History of the United Netherlands, 1598 by Motley, John Lothrop
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HISTORY OF THE UNITED NETHERLANDS From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609
By John Lothrop Motley
MOTLEY'S HISTORY OF THE NETHERLANDS, Project Gutenberg Edition, Vol. 70
History of the United Netherlands, 1598
Mission of the States to Henry to prevent the consummation of peace with Spain--Proposal of Henry to elevate Prince Maurice to the sovereignty, of the States--Embarkation of the States' envoys for England--Their interview with Queen Elizabeth--Return of the envoys from England--Demand of Elizabeth for repayment of her advances to the republic--Second embassy to England--Final arrangement between the Queen and the States.
The great Advocate was now to start on his journey in order to make a supreme effort both with Henry and with Elizabeth to prevent the consummation of this fatal peace. Admiral Justinus of Nassau, natural son of William the Silent, was associated with Barneveld in the mission, a brave fighting man, a staunch patriot, and a sagacious counsellor; but the Advocate on this occasion, as in other vital emergencies of the commonwealth, was all in all.
The instructions of the envoys were simple. They were to summon the king to fulfil his solemnly sworn covenants with the league. The States- General had never doubted, they said, that so soon as the enemy had begun to feel the effects, of that league he would endeavour to make a composition with one or other of the parties in order to separate them, and to break up that united strength which otherwise he could never resist. The king was accordingly called upon to continue the war against the common enemy, and the States-General offered, over and above the four hundred and fifty thousand florins promised by them for the support of the four thousand infantry for the year 1598, to bring their whole military power, horse and foot, into the field to sustain his Majesty in the war, whether separately or in conjunction, whether in the siege of cities or in open campaigns. Certainly they could hardly offer fairer terms than these.
Henry had complained, and not unreasonably, that Elizabeth had made no offers of assistance for carrying on the war either to Fonquerolles or to Hurault de Maisse; but he certainly could make no reproach of that nature against the republic, nor assign their lukewarmness as an excuse for his desertion.
The envoys were ready to take their departure for France on the last day of January.
It might be a curious subject to consider how far historical events are modified and the world's destiny affected by the different material agencies which man at various epochs has had at his disposal. The human creature in his passions and ambitions, his sensual or sordid desires, his emotional and moral nature, undergoes less change than might be hoped from age to age. The tyrant; the patriot, the demagogue, the voluptuary, the peasant, the trader, the intriguing politician, the hair-splitting diplomatist, the self-sacrificing martyr, the self-seeking courtier, present essentially one type in the twelfth, the sixteenth, the nineteenth, or any other century. The human tragi-comedy seems ever to repeat itself with the same bustle, with the same excitement for immediate interests, for the development of the instant plot or passing episode, as if the universe began and ended with each generation--as in reality it would appear to do for the great multitude of the actors. There seems but a change of masks, of costume, of phraseology, combined with a noisy but eternal monotony. Yet while men are produced and are whirled away again in endless succession, Man remains, and to all appearance is perpetual and immortal even on this earth. Whatever science acquires man inherits. Whatever steadfastness is gained for great moral truths which change not through the ages--however they may be thought, in dark or falsely brilliant epochs, to resolve themselves into elemental vapour--gives man a securer foothold in his onward and upward progress. The great, continuous history of that progress is not made up of the reigns of kings or the lives of politicians, with whose names history has often found it convenient to mark its epochs. These are but milestones on the turnpike. Human progress is over a vast field, and it is only at considerable intervals that a retrospective view enables us to discern whether the movement has been slow or rapid, onward or retrograde.
The record of our race is essentially unwritten. What we call history is but made up of a few scattered fragments, while it is scarcely given to human intelligence to comprehend the great whole. Yet it is strange to reflect upon the leisurely manner in which great affairs were conducted in the period with which we are now occupied, as compared with the fever and whirl of our own times, in which the stupendous powers of steam and electricity are ever-ready to serve the most sublime or the most vulgar purposes of mankind. Whether there were ever a critical moment in which a rapid change might have been effected in royal or national councils, had telegraphic wires and express trains been at the command of Henry, or Burghley, or Barneveld, or the Cardinal Albert, need not and cannot be decided. It is almost diverting, however, to see how closely the intrigues of cabinets, the movements of armies, the plans of patriots, were once dependent on those natural elements over which man has now gained almost despotic control.
Here was the republic intensely eager to prevent, with all speed, the consummation of a treaty between its ally and its enemy--a step which it was feared might be fatal to its national existence, and concerning which there seemed a momentary hesitation. Yet Barneveld and Justinus of Nassau, although ready on the last day of January, were not able to sail from the Brill to Dieppe until the 18th March, on account of a persistent south-west wind.
After forty-six days of waiting, the envoys, accompanied by Buzanval, Henry's resident at the Hague, were at last, on the 18th March, enabled to set sail with a favourable breeze. As it was necessary for travellers in that day to provide themselves with every possible material for their journey--carriages, horses, hosts of servants, and beds, fortunate enough if they found roads and occasionally food--Barneveld and Nassau were furnished with three ships of war, while another legation on its way to England had embarked in two other vessels of the same class. A fleet of forty or fifty merchantmen sailed under their convoy. Departing from the Brill in this imposing manner, they sailed by Calais, varying the monotony of the voyage by a trifling sea-fight with some cruisers from that Spanish port, neither side receiving any damage.
Landing at Dieppe on the morning of the 20th, the envoys were received with much ceremony at the city gates by the governor of the place, who conducted them in a stately manner to a house called the king's mansion, which he politely placed at their disposal. "As we learned, however," says Barneveld, with grave simplicity; "that there was no furniture whatever in that royal abode, we thanked his Excellency, and declared that we would rather go to a tavern."
After three days of repose and preparation in Dieppe, they started at dawn on their journey to Rouen, where they arrived at sundown.
On the next morning but one they set off again on their travels, and slept that night at Louviers. Another long day's journey brought them to Evreux. On the 27th they came to Dreux, on the 28th to Chartres, and on the 29th to Chateaudun. On the 30th, having started an hour before sunrise, they were enabled after a toilsome journey to reach Blois at an hour after dark. Exhausted with fatigue, they reposed in that city for a day, and on the 1st April proceeded, partly by the river Loire and partly by the road, as far as Tours. Here they were visited by nobody, said Barneveld, but fiddlers and drummers, and were execrably lodged. Nevertheless they thought the town in other respects agreeable, and apparently beginning to struggle out of the general desolation of, France. On the end April they slept at Langeais, and on the night of the 3rd reached Saumur, where they were disappointed at the absence of the illustrious Duplessis Mornay, then governor of that city. A glance at any map of France will show the course of the journey taken by the travellers, which, after very hard work and great fatigue, had thus brought them from Dieppe to Saumur in about as much time as is now consumed by an average voyage from Europe to America. In their whole journey from Holland to Saumur, inclusive of the waiting upon the wind and other enforced delays, more than two months had been consumed. Twenty-four hours would suffice at present for the excursion.
At Saumur they received letters informing them that the king was "expecting them with great devotion at Angiers." A despatch from Cecil, who was already with Henry, also apprised them that he found "matters entirely arranged for a peace." This would be very easily accomplished, he said, for France and England, but the great difficulty was for the Netherlands. He had come to France principally for the sake of managing affairs for the advantage of the States, but he begged the envoys not to demean themselves as if entirely bent on war.
They arrived at Angiers next day before dark, and were met at a league's distance from the gates by the governor of the castle, attended by young Prince Frederic Henry of Nassau; followed by a long train of nobles and mounted troops. Welcomed in this stately manner on behalf of the king, the envoys were escorted to the lodgings provided for them in the city. The same evening they waited on the widowed princess of Orange, Louisa of Coligny, then residing temporarily with her son in Angiera, and were informed by her that the king's mind was irrevocably fixed on peace. She communicated, however, the advice of her step-son in law, the Duke of Bouillon, that they should openly express their determination to continue the war, notwithstanding that both their Majesties of England and France wished to negotiate. Thus the counsels of Bouillon to the envoys were distinctly opposed to those of Cecil, and it was well known to them that the duke was himself sincerely anxious that the king should refuse the pacific offers of Spain.
Next morning, 5th April, they were received at the gates of the castle by the governor of Anjou and the commandant of the citadel of Angiers, attended by a splendid retinue, and were conducted to the king, who was walking in the garden of the fortress. Henry received them with great demonstrations of respect, assuring them that he considered the States- General the best and most faithful friends that he possessed in the world, and that he had always been assisted by them in time of his utmost need with resoluteness and affection.
The approach of the English ambassador, accompanied by the Chancellor of France and several other persons, soon brought the interview to a termination. Barneveld then presented several gentlemen attached to the mission, especially his son and Hugo Grotius, then a lad of fifteen, but who had already gained such distinction at Leyden that Scaliger, Pontanus; Heinsius, Dousa, and other professors, foretold that he would become more famous than Erasmus. They were all very cordially received by the king, who subsequently bestowed especial marks of his consideration upon the youthful Grotius.
The same day the betrothal of Monsieur Caesar with the daughter of the Duke of Mercoeur was celebrated, and there was afterwards much dancing and banqueting at the castle. It was obvious enough to the envoys that the matter of peace and war was decided. The general of the Franciscans, sent by the pope, had been flitting very busily for many months between Rome, Madrid, Brussels, and Paris, and there could be little doubt that every detail of the negotiations between France and Spain had been arranged while Olden-Barneveld and his colleague had been waiting for the head-wind to blow itself out at the Brill.
Nevertheless no treaty had as yet been signed, and it was the business of the republican diplomatists to prevent the signature if possible. They felt, however, that they were endeavouring to cause water to run up hill. Villeroy, De Maisse, and Buzanval came to them to recount, by the king's order, everything that had taken place. This favour was, however, the less highly appreciated by them, as they felt that the whole world was in a very short time to be taken as well into the royal confidence.
These French politicians stated that the king, after receiving the most liberal offers of peace on the part of Spain, had communicated all the facts to the queen, and had proposed, notwithstanding these most profitable overtures, to continue the war as long as her Majesty and the States-General would assist him in it. De Maisse had been informed, however, by the queen that she had no means to assist the king withal, and was, on the contrary, very well disposed to make peace. The lord treasurer had avowed the same opinions as his sovereign, had declared himself to be a man of peace, and had exclaimed that peace once made he would sing "Nunc dimitte servum tuum Domine." Thereupon, at the suggestion of the legate, negotiations had begun at Vervins, and although nothing was absolutely concluded, yet Sir Robert Cecil, having just been sent as special ambassador from the queen, had brought no propositions whatever of assistance in carrying on the war, but plenty of excuses about armadas, Irish rebellions, and the want of funds. There was nothing in all this, they said, but want of good will. The queen had done nothing and would do nothing for the league herself, nor would she solicit for it the adherence of other kings and princes. The king, by making peace, could restore his kingdom to prosperity, relieve the distress of his subjects, and get back all his lost cities--Calais, Ardres, Dourlens, Blavet, and many more--without any expense of treasure or of blood.
Certainly there was cogency in this reasoning from the point of view of the French king, but it would have been as well to state, when he was so pompously making a league for offensive and defensive war, that his real interests and his real purposes were peace. Much excellent diplomacy, much ringing of bells, firing of artillery, and singing of anthems in royal chapels, and much disappointment to honest Dutchmen, might have thus been saved. It is also instructive to observe the difference between the accounts of De Maisse's negotiations in England given by that diplomatist himself, and those rendered by the queen to the States' envoy.
Of course the objurgations of the Hollanders that the king, in a very fallacious hope of temporary gain to himself, was about to break his solemn promises to his allies and leave them to their fate, drew but few tears down the iron cheeks of such practised diplomatists as Villeroy and his friends.
The envoys visited De Rosuy, who assured them that he was very much their friend, but gave them to understand that there was not the slightest possibility of inducing the king to break off the negotiations.
Before taking final leave of his Majesty they concluded, by advice of the Princess of Orange and of Buzanval, to make the presents which they had brought with them from the States-General. Accordingly they sent, through the hands of the princess, four pieces of damask linen and two pieces of fine linen to the king's sister, Madame Catherine, two pieces of linen to Villeroy, and two to the beautiful Gabrielle. The two remaining pieces were bestowed upon Buzanval for his pains in accompanying them on the journey and on their arrival at court.
The incident shows the high esteem in which the Nethcrland fabrics were held at that period.
There was a solemn conference at last between the leading counsellors of the king, the chancellor, the Dukes of Espernon and Bouillon, Count Schomberg, and De Sancy, Plessis, Buzanval, Maisse, the Dutch envoys, and the English ambassador and commissioner Herbert. Cecil presided, and Barneveld once more went over the whole ground, resuming with his usual vigour all the arguments by which the king's interest and honour were proved to require him to desist from the peace negotiations. And the orator had as much success as is usual with those who argue against a foregone conclusion. Everyone had made up his mind. Everyone knew that peace was made. It is unnecessary, therefore, to repeat the familiar train of reasoning. It is superfluous to say that the conference was barren. On the same evening Villeroy called on the States' envoys, and informed them plainly, on the part of the king, that his Majesty had fully made up his mind.
On the 23rd April--three mortal weeks having thus been wasted in diplomatic trilling--Barneveld was admitted to his Majesty's dressing- room. The Advocate at the king's request came without his colleague, and was attended only by his son. No other persons were present in the chamber save Buzanval and Beringen. The king on this occasion confirmed what had so recently been stated by Villeroy. He had thoroughly pondered, he said, all the arguments used by the States to dissuade him from the negotiation, and had found them of much weight. The necessities of his kingdom, however, compelled him to accept a period of repose. He would not, however, in the slightest degree urge the States to join in the treaty. He desired their security, and would aid in maintaining it. What had most vexed him was that the Protestants with great injustice accused him of intending to make war upon them. But innumerable and amazing reports were flying abroad, both among his own subjects, the English, and the enemies' spies, as to these secret conferences. He then said that he would tell the Duke of Bouillon to speak with Sir Robert Cecil concerning a subject which now for the first time he would mention privately to Olden-Barneveld.
The king then made a remarkable and unexpected suggestion. Alluding to the constitution of the Netherlands, he remarked that a popular government in such emergencies as those then existing was subject to more danger than monarchies were, and he asked the Advocate if he thought there was no disposition to elect a prince. Barneveld replied that the general inclination was rather for a good republic. The government, however, he said, was not of the people, but aristocratic, and the state was administered according to laws and charters by the principal inhabitants, whether nobles or magistrates of cities. Since the death of the late Prince of Orange, and the offer made to the King of France, and subsequently to the Queen of England, of the sovereignty, there had been no more talk on that subject, and to discuss again so delicate a matter might cause divisions and other difficulties in the State.
Henry then spoke of Prince Maurice, and asked whether, if he should be supported by the Queen of England and the King of France, it would not be possible to confer the sovereignty upon him.
Here certainly was an astounding question to be discharged like a pistol- shot full in the face of a republican minister.
The answer of the Advocate was sufficiently adroit if not excessively sincere.
If your Majesty, said he, together with her Majesty the queen, think the plan expedient, and are both willing on this footing to continue the war, to rescue all the Netherlands from the hands of the Spaniards and their adherents, and thus render the States eternally obliged to the sovereigns and kingdoms of France and England, my lords the States-General would probably be willing to accept this advice.
But the king replied by repeating that repose was indispensable to him.
Without inquiring for the present whether the project of elevating Maurice to the sovereignty of the Netherlands, at the expense of the republican constitution, was in harmony or not with the private opinions of Barneveld at that period, it must be admitted that the condition he thus suggested was a very safe one to offer. He had thoroughly satisfied himself during the period in which he had been baffled by the southwest gales at the Brill and by the still more persistent head-winds which he had found prevailing at the French court, that it was hopeless to strive for that much-desired haven, a general war. The admiral and himself might as well have endeavoured to persuade Mahomet III. and Sigismund of Poland to join the States in a campaign against Cardinal Albert, as to hope for the same good offices from Elizabeth and Henry.
Having received exactly the answer which he expected, he secretly communicated, next day, to Cecil the proposition thus made by the king. Subsequently he narrated the whole conversation to the Queen of England.
On the 27th April both Barneveld and Nassau were admitted to the royal dressing-room in Nantes citadel for a final audience. Here, after the usual common places concerning his affection for the Netherlands, and the bitter necessity which compelled him to desert the alliance, Henry again referred to his suggestion in regard to Prince Maurice; urging a change from a republican to a monarchical form of government as the best means of preserving the State.
The envoys thanked the king for all the honours conferred upon them, but declared themselves grieved to the heart by his refusal to grant their request. The course pursued by his Majesty, they said, would be found very hard of digestion by the States, both in regard to the whole force of the enemy which would now come upon their throats, and because of the bad example thus set for other powers.
They then took leave, with the usual exchange of compliments. At their departure his Majesty personally conducted them through various apartments until they came to the chamber of his mistress, the Duchess of Beaufort, then lying in childbed. Here he drew wide open the bed- curtains, and bade them kiss the lady. They complied, and begging the duchess to use her influence in their behalf, respectfully bade her farewell. She promised not to forget their request, and thanked them for the presents of damask and fine linen.
Such was the result of the mission of the great Advocate and his colleague to Henry IV., from which so much had been hoped; and for anything useful accomplished, after such an expenditure of time, money, and eloquence, the whole transaction might have begun and ended in this touching interview with the beautiful Gabrielle.
On the 19th of May the envoys embarked at Dieppe for England, and on the 25th were safely lodged with the resident minister of the republic, Noel de Caron, at the village of Clapham.
Having so ill-succeeded in their attempts to prevent the treaty between France and Spain, they were now engaged in what seemed also a forlorn hope, the preservation of their offensive and defensive alliance with England. They were well aware that many of the leading counsellors of Elizabeth, especially Burghley and Buckhurst, were determined upon peace. They knew that the queen was also heartily weary of the war and of the pugnacious little commonwealth which had caused her so much expense. But they knew, too, that Henry, having now secured the repose of his own kingdom, was anything but desirous that his deserted allies should enjoy the same advantage. The king did not cease to assure the States that he would secretly give them assistance in their warfare against his new ally, while Secretary of State Villeroy, as they knew, would place every possible impediment in the way of the queen's negotiations with Spain.
Elizabeth, on her part, was vexed with everybody. What the States most feared was that she might, in her anger or her avarice, make use of the cautionary towns in her negotiations with Philip. At any rate, said Francis Aerssens, then States' minister in France, she will bring us to the brink of the precipice, that we may then throw ourselves into her arms in despair.
The queen was in truth resolved to conclude a peace if a peace could be made. If not, she was determined to make as good a bargain with the States as possible, in regard to the long outstanding account of her advances. Certainly it was not unreasonable that she should wish to see her exchequer reimbursed by people who, as she believed, were rolling in wealth, the fruit of a contraband commerce which she denied to her own subjects, and who were in honour bound to pay their debts to her now, if they wished her aid to be continued. Her subjects were impoverished and panting for peace, and although, as she remarked, "their sense of duty restrained them from the slightest disobedience to her absolute commands," still she could not forgive herself for thus exposing them to perpetual danger.
She preferred on the whole, however, that the commonwealth should consent to its own dissolution; for she thought it unreasonable that--after this war of thirty years, during fifteen of which she had herself actively assisted them--these republican Calvinists should, refuse to return to the dominion of their old tyrant and the pope. To Barneveld, Maurice of Nassau, and the States-General this did not seem a very logical termination to so much hard fighting.
Accordingly, when on the 26th of May the two envoys fell on their knees-- as the custom was--before the great queen, and had been raised by her to their feet again, they found her Majesty in marvellously ill-humour. Olden-Barneveld recounted to her the results of their mission to France, and said that from beginning to end it had been obvious that there could be no other issue. The king was indifferent, he had said, whether the States preferred peace or war, but in making his treaty he knew that he had secured a profit for himself, iuflicted damage on his enemy, and done no harm to his friends.
Her Majesty then interrupted the speaker by violent invectives against the French king for his treachery. She had written with her own hand, she said, to tell him that she never had believed him capable of doing what secretaries and other servants had reported concerning him, but which had now proved true.
Then she became very abusive to the Dutch envoys, telling them that they were quite unjustifiable in not following Sir Robert Cecil's advice, and in not engaging with him at once in peace negotiations; at least so far as to discover what the enemy's intentions might be. She added, pettishly, that if Prince Maurice and other functionaries were left in the enjoyment of their offices, and if the Spaniards were sent out of the country, there seemed no reason why such terms should not be accepted.
Barneveld replied that such accommodation was of course impossible, unless they accepted their ancient sovereign as prince. Then came the eternal two points--obedience to God, which meant submission to the pope; and obedience to the king, that was to say, subjection to his despotic authority. Thus the Christian religion would be ruined throughout the provinces, and the whole land be made a bridge and a ladder for Spanish ambition.
The queen here broke forth into mighty oaths, interrupting the envoy's discourse, protesting over and over again by the living God that she would not and could not give the States any further assistance; that she would leave them to their fate; that her aid rendered in their war had lasted much longer than the siege of Troy did, and swearing that she had been a fool to help them and the king of France as she had done, for it was nothing but evil passions that kept the States so obstinate.
The envoy endeavoured to soothe her, urging that as she had gained the reputation over the whole world of administering her affairs with admirable, yea with almost divine wisdom, she should now make use of that sagacity in the present very difficult matter. She ought to believe that it was not evil passion, nor ambition, nor obstinacy that prevented the States from joining in these negotiations, but the determination to maintain their national existence, the Christian religion, and their ancient liberties and laws. They did not pretend, he said, to be wiser than great monarch or their counsellors, but the difference between their form of government and a monarchy must be their excuse.
Monarchs, when they made treaties, remained masters, and could protect their realms and their subjects from danger. The States-General could not accept a prince without placing themselves under his absolute authority, and the Netherlanders would never subject themselves to their deadly enemy, whom they had long ago solemnly renounced.
Surely these remarks of the Advocate should have seemed entirely unanswerable. Surely there was no politician in Europe so ignorant as not to know that any treaty of peace between Philip and the States meant their unconditional subjugation and the complete abolition of the Protestant religion. Least of all did the Queen of England require information on this great matter of state. It was cruel trifling therefore, it was inhuman insolence on her part, to suggest anything like a return of the States to the dominion of Spain.
But her desire for peace and her determination to get back her money overpowered at that time all other considerations.
The States wished to govern themselves, she said; why then could they not make arrangements against all dangers, and why could they not lay down conditions under which the king would not really be their master; especially if France and England should guarantee them against any infraction of their rights. By the living God! by the living God! by the living God! she swore over and over again as her anger rose, she would never more have anything to do with such people; and she deeply regretted having thrown away her money and the lives of her subjects in so stupid a manner.
Again the grave and experienced envoy of the republic strove with calm and earnest words to stay the torrent of her wrath; representing that her money and her pains had by no means been wasted, that the enemy had been brought to shame and his finances to confusion; and urging her, without paying any heed to the course pursued by the King of France, to allow the republic to make levies of troops, at its own expense, within her kingdom.
But her Majesty was obdurate. "How am I to defend myself?" she cried; "how are the affairs of Ireland to be provided for? how am I ever to get back my money? who is to pay the garrisons of Brill and Flushing?" And with this she left the apartment, saying that her counsellors would confer with the envoys.'
From the beginning to the end of the interview the queen was in a very evil temper, and took no pains to conceal her dissatisfaction with all the world.
Now there is no doubt whatever that the subsidies furnished by England to the common cause were very considerable, amounting in fourteen years, according to the queen's calculation, to nearly fourteen hundred thousand pounds sterling. But in her interviews with the republican statesmen she was too prone to forget that it was a common cause, to forget that the man who had over and over again attempted her assassination, who had repeatedly attempted the invasion of her realms with the whole strength of the most powerful military organization in the world, whose dearest wish on earth was still to accomplish her dethronement and murder, to extirpate from England the religion professed by the majority of living Englishmen, and to place upon her vacant throne a Spanish, German, or Italian prince, was as much her enemy as he was the foe of his ancient subjects in the Netherlands. At that very epoch Philip was occupied in reminding the pope that the two had always agreed as to the justice of the claims of the Infanta Isabella to the English crown, and calling on his Holiness to sustain those pretensions, now that she had been obliged, in consequence of the treaty with the Prince of Bearne, to renounce her right to reign over France.
Certainly it was fair enough for the queen and her, counsellors to stand out for an equitable arrangement of the debt; but there was much to dispute in the figures. When was ever an account of fifteen years' standing adjusted, whether between nations or individuals, without much wrangling? Meantime her Majesty held excellent security in two thriving and most important Netherland cities. But had the States consented to re-establish the Spanish authority over the whole of their little Protestant republic, was there an English child so ignorant of arithmetic or of history as not to see how vast would be the peril, and how incalculable the expense, thus caused to England?
Yet besides the Cecils and the lord high admiral, other less influential counsellors of the crown--even the upright and accomplished Buckhurst, who had so often proved his friendship for the States--were in favour of negotiation. There were many conferences with meagre results. The Englishmen urged that the time had come for the States to repay the queen's advances, to relieve her from future subsidies, to assume the payment of the garrisons in the cautionary towns, and to furnish a force in defence of England when attacked. Such was the condition of the kingdom, they said--being, as it was, entirely without fortified cities-- that a single battle would imperil the whole realm, so that it was necessary to keep the enemy out of it altogether.
These arguments were not unreasonable, but the inference was surely illogical. The special envoys from the republic had not been instructed to treat about the debt. This had been the subject of perpetual negotiation. It was discussed almost every day by the queen's commissioners at the Hague and by the States' resident minister at London. Olden-Barneveld and the admiral had been sent forth by the Staten in what in those days was considered great haste to prevent a conclusion of a treaty between their two allies and the common enemy. They had been too late in France, and now, on arriving in England, they found that government steadily drifting towards what seemed the hopeless shipwreck of a general peace.
What must have been the grief of Olden-Barneveld when he heard from the lips of the enlightened Buckhurst that the treaty of 1585 had been arranged to expire--according to the original limitation--with a peace, and that as the States could now make peace and did not choose to do so, her Majesty must be considered as relieved from her contract of alliance, and as justified in demanding repayment of her advances!
To this perfidious suggestion what could the States' envoy reply but that as a peace such as the treaty of 1585 presupposed--to wit, with security for the Protestant religion and for the laws and liberties of the provinces--was impossible, should the States now treat with the king or the cardinal?
The envoys had but one more interview with, the queen, in which she was more benignant in manner but quite as peremptory in her demands. Let the States either thoroughly satisfy her as to past claims and present necessities, or let them be prepared for her immediate negotiation with the enemy. Should she decide to treat, she would not be unmindful of their interests, she said, nor deliver them over into the enemy's hands. She repeated, however, the absurd opinion that there were means enough of making Philip nominal sovereign of all the Netherlands, without allowing him to exercise any authority over them. As if the most Catholic and most absolute monarch that ever breathed could be tied down by the cobwebs of constitutional or treaty stipulations; as if the previous forty years could be effaced from the record of history.
She asked, too, in case the rumours of the intended transfer of the Netherlands to the cardinal or the Infanta should prove true, which she doubted, whether this arrangement would make any difference in the sentiments of the States.
Barneveld replied that the transfer was still uncertain, but that they had no more confidence in the cardinal or the Infants than in the King of Spain himself.
On taking leave of the queen the envoys waited upon Lord Burghley, whom they found sitting in an arm-chair in his bedchamber, suffering from the gout and with a very fierce countenance. He made no secret of his opinions in favour of negotiation, said that the contracts made by monarchs should always be interpreted reasonably, and pronounced a warm eulogy on the course pursued by the King of France. It was his Majesty's duty, he said, to seize the best opportunity for restoring repose to his subjects and his realms, and it was the duty of other sovereigns to do the same.
The envoys replied that they were not disposed at that moment to sit in judgment upon the king's actions. They would content themselves with remarking that in their opinion even kings and princes were bound by their, contracts, oaths, and pledges before God and man; and with this wholesome sentiment they took leave of the lord high treasurer.
They left London immediately, on the last day of May, without, passports. or despatches of recal, and embarked at Gravesend in the midst of a gale of wind.
Lord Essex, the sincere friend of the republic, was both surprised and disturbed at their sudden departure, and sent a special courier, after them to express his regrets at the unsatisfactory termination to their mission: "My mistress knows very well," said he, "that she is an absolute princess, and that, when her ministers have done their extreme duty, she wills what she wills."
The negotiations between England and Spain were deferred, however, for a brief space, and a special message was despatched to the Hague as to the arrangement of the debt. "Peace at once with Philip," said the queen, "or else full satisfaction of my demands."
Now it was close dealing between such very thrifty and acute bargainers as the queen and the Netherland republic.
Two years before, the States had offered to pay twenty thousand pounds a year on her Majesty's birthday so long as the war should last, and after a peace, eighty thousand pounds annually for four years. The queen, on her part, fixed the sum total of the debt at nearly a million and a half sterling, and required instant payment of at least one hundred thousand pounds on account, besides provision for a considerable annual refunding, assumption by the States of the whole cost of the garrisons in the cautionary towns, and assurance of assistance in case of an attack upon England. Thus there was a whole ocean between the disputants.
Vere and Gilpin were protocolling and marshalling accounts at the Hague, and conducting themselves with much arrogance and bitterness, while, meantime, Barneveld had hardly had time to set his foot on his native shores before he was sent back again to England at the head of another solemn legation. One more effort was to be made to arrange this financial problem and to defeat the English peace party.
The offer of the year 1596 just alluded to was renewed and instantly rejected. Naturally enough, the Dutch envoys were disposed, in the exhausting warfare which was so steadily draining their finances, to pay down as little as possible on the nail, while providing for what they considered a liberal annual sinking fund.
The English, on the contrary, were for a good round sum in actual cash, and held the threatened negotiation with Spain over the heads of the unfortunate envoys like a whip.
So the queen's counsellors and the republican envoys travelled again and again over the well-worn path.
On the 29th June, Buckhurst took Olden-Barneveld into his cabinet, and opened his heart to him, not as a servant of her Majesty, he said, but as a private Englishman. He was entirely for peace. Now that peace was offered to her Majesty, a continuance of the war was unrighteous, and the Lord God's blessing could not be upon it. Without God's blessing no resistance could be made by the queen nor by the States to the enemy, who was ten times more powerful than her Majesty in kingdoms, provinces, number of subjects, and money. He had the pope, the emperor, the Dukes of Savoy and Lorraine, and the republic of Genoa, for his allies. He feared that the war might come upon England, and that they might be fated on one single day to win or lose all. The queen possessed no mines, and was obliged to carry on the war by taxing her people. The king had ever- flowing fountains in his mines; the queen nothing but a stagnant pool, which, when all the water was pumped out, must in the end be dry. He concluded, therefore, that as her Majesty had no allies but the Netherlands, peace was best for England, and advisable for the provinces. Arrangements could easily be made to limit the absolute authority of Spain.
This highly figurative view of the subject--more becoming to the author of Ferrex and Porrex than to so, experienced a statesman as Sackville had become since his dramatic days--did not much impress Barneveld. He answered that, although the King of Spain was unquestionably very powerful, the Lord God was still stronger; that England and the Netherlands together could maintain the empire of the seas, which was of the utmost importance, especially for England; but that if the republic were to make her submission to Spain, and become incorporate with that power, the control of the seas was lost for ever to England.
The Advocate added the unanswerable argument that to admit Philip as sovereign, and then to attempt a limitation of his despotism was a foolish dream.
Buckhurst repeated that the republic was the only ally of England, that there was no confidence to be placed by her in any other power, and that for himself, he was, as always, very much the friend of the States.
Olden-Barneveld might well have prayed, however, to be delivered from such friends. To thrust one's head into the lion's mouth, while one's friends urge moderation on the noble animal, can never be considered a cheerful or prudent proceeding.
At last, after all offers had been rejected which the envoys had ventured to make, Elizabeth sent for Olden-Barneveld and Caron and demanded their ultimatum within twenty-four hours. Should it prove unsatisfactory, she would at once make peace with Spain.
On the 1st August the envoys accordingly proposed to Cecil and the other ministers to pay thirty thousand pounds a year, instead of twenty thousand, so long as the war should last, but they claimed the right of redeeming the cautionary towns at one hundred thousand pounds each. This seemed admissible, and Cecil and his colleagues pronounced the affair arranged. But they had reckoned without the queen after all.
Elizabeth sent for Caron as soon as she heard of the agreement, flew into a great rage, refused the terms, swore that she would instantly make peace with Spain, and thundered loudly against her ministers.
"They were great beasts," she said, "if they had stated that she would not treat with the enemy. She had merely intended to defer the negotiations."
So the whole business was to be done over again. At last the sum claimed by the queen, fourteen hundred thousand pounds, was reduced by agreement to eight hundred thousand, and one-half of this the envoys undertook on the part of the States to refund in annual payments of thirty thousand pounds, while the remaining four hundred thousand should be provided for by some subsequent arrangement. All attempts, however, to obtain a promise from the queen to restore the cautionary towns to the republic in case of a peace between Spain and England remained futile.
That was to be a bone of contention for many years.
It was further agreed by the treaty, which was definitely signed on the 16th August, that, in case England were invaded by the common enemy, the States should send to the queen's assistance at least thirty ships of war, besides five thousand infantry and five squadrons of horse.
Negotiations between France and Spain--Conclusion of the treaty of peace--Purchase of the allegiance of the French nobles--Transfer of the Netherlands to Albert and Isabella--Marriage of the Infante and the Infanta--Illness of Philip II.--Horrible nature of his malady-- His last hours and death--Review of his reign--Extent of the Spanish dominions--Causes of the greatness of Spain, and of its downfall-- Philip's wars and their expenses--The Crown revenues of Spain-- Character of the people--Their inordinate self-esteem--Consequent deficiency of labour--Ecclesiastical Government--Revenues of the Church--Characteristics of the Spanish clergy--Foreign commerce of Spain--Governmental system of Philip II.--Founded on the popular ignorance and superstition--Extinction of liberty in Spain--The Holy Inquisition--The work and character of Philip.
While the utterly barren conferences had been going on at Angiers and Nantes between Henry IV. and the republican envoys, the negotiations had been proceeding at Vervins.
President Richardot on behalf of Spain, and Secretary of State Villeroy as commissioner of Henry, were the chief negotiators.
Two old acquaintances, two ancient Leaguers, two bitter haters of Protestants and rebels, two thorough adepts in diplomatic chicane, they went into this contest like gladiators who thoroughly understood and respected each other's skill.
Richardot was recognized by all as the sharpest and most unscrupulous politician in the obedient Netherlands. Villeroy had conducted every intrigue of France during a whole generation of mankind. They scarcely did more than measure swords and test each other's objects, before arriving at a conviction as to the inevitable result of the encounter.
It was obvious at once to Villeroy that Philip was determined to make peace with France in order that the triple alliance might be broken up. It was also known to the French diplomatist that the Spanish king was ready for, almost every concession to Henry, in order that this object might be accomplished.
All that Richardot hoped to save out of the various conquests made by Spain over France was Calais.
But Villeroy told him that it was useless to say a word on that subject. His king insisted on the restoration of the place. Otherwise he would make no peace. It was enough, he said, that his Majesty said nothing about Navarre.
Richardot urged that at the time when the English had conquered Calais it had belonged to Artois, not to France. It was no more than equitable, then, that it should be retained by its original proprietor.
The general of the Franciscans, who acted as a kind of umpire in the transactions, then took each negotiator separately aside and whispered in his ear.
Villeroy shook his head, and said he had given his ultimatum. Richardot acknowledged that he had something in reserve, upon which the monk said that it was time to make it known.
Accordingly--the two being all ears--Richardot observed that what he was about to state he said with fear and trembling. He knew not what the King of Spain would think of his proposition, but he would, nevertheless, utter the suggestion that Calais should be handed over to the pope.
His Holiness would keep the city in pledge until the war with the rebels was over, and then there would be leisure enough to make definite arrangements on the subject.
Now Villeroy was too experienced a practitioner to be imposed upon, by this ingenious artifice. Moreover, he happened to have an intercepted letter in his possession in which Philip told the cardinal that Calais was to be given up if the French made its restitution a sine qua non. So Villeroy did make it a sine qua non, and the conferences soon after terminated in an agreement on the part of Spain to surrender all its conquests in France.
Certainly no more profitable peace than this could have been made by the French king under such circumstances, and Philip at the last moment had consented to pay a heavy price for bringing discord between the three friends. The treaty was signed at Vervins on the 2nd May, and contained thirty-five articles. Its basis was that of the treaty of Cateau Cambresis of 1559. Restitution of all places conquered by either party within the dominions of the other since the day of that treaty was stipulated. Henry recovered Calais, Ardres, Dourlens, Blavet, and many other places, and gave up the country of Charolois. Prisoners were to be surrendered on both sides without ransom, and such of those captives of war as had been enslaved at the galleys should be set free.
The pope, the emperor, all states, and cities under their obedience or control, the Duke of Savoy, the King of Poland and Sweden, the Kings of Denmark and Scotland, the Dukes of Lorraine and Tuscany, the Doge of Venice, the republic of Genoa, and many lesser states and potentates, were included in the treaty. The famous Edict of Nantes in favour of the Protestant subjects of the French king was drawn up and signed in the city of which it bears the name at about the same time with these negotiations. Its publication was, however, deferred until after the departure of the legate from France in the following year.
The treaty of Cateau Cambresis had been pronounced the most disgraceful and disastrous one that had ever been ratified by a French monarch; and surely Henry had now wiped away that disgrace and repaired that disaster. It was natural enough that he should congratulate himself on the rewards which he had gathered by deserting his allies.
He had now sufficient occupation for a time in devising ways and means, with the aid of the indefatigable Bethune, to pay the prodigious sums with which he had purchased the allegiance of the great nobles and lesser gentlemen of France. Thirty-two millions of livres were not sufficient to satisfy the claims of these patriots, most of whom had been drawing enormous pensions from the King of Spain up to the very moment, or beyond it, when they consented to acknowledge the sovereign of their own country. Scarcely a, great name in the golden book of France but was recorded among these bills of sale.
Mayenne, Lorraine, Guise, Nemours, Mercoeur, Montpensier, Joyeuse, Epernon, Brissac, D'Arlincourt, Balagny, Rochefort, Villeroy, Villars, Montespan, Leviston, Beauvillars, and countless others, figured in the great financier's terrible account-book, from Mayenne, set down at the cool amount of three and a half millions, to Beauvoir or Beauvillars at the more modest price of a hundred and sixty thousand livres. "I should appal my readers," said De Bethune, "if I should show to them that this sum makes but a very small part of the amounts demanded from the royal treasury, either by Frenchmen or by strangers, as pay and pension, and yet the total was thirty-two millions's."
And now the most Catholic king, having brought himself at last to exchange the grasp of friendship with the great ex-heretic, and to recognize the Prince of Bearne as the legitimate successor of St. Louis, to prevent which consummation he had squandered so many thousands of lives, so many millions of treasure, and brought ruin to so many prosperous countries, prepared himself for another step which he had long hesitated to take.
He resolved to transfer the Netherlands to his daughter Isabella and to the Cardinal Archduke Albert, who, as the king had now decided, was to espouse the Infanta.
The deed of cession was signed at Madrid on the 6th May, 1598. It was accompanied by a letter of the same date from the Prince Philip, heir apparent to the crown.
On the 30th May the Infanta executed a procuration by which she gave absolute authority to her future husband to rule over the provinces of the Netherlands, Burgundy, and Charolois, and to receive the oaths of the estates and of public functionaries.
[See all the deeds and documents in Bor, IV. 461-466. Compare Herrera, iii. 766-770. Very elaborate provisions were made in regard to the children and grand-children to spring from this marriage, but it was generally understood at the time that no issue was to be expected. The incapacity of the cardinal seems to have been revealed by an indiscretion of the General of Franciscans-- diplomatist and father confessor--and was supported by much collateral evidence. Hence all these careful stipulations were a solemn jest, like much of the diplomatic work of this reign.]
It was all very systematically done. No transfer of real estate, no 'donatio inter vivos' of mansions and messuages, parks and farms, herds and flocks, could have been effected in a more business-like manner than the gift thus made by the most prudent king to his beloved daughter.
The quit-claim of the brother was perfectly regular.
So also was the power of attorney, by which the Infanta authorised the middle-aged ecclesiastic whom she was about to espouse to take possession in her name of the very desirable property which she had thus acquired.
It certainly never occurred, either to the giver or the receivers, that the few millions of Netherlanders, male and female, inhabiting these provinces in the North Sea, were entitled to any voice or opinion as to the transfer of themselves and their native land to a young lady living in a remote country. For such was the blasphemous system of Europe at that day. Property had rights. Kings, from whom all property emanated, were enfeoffed directly from the Almighty; they bestowed certain privileges on their vassals, but man had no rights at all. He was property, like the ox or the ass, like the glebe which he watered with the sweat of his brow.
The obedient Netherlands acquiesced obediently in these new arrangements. They wondered only that the king should be willing thus to take from his crown its choicest jewels--for it is often the vanity of colonies and dependencies to consider themselves gems.
The republican Netherlanders only laughed at these arrangements, and treated the invitation to transfer themselves to the new sovereigns of the provinces with silent contempt.
The cardinal-archduke left Brussels in September, having accomplished the work committed to him by the power of attorney, and having left Cardinal Andrew of Austria, bishop of Constantia, son of the Archduke Ferdinand, to administer affairs during his absence. Francis de Mendoza, Admiral of Arragon, was entrusted with the supreme military command for the same interval.
The double marriage of the Infante of Spain with the Archduchess Margaret of Austria, and of the unfrocked Cardinal Albert of Austria with the Infanta Clara Eugenia Isabella, was celebrated by proxy, with immense pomp, at Ferrara, the pope himself officiating with the triple crown upon his head.
Meantime, Philip II., who had been of delicate constitution all his life, and who had of late years been a confirmed valetudinarian, had been rapidly failing ever since the transfer of the Netherlands in May. Longing to be once more in his favourite retirement of the Escorial, he undertook the journey towards the beginning of June, and was carried thither from Madrid in a litter borne by servants, accomplishing the journey of seven leagues in six days.
When he reached the palace cloister, he was unable to stand. The gout, his life-long companion, had of late so tortured him in the hands and feet that the mere touch of a linen sheet was painful to him. By the middle of July a low fever had attacked him, which rapidly reduced his strength. Moreover, a new and terrible symptom of the utter disintegration of his physical constitution had presented itself. Imposthumes, from which he had suffered on the breast and at the joints, had been opened after the usual ripening applications, and the result was not the hoped relief, but swarms of vermin, innumerable in quantities, and impossible to extirpate, which were thus generated and reproduced in the monarch's blood and flesh.
The details of the fearful disorder may have attraction for the pathologist, but have no especial interest for the general reader. Let it suffice, that no torture ever invented by Torquemada or Peter Titelman to serve the vengeance of Philip and his ancestors or the pope against the heretics of Italy or Flanders, could exceed in acuteness the agonies which the most Catholic king was now called upon to endure. And not one of the long line of martyrs, who by decree of Charles or Philip had been strangled, beheaded, burned, or buried alive, ever faced a death of lingering torments with more perfect fortitude, or was sustained by more ecstatic visions of heavenly mercy, than was now the case with the great monarch of Spain.
That the grave-worms should do their office before soul and body were parted, was a torment such as the imagination of Dante might have invented for the lowest depths of his "Inferno."
[A great English poet has indeed expressed the horrible thought:--
"It is as if the dead could feel The icy worm about them steal:"--BYRON.]
On the 22nd July, the king asked Dr. Mercado if his sickness was likely to have a fatal termination. The physician, not having the courage at once to give the only possible reply, found means to evade the question. On the 1st August his Majesty's confessor, father Diego de Yepes, after consultation with Mercado, announced to Philip that the only issue to his malady was death. Already he had been lying for ten days on his back, a mass of sores and corruption, scarcely able to move, and requiring four men to turn him in his bed.
He expressed the greatest satisfaction at the sincerity which had now been used, and in the gentlest and most benignant manner signified his thanks to them for thus removing all doubts from his mind, and for giving him information which it was of so much importance for his eternal welfare to possess.
His first thought was to request the papal nuncio, Gaetano, to despatch a special courier to Rome to request the pope's benediction. This was done, and it was destined that the blessing of his Holiness should arrive in time.
He next prepared himself to make a general confession, which lasted three days, father Diego having drawn up at his request a full and searching interrogatory. The confession may have been made the more simple, however, by the statement which he made to the priest, and subsequently repeated to the Infante his son, that in all his life he had never consciously done wrong to any one. If he had ever committed an act of injustice, it was unwittingly, or because he had been deceived in the circumstances. This internal conviction of general righteousness was of great advantage to him in the midst of his terrible sufferings, and accounted in great degree for the gentleness, thoughtfulness for others, and perfect benignity, which, according to the unanimous testimony of many witnesses, characterised his conduct during this whole sickness.
After he had completed his long general confession, the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered to him. Subsequently, the same rites were more briefly performed every few days.
His sufferings were horrible, but no saint could have manifested in them more gentle resignation or angelic patience. He moralized on the condition to which the greatest princes might thus be brought at last by the hand of God, and bade the prince observe well his father's present condition, in order that, when he too should be laid thus low, he might likewise be sustained by a conscience void of offence. He constantly thanked his assistants and nurses for their care, insisted upon their reposing themselves after their daily fatigues, and ordered others to relieve them in their task.
He derived infinite consolation from the many relics of saints, of which, as has been seen, he had made plentiful prevision during his long reign. Especially a bone of St. Alban, presented to him by Clement VIII., in view of his present straits, was of great service. With this relic, and with the arm of St. Vincent of Ferrara, and the knee-bone of St. Sebastian, he daily rubbed his sores, keeping the sacred talismans ever in his sight on the altar, which was not far from his bed. He was much pleased when the priests and other bystanders assured him that the remains of these holy men would be of special efficacy to him, because he had cherished and worshipped them in times when misbelievers and heretics had treated them with disrespect.
On a sideboard in his chamber a human skull was placed, and upon this skull--in ghastly mockery of royalty, in truth, yet doubtless in the conviction that such an exhibition showed the superiority of anointed kings even over death--he ordered his servants to place a golden crown. And thus, during the whole of his long illness, the Antic held his state, while the poor mortal representative of absolute power lay living still, but slowly mouldering away.
With perfect composure, and with that minute attention to details which had characterised the king all his lifetime, and was now more evident than ever, he caused the provisions for his funeral obsequies to be read aloud one day by Juan Ruys de Velasco, in order that his children, his ministers, and the great officers of state who were daily in attendance upon him, might thoroughly learn their lesson before the time came for performing the ceremony.
"Having governed my kingdom for forty years," said he, "I now give it back, in the seventy-first year of my age, to God Almighty, to whom it belongs, recommending my soul into His blessed hands, that His Divine Majesty may do what He pleases therewith."
He then directed that after his body should have been kept as long as the laws prescribed, it should be buried thus:--
The officiating bishop was to head the procession, bearing the crucifix, and followed by the clergy.
The Adelantado was to come next, trailing the royal standard along the ground. Then the Duke of Novara was to appear, bearing the crown on an open salver, covered with a black cloth, while the Marquis of Avillaer carried the sword of state.
The coffin was to be borne by eight principal grandees, clad in mourning habiliments, and holding lighted torches.
The heir apparent was to follow, attended by Don Garcia de Loyasa, who had just been consecrated, in the place of Cardinal Albert, as Archbishop of Toledo.
The body was to be brought to the church, and placed in the stately tomb already prepared for its reception. "Mass being performed," said the king, "the prelate shall place me in the grave which shall be my last house until I go to my eternal dwelling. Then the prince, third king of my name, shall go into the cloister of St. Jerome at Madrid, where he shall keep nine days mourning. My daughter, and her aunt--my sister, the ex-empress--shall for the same purpose go to the convent of the grey sisters."
The king then charged his successor to hold the Infanta in especial affection and consideration; "for," said he, "she has been my mirror, yea; the light of my eyes." He also ordered that the Marquis of Mondejar be taken from prison and set free, on condition never to show himself at Court. The wife of Antonio Perez was also to be released from prison, in order that she might be immured in a cloister, her property being bestowed upon her daughters.
As this unfortunate lady's only crime consisted in her husband's intrigue with the king's mistress, Princess Eboli, in which she could scarcely be considered an accomplice, this permission to exchange one form of incarceration for another did not seem an act of very great benignity.
Philip further provided that thirty thousand masses should be said for his soul, five hundred slaves liberated from the galleys, and five hundred maidens provided with marriage portions.
After these elaborate instructions had been read, the king ordered a certain casket to be brought to him and opened in his presence. From this he took forth a diamond of great price and gave it to the Infanta, saying that it had belonged to her mother, Isabella of France. He asked the prince if he consented to the gift. The prince answered in the affirmative.
He next took from the coffer a written document, which he handed to his son, saying, "Herein you will learn how to govern your kingdoms."
Then he produced a scourge, which he said was the instrument with which his father, the emperor, had been in the habit of chastising himself during his retreat at the monastery of Juste. He told the by-standers to observe the imperial blood by which the lash was still slightly stained.
As the days wore on he felt himself steadily sinking, and asked to receive extreme unction. As he had never seen that rite performed he chose to rehearse it beforehand, and told Ruys Velasco; who was in constant attendance upon him, to go for minute instructions on the subject to the Archbishop of Toledo. The sacrament having been duly. administered; the king subsequently, on the 1st September, desired to receive it once more. The archbishop, fearing that the dying monarch's strength would be insufficient for the repetition of the function, informed him that the regulations of the Church required in such cases only a compliance with certain trifling forms, as the ceremony had been already once thoroughly carried out. But the king expressed himself as quite determined that the sacrament should be repeated in all its parts; that he should once more--be anointed--to use the phrase of brother Francis Neyen--with the oil which holy athletes require in their wrestle with death.
This was accordingly done in the presence of his son and daughter, and, of his chief secretaries, Christopher de Moura and John de Idiaquez, besides the Counts Chinchon, Fuensalido, and several other conspicuous personages. He was especially desirous that his son should be present, in order that; when he too should come to die, he might not find himself, like his father, in ignorance of the manner in which this last sacrament was to be performed.
When it was finished he described himself as infinitely consoled, and as having derived even more happiness from the rite than he had dared to anticipate.
Thenceforth he protested that he would talk no more of the world's affairs. He had finished with all things below, and for the days or hours still remaining to him he would keep his heart exclusively fixed upon Heaven. Day by day as he lay on his couch of unutterable and almost unexampled misery, his confessors and others read to him from religious works, while with perfect gentleness he would insist that one reader should relieve another, that none might be fatigued.
On the 11th September he dictated these words to Christopher de Moura, who was to take them to Diego de Yepes, the confessor:--
"Father Confessor, you are in the place of God, and I protest thus before His presence that I will do all that you declare necessary for my salvation. Thus upon you will be the, responsibility for my omissions, because I am ready to do all."
Finding that the last hour was approaching, he informed Don Fernando de Toledo where: he could find some candles of our lady of Montserrat, one of which he desered to keep in his hand at the supreme moment. He also directed Ruys de Velasco to take from a special shrine--which he had indicated to him six years before--a crucifix which the emperor his father had held upon his death-bed. All this was accomplished according to his wish.
He had already made arrangements for his funeral procession, and had subsequently provided all the details of his agony. It was now necessary to give orders as to the particulars of his burial.
He knew that decomposition had made such progress even while he was still living as to render embalming impossible: He accordingly instructed Don Christopher to see his body wrapped in a shroud just as it lay, and to cause it to be placed in a well-soldered metallic coffin already provided. The coffin of state, in which the leaden one was to be enclosed, was then brought into the chamber by his command, that he might see if it was entirely to his taste. Having examined it, he ordered that it should be lined with white satin and ornamented with gold nails and lace-work. He also described a particular brocade of black and gold, to be found in the jewelroom, which he desired for the pall.
Next morning he complained to Don Christopher that the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper had not been administered to him for several days. It was urged that his strength was deemed insufficient, and that, as he had received that rite already four times during his illness, and extreme unction twice, it was thought that the additional fatigue might be spared him. But as the king insisted, the sacrament was once more performed and prayers were read. He said with great fervour many times, "Pater, non mea voluntas, sed tux fiat." He listened, too, with much devotion to the Psalm, "As the hart panteth for the water-brooks;" and he spoke faintly at long intervals of the Magdalen, of the prodigal son, and of the paralytic.
When these devotional exercises had been concluded, father Diego expressed the hope to him that he might then pass away, for it would be a misfortune by temporary convalescence to fall from the exaltation of piety which he had then reached. The remark was heard by Philip with an expression of entire satisfaction.
That day both the Infanta and the prince came for the last time to his bedside to receive his blessing. He tenderly expressed his regret to his daughter that he had not been permitted to witness her marriage, but charged her never to omit any exertion to augment and sustain the holy Roman Catholic religion in the Netherlands. It was in the interest of that holy Church alone that he had endowed her with those provinces, and he now urged it upon her with his dying breath to impress upon her future husband these his commands to both.
His two children took leave of him with tears and sobs: As the prince left the chamber he asked Don Christopher who it was that held the key to the treasury.
The secretary replied, "It is I, Sir." The prince demanded that he should give it into his hands. But Don Christopher excused himself, saying that it had been entrusted to him by the king, and that without his consent he could not part with it. Then the prince returned to the king's chamber, followed by the secretary, who narrated to the dying monarch what had taken place.
"You have done wrong," said Philip; whereupon Don Christopher, bowing to the earth, presented the key to the prince.
The king then feebly begged those about his bedside to repeat the dying words of our Saviour on the cross, in order that he might hear them and repeat them in his heart as his soul was taking flight.
His father's crucifix was placed in his hands, and he said distinctly, "I die like a good Catholic, in faith and obedience to the holy Roman Church." Soon after these last words had been spoken, a paroxysm, followed by faintness, came over him, and he lay entirely still.
They had covered his face with a cloth, thinking that he had already expired, when he suddenly started, with great energy, opened his eyes, seized the crucifix again from the hand of Don Fernando de Toledo, kissed it, and fell back again into agony.
The archbishop and the other priests expressed the opinion that he must have had, not a paroxysm, but a celestial vision, for human powers would not have enabled him to arouse himself so quickly and so vigorously as he had done at that crisis.
He did not speak again, but lay unconsciously dying for some hours, and breathed his last at five in the morning of Sunday the 13th September.
His obsequies were celebrated according to the directions which he had so minutely given.
These volumes will have been written in vain if it be now necessary to recal to my readers the leading events in the history of the man who had thus left the world where, almost invisible himself, he had so long played a leading part. It may not be entirely useless, however, to throw a parting glance at a character which it has been one of the main objects of this work, throughout its whole course, to pourtray. My theme has been the reign of Philip II., because, as the less is included in the greater, the whole of that reign, with the exception of a few episodes, is included in the vast movement out of which the Republic of the United Netherlands was born and the assailed independence of France and England consolidated. The result of Philip's efforts to establish a universal monarchy was to hasten the decline of the empire which he had inherited, by aggravating the evils which had long made that downfall inevitable.
It is from no abstract hatred to monarchy that I have dwelt with emphasis upon the crimes of this king, and upon the vices of the despotic system, as illustrated during his lifetime. It is not probable that the military, monarchical system--founded upon conquests achieved by barbarians and pirates of a distant epoch over an effete civilization and over antique institutions of intolerable profligacy--will soon come to an end in the older world. And it is the business of Europeans so to deal with the institutions of their inheritance or their choice as to ensure their steady melioration and to provide for the highest interests of the people. It matters comparatively little by what name a government is called, so long as the intellectual and moral development of mankind, and the maintenance of justice among individuals, are its leading principles. A government, like an individual, may remain far below its ideal; but, without an ideal, governments and individuals are alike contemptible. It is tyranny only--whether individual or popular--that utters its feeble sneers at the ideologists, as if mankind were brutes to whom instincts were all in all and ideas nothing. Where intellect and justice are enslaved by that unholy trinity--Force; Dogma, and Ignorance--the tendency of governments, and of those subjected to them, must of necessity be retrograde and downward.
There can be little doubt to those who observe the movements of mankind during the course of the fourteen centuries since the fall of the Roman Empire--a mere fragment of human history--that its progress, however concealed or impeded, and whether for weal or woe, is towards democracy; for it is the tendency of science to liberate and to equalize the physical and even the intellectual forces of humanity. A horse and a suit of armour would now hardly enable the fortunate possessor of such advantages to conquer a kingdom, nor can wealth and learning be monopolised in these latter days by a favoured few. Yet veneration for a crown and a privileged church--as if without them and without their close connection with each other law and religion were impossible--makes hereditary authority sacred to great masses of mankind in the old world. The obligation is the more stringent, therefore, on men thus set apart as it were by primordial selection for ruling and instructing their fellow-creatures, to keep their edicts and their practice in harmony with divine justice. For these rules cannot be violated with impunity during along succession of years, and it is usually left for a comparatively innocent generation, to atone for the sins of their forefathers. If history does not teach this it teaches nothing, and as the rules of morality; whether for individuals or for nations, are simple and devoid of mystery; there is the less excuse for governments which habitually and cynically violate the eternal law.
Among self-evident truths not one is more indisputable than that which, in the immortal words of our Declaration of Independence, asserts the right of every human being to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; but the only happiness that can be recognised by a true statesman as the birthright of mankind is that which comes from intellectual and moral development, and from the subjugation of the brutal instincts.
A system according to which clowns remain clowns through all the ages, unless when extraordinary genius or fortunate accident enables an exceptional individual to overleap the barrier of caste, necessarily retards the result to which the philosopher looks forward with perfect faith.
For us, whose business it is to deal with, and, so far as human fallibility will permit, to improve our inevitable form of government- which may degenerate into the most intolerable of polities unless we are ever mindful that it is yet in its rudimental condition; that, although an immense step has been taken in the right direction by the abolition of caste, the divorce of Church and State, and the limitation of intrusion by either on the domain of the individual, it is yet only a step from which, without eternal vigilance, a falling back is very easy; and that here, more than in other lands, ignorance of the scientific and moral truths on--which national happiness and prosperity depend, deserves bitter denunciation--for us it is wholesome to confirm our faith in democracy, and to justify our hope that the People will prove itself equal to the awful responsibility of self-government by an occasional study of the miseries which the opposite system is capable of producing. It is for this reason that the reign of the sovereign whose closing moments have just been recorded is especially worthy of a minute examination, and I still invite a parting glance at the spectacle thus presented, before the curtain falls.
The Spanish monarchy in the reign of Philip II. was not only the most considerable empire then existing, but probably the most powerful and extensive empire that had ever been known. Certainly never before had so great an agglomeration of distinct and separate sovereignties been the result of accident. For it was owing to a series of accidents--in the common acceptation of that term--that Philip governed so mighty a realm. According to the principle that vast tracts: of the earth's surface, with the human beings feeding upon: them, were transferable in fee-simple from one man or woman to another by marriage, inheritance, or gift, a heterogeneous collection of kingdoms, principalities, provinces, and: wildernesses had been consolidated, without geographical continuity, into an artificial union--the populations differing from each other as much as human beings can differ, in race, language, institutions, and historical traditions, and resembling each other in little, save in being the property alike of the same fortunate individual.
Thus the dozen kingdoms of Spain, the seventeen provinces of the Netherlands, the kingdoms of the Two Sicilies, the duchy of Milan, and certain fortresses and districts of Tuscany, in Europe; the kingdom of Barbary, the coast of Guinea, and an indefinite and unmeasured expanse. of other territory, in Africa; the controlling outposts and cities all along the coast of the two Indian peninsulas, with as much of the country as it seemed good to occupy, the straits and the, great archipelagoes, so far as they had--been visited'by Europeans, in Asia; Peru, Brazil, Mexico, the Antilles--the whole recently discovered fourth quarter of the world in short, from the "Land of Fire" in the South to the frozen regions of the North--as much territory as the Spanish and Portuguese sea-captains could circumnavigate and the pope in the plentitude of his power and his generosity could bestow on his fortunate son, in America; all this enormous proportion of the habitable globe was the private property, of Philip; who was the son of Charles, who was the son of Joanna, who was the daughter of Isabella, whose husband was Ferdinand. By what seems to us the most whimsical of political arrangements, the Papuan islander, the Calabrian peasant, the Amsterdam merchant, the semi- civilized Aztec, the Moor of Barbary, the Castilian grandee, the roving Camanche, the Guinea negro, the Indian Brahmin, found themselves--could they but have known it--fellow-citizens of one commonwealth. Statutes of family descent, aided by fraud, force, and chicane, had annexed the various European sovereignties to the crown of Spain; the genius of a Genoese sailor had given to it the New World, and more recently the conquest of Portugal, torn from hands not strong enough to defend the national independence, had vested in the same sovereignty those Oriental possessions which were due to the enterprise of Vasco de Gama, his comrades and successors. The, voyager, setting forth from the straits of Gibraltar, circumnavigating the African headlands and Cape Comorin, and sailing through the Molucca channel and past the isles which bore the name of Philip in the Eastern sea, gave the hand at last to his adventurous comrade, who, starting from the same point, and following westward in the track of Magellaens and under the Southern Cross, coasted the shore of Patagonia, and threaded his path through unmapped and unnumbered clusters of islands in the Western Pacific; and during this spanning of the earth's whole circumference not an inch of land or water was traversed that was not the domain of Philip.
For the sea, too, was his as well as the dry land.
From Borneo to California the great ocean was but a Spanish lake, as much the king's private property as his fish-ponds at the Escorial with their carp and perch. No subjects but his dared to navigate those sacred waters. Not a common highway of the world's commerce, but a private path for the gratification of one human being's vanity, had thus been laid out by the bold navigators of the sixteenth century.
It was for the Dutch rebels to try conclusions upon this point, as they had done upon so many others, with the master of the land and sea. The opening scenes therefore in the great career of maritime adventure and discovery by which these republicans were to make themselves famous will soon engage the reader's attention.
Thus the causes of what is called the greatness of Spain are not far to seek. Spain was not a nation, but a temporary and factitious conjunction of several nations, which it was impossible to fuse into a permanent whole, but over whose united resources a single monarch for a time disposed. And the very concentration of these vast and unlimited, powers, fortuitous as it was, in this single hand, inspiring the individual, not unnaturally, with a consciousness of superhuman grandeur; impelled him to those frantic and puerile efforts to achieve the impossible which resulted, in the downfall of Spain. The man who inherited so much material greatness believed himself capable of destroying the invisible but omnipotent spirit of religious and political liberty in the Netherlands, of trampling out the national existence of France and of England, and of annexing those realms to his empire: It has been my task to relate, with much minuteness, how miserably his efforts failed.
But his resources were great. All Italy was in his hands, with the single exception of the Venetian republic; for the Grand Duke of Florence and the so-called republic of Genoa were little more than his vassals, the pope was generally his other self, and the Duke of Savoy was his son- in-law. Thus his armies, numbering usually a hundred thousand men, were supplied from the best possible sources. The Italians were esteemed the best soldiers for siege; assault, light skirmishing. The German heavy troopers and arquebuseers were the most effective for open field-work, and these were to be purchased at reasonable prices and to indefinite amount from any of the three or four hundred petty sovereigns to whom what was called Germany belonged. The Sicilian and Neapolitan pikemen, the Milanese light-horse, belonged exclusively to Philip, and were used, year after year, for more than a generation of mankind, to fight battles in which they had no more interest than had their follow-subjects in the Moluccas or in Mexico, but which constituted for them personally as lucrative a trade on the whole as was afforded them at that day by any branch of industry.
Silk, corn, wine, and oil were furnished in profusion from these favoured regions, not that the inhabitants might enjoy life, and, by accumulating wealth, increase the stock of human comforts and contribute to intellectual and scientific advancement, but in order that the proprietor of the soil might feed those eternal armies ever swarming from the south to scatter desolation over the plains of France, Burgundy, Flanders, and Holland, and to make the crown of Spain and the office of the Holy Inquisition supreme over the world. From Naples and Sicily were derived in great plenty the best materials and conveniences for ship-building and marine equipment. The galleys and the galley-slaves furnished by these subject realms formed the principal part of the royal navy. From distant regions, a commerce which in Philip's days had become oceanic supplied the crown with as much revenue as could be expected in a period of gross ignorance as to the causes of the true grandeur and the true wealth of nations. Especially from the mines of Mexico came an annual average of ten or twelve millions of precious metals, of which the king took twenty- five per cent. for himself.
It would be difficult and almost superfluous to indicate the various resources placed in the hands of this one personage, who thus controlled so large a portion of the earth. All that breathed or grew belonged to him, and most steadily was the stream of blood and treasure poured through the sieve of his perpetual war. His system was essentially a gigantic and perpetual levy of contributions in kind, and it is only in this vague and unsatisfactory manner that the revenues of his empire can be stated. A despot really keeps no accounts, nor need to do so, for he is responsible to no man for the way in which he husbands or squanders his own. Moreover, the science of statistics had not a beginning of existence in those days, and the most common facts can hardly be obtained, even by approximation. The usual standard of value, the commodity which we call money--gold or silver--is well known to be at best a fallacious guide for estimating the comparative wealth--of individuals or of nations at widely different epochs. The dollar of Philip's day was essentially the same bit of silver that it is in our time in Spain, Naples, Rome, or America, but even should an elaborate calculation be made as to the quantity of beef, or bread or broadcloth to be obtained for that bit of silver in this or that place in the middle of the sixteenth century, the result, as compared with prices now prevalent, would show many remarkable discrepancies. Thus a bushel of wheat at Antwerp during Philip's reign might cost a quarter of a dollar, in average years, and there have been seasons in our own time when two bushels of wheat could have been bought for a quarter of a dollar in Illinois. Yet if, notwithstanding this, we should allow a tenfold value in exchange to the dollar of Philip's day, we should be surprised at the meagreness of his revenues, of his expenditures, and of the debts which at the close of his career brought him to bankruptcy; were the sums estimated in coin.
Thus his income was estimated by careful contemporary statesmen at what seemed to them the prodigious annual amount of sixteen millions of dollars. He carried on a vast war without interruption during the whole of his forty-three years' reign against the most wealthy and military nations of Christendom not recognising his authority, and in so doing he is said to have expended a sum total of seven hundred millions of dollars--a statement which made men's hair stand on their heads. Yet the American republic, during its civil war to repress the insurrection of the slaveholders, has spent nominally as large a sum as this every year; and the British Empire in time of profound peace spends half as much annually. And even if we should allow sixteen millions to have represented the value of a hundred and sixty millions--a purely arbitrary supposition--as compared with our times, what are a hundred and sixty, millions of dollars, or thirty-three millions of pounds sterling--as the whole net revenue of the greatest empire that had ever existed in the world, when compared with the accumulated treasures over which civilized and industrious countries can now dispose? Thus the power of levying men and materials in kind constituted the chief part of the royal power, and, in truth, very little revenue in money was obtained from Milan or Naples, or from any of the outlying European possessions of the crown.
Eight millions a year were estimated as the revenue from the eight kingdoms incorporated under the general name of Castile, while not more than six hundred thousand came from the three kingdoms which constituted Arragon. The chief sources of money receipts were a tax of ten per cent. upon sales, paid by the seller, called Alcavala, and the Almoxarifalgo or tariff upon both imports and exports. Besides these imposts he obtained about eight hundred thousand dollars a year by selling to his subjects the privilege of eating eggs upon fast-days, according to the permission granted him by the pope, in the bull called the Cruzada. He received another annual million from the Sussidio and the Excusado. The first was a permission originally given by the popes to levy six hundred thousand dollars a year upon ecclesiastical property for equipment of a hundred war-galleys against the Saracens, but which had more recently established itself as a regular tax to pay for naval hostilities against Dutch and English heretics--a still more malignant species of unbelievers in the orthodox eyes of the period. The Excusado was the right accorded to the king always to select from the Church possessions a single benefice and to appropriate its fruit--a levy commuted generally for four hundred thousand dollars a year. Besides these regular sources of income, large but irregular amounts of money were picked up by his Majesty in small sums, through monks sent about the country simply as beggars, under no special license, to collect alms from rich and poor for sustaining the war against the infidels of England and Holland. A certain Jesuit, father Sicily by name, had been industrious enough at one period in preaching this crusade to accumulate more than a million and a half, so that a facetious courtier advised his sovereign to style himself thenceforth king, not of the two, but of the three Sicilies, in honour of the industrious priest.
It is worthy of remark that at different periods during Philip's reign, and especially towards its close, the whole of his regular revenue was pledged to pay the interest, on his debts, save only the Sussidio and the Cruzada. Thus the master of the greatest empire of the earth had at times no income at his disposal except the alma he could solicit from his poorest subjects to maintain his warfare against foreign miscreants, the levy on the Church for war-galleys; and the proceeds of his permission to eat meat on Fridays. This sounds like an epigram, but it is a plain, incontestable fact.
Thus the revenues of his foreign dominions being nearly consumed by their necessary expenses, the measure of his positive wealth was to be found in the riches of Spain. But Spain at that day was not an opulent country. It was impossible that it should be rich, for nearly every law, according to which the prosperity of a country becomes progressive; was habitually violated. It is difficult to state even by approximation the amount of its population, but the kingdoms united under the crown of Castile were estimated by contemporaries to contain eight millions, while the kingdom of Portugal, together with those annexed to Arragon and the other provinces of the realm, must have numbered half as many. Here was a populous nation in a favoured land, but the foundation of all wealth was sapped by a perverted moral sentiment.
Labour was esteemed dishonourable. The Spaniard, from highest to lowest, was proud, ignorant, and lazy. For a people endowed by nature with many noble qualities--courage, temperance, frugality, endurance, quickness of perception; a high sense of honour, a reverence for law--the course of the national history had proved as ingeniously bad a system of general education as could well be invented.
The eternal contests, century after century, upon the soil of Spain between the crescent and the cross, and the remembrance of the ancient days in which Oriental valour and genius had almost extirpated Germanic institutions and Christian faith from the peninsula, had inspired one great portion of the masses with a hatred, amounting almost to insanity, towards every form of religion except the Church of Rome, towards every race of mankind except the Goths and Vandals. Innate reverence for established authority had expanded into an intensity of religious emotion and into a fanaticism of loyalty which caused the anointed monarch leading true believers against infidels to be accepted as a god. The highest industrial and scientific civilization that had been exhibited upon Spanish territory was that of Moors and Jews. When in the course of time those races had been subjugated, massacred, or driven into exile, not only was Spain deprived of its highest intellectual culture and its most productive labour, but intelligence, science, and industry were accounted degrading, because the mark of inferior and detested peoples.
The sentiment of self-esteem, always a national characteristic, assumed an almost ludicrous shape. Not a ragged Biscayan muleteer, not a swineherd of Estremadura, that did not imagine himself a nobleman because he was not of African descent. Not a half-starved, ignorant brigand, gaining his living on the highways and byways by pilfering or assassination, that did not kneel on the church pavement and listen to orisons in an ancient tongue, of which he understood not a syllable, with a sentiment of Christian self-complacency to which Godfrey of Bouillon might have been a stranger. Especially those born towards the northern frontier, and therefore farthest removed from Moorish contamination, were proudest of the purity of their race. To be an Asturian or a Gallician, however bronzed by sun and wind, was to be furnished with positive proof against suspicion of Moorish blood; but the sentiment was universal throughout the peninsula.
It followed as a matter of course that labour of any kind was an impeachment against this gentility of descent. To work was the province of Moors, Jews, and other heretics; of the Marani or accursed, miscreants and descendants of miscreants; of the Sanbeniti or infamous, wretches whose ancestors had been convicted by the Holy Inquisition of listening, however secretly, to the Holy Scriptures as expounded by other lips than those of Roman priests. And it is a remarkable illustration of this degradation of labour and of its results, that in the reign of Philip twenty-five thousand individuals of these dishonoured and comparatively industrious classes, then computed at four millions in number in the Castilian kingdoms alone, had united in a society which made a formal offer to the king to pay him two thousand dollars a head if the name and privileges of hidalgo could be conferred upon them. Thus an inconsiderable number of this vilest and most abject of the population-- oppressed by taxation which was levied exclusively upon the low, and from which not only the great nobles but mechanics and other hidalgos were, exempt--had been able to earn and to lay by enough to offer the monarch fifty millions of dollars to purchase themselves out of semi-slavery into manhood, and yet found their offer rejected by an almost insolvent king. Nothing could exceed the idleness and the frivolity of the upper classes, as depicted by contemporary and not unfriendly observers. The nobles were as idle and as ignorant as their inferiors. They were not given to tournays nor to the delights of the chase and table, but were fond of brilliant festivities, dancing, gambling, masquerading, love-making, and pompous exhibitions of equipage, furniture, and dress. These diversions --together with the baiting of bulls and the burning of Protestants--made up their simple round of pleasures. When they went to the wars they scorned all positions but that of general, whether by land or sea, and as war is a trade which requires an apprenticeship; it is unnecessary to observe that these grandees were rarely able to command, having never learned to obey. The poorer Spaniards were most honourably employed perhaps--so far as their own mental development was concerned--when they were sent with pike and arquebus to fight heretics in France and Flanders. They became brave and indomitable soldiers when exported to the seat of war, and thus afforded proof--by strenuously doing the hardest physical work that human beings can be called upon to perform, campaigning year after year amid the ineffable deprivations, dangers, and sufferings which are the soldier's lot--that it was from no want of industry or capacity that the lower masses of Spaniards in that age were the idle, listless, dice-playing, begging, filching vagabonds into which cruel history and horrible institutions had converted them at home.
It is only necessary to recal these well-known facts to understand why one great element of production--human labour--was but meagrely supplied. It had been the deliberate policy of the Government for ages to extirpate the industrious classes, and now that a great portion of Moors and Jews were exiles and outcasts, it was impossible to supply their place by native workmen. Even the mechanics, who condescended to work with their hands in the towns, looked down alike upon those who toiled in the field and upon those who, attempted to grow rich by traffic. A locksmith or a wheelwright who could prove four descents of western, blood called himself a son of somebody--a hidalgo--and despised the farmer and the merchant. And those very artisans were careful not to injure themselves by excessive industry, although not reluctant by exorbitant prices to acquire in one or-two days what might seem a fair remuneration for a week, and to impress upon their customers that it was rather by way of favour that they were willing to serve them at all.
Labour being thus deficient, it is obvious that there could hardly have been a great accumulation, according to modern ideas, of capital. That other chief element of national wealth, which is the result of generations of labour and of abstinence, was accordingly not abundant. And even those accretions of capital, which in the course of centuries had been inevitable, were as clumsily and inadequately diffused as the most exquisite human perverseness could desire. If the object of civil and political institutions had been to produce the greatest ill to the greatest number, that object had been as nearly attained at last in Spain as human imperfection permits; the efforts of government and of custom coming powerfully to the aid of the historical evils already indicated.
It is superfluous to say that the land belonged not to those who lived upon it--but subject to the pre-eminent right of the crown--to a small selection of the human species. Moderate holdings, small farms, peasant proprietorship's, were unknown. Any kind of terrestrial possession; in short, was as far beyond the reach of those men who held themselves so haughtily and esteemed themselves so inordinately, as were the mountains in the moon.
The great nobles--and of real grandees of Spain there were but forty- nine, although the number of titled families was much larger--owned all the country, except that vast portion of it which had reposed for ages in the dead-hand of the Church. The law of primogeniture, strictly enforced, tended with every generation to narrow the basis of society. Nearly every great estate was an entail, passing from eldest son to eldest son, until these were exhausted, in which case a daughter transferred the family possessions to a new house. Thus the capital of the country--meagre at best in comparison with what it might have been, had industry been honoured instead of being despised, had the most intelligent and most diligent classes been cherished rather than hunted to death or into obscure dens like vermin--was concentrated in very few hands. Not only was the accumulation less than it should have been, but the slenderness of its diffusion had nearly amounted to absolute stagnation. The few possessors of capital wasted their revenues in unproductive consumption. The millions of the needy never dreamed of the possibility of deriving benefit from the capital of the rich, nor would have condescended to employ it, nor known how to employ it, had its use in any form been vouchsafed to them. The surface of Spain, save only around the few royal residences, exhibited no splendour of architecture, whether in town or country, no wonders of agricultural or horticultural skill, no monumentsof engineering and constructive genius in roads, bridges, docks, warehouses, and other ornamental and useful fabrics, or in any of the thousand ways in which man facilitates intercourse among his kind and subdues nature to his will.
Yet it can never be too often repeated that it, is only the Spaniard of the sixteenth century, such as extraneous circumstances had made him, that is here depicted; that he, even like his posterity and his ancestors, had been endowed by Nature with some of her noblest gifts. Acuteness of intellect, wealth of imagination, heroic qualities of heart, and hand, and brain, rarely surpassed in any race, and manifested on a thousand battle-fields, and in the triumphs of a magnificent and most original literature, had not been able to save a whole nation from the disasters and the degradation which the mere words Philip II, and the Holy Inquisition suggest to every educated mind.
Nor is it necessary for my purpose to measure exactly the space which separated Spain from the other leading monarchies of the day. That the standard of civilization was a vastly higher one in England, Holland, or even France--torn as they all were with perpetual civil war--no thinker will probably deny; but as it is rather my purpose at this moment to exhibit the evils which may spring from a perfectly bad monarchical system, as administered by a perfectly bad king, I prefer not to wander at present from the country which was ruled for almost half a century by Philip II.
Besides the concentration of a great part of the capital of the country in a very small number of titled families, still another immense portion of the national wealth belonged, as already intimated, to the Church.
There were eleven archbishops, at the head of whom stood the Archbishop of Toledo, with the enormous annual revenue of three hundred thousand dollars. Next to him came the Archbishop of Seville, with one hundred and fifty thousand dollars yearly, while the income of the others varied from fifty thousand to twenty thousand dollars respectively.
There were sixty-two bishops, with annual incomes ranging from fifty thousand to six thousand dollars. The churches, also, of these various episcopates were as richly endowed as the great hierarchs themselves. But without fatiguing the reader with minute details, it is sufficient to say that one-third of the whole annual income of Spain and Portugal belonged to the ecclesiastical body. In return for this enormous proportion of the earth's fruits, thus placed by the caprice of destiny at their disposal, these holy men did very little work in the world. They fed their flocks neither with bread nor with spiritual food. They taught little, preached little, dispensed little in charity. Very few of the swarming millions of naked and hungry throughout the land were clothed or nourished out of these prodigious revenues of the Church. The constant and avowed care of those prelates was to increase their worldly, possessions, to build up the fortunes of their respective families, to grow richer and richer at the expense of the people whom for centuries they had fleeced. Of gross crime, of public ostentatious immorality, such as had made the Roman priesthood of that and preceding ages loathsome in the sight of man and God, the Spanish Church- dignitaries were innocent. Avarice; greediness, and laziness were their characteristics. It is almost superfluous to say that, while the ecclesiastical princes were rolling in this almost fabulous wealth, the subordinate clergy, the mob of working priests, were needy, half-starved mendicants.
From this rapid survey of the condition of the peninsula it will seem less surprising than it might do at first glance that the revenue of the greatest monarch of the world was rated at the small amount--even after due allowance for the difference of general values between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries--of sixteen millions of dollars. The King of Spain was powerful and redoubtable at home and abroad, because accident had placed the control of a variety of separate realms in his single hand. At the same time Spain was poor and weak, because she had lived for centuries in violation of the principles on which the wealth and strength of nations depend. Moreover, every one of those subject and violently annexed nations hated Spain with undying fervour, while an infernal policy--the leading characteristics of which were to sow dissensions among the nobles, to confiscate their property on all convenient occasions, and to bestow it upon Spaniards and other foreigners; to keep the discontented masses in poverty, but to deprive them of the power or disposition to unite with their superiors in rank in demonstrations against the crown--had sufficed to suppress any extensive revolt in the various Italian states united under Philip's sceptre. Still more intense than the hatred of the Italians was the animosity which was glowing in every Portuguese breast against the Spanish sway; while even the Arragonese were only held in subjection by terror, which, indeed, in one form or another, was the leading instrument of Philip's government.
It is hardly necessary to enlarge upon the regulations of Spain's foreign commerce; for it will be enough to repeat the phrase that in her eyes the great ocean from east to west was a Spanish lake, sacred to the ships of the king's subjects alone. With such a simple code of navigation coming in aid of the other causes which impoverished the land, it may be believed that the maritime traffic of the country would dwindle into the same exiguous proportions which characterised her general industry.
Moreover, it should never be forgotten that, although the various kingdoms of Spain were politically conjoined by their personal union under one despot, they were commercially distinct. A line of custom- houses separated each province from the rest, and made the various inhabitants of the peninsula practically strangers to each other. Thus there was less traffic between Castile, Biscay, and Arragon than there was between any one of them and remote foreign nations. The Biscayans, for example, could even import and export commodities to and from remote countries by sea, free of duty, while their merchandize to and from Castile was crushed by imposts. As this ingenious perversity of positive arrangements came to increase the negative inconveniences caused by the almost total absence of tolerable roads, canals, bridges, and other means of intercommunication, it may be imagined that internal traffic--the very life-blood of every prosperous nation--was very nearly stagnant in Spain. As an inevitable result, the most thriving branch of national industry was that of the professional smuggler, who, in the pursuit of his vocation, did his best to aid Government in sapping the wealth of the nation.
The whole accumulated capital of Spain, together with the land--in the general sense which includes not only the soil but the immovable property of a country being thus exclusively owned by the crown, the church, and a very small number of patrician families, while the supply of labour owing to the special causes which had converted the masses of the people into paupers ashamed to work but not unwilling to beg or to rob--was incredibly small, it is obvious that, so long as the same causes continued in operation, the downfall of the country was a logical result from which there was no escape. Nothing but a general revolution of mind and hand against the prevalent system, nothing but some great destructive but regenerating catastrophe, could redeem the people.
And it is the condition of the people which ought always to be the prominent subject of interest to those who study the records of the Past. It is only by such study that we can derive instruction from history, and enable ourselves, however dimly and feebly, to cast the horoscope of younger nations. Human history, so far as it has been written, is at best a mere fragment; for the few centuries or year-thousands of which there is definite record are as nothing compared to the millions of unnumbered years during which man has perhaps walked the earth. It may be as practicable therefore to derive instruction from a minute examination in detail of a very limited period of time and space, and thus to deduce general rules for the infinite future, during which our species may be destined to inhabit this planet, as by a more extensive survey, which must however be at best a limited one. Men die, but Man is immortal, and it would be a sufficiently forlorn prospect for humanity if we were not able to discover causes in operation which would ultimately render the system of Philip II. impossible in any part of the globe. Certainly, were it otherwise, the study of human history would be the most wearisome and unprofitable of all conceivable occupations. The festivities of courts, the magnificence of an aristocracy, the sayings and doings of monarchs and their servants, the dynastic wars, the solemn treaties; the Ossa upon Pelion of diplomatic and legislative rubbish by which, in the course of centuries, a few individuals or combinations of individuals have been able to obstruct the march of humanity, and have essayed to suspend the operation of elemental laws--all this contains but little solid food for grown human beings. The condition of the brave and quickwitted Spanish people in the latter half of the sixteenth century gives more matter for reflection and possible instruction.
That science is the hope of the world, that ignorance is the real enslaver of mankind, and therefore the natural ally of every form of despotism, may be assumed as an axiom, and it was certainly the ignorance and superstition of the people upon which the Philippian policy was founded.
A vast mass, entirely uneducated, half fed, half clothed, unemployed; and reposing upon a still lower and denser stratum--the millions namely of the "Accursed," of the Africans, and last and vilest of all, the "blessed" descendants of Spanish protestants whom the Holy Office had branded with perpetual infamy because it had burned their progenitors-- this was the People; and it was these paupers and outcasts, nearly the whole nation, that paid all the imposts of which the public revenue was composed. The great nobles, priests, and even the hidalgos, were exempt from taxation. Need more be said to indicate the inevitable ruin of both government and people?
And it was over such a people, and with institutions like these, that Philip II. was permitted to rule during forty-three years. His power was absolute. With this single phrase one might as well dismiss any attempt at specification. He made war or peace at will with foreign nations. He had power of life and death over all his subjects. He had unlimited control of their worldly goods. As he claimed supreme jurisdiction over their religious opinions also, he was master of their minds, bodies, and estates. As a matter of course, he nominated and removed at will every executive functionary, every judge, every magistrate, every military or civil officer; and moreover, he not only selected, according to the license tacitly conceded to him by the pontiff, every archbishop, bishop, and other Church dignitary, but, through his great influence at Rome, he named most of the cardinals, and thus controlled the election of the popes. The whole machinery of society, political, ecclesiastical, military, was in his single hand. There was a show of provincial privilege here and there in different parts of Spain, but it was but the phantom of that ancient municipal liberty which it had been the especial care of his father and his great-grandfather to destroy. Most patiently did Philip, by his steady inactivity, bring about the decay of the last ruins of free institutions in the peninsula. The councils and legislative assemblies were convoked and then wearied out in waiting for that royal assent to their propositions and transactions, which was deferred intentionally, year after year, and never given. Thus the time of the deputies was consumed in accomplishing infinite nothing, until the moment arrived when the monarch, without any violent stroke of state, could feel safe in issuing decrees and pragmatic edicts; thus reducing the ancient legislative and consultative bodies to nullity, and substituting the will of an individual for a constitutional fabric. To criticise the expenses of government or to attempt interference with the increase of taxation became a sorry farce. The forms remained in certain provinces after the life had long since fled. Only in Arragon had the ancient privileges seemed to defy the absolute authority of the monarch; and it was reserved for Antonio Perez to be the cause of their final extirpation. The grinning skulls of the Chief Justice of that kingdom and of the boldest and noblest advocates and defenders of the national liberties, exposed for years in the market-place, with the record of their death-sentence attached, informed the Spaniards, in language which the most ignorant could read, that the crime of defending a remnant of human freedom and constitutional law was sure to draw down condign punishment. It was the last time in that age that even the ghost of extinct liberty was destined to revisit the soil of Spain. It mattered not that the immediate cause for pursuing Perez was his successful amour with the king's Mistress, nor that the crime of which he was formally accused was the deadly offence of Calvinism, rather than his intrigue with the Eboli and his assassination of Escovedo; for it was in the natural and simple sequence of events that the last vestige of law or freedom should be obliterated wherever Philip could vindicate his sway. It must be admitted, too, that the king seized this occasion to strike a decisive blow with a promptness very different from his usual artistic sluggishness. Rarely has a more terrible epigram been spoken by man than the royal words which constituted the whole trial and sentence of the Chief Justice of Arragon, for the crime of defending the law of his country: "You will take John of Lanuza, and you will have his head cut off." This was the end of the magistrate and of the constitution which he had defended.
His power, was unlimited. A man endowed with genius and virtue, and possessing the advantages of a consummate education, could have perhaps done little more than attempt to mitigate the general misery, and to remove some of its causes. For it is one of the most pernicious dogmas of the despotic system, and the one which the candid student of history soonest discovers to be false, that the masses of mankind are to look to any individual, however exalted by birth or intellect, for their redemption. Woe to the world if the nations are never to learn that their fate is and ought to be in their own hands; that their institutions, whether liberal or despotic, are the result of the national biography and of the national character, not the work of a few individuals whose names have been preserved by capricious Accident as heroes and legislators. Yet there is no doubt that, while comparatively powerless for good, the individual despot is capable of almost infinite mischief. There have been few men known to history who have been able to accomplish by their own exertions so vast an amount of evil as the king who had just died. If Philip possessed a single virtue it has eluded the conscientious research of the writer of these pages. If there are vices --as possibly there are from which he was exempt, it is because it is not permitted to human nature to attain perfection even in evil. The only plausible explanation--for palliation there is none--of his infamous career is that the man really believed himself not a king but a god. He was placed so high above his fellow-creatures as, in good faith perhaps, to believe himself incapable of doing wrong; so that, whether indulging his passions or enforcing throughout the world his religious and political dogmas, he was ever conscious of embodying divine inspirations and elemental laws. When providing for the assassination of a monarch, or commanding the massacre of a townfill of Protestants; when trampling on every oath by which a human being can bind himself; when laying desolate with fire and sword, during more than a generation, the provinces which he had inherited as his private property, or in carefully maintaining the flames of civil war in foreign kingdoms which he hoped to acquire; while maintaining over all Christendom a gigantic system of bribery, corruption, and espionage, keeping the noblest names of England and Scotland on his pension-lists of traitors, and impoverishing his exchequer with the wages of iniquity paid in France to men of all degrees, from princes of blood like Guise and Mayenne down to the obscurest of country squires, he ever felt that these base or bloody deeds were not crimes, but the simple will of the godhead of which he was a portion. He never doubted that the extraordinary theological system which he spent his life in enforcing with fire and sword was right, for it was a part of himself. The Holy Inquisition, thoroughly established as it was in his ancestral Spain, was a portion of the regular working machinery by which his absolute kingship and his superhuman will expressed themselves. A tribunal which performed its functions with a celerity, certainty, and invisibility resembling the attributes of Omnipotence; which, like the pestilence, entered palace or hovel at will, and which smote the wretch guilty or suspected of heresy with a precision against which no human ingenuity or sympathy could guard--such an institution could not but be dear to his heart. It was inevitable that the extension and perpetuation of what he deemed its blessings throughout his dominions should be his settled purpose. Spain was governed by an established terrorism. It is a mistake to suppose that Philip was essentially beloved in his native land, or that his religious and political system was heartily accepted because consonant to the national character. On the contrary, as has been shown, a very large proportion of the inhabitants were either secretly false to the Catholic faith, or descended at least from those who had expiated their hostility to it with their lives. But the Grand Inquisitor was almost as awful a personage; as the king or the pope. His familiars were in every village and at every fireside, and from their fangs there was no escape. Millions of Spaniards would have rebelled against the crown or accepted the reformed religion, had they not been perfectly certain of being burned or hanged at the slightest movement in such a direction. The popular force in the course of the political combinations of centuries seemed at last to have been eliminated. The nobles, exempt from taxation, which crushed the people to the earth, were the enemies rather than the chieftains and champions of the lower classes in any possible struggle with a crown to which they were united by ties of interest as well as of affection, while the great churchmen, too, were the immediate dependants and of course the firm supporters of the king. Thus the people, without natural leaders, without organisation, and themselves divided into two mutually hostile sections, were opposed by every force in the State. Crown, nobility, and clergy; all the wealth and all that there was of learning, were banded together to suppress the democratic principle. But even this would hardly have sufficed to extinguish every spark of liberty, had it not been for the potent machinery of the Inquisition; nor could that perfection of terrorism have become an established institution but for the extraordinary mixture of pride and superstition of which the national character had been, in the course of the national history, compounded. The Spanish portion of the people hated the nobles, whose petty exactions and oppressions were always visible; but they had a reverential fear of the unseen monarch, as the representative both of the great unsullied Christian nation to which the meanest individual was proud to belong, and of the God of wrath who had decreed the extermination of all unbelievers. The "accursed" portion of the people were sufficiently disloyal at heart, but were too much crushed by oppression and contempt to imagine themselves men. As to the Netherlanders, they did not fight originally for independence. It was not until after a quarter of a century of fighting that they ever thought of renouncing their allegiance to Philip. They fought to protect themselves against being taxed by the king without the consent of those constitutional assemblies which he had sworn to maintain, and to save themselves and their children from being burned alive if they dared to read the Bible. Independence followed after nearly a half-century of fighting, but it would never have been obtained, or perhaps demanded, had those grievances of the people been redressed.
Of this perfect despotism Philip was thus the sole administrator. Certainly he looked upon his mission with seriousness, and was industrious in performing his royal functions. But this earnestness and seriousness were, in truth, his darkest vices; for the most frivolous voluptuary that ever wore a crown would never have compassed a thousandth part of the evil which was Philip's life-work. It was because he was a believer in himself, and in what he called his religion, that he was enabled to perpetrate such a long catalogue of crimes. When an humble malefactor is brought before an ordinary court of justice, it is not often, in any age or country, that he escapes the pillory or the gallows because, from his own point of view, his actions, instead of being criminal, have been commendable, and because the multitude and continuity of his offences prove him to have been sincere. And because anointed monarchs are amenable to no human tribunal, save to that terrible assize which the People, bursting its chain from time to time in the course of the ages, sets up for the trial of its oppressors, and which is called Revolution, it is the more important for the great interests of humanity that before the judgment-seat of History a crown should be no protection to its wearer. There is no plea to the jurisdiction of history, if history be true to itself.
As for the royal criminal called Philip II., his life is his arraignment, and these volumes will have been written in vain if a specification is now required.
Homicide such as was hardly ever compassed before by one human being was committed by Philip when in the famous edict of 1568 he sentenced every man, woman, and child in the Netherlands to death. That the whole of this population, three millions or more, were not positively destroyed was because no human energy could suffice to execute the diabolical decree. But Alva, toiling hard, accomplished much of this murderous work. By the aid of the "Council of Blood," and of the sheriffs and executioners of the Holy Inquisition, he was able sometimes to put eight hundred human beings to death in a single week for the crimes of Protestantism or of opulence, and at the end of half a dozen years he could boast of having strangled, drowned, burned, or beheaded somewhat more than eighteen thousand of his fellow-creatures. These were some of the non-combatant victims; for of the tens of thousands who perished during his administration alone, in siege and battle, no statistical record has been preserved.
In face of such wholesale crimes, of these forty years of bloodshed, it is superfluous to refer to such isolated misdeeds as his repeated attempts to procure the assassination of the Prince of Orange, crowned at last by the success of Balthazar Gerard, nor to his persistent efforts to poison the Queen of England; for the enunciation of all these murders or attempts at murder would require a repetition of the story which it has been one of the main purposes of these volumes to recite.
For indeed it seems like mere railing to specify his crimes. Their very magnitude and unbroken continuity, together with their impunity, give them almost the appearance of inevitable phenomena. The horrible monotony of his career stupefies the mind until it is ready to accept the principle of evil as the fundamental law of the world.
His robberies, like his murders, were colossal. The vast, system of confiscation set up in the Netherlands was sufficient to reduce unnumbered innocent families to beggary, although powerless to break the spirit of civil and religious liberty or to pay the expenses of subjugating a people. Not often in the world's history have so many thousand individual been plundered by a foreign tyrant for no crime, save that they were rich enough to be worth robbing. For it can never be too often repeated that those confiscations and extortions were perpetrated upon Catholics as well as Protestants, monarchists as well as rebels; the possession of property making proof of orthodoxy or of loyalty well-nigh impossible.
Falsehood was the great basis of the king's character, which perhaps derives its chief importance, as a political and psychological study, from this very fact. It has been shown throughout the whole course of this history, by the evidence of his most secret correspondence, that he was false, most of all, to those to whom he gave what he called his heart. Granvelle, Alva, Don John, Alexander Farnese, all those, in short, who were deepest in his confidence experienced in succession his entire perfidy, while each in turn was sacrificed to his master's sleepless suspicion. The pope himself was often as much the dupe of the Catholic monarch's faithlessness as the vilest heretic had ever been. Could the great schoolmaster of iniquity for the sovereigns and politicians of the south have lived to witness the practice of the monarch who had most laid to heart the precepts of the "Prince," he would have felt that he had not written in vain, and that his great paragon of successful falsehood, Ferdinand of Arragon, had been surpassed by the great grandson. For the ideal perfection of perfidy, foreshadowed by the philosopher who died in the year of Philip's birth, was thoroughly embodied at last by this potentate. Certainly Nicholas Macchiavelli could have hoped for no more docile pupil. That all men are vile, that they are liars; scoundrels, poltroons, and idiots alike--ever ready to deceive and yet easily to be duped, and that he only is fit to be king who excels his kind in the arts of deception; by this great maxim of the Florentine, Philip was ever guided. And those well-known texts of hypocrisy, strewn by the same hand, had surely not fallen on stony ground when received into Philip's royal soul.
"Often it is necessary, in order to maintain power, to act contrary to faith, contrary to charity, contrary to humanity, contrary to religion . . . . . . A prince ought therefore to have great care that from his mouth nothing should ever come that is not filled with those five qualities, and that to see and hear him he should appear all piety, all faith, all integrity, all humanity, all religion. And nothing is more necessary than to seem to have this last-mentioned quality. Every one sees what you seem, few perceive what you are."
Surely this hand-book of cant had been Philip's 'vade mecum' through his life's pilgrimage.
It is at least a consolation to reflect that a career controlled by such principles came to an ignominious close. Had the mental capacity of this sovereign been equal to his criminal intent, even greater woe might have befallen the world. But his intellect was less than mediocre. His passion for the bureau, his slavery to routine, his puerile ambition personally to superintend details which could have been a thousand times better administered by subordinates, proclaimed every day the narrowness of his mind. His diligence in reading, writing, and commenting upon despatches may excite admiration only where there has been no opportunity of judging of his labours by personal inspection. Those familiar with the dreary displays of his penmanship must admit that such work could have been at least as well done by a copying clerk of average capacity. His ministers were men of respectable ability, but he imagined himself, as he advanced in life, far superior to any counsellor that he could possibly select, and was accustomed to consider himself the first statesman in the world.
His reign was a thorough and disgraceful failure. Its opening scene was the treaty of Catean Cambresis, by which a triumph over France had been achieved for him by the able generals and statesmen of his father, so humiliating and complete as to make every French soldier or politician gnash his teeth. Its conclusion was the treaty of Vervins with the same power, by which the tables were completely turned, and which was as utterly disgraceful to Spain as that of Cateau Cambresis had been to France. He had spent his life in fighting with the spirit of the age-- that invincible power of which he had not the faintest conception--while the utter want of adaptation of his means to his ends often bordered, not on the ludicrous, but the insane.
He attempted to reduce the free Netherlands to slavery and to papacy. Before his death they had expanded into an independent republic, with a policy founded upon religious toleration and the rights of man. He had endeavoured all his life to exclude the Bearnese from his heritage and to place himself or his daughter on the vacant throne; before his death Henry IV. was the most powerful and popular sovereign that had ever reigned in France. He had sought to invade and to conquer England, and to dethrone and assassinate its queen. But the queen outwitted, outgeneralled, and outlived, him; English soldiers and sailors, assisted. by their Dutch comrades in arms, accomplished on the shores of Spain what the Invincible Armada had in vain essayed against England and Holland; while England, following thenceforth the opposite system to that of absolutism and the Inquisition, became, after centuries of struggles towards the right, the most powerful, prosperous, and enlightened kingdom in the world.
His exchequer, so full when he ascended the throne as to excite the awe of contemporary financiers, was reduced before his death to a net income of some four millions of dollars. His armies; which had been the wonder of the age in the earlier period of his reign for discipline, courage, and every quality on which military efficiency depends, were in his later years a horde of starving, rebellious brigands, more formidable to their commanders than to the foe. Mutiny was the only organised military institution that was left in his dominions, while the Spanish Inquisition, which it was the fell purpose of his life from youth upwards to establish over the world, became a loathsome and impossible nuisance everywhere but in its natal soil.
If there be such a thing as historical evidence, then is Philip II., convicted before the tribunal of impartial posterity of every crime charged in his indictment. He lived seventy-one years and three months, he reigned forty-three years. He endured the martyrdom of his last illness with the heroism of a saint, and died in the certainty of immortal bliss as the reward of his life of evil.
ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:
A despot really keeps no accounts, nor need to do so All Italy was in his hands Every one sees what you seem, few perceive what you are God of wrath who had decreed the extermination of all unbeliever Had industry been honoured instead of being despised History is but made up of a few scattered fragments Hugo Grotius Idle, listless, dice-playing, begging, filching vagabonds Ignorance is the real enslaver of mankind Innocent generation, to atone for the sins of their forefathers Intelligence, science, and industry were accounted degrading Labour was esteemed dishonourable Man had no rights at all He was property Matters little by what name a government is called Moral nature, undergoes less change than might be hoped Names history has often found it convenient to mark its epochs National character, not the work of a few individuals Proceeds of his permission to eat meat on Fridays Rarely able to command, having never learned to obey Rich enough to be worth robbing Seems but a change of masks, of costume, of phraseology Selling the privilege of eating eggs upon fast-days Sentiment of Christian self-complacency Spain was governed by an established terrorism That unholy trinity--Force; Dogma, and Ignorance The great ocean was but a Spanish lake The most thriving branch of national industry (Smuggler) The record of our race is essentially unwritten Thirty thousand masses should be said for his soul Those who argue against a foregone conclusion Three or four hundred petty sovereigns (of Germany) Utter want of adaptation of his means to his ends While one's friends urge moderation Whole revenue was pledged to pay the interest, on his debts