The Rise of the Dutch Republic: A History - Vol. 3

By John Lothrop Motley | Go to book overview

PART I. PHILIP THE SECOND IN THE NETHERLANDS. .
1555-1559

CHAPTER I.

Abdication of Charles resolved upon -- Brussels in the sixteenth century -- Hall of the palace described -- Portraits of prominent individuals present at the ceremony -- Formalities of the abdication -- Universal emotion -- Remarks upon the character and career of Charles -- His retirement at Juste.

ON the 25th day of October 1555, the estates of the Netherlands were assembled in the great hall of the palace at Brussels.1 They had been summoned to be the witnesses and the guarantees of the abdication which Charles V. had long before resolved upon, and which he was that day to execute. The emperor, like many potentates before and since, was fond of great political spectacles. He knew their influence upon the masses of mankind. Although plain, even to shabbiness, in his own costume, and usually attired in black,2 no one ever understood better than he how to arrange such exhibitions in a striking and artistic style. We have seen the theatrical and imposing manner in which he quelled the insurrection at Ghent, and nearly crushed the life for ever out of that vigorous and turbulent little commonwealth. The closing scene of his long and energetic reign he had now arranged with profound study, and with an accurate knowledge of the manner in which the requisite effects were to be produced. The termination of his own career, the opening of his beloved Philip's, were to be dramatised in a manner worthy the august character of the actors, and the importance of the great stage where they played their parts. The eyes of the whole world were directed upon that day towards Brussels; for an imperial abdication was an event which had not, in the sixteenth century, been staled by custom.

The gay capital of Brabant, of that province which rejoiced in the liberal constitution known by the cheerful title of the "joyful entrance," was worthy to be the scene of the imposing show. Brussels had been a city for more than five centuries, and at that day numbered about one hundred thousand inhabitants.3 Its walls, six miles in circumference, were already two hundred years old.4 Unlike most Netherland cities, lying usually upon

____________________
1
Eml. Van Meteren. Historien der Nederander, i. f. 16. Pieter Bor. Nederlandshe Oorlogen, i. f. 3.
2
Illiberalior quoque quam tantum deceoat Cæsarem est habitus -- vestitus fere popularis, colore atro oblectabatur. Ponti Heuteri Rerum Austriacarum Hist.( Lovanii, 1643), xiv. 346a.
3
Lud. Guicciardini. Belgii Descript. (Amst. 1600), p. 110, sqq.
4
Ibid. Compare Les Delices des Pays Bas, ar le Père Griffet ( Liege, 1769), i. 193, sqq.

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The Rise of the Dutch Republic: A History - Vol. 3
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • The Rise of the Dutch Republic 1
  • Part I - Philip the Second in the Netherlands 50
  • Chapter I 50
  • Chapter II 70
  • Chapter III 104
  • Part II - Administration of the Duchess Margaret. 1559-1567 116
  • Chapter I 116
  • Chapter II 137
  • Chapter III 164
  • Chapter IV 191
  • Chapter V 215
  • Chapter VI 242
  • Chapter VII 273
  • Chapter VIII 286
  • Chapter IX 300
  • Chapter X 322
  • Part III - Alva. 1567-1573 335
  • Chapter I 335
  • Chapter II 361
  • Chapter III 393
  • Chapter IV 406
  • Chapter V 424
  • Chapter VI 447
  • Chapter VII 470
  • Chapter VIII 494
  • Chapter IX 518
  • Note 543
  • Part IV - Administration of the Grand Commander 545
  • Chapter I 545
  • Chapter II 566
  • Chapter III 582
  • Chapter IV 608
  • Chapter V 623
  • Part V - Don John of Austria 648
  • Chapter I 648
  • Chapter II 675
  • Chapter III 696
  • Chapter IV 717
  • Chapter V 746
  • Part VI - Alexander of Parma 769
  • Chapter I 769
  • Chapter II 795
  • Chapter III 813
  • Chapter IV 827
  • Chapter V 848
  • Chapter VI 866
  • Chapter VII 887
  • Index 905
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