They would hold Rheinberg, Groll, Lingen, Oldenzaal, Wachtendonk, Maestricht, Aachen, and Mulheim with a permanent force of more than 20,000 men. And they could do all this in four days' time. A week or two later all his prophesies had been fulfilled. "The Prince of Neuburg," he said, "and Marquis Spinola have made game of us most impudently in the matter of the treaty.
The heretics had gained possession of the government at Aix-la-Chapelle; they had converted the insignificant town of Mulheim into a thriving and fortified town in defiance of Cologne and to its manifest detriment, and in various other ways they had insulted the Catholics throughout those regions.
A considerable force of Italian cavalry, with some infantry, was stationed at the village of Mulheim, on the Ruhr, and apparently out of convenient supporting distance from Spinola's main army. The stadholder determined to deliver a sudden blow upon this tender spot, break through the lines, and bring on a general action by surprise.
Leaving garrisons in these places, he razed the fortifications of Mulheim, much to the joy of the Archbishop and his faithful subjects of Cologne, then crossed the Rhine at Rheinberg, and swooped down upon Wesel. This flourishing and prosperous city had formerly belonged to the Duchy of Cleve.
He will soon be master of Mulheim. If the King of Great Britain will lay this matter earnestly to heart for the preservation of the princes, electors, and estates of the religion, I cannot doubt that Parliament would cooperate well with his Majesty, and this occasion should be made use of to redress the whole state of affairs."
It was in vain that Caron painted in dark colours the cruel deeds done by the Spaniards in Mulheim and Aachen, and the proceedings of the Archbishop of Cologne in Rees. The King was besotted, and no impression could be made upon him. "At any rate," said the Envoy, "the arrangement cannot be concluded without the King of France." "What excuse is that?" said James.
On the opposite bank to Mulheim was the Castle of Brock, and some hills of considerable elevation. Bax was ordered to cross the river and seize the castle and the heights, Count Henry to attack the enemy's camp in front, while Maurice himself, following rapidly with the advance of infantry and wagons, was to sustain the assault.
The best cavalry of Maurice's army turned their backs at the very sight of the foe, and galloped off much faster than they had come. Meantime, Marcellus Bax was assaulted, not only by his late handful of antagonists, who had now rallied, but by troops from Mulheim, who began to wade across the stream.
We do not think that the Archduke will attack Julich this year, but rather fear for Mulheim and Aix-la-Chapelle." But the Secretary of State, thus acknowledging the peril, chose to be blind to its extent, while at the same time undervaluing the powers by which it might be resisted. "To oppose the violence of the enemy," he said, "if he does resort to violence, is entirely impossible.
They say they have established the Emperor's authority by means of Aachen and Mulheim, will soon have driven us out of Julich, and have thus arranged matters entirely to their heart's content.