost in its community, not
depending upon any man's authority, but proceeding from God to the
community." They complained that the true church was allowed to act only
through the civil government, and was thus placed at a disadvantage
compared even with Catholics and other sects, whose proceedings were
winked at. "Thus the true church suffered from its apparent and public
freedom, and hostile sects gained by secret connivance."
A crisis was fast approaching. The one church claimed infallibility and
superiority to the civil power. The Holy Ghost was placed in direct,
ostentatious opposition to My Lords the States-General. It was for
Netherlanders to decide whether, after having shaken off the Holy
Inquisition, and subjected the old true church to the public authority,
they were now to submit to the imperious claims of the new true church.
There were hundreds of links connecting the Church with the State. In
that day a divorce between the two was hardly possible or conceivable.
The system of Congregationalism so successfully put into practice soon
afterwards in the wilderness of New England, and to which so much of
American freedom political as well as religious is due, was not easy
to adopt in an old country like the Netherlands. Splendid churches and
cathedrals, the legal possession of which would be contended for by rival
sects, could scarcely be replaced by temporary structures of lath and
plaster, or by humble back parlours of mechanics' shops. There were
questions of property of complicated nature. Not only the states and the
communities claimed in rivalry the ownership of church property, but many
private families could show ancient advowsons and other claims to present
or to patronize, derived from imperial or ducal charters.
So long as there could be liberty of opinion within the Church upon
points not necessarily vital, open schism could be avoided, by which the
cause of Protestantism throughout Europe must be weakened, while at the
same time subordination of the priesthood to the civil authority would be
maintained. But if the Holy Ghost, through the assembled clergy, were
to dictate an iron formulary to which all must conform, to make laws for
church government which every citizen must obey, and to appoint preachers
and school-masters from whom alone old and young could receive
illumination and instruction religious or lay, a theocracy would be
established which no enlightened statesman could tolerate.
The States-General agreed to the synod, but imposed a condition that
there should be a revision of Creed and Catechism. This was thundered
down with one blast. The condition implied a possibility that the vile
heresy of Arminius might be correct. An unconditional synod was
demanded. The Heidelberg Creed and Netherland Catechism were sacred,
infallible, not to be touched. The answer of the government, through
the mouth of Barneveld, was that "to My Lords the States-General as the
foster-fathers and protectors of the churches every right belonged."
Thus far the States-General under the leadership of the Advocate were
unanimous. The victory remained with State against Church. But very
soon after the truce had been established, and men had liberty to devote
themselves to peaceful pursuits, the ecclesiastical trumpet again sounded
far and wide, and contending priests and laymen rushed madly to the fray.
The Remonstrance and Contra-Remonstrance, and the appointment of Conrad
Vorstius, a more abominable heretic than Arminius, to the vacant chair
of Arminius--a step which drove Gomarus and the Gomarites to frenzy,
although Gomarus and Vorstius remained private and intimate friends
to the last--are matters briefly to be mentioned on a later page.
Thus to the four chief actors in the politico-religious drama, soon to be
enacted as an interlude to an eighty years' war, were assigned parts at
first sight inconsistent with their private convictions. The King of
France, who had often abjured his religion, and was now the best of
Catholics, was denounced ferociously in every Catholic pulpit in
Christendom as secretly an apostate again, and the open protector of
heretics and rebels. But the cheerful Henry troubled himself less than
he perhaps had cause to do with these thunderblasts. Besides, as we
shall soon see, he had other objects political and personal to sway his
James the ex-Calvinist, crypto-Arminian, pseudo-Papist, and avowed
Puritan hater, was girding on his armour to annihilate Arminians and to
defend and protect Puritans in Holland, while swearing that in England he
would pepper them and harry them and hang them and that he would even
like to bury them alive.
Barneveld, who turned his eyes, as much as in such an inflammatory age it
was possible, from subtle points of theology, and relied on his great-
grandfather's motto of humility, "Nil scire tutissima fides" was perhaps
nearer to the dogma of the dominant Reformed Church than he knew,
although always the consistent and strenuous champion of the civil
authority over Church as well as State.
Maurice was no theologian. He was a steady churchgoer, and his
favorite divine, the preacher at his court chapel, was none other than
Uytenbogaert. The very man who was instantly to be the champion of the
Arminians, the author of the Remonstrance, the counsellor and comrade of
Barneveld and Grotius, was now sneered at by the Gomarites as the "Court
Trumpeter." The preacher was not destined to change his opinions.
Perhaps the Prince might alter. But Maurice then paid no heed to the
great point at issue, about which all the Netherlanders were to take each
other by the throat--absolute predestination. He knew that the Advocate
had refused to listen to his stepmother's suggestion as to his obtaining
the sovereignty. "He knew nothing of predestination," he was wont to
say, "whether it was green or whether it was blue. He only knew that his
pipe and the Advocate's were not likely to make music together." This
much of predestination he did know, that if the Advocate and his friends
were to come to open conflict with the Prince of Orange-Nassau, the
conqueror of Nieuwpoort, it was predestined to go hard with the Advocate
and his friends.
The theological quibble did not interest him much, and he was apt to
blunder about it.
"Well, preacher," said he one day to Albert Huttenus, who had come to him
to intercede for a deserter condemned to be hanged, "are you one of those
Arminians who believe that one child is born to salvation and another to
Huttenus, amazed to the utmost at the extraordinary question, replied,
"Your Excellency will be graciously pleased to observe that this is not
the opinion of those whom one calls by the hateful name of Arminians, but
the opinion of their adversaries."
"Well, preacher," rejoined Maurice, "don't you think I know better?" And
turning to Count Lewis William, Stadholder of Friesland, who was present,
standing by the hearth with his hand on a copper ring of the
chimneypiece, he cried,
"Which is right, cousin, the preacher or I?"
"No, cousin," answered Count Lewis, "you are in the wrong."
Thus to the Catholic League organized throughout Europe in solid and
consistent phalanx was opposed the Great Protestant Union, ardent and
enthusiastic in detail, but undisciplined, disobedient, and inharmonious
as a whole.
The great principle, not of religious toleration, which is a phrase of
insult, but of religious equality, which is the natural right of mankind,
was to be evolved after a lapse of, additional centuries out of the
elemental conflict which had already lasted so long. Still later was
the total divorce of State and Church to be achieved as the final
consummation of the great revolution. Meantime it was almost inevitable
that the privileged and richly endowed church, with ecclesiastical armies
and arsenals vastly superior to anything which its antagonist could
improvise, should more than hold its own.
At the outset of the epoch which now occupies our attention, Europe was
in a state of exhaustion and longing for repose. Spain had submitted to
the humiliation of a treaty of truce with its rebellious subjects which
was substantially a recognition of their independence. Nothing could be
more deplorable than the internal condition of the country which claimed
to be mistress of the world and still aspired to universal monarchy.
It had made peace because it could no longer furnish funds for the war.
The French ambassador, Barante, returning from Madrid, informed his
sovereign that he had often seen officers in the army prostrating
themselves on their knees in the streets before their sovereign as he
went to mass, and imploring him for payment of their salaries, or at
least an alms to keep them from starving, and always imploring in vain.
The King, who was less than a cipher, had neither capacity to feel
emotion, nor intelligence to comprehend the most insignificant affair of
state. Moreover the means were wanting to him even had he been disposed
to grant assistance. The terrible Duke of Lerma was still his inexorably
lord and master, and the secretary of that powerful personage, who kept
an open shop for the sale of offices of state both high and low, took
care that all the proceeds should flow into the coffers of the Duke and
his own lap instead of the royal exchequer.
In France both king and people declared themselves disgusted with war.
Sully disapproved of the treaty just concluded between Spain and the
Netherlands, feeling sure that the captious and equivocal clauses
contained in it would be interpreted to the disadvantage of the Republic
and of the Reformed religion whenever Spain felt herself strong enough to
make the attempt. He was especially anxious that the States should make
no concessions in regard to the exercise of the Catholic worship within
their territory, believing that by so doing they would compromise their
political independence besides endangering the cause of Protestantism
everywhere. A great pressure was put upon Sully that moment by the King
to change his religion.
"You will all be inevitably ruined if you make concessions in this
regard," said he to Aerssens. "Take example by me. I should be utterly
undone if I had listened to any overture on this subject."
Nevertheless it was the opinion of the astute and caustic envoy that the
Duke would be forced to yield at last. The Pope was making great efforts
to gain him, and thus to bring about the extirpation of Protestantism in
France. And the King, at that time much under the influence of the
Jesuits, had almost set his heart on the conversion. Aerssens insinuated
that Sully was dreading a minute examination into the affairs of his
administration of the finances--a groundless calumny--and would be thus
forced to comply. Other enemies suggested that nothing would effect this
much desired apostasy but the office of Constable of France, which it was
certain would never be bestowed on him.
At any rate it was very certain that Henry at this period was bent on
"Make your account," said Aerssens to Barneveld, as the time for signing
the truce drew nigh, "on this indubitable foundation that the King is
determined against war, whatever pretences he may make. His bellicose
demeanour has been assumed only to help forward our treaty, which he
would never have favoured, and ought never to have favoured, if he had
not been too much in love with peace. This is a very important secret if
we manage it discreetly, and a very dangerous one if our enemies discover
Sully would have much preferred that the States should stand out for a
peace rather than for a truce, and believed it might have been obtained
if the King had not begun the matter so feebly, and if he had let it be
understood that he would join his arms to those of the Provinces in case
He warned the States very strenuously that the Pope, and the King of
Spain, and a host of enemies open and covert, were doing their host to
injure them at the French court. They would find little hindrance in
this course if the Republic did not show its teeth, and especially if it
did not stiffly oppose all encroachments of the Roman religion, without
even showing any deference to the King in this regard, who was much
importuned on the subject.
He advised the States to improve the interval of truce by restoring order
to their finances and so arranging their affairs that on the resumption
of hostilities, if come they must, their friends might be encouraged to
help them, by the exhibition of thorough vigour on their part.
France then, although utterly indisposed for war at that moment, was
thoroughly to be relied on as a friend and in case of need an ally, so
long as it was governed by its present policy. There was but one king
left in Europe since the death of Elizabeth of England.
But Henry was now on the abhorred threshold of old age which he
obstinately refused to cross.
There is something almost pathetic, in spite of the censure which much of
his private life at this period provokes, in the isolation which now
seemed his lot.
Deceived and hated by his wife and his mistresses, who were conspiring
with each other and with his ministers, not only against his policy but
against his life; with a vile Italian adventurer, dishonouring his
household, entirely dominating the queen, counteracting the royal
measures, secretly corresponding, by assumed authority, with Spain, in
direct violation of the King's instructions to his ambassadors, and
gorging himself with wealth and offices at the expense of everything
respectable in France; surrounded by a pack of malignant and greedy
nobles, who begrudged him his fame, his authority, his independence;
without a home, and almost without a friend, the Most Christian King in
these latter days led hardly as merry a life as when fighting years long
for his crown, at the head of his Gascon chivalry, the beloved chieftain
Of the triumvirate then constituting his council, Villeroy, Sillery, and
Sully, the two first were ancient Leaguers, and more devoted at heart to
Philip of Spain than to Henry of France and Navarre.
Both silent, laborious, plodding, plotting functionaries, thriftily
gathering riches; skilled in routine and adepts at intrigue; steady self-
seekers, and faithful to office in which their lives had passed, they
might be relied on at any emergency to take part against their master,
if to ruin would prove more profitable than to serve him.
There was one man who was truer to Henry than Henry had been to himself.
The haughty, defiant, austere grandee, brave soldier, sagacious
statesman, thrifty financier, against whom the poisoned arrows of
religious hatred, envious ambition, and petty court intrigue were daily
directed, who watched grimly over the exchequer confided to him, which
was daily growing fuller in despite of the cormorants who trembled at his
frown; hard worker, good hater, conscientious politician, who filled his
own coffers without dishonesty, and those of the state without tyranny;
unsociable, arrogant; pious, very avaricious, and inordinately vain,
Maximilian de Bethune, Duke of Sully, loved and respected Henry as no man
or woman loved and respected him. In truth, there was but one living
being for whom the Duke had greater reverence and affection than for the
King, and that was the Duke of Sully himself.
At this moment he considered himself, as indeed he was, in full
possession of his sovereign's confidence. But he was alone in this
conviction. Those about the court, men like Epernon and his creatures,
believed the great financier on the brink of perdition. Henry, always
the loosest of talkers even in regard to his best friends, had declared,
on some temporary vexation in regard to the affair between Aiguillon and
Balagny, that he would deal with the Duke as with the late Marshal de
Biron, and make him smaller than he had ever made him great: goading him
on this occasion with importunities, almost amounting to commands, that
both he and his son should forthwith change their religion or expect
instant ruin. The blow was so severe that Sully shut himself up, refused
to see anyone, and talked of retiring for good to his estates. But he
knew, and Henry knew, how indispensable he was, and the anger of the
master was as shortlived as the despair of the minister.
There was no living statesman for whom Henry had a more sincere respect
than for the Advocate of Holland. "His Majesty admires and greatly
extols your wisdom, which he judges necessary for the preservation of
our State; deeming you one of the rare and sage counsellors of the age."
It is true that this admiration was in part attributed to the singular
coincidence of Barneveld's views of policy with the King's own. Sully,
on his part, was a severe critic of that policy. He believed that better
terms might have been exacted from Spain in the late negotiations, and
strongly objected to the cavilling and equivocal language of the treaty.
Rude in pen as in speech, he expressed his mind very freely in his
conversation and correspondence with Henry in regard to leading
personages and great affairs, and made no secret of his opinions
to the States' ambassador.
He showed his letters in which he had informed the King that he ought
never to have sanctioned the truce without better securities than
existed, and that the States would never have moved in any matter without
him. It would have been better to throw himself into a severe war than
to see the Republic perish. He further expressed the conviction that
Henry ought to have such authority over the Netherlands that they would
embrace blindly whatever counsel he chose to give them, even if they saw
in it their inevitable ruin; and this not so much from remembrance of
assistance rendered by him, but from the necessity in which they should
always feel of depending totally upon him.
"You may judge, therefore," concluded Aerssens, "as to how much we can
build on such foundations as these. I have been amazed at these frank
communications, for in those letters he spares neither My Lords the
States, nor his Excellency Prince Maurice, nor yourself; giving his
judgment of each of you with far too much freedom and without sufficient
Thus the alliance between the Netherlands and France, notwithstanding
occasional traces of caprice and flaws of personal jealousy, was on
the whole sincere, for it was founded on the surest foundation of
international friendship, the self-interest of each. Henry, although
boasting of having bought Paris with a mass, knew as well as his worst
enemy that in that bargain he had never purchased the confidence of the
ancient church, on whose bosom he had flung himself with so much dramatic
pomp. His noble position, as champion of religious toleration, was not
only unappreciated in an age in which each church and every sect
arrogated to itself a monopoly of the truth, but it was one in which
he did not himself sincerely believe.
After all, he was still the chieftain of the Protestant Union, and,
although Eldest Son of the Church, was the bitter antagonist of the
League and the sworn foe to the House of Austria. He was walking through
pitfalls with a crowd of invisible but relentless foes dogging his every
footstep. In his household or without were daily visions of dagger and
bowl, and he felt himself marching to his doom. How could the man on
whom the heretic and rebellious Hollanders and the Protestant princes of
Germany relied as on their saviour escape the unutterable wrath and the
patient vengeance of a power that never forgave?
In England the jealousy of the Republic and of France as co-guardian and
protector of the Republic was even greater than in France. Though placed
by circumstances in the position of ally to the Netherlands and enemy to
Spain, James hated the Netherlands and adored Spain. His first thought
on escaping the general destruction to which the Gunpowder Plot was to
have involved himself and family and all the principal personages of the
realm seems to have been to exculpate Spain from participation in the
crime. His next was to deliver a sermon to Parliament, exonerating the
Catholics and going out of his way to stigmatize the Puritans as
entertaining doctrines which should be punished with fire. As the
Puritans had certainly not been accused of complicity with Guy Fawkes
or Garnet, this portion of the discourse was at least superfluous. But
James loathed nothing so much as a Puritan. A Catholic at heart, be
would have been the warmest ally of the League had he only been permitted
to be Pope of Great Britain. He hated and feared a Jesuit, not for his
religious doctrines, for with these he sympathized, but for his political
creed. He liked not that either Roman Pontiff or British Presbyterian
should abridge his heaven-born prerogative. The doctrine of Papal
superiority to temporal sovereigns was as odious to him as Puritan
rebellion to the hierarchy of which he was the chief. Moreover,
in his hostility to both Papists and Presbyterians, there was much of
professional rivalry. Having been deprived by the accident of birth of
his true position as theological professor, he lost no opportunity of
turning his throne into a pulpit and his sceptre into a controversial
Henry of France, who rarely concealed his contempt for Master Jacques, as
he called him, said to the English ambassador, on receiving from him one
of the King's books, and being asked what he thought of it--"It is not
the business of us kings to write, but to fight. Everybody should mind
his own business, but it is the vice of most men to wish to appear
learned in matters of which they are ignorant."
The flatterers of James found their account in pandering to his
sacerdotal and royal vanity. "I have always believed," said the Lord
Chancellor, after hearing the King argue with and browbeat a Presbyterian
deputation, "that the high-priesthood and royalty ought to be united, but
I never witnessed the actual junction till now, after hearing the learned
discourse of your Majesty." Archbishop Whitgift, grovelling still lower,
declared his conviction that James, in the observations he had deigned to
make, had been directly inspired by the Holy Ghost.
Nothing could be more illogical and incoherent with each other than his
theological and political opinions. He imagined himself a defender of
the Protestant faith, while hating Holland and fawning on the House of
In England he favoured Arminianism, because the Anglican Church
recognized for its head the temporal chief of the State. In Holland
he vehemently denounced the Arminians, indecently persecuting their
preachers and statesmen, who were contending for exactly the same
principle--the supremacy of State over Church. He sentenced Bartholomew
Legate to be burned alive in Smithfield as a blasphemous heretic, and did
his best to compel the States of Holland to take the life of Professor
Vorstius of Leyden. He persecuted the Presbyterians in England as
furiously as he defended them in Holland. He drove Bradford and Carver
into the New England wilderness, and applauded Gomarus and Walaeus and
the other famous leaders of the Presbyterian party in the Netherlands
with all his soul and strength.
He united with the French king in negotiations for Netherland
independence, while denouncing the Provinces as guilty of criminal
rebellion against their lawful sovereign.
"He pretends," said Jeannin, "to assist in bringing about the peace, and
nevertheless does his best openly to prevent it."
Richardot declared that the firmness of the King of Spain proceeded
entirely from reliance on the promise of James that there should be no
acknowledgment in the treaty of the liberty of the States. Henry wrote
to Jeannin that he knew very well "what that was capable of, but that he
should not be kept awake by anything he could do."
As a king he spent his reign--so much of it as could be spared from
gourmandizing, drunkenness, dalliance with handsome minions of his own
sex, and theological pursuits--in rescuing the Crown from dependence on
Parliament; in straining to the utmost the royal prerogative; in
substituting proclamations for statutes; in doing everything in his
power, in short, to smooth the path for his successor to the scaffold.
As father of a family he consecrated many years of his life to the
wondrous delusion of the Spanish marriages.
The Gunpowder Plot seemed to have inspired him with an insane desire
for that alliance, and few things in history are more amazing than the
persistency with which he pursued the scheme, until the pursuit became
not only ridiculous, but impossible.
With such a man, frivolous, pedantic, conceited, and licentious, the
earnest statesmen of Holland were forced into close alliance. It is
pathetic to see men like Barneveld and Hugo Grotius obliged, on great
occasions of state, to use the language of respect and affection to one
by whom they were hated, and whom they thoroughly despised.
But turning away from France, it was in vain for them to look for kings
or men either among friends or foes. In Germany religious dissensions
were gradually ripening into open war, and it would be difficult to
imagine a more hopelessly incompetent ruler than the man who was
nominally chief of the Holy Roman Realm. Yet the distracted Rudolph was
quite as much an emperor as the chaos over which he was supposed to
preside was an empire. Perhaps the very worst polity ever devised by
human perverseness was the system under which the great German race was
then writhing and groaning. A mad world with a lunatic to govern it;
a democracy of many princes, little and big, fighting amongst each
other, and falling into daily changing combinations as some masterly or
mischievous hand whirled the kaleidoscope; drinking Rhenish by hogsheads,
and beer by the tun; robbing churches, dictating creeds to their
subjects, and breaking all the commandments themselves; a people at the
bottom dimly striving towards religious freedom and political life out of
abject social, ecclesiastical, and political serfdom, and perhaps even
then dumbly feeling within its veins, with that prophetic instinct which
never abandons great races, a far distant and magnificent Future of
national unity and Imperial splendour, the very reverse of the confusion
which was then the hideous Present; an Imperial family at top with many
heads and slender brains; a band of brothers and cousins wrangling,
intriguing, tripping up each others' heels, and unlucky Rudolph, in his
Hradschin, looking out of window over the peerless Prague, spread out in
its beauteous landscape of hill and dale, darkling forest, dizzy cliffs,
and rushing river, at his feet, feebly cursing the unhappy city for its
ingratitude to an invisible and impotent sovereign; his excellent brother
Matthias meanwhile marauding through the realms and taking one crown
after another from his poor bald head.
It would be difficult to depict anything more precisely what an emperor
in those portentous times should not be. He collected works of art of
many kinds--pictures, statues, gems. He passed his days in his galleries
contemplating in solitary grandeur these treasures, or in his stables,
admiring a numerous stud of horses which he never drove or rode.
Ambassadors and ministers of state disguised themselves as grooms and
stable-boys to obtain accidental glimpses of a sovereign who rarely
granted audiences. His nights were passed in star-gazing with Tycho de
Brake, or with that illustrious Suabian whose name is one of the great
lights and treasures of the world. But it was not to study the laws of
planetary motion nor to fathom mysteries of divine harmony that the
monarch stood with Kepler in the observatory. The influence of countless
worlds upon the destiny of one who, by capricious accident, if accident
ever exists in history, had been entrusted with the destiny of so large a
portion of one little world; the horoscope, not of the Universe, but of
himself; such were the limited purposes with which the Kaiser looked upon
For the Catholic Rudolph had received the Protestant Kepler, driven from
Tubingen because Lutheran doctors, knowing from Holy Writ that the sun
had stood still in Ajalon, had denounced his theory of planetary motion.
His mother had just escaped being burned as a witch, and the world owes
a debt of gratitude to the Emperor for protecting the astrologer, when
enlightened theologians might, perhaps, have hanged the astronomer.
A red-faced, heavy fowled, bald-headed, somewhat goggle-eyed old
gentleman, Rudolph did his best to lead the life of a hermit, and escape
the cares of royalty. Timid by temperament, yet liable to fits of
uncontrollable anger, he broke his furniture to pieces when irritated,
and threw dishes that displeased him in his butler's face, but left
affairs of state mainly to his valet, who earned many a penny by selling
the Imperial signature.
He had just signed the famous "Majestatsbrief," by which he granted vast
privileges to the Protestants of Bohemia, and had bitten the pen to
pieces in a paroxysm of anger, after dimly comprehending the extent of
the concessions which he had made.
There were hundreds of sovereign states over all of which floated the
shadowy and impalpable authority of an Imperial crown scarcely fixed
on the head of any one of the rival brethren and cousins; there was a
confederation of Protestants, with the keen-sighted and ambitious
Christian of Anhalt acting as its chief, and dreaming of the Bohemian
crown; there was the just-born Catholic League, with the calm, far-
seeing, and egotistical rather than self-seeking Maximilian at its head;
each combination extending over the whole country, stamped with
imbecility of action from its birth, and perverted and hampered by
inevitable jealousies. In addition to all these furrows ploughed by
the very genius of discord throughout the unhappy land was the wild and
secret intrigue with which Leopold, Archduke and Bishop, dreaming also
of the crown of Wenzel, was about to tear its surface as deeply as he
Thus constituted were the leading powers of Europe in the earlier part of
1609--the year in which a peaceful period seemed to have begun. To those
who saw the entangled interests of individuals, and the conflict of
theological dogmas and religious and political intrigue which furnished
so much material out of which wide-reaching schemes of personal ambition
could be spun, it must have been obvious that the interval of truce was
necessarily but a brief interlude between two tragedies.
It seemed the very mockery of Fate that, almost at the very instant when
after two years' painful negotiation a truce had been made, the signal
for universal discord should be sounded. One day in the early summer of
1609, Henry IV. came to the Royal Arsenal, the residence of Sully,
accompanied by Zamet and another of his intimate companions. He asked
for the Duke and was told that he was busy in his study. "Of course,"
said the King, turning to his followers, "I dare say you expected to be
told that he was out shooting, or with the ladies, or at the barber's.
But who works like Sully? Tell him," he said, "to come to the balcony
in his garden, where he and I are not accustomed to be silent."
As soon as Sully appeared, the King observed: "Well; here the Duke of
Cleve is dead, and has left everybody his heir."
It was true enough, and the inheritance was of vital importance to the
It was an apple of discord thrown directly between the two rival camps
into which Christendom was divided. The Duchies of Cleve, Berg, and
Julich, and the Counties and Lordships of Mark, Ravensberg, and
Ravenstein, formed a triangle, political and geographical, closely wedged
between Catholicism and Protestantism, and between France, the United
Provinces, Belgium, and Germany. Should it fall into Catholic hands, the
Netherlands were lost, trampled upon in every corner, hedged in on all
sides, with the House of Austria governing the Rhine, the Meuse, and the
Scheldt. It was vital to them to exclude the Empire from the great
historic river which seemed destined to form the perpetual frontier of
jealous powers and rival creeds.
Should it fall into heretic hands, the States were vastly strengthened,
the Archduke Albert isolated and cut off from the protection of Spain and
of the Empire. France, although Catholic, was the ally of Holland and
the secret but well known enemy of the House of Austria. It was
inevitable that the king of that country, the only living statesman that
wore a crown, should be appealed to by all parties and should find
himself in the proud but dangerous position of arbiter of Europe.
In this emergency he relied upon himself and on two men besides,
Maximilian de Bethune and John of Barneveld. The conference between the
King and Sully and between both and Francis Aerssens, ambassador of the
States, were of almost daily occurrence. The minute details given in the
adroit diplomatist's correspondence indicate at every stage the extreme
deference paid by Henry to the opinion of Holland's Advocate and the
confidence reposed by him in the resources and the courage of the
All the world was claiming the heritage of the duchies.
It was only strange that an event which could not be long deferred and
the consequences of which were soon to be so grave, the death of the Duke
of Cleve, should at last burst like a bomb-shell on the council tables of
the sovereigns and statesmen of Europe. That mischievous madman John
William died childless in the spring of 1609. His sister Sibylla, an
ancient and malignant spinster, had governed him and his possessions
except in his lucid intervals. The mass of the population over which he
ruled being Protestant, while the reigning family and the chief nobles
were of the ancient faith, it was natural that the Catholic party under,
the lead of Maximilian of Bavaria should deem it all-important that there
should be direct issue to that family. Otherwise the inheritance on his
death would probably pass to Protestant princes.
The first wife provided for him was a beautiful princess; Jacobea of
Baden. The Pope blessed the nuptials, and sent the bride a golden rose,
but the union was sterile and unhappy. The Duke, who was in the habit
of careering through his palace in full armour, slashing at and wounding
anyone that came in his way, was at last locked up. The hapless Jacobea,
accused by Sibylla of witchcraft and other crimes possible and
impossible, was thrown into prison. Two years long the devilish
malignity of the sister-in-law was exercised upon her victim, who, as it
is related, was not allowed natural sleep during all that period, being
at every hour awakened by command of Sibylla. At last the Duchess was
strangled in prison. A new wife was at once provided for the lunatic,
Antonia of Lorraine. The two remained childless, and Sibylla at the age
of forty-nine took to herself a husband, the Margrave of Burgau, of the
House of Austria, the humble birth of whose mother, however, did not
allow him the rank of Archduke. Her efforts thus to provide Catholic
heirs to the rich domains of Clove proved as fruitless as her previous
And now Duke John William had died, and the representatives of his three
dead sisters, and the living Sibylla were left to fight for the duchies.
It would be both cruel and superfluous to inflict on the reader a
historical statement of the manner in which these six small provinces
were to be united into a single state. It would be an equally sterile
task to retrace the legal arguments by which the various parties prepared
themselves to vindicate their claims, each pretender more triumphantly
than the other. The naked facts alone retain vital interest, and of
these facts the prominent one was the assertion of the Emperor that the
duchies, constituting a fief masculine, could descend to none of the
pretenders, but were at his disposal as sovereign of Germany.
On the other hand nearly all the important princes of that country sent
their agents into the duchies to look after the interests real or
imaginary which they claimed,
There were but four candidates who in reality could be considered serious
Mary Eleanor, eldest sister of the Duke, had been married in the lifetime
of their father to Albert Frederic of Brandenburg, Duke of Prussia. To
the children of this marriage was reserved the succession of the whole
property in case of the masculine line becoming extinct. Two years
afterwards the second sister, Anne, was married to Duke Philip Lewis,
Count-Palatine of Neuburg; the children of which marriage stood next
in succession to those of the eldest sister, should that become
extinguished. Four years later the third sister, Magdalen, espoused
the Duke John, Count-Palatine of Deux-Ponts; who, like Neuburg, made
resignation of rights of succession in favour of the descendants of the
Brandenburg marriage. The marriage of the youngest sister, Sibylla, with
the Margrave of Burgau has been already mentioned. It does not appear
that her brother, whose lunatic condition hardly permitted him to assure
her the dowry which had been the price of renunciation in the case of her
three elder sisters, had obtained that renunciation from her.
The claims of the childless Sibylla as well as those of the Deux-Ponts
branch were not destined to be taken into serious consideration.
The real competitors were the Emperor on the one side and the Elector of
Brandenburg and the Count-Palatine of Neuburg on the other.
It is not necessary to my purpose to say a single word as to the legal
and historical rights of the controversy. Volumes upon volumes of
forgotten lore might be consulted, and they would afford exactly as much
refreshing nutriment as would the heaps of erudition hardly ten years
old, and yet as antiquated as the title-deeds of the Pharaohs, concerning
the claims to the Duchies of Schleswig-Holstein. The fortunate house of
Brandenburg may have been right or wrong in both disputes. It is certain
that it did not lack a more potent factor in settling the political
problems of the world in the one case any more than in the other.
But on the occasion with which we are occupied it was not on the might of
his own right hand that the Elector of Brandenburg relied. Moreover, he
was dilatory in appealing to the two great powers on whose friendship he
must depend for the establishment of his claims: the United Republic and
the King of France. James of England was on the whole inclined to
believe in the rights of Brandenburg. His ambassador, however, with more
prophetic vision than perhaps the King ever dreamt--of, expressed a fear
lest Brandenburg should grow too great and one day come to the Imperial
The States openly favoured the Elector. Henry as at first disposed
towards Neuburg, but at his request Barneveld furnished a paper on the
subject, by which the King seems to have been entirely converted to the
pretensions of Brandenburg.
But the solution of the question had but little to do with the legal
claim of any man. It was instinctively felt throughout Christendom that
the great duel between the ancient church and the spirit of the
Reformation was now to be renewed upon that narrow, debateable spot.
The Emperor at once proclaimed his right to arbitrate on the succession
and to hold the territory until decision should be made; that is to say,
till the Greek Kalends. His familiar and most tricksy spirit, Bishop-
Archduke Leopold, played at once on his fears and his resentments,
against the ever encroaching, ever menacing, Protestantism of Germany,
with which he had just sealed a compact so bitterly detested.
That bold and bustling prelate, brother of the Queen of Spain and of
Ferdinand of Styria, took post from Prague in the middle of July.
Accompanied by a certain canon of the Church and disguised as his
servant, he arrived after a rapid journey before the gates of Julich,
chief city and fortress of the duchies. The governor of the place,
Nestelraed, inclined like most of the functionaries throughout the
duchies to the Catholic cause, was delighted to recognize under the
livery of the lackey the cousin and representative of the Emperor.
Leopold, who had brought but five men with him, had conquered his capital
at a blow. For while thus comfortably established as temporary governor
of the duchies he designed through the fears or folly of Rudolph to
become their sovereign lord. Strengthened by such an acquisition and
reckoning on continued assistance in men and money from Spain and the
Catholic League, he meant to sweep back to the rescue of the perishing
Rudolph, smite the Protestants of Bohemia, and achieve his appointment to
the crown of that kingdom.
The Spanish ambassador at Prague had furnished him with a handsome sum
of money for the expenses of his journey and preliminary enterprise. It
should go hard but funds should be forthcoming to support him throughout
this audacious scheme. The champion of the Church, the sovereign prince
of important provinces, the possession of which ensured conclusive
triumph to the House of Austria and to Rome--who should oppose him in
his path to Empire? Certainly not the moody Rudolph, the slippery and
unstable Matthias, the fanatic and Jesuit-ridden Ferdinand.
"Leopold in Julich," said Henry's agent in Germany, "is a ferret in a
But early in the spring and before the arrival of Leopold, the two
pretenders, John Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg, and Philip Lewis,
Palatine of Neuburg, had made an arrangement. By the earnest advice
of Barneveld in the name of the States-General and as the result of a
general council of many Protestant princes of Germany, it had been
settled that those two should together provisionally hold and administer
the duchies until the principal affair could be amicably settled.
The possessory princes were accordingly established in Dusseldorf with
the consent of the provincial estates, in which place those bodies were
wont to assemble.
Here then was Spain in the person of Leopold quietly perched in the chief
citadel of the country, while Protestantism in the shape of the
possessory princes stood menacingly in the capital.
Hardly was the ink dry on the treaty which had suspended for twelve years
the great religious war of forty years, not yet had the ratifications
been exchanged, but the trumpet was again sounding, and the hostile
forces were once more face to face.
Leopold, knowing where his great danger lay, sent a friendly message to
the States-General, expressing the hope that they would submit to his
arrangements until the Imperial decision should be made.
The States, through the pen and brain of Barneveld, replied that they
had already recognized the rights of the possessory princes, and were
surprised that the Bishop-Archduke should oppose them. They expressed
the hope that, when better informed, he would see the validity of the
Treaty of Dortmund. "My Lords the States-General," said the Advocate,
"will protect the princes against violence and actual disturbances, and
are assured that the neighbouring kings and princes will do the same.
They trust that his Imperial Highness will not allow matters, to proceed
This was language not to be mistaken. It was plain that the Republic did
not intend the Emperor to decide a question of life and death to herself,
nor to permit Spain, exhausted by warfare, to achieve this annihilating
triumph by a petty intrigue.
While in reality the clue to what seemed to the outside world a
labyrinthine maze of tangled interests and passions was firmly held in
the hand of Barneveld, it was not to him nor to My Lords the States-
General that the various parties to the impending conflict applied in the
Mankind were not yet sufficiently used to this young republic, intruding
herself among the family of kings, to defer at once to an authority which
they could not but feel.
Moreover, Henry of France was universally looked to both by friends and
foes as the probable arbiter or chief champion in the great debate. He
had originally been inclined to favour Neuberg, chiefly, so Aerssens
thought, on account of his political weakness. The States-General on the
other hand were firmly disposed for Brandenburg from the first, not only
as a strenuous supporter of the Reformation and an ancient ally of their
own always interested in their safety, but because the establishment of
the Elector on the Rhine would roll back the Empire beyond that river.
As Aerssens expressed it, they would have the Empire for a frontier, and
have no longer reason to fear the Rhine.
The King, after the representations of the States, saw good ground to
change his opinion and; becoming convinced that the Palatine had long
been coquetting with the Austrian party, soon made no secret of his
preference for Brandenburg. Subsequently Neuburg and Brandenburg fell
into a violent quarrel notwithstanding an arrangement that the Palatine
should marry the daughter of the Elector. In the heat of discussion
Brandenburg on one occasion is said to have given his intended son-in-law
a box on the ear! an argument 'ad hominem' which seems to have had the
effect of sending the Palatine into the bosom of the ancient church and
causing him to rely thenceforth upon the assistance of the League.
Meantime, however, the Condominium settled by the Treaty of Dortmund
continued in force; the third brother of Brandenburg and the eldest son
of Neuburg sharing possession and authority at Dusseldorf until a final
decision could be made.
A flock of diplomatists, professional or volunteers, openly accredited or
secret, were now flying busily about through the troubled atmosphere,
indicating the coming storm in which they revelled. The keen-sighted,
subtle, but dangerously intriguing ambassador of the Republic, Francis
Aerssens, had his hundred eyes at all the keyholes in Paris, that centre
of ceaseless combination and conspiracy, and was besides in almost daily
confidential intercourse with the King. Most patiently and minutely he
kept the Advocate informed, almost from hour to hour, of every web that
was spun, every conversation public or whispered in which important
affairs were treated anywhere and by anybody. He was all-sufficient as a
spy and intelligencer, although not entirely trustworthy as a counsellor.
Still no man on the whole could scan the present or forecast the future
more accurately than he was able to do from his advantageous position and
his long experience of affairs.
There was much general jealousy between the States and the despotic king,
who loved to be called the father of the Republic and to treat the
Hollanders as his deeply obliged and very ungrateful and miserly little
children. The India trade was a sore subject, Henry having throughout
the negotiations sought to force or wheedle the States into renouncing
that commerce at the command of Spain, because he wished to help himself
to it afterwards, and being now in the habit of secretly receiving Isaac
Le Maire and other Dutch leaders in that lucrative monopoly, who lay
disguised in Paris and in the house of Zamet--but not concealed from
Aerssens, who pledged himself to break, the neck of their enterprise--and
were planning with the King a French East India Company in opposition to
that of the Netherlands.
On the whole, however, despite these commercial intrigues which Barneveld
through the aid of Aerssens was enabled to baffle, there was much
cordiality and honest friendship between the two countries. Henry, far
from concealing his political affection for the Republic, was desirous of
receiving a special embassy of congratulation and gratitude from the
States on conclusion of the truce; not being satisfied with the warm
expressions of respect and attachment conveyed through the ordinary
"He wishes," wrote Aerssens to the Advocate, "a public demonstration--in
order to show on a theatre to all Christendom the regard and deference of
My Lords the States for his Majesty." The Ambassador suggested that
Cornelis van der Myle, son-in-law of Barneveld, soon to be named first
envoy for Holland to the Venetian republic, might be selected as chief of
such special embassy.
"Without the instructions you gave me," wrote Aerssens, "Neuburg might
have gained his cause in this court. Brandenburg is doing himself much
injury by not soliciting the King."
"Much deference will be paid to your judgment," added the envoy, "if you
see fit to send it to his Majesty."
Meantime, although the agent of Neuburg was busily dinning in Henry's
ears the claims of the Palatine, and even urging old promises which, as
he pretended, had been made, thanks to Barneveld, he took little by his
importunity, notwithstanding that in the opinion both of Barneveld and
Villeroy his claim 'stricti-juris' was the best. But it was policy and
religious interests, not the strict letter of the law, that were likely
to prevail. Henry, while loudly asserting that he would oppose any
usurpation on the part of the Emperor or any one else against the
Condominium, privately renewed to the States assurances of his intention
to support ultimately the claims of Brandenburg, and notified them to
hold the two regiments of French infantry, which by convention they still
kept at his expense in their service, to be ready at a moment's warning
for the great enterprise which he was already planning. "You would do
well perhaps," wrote Aerssens to Barneveld, "to set forth the various
interests in regard to this succession, and of the different relations of
the claimants towards our commonwealth; but in such sort nevertheless and
so dexterously that the King may be able to understand your desires, and
on the other hand may see the respect you bear him in appearing to defer
to his choice."
Neuburg, having always neglected the States and made advances to Archduke
Albert, and being openly preferred over Brandenburg by the Austrians, who
had however no intention of eventually tolerating either, could make but
small headway at court, notwithstanding Henry's indignation that
Brandenburg had not yet made the slightest demand upon him for
The Elector had keenly solicited the aid of the states, who were bound to
him by ancient contract on this subject, but had manifested wonderful
indifference or suspicion in regard to France. "These nonchalant
Germans," said Henry on more than one occasion, "do nothing but sleep
It was supposed that the memory of Metz might haunt the imagination of
the Elector. That priceless citadel, fraudulently extorted by Henry II.
as a forfeit for assistance to the Elector of Saxony three quarters of a
century before, gave solemn warning to Brandenburg of what might be
exacted by a greater Henry, should success be due to his protection.
It was also thought that he had too many dangers about him at home, the
Poles especially, much stirred up by emissaries from Rome, making many
troublesome demonstrations against the Duchy of Prussia.
It was nearly midsummer before a certain Baron Donals arrived as emissary
of the Elector. He brought with him, many documents in support of the
Brandenburg claims, and was charged with excuses for the dilatoriness of
his master. Much stress was laid of course on the renunciation made by
Neuburg at the tithe of his marriage, and Henry was urged to grant his
protection to the Elector in his good rights. But thus far there were
few signs of any vigorous resolution for active measures in an affair
which could scarcely fail to lead to war.
"I believe," said Henry to the States ambassador, "that the right of
Brandenburg is indubitable, and it is better for you and for me that he
should be the man rather than Neuburg, who has always sought assistance
from the House of Austria. But he is too lazy in demanding possession.
It is the fault of the doctors by whom he is guided. This delay works
in favour of the Emperor, whose course however is less governed by any
determination of his own than by the irresolution of the princes."
Then changing the conversation, Henry asked the Ambassador whether the
daughter of de Maldere, a leading statesman of Zealand, was married or
of age to be married, and if she was rich; adding that they must make a
match between her and Barneveld's second son, then a young gentleman in
the King's service, and very much liked by him.
Two months later a regularly accredited envoy, Belin by name, arrived
from the Elector. His instructions were general. He was to thank the
King for his declarations in favour of the possessory princes, and
against all usurpation on the part of the Spanish party. Should the
religious cord be touched, he was to give assurances that no change would
be made in this regard. He was charged with loads of fine presents in
yellow amber, such as ewers, basins, tables, cups, chessboards, for the
King and Queen, the Dauphin, the Chancellor, Villeroy, Sully, Bouillon,
and other eminent personages. Beyond the distribution of these works of
art and the exchange of a few diplomatic commonplaces, nothing serious in
the way of warlike business was transacted, and Henry was a few weeks
later much amused by receiving a letter from the possessory princes
coolly thrown into the post-office, and addressed like an ordinary letter
to a private person, in which he was requested to advance them a loan
of 400,000 crowns. There was a great laugh at court at a demand made
like a bill of exchange at sight upon his Majesty as if he had been a
banker, especially as there happened to be no funds of the drawers in his
hands. It was thought that a proper regard for the King's quality and
the amount of the sum demanded required that the letter should be brought
at least by an express messenger, and Henry was both diverted and
indignant at these proceedings, at the months long delay before the
princes had thought proper to make application for his protection, and
then for this cool demand for alms on a large scale as a proper beginning
of their enterprise.
Such was the languid and extremely nonchalant manner in which the early
preparations for a conflict which seemed likely to set Europe in a blaze,
and of which possibly few living men might witness the termination, were
set on foot by those most interested in the immediate question.
Chessboards in yellow amber and a post-office order for 400,000 crowns
could not go far in settling the question of the duchies in which the
great problem dividing Christendom as by an abyss was involved.
Meantime, while such were the diplomatic beginnings of the possessory
princes, the League was leaving no stone unturned to awaken Henry to a
sense of his true duty to the Church of which he was Eldest Son.
Don Pedro de Toledo's mission in regard to the Spanish marriages had
failed because Henry had spurned the condition which was unequivocally
attached to them on the part of Spain, the king's renunciation of his
alliance with the Dutch Republic, which then seemed an equivalent to its
ruin. But the treaty of truce and half-independence had been signed at
last by the States and their ancient master, and the English and French
negotiators had taken their departure, each receiving as a present for
concluding the convention 20,000 livres from the Archdukes, and 30,000
from the States-General. Henry, returning one summer's morning from the
chase and holding the Count of Soissons by one hand and Ambassador
Aerssens by the other, told them he had just received letters from Spain
by which he learned that people were marvellously rejoiced at the
conclusion of the truce. Many had regretted that its conditions were so
disadvantageous and so little honourable to the grandeur and dignity of
Spain, but to these it was replied that there were strong reasons why
Spain should consent to peace on these terms rather than not have it at
all. During the twelve years to come the King could repair his disasters
and accumulate mountains of money in order to finish the war by the
subjugation of the Provinces by force of gold.
Soissons here interrupted the King by saying that the States on their
part would finish it by force of iron.
Aerssens, like an accomplished courtier, replied they would finish it by
means of his Majesty's friendship.
The King continued by observing that the clear-sighted in Spain laughed
at these rodomontades, knowing well that it was pure exhaustion that had
compelled the King to such extremities. "I leave you to judge," said
Henry, "whether he is likely to have any courage at forty-five years of
age, having none now at thirty-two. Princes show what they have in them
of generosity and valour at the age of twenty-five or never." He said
that orders had been sent from Spain to disband all troops in the
obedient Netherlands except Spaniards and Italians, telling the Archdukes
that they must raise the money out of the country to content them. They
must pay for a war made for their benefit, said Philip. As for him he
would not furnish one maravedi.
Aerssens asked if the Archdukes would disband their troops so long as the
affair of Cleve remained unsettled. "You are very lucky," replied the
King, "that Europe is governed by such princes as you wot of. The King
of Spain thinks of nothing but tranquillity. The Archdukes will never
move except on compulsion. The Emperor, whom every one is so much afraid
of in this matter, is in such plight that one of these days, and before
long, he will be stripped of all his possessions. I have news that the
Bohemians are ready to expel him."
It was true enough that Rudolph hardly seemed a formidable personage.
The Utraquists and Bohemian Brothers, making up nearly the whole
population of the country, were just extorting religious liberty from
their unlucky master in his very palace and at the point of the knife.
The envoy of Matthias was in Paris demanding recognition of his master
as King of Hungary, and Henry did not suspect the wonderful schemes of
Leopold, the ferret in the rabbit warren of the duchies, to come to the
succour of his cousin and to get himself appointed his successor and
Nevertheless, the Emperor's name had been used to protest solemnly
against the entrance into Dusseldorf of the Margrave Ernest of
Brandenburg and Palatine Wolfgang William of Neuburg, representatives
respectively of their brother and father.
The induction was nevertheless solemnly made by the Elector-Palatine
and the Landgrave of Hesse, and joint possession solemnly taken by
Brandenburg and Neuburg in the teeth of the protest, and expressly in
order to cut short the dilatory schemes and the artifices of the Imperial
Henry at once sent a corps of observation consisting of 1500 cavalry to
the Luxemburg frontier by way of Toul, Mezieres, Verdun, and Metz, to
guard against movements by the disbanded troops of the Archdukes, and
against any active demonstration against the possessory princes on the
part of the Emperor.
The 'Condominium' was formally established, and Henry stood before the
world as its protector threatening any power that should attempt
usurpation. He sent his agent Vidomacq to the Landgrave of Hesse with
instructions to do his utmost to confirm the princes of the Union in
organized resistance to the schemes of Spain, and to prevent any
interference with the Condominium.
He wrote letters to the Archdukes and to the Elector of Cologne,
sternly notifying them that he would permit no assault upon the princes,
and meant to protect them in their rights. He sent one of his most
experienced diplomatists, de Boississe, formerly ambassador in England,
to reside for a year or more in the duchies as special representative of
France, and directed him on his way thither to consult especially with
Barneveld and the States-General as to the proper means of carrying out
their joint policy either by diplomacy or, if need should be, by their
Troops began at once to move towards the frontier to counteract the plans
of the Emperor's council and the secret levies made by Duchess Sibylla's
husband, the Margrave of Burgau. The King himself was perpetually at
Monceaux watching the movements of his cavalry towards the Luxemburg
frontier, and determined to protect the princes in their possession until
some definite decision as to the sovereignty of the duchies should be
Meantime great pressure was put upon him by the opposite party. The Pope
did his best through the Nuncius at Paris directly, and through agents at
Prague, Brussels, and Madrid indirectly, to awaken the King to a sense of
the enormity of his conduct.
Being a Catholic prince, it was urged, he had no right to assist
heretics. It was an action entirely contrary to his duty as a Christian
and of his reputation as Eldest Son of the Church. Even if the right
were on the side of the princes, his Majesty would do better to strip
them of it and to clothe himself with it than to suffer the Catholic
faith and religion to receive such notable detriment in an affair likely
to have such important consequences.
Such was some of the advice given by the Pontiff. The suggestions were
subtle, for they were directed to Henry's self-interest both as champion
of the ancient church and as a possible sovereign of the very territories
in dispute. They were also likely, and were artfully so intended, to
excite suspicion of Henry's designs in the breasts of the Protestants
generally and of the possessory princes especially. Allusions indeed to
the rectification of the French border in Henry II.'s time at the expense
of Lorraine were very frequent. They probably accounted for much of the
apparent supineness and want of respect for the King of which he
complained every day and with so much bitterness.
The Pope's insinuations, however, failed to alarm him, for he had made up
his mind as to the great business of what might remain to him of life; to
humble the House of Austria and in doing so to uphold the Dutch Republic
on which he relied for his most efficient support. The situation was a
false one viewed from the traditional maxims which governed Europe. How
could the Eldest Son of the Church and the chief of an unlimited monarchy
make common cause with heretics and republicans against Spain and Rome?
That the position was as dangerous as it was illogical, there could be
but little doubt. But there was a similarity of opinion between the King
and the political chief of the Republic on the great principle which was
to illume the distant future but which had hardly then dawned upon the
present; the principle of religious equality. As he protected
Protestants in France so he meant to protect Catholics in the duchies.
Apostate as he was from the Reformed Church as he had already been from
the Catholic, he had at least risen above the paltry and insolent maxim
of the princely Protestantism of Germany: "Cujus regio ejus religio."
While refusing to tremble before the wrath of Rome or to incline his ear
to its honeyed suggestions, he sent Cardinal Joyeuse with a special
mission to explain to the Pope that while the interests of France would
not permit him to allow the Spaniard's obtaining possession of provinces
so near to her, he should take care that the Church received no detriment
and that he should insist as a price of the succour he intended for the
possessory princes that they should give ample guarantees for the liberty
of Catholic worship.
There was no doubt in the mind either of Henry or of Barneveld that the
secret blows attempted by Spain at the princes were in reality aimed at
the Republic and at himself as her ally.
While the Nuncius was making these exhortations in Paris, his colleague
from Spain was authorized to propound a scheme of settlement which did
not seem deficient in humour. At any rate Henry was much diverted with
the suggestion, which was nothing less than that the decision as to the
succession to the duchies should be left to a board of arbitration
consisting of the King of Spain, the Emperor, and the King of France.
As Henry would thus be painfully placed by himself in a hopeless
minority, the only result of the scheme would be to compel him to
sanction a decision sure to be directly the reverse of his own resolve.
He was hardly such a schoolboy in politics as to listen to the proposal
except to laugh at it.
Meantime arrived from Julich, without much parade, a quiet but somewhat
pompous gentleman named Teynagel. He had formerly belonged to the
Reformed religion, but finding it more to his taste or advantage to
become privy councillor of the Emperor, he had returned to the ancient
church. He was one of the five who had accompanied the Archduke Leopold
That prompt undertaking having thus far succeeded so well, the warlike
bishop had now despatched Teynagel on a roving diplomatic mission.
Ostensibly he came to persuade Henry that, by the usages and laws of the
Empire, fiefs left vacant for want of heirs male were at the disposal of
the Emperor. He expressed the hope therefore of obtaining the King's
approval of Leopold's position in Julich as temporary vicegerent of his
sovereign and cousin. The real motive of his mission, however, was
privately to ascertain whether Henry was really ready to go to war for
the protection of the possessory princes, and then, to proceed to Spain.
It required an astute politician, however, to sound all the shoals,
quicksands, and miseries through which the French government was then
steering, and to comprehend with accuracy the somewhat varying humours
of the monarch and the secret schemes of the ministers who immediately
People at court laughed at Teynagel and his mission, and Henry treated
him as a crackbrained adventurer. He announced himself as envoy of the
Emperor, although he had instructions from Leopold only. He had
interviews with the Chancellor and with Villeroy, and told them that
Rudolf claimed the right of judge between the various pretenders to the
duchies. The King would not be pleased, he observed, if the King of
Great Britain should constitute himself arbiter among claimants that
might make their appearance for the crown of France; but Henry had set
himself up as umpire without being asked by any one to act in that
capacity among the princes of Germany. The Emperor, on the contrary,
had been appealed to by the Duke of Nevers, the Elector of Saxony, the
Margrave of Burgau, and other liege subjects of the Imperial crown as a
matter of course and of right. This policy of the King, if persisted in,
said Teynagel, must lead to war. Henry might begin such a war, but he
would be obliged to bequeath it to the Dauphin. He should remember that
France had always been unlucky when waging war with the Empire and with
the house of Austria.'
The Chancellor and Villeroy, although in their hearts not much in love
with Henry's course, answered the emissary with arrogance equal to his
own that their king could finish the war as well as begin it, that he
confided in his strength and the justice of his cause, and that he knew
very well and esteemed very little the combined forces of Spain and the
Empire. They added that France was bound by the treaty of Vervins to
protect the princes, but they offered no proof of that rather startling
Meantime Teynagel was busy in demonstrating that the princes of Germany
were in reality much more afraid of Henry than of the Emperor. His
military movements and deep designs excited more suspicion throughout
that country and all Europe than the quiet journey of Leopold and five
friends by post to Julich.
He had come provided with copies of the King's private letters to the
princes, and seemed fully instructed as to his most secret thoughts.
For this convenient information he was supposed to be indebted to the
revelations of Father Cotton, who was then in disgrace; having been
detected in transmitting to the General of Jesuits Henry's most sacred
confidences and confessions as to his political designs.
Fortified with this private intelligence, and having been advised by
Father Cotton to carry matters with a high hand in order to inspire the
French court with a wholesome awe, he talked boldly about the legitimate
functions of the Emperor. To interfere with them, he assured the
ministers, would lead to a long and bloody war, as neither the King nor
the Archduke Albert would permit the Emperor to be trampled upon.
Peter Pecquius, the crafty and experienced agent of the Archduke at
Paris, gave the bouncing envoy more judicious advice, however, than that
of the Jesuit, assuring him that he would spoil his whole case should he
attempt to hold such language to the King.
He was admitted to an audience of Henry at Monceaux, but found him
prepared to show his teeth as Aerssens had predicted. He treated
Teynagel as a mere madcap and, adventurer who had no right to be received
as a public minister at all, and cut short his rodomontades by assuring
him that his mind was fully made up to protect the possessory princes.
Jeannin was present at the interview, although, as Aerssens well
observed, the King required no pedagogue on such an occasion? Teynagel
soon afterwards departed malcontent to Spain, having taken little by his
abnormal legation to Henry, and being destined to find at the court of
Philip as urgent demands on that monarch for assistance to the League
as he was to make for Leopold and the House of Austria.
For the League, hardly yet thoroughly organized under the leadership of
Maximilian of Bavaria, was rather a Catholic corrival than cordial ally
of the Imperial house. It was universally suspected that Henry meant to
destroy and discrown the Habsburgs, and it lay not in the schemes of
Maximilian to suffer the whole Catholic policy to be bound to the
fortunes of that one family.
Whether or not Henry meant to commit the anachronism and blunder of
reproducing the part of Charlemagne might be doubtful. The supposed
design of Maximilian to renew the glories of the House of Wittelsbach was
equally vague. It is certain, however, that a belief in such ambitious
schemes on the part of both had been insinuated into the ears of Rudolf,
and had sunk deeply into his unsettled mind.
Scarcely had Teynagel departed than the ancient President Richardot
appeared upon the scene. "The mischievous old monkey," as he had
irreverently been characterized during the Truce negotiations, "who
showed his tail the higher he climbed," was now trembling at the thought
that all the good work he had been so laboriously accomplishing during
the past two years should be annihilated. The Archdukes, his masters,
being sincerely bent on peace, had deputed him to Henry, who, as they
believed, was determined to rekindle war. As frequently happens in such
cases, they were prepared to smooth over the rough and almost impassable
path to a cordial understanding by comfortable and cheap commonplaces
concerning the blessings of peace, and to offer friendly compromises by
which they might secure the prizes of war without the troubles and
dangers of making it.
They had been solemnly notified by Henry that he would go to war
rather than permit the House of Austria to acquire the succession to the
duchies. They now sent Richardot to say that neither the Archdukes nor
the King of Spain would interfere in the matter, and that they hoped the
King of France would not prevent the Emperor from exercising his rightful
functions of judge.
Henry, who knew that Don Baltasar de Cuniga, Spanish ambassador at the
Imperial court, had furnished Leopold, the Emperor's cousin, with 50,000
crowns to defray his first expenses in the Julich expedition, considered
that the veteran politician had come to perform a school boy's task.
He was more than ever convinced by this mission of Richardot that the
Spaniards had organized the whole scheme, and he was likely only to smile
at any propositions the President might make.
At the beginning of his interview, in which the King was quite alone,
Richardot asked if he would agree to maintain neutrality like the King of
Spain and the Archdukes, and allow the princes to settle their business
with the Emperor.
"No," said the King.
He then asked if Henry would assist them in their wrong.
"No," said the King.
He then asked if the King thought that the princes had justice on their
side, and whether, if the contrary were shown, he would change his
Henry replied that the Emperor could not be both judge and party in the
suit and that the King of Spain was plotting to usurp the provinces
through the instrumentality of his brother-in-law Leopold and under the
name of the Emperor. He would not suffer it, he said.
"Then there will be a general war," replied Richardot, since you are
determined to assist these princes."
"Be it so," said the King.
"You are right," said the President, "for you are a great and puissant
monarch, having all the advantages that could be desired, and in case of
rupture I fear that all this immense power will be poured out over us who
are but little princes."
"Cause Leopold to retire then and leave the princes in their right," was
the reply. "You will then have nothing to fear. Are you not very
unhappy to live under those poor weak archdukes? Don't you foresee that
as soon as they die you will lose all the little you have acquired in the
obedient Netherlands during the last fifty years?"
The President had nothing to reply to this save that he had never
approved of Leopold's expedition, and that when Spaniards make mistakes
they always had recourse to their servants to repair their faults. He
had accepted this mission inconsiderately, he said, inspired by a hope to
conjure the rising storms mingled with fears as to the result which were
now justified. He regretted having come, he said.
The King shrugged his shoulders.
Richardot then suggested that Leopold might be recognized in Julich, and
the princes at Dusseldorf, or that all parties might retire until the
Emperor should give his decision.
All these combinations were flatly refused by the King, who swore that no
one of the House of Austria should ever perch in any part of those
provinces. If Leopold did not withdraw at once, war was inevitable.
He declared that he would break up everything and dare everything,
whether the possessory princes formally applied to him or not. He would
not see his friends oppressed nor allow the Spaniard by this usurpation
to put his foot on the throat of the States-General, for it was against
them that this whole scheme was directed.
To the President's complaints that the States-General had been moving
troops in Gelderland, Henry replied at once that it was done by his
command, and that they were his troops.
With this answer Richardot was fain to retire crestfallen, mortified, and
unhappy. He expressed repentance and astonishment at the result, and
protested that those peoples were happy whose princes understood affairs.
His princes were good, he said, but did not give themselves the trouble
to learn their business.
Richardot then took his departure from Paris, and very soon afterwards
from the world. He died at Arras early in September, as many thought of
chagrin at the ill success of his mission, while others ascribed it to a
surfeit of melons and peaches.
"Senectus edam maorbus est," said Aerssens with Seneca.
Henry said he could not sufficiently wonder at these last proceedings
at his court, of a man he had deemed capable and sagacious, but who had
been committing an irreparable blunder. He had never known two such
impertinent ambassadors as Don Pedro de Toledo and Richardot on this
occasion. The one had been entirely ignorant of the object of his
mission; the other had shown a vain presumption in thinking he could
drive him from his fixed purpose by a flood of words. He had accordingly
answered him on the spot without consulting his council, at which poor
Richardot had been much amazed.
And now another envoy appeared upon the scene, an ambassador coming
directly from the Emperor. Count Hohenzollern, a young man, wild,
fierce, and arrogant, scarcely twenty-three years of age, arrived in
Paris on the 7th of September, with a train of forty horsemen.
De Colly, agent of the Elector-Palatine, had received an outline of
his instructions, which the Prince of Anhalt had obtained at Prague.
He informed Henry that Hohenzollern would address him thus: "You are a
king. You would not like that the Emperor should aid your subjects in
rebellion. He did not do this in the time of the League, although often
solicited to do so. You should not now sustain the princes in disobeying
the Imperial decree. Kings should unite in maintaining the authority and
majesty of each other." He would then in the Emperor's name urge the
claims of the House of Saxony to the duchies.
Henry was much pleased with this opportune communication by de Colly of
the private instructions to the Emperor's envoy, by which he was enabled
to meet the wild and fierce young man with an arrogance at least equal to
The interview was a stormy one. The King was alone in the gallery of the
Louvre, not choosing that his words and gestures should be observed. The
Envoy spoke much in the sense which de Colly had indicated; making a long
argument in favour of the Emperor's exclusive right of arbitration, and
assuring the King that the Emperor was resolved on war if interference
between himself and his subjects was persisted in. He loudly pronounced
the proceedings of the possessory princes to be utterly illegal, and
contrary to all precedent. The Emperor would maintain his authority at
all hazards, and one spark of war would set everything in a blaze within
the Empire and without.
Henry replied sternly but in general terms, and referred him for a final
answer to his council.
"What will you do," asked the Envoy, categorically, at a subsequent
interview about a month later, "to protect the princes in case the
Emperor constrains them to leave the provinces which they have unjustly
"There is none but God to compel me to say more than I choose to say,"
replied the King. "It is enough for you to know that I will never
abandon my friends in a just cause. The Emperor can do much for the
general peace. He is not to lend his name to cover this usurpation."
And so the concluding interview terminated in an exchange of threats
rather than with any hope of accommodation.
Hohenzollern used as high language to the ministers as to the monarch,
and received payment in the same coin. He rebuked their course not very
adroitly as being contrary to the interests of Catholicism. They were
placing the provinces in the hands of Protestants, he urged. It required
no envoy from Prague to communicate this startling fact. Friends and
foes, Villeroy and Jeannin, as well as Sully and Duplessis, knew well
enough that Henry was not taking up arms for Rome. "Sir! do you look at
the matter in that way?" cried Sully, indignantly. "The Huguenots are as
good as the Catholics. They fight like the devil!"
"The Emperor will never permit the, princes to remain nor Leopold to
withdraw," said the Envoy to Jeannin.
Jeannin replied that the King was always ready to listen to reason, but
there was no use in holding language of authority to him. It was money
he would not accept.
"Fiat justitia pereat mundus," said the haggard Hohenzollern.
"Your world may perish," replied Jeannin, "but not ours. It is much
better put together."
A formal letter was then written by the King to the Emperor, in which
Henry expressed his desire to maintain peace and fraternal relations, but
notified him that if, under any pretext whatever, he should trouble the
princes in their possession, he would sustain them with all his power,
being bound thereto by treaties and by reasons of state.
This letter was committed to the care of Hohenzollern, who forthwith
departed, having received a present of 4000 crowns. His fierce, haggard
face thus vanishes for the present from our history.
The King had taken his ground, from which there was no receding. Envoys
or agents of Emperor, Pope, King of Spain, Archduke at Brussels, and
Archduke at Julich, had failed to shake his settled purpose. Yet the
road was far from smooth. He had thus far no ally but the States-
General. He could not trust James of Great Britain. Boderie came back
late in the summer from his mission to that monarch, reporting him as
being favourably inclined to Brandenburg, but hoping for an amicable
settlement in the duchies. No suggestion being made even by the
sagacious James as to the manner in which the ferret and rabbits were
to come to a compromise, Henry inferred, if it came to fighting, that the
English government would refuse assistance. James had asked Boderie in
fact whether his sovereign and the States, being the parties chiefly
interested, would be willing to fight it out without allies. He had also
sent Sir Ralph Winwood on a special mission to the Hague, to Dusseldorf,
and with letters to the Emperor, in which he expressed confidence that
Rudolph would approve the proceedings of the possessory princes. As he
could scarcely do that while loudly claiming through his official envoy
in Paris that the princes should instantly withdraw on pain of instant
war, the value of the English suggestion of an amicable compromise might
easily be deduced.
Great was the jealousy in France of this mission from England. That the
princes should ask the interference of James while neglecting, despising,
or fearing Henry, excited Henry's wrath. He was ready, and avowed his
readiness, to put on armour at once in behalf of the princes, and to
arbitrate on the destiny of Germany, but no one seemed ready to follow
his standard. No one asked him to arbitrate. The Spanish faction
wheedled and threatened by turns, in order to divert him from his
purpose, while the Protestant party held aloof, and babbled of
Charlemagne and of Henry II.
He said he did not mean to assist the princes by halves, but as became a
King of France, and the princes expressed suspicion of him, talked of the
example of Metz, and called the Emperor their very clement lord.
It was not strange that Henry was indignant and jealous. He was holding
the wolf by the ears, as he himself observed more than once. The war
could not long be delayed; yet they in whose behalf it was to be waged
treated him with a disrespect and flippancy almost amounting to scorn.
They tried to borrow money of him through the post, and neglected to send
him an ambassador. This was most decidedly putting the cart before the
oxen, so Henry said, and so thought all his friends. When they had
blockaded the road to Julich, in order to cut off Leopold's supplies,
they sent to request that the two French regiments in the States' service
might be ordered to their assistance, Archduke Albert having threatened
to open the passage by force of arms. "This is a fine stratagem," said
Aerssens, "to fling the States-General headlong into the war, and, as it
were, without knowing it."
But the States-General, under the guidance of Barneveld, were not likely
to be driven headlong by Brandenburg and Neuburg. They managed with
caution, but with perfect courage, to move side by side with Henry, and
to leave the initiative to him, while showing an unfaltering front to the
enemy. That the princes were lost, Spain and the Emperor triumphant,
unless Henry and the States should protect them with all their strength,
was as plain as a mathematical demonstration.
Yet firm as were the attitude and the language of Henry, he was thought
to be hoping to accomplish much by bluster. It was certain that the bold
and unexpected stroke of Leopold had produced much effect upon his mind,
and for a time those admitted to his intimacy saw, or thought they saw,
a decided change in his demeanour. To the world at large his language
and his demonstrations were even more vehement than they had been at the
outset of the controversy; but it was believed that there was now a
disposition to substitute threats for action. The military movements set
on foot were thought to be like the ringing of bells and firing of cannon
to dissipate a thunderstorm. Yet it was treason at court to doubt the
certainty of war. The King ordered new suits of armour, bought splendid
chargers, and gave himself all the airs of a champion rushing to a
tournament as gaily as in the earliest days of his king-errantry.
He spoke of his eager desire to break a lance with Spinola, and give a
lesson to the young volunteer who had sprung into so splendid a military
reputation, while he had been rusting, as he thought, in pacific
indolence, and envying the laurels of the comparatively youthful Maurice.
Yet those most likely to be well informed believed that nothing would
come of all this fire and fury.
The critics were wrong. There was really no doubt of Henry's sincerity,
but his isolation was terrible. There was none true to him at home but
Sully. Abroad, the States-General alone were really friendly, so far as
positive agreements existed. Above all, the intolerable tergiversations
and suspicions of those most interested, the princes in possession, and
their bickerings among themselves, hampered his movements.
Treason and malice in his cabinet and household, jealousy and fear
abroad, were working upon and undermining him like a slow fever. His
position was most pathetic, but his purpose was fixed.
James of England, who admired, envied, and hated Henry, was wont to
moralize on his character and his general unpopularity, while engaged in
negotiations with him. He complained that in the whole affair of the
truce he had sought only his particular advantage. "This is not to be
wondered at in one of his nature," said the King, "who only careth to
provide for the felicities of his present life, without any respect for
his life to come. Indeed, the consideration of his own age and the youth
of his children, the doubt of their legitimation, the strength of
competitioners, and the universal hatred borne unto him, makes him seek
all means of security for preventing of all dangers."
There were changes from day to day; hot and cold fits necessarily
resulting from the situation. As a rule, no eminent general who has had
much experience wishes to go into a new war inconsiderately and for the
mere love of war. The impatience is often on the part of the non-
combatants. Henry was no exception to the rule. He felt that the
complications then existing, the religious, political, and dynastic
elements arrayed against each other, were almost certain to be brought to
a crisis and explosion by the incident of the duchies. He felt that the
impending struggle was probably to be a desperate and a general one, but
there was no inconsistency in hoping that the show of a vigorous and
menacing attitude might suspend, defer, or entirely dissipate the
The appearance of vacillation on his part from day to day was hardly
deserving of the grave censure which it received, and was certainly in
the interests of humanity.
His conferences with Sully were almost daily and marked by intense
anxiety. He longed for Barneveld, and repeatedly urged that the
Advocate, laying aside all other business, would come to Paris, that they
might advise together thoroughly and face to face. It was most important
that the combination of alliances should be correctly arranged before
hostilities began, and herein lay the precise difficulty. The princes
applied formally and freely to the States-General for assistance. They
applied to the King of Great Britain. The agents of the opposite party
besieged Henry with entreaties, and, failing in those, with threats;
going off afterwards to Spain, to the Archdukes, and to other Catholic
powers in search of assistance.
The States-General professed their readiness to put an army of 15,000
foot and 3000 horse in the field for the spring campaign, so soon as they
were assured of Henry's determination for a rupture.
"I am fresh enough still," said he to their ambassador, "to lead an army
into Cleve. I shall have a cheap bargain enough of the provinces. But
these Germans do nothing but eat and sleep. They will get the profit
and assign to me the trouble. No matter, I will never suffer the
aggrandizement of the House of Austria. The States-General must disband
no troops, but hold themselves in readiness."
Secretary of State Villeroy held the same language, but it was easy to
trace beneath his plausible exterior a secret determination to traverse
the plans of his sovereign. "The Cleve affair must lead to war," he
said. "The Spaniard, considering how necessary it is for him to have a
prince there at his devotion, can never quietly suffer Brandenburg and
Neuburg to establish themselves in those territories. The support thus
gained by the States-General would cause the loss of the Spanish
This was the view of Henry, too, but the Secretary of State, secretly
devoted to the cause of Spain, looked upon the impending war with much
"All that can come to his Majesty from war," he said, "is the glory of
having protected the right. Counterbalance this with the fatigue, the
expense, and the peril of a great conflict, after our long repose, and
you will find this to be buying glory too dearly."
When a Frenchman talked of buying glory too dearly, it seemed probable
that the particular kind of glory was not to his taste.
Henry had already ordered the officers, then in France, of the 4000
French infantry kept in the States' service at his expense to depart at
once to Holland, and he privately announced his intention of moving to
the frontier at the head of 30,000 men.
'Yet not only Villeroy, but the Chancellor and the Constable, while
professing opposition to the designs of Austria and friendliness to those
of Brandenburg and Neuburg, deprecated this precipitate plunge into war.
"Those most interested," they said, "refuse to move; fearing Austria,
distrusting France. They leave us the burden and danger, and hope for
the spoils themselves. We cannot play cat to their monkey. The King
must hold himself in readiness to join in the game when the real players
have shuffled and dealt the cards. It is no matter to us whether the
Spaniard or Brandenburg or anyone else gets the duchies. The States-
General require a friendly sovereign there, and ought to say how much
they will do for that result."
The Constable laughed at the whole business. Coming straight from the
Louvre, he said "there would be no serious military movement, and that
all those fine freaks would evaporate in air."
But Sully never laughed. He was quietly preparing the ways and means for
the war, and he did not intend, so far as he had influence, that France
should content herself with freaks and let Spain win the game. Alone in
the council he maintained that "France had gone too far to recede without
sacrifice of reputation."--"The King's word is engaged both within and
without," he said. "Not to follow it with deeds would be dangerous to
the kingdom. The Spaniard will think France afraid of war. We must
strike a sudden blow, either to drive the enemy away or to crush him at
once. There is no time for delay. The Netherlands must prevent the
aggrandizement of Austria or consent to their own ruin."
Thus stood the game therefore. The brother of Brandenburg and son of
Neuburg had taken possession of Dusseldorf.
The Emperor, informed of this, ordered them forthwith to decamp. He
further summoned all pretenders to the duchies to appear before him, in
person or by proxy, to make good their claims. They refused and appealed
for advice and assistance to the States-General. Barneveld, aware of the
intrigues of Spain, who disguised herself in the drapery of the Emperor,
recommended that the Estates of Cleve, Julich, Berg, Mark, Ravensberg,
and Ravenstein, should be summoned in Dusseldorf. This was done and a
resolution taken to resist any usurpation.
The King of France wrote to the Elector of Cologne, who, by directions
of Rome and by means of the Jesuits, had been active in the intrigue,
that he would not permit the princes to be disturbed.
The Archduke Leopold suddenly jumped into the chief citadel of the
country and published an edict of the Emperor. All the proceedings were
thereby nullified as illegal and against the dignity of the realm and the
princes proclaimed under ban.
A herald brought the edict and ban to the princes in full assembly.
The princes tore it to pieces on the spot. Nevertheless they were much
frightened, and many members of the Estates took themselves off; others
showing an inclination to follow.
The princes sent forth with a deputation to the Hague to consult My Lords
the States-General. The States-General sent an express messenger to
Paris. Their ambassador there sent him back a week later, with notice of
the King's determination to risk everything against everything to
preserve the rights of the princes. It was added that Henry required to
be solicited by them, in order not by volunteer succour to give cause for
distrust as to his intentions. The States-General were further apprised
by the King that his interests and theirs were so considerable in the
matter that they would probably be obliged to go into a brisk and open
war, in order to prevent the Spaniard from establishing himself in the
duchies. He advised them to notify the Archdukes in Brussels that they
would regard the truce as broken if, under pretext of maintaining the
Emperor's rights, they should molest the princes. He desired them
further to send their forces at once to the frontier of Gelderland under
Prince Maurice, without committing any overt act of hostility, but in
order to show that both the King and the States were thoroughly in
The King then sent to Archduke Albert, as well as to the Elector of
Cologne, and despatched a special envoy to the King of Great Britain.
Immediately afterwards came communications from Barneveld to Henry, with
complete adhesion to the King's plans. The States would move in exact
harmony with him, neither before him nor after him, which was precisely
what he wished. He complained bitterly to Aerssens, when he communicated
the Advocate's despatches, of the slothful and timid course of the
princes. He ascribed it to the arts of Leopold, who had written and
inspired many letters against him insinuating that he was secretly in
league and correspondence with the Emperor; that he was going to the
duchies simply in the interest of the Catholics; that he was like Henry
II. only seeking to extend the French frontier; and Leopold, by these
intrigues and falsehoods, had succeeded in filling the princes with
distrust, and they had taken umbrage at the advance of his cavalry.
Henry professed himself incapable of self-seeking or ambition. He meant
to prevent the aggrandizement of Austria, and was impatient at the
dilatoriness and distrust of the princes.
"All their enemies are rushing to the King of Spain. Let them address
themselves to the King of France," he said, "for it is we two that must
play this game."
And when at last they did send an embassy, they prefaced it by a post
letter demanding an instant loan, and with an intimation that they would
rather have his money than his presence!
Was it surprising that the King's course should seem occasionally
wavering when he found it so difficult to stir up such stagnant waters
into honourable action? Was it strange that the rude and stern Sully
should sometimes lose his patience, knowing so much and suspecting more
of the foul designs by which his master was encompassed, of the web of
conspiracy against his throne, his life, and his honour, which was daily
and hourly spinning?
"We do nothing and you do nothing," he said one day to Aerssens. "You
are too soft, and we are too cowardly. I believe that we shall spoil
everything, after all. I always suspect these sudden determinations of
ours. They are of bad augury. We usually founder at last when we set
off so fiercely at first. There are words enough an every side, but
there will be few deeds. There is nothing to be got out of the King of
Great Britain, and the King of Spain will end by securing these provinces
for himself by a treaty." Sully knew better than this, but he did not
care to let even the Dutch envoy know, as yet, the immense preparations
he had been making for the coming campaign.
The envoys of the possessory princes, the Counts Solms, Colonel Pallandt,
and Dr. Steyntgen, took their departure, after it had been arranged that
final measures should be concerted at the general congress of the German
Protestants to be held early in the ensuing year at Hall, in Suabia.
At that convention de Boississe would make himself heard on the part of
France, and the representatives of the States-General, of Venice, and
Savoy, would also be present.
Meantime the secret conferences between Henry and his superintendent of
finances and virtual prime minister were held almost every day. Scarcely
an afternoon passed that the King did not make his appearance at the
Arsenal, Sully's residence, and walk up and down the garden with him for
hours, discussing the great project of which his brain was full. This
great project was to crush for ever the power of the Austrian house; to
drive Spain back into her own limits, putting an end to her projects for
universal monarchy; and taking the Imperial crown from the House of
Habsburg. By thus breaking up the mighty cousinship which, with the aid
of Rome, overshadowed Germany and the two peninsulas, besides governing
the greater part of both the Indies, he meant to bring France into the
preponderant position over Christendom which he believed to be her due.
It was necessary, he thought, for the continued existence of the Dutch
commonwealth that the opportunity should be taken once for all, now that
a glorious captain commanded its armies and a statesman unrivalled for
experience, insight, and patriotism controlled its politics and its
diplomacy, to drive the Spaniard out of the Netherlands.
The Cleve question, properly and vigorously handled, presented exactly
the long desired opportunity for carrying out these vast designs.
The plan of assault upon Spanish power was to be threefold. The King
himself at the head of 35,000 men, supported by Prince Maurice and the
States' forces amounting to at least 14,000, would move to the Rhine and
seize the duchies. The Duke de la Force would command the army of the
Pyrenees and act in concert with the Moors of Spain, who roused to frenzy
by their expulsion from the kingdom could be relied on for a revolt or at
least a most vigorous diversion. Thirdly, a treaty with the Duke of
Savoy by which Henry accorded his daughter to the Duke's eldest son, the
Prince of Piedmont, a gift of 100,000 crowns, and a monthly pension
during the war of 50,000 crowns a month, was secretly concluded.
Early in the spring the Duke was to take the field with at least 10,000
foot and 1200 horse, supported by a French army of 12,000 to 15,000 men
under the experienced Marshal de Lesdiguieres. These forces were to
operate against the Duchy of Milan with the intention of driving the
Spaniards out of that rich possession, which the Duke of Savoy claimed
for himself, and of assuring to Henry the dictatorship of Italy. With
the cordial alliance of Venice, and by playing off the mutual jealousies
of the petty Italian princes, like Florence, Mantua, Montserrat, and
others, against each other and against the Pope, it did not seem doubtful
to Sully that the result would be easily accomplished. He distinctly
urged the wish that the King should content himself with political
influence, with the splendid position of holding all Italy dependent upon
his will and guidance, but without annexing a particle of territory to
his own crown.
It was Henry's intention, however, to help himself to the Duchy of Savoy,
and to the magnificent city and port of Genoa as a reward to himself for
the assistance, matrimonial alliance, and aggrandizement which he was
about to bestow upon Charles Emmanuel. Sully strenuously opposed these
self-seeking views on the part of his sovereign, however, constantly
placing before him the far nobler aim of controlling the destinies of
Christendom, of curbing what tended to become omnipotent, of raising up
and protecting that which had been abased, of holding the balance of
empire with just and steady hand in preference to the more vulgar and
commonplace ambition of annexing a province or two to the realms of
It is true that these virtuous homilies, so often preached by him against
territorial aggrandizement in one direction, did not prevent him from
indulging in very extensive visions of it in another. But the dreams
pointed to the east rather than to the south. It was Sully's policy to
swallow a portion not of Italy but of Germany. He persuaded his master
that the possessory princes, if placed by the help of France in the
heritage which they claimed, would hardly be able to maintain themselves
against the dangers which surrounded them except by a direct dependence
upon France. In the end the position would become an impossible one,
and it would be easy after the war was over to indemnify Brandenburg with
money and with private property in the heart of France for example, and
obtain the cession of those most coveted provinces between the Meuse and
the Weser to the King. "What an advantage for France," whispered Sully,
"to unite to its power so important a part of Germany. For it cannot be
denied that by accepting the succour given by the King now those princes
oblige themselves to ask for help in the future in order to preserve
their new acquisition. Thus your Majesty will make them pay for it very
Thus the very virtuous self-denial in regard to the Duke of Savoy did not
prevent a secret but well developed ambition at the expense of the
Elector of Brandenburg. For after all it was well enough known that the
Elector was the really important and serious candidate. Henry knew full
well that Neuburg was depending on the Austrians and the Catholics, and
that the claims of Saxony were only put forward by the Emperor in order
to confuse the princes and excite mutual distrust.
The King's conferences with the great financier were most confidential,
and Sully was as secret as the grave. But Henry never could keep a
secret even when it concerned his most important interests, and nothing
would serve him but he must often babble of his great projects even to
their minutest details in presence of courtiers and counsellors whom in
his heart he knew to be devoted to Spain and in receipt of pensions from
her king. He would boast to them of the blows by which he meant to
demolish Spain and the whole house of Austria, so that there should be
no longer danger to be feared from that source to the tranquillity and
happiness of Europe, and he would do this so openly and in presence of
those who, as he knew, were perpetually setting traps for him and
endeavouring to discover his deepest secrets as to make Sully's hair
stand on end. The faithful minister would pluck his master by the cloak
at times, and the King, with the adroitness which never forsook him when
he chose to employ it, would contrive to extricate himself from a dilemma
and pause at the brink of tremendous disclosures.--[Memoires de Sully,
t. vii. p. 324.]--But Sully could not be always at his side, nor were
the Nuncius or Don Inigo de Cardenas or their confidential agents and
spies always absent. Enough was known of the general plan, while as to
the probability of its coming into immediate execution, perhaps the
enemies of the King were often not more puzzled than his friends.
But what the Spanish ambassador did not know, nor the Nuncius, nor even
the friendly Aerssens, was the vast amount of supplies which had been
prepared for the coming conflict by the finance minister. Henry did not
know it himself. "The war will turn on France as on a pivot," said
Sully; "it remains to be seen if we have supplies and money enough.
I will engage if the war is not to last more than three years and you
require no more than 40,000 men at a time that I will show you munitions
and ammunition and artillery and the like to such an extent that you will
say, 'It is enough.'
"As to money--"
"How much money have I got?" asked the King; "a dozen millions?"
"A little more than that," answered the Minister.
"Sixteen?" continued the King.
"More yet," said Sully.
And so the King went on adding two millions at each question until thirty
millions were reached, and when the question as to this sum was likewise
answered in the affirmative, he jumped from his chair, hugged his
minister around the neck, and kissed him on both cheeks.
"I want no more than that," he cried.
Sully answered by assuring him that he had prepared a report showing a
reserve of forty millions on which he might draw for his war expenses,
without in the least degree infringing on the regular budget for ordinary
The King was in a transport of delight, and would have been capable of
telling the story on the spot to the Nuncius had he met him that
afternoon, which fortunately did not occur.
But of all men in Europe after the faithful Sully, Henry most desired to
see and confer daily and secretly with Barneveld. He insisted vehemently
that, neglecting all other business, he should come forthwith to Paris at
the head of the special embassy which it had been agreed that the States
should send. No living statesman, he said, could compare to Holland's
Advocate in sagacity, insight, breadth of view, knowledge of mankind and
of great affairs, and none he knew was more sincerely attached to his
person or felt more keenly the value of the French alliance.
With him he indeed communicated almost daily through the medium of
Aerssens, who was in constant receipt of most elaborate instructions
from Barneveld, but he wished to confer with him face to face, so that
there would be no necessity of delay in sending back for instructions,
limitations, and explanation. No man knew better than the King did that
so far as foreign affairs were concerned the States-General were simply
On the 22nd January the States' ambassador had a long and secret
interview with the King.' He informed him that the Prince of Anhalt had
been assured by Barneveld that the possessory princes would be fully
supported in their position by the States, and that the special deputies
of Archduke Albert, whose presence at the Hague made Henry uneasy, as he
regarded them as perpetual spies, had been dismissed. Henry expressed
his gratification. They are there, he said, entirely in the interest of
Leopold, who has just received 500,000 crowns from the King of Spain, and
is to have that sum annually, and they are only sent to watch all your
proceedings in regard to Cleve.
The King then fervently pressed the Ambassador to urge Barneveld's coming
to Paris with the least possible delay. He signified his delight with
Barneveld's answer to Anhalt, who thus fortified would be able to do good
service at the assembly at Hall. He had expected nothing else from
Barneveld's sagacity, from his appreciation of the needs of Christendom,
and from his affection for himself. He told the Ambassador that he was
anxiously waiting for the Advocate in order to consult with him as to all
the details of the war. The affair of Cleve, he said, was too special a
cause. A more universal one was wanted. The King preferred to begin
with Luxemburg, attacking Charlemont or Namur, while the States ought at
the same time to besiege Venlo, with the intention afterwards of uniting
with the King in laying siege to Maestricht.
He was strong enough, he said, against all the world, but he still
preferred to invite all princes interested to join him in putting down
the ambitious and growing power of Spain. Cleve was a plausible pretext,
but the true cause, he said, should be found in the general safety of
Boississe had been sent to the German princes to ascertain whether and to
what extent they would assist the King. He supposed that once they found
him engaged in actual warfare in Luxemburg, they would get rid of their
jealousy and panic fears of him and his designs. He expected them to
furnish at least as large a force as he would supply as a contingent.
For it was understood that Anhalt as generalissimo of the German forces
would command a certain contingent of French troops, while the main army
of the King would be led by himself in person.
Henry expressed the conviction that the King of Spain would be taken by
surprise finding himself attacked in three places and by three armies at
once, he believing that the King of France was entirely devoted to his
pleasures and altogether too old for warlike pursuits, while the States,
just emerging from the misery of their long and cruel conflict, would be
surely unwilling to plunge headlong into a great and bloody war.
Henry inferred this, he said, from observing the rude and brutal manner
in which the soldiers in the Spanish Netherlands were now treated. It
seemed, he said, as if the Archdukes thought they had no further need of
them, or as if a stamp of the foot could raise new armies out of the
earth. "My design," continued the King, "is the more likely to succeed
as the King of Spain, being a mere gosling and a valet of the Duke of
Lerma, will find himself stripped of all his resources and at his wits'
end; unexpectedly embarrassed as he will be on the Italian side, where we
shall be threatening to cut the jugular vein of his pretended universal
He intimated that there was no great cause for anxiety in regard to the
Catholic League just formed at Wurzburg. He doubted whether the King of
Spain would join it, and he had learned that the Elector of Cologne was
making very little progress in obtaining the Emperor's adhesion. As to
this point the King had probably not yet thoroughly understood that the
Bavarian League was intended to keep clear of the House of Habsburg,
Maximilian not being willing to identify the success of German
Catholicism with the fortunes of that family.
Henry expressed the opinion that the King of Spain, that is to say, his
counsellors, meant to make use of the Emperor's name while securing all
the profit, and that Rudolph quite understood their game, while Matthias
was sure to make use of this opportunity, supported by the Protestants of
Bohemia, Austria, and Moravia, to strip the Emperor of the last shred of
The King was anxious that the States should send a special embassy at
once to the King of Great Britain. His ambassador, de la Boderie, gave
little encouragement of assistance from that quarter, but it was at least
desirable to secure his neutrality. "'Tis a prince too much devoted to
repose," said Henry, "to be likely to help in this war, but at least he
must not be allowed to traverse our great designs. He will probably
refuse the league offensive and defensive which I have proposed to him,
but he must be got, if possible, to pledge himself to the defensive. I
mean to assemble my army on the frontier, as if to move upon Julich, and
then suddenly sweep down on the Meuse, where, sustained by the States'
army and that of the princes, I will strike my blows and finish my
enterprise before our adversary has got wind of what is coming. We must
embark James in the enterprise if we can, but at any rate we must take
measures to prevent his spoiling it."
Henry assured the Envoy that no one would know anything of the great
undertaking but by its effect; that no one could possibly talk about it
with any knowledge except himself, Sully, Villeroy, Barneveld, and
Aerssens. With them alone he conferred confidentially, and he doubted
not that the States would embrace this opportunity to have done for ever
with the Spaniards. He should take the field in person, he said, and
with several powerful armies would sweep the enemy away from the Meuse,
and after obtaining control of that river would quietly take possession
of the sea-coast of Flanders, shut up Archduke Albert between the States
and the French, who would thus join hands and unite their frontiers.
Again the King expressed his anxiety for Barneveld's coming, and directed
the Ambassador to urge it, and to communicate to him the conversation
which had just taken place. He much preferred, he said, a general war.
He expressed doubts as to the Prince of Anhalt's capacity as chief in the
Cleve expedition, and confessed that being jealous of his own reputation
he did not like to commit his contingent of troops to the care of a
stranger and one so new to his trade. The shame would fall on himself,
not on Anhalt in case of any disaster. Therefore, to avoid all petty
jealousies and inconveniences of that nature by which the enterprise
might be ruined, it was best to make out of this small affair a great
one, and the King signified his hope that the Advocate would take this
view of the case and give him his support. He had plenty of grounds of
war himself, and the States had as good cause of hostilities in the
rupture of the truce by the usurpation attempted by Leopold with the
assistance of Spain and in the name of the Emperor. He hoped, he said,
that the States would receive no more deputations from Archduke Albert,
but decide to settle everything at the point of the sword. The moment
was propitious, and, if neglected, might never return. Marquis Spinola
was about to make a journey to Spain on various matters of business. On
his return, Henry said, he meant to make him prisoner as a hostage for
the Prince of Conde, whom the Archdukes were harbouring and detaining.
This would be the pretext, he said, but the object would be to deprive
the Archdukes of any military chief, and thus to throw them into utter
confusion. Count van den Berg would never submit to the authority of Don
Luis de Velasco, nor Velasco to his, and not a man could come from Spain
or Italy, for the passages would all be controlled by France.
Fortunately for the King's reputation, Spinola's journey was deferred,
so that this notable plan for disposing of the great captain fell to the
Henry agreed to leave the two French regiments and the two companies of
cavalry in the States' service as usual, but stipulated in certain
contingencies for their use.
Passing to another matter concerning which there had been so much
jealousy on the part of the States, the formation of the French East
India Company--to organize which undertaking Le Roy and Isaac Le Maire
of Amsterdam had been living disguised in the house of Henry's famous
companion, the financier Zamet at Paris--the King said that Barneveld
ought not to envy him a participation in the great profits of this
Nothing would be done without consulting him after his arrival in Paris.
He would discuss the matter privately with him, he said, knowing that
Barneveld was a great personage, but however obstinate he might be, he
felt sure that he would always yield to reason. On the other hand the
King expressed his willingness to submit to the Advocate's opinions if
they should seem the more just.
On leaving the King the Ambassador had an interview with Sully, who again
expressed his great anxiety for the arrival of Barneveld, and his hopes
that he might come with unlimited powers, so that the great secret might
not leak out through constant referring of matters back to the Provinces.
After rendering to the Advocate a detailed account of this remarkable
conversation, Aerssens concluded with an intimation that perhaps his own
opinion might be desired as to the meaning of all those movements
developing themselves so suddenly and on so many sides.
"I will say," he observed, "exactly what the poet sings of the army of
'Hi motus animorum atque haec certamina tanta
Pulveris exigui jactu contacts quiescunt.'
If the Prince of Conde comes back, we shall be more plausible than ever.
If he does not come back, perhaps the consideration of the future will
sweep us onwards. All have their special views, and M. de Villeroy more
warmly than all the rest."
Preface || 2: Chapter II (1609-10) >>