War, colonization, conquest, traffic, formed a joint business and a private speculation. If there were danger that England, yielding to purely mercantile habits of thought and action, might degenerate from the more martial standard to which she had been accustomed, there might be virtue in that Netherland enterprise, which was now to call forth all her energies.
Into such an England and among such English the Netherland envoys had now been despatched on their most important errand. After twice putting back, through stress of weather, the commissioners, early in July, arrived at London, and were "lodged and very worshipfully appointed at charges of her Majesty in the Clothworkers' Hall in Pynchon-lane, near Tower-street."
The only additional outrage that remained was to impose on the country the name of one unknown in history, save as a bigot and a tyrant, the enemy of religious and political freedom wherever he ruled. New Netherland was accordingly called New York." Hon.
But let her Majesty pay them well, and appoint such a man as Sir William Pelham to govern them, and she never wan more honour than these men here will do, I am persuaded." That the Earl was warmly urged by all most conversant with Netherland politics to assume the government was a fact admitted by all.
Five great rivers hold the Netherland territory in their coils. Three are but slightly separated the Yssel, Waal, and ancient Rhine, while the Scheldt and, Meuse are spread more widely asunder. Along each of these streams were various fortified cities, the possession of which, in those days, when modern fortification was in its infancy, implied the control of the surrounding country.
It is impossible to comprehend the character of the great Netherland revolt in the sixteenth century without taking a rapid retrospective survey of the religious phenomena exhibited in the provinces. The introduction of Christianity has been already indicated. From the earliest times, neither prince, people, nor even prelates were very dutiful to the pope.
King Henry was weary of the losing game which he had so long been playing, Philip was anxious to relieve himself from his false position, and to concentrate his whole mind and the strength of his kingdom upon his great enemy the Netherland heresy, while the Duke of Savoy felt that the time had at last arrived when an adroit diplomacy might stand him in stead, and place him in the enjoyment of those rights which the sword had taken from him, and which his own sword had done so much towards winning back.
They also urged the introduction into New Netherland of the municipal system of the fatherland. In their brief but touching memorial they write, "Our fields lie fallow and waste. Our dwellings are burned. Not a handful can be sown this autumn on the deserted places. The crops, which God permitted to come forth during the summer, remain rotting in the fields.
"The holy league," said Duplessis-Mornay, one of the noblest characters of the age, "has destined us all to the name sacrifice. The ambition of the Spaniard, which has overleaped so many lands and seas, thinks nothing inaccessible." The Netherland revolt had therefore assumed world-wide proportions.
Sir Siegfried smote, that the field rang therewith; the hero with his mighty blade struck sparks from Ludgast's helmet. Fiercely fought the prince of the Netherland, and Ludgast, likewise, dealt many a grim blow. Each drave with all his might at the other's shield.