Rise of the Dutch Republic, the — Complete (1574-84) eBook

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MOTLEY’S HISTORY OF THE NETHERLANDS, Project Gutenberg Edition, Vol. 34


By John Lothrop Motley


Parma recals the foreign troops—­Siege of Oudenarde—­Coolness of Alexander—­Capture of the city and of Nineve—­Inauguration of Anjou at Ghent—­Attempt upon his life and that of Orange—­Lamoral Egmont’s implication in the plot—­Parma’s unsuccessful attack upon Ghent—­ Secret plans of Anjou—­Dunkirk, Ostend, and other towns surprised by his adherents—­Failure at Bruges—­Suspicions at Antwerp—­Duplicity of Anjou—­The “French Fury”—­Details of that transaction—­ Discomfiture and disgrace of the Duke—­His subsequent effrontery—­ His letters to the magistracy of Antwerp, to, the Estates, and to Orange—­Extensive correspondence between Anjou and the, French Court with Orange and the Estates—­Difficult position of the Prince—­His policy—­Remarkable letter to the States-general—­Provisional arrangement with Anjou—­Marriage of the Archbishop of Cologne—­ Marriage of Orange with Louisa de Coligny—­Movements in Holland, Brabant, Flanders, and other provinces, to induce the Prince to accept sovereignty over the whole country—­His steady refusal—­ Treason of Van den Berg in Gueldres—­Intrigues of Prince Chimay and Imbize in Flanders—­Counter efforts of Orange and the patriot party —­Fate of Imbize—­Reconciliation of Bruges—­Death of Anjou

During the course of the year 1582, the military operations on both sides had been languid and desultory, the Prince of Parma, not having a large force at his command, being comparatively inactive.  In consequence, however, of the treaty concluded between the United states and Anjou, Parma had persuaded the Walloon provinces that it had now become absolutely necessary for them to permit the entrance of fresh Italian and Spanish troops.  This, then, was the end of the famous provision against foreign soldiery in the Walloon treaty of reconciliation.  The Abbot of Saint Vaast was immediately despatched on a special mission to Spain, and the troops, by midsummer, had already begun to pour, into the Netherlands.

In the meantime, Farnese, while awaiting these reinforcements, had not been idle, but had been quietly picking up several important cities.  Early in the spring he had laid siege to Oudenarde, a place of considerable importance upon the Scheld, and celebrated as the birthplace of his grandmother, Margaret van Geest.  The burghers were obstinate; the defence was protracted; the sorties were bold; the skirmishes frequent and sanguinary:  Alexander commanded personally in the trenches, encouraging his men by his example, and often working with the mattock, or handling a spear in the assault, Like a private pioneer or soldier.  Towards the end of the siege, he scarcely ever left the scene of operation,

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