History of the United Netherlands, 1585 part 2

John Lothrop Motley
History of the United Netherlands, 1585 part 2

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Title: History of the United Netherlands, 1585
Author: John Lothrop Motley
Release Date: January, 2004 [EBook #4840] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on April 2, 2002]
Edition: 10
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII


This eBook was produced by David Widger

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HISTORY OF THE UNITED NETHERLANDS From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609
By John Lothrop Motley

MOTLEY'S HISTORY OF THE NETHERLANDS, Project Gutenberg Edition, Volume 40
History United Netherlands, 1585
., Part 2.
Position of Alexander and his Army--La Motte attempts in vain Ostend--Patriots gain Liefkenshoek--Projects of Gianibelli--Alarm on the Bridge--The Fire Ships--The Explosion--Its Results--Death of the Viscount of Ghent--Perpetual Anxiety of Farnese--Impoverished State of the Spaniards--Intended Attack of the Kowenstyn--Second Attack of the Kowenstyn--A Landing effected--A sharp Combat--The Dyke pierced --Rally of the Spaniards--Parma comes to the Rescue--Fierce Struggle on the Dyke--The Spaniards successful--Premature Triumph at Antwerp --Defeat of the Patriots--The Ship War's End--Despair of the Citizens
Notwithstanding these triumphs, Parma was much inconvenienced by not possessing the sea-coast of Flanders. Ostend was a perpetual stumbling- block to him. He therefore assented, with pleasure to a proposition made by La Motte, one of the most experienced and courageous of the Walloon royalist, commanders, to attempt the place by surprise. And La Motte; at the first blow; was more than half successful.
On the night of the 29th March, (1585) with two thousand foot and twelve hundred cavalry, he carried the whole of the old port of Ostend. Leaving a Walloon officer, in whom he had confidence, to guard the position already gained, he went back in person for reinforcements. During his advance, the same ill luck attended his enterprise which had blasted Hohenlo's achievement at Bois-le-Duc. The soldiers he left behind him deserted their posts for the sake of rifling the town. The officer in command, instead of keeping them to their duty, joined in the chase. The citizens roused themselves, attacked their invaders, killed many of them, and put the rest to flight. When La Motte returned; he found the panic general. His whole force, including the fresh soldiers just brought to the rescue, were beside themselves with fear. He killed several with his own hand, but the troops were not to be rallied. His quick triumph was changed into an absolute defeat.
Parma, furious at the ignominious result of a plan from which so much had been expected, ordered the Walloon captain, from whose delinquency so much disaster had resulted, to be forthwith hanged. "Such villainy," said he, "must never go unpunished."
It was impossible for the Prince to send a second expedition to attempt the reduction of Ostend, for the patriots were at last arousing themselves to the necessity of exertion. It was very obvious--now that the bridge had been built, and the Kowenstyn fortified--that one or the other was to be destroyed, or Antwerp abandoned to its fate.
The patriots had been sleeping, as it were, all the winter, hugging the delusive dream of French sovereignty and French assistance. No language can exaggerate the deadly effects from the slow poison of that negotiation. At any rate, the negotiation was now concluded. The dream was dispelled. Antwerp must now fall, or a decisive blow must be struck by the patriots themselves, and a telling blow had been secretly and maturely meditated. Certain preparatory steps were however necessary.
The fort of Liefkenshoek, "darling's corner," was a most important post. The patriots had never ceased to regret that precious possession, lost, as we have seen, in so tragical a manner on the very day of Orange's death. Fort Lillo, exactly opposite, on the
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