BLTC Press Titles


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The Worm Ouroboros

E. R. Eddison


Mortal Coils

Aldous Huxley


The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde


The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely


History of the reign of Philip the Second, king of Spain

by William Hickling Prescott

Excerpt:

1566.

The Edicts suspended—The Sectaries—The Public Preachings — Attempt to suppress them—Meeting at St. Trond—Philip's Concessions.

On quitting Brussels, the confederates left there four of their number as a sort of committee, to watch over the interests of the league. The greater part of the remainder, with Brederode at their head, took the road to Antwerp. They were hardly established in their quarters in that city, when the building was surrounded by thousands of the inhabitants eager to give their visitors a tumultuous welcome. Brederode came out on the

come there, at the hazard of his life, to rescue them from the miseries of the Inquisition. He called on his audience to take him as their leader in this glorious work; and as the doughty champion pledged them in a goblet of wine which he had brought with him from the table, the mob answered by such a general shout as was heard in the furthest corners of the city.(l) Thus a relation was openly established between the confederates and the people, who were to move forward together in the great march of the revolution.

Soon after the departure of the confederates from Brussels, the regent despatched an embassy to Madrid, to acquaint the king with the recent proceedings, and to urge his acquiescence in the reforms solicited by the league. The envoys chosen were the baron de Montigny, who had taken charge, it may be remembered, of a similar mission before; and the marquis of Bergen, a nobleman of liberal principles, but who stood high in the regard of the regent. (2) Neither of the parties showed any alacrity to undertake a commission which was to bring them so closely in contact with the dread monarch in his capital. Bergen found an apology for some time in a wound from a tennisball, which disabled his leg,—an ominous accident, interpreted

(1) "Vos si mecum hi hoc preclaro opere consentitis, agite, et qui vestrum salvam libertatem, me duce volent, propinatum hoc sibi poculum, benevolent! ;e niea; signiricationem genialiter accipiant, idque manus indicio contestentur."—Strada, De Bello Belgico, torn. i. p. 231.

(2) " Estans mesmes personnages si prudes, discrets et tant imbus de tout ce que convient remonstrer a V. M., outre l'aflcction que j'ay toujours trouvy en eux, tant adonnez au service d'icelle."—Correspondance de Marguerite d'Autriche, p. 24.

crowd, told them that he had THE EDICTS SUSPENDED. 11

the chroniclers of the time into an intimation from Heaven the disastrous issue of the mission.(l) Montigny reached Madrid some time hefore his companion, on the seventeenth of June, and met with a gracious reception from Philip, who listened with a benignant air to the recital of the measures suggested for the relief of the country, terminating, as usual, with an application for a summons of the states-general, as the most effectual remedy for the disorders. But although the envoy was admitted to more than one audience, he obtained no more comfortable assurance than that the subject should receive the most serious consideration of his majesty .(2)

Meanwhile the regent was busy in digesting the plan of compromise to which she had alluded in her reply to the confederates. When concluded, it was sent to the governors of the several provinces, to be laid before their respective legislatures. Their sanction, it was hoped, would recommend its adoption to the people at large. It was first submitted to some of the smaller states, as Artois, Namur, and Luxemburg, as most likely to prove subservient to the wishes of the government. It was then laid before several of the larger states, as Brabant and Flanders, whose determination might be influenced by the example of the others. Holland, Zealand, Utrecht, and one or two other provinces where the spirit of independence was highest, were not consulted at all. Yet this politic management did not entirely sueceed; and although some few gave an unconditional assent, most of the provinces coupled their acquiescence with limitations that rendered it of little worth. (3)


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