THE RISE OF THE DUTCH REPUBLIC
By John Lothrop Motley
1574-1576 [Chapter iii.]
Latter days of the Blood Council—Informal and insincere negotiations for peace—Characteristics of the negotiators and of their diplomatic correspondence—Dr. Junius—Secret conferences between Dr. Leoninus and Orange—Steadfastness of the Prince— Changes in the internal government of the northern provinces— Generosity and increasing power of the municipalities—Incipient jealousy in regard to Orange rebuked—His offer of resignation refused by the Estates—His elevation to almost unlimited power— Renewed mediation of Maximilian—Views and positions of the parties —Advice of Orange—Opening of negotiations at Breda—Propositions and counter-propositions—Adroitness of the plenipotentiaries on both sides—Insincere diplomacy and unsatisfactory results—Union of Holland and Zealand under the Prince of Orange—Act defining his powers—Charlotte de Bourbon—Character, fortunes, and fate of Anna of Saxony—Marriage of Orange with Mademoiselle de Bourbon— Indignation thereby excited—Horrible tortures inflicted upon Papists by Sonoy in North Holland—Oudewater and Schoonoven taken by Hierges—The isles of Zealand—A submarine expedition projected— Details of the adventure—Its entire success—Death of Chiappin Vitelli—Deliberations in Holland and Zealand concerning the renunciation of Philip’s authority—Declaration at Delft—Doubts as to which of the Great Powers the sovereignty should be offered— Secret international relations—Mission to England—Unsatisfactory negotiations with Elizabeth—Position of the Grand Commander—Siege of Zieriekzee—Generosity of Count John—Desperate project of the Prince—Death and character of Requesens.
The Council of Troubles, or, as it will be for ever denominated in history, the Council of Blood, still existed, although the Grand Commander, upon his arrival in the Netherlands, had advised his sovereign to consent to the immediate abolition of so odious an institution. Philip accepting the advice of his governor and his cabinet, had accordingly authorized him by a letter of the 10th of March, 1574, to take that step if he continued to believe it advisable.
Requesens had made use of this permission to extort money from the obedient portion of the provinces. An assembly of deputies was held at Brussels on the 7th of June, 1574, and there was a tedious interchange of protocols, reports, and remonstrances. The estates, not satisfied with the extinction of a tribunal which had at last worn itself out by its own violence, and had become inactive through lack of victims, insisted on greater concessions. They demanded the departure of the Spanish troops, the establishment of a council of Netherlanders in Spain for Netherland affairs, the restoration to offices in the provinces of natives