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upon the first step, when the assassin fired directly at his heart. Three bullets completely penetrated his body, entering at the left side, and coming out at the right. The prince, standing upright for a moment, but feeling himself mortally wounded, exclaimed, with the piety and the patriotism which had been predominant through his life, "Oh my God! take pity of my soul, for I am sore wounded. My God, take pity of my soul, and of this poor people!" His strength now failing, he was supported in the arms of one of his attendants, who placed him upon the stairs. As he lay evidently struggling with death, the Countess of Schwartzenberg, his sister, knelt beside him, and asked, if he did not recommend his soul to the Lord Jesus Christ? The answer was a faint " Yes," with his last breath. He was scarcely carried back into the dinner room, when he expired.

William died in the profession of Calvinism. But his education, his knowledge of mankind, or his vigour of understanding, had rendered him practically the Lutheran which he had been theoretically reared. His first teachers had been Lutheran; his residence at the Court of Charles had made him Roman Catholic; the habits of his country and his time made him, at his maturer age, a professor of Calvinism, but his tolerance, mildness, and magnanimity, entitle him to a less exclusive name; he was a Christian.

The assassin, on this occasion, was not sacrificed by the ill-judged zeal of those who must have looked upon his crime with repulsion and horror. He attempted to escape, but was taken; he even attempted to justify himself, retorting on those who called him traitor, "That he was no traitor, and had done only what the King of Spain commanded him to do;" ending with the ferocious denunciation, "If I have not slain him, cursed be my ill fortune!"

But his stubbornness gave way with the excitement of the hour, and in prison he lamented that he had yielded to the delusions of the Jesuits of Dole, whom he charged as the instigators of the murder; he wished that he had remained an humble tradesman in his own country of Burgundy, and not fallen into

this fury; but sullenly concluded with-" What was done could not be undone, and he must pay for it!" He was executed four days after the murder with the savage severities of the age, but he bore them with fierce determination, as he had declared that he would; he died without a groan.

William had left four sons and eight daughters. But the eldest, William, was a prisoner in Spain, since the time of his seizure at the University of Louvain. From thirteen to five-and-forty he was kept in this captivity, and probably owed his life only to the accident of having had Philip himself for his godfather.

Maurice, the second son, was now but seventeen years old. But the solemnity of the oath which he took over his father's dead body to follow his principles, the necessities of the time, and the genius and gallantry already transpiring in this illustrious son of an illustrious sire, made the transfer of the government to him, not less a matter of wise policy than of national enthusiasm.

He found the first step of his administration encumbered by difficulties insurmountable to all but the first rank of talent and intrepidity. Alexander Farnese, the son of the former Vice-queen, the Princess of Parma, was at the head of the Spanish army, 80,000 strong, in the Ñetherlands, with the first military reputation in Europe, and deserving it by the most consummate tactical knowledge, followed by the most unbroken good fortune. A scarcely less formidable opponent was to be found in the assistance of Lord Leicester, the deputy of Elizabeth, whose insolence and inaptitude had thrown the States into utter confusion. For four years Maurice seemed to be hourly on the point of sinking with his sinking country. But despair is the heaviest crime that can be committed in a righteous cause. A deliverance was at hand from another point of the horizon. The vanity and religious fury of Spain were to inflict her own deathblow.

In May, 1587, the celebrated Armada set sail from Lisbon and Corunna for England. Its destruction forms one of the proudest events in a history memorable for signal exploits of conduct and courage. It

perished in three days of battle. Of its 140 ships of the line, but a melancholy remnant ever returned; and from that day the star of Spain has gone down. The object of the Armada was persecution, or extermination. It was baffled by circumstances so striking, that even in the glow of triumph, and the dejection of overthrow, the combatants on both sides cried out that the result was more the work of Heaven than of man. The cause of England was holy, and well may she rejoice in this proof, among a thousand others, that the faithful defence of her freedom and her religion will never be left without an ally alike superior to human passion and human power. With the fall of the Armada fell the military renown of the Duke of Parma. He was to have commanded 30,000 troops in the invasion. But he came to the shore only to witness the appalling spectacle of the Spanish navy torn to pieces by the English cannon, or flying along in flames. Mutual recrimination embittered the correspondence between the Admiral and the Duke; and his popularity at Court declined, as an omen of his discomfiture in the field.

A darker blight fell upon his name. His letters were discovered, acknowledging a share in the plot for murdering the Great Prince of Orange. This has been doubted, in defiance of the evidence under his own hand, on the ground of a great soldier's honour. But he was an Italian and a bigot, and a bigot's slave-sufficient links to have bound down a more reluctant mind.

Maurice began his career by driving the Duke of Parma from before the walls of Bergen-op-zoom. He followed up his success by twenty years of battle; the capture of forty cities; the overthrow of the Spanish armies in three general encounters, the most remarkable of their time, and by a long series of naval triumphs, which placed the United States in the first rank of maritime


Parma's clouded career was closed at the age of forty-nine. He died in December, 1592, of the effects of a wound received the year before, of vexation, and, as it was asserted and strongly believed, of poison, adminis

tered by Philip's jealousy of his influence with the Spanish troops, and his military name.

A succession of governors of the Netherlands fell before the enterprising spirit of Maurice, but the battle of Nieuport, (July 2, 1600,) would alone have established his rank as a consummate general.

The Archduke Albert had taken the command of the Spanish forces on his arrival in September, the year before Maurice, by a singular novelty in Flemish war, attacked him in the depth of winter, and drove in the Spanish posts. But this expedition was merely the disguise for another of a more decisive order. Determining to strike a blow at the heart of the Netherlands, Maurice, with the most extraordinary secrecy, embarked the whole movable force of the States, 17,000 men, at Walcheren, in June, sailed and landed at Ghent, and instantly marched to the investment of Nieuport.

The Archduke, indignant at the surprise, suddenly collected a force of twelve thousand men, hastened to repel the invader, and began the campaign by a successful attack on the vanguard of the enemy, consisting of three thousand troops, chiefly Scottish companies under Count Ernest of Nassau. Maurice was, for once, surprised in turn by this daring attack; but the Scots stood their ground with national valour, bore the brunt of the whole Spanish line, and retreated with the loss of a third of their force, only when they saw the army of Maurice prepared and moving up to action. The forces were nearly equal on both sides. But some source of peculiar dismay seems to have lowered the usual gallant countenance of the Princes of Orange; for the commissioners of the States retired from the field to Ostend, and Maurice, calling round him his brother Henry, and a circle of young nobles who had come to make the campaign, advised them to retire in time. Henry, then but sixteen, spiritedly refused his brother's counsel, and his young companions followed his example.

The action now began, by a charge of such desperation on the English force under Francis Vere, that they were driven from their ground. But a column of their countrymen, un

der Horace, his celebrated brother, rushed forward to their support, and the Spaniards were kept at bay again. The conflict that now ensued is described as one of the fiercest known in war. It was one general melée of the sword and pike along the whole front. The Spaniards fought to retrieve their ancient renown; the English from the natural hardihood of the people; the Dutch from national abhorrence of their enemy, and the conviction that for them there was no alternative between total victory and irretrievable ruin. Fourand-twenty thousand of the bravest and most practised warriors were mingled and struggling with each other for life or death. At length the Archduke, who had exhibited remarkable presence of mind and valour during the day, determined to crush his wearied opponents by a general charge of the Spanish cavalry, the finest in Europe. They advanced, the struggle of pike and spear paused, and both armies stood still, as if to see the effect of this tremendous encounter.

But Maurice had already provided for the emergency. While the Spanish squadrons were moving through the intervals of their lines, the Prince collected a battery of his heaviest guns on the spot where he expected the charge. The cavalry, in full gallop, were received with a deadly burst of fire. Horse and horseman were torn into fragments, or flung into the air. The whole of the cavalry, overwhelmed by this shower of balls, recoiled. At the same moment one of those accidents occurred which has so often, of itself, turned the fate of battle. The Archduke's charger, known by its splendid caparison, was seen, riderless, rushing through the field. An outcry arose that the Archduke was slain. The cavalry were already hastily retiring from the storm of fire, upon their own infantry. The outcry produced an evident confusion in the Spanish lines. Maurice saw that the victory was in his grasp. He ordered a general advance, plunged upon the disordered enemy, and turned the field at once into a scene of remediless slaughter.

It is curious to observe how closely the features of this victory resemble those of the crowing triumph of the late war; fought, too,in the same

portion of Europe. In Waterloo we see the same daring valour on both sides, the same mixture of personal feelings with the public hostility, the same rivalry of the two generals. We see the attack made by one army with desperate fierceness, and sustained by the other with still more unexampled fortitude. Even the details have a singular resemblance; the commencement of the battle by an attempt to overwhelm a wing, the continuance by a general attack along the line, the final assault by a charge of horse, the turning of that charge by artillery, and the gaining of the victory by a general advance in the moment of the enemy's confusion. But there the similitude ends. There can be no comparison between the numbers of the contending armies at Nieuport and the hundred and sixty thousand who fought at Waterloo; between the results, the partial dispersion of the Spanish troops, and the forty thousand slain and prisoners of the French armythe partial conquest of a province, and the overthrow of the mighty empire of Jacobinism; between the limited fame of Maurice and Albert, and the hundred triumphs of Wellington, and the transcendent renown of that raiser and destroyer of sovereignties, warrior of warriors, Napoleon.

The course of nature was now beginning to extinguish the hostilities which neither policy nor humanity could soften. In December 1598 Philip died, at the age of seventytwo; a man who had made his own misery in a degree almost unequalled in the records of despotic and cruel minds. He died calm and callous, devoted to the ceremonies of a superstition which gave his bigoted and bitter spirit full room for the exercise of its malignity, and loving it for its evil. His death was felt as a relief to mankind.

Elizabeth, our own unrivalled monarch, his perpetual enemy and conqueror, soon followed him to the grave, (March 24, 1602,) in the seventieth year of her age, and the fortyfifth of a reign which, beginning in. the severest trials, was carried on with combined wisdom and virtue, and closed in a general triumph of England, freedom, and Christianity. In 1609, Henry IV. fell by the hand of an assassin, leaving behind him

the most brilliant character of the most brilliant people, unequalled among kings for political science, among courtiers for personal grace, and among soldiers for chivalrous intrepidity; but degraded in his private name by the most dissolute pursuit of pleasure, and in his public honour by the scandal, before God and man, of apostasy. To gain a crown, he forfeited his religion, and, after a few years, darkened by the scorn and distrust of the gallant men who had placed that crown upon his head, he died by the dagger of a priest of that religion which he had insulted Heaven to reconcile.

The years of the Prince of Orange, too, drew to a close. Attaining the highest honours as the champion of his country, he had been tempted by the fatal ambition to become its master. The resistance of its patriots made him suspicious, cruel, and despotic. A rival soldier, the famous Spinola, started up at the head of the Spanish armies, as if to tarnish the glories of his declining years; and after an unsuccessful attempt to raise the siege of Breda, the city of his ancestors, he retired exhausted to the Hague, and died, (23d April, 1625,) after a life of fifty-nine years passed in the highest occupations of state and war.

Maurice had never married, and his titles, and the still higher honours of his public duties, descended to his brother Henry Frederic, the third son of the great William. Inheriting the genius and success of his family, the States-General in gratitude declared that the honours and employments of the Stadtholderate should be thenceforth hereditary in his house; and the decree was solemnly presented in a gold box to his son William, then an infant three years old, The Nassau line had now risen to the rank of sovereigns, as the reward of signal conduct and heroism. But a still higher rank of sovereignty was in reserve. In 1641, William, the only son of the Prince of Orange, married the Princess Mary, the eldest daughter of our Charles the First. But dying in his twenty-fourth year, he bequeathed his dignities to a son, William Henry, (born November 4, 1650,) who was to realize on a larger scale the struggles and the successes of his illustrious race:-To fight the

battle of civil liberty on the continent; to accomplish the still loftier supremacy of true religion in England. But the career of William the Third belongs to our own history too intimately to be traced here..

The treaty of Munster, (January 30, 1648,) established the entire independence of the States-General of Holland and the United Provinces; then gloriously concluding a war, which, with the first intermission of hostilities in 1609, had lasted eighty years.

William died childless. He was the last of the direct line of the great Prince of Orange, and his estates were bequeathed to Prince Frison of Nassau, his cousin, and Stadtholder of Friesland.

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The defeat of the Armada had begun the fall of Spain, and she gradually sank out of the first order of nations. France, from the middle of the seventeenth century, had risen into her place, and become the great disturber. But the blows first given by William, and followed up with still sterner vigour by Marlborough and Eugene, at length broke down the strength of this restless and powerful people, and the peace of Utrecht (January, 1712) gave peace to Europe, wearied with useless slaughter. A remarkable change took place at this period in the sovereignty of the Netherlands. They were given by the treaty to Charles the Sixth, the new Emperor, and former rival of Philip of France, the new King of Spain. They were thenceforth the Austrian Netherlands; and thus the haughty country which had so long perverted its power over the Belgian provinces, saw at once her foreign territories given to a stranger, and a stranger wading through her blood to the native throne.

But the punishment of Spain, the head-quarters of Popery, was not yet complete. She sank from obscurity to obscurity, until her once mighty name became obsolete in Europe, or known only as the instrument and victim of France; always defeated in war, yet suffering in peace more than the poverty, the tyranny, and the waste of war, and finally retaining nothing of herself but her love of private revenge, her haughty scorn of industry, her bar

barian hatred of knowledge, and her fierce devotedness to the most mindless, melancholy, and cruel of all superstitions. She was to be roused from this apathy in our own time, but it was only by the most terrible infliction of war on record; a contest which mingled all the elements of civil and foreign hostility. Even this storm had not the power to stimulate her to permanent vigour. She grew tired of the generous labour of freedom, cast away the burden of constitution, and has again voluntarily lain down in chains.

Policy and family alliance still continued to join the interests of Holland and England. In 1734, the young Prince of Orange,the successor of his father in the Stadtholderate of Friesland, married the Princess Anne, the daughter of George the Second. The Seven Years' war, in which Frederic of Prussia and Maria Theresa fought for the German crown, brought Louis the Fifteenth as a conqueror to the borders of the States. Their danger awoke them to a recollection of the line from which they had so often derived security. William the Fourth was proclaimed StadtholderGeneral, and the dignity was finally made hereditary in both the male and female descent of Orange Nas


The Stadtholder died in 1751, after a reign rendered fortunately obscure by the general peace of Europe, and was succeeded by his son William the Fifth, who connected his family with Prussia by a marriage with the niece of Frederic the Great in 1766. All now seemed secure. But a burst of evils, such as had never shaken Europe before, and whose shock still vibrates through all nations, was preparing in the midst of this profound tranquillity.

Frederic and Maria Theresa, scarcely released from mutual slaughter, and Catherine of Russia, whose hands were scarcely free from the chains with which she had been threatened by her barbarian and halfmad husband, startled Europe, and consigned their own names to eternal infamy, by the seizure of Poland.


It is as easy to trace, as it is impossible to doubt, the tremendous retribution which followed. first blow fell on Austria. A sudden spirit of change, then new to Europe,

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started up in the Austrian Netherlands. There was something to praise as well as something to blame in this revolution. Joseph the Second, who had succeeded the Empress Maria Theresa, was a refor mer; but he was a royal reformer, and his subjects naturally distrusted the liberty that came enforced by Austrian dragoons. Joseph was a Voltairist; and when he proclaimed religious toleration, the priesthood and the people alike shrunk from the boon offered to religion by infidelity. The first tumults broke out in Brussels, headed by Vander Noot, an advocate of some popular talent and activity. An Austrian army marched upon Brabant, and the bayonet decided the quarrel of the theologians. Vander Noot fled, returned in the first relaxation of arms, was named by his adherents Agent Plenipotentiary of Brabant, and continued to perplex the philosophy of the free-thinking emperor.

But a new and more fearful spirit was now rising from the cloud of popular commotion. Young republicanism started up by the side of ancient prejudice, and soon outstripped the tardy movements of its predecessor. The leader of this aspiring party was also an advocate, Vanck, a man of vigorous ability, but inflamed with a passion for overthrow. One influence more was alone wanting, and it was found in Vander Mersch, a soldier of fortune, who put himself at the head of the patriot levies, and in a variety of encounters with the imperial troops displayed extraordinary conduct and intrepidity. The Austrian generals, surrounded by national insurrection, were paralysed; Brabant and Flanders were cleared of their troops; the leader of revolution made his triumphal entry into Brussels in 1790; and the seven southern provinces of the Netherlands, adopting the example of the northern, published their Confederation, by the title of the United States of Belgium, to the world.

In later days, we have seen Belgium borrow its revolution from France, but France had been the first borrower. The Belgium Revolution of 1790 was the French Revolution of 1798, but on a smaller scale, and fortunately unstained with royal

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