REVOLUTION IN THE NETHERLANDS
INDEPENDENCE DECLARED -- ASSASSINATION OF WILLIAM OF ORANGE -- RELIGIOUS TOLERATION ESTABLISHED -- 1574-1585
FOR some two years after the unsuccessful siege of Leyden, but little of importance occurred in the field, where the war was dragging its slow length along. Negotiations were constantly going on for peace; but as one party demanded full religious liberty, and the other the absolute domination of the Church of Rome, no basis of agreement could be reached.
Still, though the insurgent provinces would not yield, their position was very perilous. Holland was cut in two by the capture of Harlem, and Amsterdam still held out for Spain. France, Germany, and England refused all aid, and the patriots saw nothing before them but the prospect of slow extermination. If need be, they said, they could "die in the last ditch ;" but no men long for such a fate. At length, the Prince of Orange, seeing no other resource, and being threatened with war by Elizabeth and Protestant England, had made up his mind to an heroic step for the salvation of his people, although it involved the loss of their native land. The country, which their fathers had rescued from the waves, was to be given up; the accumulated wealth of centuries abandoned; and the nation, with its