MOTLEY’S HISTORY OF THE NETHERLANDS, Project Gutenberg Edition, Vol. 26
THE RISE OF THE DUTCH REPUBLIC
By John Lothrop Motley
Don John of Austria.
1576-1577 [Chapter I.]
Birth and parentage of Don John—Barbara Blomberg—Early education and recognition by Philip—Brilliant military career—Campaign against the Moors—Battle of Lepanto—Extravagant ambition—Secret and rapid journey of the new Governor to the Netherlands—Contrast between Don John and William of Orange—Secret instructions of Philip and private purposes of the Governor—Cautious policy and correspondence of the Prince—Preliminary, negotiations with Don John at Luxemburg characterized—Union of Brussels—Resumption of negotiations with the Governor at Huy—The discussions analyzed and characterized—Influence of the new Emperor Rudolph ii. and of his envoys—Treaty of Marche en Famine, or the Perpetual Edict, signed— Remarks upon that transaction—Views and efforts of Orange in opposition to the treaty—His letter, in name of Holland and Zealand, to the States-General—Anxiety of the royal government to gain over the Prince—Secret mission of Leoninus—His instructions from Don John—Fruitless attempts to corrupt the Prince—Secret correspondence between Don John and Orange—Don John at Louvain—His efforts to ingratiate himself with the Netherlanders—His incipient popularity—Departure of the Spanish troops—Duke of Aerschot appointed Governor of Antwerp citadel—His insincere character.
Don John of Austria was now in his thirty-second year, having been born in Ratisbon on the 24th of February, 1545. His father was Charles the Fifth, Emperor of Germany, King of Spain, Dominator of Asia, Africa, and America; his mother was Barbara Blomberg, washerwoman of Ratisbon. Introduced to the Emperor, originally, that she might alleviate his melancholy by her singing, she soon exhausted all that was harmonious in her nature, for never was a more uncomfortable, unmanageable personage than Barbara in her after life. Married to one Pyramus Kegell, who was made a military commissary in the Netherlands, she was left a widow in the beginning of Alva’s administration. Placed under the especial superintendence of the Duke, she became the torment of that warrior’s life. The terrible Governor, who could almost crush the heart out of a nation of three millions, was unable to curb this single termagant. Philip had expressly forbidden her to marry again, but Alva informed him that she was surrounded by suitors. Philip had insisted that she should go into a convent, but Alva, who, with great difficulty, had established her quietly in Ghent, assured his master that she would break loose again at the bare suggestion of a convent. Philip wished her to go to Spain, sending her word that Don John