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gal and cautious expedients, the tranquillity of her own dominions. An open war with the Spanish monarchy appeared the probable consequence of supporting the revolted provinces; and after taking the inhabitants under her protection, she could never in honour abandon them, how desperate so. ever their defence might become, but must embrace it even in opposition to her interest. The possession of Holland and Zealand, though highly inviting to a commercial nation, did not seem equivalent to such hazard. Elizabeth therefore refused, in positive terms, the sovereignty proffered her; but told the ambassadors, That, in return for the good-will which the prince of Orange and the States had shewn her, she would endeavour to mediate an agreement for them, on the best terms possible. She accordingly dispatched Sir Henry Cobham to Philip, who took her mediation in good part, but no accommodation ensued'. The war in the Netherlands was carried on with the same rage and violence as before, when an accident saved the infant republic.
Requesens, the governor, dying suddenly, at a time when large arrears were due to the Spanish troops, they broke into a furious mutiny, in 1576; and sacked and pillaged the wealthy city of Antwerp, executing terrible slaughter on the inhabitants, and threatened the other cities with a like fate. This danger united all the provinces, except Luxemburg, in a confederacy, commonly called the Pacification of Ghent, which had for its object the expulsion of foreign troops, and the restoration of the ancient liberties of the States 12.
Don John of Austria, who had been appointed to succeed Requesens, found every thing in confusion on his arrival in the Low Countries. He saw the impossibility of resistance, and agreed to whatever was required of him-to confirm the Pacification of Ghent, and dismiss the Spanish army. After these concessions he was acknowledged governor and the king's lieutenant of the Netherlands 13. Peace and con
11. Camden. 12. Bentivog, lib. ix. Thuan lib. lxii, 13. Bentivog. lib. x.
cord were restored, industry renewed, and religious disputes silenced; liberty had leisure to breathe, commerce began to lift her head, and the arts began to dispense their blessings.
But the ambition of Don John, who coveted this great theatre for the exercise of his military talents, lighted anew the torch of discord, and the flames of civil war. As he found the states determined to impose very strict limitations on his authority, he broke all articles; seized Namur, and procured the recall of the Spanish army. Animated by the successes of his youth, he had opened his mind to vast undertakings; and looking beyond the conquest of the revolted provinces, had projected a marriage with the queen of Scots, and in her right the acquisition of both the British kingdoms. Elizabeth was aware of his intentions, and no longer scrupled to embrace the protection of the Flemings, whose independency seemed now intimately connected with her own safety. She accordingly entered into an alliance with them; sent them a sum of money; and soon after a body of troops11. Prince Casimire, count palatine of the Rhine, also engaged to support them; and collected for that purpose, an army of German pro
A. D. 1578.
But the Flemings, while strengthening themselves by foreign alliances, were weakened by dissensions at home. The duke d'Arschot, governor of Flanders, and several other Catholic noblemen, jealous of the prince of Orange, who, on the return of the Spanish forces, had been elected governor of Brabant, privately invited the archduke Matthias, brother of the emperor Rodolph II. to the government of the Low Countries. Matthias, disgusted at the imperial court, rashly accepted the proposal; quitted Prague in the night, and suddenly arrived in the neighbourhood of Antwerp, to the astonishment of the States. Swayed by maxims of the truest policy and patriotism, the prince of Orange
contrary to all expectation, embraced the interest of the archduke; and, by that prudent measure, divided the German and Spanish branches of the house of Austria. Don John was deposed by a decree of the States; Matthias was appointed governor general of the provinces, and the prince of Orange his lieutenant, to the great mortification of d'Arschot's..
Meanwhile Don John being joined by the famous Alexander Farnese, duke of Parma, with eighteen thousand veterans, attacked the army of the States near Gemblours, and gained a considerable advantage over them. But the cause of liberty sustained a much greater misfortune, in that jealousy which arose between the Protestant and Catholic provinces. The prince of Orange, by reason of his moderation became suspected by both parties; Matthias, receiving no support from Germany, fell into contempt; and the duke of Anjou, brother to Henry III. of France, through the prevalence of the Catholic interest, was declared Defender of the Liberties of the Netherlands..
Don John took advantage of these fluctuating councils to push his military operations, and made himself master of several places. But he was so warmly received by the English auxiliaries at Rimenant, that he was obliged to give ground and seeing little hope of future success, on account of the numerous armies assembled against him, under prince Casimire (who was paid by Elizabeth) and the duke of Anjou, he is supposed to have died of chagrin : others say of poison, given him by order of Philip, who dreaded his ambition. But be that as it may, he died unexpectedly, and was succeeded by the duke of Parma, much his superior both in war and negociation, and whose address and clemency gave a new turn to the affairs of Spain in the Netherlands.
The confederates, in the meanwhile, spent their time in quarrelling, instead of acting. Neither the army of prince
15 Le Clerc, lib. iii.
16 Reidan, lib. ii. Metern, lib. x. Casimire
Casimire nor that of the duke of Anjou, was of any use to the states. The Catholics were jealous of the first, the Protestants of the last, and the two leaders were jealous of each other. Those evils induced William prince of Orange to form the scheme of more closely uniting the provinces of Holland and Zealand, and cementing them with such others as lay most contiguous; Utrecht, Friesland, Groningen, Overyssel, and Guelderland, in which the protestant interest predominated, the deputies accordingly met at A. D. 1579. Utrecht, and signed that famous Union, in ap- JAN. 15. pearance so flight, but in reality so solid, of seven provinces independent of each other, actuated by different interests, yet as closely connected by the great tye of liberty, as the bundle of arrows, the arms and emblem of their republic.
It was agreed, that the Seven Provinces shall unite themselves in interest as one province, reserving to each individual province and city, all its own privileges, rights, customs, and statutes; that in all disputes between particular provinces, the rest shall interpose only as mediators; and that they shall assist each other with life and fortune, against every foreign attempt upon any single province. The first coin struck after this alliance, is strongly expressive of the perilous situation of the infant commonwealth. It represented a ship struggling amid the waves, unassisted by sails or oars, with this motto: Incertum quo fata ferant : “ I "know not what may be my fate '8"
The States had indeed great reason for doubt. They had to contend with the whole power of the Spanish monarchy; and Philip, instead of offering them any equitable conditions, laboured to detach the prince of Orange from the Union of Utrecht. But William was too patriotic to resign the interests of his country for any private advantage. He was determined to share the fate of the United Provinces; and they stood in much need of support. The duke
17. Temple, chap. i. Reid n lib. ii.
of Parma was making rapid progress both by his arts and arms. He had concluded a treaty with the Walloons, a name commonly given to the natives of the southern provinces of the Netherlands: he gained the confidence of the Catholic party in general, and took by assault the cities of Marsien and Maestricht; where, in defiance of his authority, great enormities were committed by the Spanish troops. Every thing seemed possible to him. The States, however, continued resolute, though sensible of their weakness. They again made an offer of their sovereignty to Elizabeth; and 1580 as she still rejected it, they conferred it on the
duke of Anjou, finally withdrawing their alle
giance from Philip II'.
While Philip was losing the seven United Provinces, fortune threw in his way a new sovereignty. Don Sebastian, king of Portugal, grandson of the great Emanuel, smit with the passion for military glory, determined to signalize himself by an expedition against the Moors in Africa, where his ancestors had acquired so much renown. In conse
quence of this direction of mind, he espoused the cause of Muley Mahomet, whom Muley Moluch, his uncle, had dispossessed of the kingdoms of Fez and Morocco; and, contrary to the opinion of his wisest counsellors, embarked for Africa, in 1578, with an army of twenty thousand men. The army of Muley Moluch was superior; but that circumstance only roused the courage of Don Sebastian, who wore green armour in order to be a better mark for the enemy. The two armies engaged near Alcazar-quivir; and, after a desperate conflict, the Christians were totally routed, or rather destroyed, being all either killed or taken prisoners. Among the slain was Don Sebastian. The two Moorish princes uncle and nephew, were also left dead on the field 20. The
19. Grotius, lib. iii.
20. H.de Mendoza, Caprera. Thuanus. Muley Moloch, who appears to have been a great and generous prince, died with the most heroic magnanimity. Wasted by an inveterate disease, which the fatigue of the battle had