FREDERICK HENRY, PRINCE OF ORANGE.
By the Rev. GEORGE EDMUNDSON, M.A., formerly Fellow and Tutor of Brasenose College, Oxford.
Statesmanship of Frederick Henry . 689
His first campaigns . 691
Siege of Hertogenbosch . 692
Capture of the fortress . 693
Difficulties with Holland. Acte de Survivance . 694
Naval triumph on the Slaak. Siege of Maastricht . 695
Maastricht taken. Peace negotiations . 696
Death of Isahel. Treaty with France . 697
The Cardinal Infante in the Netherlands . 698
Amsterdam recalcitrant. Military reverses in 1638 . 699
Battle of the Downs . 700
Marriage of William and Mary .701
Henrietta Maria in Holland. Peace preliminaries ., 702
Frederick Henry's last campaigns . 703
Expedition to Bahia. Exploit of Piet Hein . 704
San Salvador captured and recaptured. 705
The Treasure fleet taken by Piet Hein . 706
Expedition to Pernambuco . 707
Oquendo's failure. Joan Maurice of Nassau . 708
New Netherlaud. Guiana . 709
The East India Company . 710
Administration of the Dutch East Indies . 711
The Dutch in Formosa, Japan, and Persia . 712
in Arabia, Cape Colony, and Australasia . 713
Effects of the Portuguese revolt .714
The United Provinces and Spain .715
The Peace of Munster. "The Golden Age" . 716
The Academy of Leyden. Hugo Grotius . 717
Hugo Grotius. Coornheert. Spiegliel. Brederoo . 718
Vondel. Cats . 719
Hooft and the Muiden Circle. Huygheus . 720
The culture of Dutch women. Anna Maria Schuurman .720
Maria Tesselschade. Hooft as a historian . 721
Philosophy and science . 722
The Dutch painters . 723
The Province of Holland and the House of Orange .723
Character and aims of Prince William II .724
Resistance of the States of Holland. Amsterdam . , . 725
Action of William II against Amsterdam . 726
His sudden death. Policy of decentralisation . 727
FREDERICK HENRY, PRINCE OF ORANGE.
ON the death of Maurice (April 23, 1625), his younger brother, Frederick Henry, was hailed by men of all parties and opinions in the United Provinces as his natural successor, and the reins of power were unreservedly placed in his hands. He was now in the prime of life, having been born at Delft in 1584, and he possessed every qualification both by training and inherited gifts for the position of high authority and influence to which he was called. From his earliest youth he had lived in camps, and had shown himself a keen student of military science under the careful tuition of his brother. Already distinguished by many gallant feats of arms, handsome in face, chivalrous in bearing, with genial manners, the first of his House who could speak Dutch without a foreign accent, the son of William the Silent and Louise de Coligny had endeared himself alike to the army and the people, and this personal popularity was increased by the known tolerance and moderation of his religious and political opinions. Without a dissentient voice he was at once elected by the five Provinces of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Overyssel, and Gelders as Stadholder in the place of Maurice, and was appointed by the States General Captain-General and Admiral-General of the Union, and head of the Council of State.
Frederick Henry thus found himself, without a rival in the field, at the head of a country weary of domestic strife. He was invested with vast, though undefined, powers, and he used them with a statesmanlike sagacity and masterly tact which gave him henceforth undisputed predominance in the State. It was an authority which grew with the passing of the years. A contemporary writer, van der Capellen, a little later states that " the Prince in truth disposed of everything as he liked. All things gave way to his word." Nor was the increasing deference paid to his advice in matters political the only difference between the position of Frederick Henry and that of his predecessors. Frederick Henry was married to a clever and ambitious wife ; and both he and Amalia von Solms delighted in society and were fond of ceremonial display. The somewhat burgher-like simplicity of the bachelor household of the surly Maurice was exchanged for the luxurious splendours of a Court. The
Prince was during the whole period of his stadholdership compelled to spend a large part of every year with the army in the field. To his wife at the Hague was entrusted the delicate task of keeping herself in touch with the cabals and intrigues of politicians and diplomatists, and holding him fully informed of all that was going on. Such duties were eminently congenial to the tastes of the Princess, who in thus acting as the eyes and ears of her husband at the seat of government was able to exercise no small influence over him, and upon the conduct of affairs.
Frederick Henry was an indefatigable worker. Active campaigning at the head of the armies of the Republic naturally had the first claim upon his attention, and every detail of military and naval administration passed through his hands. But, unlike Maurice, he was a politician and statesman, as well as a soldier. Frederick Henry kept a continuous and vigilant outlook over the entire field of administrative activity ; and one department of State, with the help of certain trusted councillors, he entirely controlled-the important department of foreign affairs. Chief among these was Francis Aerssens, lord of Sommelsdijk, included by Richelieu among the three greatest statesmen he had met in his life. The new Stadholder had to overcome a natural prejudice against the arch-enemy of Oldenbarneveldt. But the proved skill and capacity of the diplomatist speedily won for him the entire trust and lasting friendship of Frederick Henry. It is from the voluminous confidential correspondence which passed between these two men, between 1625 and 1641, that we are able to form a true estimate of the foreign policy pursued by the Prince, and to learn how great a part during his long career Frederick Henry " par sa prudence et dextérité à manier les esprits " played in deciding the issue of the great drama known as the Thirty Years' War. His triumphs as a general were perhaps less instrumental than his gifts as a diplomatist in turning the scale against the preponderance of the House of Habsburg.
The first difficulty which the new Stadholder had to face was the burning question of religious persecution. The events of 1619 had left behind them bitter memories, and the Remonstrant party on the death of Maurice hoped for a reversal of the harsh policy with which his name was associated. Frederick Henry, however, was far too prudent to commit himself to any violent course. With statesmanlike instinct he was resolved, whatever his personal leanings to the principles of the Remonstrants, not to run the risk of a revival of civil strife. The Synod of Dort he looked upon as a fait accompli. The issues then settled must be broadly accepted. But, in the spirit of his father, he steadily advocated toleration, and, while maintaining the established " reformed " religion, he strove to mitigate the policy of repression, and to allow to all law-abiding citizens, within certain limits, freedom of worship and opinion. The enforcement of pains and penalties was discouraged, and gradually became almost a dead letter.
The conduct of the war was also attended by serious difficulties. The entrenchments which Spinola had drawn round Breda were too strong to be forced by the troops at the disposal of the Prince of Orange, and after holding out for eleven months the town was compelled by stress of famine to surrender (July 2). The loss of this frontier fortress, an ancestral possession of the Nassaus, caused much discouragement in the States, who, weary of the heavy burdens entailed by a series of ineffective campaigns, were anxious to confine the operations within the narrowest limits. Fortunately the conquerors of Breda were so exhausted by the length of the siege that for the rest of the summer of 1625 and the whole of the following year they were unable to assume a vigorous offensive. It was a critical moment for the United Provinces, and Frederick Henry by the agency of Aerssens made the strongest appeal to Richelieu for assistance against a common foe. The Cardinal offered a subsidy of a million livres annually on condition that a Dutch squadron helped to blockade the great Huguenot fortress of La Rochelle, then besieged by him. So strange an employment for the ships of Calvinist Holland and Zeeland was very unpopular in those provinces. But the influence of the Stadholder was strong enough to override opposition. He had his way and the treaty was ratified. What stronger proof can there be of the statesmanlike insight of Frederick Henry and his adviser, Aerssens, than their clear discernment that, as Ranke says in his admirable review of the situation, "the political power of the Huguenots in France and their antagonism to their King were opposed to the interest of the great Protestant and anti-Spanish party in Europe " ?
The campaign of 1627 was marked by the brilliant capture of Groll, a town on the eastern frontier, by the forces of the States. With this exception, the characteristic of the military operations during 1627 and 1628 was cautious inactivity. Neither side felt strong enough to assume the offensive, and both were content to render the formidable barrier of frontier fortresses yet more impenetrable by additional fortifications. One of the chief of these on the side of Brabant was the town known to the Dutch as Hertogenbosch, to the French as Bois-le-Duc. This place in 1629 Frederick Henry determined to seize, as a set-off' to the loss of Breda. It was a formidable task, but he made adequate preparations. He was able, on April 28, by almost incredible exertions, to assemble an army of 24,000 foot and 4000 horse, all picked men, on the heath of Mook ; two days later by forced marches he arrived before Hertogenbosch and proceeded to invest it. Great was the joy at Brussels when the news came that the Prince of Orange had ventured on such an enterprise, and it was resolved that no efforts should be spared to prevent his success, as well as if possible to effect the destruction of his army. There was no fear of a speedy capture of the fortress. It was a place of extraordinary strength, garrisoned by a
The army of the Stadholder was of first-rate quality, strongly attached to a leader, who, though a stern disciplinarian, knew how to win the hearts of his soldiers by freely sharing their dangers and fatigues. It consisted of a medley of nationalities. Frederick Henry himself tells us, in his memoirs, that he led 18 regiments to Hertogenbosch, and of these three were Netherlanders, one Frisian, one Walloon, two German, four French, three Scottish, and four English. The English, Scottish, and French contingents formed the élite of the force, all of them veteran troops serving by the consent of their sovereigns, but in the pay of the Republic. Few military records indeed are more interesting than those of the English and Scottish brigades in the Dutch service, which first came into existence in 1572, and were not finally dissolved until 1782. They numbered in their ranks during the War of Independence some of the best blood and of the most adventurous spirits to be found in Britain, and were always in the forefront of danger.
The strength of Hertogenbosch lay in its position in the midst of marshes and of a number of small streams through which only one available military road passed, flanked by water on either side, and defended by two powerful detached forts, named St Isabella and St Anthony. But the Prince had had long training in the school of Maurice, and with a patience and skill that had never been surpassed he set to work to surround the town with a double line of circumvallation ; all the resources of engineering were employed upon the task. The whole of the earth and fascines had been brought by boat from Holland. Across the marshes he built two immense dykes, one of these 3500 feet in length and 12 feet wide, rising 4 feet out of the water with high parapets on either side ; the other was 1500 feet in length, and both were strong enough to admit of the passage of cavalry and artillery. The village of Crèvecoeur, three miles distant at the confluence of the rivers Diese and Meuse, was strongly entrenched and garrisoned as a base of supplies, and was connected with the lines of circumvallation by a double line of earthworks along the banks of the Diese. With such unremitting energy was the work carried on under the personal superintendence of the Stadholder himself, that the whole was completed in the astonishingly short period of three weeks. To the English and French contingents was entrusted the attack on forts St Anthony and St Isabella, company relieving company unceasingly, the soldiers of the two rival nationalities emulously, side by side, with resistless vigour pushed on their approaches.
The news led to prompt measures being taken at Brussels. The
Count de Berg was ordered with all available forces to march as quickly as possible to the relief of the town. Accordingly that officer set out from Turnhout, June 19, at the head of an admirably equipped army of 30,000 foot and 7000 horse for Hertogenbosch, gathering reinforcements as he went. No one imagined that the Prince would dare to stand his ground in the face of such a force. But Frederick Henry had already made his preparations. By damming two streams, the Dommel and the Aa, he was able to fill with water two broad canals that he had drawn right round his lines, and to flood a stretch of low-lying country beyond. Day and night the entire circle of the ramparts was patrolled by detachments of troops. De Berg after some unsuccessful attempts, finding access impracticable, determined on a bold counter-stroke. Crossing the Yssel he advanced into the very heart of the United Provinces, which lay almost defenceless before him. With fire and sword he ravaged the Province of Utrecht, which had long been spared the presence of an enemy, captured Amersfoort, and even threatened Amsterdam.
Everywhere terror and anxiety reigned ; but the Stadholder was not to be moved from his set purpose. Sending a force under Ernest Casimir of Nassau to watch de Berg, he pushed on the siege operations with relentless determination. The forts of St Isabella and St Anthony were stormed, July 17, and the advance along the narrow causeway to the main defences of the town began. Again the English and French regiments, working turn by turn in the trenches, and having to fight their way step by step, were the assailants. Meanwhile, a success attended the arms of Frederick Henry in the capture of the important town of Wesel by a small force under the command of Colonel Dieden in a sudden night-attack. This fortunate stroke occurred at a critical moment, for an Imperialist force was advancing into the Veluwe to cooperate with the Spaniards. But, on hearing of the loss of Wesel, which had served as his storehouse for munitions and arms, de Berg, fearing for his communications, abandoned Amersfoort and retreated towards Rheinberg followed by the Imperialists. Hertogenbosch was left to its fate, and the efforts of the besiegers were redoubled. Frederick Henry set an example of reckless courage, by exposing himself freely in the front ranks ; and Colonel Vere was killed at his side. The garrison, on their part, fought hard to the very last, and did not parley until their main defences, one after the other, had been carried by assault. At length, on September lé, Grobendonc capitulated on most favourable terms. This was a great triumph for the Stadholder, for the eyes of all Europe had for months been fixed upon the siege of Hertogenbosch, and his position both at home and abroad was greatly strengthened by this fine feat of arms. On his return to the Hague on November 13, after six months1 absence, he was enthusiastically greeted by the people as a national hero.
Nevertheless, like his predecessors, Frederick Henry had his difficulties with the Province of Holland, and with its largest town, Amsterdam. He was perpetually hampered in the vigorous prosecution of the war by their refusal to grant supplies. Yet overtures from the Infanta for a truce came to naught chiefly through the opposition of the States of Holland, under pressure from the Calvinist preachers and the shareholders of the East and West India Companies. The old questions as to freedom of religion and freedom of trade once more blocked the way. But, though rejecting the proposals for a truce, the stiffnecked Hollander Regents would not open their purse-strings, although the Stadholder plainly told them that if they were resolved upon war it should be offensive war, and that in his opinion defensive operations could only end in the ruin of the country. But he spoke to deaf ears, and the year 1630 passed without any serious military undertaking. In spite, however, of this divergence of views, the influence of Frederick Henry and the confidence inspired by him were continually on the increase. This was conspicuously shown by the readiness with which the Hollanders took the lead of the other provinces in the passing of the Acte de Survivance (April 19, 1631), by which the States General declared the only son of the Prince of Orange, a five years' old child, heir to his father's offices of Captain-General and Admiral-General of the Union, while Holland, Zeeland, and Gelders severally declared him heir to the stadholdership in those Provinces. The passing of this Act rendered the position and powers of Frederick Henry little different from those of a sovereign prince.
In the year 1631 self-interest prompted the Hollanders to vote supplies for an expedition against Dunkirk. The bold sea-rovers of the Flemish port had long been the pest of Dutch traders in the narrow seas. The Stadholder actually entered Flanders at the head of a considerable army ; but through the timidity of the deputies of the States General, who accompanied the expedition, it proved abortive. The deputies dreaded lest Frederick Henry and his army should be cut off from their base in a hostile country, as Maurice had been in 1600, and the Prince was unwilling to take the responsibility upon himself of a hazardous advance against their wishes. The course of events proved that he had acted judiciously. After his return to Holland news was brought that a considerable Spanish armada, consisting of thirty-five large vessels and a number of smaller boats laden with stores and munitions, had set sail from Antwerp, under the command of Count John of Nassau. The Infanta herself was present at the start. The fact that besides the crews 6000 soldiers had been embarked made it clear that a serious attack was projected upon some place in the province of Zeeland. Hurried measures had to be taken. Some twelve or thirteen vessels, hastily collected, were ordered to keep in close touch with the Spaniards, while detachments of troops were despatched to
Frederick Henry made the year 1632 notable by another great feat of arms. In 1629 he had secured the southern frontier of the United Provinces by the taking of Hertogenbosch ; he now resolved to strengthen their eastern frontier and their hold upon the Meuse by the capture of Maestricht. With this design the Prince of Orange advanced in the spring from Nymegen at the head of a force of 17,000 foot and 4000 horse, the choicest part of which consisted of the seasoned English, Scottish, and French regiments. To clear his way he invested and took Venloo and Roermonde. Before Roermonde Ernest Casimir of Nassau was killed. He was succeeded in the stadholderships of Friesland and Groningen by his son, Henry Casimir. On June 10 the army arrived before Maestricht. The task which confronted the Stadholder was not so difficult as in 1629. The river Meuse, on both sides of which lay the populous town, afforded easy facilities for supplies. Maestricht was, however, strongly fortified and garrisoned, and, in case of the advance of a relieving force, the besiegers would be weakened by the division of their army into two separate bodies by a broad, deep river. But Frederick Henry, using all the resources of engineering science for which he was renowned, surrounded the place with entrenched lines of circumvallation, connected above and below the town by bridges, and protected at all critical points by powerful redoubts and outlying forts. The English and French troops again, as at Hertogenbosch, shared the honour of being entrusted with the approaches. The Prince was not, however, to carry on his siege operations undisturbed. A strong Spanish army of 18,000 foot and 6000 horse under Don Gonzalez de Cordoba was ordered to advance to the relief of the fortress, and on July 2 encamped not far from the Dutch lines on the southern side of the river. By unremitting vigilance, however, and by personally visiting the outposts by day and
That fiery leader, despite the strength of the Stadholder's lines, determined at all hazards to force them, and so compel the besiegers to retire at the imminent risk of being crushed in their retreat. Accordingly, while the Spaniards made a strong demonstration on one side of the Meuse, he flung himself with all the forces at his command against what he believed to be a weak point in the Dutch entrenchments. But Frederick Henry, though taken by surprise, being at the moment laid up by an attack of gout, at once rose from his bed and hurried in person with strong reinforcements to the post of danger. A fierce and protracted struggle took place ; but, as night fell, the Imperialists were finally beaten off, leaving 1500 killed and wounded on the field. An attempt was next made to cut the Stadholder's communications. He had, however, laid up within his lines ample supplies for two months, and without paying any attention to the proceedings of the armies outside pressed on with the utmost vigour his approaches against the town. In vain the brave garrison made sortie after sortie. The English bore the brunt of the fighting; and the Earl of Oxford and Colonel Harwood were killed and Colonel Morgan dangerously wounded. At last two tunnels sixty feet deep were driven under the great moat before the ramparts, a mine was sprung, and a forlorn hope succeeded in making good their footing within the main walls. Night put an end to the strife, and when morning came overtures were made for surrender. It was feared that further resistance might lead to the sack of the town. Favourable terms were granted and the garrison marched out with all the honours of war (August 23). The Spanish and Imperial armies were still encamped close by ; but as their supplies were running short, and the position of the States troops was too strong to be successfully assailed, they withdrew, the Spaniards in the direction of Liege, Pappenheim across the Rhine. The taking of Orsoy ended a triumphant campaign.
One of its results was the reopening of negotiations by the Archduchess Isabel for a peace or a long truce. The terms at first offered were sufficiently favourable to win the support of Frederick Henry. But the usual differences as to the questions of freedom of trade and of religion led to long months of diplomatic discussion, and finally the negotiations were broken off, the southern envoys suddenly stiffening in their demands. The reason for this change of attitude is to be found in changed circumstances. A few months after the taking of Maestricht Gustavus Adolphus had fallen at Liitzen (November 16, 1632), and his
Indies, whereon once being agreed, we are of opinion that we should also quickly come to an understanding with one another on the affairs of Europe." But the question of the Indies, which had proved so formidable an obstacle in the negotiations of 1608-9, had acquired a far greater weight and importance in 1632-3. It will be shown later that much had occurred in the interval to make " the point touching the affairs of the Indies " one of vital moment to a large and influential section of the Dutch people.
The failure of these negotiations rendered an alliance with France a necessity. There were many difficulties in the way. The majority in the States of Holland, headed by the Pensionary Adrian Pauw, was opposed to a continuance of the war ; and for a while the Princess of Orange used all her influence on the same side. Richelieu also, though ready to help the Dutch with subsidies, was at first averse from committing the King of France to a step which meant nothing less than taking sides openly with the cause of Protestantism against Catholicism in the great struggle now devastating Germany. The firmness of purpose of the Stadholder, aided by the diplomatic adroitness of Aerssens, was however at length completely triumphant. Adrian Pauw was replaced by Jacob Cats, and Amalia von Solms changed sides. The declaration of Oxenstierna, that he would not continue the war if Holland withdrew, decided Richelieu. At the beginning of 1635 an offensive and defensive alliance was concluded between France and the United Provinces. By this neither Power was to make peace nor conclude a truce without the consent of the other ; their conquests in the southern Netherlands were to be divided between them ; and each undertook to maintain in the field an army of 25,000 foot and 5000 horse.
In the spring of the year a strong French army under Marshals Châtillon and de Brézé, accordingly, after defeating a Spanish force under Prince Thomas of Savoy near Namur, marched across the enemy's country and joined the Dutch troops at Maestricht, where in conformity with the orders of Louis XIII the Marshals placed themselves under the command of Frederick Henry. The Stadholder found himself at the
Under pressure from Richelieu, the States General in 1637 gave their consent to the despatch of a large force to attempt, with French aid, the capture of Dunkirk. Frederick Henry, on May 7, ordered the troops destined for the expedition, consisting of 14,000 foot and 32 companies of cavalry, to assemble at Rammekens. But week after week contrary winds prevented embarkation, and as his troops, wearied out with inaction, were already suffering from disease, the Stadholder abandoned an enterprise which the enemy had made full preparations to repel, and suddenly, July 20, gave orders to set out for Breda. Vexation at not being able to effect the relief of this town, had, it will be remembered, hastened the death of Maurice. It had fallen to Spinola, in the beginning of Frederick Henry's stadholderate, after a blockade of eleven months. The fortifications had then been regarded as quite prohibitive of direct attack. They had since been strengthened, were held by a garrison of 4000 men, and were looked upon as impregnable. But to so consummate a master of the art of besieging as Frederick Henry the word impregnability had no terrors. It was the story of Hertogenbosch over again. Lines of circumvallation were drawn round the town, the river was dammed to flood the flat country around, and the task of pushing the approaches was again entrusted to the English and French regiments. The Cardinal Infante marched to raise the leaguer at the head of a powerful force ; but, finding no single spot where he could assault the Stallholder's lines with hopes of success, he was obliged to move on, and try to entice the Prince away from Breda by attacking Venloo and Roermonde. All in vain. A French invasion from the south compelled the Cardinal Infante to leave the place to its fate. After a desperate resistance exl ending over eleven weeks, the town capitulated on
October 10. The event was welcomed with great rejoicings throughout the United Provinces. With the three great frontier fortresses of Hertogenbosch, Maestricht, and Breda in their hands, the Netherlanders began to feel themselves secure.
During the years 1637 and 1638 the perennial bickerings between the States General and the States of Holland had been more than usually acute. The latter refused to acknowledge the authority of the former either in the raising of levies and taxes, or in certain questions of judicature. Amsterdam took the lead in urging the Provincial States to assert their prerogatives in the face of the Stadholder and the Generality, and it must be said that the town was no less ready to defy the Provincial States in their turn whenever there was any question of an infringement of its own privileges. Frederick Henry constantly found his proposals and projects thwarted by the recalcitrant temper of Amsterdam. In 1639 the Burgomaster even went so far as to refuse to call the Town Council together to receive a deputation sent by the Stadholder and the States General to explain certain proposals about the Admiralty. This was the climax, and certainly justifies any ill-will that may in consequence have been felt by the Prince against Amsterdam. The story goes that on one occasion when the magistrates of Amsterdam dismissed a charge which Frederick Henry himself had brought against a merchant named Bylandt for supplying the Spaniards with ammunition, he had exclaimed, in his indignation, " I have no greater enemy ; but if I only get Antwerp, I will bring them to their senses." In any case, it is certain that in 1638 the mind of the Stadholder was earnestly set upon the recapture of that great seaport. All preparations were made, but this year was to be marked by nothing but disaster. Count William of Nassau at the head of 6000 men, who had been sent forward to seize some strong position on the Scheldt, was surprised by the Spaniards, as he was preparing to ford a narrow channel, and his force was almost annihilated. Later in the year Count Henry of Nassau, the Frisian Stadholder, while endeavouring with a detachment to rejoin the main army under Frederick Henry, by taking a short cut across some marshes, was attacked by the Spaniards and lost all his artillery and a number of prisoners. The Cardinal Infante was a formidable adversary, alert and active, and succeeded in completely bafHing the designs of the Stadholder and in inflicting heavy losses upon him.
In ill-health through attacks of the gout, aggrieved by the bickerings between jarring authorities in the State, which so often hampered him in the execution of his plans, and discouraged by the reverses which his arms had sustained in 1638, Frederick Henry in the winter was by no means disinclined to listen to certain secret overtures for peace made to him by the Spanish Court. The proposals however came to nothing, and the spring of 1639 saw the Prince once more at the head of his army. Illness at first prevented him from carrying on military operations
The Spaniards, enheartened by the successes of Cardinal Ferdinand, had been preparing a great expedition to sweep the Channel clear of the Dutch, and to land a large body of troops at Dunkirk to reinforce their army in the Netherlands. In September the armada, consisting of seventy-seven vessels, many of them of the largest size, manned by 24,000 sailors and soldiers under the command of the experienced Admiral Antonio de Oquendo appeared in the Channel. They were sighted by Lieutenant-Admiral Marten Harpertzoon Tromp, who had been on the watch for them, cruising up and down the coast all the summer. Tromp had at the moment but thirteen ships with him, but without hesitation he attacked the Spaniards, and with such fury, that he succeeded in driving them to take refuge under the lee of the Downs. Here they anchored, by the side of an English squadron of ten ships under Admiral Pennington. Tromp, now reinforced by the rest of his fleet, which had been blockading Dunkirk, consisting of seventeen vessels under Vice-Admiral Witte Corneliszoon de With, lay in the offing ready to resist any attempt of the Spaniards to put to sea, and meanwhile sent urgent requests to the States General and the Prince of Orange to despatch every available ship to his aid. The Admiral's message found a ready response ; with an enthusiasm very uncommon in the northern Netherlands the authorities and people threw themselves heart and soul into the task of preparation and equipment. The whole of Holland and Zeeland, says one authority, became one vast ship-building yard. Crowds of sailors and fisher-folk volunteered for service. Such indeed was the zeal displayed, that, in the words of an eyewitness, " the vessels seemed not to be built, but to grow of themselves, and to be at once filled with sailors."
In three weeks Tromp found himself at the head of a great fleet of 105 men-of-war and 12 fire-ships, and orders had reached him to attack as soon as he was in a position to do so without regard to locality or other impediments. On October 21 accordingly the Admiral, detaching Vice-Admiral de With with thirty ships to watch the English squadron, determined to engage the Spanish fleet, where it lay in English waters under the clifis between Dover and Deal. The onslaught was irresistible. Under cover of a fog, Oquendo himself, with seven ships, managed to slip out of the fight and reach Dunkirk. All the rest were destroyed or taken. Of the crews 15,200 perished, 1800 fell into the hands of the victors. It was a crushing defeat, which shattered the naval power of Spain, and left the Dutch during the rest of the war masters of the sea.
This great triumph of the Netherlanders had however been effected under circumstances which naturally aroused much heartburning and resentment in England. The infringement of the neutrality of English waters in sight of an English fleet was a bitter pill for English pride to swallow. The maritime and commercial rivalry between the two peoples, which was eventually to issue in a succession of wars, had been for years growing more acute, and now nearly led to a breach of the peace. Aerssens was despatched upon a special mission to Charles I with instructions (to use the envoy's own words) to "endormir lejhict desDuyns."" To achieve such a result required all the address and skill of this accomplished diplomatist; but his patience and persuasive powers were at length successful. The " scandal of the Downs," though it was to rankle long in English memories, was officially hushed up, and the influence which the dexterous Aerssens was able to acquire at the English Court was marked by the negotiations which he set on foot for a matrimonial alliance between the son of Frederick Henry and the Princess Royal of England. The final settlement of the matter admitted of delay, for Prince William was but in his fifteenth year, Princess Mary in her ninth, and volumes of diplomatic notes and protocols were to be exchanged before the youthful Prince was allowed to win the hand of his still more youthful bride. All difficulties were however in due course overcome, and on May 12, 1641, the marriage took place. This royal alliance was an interesting event. It marked another step upwards in the fortunes of the House of Orange, and it was to issue in the birth of William III.
The campaign of 1640 was uneventful, and ended in an unsuccessful attempt to capture Hulst, which cost the life of the brave young Count Henry Casimir of Nassau-Dietz, killed in a chance mêlée at the age of 29 years. His death caused a vacancy in the stadholderates of Friesland, Groningen, and Drenthe. It was thought by many to be a favourable opportunity for securing greater unity in the government of the United Provinces and for strengthening the hands of the executive authority by obtaining the election of the Prince of Orange to the vacant posts. Strong efforts were made to effect this, with the result that Frederick Henry, who was himself somewhat lukewarm in the matter, became Stad-holder of Groningen and Drenthe. The Frieslanders, however, resented what they regarded as an attempt at dictation, and remained loyal to the House of Nassau-Dietz, so many of whose members had gallantly fought and shed their blood for the fatherland. The States of Friesland unanimously elected William Frederick, the younger brother of Henry Casimir. The soreness engendered by these events between the two branches of the House of Nassau was, however, afterwards healed. William Frederick married Albertine Agnes, daughter of Frederick Henry (1651).
The military operations in 1641 were only marked by the capture of Gennep by the Dutch. Men were grown weary of the fighting and of its
One of the reasons for the dilatory campaigns of 1641-2 was undoubtedly a growing disinclination on the part of Frederick Henry to aggrandise France in the Netherlands at the expense of Spain. The revolt of Portugal in 1641 had greatly weakened the Spanish power, and, as will be shown at length later, had made the all-important "question of the Indies" to assume quite a different aspect. The deaths of Richelieu and of Louis XIII in 1642-3 caused no change in the policy of France. Mazarin was as omnipotent in the counsels of Anne of Austria as Richelieu had been in those of her husband, and Mazarin followed closely in the steps of his great predecessor. The overwhelming victory gained at Rocroi in May, 1643, over a veteran Spanish army was in the eyes of the wary and experienced Stadholder a danger signal. He had no wish to see the southern Netherlands pass into the hands of the French. He was still loyal to the French alliance, but from this time forward his thoughts were directed towards securing an advantageous peace.
Already the interminable parleyings between the various Powers were beginning which were to issue in the Peace of Westphalia, but there were innumerable difficulties in the way of a settlement which affected so many different countries and touched upon so many complicated interests and susceptibilities. The desire for peace was looming larger in men's minds, but meanwhile for some years war still dragged on. In the autumn of 1643 the alliance between the United Provinces and France, by which each was pledged not to make peace or treaty without the cognisance and consent of the other, was renewed. Accordingly in 1644 and 1645 Frederick Henry once more took the field at the head of a fine army. These his last active campaigns were marked by a
At this point, and before dealing with the Treaty of Münster, reference has to be made to the wonderful expansion of Dutch dominion and Dutch commerce beyond the seas during the period of Frederick Henry. The question of the Indies dominated the negotiations of 1646-8 even more pronouncedly than it had those of 1607-9.
In 1621, with the renewal of the war, the schemes of Usselincx for the erection of a West India Company were at length realised. Its constitution and a general outline of its operations will be found in another chapter, but certain episodes of those operations are part and parcel of Dutch history and require special notice here. The struggle for Bahia (1624-6) was an heroic effort worthy of more than passing reference. The West India differed from the East India Company in the effrontery with which at the outset it sought for profit by free-booting at the cost of the national foe rather than by the methods of peaceful trade. No secret was made by the promoters of their aims. They hoped "by bearding the King of Spain in his treasure-house to cut the sinews by which he sustained his wars in Europe."
The first operations were upon an ambitious scale. Acting on the advice of those specially acquainted with the state of the dominions of King Philip in America, the Directors in 1623 resolved to equip a powerful force for an attack on San Salvador, the capital of the Portuguese colony of Brazil. This town, frequently spoken of as Bahia from its situation upon the shores of the splendid landlocked haven of the Bay of All Saints (Bahia de Todos os Santos), was looked upon as well fitted to be at once a commercial centre and a place cCarmes for the Company upon the South American coast, and as likely to be weakly defended. The first portion of the expedition sailed in December, 1623 ; but, owing to contrary winds and other causes of delay the whole fleet was not collected at St Vincent till March 26, 1624. It consisted of 23 ships of war with four yachts, mounting 500 pieces of artillery and manned by 1600 sailors
At last, on May 9, 1624, the Dutch fleet sailed in battle order into the bay, and, finding no opposition, one portion proceeded to disembark a body of 1200 men on the shore some distance below the town, while the other portion under Piet Hein took their station in face of San Salvador itself. The town, which crowned some precipitous heights, was strongly protected by forts and sufficiently garrisoned. It was covered from attack by sea by a platform battery on a rocky islet manned by some 600 men, behind which were drawn up 15 armed merchantmen. But Hein was a man who never shrank from any enterprise, however hazardous. With his flagship and three other vessels he sailed straight upon the enemy quite close to the shore, thereby drawing upon himself a concentrated cross-fire, from the island, from the land batteries, and from troops drawn up along the wharves. His ships suffered severely. One vessel, pierced through and through, lost half its crew and its captain. Hein now gave orders to lower the boats and board the enemy. With an intrepidity that nothing could withstand the command was obeyed. Of the Portuguese flotilla, eight vessels were captured and towed away, the rest burnt, and then, flushed with success, as evening fell, the Hollanders and Zeelanders, true sons of the Sea-beggars of 1572, with the aid of their boat-hooks clambered up the walls of the platform battery, and after a brief fight the place was won. Meanwhile, the troops having made good their landing, had at nightfall seized a Benedictine convent on the top of the heights facing San Salvador. They had no need to march further. The spirit of the garrison had been utterly cowed by the splendid daring of Piet Hein and his sailors, and at dawn the Governor sent in a flag of truce and surrendered unconditionally. Thus was the first enterprise of the West India Company crowned with signal success.
It was destined nevertheless to be a short-lived triumph. The news, when it reached Madrid and Lisbon, roused deep consternation. For once the Spanish Court was moved to take decisive action, and the Portuguese forgot their hatred of the Spaniard in their eagerness for the recapture of Bahia. A great armada of 57 vessels, carrying 12,566 men and 1185 guns, was with enthusiastic energy assembled in the various Iberian ports and placed under the supreme command of Don Fadrique de Toledo. Storms and contrary winds caused many delays
Don Fadrique in his turn, after leaving a strong garrison in San Salvador, sailed away August 1. His homeward voyage was even more disastrous than that of Hendrikszoon. Storms swept down upon him, and very few of his vessels reached the Peninsula in safety. The struggle for Bahia had been of ruinous cost alike to the Dutch West India Company and to the Spanish King. To the Company the prizes taken by Piet Hein had so far been practically the only asset on the credit side ; it remains however to tell how this great sailor was able to place in their coffers a further consignment of rich booty from Bahia. Hein, at the head of a squadron of fourteen vessels, had been originally despatched by the Directors in support of Hendrikszoon. In the West Indies he heard of the failure and death of that Admiral. But he determined not to return home without revisiting the scene of his former triumph. After some months of cruising he entered All Saints' Bay once more (March 3, 1627). The garrison had been warned and were ready to receive him. Drawn up under cover of the batteries Hein saw 30 ships, 16 of some size, all more or less armed, and in front of the others four powerful vessels, like floating batteries, with troops on board. Hein with three ships only was ahead of the rest of his fleet. Without waiting for the others he gave the signal to steer between the enemy and the shore and engage, A desperate fight at the closest quarters ensued. The other ships gradually drew up, and then, amidst a hail of shot from land and sea, inspired by the example of their chief, who, ever in the forefront of danger, was twice wounded, the Dutch sailors flung
At the end of May, 1628, Piet Hein set sail for the West Indies at the head of a fine fleet of 30 sail with the express object of intercepting and capturing the galleons which annually conveyed to the King of Spain the treasures of Mexico and Peru. Week after week the western seas were scoured and a keen look-out kept. Hitherto the treasure-ships had always eluded the Dutch, but the star of Piet Hein was in the ascendant. While cruising off Cuba he learnt from prisoners that the fleet was expected, and on September 8 it was sighted sailing along unsuspiciously in two divisions. The first, comprising nine large armed merchantmen, was at once assailed and captured almost without resistance. The six treasure-ships behind, seeing what had happened, headed for the Bay of Matanzas and succeeded in entering before the Dutch as night fell, and ran their ships aground in shallow water. The next day Hein attacked them with his boats, and the Spaniards speedily surrendered at discretion. Thus, at a most trifling cost of life, there fell into the hands of the Dutch Admiral 177,537 Ibs. of silver in chests and bars ; 135 Ibs. of gold ; 37,375 hides ; 2270 chests of indigo ; 7961 pieces of logwood ; 735 chests of cochineal ; 235 of sugar ; besides a quantity of pearls, spices, and other precious wares. The total was valued at 11,509,524 Dutch florins, and sufficed to pay a dividend of 50 per cent, to the shareholders of the West India Company. On his return town corporations and enthusiastic crowds vied with one another in the homage they paid to Piet Hein, and the State rewarded his services by appointing him Lieutenant-Admiral of Holland, a post second only to that of Admiral-General, held by the Prince of Orange. The hero himself, writes de Laet, looked rather scornfully upon the plaudits which greeted him. " Look," he said, " how these people rave because I have brought home so great a treasure. But before, when I had hard fighting to do and performed far greater deeds than this, they scarcely turned round to look at me." It was a great .misfortune to his country that Piet Hein's career was destined to be prematurely cut short. In the following year, in a victorious encounter with the Dunkirk pirates, he lost his life.
The desire of the Company for territorial conquest, damped by the failure at Bahia, was revived by the success of 1628. The locality selected for invasion was the Brazilian province of Pernambuco. Great
Meanwhile a strong expedition set sail from Lisbon (May 5, 1632) consisting of twenty large galleons and a number of smaller ships under the command of Antonio de Oquendo, the same who in 1639 was to suffer such a crushing defeat at the battle of the Downs. On board were 2000 soldiers for strengthening the garrisons on the Brazilian coast. Oquendo, instead of sailing straight for Pernambuco, made the mistake of wasting several weeks at Bahia, and when he turned his course northward he found that a Dutch relief fleet under Adrian Janszoon Pater had reached the Reciff, and was ready to oppose him. On September 12 an engagement took place at which the great majority of vessels on both sides assisted only as onlookers, while with the aid of a few consorts, the Admiral's and Vice-Admiral's flagships, grappling together, fought out two terrific duels. Vice-Admiral Martin Thijssen
The failure of Oquendo cleared the way for the gradual extension of the Dutch dominion in Brazil, which spread along the coast north and south of the Beciff' from river to river, until in the latter part of the brilliant and statesmanlike administration of Joan Maurice of Nassau, who for seven years (1637-44) filled the office of Governor-General, it comprised seven captaincies out of the fourteen into which Portuguese Brazil was divided, with dependencies, for the supply of slaves, upon the coast of Guinea. The splendour of Mauritsstad, as the capital was renamed, was but the outward symbol of the high prosperity of the rule of this great governor. During all this period but one great effort was made by the Spanish Government to retrieve the position, and it was a supreme one. In 1639 a great expedition was slowly gathered together at Bahia for the reconquest of Pernambuco. It was one of the finest Hispano-Portuguese fleets (as it was the last) that ever appeared in American waters, and consisted of (at least) 86 sail, manned by 12,000 sailors and soldiers under the command of the Count da Torre. The position of the Dutch during the summer of 1639 was most precarious, for their forces were insufficient to meet such an attack. But even when the Spanish Admiral's preparations were complete, persistent northerly winds kept the armada for more than two months in Bahia, and, profiting by the delay, Joan Maurice was able by the most strenuous exertions to collect at the Beciff a force of some 40 vessels under Admiral Loos, much inferior in size, but superior in seamanship to their opponents. The fleets met on January 12, 1640, and a running fight took place which lasted four days. When the issue was joined, a strong southerly gale was blowing, which carried the fleets with it, as they fought, northward along the coast. Favoured by winds and waves the brave and skilful Netherlanders were able to drive their enemies before them with considerable losses, and finally to disperse them in flight. This victory of Itamaraca, as it was called, following so soon upon that of the Downs set the seal upon the supremacy of the Dutch at sea in this war.
The West India Company was not a financial success. The fleets and garrisons it had to maintain on a far distant shore were too costly for its resources; and the revolt of the Portuguese in Brazil in 1645 struck the knell of a dominion that had never paid its way. Nevertheless one of the great objects for which the Company was founded had been achieved, its long series of successes in the Western seas was one of the chief factors in exhausting the power of Spain, and in bringing to a triumphant issue the long War of Independence. The purely commercial ventures of the Company were not numerous. They found in 1623 trading posts already in existence on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River in North America, and upon various rivers of the Guiana coast. These they took over under their charter. The posts on Manhattan grew into the colony of New Netherland. This colony, which was administered by the Chamber of Amsterdam, lay between the English colonies of New England and Virginia, and extended over portions of the present States of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. Friendly relations were established from the first with the Indians, especially the Iroquois, and by their aid a profitable trade in furs was carried on. Agriculture was also encouraged, cattle were introduced, and gradually a considerable area of land brought under cultivation.
In Guiana the colonies of Essequibo and Berbice (now British Guiana) came into being, but until the introduction of sugar planting on a large scale led a rather struggling existence. Their returns to the Company's coffers were meagre. Recent research has however shown that the official balance-sheets were far from including the whole trade carried on by Dutchmen in these regions. Probably in no other part of the world were the ventures of private enterprise more daring or more persistent. In almost every river between the Orinoco and the Amazon Dutch factors were to be found. During the early decades of the century the mouth of the Amazon was regularly frequented ; a fort stood at Corupâ at the entry into the main stream, two forts on the southern tributary, the Xingü, while from 1616 to 1623 there was a flourishing settlement high up on the north bank above the mouth of the Paru. From the Amazon the Dutch were however expelled by the Portuguese, who from 1629 onward barred their ascent of this great water-way. But when they could no longer push their wares inland from the east they did it from the north. There is evidence to show that Dutch traders by the aid of their allies, the warlike and ubiquitous Caribs, made their way by the Essequibo and other rivers into the basin of the Amazon, and carried on a barter trade, which extended as far into the interior as the river Negro. During the whole of the seventeenth century Dutchmen were the only Europeans who penetrated into this vast and unknown land of mystery in which the fabled El Dorado was supposed to lie. In the Caribbean Sea the islands of Curaçoa, Aruba, Bonaire, and St Eustatius still remain in
Dutch hands, the only relics of the possessions of the first West India Company.
The story of the Netherlander in the East, the beginnings of which have been already told, was no less eventful, and much more prosperous than in the West. The East India Company trusted to trade and not to buccaneering for its profits, and its profits were enormous. For the forty-three years, 1605-48, the average annual return upon the capital amounted to 22 per cent. From the earliest days the control of the group of the Moluccas, and with it the monopoly of the spice trade, was the mainstay of the Company's well-being.
The Portuguese were ousted by force of arms, and gradually by means of treaties with the native chiefs, Amboina, Ternati, Tidor, Banda, and the smaller neighbouring islands passed into the hands of the Dutch. These treaties (and they were the model that was followed generally in the East Indies) took the form of a guarantee to defend the territory in question against Portuguese attack, in exchange for the right to erect forts and factories, and the exclusive privilege of trade. In the Moluccas to such a pitch was the spirit of monopoly carried, that the quantity of spices grown was carefully restricted in order to keep up the price. Particular spots were selected suitable for the purpose, and elsewhere, as far as possible, the trees were destroyed. Thus cloves were cultivated at Amboina, and nutmegs in the Banda Islands. In prolific seasons a portion of the crop would sometimes be burnt. By this means the market was starved, and the limited supply commanded very high prices. Thus firmly established in the Moluccas the activities of the Company with marvellous rapidity overspread the entire East. Already in 1619 it was found necessary to create a capital of the Dutch East Indies, which should at once serve as an administrative centre of government and be a general emporium of traffic. The factory of Jacatra in Java was chosen as the site of an oriental Amsterdam, and received the name of Batavia (March, 1619). From this centre, not without considerable opposition and some serious fighting, but slowly and surely, partly by conquests, partly by alliances, the Dutch dominion was established over the richest and most beautiful island of the Malayan archipelago.
The supreme administration of the Company in the East was vested in a Governor-General of the Indies appointed by the Council of Seventeen for five years, and whose official residence was Batavia. He was assisted by a Council, also nominated by the home authorities. The first councillor bore the title of Director-General, and discharged the functions of Minister of Commerce. There was however practically but little restraint upon the autocratic powers of a strong Governor-General. Under him were seven (after the foundation of Cape Colony in 1651, eight) local Governors, armed with considerable powers in their own districts, but in all matters of high policy purely subordinates. The Governor-General, with his command over all the forces of the Company
It has already been mentioned that the seat of government had been in 1619 fixed at Batavia, in Java ; and from this time the island, though its actual conquest took many years, may be regarded as a Dutch possession. In the two large adjoining islands of Sumatra and Borneo a number of factories were established under agreements with the native chiefs, and a thriving trade carried on. More important was the treaty •which in 1636 Governor van Diemen concluded with the chief ruler in Ceylon, the King of Candy. It was drawn up on the usual lines, a monopoly of commerce in exchange for protection against the Portuguese, who had long had possessions in the island. Already some of their forts had been captured by the Dutch, and a conquest taken in hand which was to give to the Company, for a century and a half, their most valuable colony, next to Java, in the East. On the mainland of India a footing was early gained both on the coasts of Malabar and Coromandel. In 1640, under the auspices of van Diemen, Malacca was conquered, giving to the Dutch the command of the straits. With Siam trading relations had existed since 1613, and continued to flourish. A factory was placed at Ajudia, the old capital, and smaller trading posts at other places. From 1605 onwards, Macassar, the chief place of Celebes, was frequented by Netherlanders, though its ruler was not till 1662 finally compelled by force of arms to submit to the Company's dominion.
The supremacy of the Dutch over all European rivals was specially marked in the extreme East. In 1623 an expedition sent out by Governor-General Koen, under the command of Willem Bontekoe, made the conquest of the large and fruitful island of Formosa. The possession was secured by the building of Fort Zelandia, a Governor
The mention of Japan suggests a brief summary of one of the most remarkable chapters in the history of the Dutch East India Company. So early as 1609 a famous traveller, Pieter van den Broeck, had visited Japan on an official mission and been received in friendly fashion by the Shogun at Yeddo ; and in the following year two envoys bearing credentials from Governor-General Pieter Both were able to obtain permission for the Dutch under close restrictions to trade with Japan. The Portuguese had been their predecessors here as elsewhere, and had for some sixty years held a privileged position in the island empire, and by the zeal of their missionaries (foremost among these the famous Francis Xavier) had succeeded in converting a considerable part of the population to the religion of the Cross. Later, however, a reaction set in, fierce persecution arose, and finally the Portuguese were entirely expelled (1637-42) and Japanese Christianity extinguished in blood. The Netherlanders had to accommodate themselves to the new situation by many humiliations. They were required to choose between giving up their trade and renouncing all public profession of their creed. Their factory was removed from Firando, near Nagasaki, on the mainland, to the small neighbouring islet of Desima, to which they were confined almost like prisoners. They submitted, however, to all the inconveniences of the position, and in the face of many difficulties were able under a most capable and enterprising director, Francis Caron, to recoup themselves for the insults and contumely they had at times to endure by a most thriving trade. The annual imports of silk and other commodities amounted on the average to a value of 6,000,000 florins, together with 1200 to 1400 chests of silver worth another 5,000,000 florins. For upwards of a century the Dutch were the only Europeans who had any intercourse with Japan.
To the west of Hindostan openings for the extension of trade were seized with no less avidity. It was again Pieter van den Broeck, who in 1616 by his skill and enterprise first opened up friendly relations with the Arabs and Persians. A trading post was established at Gambron (Bender Abbas) on the Persian Gulf, with a dependency at Ispahan. In 1645 the informal privileges hitherto enjoyed were placed on a permanent basis by a treaty with the Shah, which conceded to the Netherlanders complete freedom of trade in the Persian Empire. On the Arabian coast Mocha and other places were regularly visited. Just as the Dutch had brought the first tea to Europe from China in 1610,
Thus it has been seen that during the first half of the seventeenth century the Dutch East India Company had succeeded in monopolising a very large part of the trade of the entire Orient. It is unnecessary here to dwell upon its relations with its only serious rival, the English East India Company, or upon the many bickerings and collisions between them, culminating in the so-called " Massacre at Amboina." The international aspect of commercial expansion in the Eastern seas is treated elsewhere.
In their search for fresh avenues for trade Netherlanders made important additions to geographical knowledge. The circumnavigations of the globe by Spilbergen, 1614-5, and by van Schouten and Le Maire, 1615-6, stand in the foremost rank of famous voyages. To the latter two belongs the honour of the discovery of the Straits of Le Maire between Staten Island and Tierra del Fuego, of the passage round Cape Hoorn (so named by Schouten from his birthplace), and of numerous islands in the Pacific. Schouten and Le Maire were the first to explore the northern coast of New Guinea. Other Dutchmen had meanwhile been rediscovering the vast Australian continent (first sighted by a Portuguese vessel in 1542), to which they gave the name of New Holland, which it bore until the middle of the nineteenth century. Visits to the western coast in 1605, 1609, and 1619 are still perpetuated in Duifken and Coen Points, Dirk Hartog and Rottenest Islands, the Swan River, and other relics of this earliest nomenclature. The northern portion was first explored in 1627-8 under the auspices of Governor-General Carpentier, whose memory is preserved in the Gulf of Carpentaria. More important still were the voyages of Abel Tasman in the days of Governor-General van Diemen, 1642-4. To Tasman the world is indebted for its first knowledge of the southern and eastern coasts of New Holland, and for the discovery of Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania), of New Zealand, and of the Fiji and Friendly Islands. Headlands, bays, rivers, and islands in many parts of the Australian continent still record the fact that they were discovered in the stacl-holderate of Frederick Henry, by the enterprise of Governor van Diemen and by the ships of the great seaman Abel Tasman.
It is time now to return to the history of the negotiations for peace which hinged so largely upon the question of the Indies. To this question, as has already been pointed out, the outbreak of the revolution in Lisbon, December, 1640, and the proclamation of the Duke of Braganza as King of Portugal, gave an altogether new aspect. At
Thus it seemed at last that the bitter opponents of well-nigh eighty years might possibly be drawn together by the fact that they had now a common enemy. The chief obstacle in the way of a separate truce or peace between Spain and the United Provinces lay in the treaty concluded between the States General and the King of France in 1635, by which it was agreed that neither the King nor States should make any peace, truce, or armistice, except together and by common consent. This led to negotiations between Madrid and the Hague being conducted at first, so far as possible, secretly, though it was not long before the French, having become aware of what was going on, used all their influence and all the resources of diplomacy to thwart proceedings so inimical to their interests. Progress therefore was slow, but the
The Prince of Orange had during the last years of his life been converted to the necessity of a separate peace with Spain, and his goodwill was confirmed by assurances that the interests of the House of Orange-Nassau would be treated with the fullest consideration. But Frederick Henry had returned from the campaign of Hulst hopelessly broken in health and with rapidly failing faculties of mind and body. After cruel sufferings he expired March lé, 1647, lamented by Nether-landers of all classes, creeds, and opinions. The States General recognised the splendid services of the great Stadholder by according him a magnificent public funeral. Frederick Henry was buried by the side of his father and brother in his native town of Delft.
The removal of such a man at such a time was a national disaster, for local and provincial jealousies were rampant in a country where there were seven sovereign States, and each town was a small republic with its own rights and immunities ; and the withdrawal of the commanding personal influence of the Prince allowed free play to the forces which made for delay and obstruction. Nevertheless the negotiations at Munster between the Dutch envoys, foremost amongst whom were Pauw and van Knuyt, the representatives respectively of Holland and Zeeland, and the Spanish plenipotentiaries, Count of Pena-randa and Antoine Brun, went steadily on, and, despite the strenuous opposition of the Provinces of Zeeland and of Utrecht, a successful issue was at length reached. The treaty, consisting of 79 articles, was signed by the plenipotentiaries at Münster on January 30, 1648. Its chief provisions were these : The United Provinces were recognised as a free,
The peace of Münster found the United Netherlands at the very summit of their greatness. They stood forth in 1648 without a rival, as the first of maritime and commercial Powers. But more than this. The period of Frederick Henry has been rightly styled the Golden Age of the Dutch Republic, because the Netherlanders in that great time held a supremacy in the domains of science, of learning, of letters, and of the arts, as indisputable as their supremacy upon the seas. This chapter would be incomplete did it not give some account, however brief, of that wonderful outburst of intellectual activity and many-sided culture, which for the greater part of the seventeenth century placed the Dutch people in the forefront of European progress and civilisation.
Many circumstances combined to give the impetus which so profoundly stirred the whole spirit of a race traditionally supposed to be distinguished by solid and phlegmatic rather than for brilliant characteristics. In the first place a large concourse of religious and political refugees, Flemings and Walloons, French Huguenots, Spanish and Portuguese Jews, had sought an asylum within the borders of the Republic, and brought with them not only fresh blood and new ideas, but their skill and industry into their adopted country. Among these settlers were an exceptional number of men of light and leading. In the next place, the world-wide extension of commerce diffused a general prosperity, and at the same time enlarged the horizon of men's outlook upon life. A large number of Netherlanders were travelled men, familiarly acquainted with many languages, and the multiplicity of trade interests and of intercourse with foreign lands caused education to be prized, and to become more wide-spread than in any other country. Lastly, the political institutions and social conditions of seventeenth century Holland gave to her people a civilisation with something of the tone and characteristics of modern times. Freedom of the press, and liberty of thought and speech, had their first home here. Moreover, the growth in wealth and culture of a large burgher class, in whose hands the government of the country really rested, accompanied by the practical disappearance, during the wars, of the ancient nobility as a privileged caste, led to the breaking
The foundation of the Academy at Leyden, as a reward to the citizens for their heroic defence in 1574, was symbolic of the spirit which was to pervade the new republic, then struggling in its birth-throes. Never, surely, has a University attained more quickly to world-wide renown. Its walls were speedily crowded with students from many lands, its chairs filled by the most famous men of learning of the day. Justus Lipsius, Josephus Justus Scaliger, Daniel Heinsius, Gerardus Johannes Vossius, Philip Cluverius, Clusius, Meursius, Franciscus Junius, Arminius, Vorstius, Episcopius, names of European repute, were all professors at Leyden University during the first half-century of its existence. Nor did Leyden stand alone. Similar academies were founded at Franeker, 1584« ; Groningen, 1614 ; Amsterdam, 1632 ; Utrecht, 1636 ; and Harderwijk, 1646. Splendid were the fruits produced by these efforts to promote higher education in the land. To all scholars and philologists the fame of Daniel Heinsius (1582-1655) and his son Nicolas (1620-81), of Gerardus Johannes Vossius (1577-1650) and his five sons,foremost among them Isaac (1618-88), as men of profound erudition and brilliant critical acumen, is still fresh after the lapse of more than two centuries and a half, and with them are remembered Caspar Barlaeus (1584-1648) and Hugo Grotius (1583-1645). All these scholars, particularly Barlaeus and Grotius, were noted for their perfect mastery of the Latin tongue as a literary instrument. In days when it was the fashion to write Latin poems, those published by Daniel Heinsius, Caspar Barlaeus, and Hugo Grotius placed their authors in the front rank in this class of composition.
Of Hugo Grotius it is impossible to write, even at this distance of time, without feeling something of the wonder which the brilliancy of his talents and the versatility of his acquirements inspired. Scholar, poet, theologian, historian, jurist, philosopher, letter-writer-there was no branch of learning in which he did not excel, no species of writing in which he did not prove himself a master. His famous treatise, De jure belli et pads, is still the text-book on which international law is based. Only less important in its influence on public opinion in Europe was his Mare Liberum. His Introduction to Holland's Jurisprudence (Inleidinge tot de Hollandsche liechtsgeleerdheid), written in the vernacular, though of more local interest, is a standard work upon the subject. As a historian Grotius stands in the highest class. The Annales et Historiae de Rebus Belgicis has always been regarded as the best contemporary account of the Revolt of the Netherlands. It is at once accurate and impartial, and in its finished Latinity a model of literary form. Of less value was his Liber de Antiquitate Reipublicae Batavicae. To theology he made numerous contributions. His Ânnotationes in Vetus et in Novum Testa-mentum are still consulted upon questions of interpretation, and were once in everyone's hands, while the De Veritate Religionis Christianae, rapidly
The fame of Hugo Grotius naturally leads us from the men who made Latin the vehicle of literary expression to those who were the creators of a vigorous and varied literature in the vernacular tongue. The ancient " Chamber of Rhetoric " at Amsterdam, known by its motto In Liefde Bloeyende, passed in 1581 under the joint direction of a notable triumvirate, Dirk Volkerts Coornheert, Hendrik Laurenszoon Spieghel, and Roemer Visscher, who, lamenting the decay and degeneracy of their mother-tongue, set themselves the task of "raising, restoring, and enriching it." That they were in no small measure successful in their aim entitles them to high praise as literary and linguistic reformers. During the opening decade of the seventeenth century the house of Roemer Visscher (died 1620), who was a rich Amsterdam merchant, became a focus of new literary life and productiveness. The Martial of Holland, as the shrewd and sapient Roemer was styled by his admirers, delighted to give all the encouragement and help in his power to young and rising talent, and his own genial hospitality, aided in no slight degree by the singular attractions of his two gifted daughters, Anna (1584-1651), and Maria Tesselschade (1594-1649), made his salon the meeting-place of the select spirits of the day. It is surprising indeed to what an extent the subtle influence and personality of these two sisters, and especially of the younger, pervades the whole history of the great age of Dutch literature associated with the names of Brederoo, Vondel, Cats, Hooft, and Huyghens.
In Gerbrand Adrianszoon Brederoo (1585-1618) we have the only counterpart in Dutch letters to the Jan Steens and Brouwers of contemporary art. His comedies, written in the dialect of the street, present us with veritable pictures of the life and manners of the people in old Amsterdam. His songs, though coarse at times, are full of passion and natural feeling, and show that, had not the dissipations and disappointments of a wayward youth brought his promising career to an untimely close, Brederoo might have attained to high poetic distinction. The case was very different with Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679)
Jacob Cats, the most popular and widely-read of all Dutch poets, whose writings are as simple and unsophisticated in their diction as they are rich in quaint fancy, wise and pure in their precepts, admirable in their sound sense and large-hearted in their view of human life, was for twenty-two years Grand Pensionary of Holland, and was twice sent as Envoy Extraordinary from the States General to England. Essentially the poet of the people, amongst whom to this day he is familiarly known as " Father Cats," his works are to be found beside the Bible in many a Dutch homestead. Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft sprang from a patrician
The high culture attained by women of the burgher class is one of the striking features of seventeenth century life in the Netherlands. Anna Maria Schuurman (1607-84)) was a phenomenon of learning and accomplishments. Not only did she excel in painting, carving, and many arts, but acquired fame as linguist, scholar, theologian, philosopher, scientist, and astronomer. She could speak French, English, Italian, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and had a thorough literary knowledge not only of these languages, but of Syriac, Chaldee, Arabic, and
Ethiopie. Of the sisters Visscher, of whom mention has already been made, the elder, Anna, was a woman of unusual erudition and a poetess of no mean merit, but her fame has paled before the glamour which has surrounded the name of Maria Tesselschade. If but a fraction of what is said in her praise by the crowd of distinguished admirers, who burnt incense at her shrine, be true, " the beautiful Tesselschade " must be considered one of the most admirable and accomplished types of womanhood that the imagination of the poet or the pen of the romancer has ever devised. All the first literary men of her time were, not figuratively only but often literally, her devotees. Hooft and Huyghens, Barlaeus and Brederoo wooed in vain for her affections ; Vondel and Cats with less ardour perhaps, but equal admiration, offered rich tributes of homage to her personal charms as well as to her intellectual gifts. She was careless of fame, and most of her poetical efforts, including her much-praised translation of the Gerusalemme Liberata, have perished. Among the scanty remains a fine lyric on the nightingale has some curious points of resemblance to Shelley's Ode to a Skylark. She could play with skill upon the harp, and her lovely voice, and the art with which she used it, won universal praise. She was moreover dexterous in all kinds of needlework, in painting, carving, and etching upon glass. But she was no pedant. Her healthy and well-balanced nature remained unspoilt by the flatteries that besieged her, and she gave her heart to a plain sea-captain, and during a happy but too short married life at Alkmaar devoted herself to the sedulous discharge of her motherly and domestic duties. In her widowhood she returned to Amsterdam and busied herself again with literary pursuits, and to the last her captivating personality retained its spell over her contemporaries, and may be said to have survived as a tradition among her countrymen even to the present day.
A few words should be added as to Hooft's own writings. Up to 1616 he had been known as the author of a number of pretty love-songs, and as a dramatist who had caught the popular ear. Neither the plays nor the lyrics of Hooft are, however, of first-class merit, and it stands on record that he himself had no high opinion of them. His real fame rests upon his Netherland Histories, to the writing of which with unremitting toil he gave up the last twenty years of his life. His aim was to give to the world such a narrative of the Revolt of the Netherlands as should be a masterpiece in style and form as well as matter. In order to perfect himself on the best classical model he translated the whole of the works of Tacitus into Dutch, and read them through, it is said, fifty-two times. Besides taking extraordinary pains to obtain the most accurate and trustworthy information, he strove to match his style to the greatness of his subject, in order to become " the Tacitus of the Netherlands," as by the general consent of his contemporaries he was named. He likewise avowed it to be his
In this great era philosophy and science flourished on Dutch soil no less fruitfully than scholarship and letters. Holland was the birthplace alike of the Cartesian and Spinozan systems. René Descartes was French by origin, but he came to Holland in 1617, and resided there continuously from 1629 to 1649, and it was in that province that his famous mathematical and philosophical treatises were written and published. His disciple, Baruch Spinoza (1632-76), who, as a deep and original thinker, was to rival his master in repute, though by extraction a Portuguese Jew, was born at Amsterdam, and never quitted his native land. Of scientific observers and discoverers, who made valuable and permanent additions to knowledge, a long list might be given, but it must suffice to mention three. The exhaustive and minute researches of Jan Swammerdam (1637-80) into the habits and metamorphoses of insects form the basis of all subsequent investigations of the subject. By his lifelong labours with the microscope, which he greatly improved, Anthoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) amassed vast stores of information concerning the circulation of the blood and the structure of the eye and brain, and made the discovery of the infusoria. Concerning Christian Huyghens (1629-93), the distinguished son of a distinguished father, geometrician, astronomer, original thinker, and brilliant mechanical genius, a treatise might be written. As a mathematician he has had few equals. He increased the powers of the telescope, constructed the first pendulum clock, and invented the micrometer. To him is due the discovery of the rings of Saturn and the conception of the undulatory theorv of light, which has been so completely substantiated by modern scientific results. For sheer brain power, inventive faculty, and practical achievement the annals of science contain few names which outvie that of Christian Huyghens.
It remains to record the fact that during this second quarter of the seventeenth century the Dutch school of painting attained its zenith. Holland has been styled the land of Rembrandt, and not unjustly. There can be little question that the name of the great painter has been more widely known in after times, and that his fame has conferred a greater lustre on his fatherland than that of any other Hollander who ever lived. And yet he was but the foremost representative of a school of painters, many of whom were his rivals in technical skill and facility of execution, though none of them possessed in like degree that almost magical power of colouring and of chiaroscuro which lends to the
The events which followed the conclusion of the Treaty of Münster bore a curious resemblance to those which had occurred during the Twelve Years1 Truce. Peace was in each case the precursor of civil strife, in which the Provincial States of Holland stood opposed to the States General under the leadership of a Prince of Orange. The party of Oldenbarneveldt was crushed in 1618-9, but its principles survived. The Province of Holland, on which lay the burden of providing more than half of the total charges of the Union, and whose trade was many times greater than that of all the other Provinces put together, resented, and not unnaturally, the position of equality with the other Provinces in the States General, to which alone it was entitled under the pro visions of the Union of Utrecht. The power of the States General to execute their will in defiance of the opposition of a sovereign Province depended upon the personal authority of the Prince of Orange, who as Captain and Admiral-General of the Union, and head of the Council of State, was its executive officer, and who as Stadholder of six Provinces was able further to exercise large influence upon the Provincial States through his extensive patronage and other prerogatives. In the latter years of Frederick Henry growing infirmities of body had led to a weakening of the almost unchallenged authority he had long exercised,
The question of the disbanding of the troops brought about a violent collision between the States General and the States of Holland, which gave to the Prince an opportunity of taking decisive action for asserting the supremacy of the federal authority. That a large reduction in the military establishment should take place was the general wish of the whole country, and it was recommended by the Council of State with the approval of William himself. But the proposals of Holland were far more sweeping than those which the majority of the States General were prepared to sanction ; and, when they were rejected by the unanimous vote of the representatives of the other six Provinces, the States of Holland made up their minds to carry out the disbanding of the troops in their pay on their own authority. The quarrel came to a head in 1650. The States General, in order to be prepared for a fresh outbreak of the war, which at that time seemed not improbable, and which in
Amsterdam had for long been the soul of the opposition in Holland to the authority of the States General and of the Stadholder. With its enormous sea-borne traffic, its accumulated capital, and the credit of its bank, the great commercial city had become the central exchange and mart of the world. Within its gates mercantile and business considerations dominated men's thoughts, and high questions of politics and diplomacy were wont to be judged from the matter-of-fact standpoint of profit and loss. To the Amsterdam burghers peace with Spain had meant freedom and security of trade in the Indies, and such a reduction of the military forces as would materially lower the heavy taxes and imposts. They were determined therefore that peace must not be broken, and that the troops must be disbanded, and they believed that, by refusing to open their purse, they could in the long run carry out their will. To what a high position of influence and independence the foremost merchants of Amsterdam had attained at this time is perhaps best shown by the career of Louis de Geer. This man had, in return for loans advanced to Gustavus Adolphus, acquired the lease of the valuable iron and copper mines of Sweden, which he worked and
When these same magistrates refused to receive the Stadholder and his deputation his patience was exhausted. He resolved to use boldly the powers that had been confided to him, and by a daring stroke to crush resistance by force. On July 30, he invited six members of the States of Holland, chief among whom was Jacob de Witt, formerly burgomaster of Dordrecht, to meet him at his house at the Hague. They were immediately seized and carried off as prisoners to the Castle of Loevestein. On the same day a body of troops under the command of William Frederick of Nassau, Stadholder of Priesland, was despatched to Amsterdam with orders to enter the town by surprise. The surprise failed. The citizens were warned in time, the gates were dosed and the town guard called out. William's end, however, was gained without bloodshed. Remembering what had happened in 1618-9, the States of Holland were terror-stricken at the seizure of six of their leaders, and Amsterdam too was afraid of the injury to its trade if resistance were prolonged. Both the States and the Town Council submitted. The proposals of the States General with regard to the disbanding of the forces were accepted, and the brothers Bicker at Amsterdam were compelled to resign their municipal posts, and to withdraw from official life for ever. Shortly afterwards the prisoners were released from Loevestein.
The Prince's triumph was complete, and he received the thanks of the various Provincial States for what he had done. With restless energy he next proceeded to carry out his external policy. In the utmost secrecy, he entered into negotiations with Mazarin through the Count d'Estrades, then Governor of Dunkirk. A draft-treaty was actually drawn up in Paris, and sent to d'Estrades, in the month of October, to take in person to the Hague, to which place in a letter dated October 2, 1650, William had pressingly invited him. According to this treaty the French were in the following year (1651) to attack Bruges with a large army, while a Dutch army was to besiege Antwerp, which city, after being captured, was to become the property of the Prince of Orange, and in his hands to be once more a rival to Amsterdam. Then both Powers were to declare war upon Cromwell. Circumstantial evidence shows conclusively that the Prince never saw this treaty, and it is therefore quite uncertain whether he would have approved of the terms. On October 8 he had gone to Dieren in the Veluwe to hunt. On the 27th he was seized with illness, which proved to be small-pox, and returned to the Hague. For some days he progressed favourably, but was suddenly taken worse, and expired on November 6, aged 24 years. A week later his widow gave birth to a son, who was to become famous as William III. It was a tragic event, which appeals with singular force alike to our sympathy and our imagination. What William II would have achieved had his days not been so abruptly cut short it is useless now to speculate. It is certain that he would have left his name deeply graven on the history of his time, more particularly upon that of the Dutch Republic.
As the Prince left only a posthumous infant to inherit his name and possessions, the anti-Orange, anti-Stadholder party at once lifted up its head. The Great Assembly, which at the instigation of Holland met (January, 1651) to consider the questions of the Union, of religion, and of the military forces, virtually decided upon a policy of decentralisation. The United Netherlands under the new régime became rather a confederacy of seven semi-independent republics than a federal State bound by a compact of union under a common government. Such a state of things would have been disastrous, had not one of the seven Provinces held a position of complete supremacy among the others. The hegemony, which Holland had so long desired, became an accomplished fact, and her Grand Pensionary in reality, if not in name, the first Minister of the Republic. Fortunately in John de Witt (elected Grand Pensionary in 1653, at the age of 28) the States of Holland were able to command the services of a consummate statesman and diplomatist, who through twenty years of storm and trial stood at the helm, and conducted the affairs of State and of war with a skill and courage the which will find recognition in a subsequent volume.