Title: History of the United Netherlands, 1588
Author: John Lothrop Motley
Release Date: January, 2004 [EBook #4855] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on April 5, 2002]
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By John Lothrop Motley
MOTLEY’S HISTORY OF THE NETHERLANDS, Project Gutenberg Edition, Vol. 55
History of the United Netherlands, 1588
CHAPTER XVIII. Part 1.
Prophecies as to the Year 1588—Distracted Condition of the Dutch Republic—Willoughby reluctantly takes Command—English Commissioners come to Ostend—Secretary Gamier and Robert Cecil— Cecil accompanies Dale to Ghent—And finds the Desolation complete— Interview of Dale and Cecil with Parma—His fervent Expressions in favour of Peace—Cecil makes a Tour in Flanders—And sees much that is remarkable—Interviews of Dr. Rogers with Parma—Wonderful Harangues of the Envoy—Extraordinary Amenity of Alexander—With which Rogers is much touched—The Queen not pleased with her Envoy— Credulity of the English Commissioners—Ceremonious Meeting of all the Envoys—Consummate Art in wasting Time—Long Disputes about Commissions—The Spanish Commissions meant to deceive—Disputes about Cessation of Arms—Spanish Duplicity and Procrastination— Pedantry and Credulity of Dr. Dale—The Papal Bull and Dr. Allen’s Pamphlet—Dale sent to ask Explanations—Parma denies all Knowledge of either—Croft believes to the last in Alexander.
The year 1588 had at last arrived—that fatal year concerning which the German astrologers—more than a century before had prognosticated such dire events. As the epoch approached it was firmly believed by many that the end of the world was at hand, while the least superstitious could not doubt that great calamities were impending over the nations. Portents observed during the winter and in various parts of Europe came to increase the prevailing panic. It rained blood in Sweden, monstrous births occurred in France, and at Weimar it was gravely reported by eminent chroniclers that the sun had appeared at mid-day holding a drawn sword in his mouth—a warlike portent whose meaning could not be mistaken.