William of Orange - George Upton

Prelude—The Masters of the Sea

There was once a people freer, richer, and happier than any other. They lived in a land whose shores were washed by the waves of the North Sea. The whole country was like a vast, luxurious garden, the houses in the cities resembled palaces, and those who dwelt in them were as proud and independent as kings.

These people had but one enemy. It was the sea, and a destructive enemy certainly it was. It sometimes overflowed the land and threatened to sweep away great stretches of the country, as well as thriving cities. Sometimes its waters joined those of the rivers, and together they changed the beautiful garden landscape into a wretched swamp.

The people, however, came of a bold, strong race. German blood flowed in their veins. They stoutly resisted the mighty power of the sea waves, and were victors. They drove the sea back and protected their land with huge dykes, against which their grim old enemy, tide-driven, hissing and foaming, hurled itself in vain. These dauntless people, however, were not satisfied with this achievement; they made the sea their servant, and forced it to carry upon its broad back the ships which developed their commerce, by bringing them the produce of the South and carrying their goods all over the world. They also made the rivers their servants by transforming them into skilfully constructed canals, which drained the marshes and made the soil productive and more valuable.

In these ways the people continually grew richer and more powerful, until they became the envy of all others. Proud, impoverished, and sometimes hungry nobles and knights looked down from their castles among the rocky heights upon these prosperous people and envied them their wealth and happiness. These nobles at one time were the masters of that country, but at last it became too great to be governed by a mere duke. The people longed for a grander sovereign, and eventually their country became the richest possession of the German crown. But the new emperor did not bring them happiness. He had a son. This son was a black Giant. He hated the country because it was free, wished to seize its wealth, and swore he would make its people slaves.

The Giant had both the power and the means to carry out his purpose. He was so huge and stout that when he stretched himself out the sun did not shine upon all his bulk. Either his head or his limbs were in shadow. At one step of his broad foot he could crush a whole city. A fiery stream issued from his mouth, which burned people. All whom he did not stamp into the earth or kill by lire he strangled, or felled with his powerful sword. I le was also shrewd. He had such great ears that Ile could hear two persons whispering together fifty leagues away, and he could seize them both with his long arms. Even the darkness could not hide one from him, for he saw in the night, like the wild beasts. His unhappy victims begged in vain for mercy, for his heart was not of flesh and blood but hard as a stone.

These people, however, did not hesitate to grapple with the Giant. They had courage, for they had once wrestled with the sea; but before they could get together or arrive at a fixed plan of action the bloodthirsty Giant was in their midst, murdering and burning. Then the frightened people cried to Heaven for help.

And help came. Their rescuer was nigh at hand. He was not a giant like the Emperor's son, but a youth of ordinary stature, a German count from the heart of Germany. He was not stronger than others, but he was wise, much wiser and cleverer than the imperial Giant. His heart was not as hard as stone, but so strong and determined that one might as well expect a stream to flow backward, or a stone to roll uphill, as expect him to change a plan once made. And better than all else, he cherished high and noble ideas, and maintained a steadfast belief in divine help and in the victory of a good cause. Royal dignity shone in his face, and his eyes glistened like the sunshine, so that those who looked upon him said to themselves, "He will be the victor."

The Giant feared his adversary, and he was the only one in the world of whom he was afraid. They knew each other, the Count and the Emperor's son, and for this very reason the Giant sought to crush him by a sudden blow; but he did not succeed. Every one feared that he would, but the Count warded off his blows and dealt some in return, until at last the Giant was in a towering rage and roared horribly. It was a dreadful struggle. The Giant devastated the, afflicted country, and the blood of its persecuted people flowed in streams; but they still kept faith in their champion, whose eyes still glistened like the sunshine.

No one came to the help of the poor country. All were afraid of the Giant, and the Count could not destroy him unaided. Men had no compassion; but in the end, the sea, arch-enemy of that country, pitied the unhappy people and was their faithful ally against the Giant. At last they achieved a glorious victory. Under the inspiration of their new liberty they prospered greatly. But the heroic Count was closely beset, and the Giant in his death struggles insidiously murdered him. The costly victory was consecrated with the Count's life-blood.

All this reads like romance, but it is reality. There is such a people of German descent, who wrestled with the sea and made it their servant, and afterwards fought with a giant for their liberty. It is the people of the Netherlands, whose country lies northwest of Germany and north of France, living on the shores of the North Sea, where the Scheldt, the Meuse, and the Rhine empty. This people sprung from the pure Teutonic races of Franks and Frisians.

They had to wrestle with the sea and the rivers to save the country, which was on a level with the ocean, and in some places lower, and therefore exposed, without any protection, to high tides and overflows. They had to wage a continual struggle with the elements to keep their lands from being covered with sand and mud; to reconstruct their dykes, which were frequently broken, and to force the sea back, so as to recover them. It was a colossal undertaking, but they succeeded, and actually made the water which threatened them on every side their useful servant.

At that time the Netherlanders were the leading merchants of the world. A writer of that period calls their country "the harbor, the bazaar, and the market of all Europe." A complete canal system, fed by the rivers, permitted traffic with the interior of the country. The cities, and indeed the whole country increased in population, wealth, and general prosperity to a degree never before known in Europe. The revenues of Charles V during a part of his reign amounted to the unprecedented sum, for that time, of twenty millions. An Antwerp merchant, who had advanced two millions to the Emperor, tore up the securities because the latter honored his house with a visit. Ordinary peasants gave their daughters a hundred thousand dollars as dowry. No country was more prosperous at that time. Many privileges and exemptions which the provinces had acquired or purchased contributed to this prosperity, and they were most jealously guarded. When the German Emperor Maximilian refused to respect the rights of the city of Bruges, the burghers seized and imprisoned him. Every prince who ruled over the Netherlands had to bind himself by oath not to interfere with or disturb their rights. They were sacred to the Netherlanders.

Then came the black Giant of our story, Spain, under its fanatical king, Philip II.

Spain, rent in our days by civil strife, the weakest power in Europe and the object, as it were, of divine displeasure, was at that time the greatest and strongest of nations. The Spaniards arrogantly claimed that the sun never set on their dominions, and they were not far from right; for besides Spain itself, their possessions included the two Sicilies, Sardinia, Milan, and the Netherlands, besides a goodly part of Africa and the newly discovered America.

At an earlier period the Netherlanders were ruled by their own dukes, of whom Charles the Bold was the most famous; but by the marriage of the Emperor Maximilian I to Charles's daughter and heiress, Mary, they became subjects of Austria; and then again they became subjects of Spain by the marriage of Philip the Handsome, son of Maximilian, to Joanna, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella. Charles V, son of Philip and grandson of Maximilian, next came into power in the Netherlands, but abdicated later in favor of his son Philip, the tyrant and cruel enemy of the Netherlands' liberty. But the black Giant did not succeed. Goliath found his David.

It is easy to conjecture that the German count who made the heroic fight with Spain was Prince William of Orange, Count of Nassau, one of the first and noblest champions of German intellectual and religious liberty. This little book contains the story of the life and colossal struggles of this hero.

The Dawning Career

The beautiful city of Dillenburg is situated some miles above Wetzlar, the well known seat of the Imperial Chamber, and a mile above the old university town of Herborn, in the richest and most fertile of the side valleys of the Lahn. In a castle there, whose ruins still look down from their towering height upon the busy city spread out beneath it, and upon distant meadows and forests skirting the cliff's of the Westerwald, Prince William of Orange, surnamed "the Silent," was born April 14, 1533. He was first called William, Count of Nassau, for his father was Count William of Nassau-Dillenburg. He was descended from a numerous family of Nassau counts, having many branches, which had occupied the region between the Sieg, the Lahn, the Main, and the Rhine for eight centuries and had gradually risen from humble beginnings to great power and authority.

This family of counts, as gallant as they were intellectually gifted, had furnished Germany with accomplished soldiers and statesmen, as well as with several powerful electors, for nearly five hundred years. One count of Nassau, the ambitious and unfortunate Adolphus, who lost both crown and life at the fatal battle of Gollheim, was elected Emperor.

To ascertain the origin and characteristics of a plant one must study it growing in the soil. So the bare description of one life is of little value in ascertaining the peculiar characteristics and qualities of the family to which it belongs. Family excellencies and defects exercise more enduring and far-reaching influences than is generally imagined, even though they may not always display themselves prominently or significantly.

In the case of William of Orange, however, it can be positively stated that he possessed in the highest degree the ambitious spirit and statesman-like qualities of the old Nassau counts, and that in the exercise of them he became the most distinguished representative of the family. We know nothing of his early training except the little that can be gathered from the statements of a contemporary writer, who says that his parents availed themselves of every opportunity to develop the boy's unmistakably superior talents.

At the age of eleven the youth unexpectedly inherited rich estates, which had been acquired by his uncle principally by marriage. They included large possessions in the Netherlands, where the family had been wealthy for centuries. They owned the princely Nassau palace in Brussels, and the city of Breda had been held by them since 1404. Besides these Netherlands estates, the young prince inherited the principality of Orange, lying between Languedoc, Provence, Dauphine, and Avignon, in southern France, from which he derived his title "Prince of Orange." In his eleventh year William was the richest nobleman of his time, and as such he attracted the attention of Charles V, who was well acquainted with the Nassau family, many members of it having been in his service as soldiers and statesmen. He besought the parents to entrust the talented youth to him so that he might have a better training than it was possible for him to obtain in the secluded valley of the Westerwald, where educational advantages were very meagre: The mother, a most excellent woman, at first declined the offer. It was hard for her to give up her boy, but the honor which she knew would be conferred upon her family, and the certainty that her ambitious son would have a brilliant career, at last dried the mother's tears. The boy, on the other hand, was eager to go. He was sorry to leave his native mountains and forests, and many a time afterwards, in the stormy periods of his life, he longed for the peace and quiet of his loved valley; but all else was for the time forgotten amid the attractions of his new home.

The Emperor consigned the young count to the special care of his own sister, Marie of Austria, at that time the principal stadtholder of the Nether lands at the court of Brussels, and afterwards Queen of Hungary and Bohemia. It was the most magnificent court of that time, and the most distinguished men of western and southern Europe met there. It is not remarkable that this sharp-eyed, quick-witted lad, with the assistance of his devoted patron, soon acquired large acquaintance with the world and that insight into state and court affairs which he was eager to acquire. The Emperor also appointed as his tutor the finely educated Hieronymus von Granvella, brother of the Cardinal Granvella, who afterwards became such a famous and notorious statesman. Although the tutor was entirely satisfactory, the Emperor himself also supervised the boy's education, and took great pleasure in instructing him in foreign affairs, the business of government, and the conduct of war. He was soon recognized as the favorite of this mightiest of sovereigns, and enjoyed his intimate confidence, though, as was well known, it was not the custom of Charles V to trust many persons. It was the lad's chivalrous bearing and his extraordinary acquirements (William of Orange spoke six languages), but, above all, his mature wisdom and sensible judgment, that commended the young man to the old monarch. Charles, indeed, placed such reliance upon his advice that he availed himself of it many a time in critical situations. He also admitted him to his private councils and kept him in attendance when messengers from foreign courts made their reports, so that he might have the advantage of his invariably excellent criticisms and opinions after the sessions were over. By favor of the Emperor he also rose from the position of page to that of Imperial Chamberlain. Not satisfied with this, the Emperor married the young prince, then hardly eighteen years of age, to the wealthiest heiress in the Netherlands, the lovely Anne of Egmont, daughter of Maximilian of Buren. The Emperor, who had for some time contemplated abdication, desired to make the position of his protégé as elevated as possible while he still had the power to do so.

General astonishment was expressed when at last the Emperor placed Orange at the head of his army in the war with France; so young a leader had never been known before. The army must meet the French force, led by its most experienced and famous generals. But the Emperor knew what he was doing. He was not placing his trust thoughtlessly in this young man, who already displayed the maturity and good judgment of age. The event proved he was not in error. The young hero justified his choice as the head of the army, notwithstanding his youth. The enemy was driven back in spite of its stubborn resistance and the skill of its commanders. Orange strengthened the weak fortresses of Charlemont and Philippeville under their very eyes, and in this way cut off the main line of the French. He accomplished these operations under many disadvantages. A malignant disease broke out in his army, and this, added to the scanty and uncertain pay, produced serious disaffection; but the young Orange, notwithstanding these drawbacks, pressed on to victory. At the period when most young men are about entering upon the active duties of life, he had earned the highest honors and was crowned with the laurels of fame. His young life had risen like a brightly beaming star, and promised an exceptionally brilliant career.

About this time Charles V suddenly carried out the purpose he had contemplated so long, by voluntarily abdicating. After exercising the highest authority on earth,—for the sun never went down on his dominions, as they said,—after enjoying the highest earthly wealth and glory,—for he controlled the treasures of three divisions of the earth,—he decided to spend the evening of his days in a dark and solitary monastery cell, poor, powerless, humble, far from the glitter of the throne and the splendor of courts.

Charles V. and Prince Philip


The Emperor summoned the distinguished men of the Empire for the last time. William of Orange, still in the field, was called from his camp at Esserein. Leaning upon the shoulder of his trusty favorite, the old emperor entered the hall of assembly. It was at Brussels, October 25, 1555, that he relinquished the sovereignty. In a long public address he affectionately commended the people of the Netherlands to his son Philip, and instructed him to defend their rights and liberties. Then turning, he presented his son to the Prince of

Orange, telling him how useful his advice and hic service would be to him and to the Empire. Did the old emperor, who was still so well acquainted with men and affairs of state, have a presentiment that his advice would pass unheeded? There never was a more momentous day for the Netherlands and for William of Orange than that day when Charles V abdicated. One more honor was conferred upon Orange. He carried the insignia of the Empire to Ferdinand I, brother of Charles V. It was his last honor at the latter's hands. No sooner had the Emperor retired to a cell in the Spanish monastery of Saint Yusto than the black storm clouds began to lower upon the Netherlands and upon the destiny of Orange.

Accession of Philip

It was one of the most striking characteristics of Prince William of Orange that he never retraced a step once taken. In this he was unlike most men, who imitate the famous dance-procession at Echternach, by taking two steps forward and then one backward. Young as he was, his clear vision and steadfastness of purpose saved him from such vacillation.

Immediately after the abdication of Charles V, the Prince took one of the most decisive steps of his life by consecrating himself to the service of the fatherland. Though this step eventually entailed upon him a burden of anxiety, struggle, and sacrifice almost too heavy for human strength, he never regretted it, for he entered upon his career with his whole heart and with the thorough knowledge of all it involved. He knew better than any of the other dignitaries what storms were impending over the Netherlands. He did not leave the country, but chose to remain a Netherlander and to perform his official duties, but he no longer maintained a position near the throne. He took his place by the side of the threatened people.

The Netherlanders themselves would not have recognized the sovereignty of the new king of Spain, and would have selected another ruler, probably Maximilian II, at a later period Emperor of Germany, had they not feared it might grieve their favorite old ruler, Charles V. Had he died at this time, instead of abdicating, the fate of the Netherlanders might have been entirely different. They had entertained suspicions of the new king for a long time; and these suspicions were well grounded, for they soon had ample opportunity to know him.

In compliance with the wishes of his father, who would have been only too glad to see amicable relations between his son and the Netherlanders, Philip resided at the Brussels court for a long time, but his stay there was not productive of any important results, and ended in general dislike of him. The open-hearted, free, and joyous people of the Netherlands had nothing in common with the gloomy, unfriendly Philip, so young but already so fanatical. His father was an entirely different man. He had lived in the Netherlands, had discarded the stiff, pompous Spanish court etiquette, and had been a Netherlander among the Netherlanders. He had spoken their language, which Philip never learned. He had adopted their mode of dress, taken part in heir sports, and invariably manifested his preference for Netherlands ways. For these reasons he could afford to be somewhat exacting with his subjects, especially in religious matters, and in the imposition of taxes. His friendliness compensated for everything else, and also enabled him to develop trade and commerce to an extent never reached before. The Netherlanders had never before encountered such a morose and malign personality as Philip had shown himself to be, but they did not yet thoroughly know him. If they had known him as they did later, they would have sacrificed everything rather than have accepted him as their ruler.

Philip was actuated by two overmastering passions, which he manifested throughout his reign,—an unbounded lust of power, and an indescribable fanaticism. It is difficult to say which was the stronger of the two. He was a tyrant in the full meaning of the word. His career was one of blood, and his way was thickly strewn with the dead. The Inquisition was at the height of its cruel activity during his reign; and, incredible as it seems, when doing his worst he believed he was doing God's will, and that the work was pleasing to Him. Even when atrocities were committed that cried aloud to Heaven, his conscience was undisturbed.

These passions, however, were not so openly manifest at the beginning of his reign, though even then a close observer could not have helped seeing the new ruler's aversion, indeed hatred, of the proud, free Netherlanders, nor could they have helped suspecting the deep designs he was meditating against them.

His disposition showed itself at the very outset in the appointment which he made for the extremely important position of regent. If he had consulted the wishes of the people he would have selected the young William of Orange or the Count of Egmont;

but he did not even consider them, nor did it occur to him to select a prince of the Austrian house for the position. All of these were too independent to suit him. He selected Margaret of Parma, who was absolutely subservient to him, and then assigned three persons, who were also his tools, as her advisers,—chief among them Granvella, Bishop of Arras, who controlled the other two. Granvella, a man of great political ability, very ambitious, and absolutely devoted to the King, really had the power in his own hands and directed all the affairs of state, for Margaret of Parma was regent only in name. A still further proof that Philip II was meditating secret designs against the country was shown by the fact that when he left for Spain, never to set foot again on Netherlands soil, he left a Spanish force there in defiance of the rights of the people, and that these troops remained there notwithstanding the people's appeals and protests. Still stronger evidence was furnished in his outspoken dislike of William of Orange, who was greatly beloved by the Netherlanders. These people had been intrusted to Philip by his father as a precious legacy. Charles V had confidence in Orange, and he had trained him to be a pillar upon which his son could lean while engaged in the difficult task of ruling the country from a foreign land. But Philip scorned any such support.

William of Orange already had performed important service for the young king, for he had conducted the war with France to a successful issue, and negotiated a very advantageous treaty for Spain, but Philip only gave him the honors which belonged to him and which he was obliged to give him. He appointed him State Councillor and Knight, but did it with such manifest unwillingness that it caused the Prince more irritation than joy. The gloomy, fanatical sovereign had a natural aversion to the noble and magnanimous Orange, who was the champion of everything which he hated, and was also displeased with him because he protected the rights and liberties of the Netherlanders against his designs. His hostility to him was apparent to everyone when he departed from the Netherlands. Orange went with other eminent personages to Blissingen, where the King embarked. When Philip saw him he could no longer contain himself. With a malignant expression upon his face he turned toward him and in a voice trembling with unsuppressed rage, exclaimed: "Not the Estates, but you, you, you!" Philip meant by this that the Estates would not have dared to question his policy if Orange had not suggested it to them and taken the lead himself. He had sense enough to know that this sharp-sighted, resolute young man would become the very heart and soul of Netherlands' opposition to him and his policy, if indeed he was not so already. This is why he exclaimed, "not the Estates, but you, you, you!"

Philip hated Orange, but he likewise feared him. They had known each other from boyhood. Perhaps the ill-favored and somewhat deformed king still retained some of that envy with which as a boy he had regarded the shapely and active Orange, who was a general favorite. There could be no greater contrast than that between these two, who had grown up under the care of the same emperor.

Philip was not wanting in sagacity and understanding, but he was cold-hearted, calculating, malicious, and egotistic; while Orange, on the contrary, was intellectually gifted, alert of mind, full of noble and lofty aspirations, and of a natural inclination to everything that is good and true. Philip was full of suspicions and secret malignity, and was constantly planning cunning artifices, while Orange was prudent, discriminating, and cautious, and yet full of faith in humanity and of love for it.

Both men were able, but there was a difference in their ability. While Orange worked out his high ideas and plans to a successful conclusion, by steadfast perseverance and unwearied activity, combined with undisturbed tranquillity of spirit, Philip, notwithstanding all his arbitrariness and lofty contempt for dangers and obstacles, failed to accomplish his purposes. He never could have made a country prosperous, but he could turn a prosperous country into a graveyard.

William of Orange is incorrectly called "the Silent." He knew when to speak and when to keep silent. With him, "Speech was silvern, but silence was golden." He often kept silent under Spanish despotism because it was unsafe to speak one's thoughts; but in reality he was a ready speaker, and won more victories by his speech than by his sword. He was exceedingly fond of social intercourse and witty conversation among friends and at banquets. No one who saw him entertaining his guests would ever have thought of calling him silent. His strongest characteristic was the wonderful calmness of his strong spirit. There was not an event in his checkered life that disturbed his composure. He was never found unprepared. He neither knew fear nor felt uncertainty. He depended as little upon good fortune as he bowed to misfortune. Always untroubled by circumstances, he carried out his well-laid plans with indomitable energy.

He knew himself better than the world, which called him "the Silent," did. He chose for his emblem the halcyon, which floats along in her nest, undisturbed by the furious waters around her, and for his motto "Saevis tranquillus in undis" ("Tranquil amid raging billows"). Such he was, and such he ever proved himself. No one could read his thoughts in his dark face, nor could any one divine what he wished to conceal. This repose of spirit gave to his personality a loftiness and dignity, to his words a deliberation and discretion, and to his actions a clearness and precision which were indispensable to one born to be the leader of the great movements yet to come in his career.

The people looked up to him as if he were their idol. Their love for him and trust in him were boundless. The gentleness of his heart, which was manifested to the lowest as well as the highest, the elegant style of living which he was enabled to keep up by his regal wealth, his princely generosity, his liberality to the poor, and his open-handed hospitality—all contributed to win him the people's love. That love was not misplaced. He never deceived their expectations. He sacrificed everything for the people—property and life.

Philip II of Spain had good reason, while planning the persecution of that country, to hate and to fear this man, who stood solid as a rock in defence of the rights and liberties of the people.

The Inquisition

The character and the designs of Philip lay before the keen eyes of Orange as clearly as an open book, but he did not yet know all that Philip was contemplating. In a chance moment, however, he discovered it.

Orange tarried in Paris a little while after the conclusion of the treaty with France, and was invited to a hunt by the King. Supposing that Orange was on the same friendly terms with Philip that he had been with his father, Charles V, the King confided to him that he had made a long-wished-for agreement with Philip to root out the Protestant heresy in the two kingdoms. Orange listened attentively. France and Spain in league for the extirpation of Protestantism! Here was a real danger. He was much disturbed by the information, but showed no outward signs of alarm. He had not imagined that the storm threatening his new fatherland was so near or so portentous. It behooved him to be on his guard.

It was plain enough now to Orange that Philip would be an open enemy ere long. It would be wrong to assume that Orange up to this time had meditated wresting the Netherlands from the dominion of his king. He had played the thankless and difficult role of intermediary between the two for more than a year, and he continued to act as such until he was compelled to take another course. I le was too honorable and conscientious to break with his liege lord, whose father had been so kind to him, but at the same time his sense of duty would not permit him to be other than a friend and helper of the people among whom he had spent his youth, whom he greatly loved, and who were now threatened with merciless persecution. Another person, under such circumstances, might have hesitated to interpose between King and people, for, with a monarch on the one hand so suspicious that he distrusted every step they took and every word they uttered, and with a people on the other hand who had grown impatient and rebellious under the continued provocation of injustice and cruelty what hope was there of successful results? And yet, by his courage and tact, the Prince had thus far saved his unfortunate country from the sword already drawn, and averted the storm now so rapidly approaching.

Orange's first step was to gather about him the real friends of the fatherland and open their eyes to the dangers which menaced it, for they could render him faithful assistance in all his undertakings, by their influence as well as by their courageous and self-sacrificing spirit. These friends, of course, were among the distinguished personages of the Kingdom and had unshaken confidence in him. A part of the Netherlands nobility, but a small and rapidly diminishing part, including such men as the Count de Vorlaimont and the Duke of Aerschot, had unconditionally given their adherence to the King. They were as fanatical as the King himself, and for that reason were distrusted by all who had the rights of the country and the liberties of the people at heart. The people until now had lacked a leader like Orange, who could embody their ideas in practical form and direct their efforts after some fixed plan. Thus it was that he came to the people, and they to him.

The most prominent men among these distinguished personages were Admiral Count Van Hoorn and Count Egmont, Prince of Gavre. The latter was so greatly beloved that he could confidently enter into a contest with Orange for the affection and esteem of the people. Their names were nearly always coupled together.

Count Egmont was the soul of chivalry, a great soldier, the victor of Saint Quentin and Gravelines, and the hero of the popular songs. He was descended direct from the dukes of Gavre, and married a princess of Bavaria who was the mother of his nine children. He was greeted upon the streets with popular ovations and overshadowed Orange himself in his soldierly bearing, smartness of appearance, affability, courtliness, and almost prodigal generosity. In quiet, peaceful times he would have been the observed of all observers, a gay butterfly in the sunshine; but for the rough time in which he lived he was too gay, capricious, thoughtless— too much flesh and blood. That period required strong, steadfast natures like that of Orange. Orange alone could lead to victory. Egmont without Orange could not achieve victory for the cause in which they were both engaged. Ludwig of Nassau, brother of Orange, and the Lord of Saint Aldegonde, of whom we shall speak later, were of much more consequence than Egmont, who stood so high in popular favor, and Orange was in constant communication with them as well as with Hoorn and Egmont. Back of these were the entire people, the cities, the body of merchants, and the provinces. They looked upon these leaders as their natural representatives and protectors, and confided the welfare of the fatherland to them absolutely.

The first and most important matter for consideration by the Prince and his associates was the army which the King had left behind in the provinces. This army, poorly paid and undisciplined, conducted itself in the Netherlands like a band of outlaws. Frontier towns, especially in Zealand, were pillaged and the people maltreated. But shocking as the outrages and cruelties of the army were, Orange had other and more urgent reasons for its removal. He feared, and with good reason, that Philip intended to employ it against the defenseless Netherlands, and thus make his plans for the persecution and subjugation of the country more effective. The continued presence of the army made the people more and more anxious about their rights, and as this anxiety increased, their demands for its removal became more insistent. But Orange proceeded with the utmost judgment and caution, lest in their efforts to secure its withdrawal the King might find a pretext for keeping it there.

The next greatest danger to the country was Cardinal Granvella, the malicious, scheming prelate, who subsequently became the instigator of the attempts upon the life of Orange. At this time, as we have already said, he ruled the Netherlands, but at present he only employed cunning and chicanery as the agencies for depriving the people of their rights.

Orange realized the necessity of baffling this man and destroying his power, but he did not underestimate the difficulty of the achievement. Granvella was perhaps the only person in whom the ever suspicious Philip reposed absolute confidence, and for this reason Orange knew he would not leave him without ample protection against his enemies. He not only stood high in the King's favor, but he was one of the most astute men of the time. He knew how to take care of himself, and was a past master in the cabals and intrigues which characterized the political life of the day. But Orange did not hesitate on that account. This man was too dangerous to the liberty of the Netherlands; more dangerous, in fact, than the army, and in some way he must be removed.

Orange now began to display that masterly efficiency which we shall often observe in his career. His struggle with Granvella was peculiar, because it was secret rather than open. It would have been useless for him to engage so cunning an adversary in the ordinary way; he must be met upon his own ground and fought with his own weapons. The fortress could be taken only by mining. Work upon the surface would be useless. There was no way of capturing it except by mining and counter-mining, and he who mined the most skilfully would have the advantage. This was the nature of the contest between Granvella and Orange. It has never been known just how he accomplished it, but it is certain that Orange was kept informed of all the secret proceedings at the Spanish court and at he court of Margaret of Parma, that he knew the substance of the King's letters and instructions relative to the Netherlands, and that neither the King nor Granvella took a step without his knowing all about it. All this time he was organizing the friends of the fatherland more closely, and he made a strong union with the German imperial princes by his second marriage with Anne of Saxony, and also by attending and taking an active interest in t he election of the German emperor, at Frankfort-on-the-Main.

Granvella's position was at last so far undermined that Orange began an open attack by sending to the King two letters, signed by Egmont, Count Hoorn, and himself, informing him, in the most direct manner, that the failure to remove Granvella was endangering the royal authority in the Netherlands, and that a man so cordially detested after a year's experience ought to be recalled. The hatred which the Netherlanders felt for Granvella was principally due to his persistent persecution of the Protestants, though he was only carrying out the instructions of the King. The Reformation movement, in spite of the unfavorable situation, was spreading in the Netherlands as it was in Germany, Switzerland, and France. Next to France, where the persecutions of the Protestants culminated in the horrible massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve, the Netherlands had suffered most. During the reign of Charles V, about fifty thousand persons fell victims, and this was all the more indefensible because the Emperor had granted religious liberty to the German Protestants, and had permitted the evangelical doctrines to be preached freely and openly to the German army which accompanied him to the Netherlands; while Netherlands Protestants at the same time and in the same localities were hanged and burned. And this, too, when Charles V was held in high regard because he cared for the interests of the people and was, body and soul, a Netherlander!

In the case of his son Philip, it was different. Nothing escaped his notice, and all appeals to him were fruitless. His hatred of the Protestants, and his cruel fanaticism, exceeded all bounds. At an auto-da-fe  in Valladolid, when many victims expiated their desertion from the Catholic faith by death at the stake, the King, who was present, declared that if his own son should lapse into heresy he would consent to his death by fire, nay, he would even light the fagots with his own hand; and no one who knew him doubted his statement. If parental love had no influence upon him in such a case, what could the Netherlanders, whom he hated, expect?

The Netherlanders already knew what to expect, for the King had issued an edict that persecution should continue until every soul had submitted to the Roman Church; but they paid little attention to the edict until Granvella began to enforce its provisions. He began in deadly earnest to extirpate the Protestant faith before it should spread farther. In place of the three existing bishoprics, fourteen were constituted at once, and the Spanish Inquisition was placed under their special supervision. The Netherlanders dreaded nothing so much as the Inquisition, and with good reason.

This Inquisition had been active in Spain for many generations. It was first employed to obliterate the last vestige of the Moors, who were once masters of the country and who belonged to the Mohammedan faith. About the same time its power was used to destroy the Jews in Spain, and when no trace of Moor or Jew was left, the so-called "heresy" was its next victim.

Torquemada was the first Inquisitor-general. He administered his office with such untiring industry that he could boast of having burned ten thousand persons in eighteen years and of having sent ninety thousand more into banishment. Reports of the operations of the Inquisition soon spread through all countries. People were appalled by its merciless cruelty, its unprecedented injustice, and its arbitrary power. They looked with genuine horror upon a country which tolerated such an infamous institution. Its penalties were enforced not merely for open confession of heresy, but for expressions and acts which looked that way, and which were detected by its spies. The lightest suspicion was sufficient to bring a victim before the Inquisition, and once in its clutches no one escaped. The unfortunate victim never failed to meet torture and death.

It is no wonder the Netherlanders were dismayed by the introduction of such a tribunal. They had had a kind of Inquisition during the time of Charles V, but had not greatly heeded it. One inquisitor was assigned to each bishopric, but he could not always deal severely with those of another faith. Simple execution had been the extreme penalty up to this time. Death by fire had not been practised.

Under Granvella, however, all this was changed. There were fourteen inquisitors in the new bishoprics instead of three, and they were merciless in their activity.

Public security disappeared. The inquisitors arbitrarily invaded peaceful households and tore husbands from wives, children from parents, and parents from children. They were pronounced guilty upon the slightest evidence, and consigned to the fire. A schoolmaster had to leave wife and child and go to the stake because he had read from the Bible. Another was burned for copying something from a Geneva book. A whole family was burned for praying at home and not going to mass. The terror and the anger of the people grew from day to day.

At last, Granvella was removed. Orange had relieved the Netherlands of its most dangerous enemy. The people breathed more freely. Persecution ceased. Happier times seemed in prospect. Egmont and others rejoiced, but Orange took a different view of the matter. He knew that Philip's plans would not be abandoned because his tool had been removed. He knew that Philip would rather give up his life than cease persecution, for the fanatical King believed he was zealously serving God. Philip knew so little of the real meaning of the evangelical faith that he once exclaimed, kneeling before a crucifix:

"O God, keep me always strong in my purpose never to call myself master of those who deny thee, Lord."

The King looked upon all Protestants as atheists. Orange entertained exactly the opposite view in matters of faith. He disapproved of such horrible cruelties; and although at this time he was still a Roman Catholic, he forbade the persecution of Protestants in his principality of Orange as well as in the provinces of Zealand and Holland, of which he was stadtholder. In this, as in so many other ways, he was in advance of his gloomy, narrow-minded century. He considered any violation of the conscience, in matters of religious belief, as the greatest sin against God. As, a century later, the great Elector of Prussia was the champion of religious liberty in the extreme east of Germany, so Orange fought its hard battles in the west of the Empire. His noble heart bled every time he heard of or witnessed the suffering of the people, and he would willingly have given his own life could he have purchased their liberty with it. He put forth all his efforts to avert the approaching danger, and accomplished much, but he could not entirely prevent suffering. In the States Council, of which he was a member as a Knight of the Golden Fleece, he made vigorous but useless protests. He asked in vain for a convocation of the States General for t he protection of the liberties of the people. Philip refused to order it. He sent his friend Egmont to the court at Madrid to inform the King of the wretched condition of the country; but this, too, was in vain. Every appeal was met with absolute contempt. The capricious and easily impressed Egmont was sent away with a royal gift of twelve thousand ducats instead of the relief of the Protestants, which was the object of his mission. Indeed, he unknowingly brought back with him in his own pocket sealed instructions for still more rigorous measures.

The King wrote to the Regent that the edicts and the Inquisition should be enforced to the letter and posted in every town and village. When Orange heard of this he exclaimed:

"We shall soon witness the beginning of an extraordinary tragedy."

The Rising Storm

The tragedy anticipated by Orange began as soon as the new and severe edict of the King was promulgated in the cities and villages. A panic spread through the country, and more than thirty thousand persons abandoned their unhappy homes. The people seemed paralyzed. Business became stagnant. There were not sufficient laborers left to till the fields. There was everywhere a scarcity of the necessaries of life, which greatly added to the distress of the persecuted people.

In view of the wretched situation, the Prince of Orange wrote the Duchess Margaret of Parma, who was still the King's representative in the Netherlands, a serious and urgent letter, but couched in moderate terms, in which, among other things, he said:

"The Inquisition is now in full operation, and its severest penalties are inflicted. There can be but one result, madame, from the enforcement of the edicts. The King will involve himself in difficulties, destroy the country's peace, and alienate the affections of his loyal subjects. It will create the suspicion that His Majesty contemplates an entire change in the present established form of government, which will bring about a dangerous crisis. It is a time when the people, incited by the example of neighboring nations, are inclined to take up novelties. The harsh enforcement of the edicts, therefore, will cause many to leave the country and many more to lose confidence in the King, and this without reestablishing the religion he represents."

At the close of his letter he added:

"I can plainly see that the present policy cannot be carried out without danger of ruin to the country, as His Majesty perhaps would realize if he were here."

Such were the warnings of a true man, who loved his people and yet had not renounced his sovereign notwithstanding his errors and outrages. They were the warnings of a far-seeing statesman, whose vision was keener than that of the narrow-minded Spanish ruler.

But was it to be expected that Philip of Spain would heed the advice of a man whom he suspected and even hated and feared? Why should he concern himself about the sufferings of a people whom he had publicly declared he would rather see destroyed than living in the enjoyment of their liberties? Why should he extend forbearance to the Netherlanders when he had plenty of hangmen and their helpers, and an army long experienced in war, and composed of the best soldiers of the time, who were used to acts of cruelty, who never questioned any order, and who were led by Alva, the terrible Alva,—certainly a great soldier, but a human monster?

Poor, poor Netherlands! Even the timorous deer of the forests, when brought to bay, will turn against the hunter, and the gentle dove will resist when the cruel knife is at its throat. Can it be supposed then, that a strong and brave people, like the Netherlanders, would voluntarily submit to the death-stroke?

Up to this time the higher nobility, the so-called "seigniors," who were either stadtholders or Knights of the Golden Fleece, had firmly resisted the encroachments of the King, and now, under the leadership of Orange, they espoused the cause of the people. There were stern, fierce men among them, who cared not a whit for the taking of human life, for the days of sword-law were not far remote; but they could not look on unmoved at such cruelties, and such contempt for the rights of the people, as were exhibited every day. We can only wonder at their moderation, considering the provocations at the outset of these persecutions. The influence of Orange is clearly discernible in this matter. For his knightly brother, Count Ludwig of Nassau, and his bosom friend, the noble Marnix of Saint Aldegonde, were the leaders of the league of the nobility, and drew up the document subsequently known as the "Compromise." In this covenant they denounced the Inquisition, but protested they would do nothing to abate the royal authority. They agreed to support the King's government and to suppress all seditions, but at the same time pledged themselves to "extirpate and eradicate the Inquisition in any form it might take, as the mother of disorder and iniquity." This significant and memorable agreement was signed by four hundred of the leading men of the country.

Harmless as this proceeding was in itself, the King looked upon it as an act deserving of death. Those who signed it felt they were signing a death-warrant; but there was no hesitation on that account. Without thus intending, they had voluntarily signed the revolt of the Netherlands.

The first step taken by the league, upon the advice of Orange, was to send a letter in April of the following year (1566) to the Duchess Margaret of Parma, in which they prayed that the King might recall his recent edict and discontinue the heresy persecution. Three hundred noblemen assembled at Brussels to present the letter, and proceeded to the palace of the Duchess in a brilliant but unarmed cavalcade. The handsome but reckless Count von Brederode, who was to present the letter, and Count Ludwig of Nassau, brother of Orange, who drew it up, headed the procession.

The Duchess, who was masculine in appearance, and who was ordinarily courageous (her passion was hunting), was greatly agitated when she saw them approaching, though none of them carried arms. It was her evil conscience which alarmed her. How often had she and her brother Philip made promises, not one of which was kept, that the rights and liberties of the Netherlanders should be maintained!

Count Barlaymont, one of her most zealous followers, who was standing near her, begged her to be calm, and contemptuously said:

"It is only a pack of strolling beggars" (gueux)—a derisive epithet which subsequently was adopted by the nobles as the name of their party. Although he spoke in a whisper to the Duchess, several per sons overheard him. On the next day Brederode gave a banquet to his associates in the Culenborg mansion at which the contents of the letter were again discussed. Upon this occasion Barlaymont's insulting epithet (there were several poor persons among the nobles) was adopted as the honorable name of their party.

"All right," exclaimed Brederode, "beggars we will be. We will fight the Inquisition and remain loyal to the King, even if we are forced to wear the beggar's emblem." Suspending a leathern wallet from his neck, and lifting a beggar's wooden bowl to his mouth, he exclaimed "Vivent les Gueux"  ("Long live the Beggars ")—a famous cry, which rang through the Netherlands, on battlefields and at banquets, in cities and villages, in times of danger and of peace, a thousand times repeated in the next few years.

The first to be greeted by the new appellation were the three seigniors, Orange, Egmont, and Hoorn, who spent a short time in the Culenborg Palace, but took no part in the banquet. They were greeted with the cry, "Long live the King and the Beggars"; for the members of the league were anxious to be in accord with the three most distinguished leaders of the nation who were not members because of their positions as stadtholders and state councillors.

As time passed and no visible results followed the spectacular presentation of the letter, Orange all the more fervently and eloquently protested against the mistaken policy of the King in the sessions if the Council; but Margaret could do nothing of herself, being only a tool in her brother's hands. At last, however, she agreed to request from her brother a more moderate edict. It was called the "Moderatie," but the common people changed the term to "Murderantie," or "Murderation." The only moderation in the edict was the provision that heretics might be hanged or beheaded instead of being burned. In reality, Philip made no concession at all, for it was as easy to send heretics out of the world one way as the other. He cared so little for moderation, indeed, that he assented to the execution of the very envoys who presented Margaret's letter and who boldly urged him to carry out its suggestions. One of these envoys was the brother of Count Hoorn. His murder was one of the most shocking acts of which Philip was guilty, and helped to make the breach between him and the Netherlanders irreparable. They were no longer satisfied with lawful protests like those made by the nobles. They were roused to fury, and the resentments they had cherished so long now demanded action. Like the volcano, which, after long internal disturbance at last belches out in furious eruption, the people finally gave vent to their rage in a violent and destructive uprising. Relying upon the protection of the league and taking up the cry, "Long live the Beggars," they swept away every barrier.

Protestantism had made astonishing progress in the country in the very face of persecution. The blood which had been shed resulted in still more bloodshed. The converts to the new faith were already in a majority. They no longer lived in terror or hid away from their persecutors. They were possessed with the spirit of defiance. They held their meetings by daylight in the open fields, instead of at night in lonely places in the woods, or in caves and cellars. Instead of making no resistance to violence and allowing themselves to be seized and put to death, they went to their assemblies armed and mounted, and a pistol shot was often the signal for divine service. They gathered together by thousands. As many as twenty thousand persons often assembled in the vicinity of Antwerp, and listened for hours to the excited harangues of their preachers. These harangues were not exhortations to peace and patience. They breathed the spirit of hostility to Rome, recalled memories of wrongs endured, and warned the people of more dangers to come. Men shook their fists in rage, and wildly clamored for revenge.

At last that disgraceful mob violence known as the "image-breaking" broke loose. It began in Antwerp and spread over the country like wildfire. The mobs broke into the churches; the statues of Mary were smashed, and the pictures of the saints were torn down and burned. The altars were desecrated, pulpits were hacked to pieces, and some churches were demolished. More than four hundred of them were destroyed in one province. The loss occasioned in a few hours in Antwerp alone was four hundred thousand thalers. No blood was shed in these excesses, but the tumult became so great in the country that the Regent was alarmed and meditated flight. The real friends of the people regretted the outbreak and felt that there was now an insurmountable barrier between King and people. Philip, on the one hand, never forgave; and the multitude, on the other, was now capable of any violence. Loyal Orange sought in every way to close the breach. He went to Antwerp and suppressed the disorder by the force of his authority. He also visited the provinces and many cities, among them Utrecht, Haarlem, Leyden, and Amsterdam. It is wonderful the influence this man exercised upon the excited crowds by his personal dignity, the fascination of his speech, and his tactful powers of persuasion. Peace and quiet were restored wherever he appeared, but he was more than once in danger from fanatics when alone and unarmed. A tailor in Antwerp aimed a loaded gun at him, shouting, "Die, thou traitor, thou art guilty of the deaths of our brethren!" Orange's life hung upon the movement of a finger, when some one in the crowd pushed the would-be assassin aside. Dangers like these were of such constant occurrence that it required extraordinary courage on his part not to be dissuaded from his purposes.

While Orange was not alarmed he could have worked more effectively had his efforts been recognized, but he met with little return of gratitude from either King or Regent. In order to restore quiet he had succeeded, with the help of Margaret, in obtaining some slight concessions to the Protestants; but as soon as order was restored she pretended that the concessions were dangerous, and refused to sanction them. She even despatched troops under the fierce Noircarme against the Protestants who had trusted the assurances of Orange. Growing bolder, she persecuted them so vindictively that a contemporary writer says that there was no city so small in which fifty, one hundred, two hundred, and sometimes three hundred persons were not killed, not including those who were hanged as suspects. Orange, who was thoroughly enraged by Margaret's treacherous conduct, naturally broke with her forever and resigned his position. The crafty woman refused to accept his resignation, and wrote most flattering letters to him, while at the same time she was writing the meanest insinuations and charges against him to her brother in Spain.

Meanwhile the extremest measures were in course of preparation by Philip. He felt outraged and insulted by the vandalism of the image-breakers, and laid his plans for retribution. It had seemed to him for a long time that his sister had not been persecuting Protestants with sufficient industry. The royal fanatic was determined that only a stream of blood and the complete suppression of the slightest desire for liberty should expiate the outrage.

Now came reports which froze the very blood of the Netherlanders and transfixed them with horror. Every one turned pale at the name of Alva. It was aid he was coming with a powerful army, that his administration would be merciless, and that Orange, Egmont, and Hoorn were picked out as the first victims for the hangman.

These reports were vague rumors at first, but they gradually took real shape, and at last were verified. Orange—who used to say that as it was the duty of the scholar to use the agencies of scientific research to ascertain the secrets of nature, so he must, in the interest of the people, seek to fathom the secrets in the heart of the King—comprehended the full import of this news. He knew that his own death, as well as that of Egmont and Hoorn, the sending of Alva, and the ruin of the country had been decided upon. If the fall of the heavens had been announced, men could not have been more alarmed, or lived in more terrible suspense. But what was to be done? Were they to allow themselves to be murdered without resistance, merely to satisfy the revenge of a tyrant? Not if Orange could help it!

Orange looked the danger in the face with cool defiance and the utmost composure; while others were in a panic he deliberately formed his plan of action. He summoned his friends to an interview in Termonde and laid before them, for their discussion, two well-considered schemes which he thought would meet the exigencies of the situation. The one was to evade Alva by a general and speedy departure of all suspects from the country; and the other was to place the country under the direct sovereignty of the Emperor of Germany and make an armed resistance with the aid of the German princes.

Egmont, Hoorn, William of Orange


Both these plans were frustrated by the indiscretion and susceptibility of Egmont, who had been won over to the Spanish side by the blandishment of Margaret and a crafty letter from the King. At the close of the interview it was apparent that each was bent upon having his own plan adopted. Perceiving that there was no hope for concert of action, Orange decided to leave the country. It was with sorrowing heart he thought of the people, who seemed doomed to ruin by the obstinate folly of their leaders and the cruelty of the King. It would have been suicidal for him to remain and die, however. He chose to live, to live for the sake of the people, so that they should not be left alone in their time of greatest need, and so that he might procure help from abroad, whence alone help could he expected. It would have been a slight thing for a man of Orange's heroic mould to await death at Alva's hands and share the fate of others. It was more courageous to live for a desperate cause than it was to abandon it because of irresolution and weakness, as Egmont had done. Egmont's death later was greatly mourned, but the people did not think of it as heroic; whereas Orange, who became the country's hope in spite of Alva's power, and risked his life for the people upon the battlefield, will always be ranked as a great hero.

Orange held his final interview with Egmont in the presence of Count Mansfeld, at the village of Willebroeck, between Brussels and Antwerp. He would gladly have saved him, for he knew only too well that he was a doomed man. His keen political vision divined the future as easily as if it lay spread out before his eyes. His passionate entreaties were useless, however. He could make no impression upon the rash and fickle man; and the memorable interview was closed with Orange's parting words:

"Dear Count, your credulous nature will be your ruin. I have a presentiment—God grant I may be wrong—which tells me you will be the bridge over which Spain will invade the Netherlands."

They embraced at parting, and each was in tears. They never saw each other again. A few weeks later Orange went, with his family and brothers, from Breda, where he was residing, to his childhood's home, Dillenburg, in the principality of Nassau.

The news of Orange's departure caused general consternation. Many thousands followed him. If many more had done the same, it would have been better for the Netherlands.

Alba's Reign of Terror

As soon as Alva, the hangman of the people, invaded the Netherlands, the meaning of the "Moderation," or "Murderation," policy was revealed. He did not bring a very large army with him, but it was composed of picked soldiers, every one of whom was a thoroughly trained and experienced fighter, and a miniature Alva besides in bloodthirstiness, cruelty, and greed. The Netherlanders were absolutely at their mercy. Margaret, who, in comparison with Alva, seemed even gentle and kind-hearted, was stripped of all authority; for Philip had invested Alva with absolute power. She had no alternative left but to abdicate, which she did most indignantly.

It was not necessary for Alva to show himself personally, with his lean, yellow face circled with bristly hair and a black beard, his nose curved like the beak of a bird of prey, and his ferociously twinkling black eyes. His name was all-sufficient to inspire terror. Its effect was marvellous. At its mere mention the "League of the Beggars" was disrupted, and the nobles hastened to take a new oath of submission. The cities which had been hostile to Margaret surrendered and were garrisoned. Many Protestants renounced the new faith and returned to the old; but they would have done better if, like the other hundreds of thousands, they had become fugitives from their homes, for their cowardly renunciation and return were of little avail. Alva, who did not spare the innocent when he needed victims, had still less mercy for backsliders.

Alva's scheme contemplated three different objects: First, a dreadful revenge upon the dignitaries of the country for the recent image-breaking; second, the eradication of heresy, or Protestantism; and, third, the utter destruction of the boasted Netherlands freedom. With his native energy, stimulated by greed and fanaticism, there was little doubt of his ability to accomplish all three. His way was marked by death upon every side, and wretchedness and despair followed his steps like shadows.

Alva's first move in the development of his plans was the organization of a new tribunal, whose ostensible purpose was to pronounce sentence in accordance with forms of law, but which in reality pronounced no other than that of death. The judges became so accustomed to this that upon one occasion one of their number who had slept all through the sitting, when suddenly aroused to cast his vote, exclaimed, without stopping to think, "To the gallows with him! To the gallows with him!

Alva called his tribunal the "Council of Troubles," but the people called it the "Council of Blood." All its members were cruel in the extreme, and Vergas, the president, even surpassed Alva in bloodthirstiness and savagery.

As the groundwork for its decisions the tribunal declared that to have signed or forwarded petitions against the Inquisition, the new bishops, and the edicts; to have failed in resisting the field preachers of the new faith and the image-breakers; to have denied the right of the King to dispossess the provinces of their liberty, and to manifest the slightest disrespect for the proceedings of the Council, constituted high treason. Briefly, it made all true Netherlanders guilty of treason and punishable with death; no one could escape except through the undeserved mercy of the King. Every one was prejudged. Once, after an innocent person had been executed, Vergas said:

"It is of no consequence that he died innocent; it will be all the better for him in the other world."

Peter de Witt of Amsterdam was beheaded for restraining the leader of a mob from firing upon a magistrate. His action was considered a proof that he had an understanding with the rebels. It was deemed sufficient cause for the death of a woman that she, years before, had struck a small image of the Virgin with her slipper; and of her servant, because she saw her mistress do it and failed to reprove her. In the case of a very wealthy person, who was entirely innocent, his wealth alone was deemed sufficient reason for his execution; after which his possessions were confiscated upon the ground that they belonged to the King.

None of the estimates of the number of the thousands who fell victims to Alva's fury is absolutely exact, but the Netherlands historian, Horst, is unquestionably correct in the following statement:

"Persons of every class, age, and position were condemned and thrown into prison. . . . The whole country seemed one vast charnel-house. Every day witnessed its frequent funeral processions, and the tolling of death bells, announcing the almost countless victims, brought sorrow to the hearts of children, parents, relatives, and friends."

The first distinguished persons to fall into the pitiless hands of Alva were Counts Egmont and Hoorn. The thoughtless Egmont had entirely forgotten the warnings of his friend Orange. He even welcomed Alva enthusiastically upon his arrival, and participated in his reception ceremonies at Brussels, utterly failing to heed the cruel and sinister glances which Alva shot at him. Egmont was like a little bird, twittering and hopping about among the branches, unmindful of the hawk circling above it and preparing to swoop down upon its victim. Egmont had also persuaded Hoorn to attend the reception, and he, too, fell into the net of the clever fowler. Alva availed himself of a brilliant banquet given to the Netherlands notables by his son Frederigo to entrap Egmont and Hoorn and arrest the unsuspecting pair. Orange would have met the same fate had he not frustrated Alva's designs by flight. It was Orange, indeed, whom they were most eager to catch. When the crafty Granvella heard that he had escaped the murderous conspiracy against him, he exclaimed:

"Alva's entire haul is of little account, for he has not caught the Silent One."

Granvella was in the habit of calling Orange "The Silent"—an appellation used by him as a term of reproach, but preserved in history as a title of honor. Another of the King's advisers, when he heard of Orange's flight, said:

"Our joy will be of brief duration. Woe unto us for the wrath that will come to us from Germany!"

They well knew that by his judicious retreat to Dillenburg Orange had struck them a dangerous blow.

Proceedings were next instituted against the fugitive Prince. He was summoned by Alva to appear before the Council of Troubles and answer charges filed against him. He was arraigned in a public indictment as the originator and most zealous promoter of sedition. The worst excesses of the rebels were charged to his account, and it was further declared that he was contemplating still more extreme outrages. To have been in communication with him was also regarded as sufficient ground for the condemnation of any one. As they could not rapture him, his property was confiscated, and his palaces at Brussels and Breda were destroyed. Then they kidnapped his son, a lad of thirteen, who was studying at the University of Louvain, and kept him in captivity in Spain for many years, notwithstanding the protests of the University officials, whose rights had been wantonly violated. Orange refused to acknowledge the authority of Alva to summon him before any tribunal. He declared that as a German prince he was answerable to the German emperor alone; as a Netherlands stadtholder he could be tried only in the Netherlands courts; while as a Knight of the Golden Fleece he was answerable to the King alone. His most effective and far-reaching protest, however, was his immediate and formal declaration of war against Alva. He realized there was no other resource left. He soon issued a public manifesto, in which he said:

"I must plunge the Netherlands into war, because it cannot be avoided. My position as prince and a Netherlands dignitary makes it incumbent upon me to rescue the people from Alva's tyranny and restore their liberty. I hope that Philip, whose good intentions have been defeated by the intrigues of certain crafty Spaniards, will eventually recognize the loyalty of the people and respect his oath to maintain their liberty."

The Prince was not unmindful of the cause of the Netherlands during his stay in Dillenburg. Though absent in body he was with his people in spirit, and no labor or sacrifice appeared to him too great if it conduced in the least toward promoting their interests. Had Orange been other than he was, he might have said: "I have played my part in the Netherlands and can do no more. I must now strive to forget. I still have the possessions handed down to me and will be content. I shall be, like my ancestors, a count of Nassau, and satisfy myself by engaging in some other form of activity"; or, following the custom of his period, he might have plunged into dissolute excesses, or spent his time hunting in the great forests around Dillenburg. Had he been a man of different mould it never would have occurred to him that he, a prince comparatively powerless, and despoiled of most of his possessions, could make successful resistance to a world-power like Spain, and crush the tyrant who was trampling upon the liberties and rights of the people.

The German emperor at that time had not sufficient courage to make war against Spain, and it was long before the English queen, Elizabeth, ventured secretly to assist him. But what neither emperors nor kings dared, this man dared single-handed. He could not offer armed resistance by himself, but he accomplished the marvel of collecting an army, as it were out of nothing, with which he could begin an organized opposition to Alva.

In conference with the princes of the Palatinate, Wurttemberg, Baden, Hesse, and Nassau, he obtained promises of assistance from each by the persuasive power of his eloquence. He sold his silver plate, jewels, and costly furniture, and mortgaged his lands, in order to pay the expense of recruiting mercenaries. The army that was eventually to free the Netherlands, however, was still in the future. It was to cost much fatiguing exertion, many a persuasive appeal, many a disappointed hope, and almost incredible solicitude and labor, before it would be ready to take the field. And this man alone, so to speak, had to do everything!

In the meantime the Prince had begun to give serious attention to the religious movement of the time. He returned to the Protestantism in which he had been reared at his father's house, but which he had forsaken at the court of Charles V. The memories of his childhood, the influence of his excellent mother,—who was still living in Dillenburg,—but more than all, the cruel and fanatical persecution of the time, combined to arouse his religious convictions. From this time forward he manifested a serious and deeply religious tendency. He seemed to be inspired with sacred enthusiasm for the struggle. He regarded the cause for which he had staked his all as a divine one, and his confidence in victory was as absolute as his trust in God. His battle-cry was:

"Liberty for the fatherland, and freedom of conscience."

Preparations for the campaign were so far advanced at last that the army invaded the Netherlands; but if that army had only shared the enthusiasm of its leader or had been qualified to carry out his plans for the war, it would have been better for Orange. As it turned out, the plans were most unfortunate, though afterwards they were approved by all experts. They contemplated a simultaneous attack by four divisions at as many suitable places, so as to involve the whole country in the uprising against its oppressors. Success, therefore, depended largely upon the assistance furnished by the Netherlanders.

Unfortunately, Alva learned of the plans before they could be put in operation, so that instead of being taken by surprise, he had time to prepare his own plans to thwart them. It was also unfortunate that the four divisions did not attack simultaneously, for this gave Alva the opportunity to defeat them in detail. Worse than this, the raw, undisciplined mercenaries were no match for Alva's veterans, and could not hold their positions. Worse than all combined, the Netherlanders, paralyzed by fear of Alva's vindictiveness, were afraid to declare openly for Orange, and soon were completely cowed by the fresh cruelties which he devised after the war began.

The results of this campaign, which was initiated with such high hopes, may be briefly told: The first division, under De Coqueville, was defeated and cut to pieces by a French army, which came to Alva's assistance. In like manner, the division under Counts Villars and Lurnay were defeated and dispersed. Orange's brother, Ludwig of Nassau, with his youngest brother Adolphus entered West Friesland with ten thousand infantry and three thousand cavalry, and routed the Spaniards at the monastery of Heiliger Lee. It was a victory barren of result, however, and cost the life of Adolphus. This defeat roused the fury of Alva. The people had begun to take heart again, but Alva once more disheartened them by the execution of seventeen Netherlands dignitaries in the market-place of Brussels. He finished his vindictive work a few days later, when Egmont and Hoorn, unjustly condemned, ascended the scaffold.

A terrible panic spread among the people; for what might not be possible to a tyrant who exercised his authority like this? Alva in reality had accomplished just what he had planned. The people were disheartened and in despair. There was no danger of resistance from them. He could easily deal with Count Louis, for he greatly excelled him in the number of his troops and ill the abundance of his war material. In the end Louis was routed, and barely escaped with his life.

The Prince of Orange arrived at last with his army, but not until all the other divisions had been defeated. He had been delayed by the inexcusable conduct of his German allies, who did not favor an immediate advance, and continually urged him to remain quiet and wait a more opportune time. It was now too late for success, and the relief of the Netherlands was hopeless.

His last resource was a scheme to fortify one of the principal cities, and under its protection develop further plans. But Alva frustrated this scheme also. Orange, nevertheless, availed himself of every military resource to strengthen himself. In this connection, the passage of his army across the Meuse will always remain a masterpiece of military maneuver, worthy to rank with Caesar's crossing of the Sicoris in Catalonia. Alva could not repress his amazement when he heard of it, and exclaimed:

"Is that army a flock of wild geese, that it can fly over rivers like the Meuse?"

Orange's skill, however, was of no avail against the shrewd tactics of Alva. Although he had little doubt of his ability to defeat Orange, Alva would not give battle and risk the loss of victory. He relied upon the spirit of revolt in Orange's ranks to work his discomfiture; and with good reason, for revolt was the order of the day among mercenaries. By the prolongation of the campaign, the lack of subsistence, and the uncertainty of pay, Orange's army grew more and more discontented.

The Prince, however, made one more bold effort to provoke Alva to an engagement. With banners flying and trumpets sounding, he advanced to within a few thousand paces of Alva's encampment, but the latter fell back. At last, bitterly disappointed, Orange was forced to relinquish his hopes of battle and deliverance. Winter was approaching, and his troops grew more and more rebellious. Though unconquered, he decided to retreat, and began his march toward France.

At last open revolt broke out. Officers were killed in the presence of the Prince by the mutineers, and one shot struck Orange's saddle. There was nothing left for him but to dismiss his army; in order to accomplish this and discharge his obligations he mortgaged what remained of his own possessions, and what money he could not raise he engaged to pay when his other dominions were restored to him. Clad in the garb of a peasant he went back alone to Dillenburg. Thus, after costly sacrifices of money and life, the campaign, which began with such glowing expectations, ended.

The deliverance of the sorely harassed country appeared impossible, and yet when the last hope seemed extinguished, there was a change for the better. It was not brought about by any relenting on Philip's part, or by any abatement of Alva's cruelty, but by the blow which had been dealt to Alva's insolence. How far he carried his effrontery is shown by the fact that he had a statue erected to himself, cast from captured cannon, the inscription on the pedestal commemorating his glory as the extinguisher of heresy and sedition in the Netherlands. Now that Orange had dared to make armed resistance, his wrath was furious. Up to this time his usual victims were the nobles; now, he turned upon the wealthy trades-people. Philip, though the master of golden America, needed money, and had sent to him for it. He procured it by the radical plan of executing wealthy persons and taking their property.

The large sums secured in this way were not sufficient, however. Thereupon he enacted the "tenth-of-a-penny "law, which levied a tax of ten per cent upon every piece of merchandise sold, and as often as it was sold. This tax, which bore heavily upon trade and industry, struck at the very roots of Netherlands prosperity. The people had always been sensitive about money matters, and not even the heresy persecutions, the slaughter of the nobles, or the robbery of their rights and privileges, aroused such indignation as the "tenth penny." It has been rightly said, "The tenth penny cost the King of Spain the Netherlands."

The cities which had feared to open their gates when Orange knocked and asked admission suddenly plucked up courage when menaced by this ruinous tax. If they could have found an opportunity they would have espoused his cause, and that opportunity was at hand.

The sea, which had visited its wrath upon them and swept away thousands of lives, now became the ally of the suffering people. What could not he accomplished on land was destined to be accomplished on the water. Ever on the alert to discover means of deliverance from Spanish tyranny, Orange bethought him of the so-called "Sea Beggars"—those Netherlands fugitives who had been banished from the fatherland and found a home on the sea, where they engaged in privateering, Spanish merchantmen being their favorite victims. They were not much better than pirates; but Orange, recognizing their usefulness, restrained their freebooting excesses, laid down laws for their conduct, gave them officers, built vessels for them, and organized them into a navy for operations against Spain.

It was a little navy at the outset, but it assumed importance when, accidentally driven by the winds to the mouth of the Meuse, it captured the strongly fortified port of Brill, the key to that part of the country. This key was now in the hands of Orange, who up to this time had striven hard to secure just such a position; Count de la Marcke, the Admiral of the "Beggar Navy," having compelled the citizens of Brill to swear to preserve the city for the Prince of Orange as the royal stadtholder of Holland. Thus Brill became the centre of Netherlands liberty. Many other cities quickly followed its example, drove out the Spaniards, and declared for Orange.

Alva was alarmed when he heard this news. Several prominent citizens of Brussels who had been arrested and condemned were released. He saw that a new era was dawning in the Netherlands. The change was due to him, however, for it was his tyranny and persecution that prepared the soil for Orange's harvest of liberty.

The Horrors of Haarlem

As already stated, many of the principal cities, and at last the entire provinces of Holland, Zealand, Utrecht, and Friesland, followed the example of Brill by renouncing allegiance to Alva and declaring for Orange. This act did not imply absolute revolt against Spanish authority, for they had not yet seceded from Spain. They merely declared against Alva and recognized the Prince of Orange, who had previously been the deputy-governor of these provinces, as well as the lawful stadtholder under the king.

To legalize their acts the dignitaries of the provinces and magistrates of cities—among them, Dordrecht, Haarlem, Leyden, Delft, Amsterdam, Gouda, Rotterdam, Gorkum, Schiedam, Schoonhoven, Brill, Alkmaar, Hoorn, Enkhuizen, Edam, Monnikendam, Medemblik, and Purmerend—assembled at Dordrecht on July 15, 1572. The absolute authority of the Prince (who was represented by Marnix of Saint Aldegonde) as royal stadtholder was again acknowledged, and Count de la Marcke, the captor of Brill, was appointed Admiral of the fleet. The assembly also declared freedom of worship to the three Christian communions,—the Lutheran, Reformed, and Roman Catholic,—and decided to advise the other Netherlands provinces to elect the Prince as Protector of the United Netherlands during the King's absence; for the remaining eleven southern provinces—among them, Brabant, the richest and most powerful of them all—had not yet abandoned their submission to Alva's despotic sway.

The step thus taken by these four northern provinces involved great hazard. They had provoked the wrath of Alva, and unless they were speedily prepared to protect themselves, he might visit terrible retribution upon them. But these people were courageous,—much more courageous, fierce, and aggressive than their brethren in the rich, luxurious South. They were the men who had fought with the sea for mastery of the land. Protestantism had made a deeper impression upon them, and they had greater confidence in Orange, whom they almost idolized, and with whose administration of government they were already acquainted.

Orange was not the man to betray this confidence, or to hold back when his people cried, "Come over and help us." Although it entailed the sacrifice of his own and his family's fortunes and overwhelmed him in debt to raise an army, he succeeded in organizing one, and marched to the Netherlands with eleven thousand infantry and six thousand cavalry. Though the expedition was undertaken with every prospect of success, it was as unfortunate as the previous one.

He was received this time with open arms by the cities, and with the aid of the fleet he was enabled to attack by sea and land, but it was a difficult task, with mercenaries such as he had raked together, to make any headway against Alva's thoroughly experienced army. They fought bravely enough in battle, but their principal occupation was pillaging and reveling in every form of dissipation. As they were almost constantly engaged in these excesses, and as their pay was both scanty and irregular, it was impossible to maintain order or discipline among them. Orange went into Flanders with this army to relieve his brother Louis, who was besieged by Alva at Mons, which the latter had captured by sudden assault. Alva, however, pursued his old tactics, and avoided battle with Orange, though the latter bombarded his well-protected encampment.

Retreat was Orange's only alternative, for his troops, enraged by his failure to pay them, spent their time mainly in plundering the people. He had also narrowly escaped personal capture in a midnight surprise. His worst discouragement, however, was the treachery of France. The French king, only a short time before this, had promised to do everything in his power to save the Netherlands from Spanish despotism; but, exemplifying a common saying of the time, "No one keeps faith with a heretic," he suddenly changed his intentions. Instead of the help which Orange had expected, he received the tidings of the horrors of Saint Bartholomew's Eve in Paris, which Charles IX precipitated, and which in a few days cost the lives of thirty thousand of the best citizens of France.

Philip of Spain was so overjoyed at this horrible deed that he celebrated a Te Deum, and Alva commended Charles for his decision and courage. There was great rejoicing in the Spanish camp at Mons; hut Orange was so overcome by the awful news that Ile declared he felt as if he had been felled to the ground by the blow of a sledge hammer. It was at this time he wrote:

"It has pleased God to take from us every human hope which we had placed upon man."

It may have been due to the effect of this news upon Orange that he so far neglected his usual wariness as to expose himself to a night attack by the crafty Alva. It was so successful that Orange was saved from capture only by his faithful dog, who did not cease from barking and pulling at him until he had aroused him from sleep. He was exposed to still another danger, from which his escape was even more narrow. He was so deeply in debt to his mercenaries that some of their officers conspired to seize him and deliver him to the Spaniards for the large reward they would be sure to pay—a fate from which he was saved only by the determined exertions of those who still remained loyal to him. He reached Holland with only seventy troopers, determined, as he said, "to remain in Holland and Zealand by God's grace, and there await whatever it was God's pleasure for him to do."

The war now took on a different aspect. For the time being, armies did not meet in the field; as Orange could not collect troops able to meet Alva's force, he was compelled to act upon the defensive. The cities and provinces which had renounced Alva now had to protect themselves as best they could from his revenge. Fortunately they were strongly fortified, and the courage of their people was unbroken. It was still more fortunate that Orange was now in their midst and ready to assume the responsibility for their welfare.

In the brief respite from Alva's wrath Orange had so far restored the old order of things and re-established the reign of law, that the people who had been the victims of continuous lawlessness and despotic tyranny breathed more freely again. The cities once more enjoyed their old rights and liberties. Their revenues, instead of falling into the rapacious clutches of the Spaniards, were administered for their own advantage, by a chamber of accounts which first sat in Haarlem, and later in Delft. The entire direction of the governing power was in safe, loyal, and experienced hands. Before long, indications of the old prosperity were visible, when suddenly Alva and his cruel son, Don Frederick or Frederick of Toledo, were seen approaching like the dark shadows of fate.

The fortress of Mons where Orange, it will he remembered, made his last effort, had already been stoutly defended by Count Louis for three months against Alva. The people of other cities had to pay dearly for it. Cities in Guelderland, Flanders, and Brabant, which were friendly to Orange, were the victims of Alva's fury. Mechlin was so despoiled that Alva sent four millions of plunder to Antwerp.

This, however, was but the prelude to the full chapter of calamity awaiting the provinces; and yet these outrages only served to strengthen them in their heroic resistance. Zutphen was burned, and Naarden on the Zuyder Zee was levelled to the ground, and its people robbed and massacred. The most terrible atrocities were perpetrated at Haarlem, but at the same time the loftiest deeds of heroism were also witnessed there during its seven months' siege—deeds which hardly have their equal in the world's history.

Haarlem, situated upon the now dried up Haarlem Lake, was built in the Dutch style, and was one of the richest and most beautiful cities in Holland. Its houses were elegant, its streets spacious and regular, its canals deep and navigable. Don Frederick invested this comparatively unprotected city with thirty thousand men and a large artillery force. The siege created great alarm. The burgomaster and magistrates were inclined to surrender, but the people were of a different mind, and decided to make a vigorous resistance; in this they were encouraged by the brave commandant, Friese Wybond von Ripperda.

Aided by the dense autumnal fog, the people were able to lay in supplies of provisions and strengthen the defences, after which they confidently expected that Orange would come to their assistance. The Spaniards were repulsed in two assaults with heavy losses. The women participated in the defence. Widow Kenau Hasselaer commanded a troop of amazons, who rivaled the men in activity and heroic courage. Huge stones, live coals, boiling oil, and burning hoops smeared with pitch were rained upon the heads of the assailants in such quantities that their ardor was considerably abated. The Spanish losses were so heavy, eight hundred having been killed at one time in a sally made by the Haarlemers, that the latter inscribed upon their standards "Haarlem is the graveyard of the Spaniards."

But the Haarlemers could not maintain such courage forever. All of Orange's efforts to succor the beleaguered city were frustrated by the vigilance of the Spaniards. Count de la Marcke, famous for his capture of Brill, who came to the defence of the city with a body of troops raised by Orange, met with a crushing defeat at Hillegom, between Haarlem and Leyden. The people were now compelled to rely upon subsistence brought across the lake on sledges built by Orange for that purpose; but even this relief, scanty as it was, was soon cut off by the Spanish fleet, which controlled the lake and prevented their return.

Meanwhile, another force was sent to their assistance by Orange, under command of Batenburg. It was planned that he should make a dash through the Spanish camp, during a sally of the garrison, and take four hundred wagons loaded with provisions and powder into the city. The news of this expedition was sent to the Haarlemers by carrier pigeons, but the birds were shot by the Spaniards. This put the latter in possession of the secret and enabled them easily to frustrate the scheme.

Orange was wellnigh in despair. He wrote a most pressing letter to his brothers, particularly to Count Louis, urging them to send help, as subsistence in the city was almost gone; but it was all in vain. The citizens still made a desperate resistance. Both besieged and besiegers displayed such fury and vindictiveness that even Alva was amazed and wrote to the King: "Such a war as this was never heard of before." A famous historian of our own time says:

"There is scarcely an instance in history of fearful suffering, of exalted patriotism, of unconquerable valor, of terrible cruelty, to be compared with what Haarlem endured and displayed in that awful time."

Meanwhile hunger laid its cruel hands upon the city. The people devoured most loathsome things to satisfy their craving for food. Many died of starvation in the streets. It was only when the last hope of relief had disappeared that surrender was decided upon. The most savage of soldiers might well have honored such heroism as the city had shown, but the inhuman son of Alva knew not the meaning of the word pity. The garrison and most of the burghers were sent to the scaffold. Five hangmen and their helpers worked day and night, and when hanging became too slow a mode of death for Don Frederick, the victims were tied together, two and two, and thrown into the Haarlem Lake.

Orange was terribly disheartened by these outrages, which cried to the very heavens. He wrote at once to his brother Louis: "Since it has pleased the good God, we must submit to the divine will. I call upon God to witness that I have done everything in my power to help the city." These unnatural cruelties, instead of discouraging the Netherlanders, only aroused still greater indignation and resentment. If Alva really believed that he could break down any further resistance by the terror which reports of these outrages would arouse, he soon discovered his mistake. The courage of the people was all the more inflexible; their determination to continue the struggle all the more steadfast.

The Spaniards now met with some reverses, which roused Orange's activity anew. The "Beggar Fleet," four-and-twenty sail, defeated six Spanish vessels which were much larger and more heavily armed, upon the Zuyder Zee, and Count Bossu, the Spanish admiral, was captured. Alva's son, also, was forced to raise the siege of Alkmaar, because Orange's decision to flood the country rather than give up the city. Several castles and cities, Gertruidenberg among them, were also retaken by the Netherlanders.

This blow to the unspeakable arrogance of Alva was quickly followed by many others. The second came soon after, when Alva and his son were recalled from the Netherlands. Alva quit the county followed by the execrations of the people, to end his miserable career in obscurity and disgrace.

The Relief of Leyden

The departure of Alva was of little consequence to Orange and had little effect upon the condition of the four provinces.

The most that can be said is that the new governor-general was no longer Alva, but Requesens, and that a slight degree of moderation was substituted for the cruelty which had prevailed. Philip adhered to his policy of weeding out heresy and reducing the refractory provinces to absolute submission. Requesens abolished the "Blood Council" and the "tenth penny," and removed the Alva statue from the market-place in Brussels, but he levied most exorbitant taxes, and marched his haughty Spanish troops against the provinces, as confident of victory as ever was Alva.

Orange meanwhile had secured some advantages. He had obtained the release of his friend Marnix de Saint Aldegonde from Spanish captivity, by exchange for the Spanish Admiral Bossu, and in a second sea-fight had captured the important city of Middelburg, whose possession had cost Spain seven millions; but he suddenly found himself again confronted by a Spanish army far superior to any Netherlands force. His brothers were now obliged to collect an army to meet the Spaniards.

The Netherlands had been so despoiled that rigid economy had to be practised in the castle at Dillenburg. They already had to deny themselves the comforts of life to provide the means for the defence of the country. To organize an army they must do still more. Jewels, valuable bric-a-brac, and tapestries were sold. Women and children took the chains from their necks and rings from their fingers and contributed them to the cause. At the castle they ate from pewter dishes and drank from ordinary cups, instead of from gold and silver ones. It is hard to imagine any nobler deeds of self-sacrifice for a stranger people than those which this family performed for the Netherlands, inspired by the spirit of Orange, their son and brother.

This expedition also met with ill fortune. A decisive battle was fought at Mooker Heyde, resulting in a complete rout. Counts Louis and Henry, brothers of Orange who led the army, voluntarily sacrificed their lives like heroes. No one knows where they fell. It is only known that they were buried somewhere at Mooker Heyde and that they faced death like heroes. Orange was greatly overcome by the news of the death of his brothers, and wept bitterly. Three of them had now sacrificed themselves in the cause of Netherlands liberty. The severest loss was that of Louis, a highly gifted man of extraordinary ability and chivalrous magnanimity, whom the Netherlanders called "a knight without fear or reproach." In all their struggles he had been Orange's right hand. The mother's grief also made a deep impression upon him. She now sat solitary in the castle at Dillenburg, mourning the death of her children and the lost glories of their house. How could he console her? What was left to sacrifice? His own life. But before this sacrifice was made there must be many a hard struggle.

As they were no longer confronted by an army, the Spaniards began to invest various cities. The important city of Leyden was already threatened with the same fate which overtook Haarlem, unless speedy relief came. But whence could it come? Orange had engaged to send assistance to the beleaguered city if it would hold out three months. This was the utmost time Leyden could promise, for its provisions would not last longer. It was only by the wise distribution of the food on hand, and by the energy of such heroes as John Van der Does and Peter Van der Werf, who were the leaders of the people, that it was possible to hold out against the enemy for that period. But the three months had elapsed, and no relief had come. That promise of help burned in the soul of Orange.

There lay the stately, wealthy city in the midst of the most luxuriant pastures of the fertile Rhine valley. Old Father Rhine flowed by its walls, and his waters mirrored its many churches, towers, and rows of elegant houses. The possession of Leyden meant the possession of the whole country; but should Orange lose Leyden, he would lose the whole country, and all his struggles and sacrifices would have been in vain.

What thoughts must have occupied the mind of this great man at such a time! He was calm and silent as he calmly considered the situation; and yet he was not entirely inactive, for he was planning a mighty scheme of relief. He wrote to his brother John, the only brother left, who had vainly been seeking assistance from the German princes:

"If they will not listen to us now we shall trust our cause to God, in the sure hope He will not desert us, for we are determined on our part not to surrender the defence of His word and our liberty so long as there is a man left."

No help could be expected from man. God must help. And could not God work miracles?

Orange's gaze fell upon the sea. Help had often come to him from the sea. The elements were more compassionate than man. A great thought surged through his soul: Leyden must be saved by the sea.

As the sea when at high tide often inundated the country, his plan was to produce an artificial inundation by piercing the dykes which protected the land, so that vessels might sail up to the walls and bring relief to the city. The scheme involved colossal difficulties, and the friends to whom he confided it feared it was impracticable. Thousands of landowners and peasants would suffer heavily, and their loss could hardly be made good with seven barrels of gold. It was also a question whether the condition of the country was such as to bear the loss which must be occasioned by piercing the dykes. Again, even if it were done, there must be a strong northwest gale to force the flood far enough inland, so that navigation up to the city would be possible. Was there any prospect of such a gale at that time? Orange, however, had confidence that God would send favoring wind and weather and just such a gale, and he had faith in the patriotism of his countrymen, to whom liberty was more precious than seven barrels of gold. He was not deceived. When he explained the details of his colossal scheme he found them ready to accept it. "Better a drowned land than a lost land," they cried. His confidence in his countrymen was vindicated; his confidence in divine help waited longer for the test.

One night, early in September, the dykes were pierced, so that the water covered the whole distance from Rotterdam to Leyden, but it was not deep enough to float the vessels. The fleet, which was to go to the relief of Leyden, lay at Rotterdam, as well as a number of vessels loaded with stores and munitions, waiting vainly for a higher stage of water and favoring winds. In Leyden, where carrier pigeons were the only means of communication, they were in almost utter despair. To add to their distress, Orange, the very soul of the scheme, was prostrated by a contagious malady. What could help the city now? The Spaniards, in the hope of disheartening the people, spread reports that he was dead, and also smuggled them into Leyden.

But Orange was not dead. He was helpless in the clutches of a dreadful disease. His spirit was free and his mind was clear, but that was all the worse for him. The fate of Leyden almost distracted him, for he could learn nothing definite about it. His family, fearing the contagion, kept away from him. He was tormented by gloomy apprehensions. It was now the end of September—five months since the beginning of the siege. How could these poor victims hold out longer? One day Cornelius van Mierop visited the forsaken one in his chamber and informed him that Leyden had not yet been taken. This news was better than the best of medicines. In a few days he was out of bed and able to resume his work. But even a Prince of Orange could not control wind and weather.

In Leyden they were living upon dogs, cats, rats, and mice, and cooking the leaves of trees. The distress was worse than that of Haarlem. The heroic burgomaster, Van der Werf, who offered his sword to a faint-hearted crowd and invited them to plunge it into his breast and divide his flesh among them, alone kept the Leydeners from surrender. In the midst of the general despondency the usually courageous Admiral Brisot wrote despairingly to Orange, but Orange held fast to his faith in God and in the fervent prayers which he sent to heaven daily and hourly for the deliverance of the city.

At last his prayers were answered. A strong gale drove the sea waves furiously inward. The vessels got under way. From an old tower in Leyden, which commanded a wide view, they saw with delight the long-expected relief approaching. But the Spaniards, when they saw the vessels coming, as it were, over the land, were seized with a panic. They fled, pursued by the wild Zealanders, who slew large numbers of them.

On Sunday, October 3, Leyden was saved. Orange was at afternoon service when the news came by messenger. After the sermon he gave it to the minister, who announced it to the congregation. It was long since they had celebrated such a joyous thanksgiving.

Orange went to Leyden on the same day, and was received with great enthusiasm. It was an inspiriting moment when the Prince, with deep emotion, thanked the people and the city in the name of the fatherland for their loyal, courageous, and self-sacrificing devotion. Words alone were not enough. In the same year, upon the application of Orange, the Estates made Leyden the seat of a university, which was subsequently established with ample revenues and the largest privileges. The paper money which had been issued by the city during the siege was exchanged for bright silver. The faithful doves which had carried so many messages were mounted after death, and are kept at the Leyden Rathhaus to this day.

The deliverance of Leyden had a decisive effect upon the whole struggle. The Spaniards lost much of their old insolence and confidence in victory. Though the war still went on, it was not conducted with the old vigor. Philip's energy weakened in the face of such heroism. Notwithstanding all his extortions money began to fail him. The war had already cost him millions. The provinces, however, were still greatly oppressed by Spain's superior power. With no help from any quarter, doubt sometimes pressed heavily upon Orange. Once he said,

"Let us burn our mills, and pierce our dykes, and leave the country a waste in the enemy's hands. Let us take our wives and children to our vessels and seek a new home."

But after such hours of weakness his strength of soul, his inflexible courage, and his trust in God returned, and he said,

"Although assailed and persecuted by our ever watchful enemy, upon sea and land, we still have not lost courage, but will rally to the best of our ability to shake off their yoke, doubting not that God will mercifully direct our affairs as best pleases Him. Though we may be forsaken and forgotten by every man and may look for help to no man, we will still hope for assistance and consolation from Him, in whose name we are compassed by danger, though the cause is so Christian and noble that no danger can daunt us or make us afraid. The eternal God, who has often manifested, and still can manifest to us, the strength of his arm, still lives."

The Grand Commander Requesens died after a brief illness, and as his position was not immediately filled, the war languished gradually, and at last ceased. Thereupon Orange's desire to visit the provinces was increased. The Estates in Zealand and Holland had invested him with almost royal power, though they had not yet renounced their allegiance to the King; and even in the southern provinces, which had remained Catholic and looked with distrust upon the Protestant North, his self-sacrificing patriotism, extraordinary judgment, and universal helpfulness were more and more recognized. They clearly realized that the northern provinces, notwithstanding the devastations of war which they had had to endure, had recovered under the judicious and skilful direction of the Prince and were gaining in power and prosperity, whereas the southern provinces under the wretched Spanish administration, which absorbed all their wealth, had come to the verge of ruin.

Orange began at once the agitation of his favorite scheme of uniting all the Netherlands provinces in a strong confederacy. If he could accomplish this, Spanish tyranny would be forever extinguished. He sent out proclamations, and engaged in correspondence with the most influential personages in the South. He was greatly aided by a mutiny among the Spanish troops, which is known by the name of the "Spanish Fury" and which in Antwerp alone cost six thousand lives and for a time threatened life and property in other cities. It was clear there must be an end to this Spanish pest. The Spaniards and Spanish sympathizers in the Council of State were arrested. The delegates from the provinces effected a union at Ghent, known as the "Ghent Pacification." The opening paragraph of the agreement reads:

"The people of Brabant, Flanders, Hainaut, Artois, Valenciennes, Lille, Douay, Orchies, Namur, Tournay, Utrecht, Mechlin, Holland, and Zealand, as well as the Prince of Orange, will maintain a strong, enduring friendship, and pledge themselves to resist all enemies of the Confederation by mutual counsels and acts, with life and property; and besides, to expel the Spaniards and other foreign enemies from the Netherlands forever."

Upon the same evening that this document was signed it was read from the balcony of the Rathhaus in Ghent, amid the blaze of torches, the blare of trumpets, and the ringing of bells. When it was made known in the provinces, it was hailed with universal enthusiasm. Philip was furiously enraged when he heard of these proceedings. He would have despatched another army if he had had one, or money to pay one. In place of this he sent his brother, Don John of Austria, natural son of Charles V, a young, handsome, amiable, and clever man. The laurels of two victorious expeditions crowned the youthful head of this attractive son of the Emperor, and stories of his romantic youth made him doubly interesting. This fascinating man, invested with the command of the Netherlands by his brother, ought to have won the Netherlanders back to their allegiance by the force of his amiability and attractive personality. He had some success at first, but his deceit and trickery were soon manifest, which only helped to increase Orange's power and authority. Don John wrote his brother that the greater part of the provinces fairly worshipped Orange, using the expression, "The people seem to have been bewitched by the Prince."

The people were not bewitched, but they knew they could not place the destinies of their country in truer, stronger hands than his, and knowing this, the Estates decided to invest him rather than Don John with the supreme command of the Netherlands. An imposing deputation from the provinces invited the Prince, whom they found at Gertruidenberg, to go to Brussels for that purpose.

Orange was now at the very summit of his career. His high aspirations and plans for the welfare of the fatherland seemed nearing fulfilment. His journey through the provinces was like a triumphal march. He was greeted everywhere as "Father William"; but his proudest day was that upon which he entered Brussels and was welcomed by his brother John of Nassau amid the endless shouts of the people. An armed deputation of Antwerpers accompanied him to within a mile of Brussels, where the Brussels people received him with flying banners. Three barges in the new canal were superbly decorated in his honor. In the first a banquet of costly viands and wines was spread; the second bore the insignia of the seventeen provinces and the inscription that they had all come to greet him; the third exhibited artistic representations of the deliverance of the oppressed and the release of prisoners. Orange was deeply moved as he thought of the changing events of the last ten years. The nobles of the southern provinces, who were still somewhat distrustful of Orange, succeeded in securing the appointment of Matthias, Archduke of Austria, as governor-general; but he was only a shadow.

Orange was the only governor-general of the United Netherlands. Oh, that this union could only have lasted!

Orange must have thought often of Egmont and Hoorn, with whom he had been associated eleven years before in Brussels. His own hour of death was near at hand, when young Liberty would be consecrated with his blood.

The Assassination of William of Orange

Philip replied to this union of the Netherlands under Orange by despatching an army of twenty thousand men there, and by an open declaration of war against the rebels. Alexander Farnese, Prince of Parma, nephew of Philip, and son of Margaret, ex-Regent of the Netherlands, was assigned to the command of these picked, experienced troops. This prince was not such a weakling as the handsome and crafty John of Austria, for young as he was, he had shown conspicuous ability, and was an enemy not to be despised even by Orange. A soldier from his childhood, and reared in camps, he manifested in addition to his native energy and coolness really extraordinary military skill, combined with unusual political ability. His dignity of bearing also lent peculiar force to everything he said and did. In every way he seemed to be a man who, backed by a powerful and as yet unconquered army, and the royal authority of his uncle, might be relied upon to destroy the influence of Orange in the Netherlands. And yet the most that he accomplished was a dastardly assassination!

Farnese began his career in the Netherlands at the battle of Gembloux, where the military power of the country was almost annihilated in a crushing defeat. The victory, however, only gave him possession of the cities of Louvain, Todrique, and Tirlemont, while at that very time in the North the great and flourishing city of Amsterdam joined the party of Orange. Farnese, however, was more fortunate in his diplomacy, for he succeeded in arousing a feeling of distrust in the southern provinces toward the northern, and inducing the Walloon States, Hainaut and Artois, to desert Orange and reunite with Spain.

The attitude of the southern provinces caused Orange great anxiety, the more so because Farnese was achieving continuous successes by his military skill. He realized now that his scheme of uniting the southern and northern provinces in a compact whole was only a beautiful dream, and that the religious prejudices of the two halves might prove a perpetual obstacle to the union. He deemed it all the more necessary therefore to effect some form of confederation which would prove absolutely reliable. The outcome of his plans was the "Utrecht Union," the most important provision in the agreement being the following:

"The provinces of Guelderland, Zutphen, Holland, Zealand, Utrecht, and that part of Friesland between Ems and Buwers, herewith unite in perpetuity, as if they were a single province. No other agreement or act of any kind shall separate them in future. The members of this Union will assist each other in every time of need and danger, with life and goods and blood, against any force brought against them in whatever name or for whatever purpose, be it in the name of the King, or be it for the purpose of introducing the Catholic religion by force.

"With reference to divine worship, this principle is established: Every one shall be free and untrammeled in his enjoyment of his faith and form of worship; there shall be no restriction of belief or of freedom of conscience.

"Furthermore, the exclusively Catholic provinces will be gladly welcomed in this Union if they shall accept the other articles and prove themselves patriotic. No member of the Union shall be allowed to interfere with the religious rights of another, at any time or in any manner."

The significance of this "Utrecht Union" was soon apparent to Farnese, who found his victorious progress arrested; and Philip, who fondly believed that his nephew's activity would reestablish his authority in the North found the door literally shut in his face. The defeat of his plans by Orange at the moment when success seemed absolutely certain, threw Philip into a terrible rage. He had never been so angry before. He hated no one in the world more intensely than this man, who continually blocked his way. He charged him alone with the responsibility of frustrating his plans.

Fully determined to destroy Orange, he summoned Cardinal Granvella, the Prince's mortal enemy, from Rome to Madrid, that he might counsel with him. The notorious prelate, who would gladly have seen Orange killed long ago, had no doubt as to the most effective means of securing that result. He discountenanced his removal by an armed force or by intrigue, and plainly declared that Orange should be proclaimed an outlaw and that a price should be set upon his head. The King eagerly assented to the Cardinal's suggestion. Little time was wasted. Farnese was taken into their confidence, for, as Governor-general of the Netherlands and Commander of the army, he would have the amplest opportunities for quick, decisive action, or what was still better, he might fill the role of executioner himself.

The principal reasons assigned for issuing the ban against Orange were faithlessness to the King,, heresy, and conspiracies to frustrate the King's efforts to reestablish peace in the country. The preamble of the ban was filled with insulting epithets stigmatizing Orange as "tyrant," "pest of Christendom," "enemy of the human race," "Cain," and "Judas Iscariot." After these and similar explosions of rage, followed the ban:

"Orange is declared a traitor. His possessions are forfeited. It shall be the highest disgrace, and shall involve extreme penalties, for any one to trade with him, have communication with him, speak with him, visit or harbor him, give him food or drink, or assist him even in his direst need. Within a month his honors and rights as a noble, his goods, and his life, shall be forfeited. Every friend and associate shall forsake him. He is proscribed, and every one shall treat him as an outlaw, upon whose head a price has been set. Whoever shall deliver him living or dead, be he stranger or native, and whoever shall slay him will receive, when the deed is accomplished, the sum of twenty-five thousand crowns in gold for himself or for his family, in ready money, or its equivalent in land, as he may choose. If he has committed even the most heinous of crimes at any previous time he shall be pardoned, and if he is not of noble rank, he shall be ennobled as a reward for his courage."

A cry of indignation rang through the Netherlands when this infamous ban was made public. The provinces openly expressed their detestation of this latest outrage by the King, and provided Orange with a bodyguard.

Orange defended himself in a detailed reply, called the "Apology," for which he was somewhat criticised at the time in certain quarters. A careful examination of the document, however, which was translated into various languages and widely circulated, will show that there was no ground for these criticisms. It places the conduct of Philip in a most disgraceful light. Among other things Orange says:

"Must Philip be told once more what has caused the unrest in the Netherlands? Does he not know already? It is not Orange, but Philip. It is the insolent and cruel denial of Netherlands nationality by the perverse government of Spain that has kept the country inimical to him.

"True, I have warmly espoused the cause of the oppressed evangelical faith and Protestantism; true, I and those sympathizing with me have striven to expel the Spaniards; true, I approved the compromise. But this should not be attributed as disloyalty on my part, bud should be counted as honorable, for I only acted for the welfare of the fatherland. You may call me henceforth a heretic. Christ was once denounced as a Samaritan.

"I care not for your ban. I place my fate in God's hands. So long as it pleases Him I will live among my friends. You have set a price upon my head. This is no new thing. You have secretly had designs upon my life before, as I know from the best sources.

"And the assassin shall be ennobled! Oh, the horrible shamelessness which will compel a genuine nobleman, who feels his nobility in himself, to recognize a despicable villain as of equal rank. But if only at the price of my life and by my absence can quiet be restored; if my blood can bring peace and prosperity to the Netherlands, I freely proffer my head, over which no prince on earth but yourself has any power, as a propitiatory sacrifice. But if my life can yet be of service to the fatherland, with God's help and grace, I will consecrate it anew to the country."

The King's infamous treatment of Orange, who had only contended for the rights of the country and made great sacrifices for it, resulted disastrously to Spain. Tired with continual extortions, oppression, and cruelty, the people accepted the help from France which was tendered them by the Prince of Anjou, and by this act severed the last tie binding them to Spain. A public proclamation signed by delegates from Brabant, Guelderland, Zutphen, Flanders, Holland, Zealand, Friesland, Overyssel, and Mechlin, contained the following announcement:

"The United Provinces declare the King of Spain deposed from all authority in the Netherlands. They no longer recognize his sovereignty. They hereby release all officials and magistrates and their dependents, as well as all the people, from the oath of allegiance and obedience to Philip the Second of Spain."

This was the crushing answer to the murderous ban issued by Philip against Orange, and a fitting penalty also for his execrable tyranny. Spain had now lost the Netherlands forever. As it eventuated, France did not secure ascendency in the beautiful land; for the Prince of Anjou, after making a secret assault upon the freedom of the people by trickery, was forced to leave the country in disgrace. The noble house of Orange thereafter rose to still greater power, until at last the family virtually became hereditary sovereigns and exercised kingly authority. William's brave sons successively became stadtholders and protected the Netherlands in many a victorious and heroic resistance to the repeated attacks of Spain. The provinces tried hard to induce the Prince to take the office of governor-general, but he declined. He replied that he did not wish to give Philip any reason to say that he had taken his country from him. He was satisfied with the glory of being the founder of Netherlands liberty. On the other hand it gave him extreme pleasure when Zealand and Holland, the two faithful provinces which had endured and outlived the hardest blows of tyranny, named him hereditary Count of Holland. The festivities celebrated by the two provinces upon this occasion restrained for the time the murderous hand of Philip.

Shortly after this, however, while the Prince was visiting in Antwerp, an assault upon his life was planned by one Caspar Anastro, a local merchant who was on the verge of bankruptcy. Anastro had made a contract with Philip, by the terms of which he was to receive eight thousand ducats and the cross of Santiago for the assassination. He was too cowardly to commit the murder himself; and after vainly trying to induce his bookkeeper, Antonio di Venero, to do it, they found an easy tool for the accomplishment of the dastardly work in one John Jauregui, a fanatical Biscayan servant of his. The matter of compensation was arranged without any difficulty, for Jauregui's fanaticism was a sufficient motive of itself to urge him to commit the murder. Besides this, Anton Zimmerman, a Dominican friar, to whom the young man confided his purpose, approved of it. It was with an easy conscience, therefore, that Jauregui made his preparations. As Orange one day entered the antechamber after dinner with his guests, Jauregui advanced with a petition in his hand, which he offered the Prince, and as he did so drew a pistol and fired. The ball pierced the Prince's neck under the right ear, and passing through the roof of his mouth, came out through his left cheek.

Orange staggered, but did not fall. It seemed to him, as he afterwards said, as if a part of the house had fallen upon him. He exclaimed, "Do no harm to him; I forgive him my death." His entreaty, however, was of no avail; a halberdier, in his fury, cleft the assassin's head. Orange had little hope of living, but he recovered, though very slowly. The provinces appointed a solemn fast-day, and implored Heaven to save him. A severe hemorrhage, which occurred before the wound was scarred over, caused great anxiety for a time, and delayed the healing. It was several months, indeed, before he was able to go to church and participate in the thanksgiving.

The assassin's deed involved yet another victim. While Orange was recovering, his noble spouse, Charlotte of Bourbon, undoubtedly best beloved of the three women he had married, died. The shock occasioned by the deed, the long, terrible weeks of anxiety through which she had passed, and the weary night-watches threw her into a raging fever, which terminated fatally only a few days after Orange's recovery.

One would naturally have supposed that the fearful punishment inflicted upon the would-be murderer might have appalled others of his kind; for his body was quartered. His accomplices (Anastro fled at once), Venero and the friar Zimmerman, were first strangled, for Orange entreated that they should not be quartered alive. And yet, hardly a month after his recovery, three conspirators—Nicholas Salfado, a Spaniard; Hugot, a Walloon; and Basa, an Italian—attempted to poison him. They were hired by Farnese, and paid four thousand thalers in advance; but their plot was discovered in time.

In the following year, Dordogno, a Spaniard, was arrested, and confessed he had intended to murder the Prince. A French captain, who had fallen into the hands of the Spaniards, was released upon his promise to assassinate the Prince; but he was honorable enough to inform Orange of Farnese's design. Shortly after this, another plot was discovered and frustrated,—that of Hans Hanszoon, a merchant of Flushing, to blow him up by placing powder under his pew in church. The Prince about that time went to Delft. There it was discovered that five assassins were seeking at one time to kill him. He was literally beset with murderers hired by Philip and his agents. The very air which he breathed seemed to be full of danger, and yet no one was more self-composed or unconcerned than he. He went out in public even more frequently than usual. His courage was unshaken and his composure undisturbed by the plots of the royal assassin and his tools. He was watched over by the loving eyes of his people and his wife—for he had married again, and for the fourth time. He had chosen as his partner this time the daughter of Admiral Coligny, who was one of the victims on Saint Bartholomew's Eve, in Paris. This lady was doubly anxious, for her father and first husband had been the victims of assassins. But wickedness is often stronger than love.

The notorious Balthazar Gerard at last took the precious life of the Prince. It was one of the blackest deeds in the calendar of crime. Small and ill-favored in person, and comparatively young, for he committed the murder in his twenty-sixth year, he had contemplated but one object for six long years—the assassination of Orange. Living in an obscure little village in Burgundy, he had never seen or known Orange, but his wild fanaticism led him to consider him the most dangerous of heretics, by murdering whom he might merit a place in heaven. He was confirmed in this belief by a Jesuit in Treves, to whom he confided his purpose, and who promised he should wear a martyr's crown if he lost his life in the attempt. The guardian of a cloister in Tournay also encouraged him and sent him to Farnese, who was the general director of all these murderous plots. Gerard now worked in cooperation with the Prince of Parma, and was in the King's service. Jauregui's death did not intimidate him in the least; on the contrary, it seemed to embolden him.

William of Orange, Death


This shameless miscreant passed himself off in Delft as a Reformer, under the name of Francis Guion of Lyons, and pretended that his father had been a martyr to his faith in Besancon. He also imitated the manner of a most zealous Reformer, attended the Reformed service twice a day, and was rarely seen without his Bible and psalm-book. He soon became a conspicuous object in church circles, was mentioned at court, and gradually found his way there. Indeed, Orange at last had so much confidence in him that he sent him upon a mission to France, whence he returned with news of the death of the Prince of Anjou. He carried the message directly to the bedside of the Prince and was vexed with himself, as he afterwards confessed, that he had not taken a weapon with him when there was such an excellent opportunity to use it. He annoyed the Prince over and over again by his importunities, and at last Orange gave him money with which to leave Delft; but the villain used the money in the purchase of a pair of pistols, and then began his fiendish work.

During his stay in Delft Orange lived in a mansion which had formerly been the Saint Agatha Cloister. One day, as he was entering the dining-room with his wife, Gerard presented himself in the doorway and asked for a passport, so that he could leave Delft. It was the last opportunity for the Prince to save himself; for the Princess had noticed the wild, agitated appearance of the man and anxiously asked her husband who he was. Had the Prince had the slightest suspicion of danger, the murderer would have been unmasked, and his life would have been spared. With the utmost unconcern he replied, "The man has asked for a passport. Let it be made out," and went into the dining-room without the least thought of harm.

When dinner was over, Orange came out, and as he mounted the first step of the staircase, Gerard advanced as if to take his passport. His cloak thrown about him concealed a pistol loaded with three bullets. When face to face with Orange he suddenly drew the pistol and fired. The Prince was mortally wounded. As he fell he murmured, "My God! my God! have mercy upon these poor people, mine and thine "; and when his sister Catherine asked him whether he commended his soul to Jesus Christ, he faintly answered with dying lips, "Yes."

The Prince died almost immediately in the arms of his wife. It was the second time she had lost a husband by murder. She supplicated Heaven for strength and courage to bear her terrible sorrow. The murderer in the meantime tried to escape. Throwing away his hat and pistols, he ran through the stables to the wall and was about to jump into the moat when he was seized by a servant and a halberdier. Notwithstanding the fate in store for him, the fanatic displayed not a trace of fear or anxiety, and through his preliminary examination retained the same composure he had shown when arrested. Buoyed up by his delusion that Heaven would reward him for his bloody deed, he bore calmly all the terrible tortures which preceded his death.

Philip II kept his promise and paid Gerard's family twenty-five thousand gulden in gold, and ennobled them. Had William of Orange lived, Gerard would have been spared his fearful tortures and would have been executed at once; but his eloquent voice, which had so often pleaded for mercy was forever silent. He was now truly "The Silent One," as Granvella once called him. But though his voice was silenced, his deeds spoke and will speak for ever and ever.

His funeral ceremony was royal in every sense of the word. In order to give expression to their love and reverence the provinces arranged a pageant more impressive than any ever seen before. His funeral sermon was delivered by Arent Corneille, and the text was from the Revelation of Saint John:

"Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth. Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them."

The whole people mourned. There was no place in Northern Netherlands where the day of Orange's funeral was not a day of tears and tolling bells. It was, however, not a tragedy for the Netherlands alone, but a world-tragedy; for Orange was the greatest man of his time. He was one of the noblest sons of Germany, whose memory all Germans are proud to honor; for while he saved the Netherlands, he saved Germany also. He was the mighty champion of the spiritual freedom of man, and its glorious martyr. To him the Netherlands owes its liberty and rights. His life will be a shining example in every struggle for freedom of conscience, freedom of worship, and the sanctity of human rights.