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Full Online Book HomeNonfictionsThe Revolt Of The Netherlands - Public Preaching
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The Revolt Of The Netherlands - Public Preaching Post by :frenzy Category :Nonfictions Author :Frederich Schiller Date :May 2012 Read :989

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The Revolt Of The Netherlands - Public Preaching

No moment could be more favorable to the Huguenots and the German Protestants than the present to seek a market for their dangerous commodity in the Netherlands. Accordingly, every considerable town now swarmed with suspicious arrivals, masked spies, and the apostles of every description of heresy. Of the religious parties, which had sprung up by secession from the ruling church, three chiefly had made considerable progress in the provinces. Friesland and the adjoining districts were overrun by the Anabaptists, who, however, as the most indigent, without organization and government, destitute of military resources, and moreover at strife amongst themselves, awakened the least apprehension. Of far more importance were the Calvanists, who prevailed in the southern provinces, and above all in Flanders, who were powerfully supported by their neighbors the Huguenots, the republic of Geneva, the Swiss Cantons, and part of Germany, and whose opinions, with the exception of a slight difference, were also held by the throne in England. They were also the most numerous party, especially among the merchants and common citizens. The Huguenots, expelled from France, had been the chief disseminators of the tenets of this party. The Lutherans were inferior both in numbers and wealth, but derived weight from having many adherents among the nobility. They occupied, for the most part, the eastern portion of the Netherlands, which borders on Germany, and were also to be found in some of the northern territories. Some of the most powerful princes of Germany were their allies; and the religious freedom of that empire, of which by the Burgundian treaty the Netherlands formed an integral part, was claimed by them with some appearance of right. These three religious denominations met together in Antwerp, where the crowded population concealed them, and the mingling of all nations favored liberty. They had nothing in common, except an equally inextinguishable hatred of popery, of the Inquisition in particular, and of the Spanish government, whose instrument it was; while, on the other hand, they watched each other with a jealousy which kept their zeal in exercise, and prevented the glowing ardor of fanaticism from waxing dull.

The regent, in expectation that the projected "moderation" would be sanctioned by the king, had, in the meantime, to gratify the Gueux, recommended the governors and municipal officers of the provinces to be as moderate as possible in their proceedings against heretics; instructions which were eagerly followed, and interpreted in the widest sense by the majority, who had hitherto administered the painful duty of punishment with extreme repugnance. Most of the chief magistrates were in their hearts averse to the Inquisition and the Spanish tyranny, and many were even secretly attached to one or other of the religious parties; even the others were unwilling to inflict punishment on their countrymen to gratify their sworn enemies, the Spaniards. All, therefore, purposely misunderstood the regent, and allowed the Inquisition and the edicts to fall almost entirely into disuse. This forbearance of the government, combined with the brilliant representations of the Gueux, lured from their obscurity the Protestants, who, however, had now grown too powerful to be any longer concealed. Hitherto they had contented themselves with secret assemblies by night; now they thought themselves numerous and formidable enough to venture to these meetings openly and publicly. This license commenced somewhere between Oudenarde and Ghent, and soon spread through the rest of Flanders. A certain Herrnann Stricker, born at Overyssel, formerly a monk, a daring enthusiast of able mind, imposing figure, and ready tongue, was the first who collected the people for a sermon in the open air. The novelty of the thing gathered together a crowd of about seven thousand persons. A magistrate of the neighborhood, more courageous than wise, rushed amongst the crowd with his drawn sword, and attempted to seize the preacher, but was so roughly handled by the multitude, who for want of other weapons took up stones and felled him to the ground, that he was glad to beg for his life.


(The unheard-of foolhardiness of a single man rushing into the midst of a fanatical crowd of seven thousand people to seize before their eyes one whom they adored, proves, more than all that can be said on the subject the insolent contempt with which the Roman Catholics of the time looked down upon the so-called heretics as an inferior race of beings.)


This success of the first attempt inspired courage for a second. In the vicinity of Aalst they assembled again in still greater numbers; but on this occasion they provided themselves with rapiers, firearms, and halberds, placed sentries at all the approaches, which they also barricaded with carts and carriages. All passers-by were obliged, whether willing or otherwise, to take part in the religious service, and to enforce this object lookout parties were posted at certain distances round the place of meeting. At the entrance booksellers stationed themselves, offering for sale Protestant catechisms, religious tracts, and pasquinades on the bishops. The preacher, Hermann Stricker, held forth from a pulpit which was hastily constructed for the occasion out of carts and trunks of trees. A canvas awning drawn over it protected him from the sun and the rain; the preacher's position was in the quarter of the wind that the people might not lose any part of his sermon, which consisted principally of revilings against popery. Here the sacraments were administered after the Calvinistic fashion, and water was procured from the nearest river to baptize infants without further ceremony, after the practice, it was pretended, of the earliest times of Christianity. Couples were also united in wedlock, and the marriage ties dissolved between others. To be present at this meeting half the population of Ghent had left its gates; their example was soon followed in other parts, and ere long spread over the whole of East Flanders. In like manner Peter Dathen, another renegade monk, from Poperingen, stirred up West Flanders; as many as fifteen thousand persons at a time attended his preaching from the villages and hamlets; their number made them bold, and they broke into the prisons, where some Anabaptists were reserved for martyrdom. In Tournay the Protestants were excited to a similar pitch of daring by Ambrosius Ville, a French Calvinist. They demanded the release of the prisoners of their sect, and repeatedly threatened if their demands were not complied with to deliver up the town to the French. It was entirely destitute of a garrison, for the commandant, from fear of treason, had withdrawn it into the castle, and the soldiers, moreover, refused to act against their fellow-citizens. The sectarians carried their audacity to such great lengths as to require one of the churches within the town to be assigned to them; and when this was refused they entered into a league with Valenciennes and Antwerp to obtain a legal recognition of their worship, after the example of the other towns, by open force. These three towns maintained a close connection with each other, and the Protestant party was equally powerful in all. While, however, no one would venture singly to commence the disturbance, they agreed simultaneously to make a beginning with public preaching. Brederode's appearance in Antwerp at last gave them courage. Six thousand persons, men and women, poured forth from the town on an appointed day, on which the same thing happened in Tournay and Valenciennes. The place of meeting was closed in with a line of vehicles, firmly fastened together, and behind them armed men were secretly posted, with a view to protect the service from any surprise. Of the preachers, most of whom were men of the very lowest class--some were Germans, some were Huguenots--and spoke in the Walloon dialect; some even of the citizens felt themselves called upon to take a part in this sacred work, now that no fears of the officers of justice alarmed them. Many were drawn to the spot by mere curiosity to hear what kind of new and unheard-of doctrines these foreign teachers, whose arrival had caused so much talk, would set forth. Others were attracted by the melody of the psalms, which were sung in a French version, after the custom in Geneva. A great number came to hear these sermons as so many amusing comedies such was the buffoonery with which the pope, the fathers of the ecclesiastical council of Trent, purgatory, and other dogmas of the ruling church were abused in them. And, in fact, the more extravagant was this abuse and ridicule the more it tickled the ears of the lower orders; and a universal clapping of hands, as in a theatre, rewarded the speaker who had surpassed others in the wildness of his jokes and denunciations. But the ridicule which was thus cast upon the ruling church was, nevertheless, not entirely lost on the minds of the hearers, as neither were the few grains of truth or reason which occasionally slipped in among it; and many a one, who had sought from these sermons anything but conviction, unconsciously carried away a little also of it.

These assemblies were several times repeated, and each day augmented the boldness of the sectarians; till at last they even ventured, after concluding the service to conduct their preachers home in triumph, with an escort of armed horsemen, and ostentatiously to brave the law. The town council sent express after express to the duchess, entreating her to visit them in person, and if possible to reside for a short time in Antwerp, as the only expedient to curb the arrogance of the populace; and assuring her that the most eminent merchants, afraid of being plundered, were already preparing to quit it. Fear of staking the royal dignity on so hazardous a stroke of policy forbade her compliance; but she despatched in her stead Count Megen, in order to treat with the magistrate for the introduction of a garrison. The rebellious mob, who quickly got an inkling of the object of his visit, gathered around him with tumultuous cries, shouting, "He was known to them as a sworn enemy of the Gueux; that it was notorious he was bringing upon them prisons and the Inquisition, and that he should leave the town instantly." Nor was the tumult quieted till Megen was beyond the gates. The Calvinists now handed in to the magistrate a memorial, in which they showed that their great numbers made it impossible for them henceforward to assemble in secrecy, and requested a separate place of worship to be allowed them inside the town. The town council renewed its entreaties to the duchess to assist, by her personal presence, their perplexities, or at least to send to them the Prince of Orange, as the only person for whom the people still had any respect, and, moreover, as specially bound to the town of Antwerp by his hereditary title of its burgrave. In order to escape the greater evil she was compelled to consent to the second demand, however much against her inclination to entrust Antwerp to the prince. After allowing himself to be long and fruitlessly entreated, for he had all at once resolved to take no further share in public affairs, he yielded at last to the earnest persuasions of the regent and the boisterous wishes of the people. Brederode, with a numerous retinue, came half a mile out of the town to meet him, and both parties saluted each other with a discharge of pistols. Antwerp appeared to have poured out all her inhabitants to welcome her deliverer. The high road swarmed with multitudes; the roofs were taken off the houses in order that they might accommodate more spectators; behind fences, from churchyard walls, even out of graves started up men. The attachment of the people to the prince showed itself in childish effusions. "Long live the Gueux!" was the shout with which young and old received him. "Behold," cried others, "the man who shall give us liberty." "He brings us," cried the Lutherans, "the Confession of Augsburg!" "We don't want the Gueux now!" exclaimed others; "we have no more need of the troublesome journey to Brussels. He alone is everything to us!" Those who knew not what to say vented their extravagant joy in psalms, which they vociferously chanted as they moved along. He, however, maintained his gravity, beckoned for silence, and at last, when no one would listen to him, exclaimed with indignation, half real and half affected, "By God, they ought to consider what they did, or they would one day repent what they had now done." The shouting increased even as he rode into the town. The first conference of the prince with the heads of the different religious sects, whom he sent for and separately interrogated, presently convinced him that the chief source of the evil was the mutual distrust of the several parties, and the suspicions which the citizens entertained of the designs of the government, and that therefore it must be his first business to restore confidence among them all. First of all he attempted, both by persuasion and artifice, to induce the Calvinists, as the most numerous body, to lay down their weapons, and in this he at last, with much labor, succeeded. When, however, some wagons were soon afterwards seen laden with ammunition in Malines, and the high bailiff of Brabant showed himself frequently in the neighborhood of Antwerp with an armed force, the Calvinists, fearing hostile interruption of their religious worship, besought the prince to allot them a place within the walls for their sermons, which should be secure from a surprise. He succeeded once more in pacifying them, and his presence fortunately prevented an outbreak on the Assumption of the Virgin, which, as usual, had drawn a crowd to the town, and from whose sentiments there was but too much reason for alarm. The image of the Virgin was, with the usual pomp, carried round the town without interruption; a few words of abuse, and a suppressed murmur about idolatry, was all that the disapproving multitudes indulged in against the procession.


1566. While the regent received from one province after another the most melancholy accounts of the excesses of the Protestants, and while she trembled for Antwerp, which she was compelled to leave in the dangerous hands of the Prince of Orange, a new terror assailed her from another quarter. Upon the first authentic tidings of the public preaching she immediately called upon the league to fulfil its promises and to assist her in restoring order. Count Brederode used this pretext to summon a general meeting of the whole league, for which he could not have selected a more dangerous moment than the present. So ostentatious a display of the strength of the league, whose existence and protection had alone encouraged the Protestant mob to go the length it had already gone, would now raise the confidence of the sectarians, while in the same degree it depressed the courage of the regent. The convention took place in the town of Liege St. Truyen, into which Brederode and Louis of Nassau had thrown themselves at the head of two thousand confederates. As the long delay of the royal answer from Madrid seemed to presage no good from that quarter, they considered it advisable in any case to extort from the regent a letter of indemnity for their persons.

Those among them who were conscious of a disloyal sympathy with the Protestant mob looked on its licentiousness as a favorable circumstance for the league; the apparent success of those to whose degrading fellowship they had deigned to stoop led them to alter their tone; their former laudable zeal began to degenerate into insolence and defiance. Many thought that they ought to avail themselves of the general confusion and the perplexity of the duchess to assume a bolder tone and heap demand upon demand. The Roman Catholic members of the league, among whom many were in their hearts still strongly inclined to the royal cause, and who had been drawn into a connection with the league by occasion and example, rather than from feeling and conviction, now heard to their astonishment propositions for establishing universal freedom of religion, and were not a little shocked to discover in how perilous an enterprise they had hastily implicated themselves. On this discovery the young Count Mansfeld withdrew immediately from it, and internal dissensions already began to undermine the work of precipitation and haste, and imperceptibly to loosen the joints of the league.

Count Egmont and William of Orange were empowered by the regent to treat with the confederates. Twelve of the latter, among whom were Louis of Nassau, Brederode, and Kuilemberg, conferred with them in Duffle, a village near Malines. "Wherefore this new step?" demanded the regent by the mouth of these two noblemen. "I was required to despatch ambassadors to Spain; and I sent them. The edicts and the Inquisition were complained of as too rigorous; I have rendered both more lenient. A general assembly of the states of the realm was proposed; I have submitted this request to the king because I could not grant it from my own authority. What, then, have I unwittingly either omitted or done that should render necessary this assembling in St. Truyen? Is it perhaps fear of the king's anger and of its consequences that disturbs the confederates? The provocation certainly is great, but his mercy is even greater. Where now is the promise of the league to excite no disturbances amongst the people? Where those high-sounding professions that they were ready to die at my feet rather, than offend against any of the prerogatives of the crown? The innovators already venture on things which border closely on rebellion, and threaten the state with destruction; and it is to the league that they appeal. If it continues silently to tolerate this it will justly bring on itself the charge of participating in the guilt of their offences; if it is honestly disposed towards the sovereign it cannot remain longer inactive in this licentiousness of the mob. But, in truth, does it not itself outstrip the insane population by its dangerous example, concluding, as it is known to do, alliances with the enemies of the country, and confirming the evil report of its designs by the present illegal meeting?"

Against these reproaches the league formally justified itself in a memorial which it deputed three of its members to deliver to the council of state at Brussels.

"All," it commenced, "that your highness has done in respect to our petition we have felt with the most lively gratitude; and we cannot complain of any new measure, subsequently adopted, inconsistent with your promise; but we cannot help coming to the conclusion that the orders of your highness are by the judicial courts, at least, very little regarded; for we are continually hearing--and our own eyes attest to the truth of the report--that in all quarters our fellow-citizens are in spite of the orders of your highness still mercilessly dragged before the courts of justice and condemned to death for religion. What the league engaged on its part to do it has honestly fulfilled; it has, too, to the utmost of its power endeavored to prevent the public preachings; but it certainly is no wonder if the long delay of an answer from Madrid fills the mind of the people with distrust, and if the disappointed hopes of a general assembly of the states disposes them to put little faith in any further assurances. The league has never allied, nor ever felt any temptation to ally, itself with the enemies of the country. If the arms of France were to appear in the provinces we, the confederates, would be the first to mount and drive them back again. The league, however, desires to be candid with your highness. We thought we read marks of displeasure in your countenance; we see men in exclusive possession of your favor who are notorious for their hatred against us. We daily hear that persons are warned from associating with us, as with those infected with the plague, while we are denounced with the arrival of the king as with the opening of a day of judgment--what is more natural than that such distrust shown to us should at last rouse our own? That the attempt to blacken our league with the reproach of treason, that the warlike preparations of the Duke of Savoy and of other princes, which, according to common report, are directed against ourselves; the negotiations of the king with the French court to obtain a passage through that kingdom for a Spanish army, which is destined, it is said, for the Netherlands--what wonder if these and similar occurrences should have stimulated us to think in time of the means of self-defence, and to strengthen ourselves by an alliance with our friends beyond the frontier? On a general, uncertain, and vague rumor we are accused of a share in this licentiousness of the Protestant mob; but who is safe from general rumor? True it is, certainly, that of our numbers some are Protestants, to whom religious toleration would be a welcome boon; but even they have never forgotten what they owe to their sovereign. It is not fear of the king's anger which instigated us to hold this assembly. The king is good, and we still hope that he is also just. It cannot, therefore, be pardon that we seek from him, and just as little can it be oblivion that we solicit for our actions, which are far from being the least considerable of the services we have at different times rendered his majesty. Again, it is true, that the delegates of the Lutherans and Calvinists are with us in St. Truyen; nay, more, they have delivered to us a petition which, annexed to this memorial, we here present to your highness. In it they offer to go unarmed to their preachings if the league will tender its security to them, and be willing to engage for a general meeting of the states. We have thought it incumbent upon us to communicate both these matters to you, for our guarantee can have no force unless it is at the same time confirmed by your highness and some of your principal counsellors. Among these no one can be so well acquainted with the circumstances of our cause, or be so upright in intention towards us, as the Prince of Orange and Counts Horn and Egmont. We gladly accept these three as meditators if the necessary powers are given to them, and assurance is afforded us that no troops will be enlisted without their knowledge. This guarantee, however, we only require for a given period, before the expiration of which it will rest with the king whether he will cancel or confirm it for the future. If the first should be his will it will then be but fair that time should be allowed us to place our persons and our property in security; for this three weeks will be sufficient. Finally, and in conclusion, we on our part also pledge ourselves to undertake nothing new without the concurrence of those three persons, our mediators."

The league would not have ventured to hold such bold language if it had not reckoned on powerful support and protection; but the regent was as little in a condition to concede their demands as she was incapable of vigorously opposing them. Deserted in Brussels by most of her counsellors of state, who had either departed to their provinces, or under some pretext or other had altogether withdrawn from public affairs; destitute as well of advisers as of money (the latter want had compelled her, in the first instance, to appeal to the liberality of the clergy; when this proved insufficient, to have recourse to a lottery), dependent on orders from Spain, which were ever expected and never received, she was at last reduced to the degrading expedient of entering into a negotiation with the confederates in St. Truyen, that they should wait twenty-four days longer for the king's resolution before they took any further steps. It was certainly surprising that the king still continued to delay a decisive answer to the petition, although it was universally known that he had answered letters of a much later date, and that the regent earnestly importuned him on this head. She had also, on the commencement of the public preaching, immediately despatched the Marquis of Bergen after the Baron of Montigny, who, as an eye-witness of these new occurrences, could confirm her written statements, to move the king to an earlier decision.


1566. In the meanwhile, the Flemish ambassador, Florence of Montigny, had arrived in Madrid, where he was received with a great show of consideration. His instructions were to press for the abolition of the Inquisition and the mitigation of the edicts; the augmentation of the council of state, and the incorporation with it of the two other councils; the calling of a general assembly of the states, and, lastly, to urge the solicitations of the regent for a personal visit from the king. As the latter, however, was only desirous of gaining time, Montigny was put off with fair words until the arrival of his coadjutor, without whom the king was not willing to come to any final determination. In the meantime, Montigny had every day and at any hour that he desired, an audience with the king, who also commanded that on all occasions the despatches of the duchess and the answers to them should be communicated to himself. He was, too, frequently admitted to the council for Belgian affairs, where he never omitted to call the king's attention to the necessity of a general assembly of the states, as being the only means of successfully meeting the troubles which had arisen, and as likely to supersede the necessity of any other measure. He moreover impressed upon him that a general and unreserved indemnity for the past would alone eradicate the distrust, which was the source of all existing complaints, and would always counteract the good effects of every measure, however well advised. He ventured, from a thorough acquaintance with circumstances and accurate knowledge of the character of his countrymen, to pledge himself to the king for their inviolable loyalty, as soon as they should be convinced of the honesty of his intentions by the straightforwardness of his proceedings; while, on the contrary, he assured him that there would be no hopes of it as long as they were not relieved of the fear of being made the victims of the oppression, and sacrificed to the envy of the Spanish nobles. At last Montigny's coadjutor made his appearance, and the objects of their embassy were made the subject of repeated deliberations.


1566. The king was at that time at his palace at Segovia, where also he assembled his state council. The members were: the Duke of Alva; Don Gomez de Figueroa; the Count of Feria; Don Antonio of Toledo, Grand Commander of St. John; Don John Manriquez of Lara, Lord Steward to the Queen; Ruy Gomez, Prince of Eboli and Count of Melito; Louis of Quixada, Master of the Horse to the Prince; Charles Tyssenacque, President of the Council for the Netherlands; Hopper, State Counsellor and Keeper of the Seal; and State Counsellor Corteville. The sitting of the council was protracted for several days; both ambassadors were in attendance, but the king was not himself present. Here, then, the conduct of the Belgian nobles was examined by Spanish eyes; step by step it was traced back to the most distant source; circumstances were brought into relation with others which, in reality, never had any connection; and what had been the offspring of the moment was made out to be a well-matured and far-sighted plan. All the different transactions and attempts of the nobles which had been governed solely by chance, and to which the natural order of events alone assigned their particular shape and succession, were said to be the result of a preconcerted scheme for introducing universal liberty in religion, and for placing all the power of the state in the hands of the nobles. The first step to this end was, it was said, the violent expulsion of the minister Granvella, against whom nothing could be charged, except that he was in possession of an authority which they preferred to exercise themselves. The second step was sending Count Egmont to Spain to urge the abolition of the Inquisition and the mitigation of the penal statutes, and to prevail on the king to consent to an augmentation of the council of state. As, however, this could not be surreptitiously obtained in so quiet a manner, the attempt was made to extort it from the court by a third and more daring step--by a formal conspiracy, the league of the Gueux. The fourth step to the same end was the present embassy, which at length boldly cast aside the mask, and by the insane proposals which they were not ashamed to make to their king, clearly brought to light the object to which all the preceding steps had tended. Could the abolition of the Inquisition, they exclaimed, lead to anything less than a complete freedom of belief? Would not the guiding helm of conscience be lost with it? Did not the proposed "moderation" introduce an absolute impunity for all heresies? What was the project of augmenting the council of state and of suppressing the two other councils but a complete remodelling of the government of the country in favor of the nobles?--a general constitution for all the provinces of the Netherlands? Again, what was this compact of the ecclesiastics in their public preachings but a third conspiracy, entered into with the very same objects which the league of the nobles in the council of state and that of the Gueux had failed to effect?

However, it was confessed that whatever might be the source of the evil it was not on that account the less important and imminent. The immediate personal presence of the king in Brussels was, indubitably, the most efficacious means speedily and thoroughly to remedy it. As, however, it was already so late in the year, and the preparations alone for the journey would occupy the short tine which was to elapse before the winter set in; as the stormy season of the year, as well as the danger from French and English ships, which rendered the sea unsafe, did not allow of the king's taking the northern route, which was the shorter of the two; as the rebels themselves meanwhile might become possessed of the island of Walcheren, and oppose the lauding of the king; for all these reasons, the journey was not to be thought of before the spring, and in absence of the only complete remedy it was necessary to rest satisfied with a partial expedient. The council, therefore, agreed to propose to the king, in the first place, that he should recall the papal Inquisition from the provinces and rest satisfied with that of the bishops; in the second place, that a new plan for the mitigation of the edicts should be projected, by which the honor of religion and of the king would be better preserved than it had been in the transmitted "moderation;" thirdly, that in order to reassure the minds of the people, and to leave no means untried, the king should impart to the regent full powers to extend free grace and pardon to all those who had not already committed any heinous crime, or who had not as yet been condemned by any judicial process; but from the benefit of this indemnity the preachers and all who harbored them were to be excepted. On the other hand, all leagues, associations, public assemblies, and preachings were to be henceforth prohibited under heavy penalties; if, however, this prohibition should be infringed, the regent was to be at liberty to employ the regular troops and garrisons for the forcible reduction of the refractory, and also, in case of necessity, to enlist new troops, and to name the commanders over them according as should be deemed advisable. Finally, it would have a good effect if his majesty would write to the most eminent towns, prelates, and leaders of the nobility, to some in his own hand, and to all in a gracious tone, in order to stimulate their zeal in his service.

When this resolution of his council of state was submitted to the king his first measure was to command public processions and prayers in all the most considerable places of the kingdom and also of the Netherlands, imploring the Divine guidance in his decision. He appeared in his own person in the council of state in order to approve this resolution and render it effective. He declared the general assembly of the states to be useless and entirely abolished it. He, however, bound himself to retain some German regiments in his pay, and, that they might serve with the more zeal, to pay them their long-standing arrears. He commanded the regent in a private letter to prepare secretly for war; three thousand horse and ten thousand infantry were to be assembled by her in Germany, to which end he furnished her with the necessary letters and transmitted to her a sum of three hundred thousand gold florins. He also accompanied this resolution with several autograph letters to some private individuals and towns, in which he thanked them in the most gracious terms for the zeal which they had already displayed in his service and called upon them to manifest the same for the future. Notwithstanding that he was inexorable on the most important point, and the very one on which the nation most particularly insisted--the convocation of the states, notwithstanding that his limited and ambiguous pardon was as good as none, and depended too much on arbitrary will to calm the public mind; notwithstanding, in fine, that he rejected, as too lenient, the proposed "moderation," but which, on the part of the people, was complained of as too severe; still he had this time made an unwonted step in the favor of the nation; he had sacrificed to it the papal Inquisition and left only the episcopal, to which it was accustomed. The nation had found more equitable judges in the Spanish council than they could reasonably have hoped for. Whether at another time and under other circumstances this wise concession would have had the desired effect we will not pretend to say. It came too late; when (1566) the royal letters reached Brussels the attack on images had already commenced.

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