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

By John Lothrop Motley | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III.

Preparations of the Duke against Count Louis -- Precarious situation of Louis in Friesland. -- Timidity of the inhabitants -- Alva in Friesland -- Skirmishing near Groningen -- Retreat of the patriots -- Error committed by Louis -- His position at Jemmingen -- Mutinous demonstrations of his troops -- Louis partially restores order -- Attempt to destroy the dykes interrupted by the arrival of Alva's forces -- Artful strategy of the Duke -- Defeat of Count Louis, and utter destruction of his army -- Outrages committed by the Spaniards -- Alva at Utrecht -- Execution of Vrouw van Diemen -- Episode of Don Carlos -- Fables concerning him and Queen Isabella -- Mystery concerning his death -- Secret letters of Philip to the Pope -- The one containing the truth of the transaction still concealed in the Vatican -- Case against Philip, as related by Mathieu, De Thou, and others -- Testimony in the King's favour by the Nuncio, the Venetian envoy, and others -- Doubtful state of the question -- Anecdotes concerning Don Carlos -- His character.

THOSE measures were taken with the precision and promptness which marked the Duke's character when precision and promptness were desirable. There had been a terrible energy in his every step, since the successful foray of Louis Nassau. Having determined to take the field in person with nearly all the Spanish veterans, he had at once acted upon the necessity of making the capital secure, after his back should be turned. It was impossible to leave three thousand choice troops to guard Count Egmont. A less number seemed insufficient to prevent a rescue. He had, therefore, no longer delayed the chastisement which had already been determined, but which the events in the north had precipitated. Thus the only positive result of Louis Nassau's victory was the execution of his imprisoned friends.

The expedition under Aremberg had failed from two causes. The Spanish force had been inadequate, and they had attacked the enemy at a disadvantage. The imprudent attack was the result of the contempt with which they had regarded their antagonist. These errors were not to be repeated. Alva ordered Count Meghem, now commanding in the province of Groningen, on no account to hazard hostilities until the game was sure.1 He also immediately ordered large reinforcements to move forward to the seat of war. The commanders intrusted with this duty were Duke Eric of Brunswick, Chiappin Vitelli, Noircarmes, and Count de Roeulx. The rendezvous for the whole force was Deventer, and here they all arrived on the 10th July. On the same day the Duke of Alva himself entered Deventer, to take command in person.2 On the evening of the 14th July he reached Rolden, a village three leagues distant from Groningen, at the head of three terzios of Spanish infantry, three companies of light horse, and a troop of dragoons.3 His whole force in and about Groningen amounted to fifteen thousand choice troops, besides a large but uncertain number of less disciplined soldiery.4

Meantime, Louis of Nassau, since his victory, had accomplished nothing. For this inactivity there was one sufficient excuse, the total want of funds. His only revenue was the amount of black mail which he was able to levy upon the inhabitants of the province. He repeated his determination to treat them all as enemies, unless they furnished him with the means of expelling their tyrants from the country.5 He obtained small sums in this manner from time to time. The inhabitants were favourably disposed, but they were timid and despairing. They saw no clear way towards the accomplishment

____________________
1
Correspondance du Duc d'Albe, 136.
2
Mendoza, 56, 57.
3
Correspondance du Duc d'Albe, 154.
4
Mendoza, 53-55. Correspondance du Duc d'Albe , 102, 106, 138, 152. The Netherland historians give him 17,000 foot and 3000 horso. Hoofd, v. 174. Bor. iv. 243, 244. -- Compare Bentivoglio, liv. iv. 70, and Strada, i. 331, who gives Alva 12,000 foot and 3000 horse, and to Louis of Nassau an equal number of infantry, with an inferior force of cavalry.
5
Correspondance du Duc d'Albe, 114, 115, 123, 124.

-393-

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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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