The Puritan in Holland, England, and America: An Introduction to American History - Vol. 1

By Douglas Campbell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
REVOLUTION IN THE NETHERLANDS -- 1555-1574

AT the first glance it may seem strange that such a people as the Netherlanders submitted to so much religious persecution before rising in rebellion against their sovereign. A little reflection, however, suggests the answer. In the first place, they were pre-eminently a peaceful race, engaged in commerce and manufactures, and for many years unused to war; while their ruler commanded the largest and best-disciplined armies of the world. Next, those who suffered from the Inquisition under Charles V. were all from the poorer classes, and the death of a few thousand scattered peasants or artisans made but little impression on any community three centuries ago. There was no concert of action among the victims or their friends, and they were in a small and weak minority. In addition, the excesses of some of the early reformers excited the fears of the timid, and in the religious excitement of the times many of the supporters of the establislied church became as zealous in its reformation and defence as were the Protestants in their opposition to it.

Among the people at large, Charles was a great favorite. He was born in the Netherlands, lived much in his native land, spoke the language, was free and jovial in his manners, was a, famous soldier, and his countrymen felt proud of him and his achievements. He probably

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