History of the United Netherlands, 1600

John Lothrop Motley
History of the United Netherlands, 1600

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Title: History of the United Netherlands, 1600
Author: John Lothrop Motley
Release Date: January, 2004 [EBook #4873] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on April 15, 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, Vol. 73
History of the United Netherlands, 1600

Military events--Aggressive movement of the Netherlanders--State of the Archdukes provinces--Mutiny of the Spanish forces--Proposed invasion of Flanders by the States-General--Disembarkation of the troops on the Spanish coasts--Capture of Oudenburg and other places --Surprise of Nieuport--Conduct of the Archduke--Oudenburg and the other forts re-taken--Dilemma of the States' army--Attack of the Archduke on Count Ernest's cavalry--Panic and total overthrow of the advance-guard of the States' army--Battle of Nieuport--Details of the action--Defeat of the Spanish army--Results of the whole expedition.
The effect produced in the republic by the defensive and uneventful campaigning of the year 1599 had naturally been depressing. There was murmuring at the vast amount of taxation, especially at the new imposition of one-half per cent. upon all property, and two-and-a-half per cent. on all sales, which seemed to produce so few results. The successful protection of the Isle of Bommel and the judicious purchase of the two forts of Crevecoeur and St. Andrew; early in the following year, together with their garrisons, were not military events of the first magnitude, and were hardly enough to efface the mortification felt at the fact that the enemy had been able so lately to construct one of those strongholds within the territory of the commonwealth.
It was now secretly determined to attempt an aggressive movement on a considerable scale, and to carry the war once for all into the heart of the obedient provinces. It was from Flanders that the Spanish armies drew a great portion of their supplies. It was by the forts erected on the coast of Flanders in the neighbourhood of Ostend that this important possession of the States was rendered nearly valueless. It was by privateers swarming from the ports of Flanders, especially from Nieuport and Dunkirk, that the foreign trade of the republic was crippled, and its intercommunications by river and estuary rendered unsafe. Dunkirk was simply a robbers' cave, a station from which an annual tax was levied upon the commerce of the Netherlands, almost sufficient, had it been paid to the national treasury instead of to the foreign freebooters, to support the expenses of a considerable army.
On the other hand the condition of the archdukes seemed deplorable. Never had mutiny existed before in so well-organised and definite a form even in the Spanish Netherlands.
Besides those branches of the "Italian republic," which had been established in the two fortresses of Crevecoeur and St. Andrew, and which had already sold themselves to the States, other organisations quite as formidable existed in various other portions of the obedient provinces. Especially at Diest and Thionville the rebellious Spaniards and Italians were numbered by thousands, all veterans, well armed, fortified in strong cities; and supplying themselves with perfect regularity by contributions levied upon the peasantry, obeying their Eletto and other officers with exemplary promptness; and paying no more heed to the edicts or the solicitations of the archduke than if he had been the Duke of Muscovy.
The opportunity seemed tempting to strike a great blow. How could Albert and Isabella, with an empty exchequer and a mutinous army, hope either to defend their soil from attack or to aim a counter
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