18: Chapter XVIII
<< 17: Chapter XVII || 19: Chapter XIX (1618-19) >>
The Advocate, having done what he believed to be his duty, and exhausted
himself in efforts to defend ancient law and to procure moderation and
mutual toleration in religion, was disposed to acquiesce in the
inevitable. His letters giving official and private information of
those grave events were neither vindictive nor vehement.
"I send you the last declaration of My Lords of Holland," he said to
Caron, "in regard to the National Synod, with the counter-declaration of
Dordtrecht and the other five cities. Yesterday was begun the debate
about cashiering the enrolled soldiers called Waartgelders. To-day the
late M. van Kereburg was buried."
Nothing could be calmer than his tone. After the Waartgelders had been
disbanded, Utrecht revolutionized by main force, the National Synod
decided upon, and the process of changing the municipal magistracies
everywhere in the interest of Contra-Remonstrants begun, he continued to
urge moderation and respect for law. Even now, although discouraged, he
was not despondent, and was disposed to make the best even of the Synod.
He wished at this supreme moment to have a personal interview with the
Prince in order to devise some means for calming the universal agitation
and effecting, if possible, a reconciliation among conflicting passions
and warring sects. He had stood at the side of Maurice and of Maurice's
great father in darker hours even than these. They had turned to him on
all trying and tragical occasions and had never found his courage
wavering or his judgment at fault. "Not a friend to the House of Nassau,
but a father," thus had Maurice with his own lips described the Advocate
to the widow of William the Silent. Incapable of an unpatriotic thought,
animated by sincere desire to avert evil and procure moderate action,
Barneveld saw no reason whatever why, despite all that had been said and
done, he should not once more hold council with the Prince. He had a
conversation accordingly with Count Lewis, who had always honoured the
Advocate while differing with him on the religious question. The
Stadholder of Friesland, one of the foremost men of his day in military
and scientific affairs, in administrative ability and philanthropic
instincts, and, in a family perhaps the most renowned in Europe for
heroic qualities and achievements, hardly second to any who had borne the
name, was in favour of the proposed interview, spoke immediately to
Prince Maurice about it, but was not hopeful as to its results. He knew
his cousin well and felt that he was at that moment resentful, perhaps
implacably so, against the whole Remonstrant party and especially against
their great leader.
Count Lewis was small of stature, but dignified, not to say pompous, in
demeanour. His style of writing to one of lower social rank than himself
was lofty, almost regal, and full of old world formality.
Noble, severe, right worshipful, highly learned and discreet, special
good friend," he wrote to Barneveld; "we have spoken to his Excellency
concerning the expediency of what you requested of us this forenoon.
We find however that his Excellency is not to be moved to entertain any
other measure than the National Synod which he has himself proposed in
person to all the provinces, to the furtherance of which he has made so
many exertions, and which has already been announced by the States-
"We will see by what opportunity his Excellency will appoint the
interview, and so far as lies in us you may rely on our good offices.
We could not answer sooner as the French ambassadors had audience of us
this forenoon and we were visiting his Excellency in the afternoon.
Wishing your worship good evening, we are your very good friend."
Next day Count William wrote again. "We have taken occasion," he said,
"to inform his Excellency that you were inclined to enter into
communication with him in regard to an accommodation of the religious
difficulties and to the cashiering of the Waartgelders. He answered that
he could accept no change in the matter of the National Synod, but
nevertheless would be at your disposal whenever your worship should be
pleased to come to him."
Two days afterwards Barneveld made his appearance at the apartments of
the Stadholder. The two great men on whom the fabric of the Republic had
so long rested stood face to face once more.
The Advocate, with long grey beard and stern blue eye, haggard with
illness and anxiety, tall but bent with age, leaning on his staff and
wrapped in black velvet cloak--an imposing magisterial figure; the
florid, plethoric Prince in brown doublet, big russet boots, narrow ruff,
and shabby felt hat with its string of diamonds, with hand clutched on
swordhilt, and eyes full of angry menace, the very type of the high-born,
imperious soldier--thus they surveyed each other as men, once friends,
between whom a gulf had opened.
Barneveld sought to convince the Prince that in the proceedings at
Utrecht, founded as they were on strict adherence to the laws and
traditions of the Provinces, no disrespect had been intended to him, no
invasion of his constitutional rights, and that on his part his lifelong
devotion to the House of Nassau had suffered no change. He repeated his
usual incontrovertible arguments against the Synod, as illegal and
directly tending to subject the magistracy to the priesthood, a course of
things which eight-and-twenty years before had nearly brought destruction
on the country and led both the Prince and himself to captivity in a
The Prince sternly replied in very few words that the National Synod was
a settled matter, that he would never draw back from his position, and
could not do so without singular disservice to the country and to his own
disreputation. He expressed his displeasure at the particular oath
exacted from the Waartgelders. It diminished his lawful authority and
the respect due to him, and might be used per indirectum to the
oppression of those of the religion which he had sworn to maintain. His
brow grew black when he spoke of the proceedings at Utrecht, which he
denounced as a conspiracy against his own person and the constitution of
Barneveld used in vain the powers of argument by which he had guided
kings and republics, cabinets and assemblies, during so many years. His
eloquence fell powerless upon the iron taciturnity of the Stadholder.
Maurice had expressed his determination and had no other argument to
sustain it but his usual exasperating silence.
The interview ended as hopelessly as Count Lewis William had anticipated,
and the Prince and the Advocate separated to meet no more on earth.
"You have doubtless heard already," wrote Barneveld to the ambassador in
London, "of all that has been passing here and in Utrecht. One must pray
to God that everything may prosper to his honour and the welfare of the
country. They are resolved to go through with the National Synod, the
government of Utrecht after the change made in it having consented with
the rest. I hope that his Majesty, according to your statement, will
send some good, learned, and peace-loving personages here, giving them
wholesome instructions to help bring our affairs into Christian unity,
accommodation, and love, by which his Majesty and these Provinces would
be best served."
Were these the words of a baffled conspirator and traitor? Were they
uttered to produce an effect upon public opinion and avert a merited
condemnation by all good men? There is not in them a syllable of
reproach, of anger, of despair. And let it be remembered that they were
not written for the public at all. They were never known to the public,
hardly heard of either by the Advocate's enemies or friends, save the one
to whom they were addressed and the monarch to whom that friend was
accredited. They were not contained in official despatches, but in
private, confidential outpourings to a trusted political and personal
associate of many years. From the day they were written until this hour
they have never been printed, and for centuries perhaps not read.
He proceeded to explain what he considered to be the law in the
Netherlands with regard to military allegiance. It is not probable that
there was in the country a more competent expounder of it; and defective
and even absurd as such a system was, it had carried the Provinces
successfully through a great war, and a better method for changing it
might have been found among so law-loving and conservative a people as
the Netherlanders than brute force.
"Information has apparently been sent to England," he said, "that My
Lords of Holland through their commissioners in Utrecht dictated to the
soldiery standing at their charges something that was unreasonable. The
truth is that the States of Holland, as many of them as were assembled,
understanding that great haste was made to send his Excellency and some
deputies from the other provinces to Utrecht, while the members of the
Utrecht assembly were gone to report these difficulties to their
constituents and get fresh instructions from them, wishing that the
return of those members should be waited for and that the Assembly of
Holland might also be complete--a request which was refused--sent a
committee to Utrecht, as the matter brooked no delay, to give information
to the States of that province of what was passing here and to offer
their good offices.
"They sent letters also to his Excellency to move him to reasonable
accommodation without taking extreme measures in opposition to those
resolutions of the States of Utrecht which his Excellency had promised to
conform with and to cause to be maintained by all officers and soldiers.
Should his Excellency make difficulty in this, the commissioners
were instructed to declare to him that they were ordered to warn the
colonels and captains standing in the payment of Holland, by letter and
word of mouth, that they were bound by oath to obey the States of Holland
as their paymasters and likewise to carry out the orders of the
provincial and municipal magistrates in the places where they were
employed. The soldiery was not to act or permit anything to be done
against those resolutions, but help to carry them out, his Excellency
himself and the troops paid by the States of Holland being indisputably
bound by oath and duty so to do."
Doubtless a more convenient arrangement from a military point of view
might be imagined than a system of quotas by which each province in a
confederacy claimed allegiance and exacted obedience from the troops paid
by itself in what was after all a general army. Still this was the
logical and inevitable result of State rights pushed to the extreme and
indeed had been the indisputable theory and practice in the Netherlands
ever since their revolt from Spain. To pretend that the proceedings and
the oath were new because they were embarrassing was absurd. It was only
because the dominant party saw the extreme inconvenience of the system,
now that it was turned against itself, that individuals contemptuous of
law and ignorant of history denounced it as a novelty.
But the strong and beneficent principle that lay at the bottom of the
Advocate's conduct was his unflagging resolve to maintain the civil
authority over the military in time of peace. What liberal or healthy
government would be possible otherwise? Exactly as he opposed the
subjection of the magistracy by the priesthood or the mob, so he now
defended it against the power of the sword. There was no justification
whatever for a claim on the part of Maurice to exact obedience from all
the armies of the Republic, especially in time of peace. He was himself
by oath sworn to obey the States of Holland, of Utrecht, and of the three
other provinces of which he was governor. He was not commander-in-chief.
In two of the seven provinces he had no functions whatever, military or
civil. They had another governor.
Yet the exposition of the law, as it stood, by the Advocate and his claim
that both troops and Stadholder should be held to their oaths was
accounted a crime. He had invented a new oath--it was said--and sought
to diminish the power of the Prince. These were charges, unjust as they
were, which might one day be used with deadly effect.
"We live in a world where everything is interpreted to the worst," he
said. "My physical weakness continues and is increased by this
affliction. I place my trust in God the Lord and in my upright and
conscientious determination to serve the country, his Excellency, and the
religion in which through God's grace I hope to continue to the end."
On the 28th August of a warm afternoon, Barneveld was seated on a
porcelain seat in an arbor in his garden. Councillor Berkhout,
accompanied by a friend, called to see him, and after a brief
conversation gave him solemn warning that danger was impending,
that there was even a rumour of an intention to arrest him.
The Advocate answered gravely, "Yes, there are wicked men about."
Presently he lifted his hat courteously and said, "I thank you,
gentlemen, for the warning."
It seems scarcely to have occurred to him that he had been engaged in
anything beyond a constitutional party struggle in which he had defended
what in his view was the side of law and order. He never dreamt of
seeking safety in flight. Some weeks before, he had been warmly advised
to do as both he and Maurice had done in former times in order to escape
the stratagems of Leicester, to take refuge in some strong city devoted
to his interests rather than remain at the Hague. But he had declined
the counsel. "I will await the issue of this business," he said, "in the
Hague, where my home is, and where I have faithfully served my masters.
I had rather for the sake of the Fatherland suffer what God chooses to
send me for having served well than that through me and on my account any
city should fall into trouble and difficulties."
Next morning, Wednesday, at seven o'clock, Uytenbogaert paid him a visit.
He wished to consult him concerning a certain statement in regard to the
Synod which he desired him to lay before the States of Holland. The
preacher did not find his friend busily occupied at his desk, as usual,
with writing and other work. The Advocate had pushed his chair away from
the table encumbered with books and papers, and sat with his back leaning
against it, lost in thought. His stern, stoical face was like that of a
lion at bay.
Uytenbogaert tried to arouse him from his gloom, consoling him by
reflections on the innumerable instances, in all countries and ages,
of patriotic statesmen who for faithful service had reaped nothing but
Soon afterwards he took his leave, feeling a presentiment of evil within
him which it was impossible for him to shake off as he pressed
Barneveld's hand at parting.
Two hours later, the Advocate went in his coach to the session of the
States of Holland. The place of the Assembly as well as that of the
States-General was within what was called the Binnenhof or Inner Court;
the large quadrangle enclosing the ancient hall once the residence of the
sovereign Counts of Holland. The apartments of the Stadholder composed
the south-western portion of the large series of buildings surrounding
this court. Passing by these lodgings on his way to the Assembly, he was
accosted by a chamberlain of the Prince and informed that his Highness
desired to speak with him. He followed him towards the room where such
interviews were usually held, but in the antechamber was met by
Lieutenant Nythof, of the Prince's bodyguard. This officer told him
that he had been ordered to arrest him in the name of the States-General.
The Advocate demanded an interview with the Prince. It was absolutely
refused. Physical resistance on the part of a man of seventy-two,
stooping with age and leaning on a staff, to military force, of which
Nythof was the representative, was impossible. Barneveld put a cheerful
face on the matter, and was even inclined to converse. He was at once
carried off a prisoner and locked up in a room belonging to Maurice's
Soon afterwards, Grotius on his way to the States-General was invited in
precisely the same manner to go to the Prince, with whom, as he was
informed, the Advocate was at that moment conferring. As soon as he had
ascended the stairs however, he was arrested by Captain van der Meulen in
the name of the States-General, and taken to a chamber in the same
apartments, where he was guarded by two halberdmen. In the evening he
was removed to another chamber where the window shutters were barred, and
where he remained three days and nights. He was much cast down and
silent. Pensionary Hoogerbeets was made prisoner in precisely the same
manner. Thus the three statesmen--culprits as they were considered by
their enemies--were secured without noise or disturbance, each without
knowing the fate that had befallen the other. Nothing could have been
more neatly done. In the same quiet way orders were sent to secure
Secretary Ledenberg, who had returned to Utrecht, and who now after a
short confinement in that city was brought to the Hague and imprisoned in
At the very moment of the Advocate's arrest his son-in-law van der Myle
happened to be paying a visit to Sir Dudley Carleton, who had arrived
very late the night before from England. It was some hours before he or
any other member of the family learned what had befallen.
The Ambassador reported to his sovereign that the deed was highly
applauded by the well disposed as the only means left for the security
of the state. "The Arminians," he said, "condemn it as violent and
insufferable in a free republic."
Impartial persons, he thought, considered it a superfluous proceeding now
that the Synod had been voted and the Waartgelders disbanded.
While he was writing his despatch, the Stadholder came to call upon him,
attended by his cousin Count Lewis William. The crowd of citizens
following at a little distance, excited by the news with which the city
was now ringing, mingled with Maurice's gentlemen and bodyguards and
surged up almost into the Ambassador's doors.
Carleton informed his guests, in the course of conversation, as to the
general opinion of indifferent judges of these events. Maurice replied
that he had disbanded the Waartgelders, but it had now become necessary
to deal with their colonel and the chief captains, meaning thereby
Barneveld and the two other prisoners.
The news of this arrest was soon carried to the house of Barneveld, and
filled his aged wife, his son, and sons-in-law with grief and
indignation. His eldest son William, commonly called the Seignior van
Groeneveld, accompanied by his two brothers-in-law, Veenhuyzen, President
of the Upper Council, and van der Myle, obtained an interview with the
Stadholder that same afternoon.
They earnestly requested that the Advocate, in consideration of his
advanced age, might on giving proper bail be kept prisoner in his own
The Prince received them at first with courtesy. "It is the work of the
States-General," he said, " no harm shall come to your father any more
than to myself."
Veenhuyzen sought to excuse the opposition which the Advocate had made to
the Cloister Church.
The word was scarcely out of his mouth when the Prince fiercely
interrupted him--"Any man who says a word against the Cloister Church,"
he cried in a rage, "his feet shall not carry him from this place."
The interview gave them on the whole but little satisfaction. Very soon
afterwards two gentlemen, Asperen and Schagen, belonging to the Chamber
of Nobles, and great adherents of Barneveld, who had procured their
enrolment in that branch, forced their way into the Stadholder's
apartments and penetrated to the door of the room where the Advocate was
imprisoned. According to Carleton they were filled with wine as well as
rage, and made a great disturbance, loudly demanding their patron's
liberation. Maurice came out of his own cabinet on hearing the noise in
the corridor, and ordered them to be disarmed and placed under arrest.
In the evening however they were released.
Soon afterwards van der Myle fled to Paris, where he endeavoured to make
influence with the government in favour of the Advocate. His departure
without leave, being, as he was, a member of the Chamber of Nobles and of
the council of state, was accounted a great offence. Uytenbogaert also
made his escape, as did Taurinus, author of The Balance, van Moersbergen
of Utrecht, and many others more or less implicated in these commotions.
There was profound silence in the States of Holland when the arrest of
Barneveld was announced. The majority sat like men distraught. At last
Matenesse said, "You have taken from us our head, our tongue, and our
hand, henceforth we can only sit still and look on."
The States-General now took the responsibility of the arrest, which eight
individuals calling themselves the States-General had authorized by
secret resolution the day before (28th August). On the 29th accordingly,
the following "Billet," as it was entitled, was read to the Assembly and
ordered to be printed and circulated among the community. It was without
date or signature.
"Whereas in the course of the changes within the city of Utrecht and in
other places brought about by the high and mighty Lords the States-
General of the United Netherlands, through his Excellency and their
Lordships' committee to him adjoined, sundry things have been discovered
of which previously there had been great suspicion, tending to the great
prejudice of the Provinces in general and of each province in particular,
not without apparent danger to the state of the country, and that thereby
not only the city of Utrecht, but various other cities of the United
Provinces would have fallen into a blood bath; and whereas the chief
ringleaders in these things are considered to be John van Barneveld,
Advocate of Holland, Rombout Hoogerbeets, and Hugo Grotius, whereof
hereafter shall declaration and announcement be made, therefore their
High Mightinesses, in order to prevent these and similar inconveniences,
to place the country in security, and to bring the good burghers of all
the cities into friendly unity again, have resolved to arrest those three
persons, in order that out of their imprisonment they may be held to
answer duly for their actions and offences."
The deputies of Holland in the States-General protested on the same day
against the arrest, declaring themselves extraordinarily amazed at such
proceedings, without their knowledge, with usurpation of their
jurisdiction, and that they should refer to their principals for
instructions in the matter.
They reported accordingly at once to the States of Holland in session in
the same building. Soon afterwards however a committee of five from the
States-General appeared before the Assembly to justify the proceeding.
On their departure there arose a great debate, the six cities of course
taking part with Maurice and the general government. It was finally
resolved by the majority to send a committee to the Stadholder to
remonstrate with, and by the six opposition cities another committee
to congratulate him, on his recent performances.
His answer was to this effect:
"What had happened was not by his order, but had been done by the States-
General, who must be supposed not to have acted without good cause.
Touching the laws and jurisdiction of Holland he would not himself
dispute, but the States of Holland would know how to settle that matter
with the States-General."
Next day it was resolved in the Holland assembly to let the affair remain
as it was for the time being. Rapid changes were soon to be expected in
that body, hitherto so staunch for the cause of municipal laws and State
Meantime Barneveld sat closely guarded in the apartments of the
Stadholder, while the country and very soon all Europe were ringing with
the news of his downfall, imprisonment, and disgrace. The news was a
thunder-bolt to the lovers of religious liberty, a ray of dazzling
sunlight after a storm to the orthodox.
The showers of pamphlets, villanous lampoons, and libels began afresh.
The relatives of the fallen statesman could not appear in the streets
without being exposed to insult, and without hearing scurrilous and
obscene verses against their father and themselves, in which neither sex
nor age was spared, howled in their ears by all the ballad-mongers and
broadsheet vendors of the town. The unsigned publication of the States-
General, with its dark allusions to horrible discoveries and promised
revelations which were never made, but which reduced themselves at last
to the gibberish of a pot-house bully, the ingenious libels, the
powerfully concocted and poisonous calumnies, caricatures, and lampoons,
had done their work. People stared at each other in the streets with
open mouths as they heard how the Advocate had for years and years been
the hireling of Spain, whose government had bribed him largely to bring
about the Truce and kill the West India Company; how his pockets and his
coffers were running over with Spanish ducats; how his plot to sell the
whole country to the ancient tyrant, drive the Prince of Orange into
exile, and bring every city of the Netherlands into a "blood-bath," had,
just in time, been discovered.
And the people believed it and hated the man they had so lately honoured,
and were ready to tear him to pieces in the streets. Men feared to
defend him lest they too should be accused of being stipendiaries of
Spain. It was a piteous spectacle; not for the venerable statesman
sitting alone there in his prison, but for the Republic in its lunacy,
for human nature in its meanness and shame. He whom Count Lewis,
although opposed to his politics, had so lately called one of the two
columns on which the whole fabric of the States reposed, Prince Maurice
being the other, now lay prostrate in the dust and reviled of all men.
"Many who had been promoted by him to high places," said a contemporary,
"and were wont to worship him as a god, in hope that he would lift them
up still higher, now deserted him, and ridiculed him, and joined the rest
of the world in heaping dirt upon him."
On the third day of his imprisonment the Advocate wrote this letter to
"My very dear wife, children, children-in-law, and grandchildren,--I know
that you are sorrowful for the troubles which have come upon me, but I
beg you to seek consolation from God the Almighty and to comfort each
other. I know before the Lord God of having given no single lawful
reason for the misfortunes which have come upon me, and I will with
patience await from His Divine hand and from my lawful superiors a happy
issue, knowing well that you and my other well-wishers will with your
prayers and good offices do all that you can to that end.
"And so, very dear wife, children, children-in-law, and grandchildren, I
commend you to God's holy keeping.
"I have been thus far well and honourably treated and accommodated, for
which I thank his princely Excellency.
"From my chamber of arrest, last of August, anno 1618.
"Your dear husband, father, father-in-law, and grand father,
"JOHN OF BARNEVELD."
On the margin was written:
"From the first I have requested and have at last obtained materials for
A fortnight before the arrest, but while great troubles were known to
be impending, the French ambassador extraordinary, de Boississe, had
audience before the Assembly of the States-General. He entreated them to
maintain the cause of unity and peace as the foundation of their state;
"that state," he said, "which lifts its head so high that it equals or
surpasses the mightiest republics that ever existed, and which could not
have risen to such a height of honour and grandeur in so short a time,
but through harmony and union of all the provinces, through the valour of
his Excellency, and through your own wise counsels, both sustained by our
great king, whose aid is continued by his son."--"The King my master," he
continued, "knows not the cause of your disturbances. You have not
communicated them to him, but their most apparent cause is a difference
of opinion, born in the schools, thence brought before the public, upon a
point of theology. That point has long been deemed by many to be so hard
and so high that the best advice to give about it is to follow what God's
Word teaches touching God's secrets; to wit, that one should use
moderation and modesty therein and should not rashly press too far into
that which he wishes to be covered with the veil of reverence and wonder.
That is a wise ignorance to keep one's eyes from that which God chooses
to conceal. He calls us not to eternal life through subtle and
And further exhorting them to conciliation and compromise, he enlarged
on the effect of their internal dissensions on their exterior relations.
"What joy, what rapture you are preparing for your neighbours by your
quarrels! How they will scorn you! How they will laugh! What a hope
do you give them of revenging themselves upon you without danger to
themselves! Let me implore you to baffle their malice, to turn their
joy into mourning, to unite yourselves to confound them."
He spoke much more in the same vein, expressing wise and moderate
sentiments. He might as well have gone down to the neighbouring beach
when a south-west gale was blowing and talked of moderation to the waves
of the German Ocean. The tempest of passion and prejudice had risen in
its might and was sweeping all before it. Yet the speech, like other
speeches and intercessions made at this epoch by de Boississe and by the
regular French ambassador, du Maurier, was statesmanlike and reasonable.
It is superfluous to say that it was in unison with the opinions of
Barneveld, for Barneveld had probably furnished the text of the oration.
Even as he had a few years before supplied the letters which King James
had signed and subsequently had struggled so desperately to disavow, so
now the Advocate's imperious intellect had swayed the docile and amiable
minds of the royal envoys into complete sympathy with his policy. He
usually dictated their general instructions. But an end had come to such
triumphs. Dudley Carleton had returned from his leave of absence in
England, where he had found his sovereign hating the Advocate as doctors
hate who have been worsted in theological arguments and despots who have
been baffled in their imperious designs. Who shall measure the influence
on the destiny of this statesman caused by the French-Spanish marriages,
the sermons of James through the mouth of Carleton, and the mutual
jealousy of France and England?
But the Advocate was in prison, and the earth seemed to have closed over
him. Hardly a ripple of indignation was perceptible on the calm surface
of affairs, although in the States-General as in the States of Holland
his absence seemed to have reduced both bodies to paralysis.
They were the more easily handled by the prudent, skilful, and determined
The arrest of the four gentlemen had been communicated to the kings of
France and Great Britain and the Elector-Palatine in an identical letter
from the States-General. It is noticeable that on this occasion the
central government spoke of giving orders to the Prince of Orange, over
whom they would seem to have had no legitimate authority, while on the
other hand he had expressed indignation on more than one occasion that
the respective states of the five provinces where he was governor and to
whom he had sworn obedience should presume to issue commands to him.
In France, where the Advocate was honoured and beloved, the intelligence
excited profound sorrow. A few weeks previously the government of that
country had, as we have seen, sent a special ambassador to the States,
M. de Boississe, to aid the resident envoy, du Maurier, in his efforts to
bring about a reconciliation of parties and a termination of the
religious feud. Their exertions were sincere and unceasing. They
were as steadily countermined by Francis Aerssens, for the aim of that
diplomatist was to bring about a state of bad feeling, even at cost of
rupture, between the Republic and France, because France was friendly
to the man he most hated and whose ruin he had sworn.
During the summer a bitter personal controversy had been going on,
sufficiently vulgar in tone, between Aerssens and another diplomatist,
Barneveld's son-in-law, Cornelis van der Myle. It related to the recall
of Aerssens from the French embassy of which enough has already been laid
before the reader. Van der Myle by the production of the secret letters
of the Queen-Dowager and her counsellors had proved beyond dispute that
it was at the express wish of the French government that the Ambassador
had retired, and that indeed they had distinctly refused to receive him,
should he return. Foul words resulting in propositions for a hostile
meeting on the frontier, which however came to nothing, were interchanged
and Aerssens in the course of his altercation with the son-inlaw had
found ample opportunity for venting his spleen upon his former patron the
now fallen statesman.
Four days after the arrest of Barneveld he brought the whole matter
before the States-General, and the intention with which he thus raked up
the old quarrel with France after the death of Henry, and his charges in
regard to the Spanish marriages, was as obvious as it was deliberate.
The French ambassadors were furious. Boississe had arrived not simply
as friend of the Advocate, but to assure the States of the strong desire
entertained by the French government to cultivate warmest relations with
them. It had been desired by the Contra-Remonstrant party that deputies
from the Protestant churches of France should participate in the Synod,
and the French king had been much assailed by the Catholic powers for
listening to those suggestions. The Papal nuncius, the Spanish
ambassador, the envoy of the Archduke, had made a great disturbance at
court concerning the mission of Boississe. They urged with earnestness
that his Majesty was acting against the sentiments of Spain, Rome, and
the whole Catholic Church, and that he ought not to assist with his
counsel those heretics who were quarrelling among themselves over points
in their heretical religion and wishing to destroy each other.
Notwithstanding this outcry the weather was smooth enough until the
proceedings of Aerssens came to stir up a tempest at the French court.
A special courier came from Boississe, a meeting of the whole council,
although it was Sunday, was instantly called, and the reply of the
States-General to the remonstrance of the Ambassador in the Aerssens
affair was pronounced to be so great an affront to the King that, but for
overpowering reasons, diplomatic intercourse would have at once been
suspended. "Now instead of friendship there is great anger here," said
Langerac. The king forbade under vigorous penalties the departure of any
French theologians to take part in the Synod, although the royal consent
had nearly been given. The government complained that no justice was
done in the Netherlands to the French nation, that leading personages
there openly expressed contempt for the French alliance, denouncing the
country as "Hispaniolized," and declaring that all the council were
regularly pensioned by Spain for the express purpose of keeping up the
civil dissensions in the United Provinces.
Aerssens had publicly and officially declared that a majority of the
French council since the death of Henry had declared the crown in its
temporal as well as spiritual essence to be dependent on the Pope, and
that the Spanish marriages had been made under express condition of the
renunciation of the friendship and alliance of the States.
Such were among the first-fruits of the fall of Barneveld and the triumph
of Aerssens, for it was he in reality who had won the victory, and he had
gained it over both Stadholder and Advocate. Who was to profit by the
estrangement between the Republic and its powerful ally at a moment too
when that great kingdom was at last beginning to emerge from the darkness
and nothingness of many years, with the faint glimmering dawn of a new
Barneveld, whose masterful statesmanship, following out the traditions of
William the Silent, had ever maintained through good and ill report
cordial and beneficent relations between the two countries, had always
comprehended, even as a great cardinal-minister was ere long to teach the
world, that the permanent identification of France with Spain and the
Roman League was unnatural and impossible.
Meantime Barneveld sat in his solitary prison, knowing not what was
passing on that great stage where he had so long been the chief actor,
while small intriguers now attempted to control events.
It was the intention of Aerssens to return to the embassy in Paris whence
he had been driven, in his own opinion, so unjustly. To render himself
indispensable, he had begun by making himself provisionally formidable to
the King's government. Later, there would be other deeds to do before
the prize was within his grasp.
Thus the very moment when France was disposed to cultivate the most
earnest friendship with the Republic had been seized for fastening an
insult upon her. The Twelve Years' Truce with Spain was running to its
close, the relations between France and Spain were unusually cold, and
her friendship therefore more valuable than ever.
On the other hand the British king was drawing closer his relations with
Spain, and his alliance was demonstrably of small account. The phantom
of the Spanish bride had become more real to his excited vision than
ever, so that early in the year, in order to please Gondemar, he had been
willing to offer an affront to the French ambassador.
The Prince of Wales had given a splendid masquerade at court, to which
the envoy of his Most Catholic Majesty was bidden. Much to his amazement
the representative of the Most Christian King received no invitation,
notwithstanding that he had taken great pains to procure one. M. de
la Boderie was very angry, and went about complaining to the States'
ambassador and his other colleagues of the slight, and darkened the
lives of the court functionaries having charge of such matters with his
vengeance and despair. It was represented to him that he had himself
been asked to a festival the year before when Count Gondemar was left
out. It was hinted to him that the King had good reasons for what he
did, as the marriage with the daughter of Spain was now in train, and it
was desirable that the Spanish ambassador should be able to observe the
Prince's disposition and make a more correct report of it to his
government. It was in vain. M. de la Boderie refused to be comforted,
and asserted that one had no right to leave the French ambassador
uninvited to any "festival or triumph" at court. There was an endless
disturbance. De la Boderie sent his secretary off to Paris to complain
to the King that his ambassador was of no account in London, while much
favour was heaped upon the Spaniard. The Secretary returned with
instructions from Lewis that the Ambassador was to come home immediately,
and he went off accordingly in dudgeon. "I could see that he was in the
highest degree indignant," said Caron, who saw him before he left, "and I
doubt not that his departure will increase and keep up the former
jealousy between the governments."
The ill-humor created by this event lasted a long time, serving to
neutralize or at least perceptibly diminish the Spanish influence
produced in France by the Spanish marriages. In the autumn, Secretary de
Puysieux by command of the King ordered every Spaniard to leave the
French court. All the "Spanish ladies and gentlemen, great and small,"
who had accompanied the Queen from Madrid were included in this expulsion
with the exception of four individuals, her Majesty's father confessor,
physician, apothecary, and cook.
The fair young queen was much vexed and shed bitter tears at this
calamity, which, as she spoke nothing but Spanish, left her isolated at
the court, but she was a little consoled by the promise that thenceforth
the King would share her couch. It had not yet occurred to him that he
The French envoys at the Hague exhausted themselves in efforts, both
private and public, in favour of the prisoners, but it was a thankless
task. Now that the great man and his chief pupils and adherents were out
of sight, a war of shameless calumny was began upon him, such as has
scarcely a parallel in political history.
It was as if a whole tribe of noxious and obscene reptiles were swarming
out of the earth which had suddenly swallowed him. But it was not alone
the obscure or the anonymous who now triumphantly vilified him. Men in
high places who had partaken of his patronage, who had caressed him and
grovelled before him, who had grown great through his tuition and rich
through his bounty, now rejoiced in his ruin or hastened at least to save
themselves from being involved in it. Not a man of them all but fell
away from him like water. Even the great soldier forgot whose respectful
but powerful hand it was which, at the most tragical moment, had lifted
him from the high school at Leyden into the post of greatest power and
responsibility, and had guided his first faltering footsteps by the light
of his genius and experience. Francis Aerssens, master of the field, had
now become the political tutor of the mature Stadholder. Step by step we
have been studying the inmost thoughts of the Advocate as revealed in his
secret and confidential correspondence, and the reader has been enabled
to judge of the wantonness of the calumny which converted the determined
antagonist into the secret friend of Spain. Yet it had produced its
effect upon Maurice.
He told the French ambassadors a month after the arrest that Barneveld
had been endeavouring, during and since the Truce negotiations, to bring
back the Provinces, especially Holland, if not under the dominion of, at
least under some kind of vassalage to Spain. Persons had been feeling
the public pulse as to the possibility of securing permanent peace by
paying tribute to Spain, and this secret plan of Barneveld had so
alienated him from the Prince as to cause him to attempt every possible
means of diminishing or destroying altogether his authority. He had
spread through many cities that Maurice wished to make himself master
of the state by using the religious dissensions to keep the people
weakened and divided.
There is not a particle of evidence, and no attempt was ever made to
produce any, that the Advocate had such plan, but certainly, if ever, man
had made himself master of a state, that man was Maurice. He continued
however to place himself before the world as the servant of the States-
General, which he never was, either theoretically or in fact.
The French ambassadors became every day more indignant and more
discouraged. It was obvious that Aerssens, their avowed enemy, was
controlling the public policy of the government. Not only was there no
satisfaction to be had for the offensive manner in which he had filled
the country with his ancient grievances and his nearly forgotten charges
against the Queen-Dowager and those who had assisted her in the regency,
but they were repulsed at every turn when by order of their sovereign
they attempted to use his good offices in favour of the man who had ever
been the steady friend of France.
The Stadholder also professed friendship for that country, and referred
to Colonel-General Chatillon, who had for a long time commanded the
French regiments in the Netherlands, for confirmation of his uniform
affection for those troops and attachment to their sovereign.
He would do wonders, he said, if Lewis would declare war upon Spain by
land and sea.
"Such fruits are not ripe," said Boississe, "nor has your love for France
been very manifest in recent events."
"Barneveld," replied the Prince, "has personally offended me, and has
boasted that he would drive me out of the country like Leicester. He is
accused of having wished to trouble the country in order to bring it back
under the yoke of Spain. Justice will decide. The States only are
sovereign to judge this question. You must address yourself to them."
"The States," replied the ambassadors, "will require to be aided by your
The Prince made no reply and remained chill and "impregnable." The
ambassadors continued their intercessions in behalf of the prisoners
both by public address to the Assembly and by private appeals to the
Stadholder and his influential friends. In virtue of the intimate
alliance and mutual guarantees existing between their government and the
Republic they claimed the acceptance of their good offices. They
insisted upon a regular trial of the prisoners according to the laws of
the land, that is to say, by the high court of Holland, which alone had
jurisdiction in the premises. If they had been guilty of high-treason,
they should be duly arraigned. In the name of the signal services of
Barneveld and of the constant friendship of that great magistrate for
France, the King demanded clemency or proof of his crimes. His Majesty
complained through his ambassadors of the little respect shown for his
counsels and for his friendship. "In times past you found ever prompt
and favourable action in your time of need."
"This discourse," said Maurice to Chatillon, "proceeds from evil
Thus the prisoners had disappeared from human sight, and their enemies
ran riot in slandering them. Yet thus far no public charges had been
"Nothing appears against them," said du Maurier, "and people are
beginning to open their mouths with incredible freedom. While waiting
for the condemnation of the prisoners, one is determined to dishonour
The French ambassadors were instructed to intercede to the last, but they
were steadily repulsed--while the King of Great Britain, anxious to gain
favour with Spain by aiding in the ruin of one whom he knew and Spain
knew to be her determined foe, did all he could through his ambassador to
frustrate their efforts and bring on a catastrophe. The States-General
and Maurice were now on as confidential terms with Carleton as they were
cold and repellent to Boississe and du Maurier.
"To recall to them the benefits of the King," said du Maurier, "is to
beat the air. And then Aerssens bewitches them, and they imagine that
after having played runaway horses his Majesty will be only too happy to
receive them back, caress them, and, in order to have their friendship,
approve everything they have been doing right or wrong."
Aerssens had it all his own way, and the States-General had just paid him
12,000 francs in cash on the ground that Langerac's salary was larger
than his had been when at the head of the same embassy many years before.
His elevation into the body of nobles, which Maurice had just stocked
with five other of his partisans, was accounted an additional affront
to France, while on the other hand the Queen-Mother, having through
Epernon's assistance made her escape from Blois, where she had been
kept in durance since the death of Concini, now enumerated among other
grievances for which she was willing to take up arms against her son
that the King's government had favoured Barneveld.
It was strange that all the devotees of Spain--Mary de' Medici, and
Epernon, as well as James I. and his courtiers--should be thus embittered
against the man who had sold the Netherlands to Spain.
At last the Prince told the French ambassadors that the "people of the
Provinces considered their persistent intercessions an invasion of their
sovereignty." Few would have anything to say to them. "No one listens
to us, no one replies to us," said du Maurier, "everyone visiting us is
observed, and it is conceived a reproach here to speak to the ambassadors
Certainly the days were changed since Henry IV. leaned on the arm of
Barneveld, and consulted with him, and with him only, among all the
statesmen of Europe on his great schemes for regenerating Christendom
and averting that general war which, now that the great king had been
murdered and the Advocate imprisoned, had already begun to ravage Europe.
Van der Myle had gone to Paris to make such exertions as he could among
the leading members of the council in favour of his father-in-law.
Langerac, the States' ambassador there, who but yesterday had been
turning at every moment to the Advocate for light and warmth as to the
sun, now hastened to disavow all respect or regard for him. He scoffed
at the slender sympathy van der Myle was finding in the bleak political
atmosphere. He had done his best to find out what he had been
negotiating with the members of the council and was glad to say that it
was so inconsiderable as to be not worth reporting. He had not spoken
with or seen the King. Jeannin, his own and his father-in-law's
principal and most confidential friend, had only spoken with him half an
hour and then departed for Burgundy, although promising to confer with
him sympathetically on his return. "I am very displeased at his coming
here," said Langerac, " . . . . . but he has found little friendship
or confidence, and is full of woe and apprehension."
The Ambassador's labours were now confined to personally soliciting the
King's permission for deputations from the Reformed churches of France
to go to the Synod, now opened (13th November) at Dordtrecht, and to
clearing his own skirts with the Prince and States-General of any
suspicion of sympathy with Barneveld.
In the first object he was unsuccessful, the King telling him at last
"with clear and significant words that this was impossible, on account of
his conscience, his respect for the Catholic religion, and many other
In regard to the second point he acted with great promptness.
He received a summons in January 1619 from the States-General and the
Prince to send them all letters that he had ever received from Barneveld.
He crawled at once to Maurice on his knees, with the letters in his hand.
"Most illustrious, high-born Prince, most gracious Lord," he said;
"obeying the commands which it has pleased the States and your princely
Grace to give me, I send back the letters of Advocate Barneveld. If your
princely Grace should find anything in them showing that the said
Advocate had any confidence in me, I most humbly beg your princely Grace
to believe that I never entertained any affection for, him, except only
in respect to and so far as he was in credit and good authority with the
government, and according to the upright zeal which I thought I could see
in him for the service of My high and puissant Lords the States-General
and of your princely Grace."
Greater humbleness could be expected of no ambassador. Most nobly did
the devoted friend and pupil of the great statesman remember his duty to
the illustrious Prince and their High Mightinesses. Most promptly did he
abjure his patron now that he had fallen into the abyss.
"Nor will it be found," he continued, "that I have had any sympathy or
communication with the said Advocate except alone in things concerning my
service. The great trust I had in him as the foremost and oldest
counsellor of the state, as the one who so confidentially instructed me
on my departure for France, and who had obtained for himself so great
authority that all the most important affairs of the country were
entrusted to him, was the cause that I simply and sincerely wrote
to him all that people were in the habit of saying at this court.
"If I had known in the least or suspected that he was not what he ought
to be in the service of My Lords the States and of your princely Grace
and for the welfare and tranquillity of the land, I should have been well
on my guard against letting myself in the least into any kind of
communication with him whatever."
The reader has seen how steadily and frankly the Advocate had kept
Langerac as well as Caron informed of passing events, and how little
concealment he made of his views in regard to the Synod, the
Waartgelders, and the respective authority of the States-General and
States-Provincial. Not only had Langerac no reason to suspect that
Barneveld was not what he ought to be, but he absolutely knew the
contrary from that most confidential correspondence with him which
he was now so abjectly repudiating. The Advocate, in a protracted
constitutional controversy, had made no secret of his views either
officially or privately. Whether his positions were tenable or flimsy,
they had been openly taken.
"What is more," proceeded the Ambassador, "had I thought that any account
ought to be made of what I wrote to him concerning the sovereignty of the
Provinces, I should for a certainty not have failed to advise your Grace
of it above all."
He then, after profuse and maudlin protestations of his most dutiful zeal
all the days of his life for "the service, honour, reputation, and
contentment of your princely Grace," observed that he had not thought it
necessary to give him notice of such idle and unfounded matters, as being
likely to give the Prince annoyance and displeasure. He had however
always kept within himself the resolution duly to notify him in case he
found that any belief was attached to the reports in Paris. "But the
reports," he said, "were popular and calumnious inventions of which no
man had ever been willing or able to name to him the authors."
The Ambassador's memory was treacherous, and he had doubtless neglected
to read over the minutes, if he had kept them, of his wonderful
disclosures on the subject of the sovereignty before thus exculpating
himself. It will be remembered that he had narrated the story of the
plot for conferring sovereignty upon Maurice not as a popular calumny
flying about Paris with no man to father it, but he had given it to
Barneveld on the authority of a privy councillor of France and of the
King himself. "His Majesty knows it to be authentic," he had said in his
letter. That letter was a pompous one, full of mystery and so secretly
ciphered that he had desired that his friend van der Myle, whom he was
now deriding for his efforts in Paris to save his father-inlaw from his
fate, might assist the Advocate in unravelling its contents. He had now
discovered that it had been idle gossip not worthy of a moment's
The reader will remember too that Barneveld, without attaching much
importance to the tale, had distinctly pointed out to Langerac that the
Prince himself was not implicated in the plot and had instructed the
Ambassador to communicate the story to Maurice. This advice had not been
taken, but he had kept the perilous stuff upon his breast. He now sought
to lay the blame, if it were possible to do so, upon the man to whom he
had communicated it and who had not believed it.
The business of the States-General, led by the Advocate's enemies this
winter, was to accumulate all kind of tales, reports, and accusations to
his discredit on which to form something like a bill of indictment. They
had demanded all his private and confidential correspondence with Caron
and Langerae. The ambassador in Paris had been served, moreover, with a
string of nine interrogatories which he was ordered to answer on oath and
honour. This he did and appended the reply to his letter.
The nine questions had simply for their object to discover what Barneveld
had been secretly writing to the Ambassador concerning the Synod, the
enlisted troops, and the supposed projects of Maurice concerning the
sovereignty. Langerac was obliged to admit in his replies that nothing
had been written except the regular correspondence which he endorsed, and
of which the reader has been able to see the sum and substance in the
copious extracts which have been given.
He stated also that he had never received any secret instructions save
the marginal notes to the list of questions addressed by him, when about
leaving for Paris in 1614, to Barneveld. Most of these were of a trivial
and commonplace nature.
They had however a direct bearing on the process to be instituted against
the Advocate, and the letter too which we have been examining will prove
to be of much importance. Certainly pains enough were taken to detect
the least trace of treason in a very loyal correspondence. Langerac
concluded by enclosing the Barneveld correspondence since the beginning
of the year 1614, protesting that not a single letter had been kept back
or destroyed. "Once more I recommend myself to mercy, if not to favour,"
he added, "as the most faithful, most obedient, most zealous servant of
their High Mightinesses and your princely Grace, to whom I have devoted
and sacrificed my honour and life in most humble service; and am now and
forever the most humble, most obedient, most faithful servant of my most
serene, most illustrious, most highly born Prince, most gracious Lord and
The former adherent of plain Advocate Barneveld could hardly find
superlatives enough to bestow upon the man whose displeasure that
prisoner had incurred.
Directly after the arrest the Stadholder had resumed his tour through
the Provinces in order to change the governments. Sliding over any
opposition which recent events had rendered idle, his course in every
city was nearly the same. A regiment or two and a train of eighty or a
hundred waggons coming through the city-gate preceded by the Prince and
his body-guard of 300, a tramp of halberdmen up the great staircase of
the town-hall, a jingle of spurs in the assembly-room, and the whole
board of magistrates were summoned into the presence of the Stadholder.
They were then informed that the world had no further need of their
services, and were allowed to bow themselves out of the presence. A new
list was then announced, prepared beforehand by Maurice on the suggestion
of those on whom he could rely. A faint resistance was here and there
attempted by magistrates and burghers who could not forget in a moment
the rights of self-government and the code of laws which had been enjoyed
for centuries. At Hoorn, for instance, there was deep indignation among
the citizens. An imprudent word or two from the authorities might have
brought about a "blood-bath."
The burgomaster ventured indeed to expostulate. They requested the
Prince not to change the magistracy. "This is against our privileges,"
they said, "which it is our duty to uphold. You will see what deep
displeasure will seize the burghers, and how much disturbance and tumult
will follow. If any faults have been committed by any member of the
government, let him be accused and let him answer for them. Let your
Excellency not only dismiss but punish such as cannot properly justify
But his Excellency summoned them all to the town-house and as usual
deposed them all. A regiment was drawn up in half-moon on the square
beneath the windows. To the magistrates asking why they were deposed,
he briefly replied, "The quiet of the land requires it. It is necessary
to have unanimous resolutions in the States-General at the Hague. This
cannot be accomplished without these preliminary changes. I believe that
you had good intentions and have been faithful servants of the
Fatherland. But this time it must be so."
And so the faithful servants of the Fatherland were dismissed into space.
Otherwise how could there be unanimous voting in parliament? It must be
regarded perhaps as fortunate that the force of character, undaunted
courage, and quiet decision of Maurice enabled him to effect this violent
series of revolutions with such masterly simplicity. It is questionable
whether the Stadholder's commission technically empowered him thus to
trample on municipal law; it is certain that, if it did, the boasted
liberties of the Netherlands were a dream; but it is equally true that,
in the circumstances then existing, a vulgar, cowardly, or incompetent
personage might have marked his pathway with massacres without restoring
Sometimes there was even a comic aspect to these strokes of state.
The lists of new magistrates being hurriedly furnished by the Prince's
adherents to supply the place of those evicted, it often happened that
men not quahified by property, residence, or other attributes were
appointed to the government, so that many became magistrates before
they were citizens.
On being respectfully asked sometimes who such a magistrate might be
whose face and name were equally unknown to his colleagues and to the
townsmen in general; "Do I know the fellows?" he would say with a
cheerful laugh. And indeed they might have all been dead men, those new
functionaries, for aught he did know. And so on through Medemblik and
Alkmaar, Brielle, Delft, Monnikendam, and many other cities progressed
the Prince, sowing new municipalities broadcast as he passed along. At
the Hague on his return a vote of thanks to the Prince was passed by the
nobles and most of the cities for the trouble he had taken in this
reforming process. But the unanimous vote had not yet been secured, the
strongholds of Arminianism, as it was the fashion to call them, not being
The Prince, in reply to the vote of thanks, said that "in what he had
done and was going to do his intention sincerely and uprightly had been
no other than to promote the interests and tranquillity of the country,
without admixture of anything personal and without prejudice to the
general commonwealth or the laws and privileges of the cities." He
desired further that "note might be taken of this declaration as record
of his good and upright intentions."
But the sincerest and most upright intentions may be refracted by party
atmosphere from their aim, and the purest gold from the mint elude the
direct grasp through the clearest fluid in existence. At any rate it
would have been difficult to convince the host of deposed magistrates
hurled from office, although recognized as faithful servants of the
Fatherland, that such violent removal had taken place without detriment
to the laws and privileges.
And the Stadholder went to the few cities where some of the leaven still
He arrived at Leyden on the 22nd October, "accompanied by a great suite
of colonels, ritmeesters, and captains," having sent on his body-guard
to the town strengthened by other troops. He was received by the
magistrates at the "Prince's Court" with great reverence and entertained
by them in the evening at a magnificent banquet.
Next morning he summoned the whole forty of them to the town-house,
disbanded them all, and appointed new ones in their stead; some of the
old members however who could be relied upon being admitted to the
The populace, mainly of the Stadholder's party, made themselves merry
over the discomfited "Arminians". They hung wisps of straw as derisive
wreaths of triumph over the dismantled palisade lately encircling the
town-hall, disposed of the famous "Oldenbarneveld's teeth" at auction in
the public square, and chased many a poor cock and hen, with their
feathers completely plucked from their bodies, about the street, crying
"Arme haenen, arme haenen"--Arminians or poor fowls--according to the
practical witticism much esteemed at that period. Certainly the
unfortunate Barneveldians or Arminians, or however the Remonstrants
might be designated, had been sufficiently stripped of their plumes.
The Prince, after having made proclamation from the town-house enjoining
"modesty upon the mob" and a general abstention from "perverseness and
petulance," went his way to Haarlem, where he dismissed the magistrates
and appointed new ones, and then proceeded to Rotterdam, to Gouda, and to
It seemed scarcely necessary to carry, out the process in the commercial
capital, the abode of Peter Plancius, the seat of the West India Company,
the head-quarters of all most opposed to the Advocate, most devoted to
the Stadholder. But although the majority of the city government was an
overwhelming one, there was still a respectable minority who, it was
thought possible, might under a change of circumstances effect much
mischief and even grow into a majority.
The Prince therefore summoned the board before him according to his usual
style of proceeding and dismissed them all. They submitted without a
word of remonstrance.
Ex-Burgomaster Hooft, a man of seventy-two-father of the illustrious
Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft, one of the greatest historians of the
Netherlands or of any country, then a man of thirty-seven-shocked at the
humiliating silence, asked his colleagues if they had none of them a word
to say in defence of their laws and privileges.
They answered with one accord "No."
The old man, a personal friend of Barneveld and born the same year, then
got on his feet and addressed the Stadholder. He spoke manfully and
well, characterizing the summary deposition of the magistracy as illegal
and unnecessary, recalling to the memory of those who heard him that he
had been thirty-six years long a member of the government and always a
warm friend of the House of Nassau, and respectfully submitting that the
small minority in the municipal government, while differing from their
colleagues and from the greater number of the States-General, had limited
their opposition to strictly constitutional means, never resorting to
acts of violence or to secret conspiracy.
Nothing could be more truly respectable than the appearance of this
ancient magistrate, in long black robe with fur edgings, high ruff around
his thin, pointed face, and decent skull-cap covering his bald old head,
quavering forth to unsympathetic ears a temperate and unanswerable
defence of things which in all ages the noblest minds have deemed most
His harangue was not very long. Maurice's reply was very short.
"Grandpapa," he said, "it must be so this time. Necessity and the
service of the country require it."
With that he dismissed the thirty-six magistrates and next day appointed
a new board, who were duly sworn to fidelity to the States-General. Of
course a large proportion of the old members were renominated.
Scarcely had the echo of the Prince's footsteps ceased to resound through
the country as he tramped from one city to another, moulding each to his
will, when the States of Holland, now thoroughly reorganized, passed a
solemn vote of thanks to him for all that he had done. The six cities of
the minority had now become the majority, and there was unanimity at the
Hague. The Seven Provinces, States-General and States-Provincial, were
as one, and the Synod was secured. Whether the prize was worth the
sacrifices which it had cost and was still to cost might at least be
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