FREDERICK HENRY, PRINCE OF ORANGE.
ON the death of Maurice ( April 23, 1625), his younger brother, Frederick Henry, was hailed by men of all parties and opinions in the United Provinces as his natural successor, and the reins of power were unreservedly placed in his hands. He was now in the prime of life, having been born at Delft in 1584, and he possessed every qualification both by training and inherited gifts for the position of high authority and influence to which he was called. From his earliest youth he had lived in camps, and had shown himself a keen student of military science under the careful tuition of his brother. Already distinguished by many gallant feats of arms, handsome in face, chivalrous in bearing, with genial manners, the first of his House who could speak Dutch without a foreign accent, the son of William the Silent and Louise de Coligny had endeared himself alike to the army and the people, and this personal popularity was increased by the known tolerance and moderation of his religious and political opinions. Without a dissentient voice he was at once elected by the five Provinces of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Overyssel, and Gelders as Stadholder in the place of Maurice, and was appointed by the States General Captain-General and Admiral-General of the Union, and head of the Council of State.
Frederick Henry thus found himself, without a rival in the field, at the head of a country weary of domestic strife. He was invested with vast, though undefined, powers, and he used them with a statesmanlike sagacity and masterly tact which gave him henceforth undisputed predominance in the State. It was an authority which grew with the passing of the years. A contemporary writer, van der Capellen, a little later states that "the Prince in truth disposed of everything as he liked. All things gave way to his word." Nor was the increasing deference paid to his advice in matters political the only difference between the position of Frederick Henry and that of his predecessors. Frederick Henry was married to a clever and ambitious wife; and both he and Amalia von Solms delighted in society and were fond of ceremonial display. The somewhat burgher-like simplicity of the bachelor household of the surly Maurice was exchanged for the luxurious splendours of a Court. The