Page images
PDF
EPUB

if

you miss of that, yet, of no dishonour; for nothing, indeed, is honourable, but well-doing: The weal of your country. (I mean, the quietness of such, as you have authority to govern) is your mark ; shoot thereat, guiding your purpose with the fear of God, and so shall you gain the love of God and man. If

you

do sometimé (as you see cause) advertise the queen's majesty of the good estate of that country, and of the gentlemen there (so it be by short letters) referring, if you have any long declaration of things, to your letters to the privycouncil: If any thing to be misliked, or tedious to be advertised, procure others also to write thereof, and in no-wise write thereof alone: For, you know, fortunate things are welcome from any man, but, how the contrary may come from you, you may doubt.

It is full time for me to end my folly, and your lordship to end yout labour; beseeching you, to make my will, in satisfying your request, answer the other lack fault: And, that I may be humbly remembered to my lady, to whom I acknowledge much duty, and am ashamed of my small deserving of her great goodness to me wards.

From my poor house at Wimbleton,

WILL CECILL.

THE

WICKED PLOTS AND PERPIDIOUS

PRACTICES OF THE SPANIARDS

Against the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands, before they took up

Arms:

Being gathered out of several Dutch writers, by a Lover of Truth,

AND AN

UNFEIGNED HATER OF OPPRESSION AND TYRANNY,

The Bane of Commonwealths.

Printed about the Year 1642. Quarto, containing eight pages.,

Gentle Reader, I

perfidious, yea, unnatural practices of the Spaniards, in these parts, and elsewhere, which may suffrciently delineate him in his de

served colours, that whosoever beholds him may mourn to see this Hazael so to tyrannise over the innocent, and that the Lord should permit, and the earth bear such an unheard-of monster. Yet, notwithstanding, much more might be added in sundry other particulars, as the Dutch chronicles mention, and other writers have well set out; amongst which, although I myself be a stranger by nation to them, yet, since the time of my abode here, having attained some understanding in the language, I have thought fit to speak so much, which, in my reading, I have observed.

First, thou art to understand, gentle reader, that the King of Spain was lovingly received here in the seventeen provinces, and a solemn oath was taken on both parts: The King, for his part, swore to maintain all their laws and privileges, and they to him all due homage and allegiance: He presently demanded of them a sum of money; whereupon the states did assemble, and collected for him forty millions of florins, of Brabant money, to be paid in nine years, and they paid it into the exchequer; and, although it was more than they had paid before to his predecessors, yet upon this he took great displeasure against them, and, as they write, he for this did hate them to death.

But he pretended this to be the cause of his wrath, because he saw, that there were some among them, that did defy the pope and his religion. But that could not be; for the city of Aelst was as superstitious in that religion, as Rome itself, for they did persecute the reformed religion even unto death ; and, yet, for all that, both they, and an hundred and seventy fair villages that belonged unto them, were, by them, plundered and spoiled of all their goods; and many of them wounded and tormented for to confess where their money was; and many were killed. Thus much by the way.

My scope and chief intent is to shew the first and just cause of the wars in the Netherlands; whereby the diligent reader (not partially affected) may clearly understand, that the Netherlands did not rebel. liously take up arms against a lawful prince (as some ignorantly think and speak) but justly and religiously defend themselves against a perfidious tyrant, who sought their ruin by all possible means he could, and the subversion of the whole state. A long while they patiently underwent his cruel oppressions and intolerable vexations, as the bistories clearly manifest, till there was no hope, but either they must become slaves in soul and body, worse than that of Israel in Egypt, they and theirs for ever; or else be butchered by merciless executioners of a cruel tyrant. This tyrant, having a purpose to innovate all things, to root out ancient inhabitants, and to frustate all the laws, customs, and privileges, which bimself had sworn to maintain, knew not how better to effect his evil ends, than by raising a bloody inquisition to set over them for their government: Which said inquisition (raised in Spain) concluded and pronounced certain articles, the tenth of February, 1568, which were confirmed by the King the twenty-sixth following. Now, because it may appear I do them no wrong in this charge, I will lay down the articles themselves verbatim.

The most sacred office of inquisition, so often attempted in the Netherlands by his Majesty, and hindered until this time, shall be instituted and advanced in this manner, which is most expedient.

[merged small][ocr errors]

“ 1. They must persuade the Emperor, being gone astray and wickedly confederated with hereticks, that he resign his kingdoms unto his son, with the whole administration of the Netherlands.

2. That the Emperor, with his two sisters, having given over all affairs, leaving the Netherlands, shall reţire into Spain unto us, being assured that they shall never return more to do any harm.

“ 3. This being dispatched, we must also draw the King to us, and keep him for ever, that he depart not, and not suffer any Flemings to. have access or conference with him.

“ 4. That the King write unto and command the clergy of the Netherlands, that, with the inquisition, they should accept of fifteen new bishops, the which should be free from all secular jurisdiction, yea in cases of treason.

5. The subjects of the Netherlands, through their malice and waywardness, will revolt, and move seditions, and tumults, pleasing to all but our company.

“6. The princes and noblemen, heads and authors of those factions, with the subjects, must be taken away, and the others reduced unto reason.

7. They shall hire, at our charge, thieves and spoilers of churches and images, whose offences shall be by all the world imputed to rebels, by some subtle means; and so we shall vanquish them.

That all commerce, negotiation, liberties, and privileges shall be rooted out, and that all be reduced to extreme poverty; whereby the realm shall be permanent for us.

9. No man of all those countries (except he be of our faction) shall be held worthy to live; and, finally, all to be rooted out: And all goods, possessions, arts and trades, and all orders to be taken away, : until there may be a new rcalm and a new people.

10. In this action the wise and valiant Duke of Alva shall be employed in person; whereas any other, were he of the blood royal, or a prince, shall be of no esteem; so as, being suspected, yea in the smallest matters, they must be dispatched.

“11. No contracts, rights, promises, donations, oaths, privileges, and solemn assertions of the Netherlands shall be of any force for the inhabitants, as being guilty of high treason.

** 12. But, above all, we must have an especial care, that, in these matters of so great weight and moment, we proceed not violently, but by means, by degrees, and that discreetly; to the end the princes, nobility, and inferior subjects may mutiny among themselves, so that one may persecute, yea, execute the other, until at last the hangman be executed himself. For, in all Christendom, is there not a nation more foolish and indiscreet, and whose levity and inconstancy may sooner be deceived, than these Netherlands; and God punisheth them accordingly."

66 8.

There were other articles found in president Vergas's chamber at

[ocr errors]

Antwerp, and there printed; and those are more cruel than these, but not more subtle.

By these articles, and the unlimited power of these lawless inqui-' sitors, no man had any assurance of life or goods for a day, but were in danger continually to be called into question, either for the law of their God, or for some work of mercy, which either religion, moral equity, or the bond of nature called for: or else, if they had colour for none of these, they would impose such unreasonable taxations, that, if the cormorants had not their gorges crammed full, they would make prey of all; whether by right or wrong, it mattered not. But, my purpose being to avoid prolixity, alìd to pass by impertinences and needless repetitions, I will come to that I intended. In the

year

1565 a match was concluded for the Prince of Parma, and the nuptials were solemnised at Brussels, whither all the nobility and gentry of the country were invited; and accordingly there met of them about four-hundred; who, like faithful Moses, being grieved to see the daily oppression of their brethren by the hard task-masters of the inquisition, who not only robbed them of their goods, but also, by inhuman cruelty and unnatural butchery, deprived them of their lives, wbo daily led them as sheep unto the slaughter: the consideration hercof: they jointly laid to heart, and hereupon (being met upon this occasion)" they resolved to present a petition to the Princess of Parma; which they did, the fifth of April next following. The Earl of Breedrod, delivering the petition, humbly requested a favourable answer. Three days after, they received this answer, viz. “ They should send two of their noblemen to the king, by whom she would write in their behalf.” The Lord of Barlamont, being present, after their departure, said (like a flattering courtier) they were a company of rascals and beggars.

It was concluded, that the Marquis of Bargen and the Lord of Mountigny should go into Spain, who humbly presented their suit to the king, but could get no answer in sixteen months after.

The twenty-sixth of August, anno 1566, the Princess of Parma sent for the gentry, telling them she had received letters from the King, containing a promise that all should be well, and that the inquisition should cease; and, for the proclamations, they should not be of force, but his Majesty would take such order, as they and the states should well like of. The princess also gave them toleration for their religion, on condition they should not deface, nor break down the ornaments of the churches; for there had been, before this time, vile and lewd persons, that frequented the meetings of the reformed; these went into the papists churches, stole their silver, and what was worth carrying away, and brake down their images: but the reformed suspected that this was done by the appointment of the princess. Neither was their suspicion without good ground; for it is to be seen in the king's letter, art. 7. that she had orders to hire this rascal company to do this villainy; which fact was imputed to the protestants, to the end that they might not only be odious there, but also seem guilty even in the judgment of other nations: howbeit, the offenders were punished with imprisonment, yea, with death, even by the reformed themselves, who jointly confessed the action unlawful, and were so far from giving occasion of offence in this:

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

nature, that papist burghers themselves offered good security, that no such thing should be attempted by them. Who, then, can make any doubt that they were free from having any hand in those outrages laid to them ? the very opposites in religion being judges; who, as appears, were willing to undertake for them. Now, as their faithfulness brought so good effect for their persons, so did the Lord work that the truth of religion found many friends likewise, the Lord wonderously prospering the course of reformation, insomuch that in a short space they had in Flanders sixty assemblies; some churches they themselves built, but were by Duke d’Alva soon cast down, who erected gallowses of them, and hanged them upon them *.

The Princess of Parma also begun to entertain soldiers, 'with pretence to apprehend the church-robbers, but intended indeed to take away the ancient liberties and privileges of the Netherlanders; wherefore, sending certain companies to Valencin, the inhabitants denied them entertainment, who, for that, were proclaimed rebels the fourteenth of December; soon after, they were besieged, sacked, and many of them put to death.

But, before they of Valencin denied entertainment to the soldiers, the nobility had received letters out of Spain, from the Marquis of Bargen, shewing, that the King + was exceedingly incensed against the Netherlanders; that he had, in the presence of many, vowed to be fully revenged of them, though it were with the hazard of all his countries; that he would make them an example to all the world, and would invite the pope and the Emperor to assist him in this quarrel. Upon the receipt of these letters, the nobility assembled at Dortmond, to consult what were best to be done; but concluded not any thing, some judging it safest to join and make head to resist his tyrannical fury, others seeking rather to escape by flight.

The cruelty of this inquisition did, notwithstanding, increase, and many soldiers came into the country, so that some of the country forsook their houses, and resorted towards Friesland; and some did stay at home, and went to meet the Duke of Alva, and welcomed him into the country, and shewed him all the kindness that they could; but he very shortly took off most of their I heads; so that he did so terrify the inhabitants, that there fled out of the countries more than an hundredthousand housholders: besides, many, that were taken in flying, were taken and hanged; and all these had their goods confiscated to the king.

Now the Duke of Alva did command all the inhabitants to pay the hundredth penny of all their goods, and of all that was bought and sold; the which some of the states did yield unto; and then he commanded them to pay the twentieth penny; and then he commanded the tenth penny of all things that were bought and sold, so often as they should be sold. Some of the states did make their humble petition to the duke, and to the princess, shewing them that it would drive all trading

• Emanuel de Miter saith, that in Flanders they took fifty of them at one time, and hanged twenty two, and whipped the rest. + He pretended it for religion, but his aim was to get their lands and goods.

As the Grau of Egmund, and the Grau of Horn, and many of the gentry at Brussels,

« PreviousContinue »