The Union of Utrecht; narrowed as it was to the nether portion of that country which, as a whole, might have formed a commonwealth so much more powerful, was in origin a proof of this lamentable want of patriotism. Could the jealousy of great nobles, the rancour of religious differences, the Catholic bigotry of the Walloon population, on the one side, contending with the democratic insanity of the Ghent populace on the other, have been restrained within bounds by the moderate counsels of William of Orange, it would have been possible to unite seventeen provinces instead of seven, and to save many long and blighting years of civil war.
The Utrecht Union was, however, of inestimable value. It was time for some step to be taken, if anarchy were not to reign until the inquisition and absolutism were restored. Already, out of Chaos and Night, the coming Republic was assuming substance and form. The union, if it created nothing else, at least constructed a league against a foreign foe whose armed masses were pouring faster and faster into the territory of the provinces. Farther than this it did not propose to go. It maintained what it found. It guaranteed religious liberty, and accepted the civil and political constitutions already in existence. Meantime, the defects of those constitutions, although visible and sensible, had not grown to the large proportions which they were destined to attain.
Thus by the Union of Utrecht on the one hand, and the fast approaching reconciliation of the Walloon provinces on the other, the work of decomposition and of construction went Land in hand.
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Are apt to discharge
such obligations—(by) ingratitude
Like a man holding a wolf by the ears
Local self-government which is the life-blood of liberty
No man ever understood the art of bribery more thoroughly
Not so successful as he was picturesque
Plundering the country which they came to protect
Presumption in entitling themselves Christian
Protect the common tranquillity by blood, purse, and life
Republic, which lasted two centuries
Throw the cat against their legs
Worship God according to the dictates of his conscience
MOTLEY’S HISTORY OF THE NETHERLANDS, Project Gutenberg Edition, Vol. 32
THE RISE OF THE DUTCH REPUBLIC
By John Lothrop Motley
Parma’s feint upon Antwerp—He invests Maestricht—Deputation and letters from the states-general, from Brussels, and from Parma, to the Walloon provinces—Active negotiations by Orange and by Farnese —Walloon envoys in Parma’s camp before Maestricht—Festivities—The Treaty of Reconciliation—Rejoicings of the royalist party—Comedy enacted at the Paris theatres—Religious tumults in