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Title: History of the United Netherlands, 1595

Author: John Lothrop Motley

Release Date: January, 2004  [EBook #4867]
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[This file was first posted on April 9, 2002]

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HISTORY OF THE UNITED NETHERLANDS
From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley



MOTLEY'S HISTORY OF THE NETHERLANDS, Project Gutenberg Edition, Vol. 67

History of the United Netherlands, 1595



CHAPTER XXXI.

     Formal declaration of war against Spain--Marriage festivities--Death
     of Archduke Ernest--His year of government--Fuentes declared
     governor-general--Disaffection of the Duke of Arschot and Count
     Arenberg--Death of the Duke of Arschot----Fuentes besieges Le
     Catelet--The fortress of Ham, sold to the Spanish by De Gomeron,
     besieged and taken by the Duke of Bouillon--Execution of De
     Gomeron--Death of Colonel Verdugo--Siege of Dourlens by Fuentes--
     Death of La Motte--Death of Charles Mansfeld--Total defeat of the
     French--Murder of Admiral De Pillars--Dourlens captured, and the
     garrison and citizens put to the sword--Military operations in
     eastern Netherlands and on the Rhine--Maurice lays siege to Groento
     --Mondragon hastening to its relief, Prince Maurice raises the
     siege--Skirmish between Maurice and Mondragon--Death of Philip of
     Nassau--Death of Mondragon--Bombardment and surrender of Weerd
     Castle--Maurice retires into winter quarters--Campaign of Henry Iv.-
     --He besieges Dijon--Surrender of Dijon--Absolution granted to Henry
     by the pope--Career of Balagny at Cambray--Progress of the siege--
     Capitulation of the town--Suicide of the Princess of Cambray, wife
     of Balagny

The year 1595 Opened with a formal declaration of war by the King of
France against the King of Spain.  It would be difficult to say for
exactly how many years the war now declared had already been waged,
but it was a considerable advantage to the United Netherlands that the
manifesto had been at last regularly issued.  And the manifesto was
certainly not deficient in bitterness.  Not often in Christian history
has a monarch been solemnly and officially accused by a brother sovereign
of suborning assassins against his life.  Bribery, stratagem, and murder,
were, however, so entirely the commonplace machinery of Philip's
administration as to make an allusion to the late attempt of Chastel
appear quite natural in Henry's declaration of war.  The king further
stigmatized in energetic language the long succession of intrigues by
which the monarch of Spain, as chief of the Holy League, had been making
war upon him by means of his own subjects, for the last half dozcn years.
Certainly there was hardly need of an elaborate statement of grievances.
The deeds of Philip required no herald, unless Henry was prepared to
abdicate his hardly-earned title to the throne of France.

Nevertheless the politic Gascon subsequently regretted the fierce style
in which he had fulminated his challenge.  He was accustomed to observe
that no state paper required so much careful pondering as a declaration
of war, and that it was scarcely possible to draw up such a document
without committing many errors in the phraseology.  The man who never
knew fear, despondency, nor resentment, was already instinctively acting
on the principle that a king should deal with his enemy as if sure to
become his friend, and with his friends as if they might easily change
to foes.

The answer to the declaration was delayed for two months.  When the
reply came it of course breathed nothing but the most benignant
sentiments in regard to France, while it expressed regret that it was
necessary to carry fire and sword through that country in order to avert
the unutterable woe which the crimes of the heretic Prince of Bearne were
bringing upon all mankind.

It was a solace for Philip to call the legitimate king by the title
borne by him when heir-presumptive, and to persist in denying to him that
absolution which, as the whole world was aware, the Vicar of Christ was
at that very moment in the most solemn manner about to bestow upon him.

More devoted to the welfare of France than were the French themselves,
he was determined that a foreign prince himself, his daughter, or one of
his nephews--should supplant the descendant of St. Louis on the French
throne.  More catholic than the pope he could not permit the heretic,
whom his Holiness was just washing whiter than snow, to intrude himself
into the society of Christian sovereigns.

The winter movements by Bouillon in Luxembourg, sustained by Philip
Nassau campaigning with a meagre force on the French frontier, were not
very brilliant.  The Netherland regiments quartered at Yssoire, La Ferte,
and in the neighbourhood accomplished very little, and their numbers were
sadly thinned by dysentery.  A sudden and successful stroke, too, by
which that daring soldier Heraugiere, who had been the chief captor of
Breda, obtained possession of the town, and castle of Huy, produced no
permanent advantage.  This place, belonging to the Bishop of Liege, with
its stone bridge over the Meuse, was an advantageous position from which
to aid the operations of Bouillon in Luxembourg.  Heraugiere was,
however, not sufficiently reinforced, and Huy was a month later
recaptured by La Motte.  The campaigning was languid during that winter
in the United Netherlands, but the merry-making was energetic.  The
nuptials of Hohenlo with Mary, eldest daughter of William the Silent and
own sister of the captive Philip William; of the Duke of Bouillon with
Elizabeth, one of the daughters of the same illustrious prince by his
third wife, Charlotte of Bourbon; and of Count Everard Solms, the famous
general of the Zeeland troops, with Sabina, daughter of the unfortunate
Lamoral Egmont, were celebrated with much pomp during the months of
February and March.  The States of Holland and of Zeeland made
magnificent presents of diamonds to the brides; the Countess Hohenlo
receiving besides a yearly income of three thousand florins for the lives
of herself and her husband.

In the midst of these merry marriage bells at the Hague a funeral knell
was sounding in Brussels.  On the 20th February, the governor-general of
the obedient Netherlands, Archduke Ernest, breathed his last.  His career
had not been so illustrious as the promises of the Spanish king and the
allegories of schoolmaster Houwaerts had led him to expect.  He had not
espoused the Infanta nor been crowned King of France.  He had not blasted
the rebellious Netherlands with Cyclopean thunderbolts, nor unbound the
Belgic Andromeda from the rock of doom.  His brief year of government
had really been as dismal as, according to the announcement of his
sycophants, it should have been amazing.  He had accomplished nothing,
and all that was left him was to die at the age of forty-two, over head
and ears in debt, a disappointed, melancholy man.  He was very indolent,
enormously fat, very chaste, very expensive, fond of fine liveries and
fine clothes, so solemn and stately as never to be known to laugh, but
utterly without capacity either as a statesman or a soldier.  He would
have shone as a portly abbot ruling over peaceful friars, but he was not
born to ride a revolutionary whirlwind, nor to evoke order out of chaos.
Past and Present were contending with each other in fierce elemental
strife within his domain.  A world was in dying agony, another world was
coming, full-armed, into existence within the hand-breadth of time and of
space where he played his little part, but he dreamed not of it.  He
passed away like a shadow, and was soon forgotten.

An effort was made, during the last illness of Ernest, to procure from
him the appointment of the elector of Cologne as temporary successor to
tho government, but Count Fuentes was on the spot and was a man of
action.  He produced a power in the French language from Philip, with a
blank for the name.  This had been intended for the case of Peter Ernest
Mansfeld's possible death during his provisional administration, and
Fuentes now claimed the right of inserting his own name.

The dying Ernest consented, and upon his death Fuentes was declared
governor-general until the king's further pleasure should be known.

Pedro de Guzman, Count of Fuentes, a Spaniard of the hard and antique
type, was now in his sixty-fourth year.  The pupil and near relative of
the Duke of Alva, he was already as odious to the Netherlanders as might
have been inferred from such education and such kin.  A dark, grizzled,
baldish man, with high steep forehead, long, haggard, leathern visage,
sweeping beard, and large, stern, commanding, menacing eyes, with his
Brussels ruff of point lace and his Milan coat of proof, he was in
personal appearance not unlike the terrible duke whom men never named
without a shudder, although a quarter of a century had passed since he
had ceased to curse the Netherlands with his presence.  Elizabeth of
England was accustomed to sneer at Fuentes because he had retreated
before Essex in that daring commander's famous foray into Portugal.
The queen called the Spanish general a timid old woman.  If her gibe
were true, it was fortunate for her, for Henry of France, and for the
republic, that there were not many more such old women to come from
Spain to take the place of the veteran chieftains who were destined to
disappear so rapidly during this year in Flanders.  He was a soldier of
fortune, loved fighting, not only for the fighting's sake, but for the
prize-money which was to be accumulated by campaigning, and he was wont
to say that he meant to enter Paradise sword in hand.

Meantime his appointment excited the wrath of the provincial magnates.
The Duke of Arschot was beside himself with frenzy, and swore that he
would never serve under Fuentes nor sit at his council-board.  The duke's
brother, Marquis Havre, and his son-in-law, Count Arenberg, shared in the
hatred, although they tried to mitigate the vehemence of its expression.
But Arschot swore that no man had the right to take precedence of him in
the council of state, and that the appointment of this or any Spaniard
was a violation of the charters of the provinces and of the promises of
his Majesty.  As if it were for the nobles of the obedient provinces to
prate of charters and of oaths!  Their brethren under the banner of the
republic had been teaching Philip for a whole generation how they could
deal with the privileges of freemen and with the perjury of tyrants.
It was late in the day for the obedient Netherlanders to remember their
rights.  Havre and Arenberg, dissembling their own wrath, were abused and
insulted by the duke when they tried to pacify him.  They proposed a
compromise, according to which Arschot should be allowed to preside in
the council of state while Fuentes should content himself with the
absolute control of the army.  This would be putting a bit of fat in
the duke's mouth, they said.  Fuentes would hear of no such arrangement.
After much talk and daily attempts to pacify this great Netherlander, his
relatives at last persuaded him to go home to his country place.  He even
promised Arenberg and his wife that he would go to Italy, in pursuance of
a vow made to our lady of Loretto.  Arenberg privately intimated to
Stephen Ybarra that there was a certain oil, very apt to be efficacious
in similar cases of irritation, which might be applied with prospect of
success.  If his father-in-law could only receive some ten thousand
florins which he claimed as due to him from Government, this would do
more to quiet him than a regiment of soldiers could.  He also suggested
that Fuentes should call upon the duke, while Secretary Ybarra should
excuse himself by sickness for not having already paid his respects.
This was done.  Fuentes called.  The duke returned the call, and the two
conversed amicably about the death of the archduke, but entered into no
political discussion.

Arschot then invited the whole council of state, except John Baptist
Tassis, to a great dinner.  He had prepared a paper to read to them in
which he represented the great dangers likely to ensue from such an
appointment as this of Fuentes, but declared that he washed his hands of
the consequences, and that he had determined to leave a country where he
was of so little account.  He would then close his eyes and ears to
everything that might occur, and thus escape the infamy of remaining in a
country where so little account was made of him.  He was urged to refrain
from reading this paper and to invite Tassis.  After a time he consented
to suppress the document, but he manfully refused to bid the
objectionable diplomatist to his banquet.

The dinner took place and passed off pleasantly enough.  Arschot did not
read his manifesto, but, as he warmed with wine, he talked a great deal
of nonsense which, according to Stephen Ybarra, much resembled it, and he
vowed that thenceforth he would be blind and dumb to all that might
occur.  A few days later, he paid a visit to the new governor-general,
and took a peaceful farewell of him.  "Your Majesty knows very well what
he is," wrote Fuentes: "he is nothing but talk."  Before leaving the
country he sent a bitter complaint to Ybarra, to the effect that the king
had entirely forgotten him, and imploring that financier's influence
to procure for him some gratuity from his Majesty.  He was in such
necessity, he said, that it was no longer possible for him to maintain
his household.

And with this petition the grandee of the obedient provinces shook the
dust from his shoes, and left his natal soil for ever.  He died on the
11th December of the same year in Venice.

His son the Prince of Chimay, his brother, and son-inlaw, and the other
obedient nobles, soon accommodated themselves to the new administration,
much as they had been inclined to bluster at first about their
privileges.  The governor soon reported that matters were proceeding
very, smoothly.  There was a general return to the former docility now
that such a disciplinarian as Fuentes held the reins.

The opening scenes of the campaign between the Spanish governor and
France were, as usual, in Picardy.  The Marquis of Varambon made a
demonstration in the neighbourhood of Dourlens--a fortified town on the
river Authie, lying in an open plain, very deep in that province--while
Fuentes took the field with eight thousand men, and laid siege to Le
Catelet.  He had his eye, however, upon Ham.  That important stronghold
was in the hands of a certain nobleman called De Gomeron, who had been
an energetic Leaguer, and was now disposed, for a handsome consideration,
to sell himself to the King of Spain.  In the auction of governors and
generals then going on in every part of France it had been generally
found that Henry's money was more to be depended upon in the long run,
although Philip's bids were often very high, and, for a considerable
period, the payments regular.  Gomeron's upset price for himself was
twenty-five thousand crowns in cash, and a pension of eight thousand a
year.  Upon these terms he agreed to receive a Spanish garrison into the
town, and to cause the French in the citadel to be sworn into the service
of the Spanish king.  Fuentes agreed to the bargain and paid the adroit
tradesman, who knew so well how to turn a penny for himself, a large
portion of the twenty-five thousand crowns upon the nail.

De Gomeron was to proceed to Brussels to receive the residue.  His
brother-in-law, M. d'Orville, commanded in the citadel, and so soon as
the Spanish troops had taken possession of the town its governor claimed
full payment of his services.

But difficulties awaited him in Brussels.  He was informed that a French
garrison could not be depended upon for securing the fortress, but that
town and citadel must both be placed in Spanish hands.  De Gomeron loudly
protesting that this was not according to contract, was calmly assured,
by command of Fuentes, that unless the citadel were at once evacuated and
surrendered, he would not receive the balance of his twenty-five thousand
crowns, and that he should instantly lose his head.  Here was more than
De Gomeron had bargained for; but this particular branch of commerce
in revolutionary times, although lucrative, has always its risks.
De Gomeron, thus driven to the wall, sent a letter by a Spanish messenger
to his brother-in-law, ordering him to surrender the fortress.
D'Orville--who meantime had been making his little arrangements with
the other party--protested that the note had been written under duress,
and refused to comply with its directions.

Time was pressing, for the Duke of Bouillon and the Count of St. Pol lay
with a considerable force in the neighbourhood, obviously menacing Ham.

Fuentes accordingly sent that distinguished soldier and historian, Don
Carlos Coloma, with a detachment of soldiers to Brussels, with orders
to bring Gomeron into camp.  He was found seated at supper with his two
young brothers, aged respectively sixteen and eighteen years, and was
just putting a cherry into his mouth as Coloma entered the room.  He
remained absorbed in thought, trifling with the cherry without eating it,
which Don Carlos set down as a proof of guilt: The three brothers were at
once put in a coach, together with their sister, a nun of the age of
twenty, and conveyed to the head-quarters of Fuentes, who lay before Le
Catelet, but six leagues from Ham.

Meantime D'Orville had completed his negotiations with Bouillon, and had
agreed to surrender the fortress so soon as the Spanish troops should be
driven from the town.  The duke knowing that there was no time to lose,
came with three thousand men before the place.  His summons to surrender
was answered by a volley of cannon-shot from the town defences.  An
assault was made and repulsed, D'Humieres, a most gallant officer and a
favourite of King Henry, being killed, besides at least two hundred
soldiers.  The next attack was successful, the town was carried, and the
Spanish garrison put to the sword.

D'Orville then, before giving up the citadel, demanded three hostages for
the lives of his three brothers-in-law.

The hostages availed him little.  Fuentes had already sent word to
Gomeron's mother, that if the bargain were not fulfilled he would send
her the heads of her three sons on three separate dishes.  The distracted
woman made her way, to D'Orville, and fell at his feet with tears and
entreaties.  It was too late, and D'Orville, unable to bear her
lamentations, suddenly rushed from the castle, and nearly fell into
the hands of the Spaniards as he fled from the scene.  Two of the four
cuirassiers, who alone of the whole garrison accompanied him, were taken
prisoners.  The governor escaped to unknown regions.  Madame de Gomeron
then appeared before Fuentes, and tried in vain to soften him.  De
Gomeron was at once beheaded in the sight of the whole camp.  The two
younger sons were retained in prison, but ultimately set at liberty.
The town and citadel were thus permanently acquired by their lawful king,
who was said to be more afflicted at the death of D'Humieres than
rejoiced at the capture of Ham.

Meantime Colonel Verdugo, royal governor of Friesland, whose occupation
in those provinces, now so nearly recovered by the republic, was gone,
had led a force of six thousand foot, and twelve hundred horse across the
French border, and was besieging La Ferte on the Cher.  The siege was
relieved by Bouillon on the 26th May, and the Spanish veteran was then
ordered to take command in Burgundy.  But his days were numbered.  He had
been sick of dysentery at Luxembourg during the summer, but after
apparent recovery died suddenly on the 2nd September, and of course was
supposed to have been poisoned.  He was identified with the whole history
of the Netherland wars.  Born at Talavera de la Reyna, of noble
parentage, as he asserted--although his mother was said to have sold
dogs' meat, and he himself when a youth was a private soldier--he rose
by steady conduct and hard fighting to considerable eminence in his
profession.  He was governor of Harlem after the famous siege, and
exerted himself with some success to mitigate the ferocity of the
Spaniards towards the Netherlanders at that epoch.  He was marshal-
general of the camp under Don John of Austria, and distinguished himself
at the battle of Gemblours.  He succeeded Count Renneberg as governor of
Friesland and Groningen, and bore a manful part in most of the rough
business that had been going on for a generation of mankind among those
blood-stained wolds and morasses.  He was often victorious, and quite as
often soundly defeated; but he enjoyed campaigning, and was a glutton of
work.  He cared little for parade and ceremony, but was fond of recalling
with pleasure the days when he was a soldier at four crowns a month, with
an undivided fourth of one cloak, which he and three companions wore by
turns on holidays.  Although accused of having attempted to procure the
assassination of William Lewis Nassau, he was not considered ill-natured,
and he possessed much admiration for Prince Maurice.  An iron-clad man,
who had scarcely taken harness from his back all his life, he was a type
of the Spanish commanders who had implanted international hatred deeply
in the Netherland soul, and who, now that this result and no other had
been accomplished, were rapidly passing away.  He had been baptised
Franco, and his family appellation of Verdugo meant executioner.  Punning
on these names he was wont to say, that he was frank for all good people,
but a hangman for heretics; and he acted up to his gibe.

Foiled at Ham, Fuentes had returned to the siege of Catelet, and had soon
reduced the place.  He then turned his attention again to Dourlens, and
invested that city.  During the preliminary operations, another veteran
commander in these wars, Valentin Pardieu de la Motte, recently created
Count of Everbecque by Philip, who had been for a long time general-in-
chief of the artillery, and was one of the most famous and experienced
officers in the Spanish service, went out one fine moonlight night to
reconnoitre the enemy, and to superintend the erection of batteries.  As
he was usually rather careless of his personal safety, and rarely known
to put on his armour when going for such purposes into the trenches, it
was remarked with some surprise, on this occasion, that he ordered his
page to bring his, accoutrements, and that he armed himself cap-a pie
before leaving his quarters.  Nevertheless, before he had reached the
redoubt, a bullet from the town struck him between the fold of his morion
and the edge of his buckler and he fell dead without uttering a sound.

Here again was a great loss to the king's service.  La Motte, of a noble
family in Burgundy, had been educated in the old fierce traditions of the
Spanish system of warfare in the Netherlands, and had been one of the
very hardest instruments that the despot could use for his bloody work.
He had commanded a company of horse at the famous battle of St. Quintin,
and since that opening event in Philip's reign he had been unceasingly--
engaged in the Flemish wars.  Alva made him a colonel of a Walloon
regiment; the grand commander Requesena appointed him governor of
Gravelines.  On the whole he had been tolerably faithful to his colours;
having changed sides but twice.  After the pacification of Ghent he swore
allegiance to the States-General, and assisted in the bombardment of the
citadel of that place.  Soon afterwards he went over to Don John of
Austria, and surrendered to him the town and fortress of Gravelines, of
which he then continued governor in the name of the king.  He was
fortunate in the accumulation of office and of money; rather unlucky in
his campaigning.  He was often wounded in action, and usually defeated
when commanding in chief.  He lost an arm at the siege of Sluy's, and had
now lost his life almost by an accident.  Although twice married he left
no children to inherit his great estates, while the civil and military
offices left vacant by his death were sufficient to satisfy the claims of
five aspiring individuals.  The Count of Varax succeeded him as general
of artillery; but it was difficult to find a man to replace La Motte,
possessing exactly the qualities which had made that warrior so valuable
to his king.  The type was rapidly disappearing, and most fortunately
for humanity, if half the stories told of him by grave chroniclers,
accustomed to discriminate between history and gossip, are to be
believed.  He had committed more than one cool homicide.  Although not
rejoicing in the same patronymic as his Spanish colleague of Friesland,
he too was ready on occasion to perform hangman's work.  When sergeant-
major in Flanders, he had himself volunteered--so ran the chronicle--
to do execution on a poor wretch found guilty of professing the faith of
Calvin; and, with his own hands, had prepared a fire of straw, tied his
victim to the stake, and burned him to cinders.  Another Netherlander
for the name crime of heresy had been condemned to be torn to death by
horses.  No one could be found to carry out the sentence.  The soldiers
under La Motte's command broke into mutiny rather than permit themselves
to be used for such foul purposes; but the ardent young sergeant-major
came forward, tied the culprit by the arms and legs to two horses, and
himself whipped them to their work till it was duly accomplished.  Was it
strange that in Philip's reign such energy should be rewarded by wealth,
rank, and honour?  Was not such a labourer in the vineyard worthy of his
hire?

Still another eminent chieftain in the king's service disappeared at this
time--one who, although unscrupulous and mischievous enough in his day,
was however not stained by any suspicion of crimes like these.  Count
Charles Mansfeld, tired of governing his decrepit parent Peter Ernest,
who, since the appointment of Fuentes, had lost all further chance of
governing the Netherlands, had now left Philip's service and gone to the
Turkish wars.  For Amurath III., who had died in the early days of the
year, had been succeeded by a sultan as warlike as himself.  Mahomet
III., having strangled his nineteen brothers on his accession, handsomely
buried them in cypress coffins by the side of their father, and having
subsequently sacked and drowned ten infant princes posthumously born to
Amurath, was at leisure to carry the war through Transylvania and
Hungary, up to the gates of Vienna, with renewed energy.  The Turk,
who could enforce the strenuous rules of despotism by which all
secundogenitures and collateral claimants in the Ottoman family were
thus provided for, was a foe to be dealt with seriously.  The power of
the Moslems at that day was a full match for the holy Roman Empire.  The
days were far distant when the grim Turk's head was to become a mockery
and a show; and when a pagan empire, born of carnage and barbarism, was
to be kept alive in Europe when it was ready to die, by the collective
efforts of Christian princes.  Charles Mansfeld had been received with
great enthusiasm at the court of Rudolph, where he was created a prince
of the Empire, and appointed to the chief command of the Imperial armies
under the Archduke Matthias.  But his warfare was over.  At the siege of
Gran he was stricken with sickness and removed to Comorn, where he
lingered some weeks.  There, on the 24th August, as he lay half-dozing on
his couch, he was told that the siege was at last successful; upon which
he called for a goblet of wine, drained it eagerly, and then lay resting
his head on his hand, like one absorbed in thought.  When they came to
arouse him from his reverie they found that he was dead.  His father
still remained superfluous in the Netherlands, hating and hated by
Fuentes; but no longer able to give that governor so much annoyance as
during his son's life-time the two had been able to create for Alexander
Farnese.  The octogenarian was past work and past mischief now; but there
was one older soldier than he still left upon the stage, the grandest
veteran in Philip's service, and now the last survivor, except the
decrepit Peter Ernest, of the grim commanders of Alva's school.
Christopher Mondragon--that miracle of human endurance, who had been
an old man when the great duke arrived in the Netherlands--was still
governor of Antwerp citadel, and men were to speak of him yet once
more before he passed from the stage.

I return from this digression to the siege of Dourlens.  The death of La
Motte made no difference in the plans of Fuentes.  He was determined to
reduce the place preparatively to more important operations.  Bouillon
was disposed to relieve it, and to that end had assembled a force of
eight thousand men within the city of Amiens.  By midsummer the Spaniards
had advanced with their mines and galleries close to the walls of the
city.  Meantime Admiral Villars, who had gained so much renown by
defending Rouen against Henry IV., and who had subsequently made such an
excellent bargain with that monarch before entering his service, arrived
at Amiens.  On the 24th July an expedition was sent from that city
towards Dourlens.  Bouillon and St. Pol commanded in person a force of
six hundred picked cavalry.  Pillars and Sanseval each led half as many,
and there was a supporting body of twelve hundred musketeers.  This
little army convoyed a train of wagons, containing ammunition and other
supplies for the beleaguered town.  But Fuentes, having sufficiently
strengthened his works, sallied forth with two thousand infantry, and a
flying squadron of Spanish horse, to intercept them.  It was the eve of
St. James, the patron saint of Spain, at the sound, of whose name as a
war-cry so many battle-fields had been won in the Netherlands, so many
cities sacked, so many wholesale massacres perpetrated.  Fuentes rode in
the midst of his troops with the royal standard of Spain floating above
him. On the other hand Yillars, glittering in magnificent armour and
mounted on a superbly caparisoned charger came on, with his three hundred
troopers, as if about to ride a course in a tournament.  The battle which
ensued was one of the most bloody for the numbers engaged, and the
victory one of the most decisive recorded in this war.  Villars charged
prematurely, furiously, foolishly.  He seemed jealous of Bouillon, and
disposed to show the sovereign to whom he had so recently given his
allegiance that an ancient Leaguer and Papist was a better soldier for
his purpose than the most grizzled Huguenot in his army.  On the other
hand the friends of Villars accused the duke of faintheartedness, or at
least of an excessive desire to save himself and his own command.  The
first impetuous onset of the admiral was successful, and he drove half-
a-dozen companies of Spaniards before him.  But he had ventured too far
from his supports.  Bouillon had only intended a feint, instead of a
desperate charge; the Spaniards were rallied, and the day was saved by
that cool and ready soldier, Carlos Coloma.  In less than an hour the
French were utterly defeated and cut to pieces.  Bouillon escaped to
Amiens with five hundred men; this was all that was left of the
expedition.  The horse of Villars was shot under him and the admiral's
leg was broken as he fell.  He was then taken prisoner by two lieutenants
of Carlos Coloma; but while these warriors were enjoying,
by anticipation, the enormous ransom they should derive from so
illustrious a captive, two other lieutenants in the service of Marshal de
Rosnes came up and claimed their share in the prize.  While the four were
wrangling, the admiral called out to them in excellent Spanish not to
dispute, for he had money enough to satisfy them all.  Meantime the
Spanish commissary--general of cavalry, Contreras, came up, rebuked this
unseemly dispute before the enemy had been fairly routed, and, in order
to arrange the quarrel impartially, ordered his page to despatch De
Villars on the spot.  The page, without a word, placed his arquebus to
the admiral's forehead and shot him dead.

So perished a bold and brilliant soldier, and a most unscrupulous
politician.  Whether the cause of his murder was mere envy on the part
of the commissary at having lost a splendid opportunity for prize-money,
or hatred to an ancient Leaguer thus turned renegade, it is fruitless
now to enquire.

Villars would have paid two hundred thousand crowns for his ransom, so
that the assassination was bad as a mercantile speculation; but it was
pretended by the friends of Contreras that rescue was at hand.  It is
certain, however, that nothing was attempted by the French to redeem
their total overthrow.  Count Belin was wounded and fell into the hands
of Coloma.  Sanseval was killed; and a long list of some of the most
brilliant nobles in France was published by the Spaniards as having
perished on that bloody field.  This did not prevent a large number of
these victims, however, from enjoying excellent health for many long
years afterwards, although their deaths have been duly recorded in
chronicle from that day to our own times.

But Villars and Sanseval were certainly slain, and Fuentes sent their
bodies, with a courteous letter, to the Duke of Nevers, at Amiens, who
honoured them with a stately funeral.

There was much censure cast on both Bouillon and Villars respectively
by the antagonists of each chieftain; and the contest as to the cause of
the defeat was almost as animated as the skirmish itself.  Bouillon was
censured for grudging a victory to the Catholics, and thus leaving the
admiral to his fate.  Yet it is certain that the Huguenot duke himself
commanded a squadron composed almost entirely of papists.  Villars, on
the other hand, was censured for rashness, obstinacy, and greediness for
distinction; yet it is probable that Fuentes might have been defeated had
the charges of Bouillon been as determined and frequent as were those of
his colleague.  Savigny de Rosnes, too, the ancient Leaguer, who
commanded under Fuentes, was accused of not having sufficiently followed
up the victory, because unwilling that his Spanish friends should
entirely trample upon his own countrymen.  Yet there is no doubt whatever
that De Rosnes was as bitter an enemy to his own country as the most
ferocious Spaniard of them all.  It has rarely been found in civil war
that the man who draws his sword against his fatherland, under the banner
of the foreigner, is actuated by any lingering tenderness for the nation
he betrays; and the renegade Frenchman was in truth the animating spirit
of Fuentes during the whole of his brilliant campaign.  The Spaniard's
victories were, indeed, mainly attributable to the experience, the
genius, and the rancour of De Rosnes.

But debates over a lost battle are apt to be barren.  Meantime Fuentes,
losing no time in controversy, advanced upon the city of Dourlens, was
repulsed twice, and carried it on the third assault, exactly one week
after the action just recounted.  The Spaniards and Leaguers, howling
"Remember Ham!"  butchered without mercy the garrison and all the
citizens, save a small number of prisoners likely to be lucrative.  Six
hundred of the townspeople and two thousand five hundred French soldiers
were killed within a few hours.  Well had Fuentes profited by the
relationship and tuition of Alva!

The Count of Dinant and his brother De Ronsoy were both slain, and two or
three hundred thousand florins were paid in ransom by those who escaped
with life.  The victims were all buried outside of the town in one vast
trench, and the effluvia bred a fever which carried off most of the
surviving inhabitants.  Dourlens became for the time a desert.

Fuentes now received deputies with congratulations from the obedient
provinces, especially from Hainault, Artois, and Lille.  He was also
strongly urged to attempt the immediate reduction of Cambray, to which
end those envoys were empowered to offer contributions of four hundred
and fifty thousand florins and a contingent of seven thousand infantry.
Berlaymont, too, bishop of Tournay and archbishop of Cambray, was ready
to advance forty thousand florins in the same cause.

Fuentes, in the highest possible spirits at his success, and having just
been reinforced by Count Bucquoy with a fresh Walloon regiment of fifteen
hundred foot and with eight hundred and fifty of the mutineers from
Tirlemont and Chapelle, who were among the choicest of Spanish veterans,
was not disposed to let the grass grow under his feet.  Within four days
after the sack of Dourlens he broke up his camp, and came before Cambray
with an army of twelve thousand foot and nearly four thousand horse.  But
before narrating the further movements of the vigorous new governor-
general, it is necessary to glance at the military operations in the
eastern part of the Netherlands and upon the Rhine.

The States-General had reclaimed to their authority nearly all that
important region lying beyond the Yssel--the solid Frisian bulwark of the
republic--but there were certain points nearer the line where Upper and
Nether Germany almost blend into one, which yet acknowledged the name of
the king.  The city of Groenlo, or Grol, not a place of much interest or
importance in itself, but close to the frontier, and to that destined
land of debate, the duchies of Cleves, Juliers, and Berg, still retained
its Spanish garrison.  On the 14th July Prince Maurice of Nassau came
before the city with six thousand infantry, some companies of cavalry,
and sixteen pieces of artillery.  He made his approaches in form, and
after a week's operations he fired three volleys, according to his
custom, and summoned the place to capitulate.  Governor Jan van Stirum
replied stoutly that he would hold the place for God and the king to the
last drop of his blood.  Meantime there was hope of help from the
outside.

Maurice was a vigorous young commander, but there was a man to be dealt
with who had been called the "good old Mondragon" when the prince was in
his cradle; and who still governed the citadel of Antwerp, and was still
ready for an active campaign.

Christopher Mondragon was now ninety-two years old.  Not often in the
world's history has a man of that age been capable of personal,
participation in the joys of the battlefield, whatever natural reluctance
veterans are apt to manifest at relinquishing high military control.

But Mondragon looked not with envy but with admiration on the growing
fame of the Nassau chieftain, and was disposed, before he himself left
the stage, to match himself with the young champion.

So soon as he heard of the intended demonstration of Maurice against
Grol, the ancient governor of Antwerp collected a little army by throwing
together all the troops that could be spared from the various garrisons
within his command.  With two Spanish regiments, two thousand Swiss, the
Walloon troops of De Grisons, and the Irish regiment of Stanley--in all
seven thousand foot and thirteen hundred horse--Mondragon marched
straight across Brabant and Gelderland to the Rhine.  At Kaiserworth he
reviewed his forces, and announced his intention of immediately crossing
the river.  There was a murmur of disapprobation among officers and men
at what they considered the foolhardy scheme of mad old Mondragon.  But
the general had not campaigned a generation before, at the age of sixty-
nine, in the bottom of the sea, and waded chin-deep for six hours long of
an October night, in the face of a rising tide from the German Ocean and
of an army of Zeelanders, to be frightened now at the summer aspect of
the peaceful Rhine.

The wizened little old man, walking with difficulty by the aid of a
staff, but armed in proof, with plumes waving gallantly from his iron
headpiece, and with his rapier at his side, ordered a chair to be brought
to the river's edge.  Then calmly seating himself in the presence of his
host, he stated that he should not rise from that chair until the last
man had crossed the river.  Furthermore, he observed that it was not only
his purpose to relieve the city of Grol, but to bring Maurice to an
action, and to defeat him, unless he retired.  The soldiers ceased to
murmur, the pontoons were laid, the, river was passed, and on the 25th
July, Maurice, hearing of the veteran's approach, and not feeling safe
in his position, raised the siege of the city.  Burning his camp and
everything that could not be taken with him on his march, the prince came
in perfect order to Borkelo, two Dutch miles from Grol.  Here he occupied
himself for some time in clearing the country of brigands who in the
guise of soldiers infested that region and made the little cities of
Deutecom, Anholt, and Heerenberg unsafe.  He ordered the inhabitants of
these places to send out detachments to beat the bushes for his cavalry,
while Hohenlo was ordered to hunt the heaths and wolds thoroughly with
packs of bloodhounds until every man and beast to be found lurking in
those wild regions should be extirpated.  By these vigorous and cruel,
but perhaps necessary, measures the brigands were at last extirpated, and
honest people began to sleep in their beds.

On the 18th August Maurice took up a strong position at Bislich, not
far from Wesel, where the River Lippe empties itself into the Rhine.
Mondragon, with his army strengthened by reinforcements from garrisons
in Gelderland, and by four hundred men brought by Frederic, van den Berg
from Grol, had advanced to a place called Walston in den Ham, in the
neighbourhood of Wesel.  The Lippe flowed between the two hostile forces.
Although he had broken up his siege, the prince was not disposed to
renounce his whole campaign before trying conclusions with his veteran
antagonist.  He accordingly arranged an ambush with much skill, by means
of which he hoped to bring on a general engagement and destroy Mondragon
and his little army.

His cousin and favourite lieutenant, Philip Nassau, was entrusted with
the preliminaries.  That adventurous commander, with a picked force of
seven hundred cavalry, moved quietly from the camp on the evening of the
1st September.  He took with him his two younger brothers, Ernest and
Lewis Gunther, who, as has been seen, had received the promise of the
eldest brother of the family, William Lewis, that they should be employed
from time to time in any practical work that might be going, forward.
Besides these young gentlemen, several of the most famous English and
Dutch commanders were on, the expedition; the brothers Paul and Marcellus
Bax, Captains Parker, Cutler, and Robert Vere, brother of Sir Francis,
among the number.

Early in the morning of the 2nd September the force crossed the Lippe,
according to orders, keeping a pontoon across the stream to secure their
retreat.

They had instructions thus to feel the enemy at early dawn, and, as he
was known to have foraging parties out every morning along the margin of
the river, to make a sudden descent upon their pickets, and to capture
those companies before they could effect their escape or be reinforced.
Afterwards they were to retreat across the Lippe, followed, as it was
hoped would be the case, by the troops: of Mondragon, anxious to punish
this piece of audacity.  Meantime Maurice with five thousand infantry,
the rest of his cavalry, and several pieces of artillery, awaited their
coming, posted behind some hills in the neighbourhood of Wesel.

The plot of the young commander was an excellent one, but the ancient
campaigner on the other side of the river had not come all the way from
his comfortable quarters in Antwerp to be caught napping on that
September morning.  Mondragon had received accurate information from his
scouts as to what was going on in the enemy's camp; and as to the exact
position of Maurice.  He was up long before daybreak--"the good old
Christopher"--and himself personally arranged a counter-ambush.  In the
fields lying a little back from the immediate neighbourhood of, the Lippe
he posted the mass of his cavalry, supported by a well-concealed force of
infantry.  The pickets on the stream and the foraging companies were left
to do their usual work as if nothing were likely to happen.

Philip Nassau galloped cheerfully forward; according to the well-
concerted plan, sending Cutler and Marcellus Bax with a handful of
troopers to pounce upon the enemy's pickets.  When those officers got to
the usual foraging ground they, came upon a much larger cavalry force
than they had looked for; and, suspecting something wrong; dashed back--
again to give information to Count Philip.  That impatient commander,
feeling sure of his game unless this foolish delay should give the
foraging companies time to, escape; ordered an immediate advance with his
whole cavalry force: The sheriff of Zallant was ordered to lead the way.
He objected that the pass, leading through a narrow lane and opening by a
gate into an open field, was impassable for more than two troopers
abreast; and that the enemy was in force beyond.  Philips scorning these
words of caution, and exclaiming that seventy-five lancers were enough to
put fifty carabineers to rout; put on his casque, drew his sword; and
sending his brother Lewis to summon Kinski and Donck; dashed into the
pass, accompanied by the two counts and, a couple of other nobles. The
sheriff, seeing this, followed him at full gallop; and after him came the
troopers of Barchon, of Du Bois, and of Paul Bax; riding single file but
in much disorder.  When they had all entered inextricably into the lane,
with the foremost of the lancers already passing through the gate, they
discovered the enemy's cavalry and infantry drawn up in force upon the
watery, heathery pastures beyond.  There was at once a scene of
confusion.   To use lances was impossible, while they were all struggling
together through the narrow passage offering themselves an easy prey to
the enemy as they slowly emerged into the gelds.  The foremost defended
themselves with sabre and pistol as well as they could.  The hindmost did
their best to escape, and rode for their lives to the other side of the
river.  All trampled upon each other and impeded each other's movements.
There was a brief engagement, bloody, desperate, hand to hand, and many
Spaniards fell before the entrapped Netherlanders.  But there could not
be a moment's doubt as to the issue.  Count Philip went down in the
beginning of the action, shot through the body by an arquebus, discharged
so close to him that his clothes were set on fire.  As there was no water
within reach the flames could be extinguished at last only by rolling him
over, and over, wounded as he was, among the sand and heather.  Count
Ernest Solms was desperately wounded at the same time.  For a moment both
gentlemen attempted to effect their escape by mounting on one horse, but
both fell to the ground exhausted and were taken prisoners.  Ernest
Nassau was also captured.  His young brother, Lewis Gunther, saved
himself by swimming the river.  Count Kinski was mortally wounded.
Robert Vere, too, fell into the enemy's hands, and was afterwards
murdered in cold blood.  Marcellus Bax, who had returned to the field by
a circuitous path, still under the delusion that he was about handsomely
to cut off the retreat of the foraging companies, saved himself and a
handful of cavalry by a rapid flight, so soon as he discovered the enemy
drawn up in line of battle.  Cutler and Parker were equally fortunate.
There was less than a hundred of the States' troops killed, and it is
probable that a larger number of the Spaniards fell.  But the loss of
Philip Nassau, despite the debauched life and somewhat reckless valour.
of that soldier, was a very severe one to the army and to his family.
He was conveyed to Rheinberg, where his wounds were dressed.  As he lay
dying he was courteously visited by Mondragon, and by many other Spanish
officers, anxious to pay their respects to so distinguished and warlike a
member of an illustrious house.  He received them with dignity, and
concealed his physical agony so as to respond to their conversation as
became a Nassau.  His cousin, Frederic van den Berg, who was among the
visitors, indecently taunted him with his position; asking him what he
had expected by serving the cause of the Beggars.  Philip turned from him
with impatience and bade him hold his peace.  At midnight he died.

William of Orange and his three brethren had already laid down their
lives for the republic, and now his eldest brother's son had died in the
same cause.  "He has carried the name of Nassau with honour into the
grave," said his brother Lewis William, to their father.  Ten others of
the house, besides many collateral relations, were still in arms for
their adopted country.  Rarely in history has a single noble race so
entirely identified itself with a nation's record in its most heroic
epoch as did that of Orange-Nassau with the liberation of Holland.

Young Ernest Solms, brother of Count Everard, lay in the same chamber
with Philip Nassau, and died on the following day.  Their bodies were
sent by Mondragon with a courteous letter to Maurice at Bisslich.  Ernest
Nassau was subsequently ransomed for ten thousand florins.

This skirmish on the Lippe has no special significance in a military
point of view, but it derives more than a passing interest, not only from
the death of many a brave and distinguished soldier, but for the
illustration of human vigour triumphing, both physically and mentally,
over the infirmities of old age, given by the achievement of Christopher
Mondragon.  Alone he had planned his expedition across the country from
Antwerp, alone he had insisted on crossing the Rhine, while younger
soldiers hesitated; alone, with his own active brain and busy hands, he
had outwitted the famous young chieftain of the Netherlands, counteracted
his subtle policy, and set the counter-ambush by which his choicest
cavalry were cut to pieces, and one of his bravest generals slain.  So
far could the icy blood of ninety-two prevail against the vigour of
twenty-eight.

The two armies lay over against each other, with the river between them,
for some days longer, but it was obvious that nothing further would be
attempted on either side.  Mondragon had accomplished the object for
which he had marched from Brabant.  He had, spoiled the autumn campaign
of Maurice, and, was, now disposed to return before winter to, his own
quarters.  He sent a trumpet accordingly to his antagonist, begging him,
half in jest, to have more consideration for his infirmities than to keep
him out in his old age in such foul weather, but to allow him the
military honour of being last to break up camp.  Should Maurice consent
to move away, Mondragon was ready to pledge himself not to pursue him,
and within three days to leave his own entrenchments.

The proposition was not granted, and very soon afterwards the Spaniard,
deciding to retire, crossed the Rhine on the 11th October.  Maurice made
a slight attempt at pursuit, sending Count William Lewis with some
cavalry, who succeeded in cutting off a few wagons.  The army, however,
returned safely, to be dispersed into various garrisons.

This was Mondragon's last feat of, arms.  Less than three months
afterwards, in Antwerp citadel, as the veteran was washing his hands
previously to going to the dinner-table, he sat down and died.  Strange
to say, this man--who had spent almost a century on the battlefield, who
had been a soldier in nearly every war that had been waged in any part of
Europe during that most belligerent age, who had come an old man to the
Netherlands before Alva's arrival, and had ever since been constantly and
personally engaged in the vast Flemish tragedy which had now lasted well
nigh thirty years--had never himself lost a drop of blood.  His battle-
fields had been on land and water, on ice, in fire, and at the bottom of
the sea, but he had never received a wound.  Nay, more; he had been blown
up in a fortress--the castle of Danvilliers in Luxembourg, of which he
was governor--where all perished save his wife and himself, and, when
they came to dig among the ruins, they excavated at last the ancient
couple, protected by the framework of a window in the embrasure of which
they had been seated, without a scratch or a bruise.  He was a Biscayan
by descent, but born in Medina del Campo.  A strict disciplinarian, very
resolute and pertinacious, he had the good fortune to be beloved by his
inferiors, his equals, and his superiors.  He was called the father of
his soldiers, the good Mondragon, and his name was unstained by any of
those deeds of ferocity which make the chronicles of the time resemble
rather the history of wolves than of men.  To a married daughter, mother
of several children, he left a considerable fortune.

Maurice broke up his camp soon after the departure of his antagonist, and
paused for a few days at Arnheim to give honourable burial to his cousin
Philip and Count Solms.  Meantime Sir Francis Vere was detached, with
three regiments, which were to winter in Overyssel, towards Weerd castle,
situate at a league's distance from Ysselsburg, and defended by a
garrison of twenty-six men under Captain Pruys.  That doughty commandant,
on being summoned to surrender, obstinately refused.  Vere, according to
Maurice's orders, then opened with his artillery against the place, which
soon capitulated in great panic and confusion.  The captain demanded the
honours of war.  Vere told him in reply that the honours of war were
halters for the garrison who had dared to defend such a hovel against
artillery.  The twenty-six were accordingly ordered to draw black and
white straws.  This was done, and the twelve drawing white straws were
immediately hanged; the thirteenth receiving his life on consenting to
act as executioner for his comrades.  The commandant was despatched first
of all.  The rope broke, but the English soldiers held him under the
water of the ditch until he was drowned.  The castle was then thoroughly
sacked, the women being sent unharmed to Ysselsburg.

Maurice then shipped the remainder of his troops along the Rhine and Waal
to their winter quarters and returned to the Hague.  It was the feeblest
year's work yet done by the stadholder.

Meantime his great ally, the Huguenot-Catholic Prince of Bearne, was
making a dashing, and, on the whole, successful campaign in the heart of
his own kingdom.  The constable of Castile, Don Ferdinando de Velasco,
one of Spain's richest grandees and poorest generals, had been sent with
an army of ten thousand men to take the field in Burgundy against the man
with whom the great Farnese had been measuring swords so lately, and with
not unmingled success, in Picardy.  Biron, with a sudden sweep, took
possession of Aussone, Autun, and Beaune, but on one adventurous day
found himself so deeply engaged with a superior force of the enemy in the
neighbourhood of Fontaine Francaise, or St. Seine, where France's great
river takes its rise, as to be nearly cut off and captured.  But Henry
himself was already in the field, and by one of those mad, reckless
impulses which made him so adorable as a soldier and yet so profoundly
censurable as a commander-in-chief, he flung himself, like a young
lieutenant, with a mere handful of cavalry, into the midst of the fight,
and at the imminent peril of his own life succeeded in rescuing the
marshal and getting off again unscathed.  On other occasions Henry said
he had fought for victory, but on that for dear life; and, even as in the
famous and foolish skirmish at Aumale three years before, it was absence
of enterprise or lack of cordiality on the part of his antagonists, that
alone prevented a captive king from being exhibited as a trophy of
triumph for the expiring League.

But the constable of Castile was not born to cheer the heart of his
prudent master with such a magnificent spectacle.  Velasco fell back to
Gray and obstinately refused to stir from his entrenchments, while Henry
before his eyes laid siege to Dijon.  On the 28th June the capital of
Burgundy surrendered to its sovereign, but no temptations could induce
the constable to try the chance of a battle.  Henry's movements in the
interior were more successful than were the operations nearer the
frontier, but while the monarch was thus cheerfully fighting for his
crown in France, his envoys were winning a still more decisive campaign
for him in Rome.

D'Ossat and Perron had accomplished their diplomatic task with consummate
ability, and, notwithstanding the efforts and the threats of the Spanish
ambassador and the intrigues of his master, the absolution was granted.
The pope arose early on the morning of the 5th August, and walked
barefoot from his palace of Mount Cavallo to the church of Maria
Maggiore, with his eyes fixed on the ground, weeping loudly and praying
fervently.  He celebrated mass in the church, and then returned as he
went, saluting no one on the road and shutting himself up in his palace
afterwards.  The same ceremony was performed ten days later on the
festival of our Lady's Ascension.  In vain, however, had been the
struggle on the part of his Holiness to procure from the ambassador the
deposition of the crown of France in his hands, in order that the king
might receive it back again as a free gift and concession from the chief
pontiff.  Such a triumph was not for Rome, nor could even the publication
of the Council of Trent in France be conceded except with a saving clause
"as to matters which could not be put into operation without troubling
the repose of the kingdom."  And to obtain this clause the envoys
declared "that they had been obliged to sweat blood and water."

On the 17th day of September the absolution was proclaimed with great
pomp and circumstance from the gallery of St. Peter's, the holy father
seated on the highest throne of majesty, with his triple crown on has
head, and all his cardinals and bishops about him in their most effulgent
robes.

The silver trumpets were blown, while artillery roared from the castle
of St. Angelo, and for two successive nights Rome was in a blaze of
bonfires and illumination, in a whirl of bell-ringing, feasting, and
singing of hosannaha.  There had not been such a merry-making in the
eternal city since the pope had celebrated solemn thanksgiving for the
massacre of St. Bartholomew.  The king was almost beside himself with
rapture when the great news reached him, and he straightway wrote
letters, overflowing with gratitude and religious enthusiasm, to the
pontiff and expressed his regret that military operations did not allow
him to proceed at once to Rome in person to kiss the holy father's feet.


The narrative returns to Fuentes, who was left before the walls of
Cambray.

That venerable ecclesiastical city; pleasantly seated amid gardens,
orchards, and green pastures, watered, by the winding Scheld, was well
fortified after the old manner, but it was especially defended and
dominated by a splendid pentagonal citadel built by Charles V.  It was
filled with fine churches, among which the magnificent cathedral was
pre-eminent, and with many other stately edifices.  The population was
thrifty, active, and turbulent, like that of all those Flemish and
Walloon cities which the spirit of mediaeval industry had warmed for a
time into vehement little republics.

But, as has already been depicted in these pages, the Celtic element had
been more apt to receive than consistent to retain the generous impress
which had once been stamped on all the Netherlands.  The Walloon
provinces had fallen away from their Flemish sisters and seemed likely to
accept a permanent yoke, while in the territory of the united States, as
John Baptist Tassis was at that very moment pathetically observing in a
private letter to Philip, "with the coming up of a new generation
educated as heretics from childhood, who had never heard what the word
king means, it was likely to happen at last that the king's memory, being
wholly forgotten nothing would remain in the land but heresy alone."
From this sad fate Cambray had been saved.  Gavre d'Inchy had seventeen
years before surrendered the city to the Duke of Alencon during that
unlucky personage's brief and base career in the Netherlands, all, that
was left of his visit being the semi-sovereignty which the notorious
Balagny had since that time enjoyed, in the archiepiscopal city.  This
personage, a natural son of Monluc, Bishop of Valence, and nephew of the,
distinguished Marshal Monluci was one of the most fortunate and the most
ignoble of all the soldiers of fortune who had played their part at this
epoch in the Netherlands.  A poor creature himself, he had a heroine for
a wife.  Renee, the sister of Bussy d'Amboise, had vowed to unite herself
to a man who would avenge the assassination of her brother by the Count
Montsoreau?  Balagny readily agreed to perform the deed, and accordingly
espoused the high-born dame, but it does not appear that he ever wreaked
her vengeance on the murderer.  He had now governed Cambray until the
citizens and the whole countryside were galled and exhausted by his
grinding tyranny, his inordinate pride, and his infamous extortions.
His latest achievement had been to force upon his subjects a copper
currency bearing the nominal value of silver, with the same blasting
effects which such experiments in political economy are apt to produce
on princes and peoples.  He had been a Royalist, a Guisist, a Leaguer,
a Dutch republican, by turns, and had betrayed all the parties, at whose
expense he had alternately filled his coffers.  During the past year he
had made up his mind--like most of the conspicuous politicians and
campaigners of France--that the moribund League was only fit to be
trampled upon by its recent worshippers, and he had made accordingly one
of the very best bargains with Henry IV. that had yet been made, even at
that epoch of self-vending grandees.

Henry, by treaty ratified in August, 1594, had created him Prince of
Cambray and Marshal of France, so that the man who had been receiving
up to that very moment a monthly subsidy of seven thousand two hundred
dollars from the King of Spain was now gratified with a pension to about
the same yearly amount by the King of France.  During the autumn Henry
had visited Cambray, and the new prince had made wondrous exhibitions of
loyalty to the sovereign whom he had done his best all his life to
exclude from his kingdom.  There had been a ceaseless round of
tournaments, festivals, and masquerades in the city in honour of the
Huguenot chieftain, now changed into the most orthodox and most
legitimate of monarchs, but it was not until midsummer of the present
year that Balagny was called on to defend his old possessions and his new
principality against a well-seasoned army and a vigorous commander.
Meanwhile his new patron was so warmly occupied in other directions that
it might be difficult for him to send assistance to the beleaguered city.

On the 14th August Fuentes began his siege operations.  Before the
investment had been completed the young Prince of Rhetelois, only fifteen
years of age, son of the Duke of Nevers, made his entrance into the city
attended by thirty of his father's archers.  De Vich, too, an experienced
and faithful commander, succeeded in bringing four or five hundred
dragoons through the enemy's lines.  These meagre reinforcements were all
that reached the place; for, although the States-General sent two or
three thousand Scotchmen and Zeelanders, under Justinus of Nassau, to
Henry, that he might be the better enabled to relieve this important
frontier city, the king's movements were not sufficiently prompt to turn
the force to good account Balagny was left with a garrison of three
thousand French and Walloons in the city, besides five hundred French in
the fortress.

After six weeks steady drawing of parallels and digging of mines Fuentes
was ready to open his batteries.  On the 26th September, the news, very
much exaggerated, of Mondragon's brilliant victory near Wessel, and of
the deaths of Philip Nassau and Ernest Solms, reached the Spanish camp.
Immense was the rejoicing.  Triumphant salutes from eighty-seven cannon
and many thousand muskets shook the earth and excited bewilderment and
anxiety within the walls of the city.  Almost immediately afterwards a
tremendous cannonade was begun and so vigorously sustained that the
burghers, and part of the garrison, already half rebellious with hatred
to Balagny, began loudly to murmur as the balls came flying into their
streets.  A few days later an insurrection broke out.  Three thousand
citizens, with red flags flying, and armed to the teeth were discovered
at daylight drawn up in the market place.  Balagny came down from the
citadel and endeavoured to calm the tumult, but was received with
execrations.  They had been promised, shouted the insurgents, that
every road about Cambray was to swarm with French soldiers under their
formidable king, kicking the heads of the Spaniards in all directions.
And what had they got? a child with thirty archers, sent by his father,
and half a man at the head of four hundred dragoons.  To stand a siege
under such circumstances against an army of fifteen thousand Spaniards,
and to take Balagny's copper as if it were gold, was more than could be
asked of respectable burghers.

The allusion to the young prince Rhetelois and to De Vich, who had lost a
leg in the wars, was received with much enthusiasm.  Balagny, appalled at
the fury of the people, whom he had so long been trampling upon while
their docility lasted, shrank back before their scornful denunciations
into the citadel.

But his wife was not appalled.  This princess had from the beginning of
the siege showed a courage and an energy worthy of her race.  Night and
day she had gone the rounds of the ramparts, encouraging and directing
the efforts of the garrison.  She had pointed batteries against the
enemy's works, and, with her own hands, had fired the cannon.  She now
made her appearance in the market-place, after her husband had fled, and
did her best to assuage the tumult, and to arouse the mutineers to a
sense of duty or of shame.  She plucked  from her bosom whole handfuls
of gold which she threw among the bystanders, and she was followed by a
number of carts filled with sacks of coin ready to be exchanged for the
debased currency.

Expressing contempt for the progress made by the besieging army, and for
the, slight impression so far produced upon the defences of the city, she
snatched a pike from a soldier and offered in person to lead the garrison
to the breach.  Her audience knew full well that this was no theatrical
display, but that the princess was ready as the boldest warrior to lead
a forlorn hope or to repel the bloodiest assault.  Nor, from a military
point of view, was their situation desperate.  But their hatred and scorn
for Balagny could not be overcome by any passing sentiment of admiration
for his valiant though imperious wife.  No one followed her to the
breach.  Exclaiming that she at least would never surrender, and that
she would die a sovereign princess rather than live a subject, Renee de
Balagny retained to the citadel.

The town soon afterwards capitulated, and as the Spanish soldiers, on
entering, observed the slight damage that had been caused by their
batteries, they were most grateful to the faint-hearted or mutinous
condition by which they had been spared the expense of an assault.

The citadel was now summoned to surrender; and Balagny agreed, in case he
should not be relieved within six days, to accept what was considered
honourable terms.  It proved too late to expect succour from Henry, and
Balagny, but lately a reigning prince, was fain to go forth on the
appointed day and salute his conqueror.  But the princess kept her vow.
She had done her best to defend her dominions and to live a sovereign,
and now there was nothing left her but to die.  With bitter reproaches on
her husband's pusillanimity, with tears and sobs of rage and shame, she
refused food, spurned the idea of capitulation, and expired before the
9th of October.

On that day a procession moved out of the citadel gates.  Balagny,
with a son of eleven years of age, the Prince of Rhetelois, the Commander
De Vich; and many other distinguished personages, all magnificently
attired, came forth at the head of what remained of the garrison.  The
soldiers, numbering thirteen hundred foot and two hundred and forty
horse, marched with colours flying, drums beating, bullet in mouth, and
all the other recognised palliatives of military disaster.  Last of all
came a hearse, bearing the coffin of the Princess of Cambray.  Fuentes
saluted the living leaders of the procession, and the dead heroine; with
stately courtesy, and ordered an escort as far as Peronne.

Balagny met with a cool reception from Henry at St. Quintin, but
subsequently made his peace, and espoused the sister of the king's
mistress, Gabrielle d'Estrees.  The body of Gavre d'Inchy, which had been
buried for years, was dug up and thrown into a gutter.




ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

Deal with his enemy as if sure to become his friend
Mondragon was now ninety-two years old
More catholic than the pope
Octogenarian was past work and past mischief
Sacked and drowned ten infant princes
Strangled his nineteen brothers on his accession





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