History of the United Netherlands, 1588-89

John Lothrop Motley
History of the United
Netherlands, 1588-89

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Title: History of the United Netherlands, 1588-89
Author: John Lothrop Motley
Release Date: January, 2004 [EBook #4859] [Yes, we are more than
one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on April 5,

Edition: 10
Language: English
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William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609
By John Lothrop Motley

Edition, Vol. 59
History of the United Netherlands, 1588-1589
Alexander besieges Bergen-op-Zoom--Pallavicini's Attempt to seduce
Parma--Alexander's Fury--He is forced to raise the Siege, of Bergen
--Gertruydenberg betrayed to Parma--Indignation of the States--
Exploits, of Schenk--His Attack on Nymegen--He is defeated and
drowned--English-Dutch Expedition to Spain--Its meagre Results--
Death of Guise and of the Queen--Mother--Combinations after the
Murder of Henry III.--Tandem fit Surculus Arbor.
The fever of the past two years was followed by comparative languor.
The deadly crisis was past, the freedom of Europe was saved, Holland
and England breathed again; but tension now gave place to exhaustion.
The events in the remainder of the year 1588, with those of

1589--although important in themselves--were the immediate results of
that history which has been so minutely detailed in these volumes, and
can be indicated in a very few pages.
The Duke of Parma, melancholy, disappointed, angry stung to the soul
by calumnies as stupid as they were venomous, and already afflicted
with a painful and lingering disease, which his friends attributed to
poison administered by command of the master whom he had so
faithfully served-- determined, if possible, to afford the consolation
which that master was so plaintively demanding at his hands.
So Alexander led the splendid army which had been packed in, and
unpacked from, the flat boats of Newport and Dunkerk, against
Bergen-op-Zoom, and besieged that city in form. Once of great
commercial importance, although somewhat fallen away from its
original prosperity, Bergen was well situate on a little stream which
connected it with the tide-waters of the Scheldt, and was the only place
in Brabant, except Willemstad, still remaining to the States. Opposite
lay the Isle of Tholen from which it was easily to be supplied and
reinforced. The Vosmeer, a branch of the Scheldt, separated the island
from the main, and there was a path along the bed of that estuary,
which, at dead low-water, was practicable for wading. Alexander,
accordingly, sent a party of eight hundred pikemen, under Montigny,
Marquis of Renty, and Ottavio Mansfeld, supported on the dyke by
three thousand musketeers, across; the dangerous ford, at ebb-tide, in
order to seize this important island. It was an adventure similar to those,
which, in the days of the grand commander, and under the guidance of
Mondragon; had been on two occasions so brilliantly successful. But
the Isle of Tholen was now defended by Count Solms and a garrison of
fierce amphibious Zeelanders--of those determined bands which had
just been holding Farnese and his fleet in prison, and daring him to the
issue--and the invading party, after fortunately accomplishing their
night journey along the bottom of the Vosmeer, were unable to effect a
landing, were driven with considerable loss into the waves again, and
compelled to find their way back as best they could, along their
dangerous path, and with a rapidly rising tide. It was a blind and
desperate venture, and the Vosmeer soon swallowed four hundred of
the Spaniards. The rest, half-drowned or smothered,
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