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to rest content with their offer to provide at their own cost for the safeguard of the town, without expense to him or the municipality.
The people still flocked to the field preachings. On Thursday the service was attended by over 12,000 persons.
The following Thursday, the 1st August, over 20,000 were present," very many of the best and wealthiest of the town,"
About a year before these events a priest had preached outside St. Michael's Gate, about a mile from the town, in a place called "the Kelle." Having attacked the abuses of the Papacy in his sermon, order was given that he should be apprehended and burned. He, however, succeeded in escaping, three or four other priests, who had held services there, taking to flight at the same time. The Church party, finding they could not put a stop to the field preachings, determined to provide a counter attraction. Sending to Germany, where this priest had taken refuge, they induced him to return. Assuring him that he would receive no further molestation, they gave him licence to preach in the same place, and promised him promotion and other rewards. Bills were posted about the town announcing that he had been appointed preacher by the Court and the "spirituality," and it was hoped that he would draw away some part of the Protestant congregations. At first the the device appeared successful. His sermons were generally delivered to assemblies of over 10,000 persons. Many Protestants who had not dared to attend the other services, amongst whom were some of the richest of the sect, went out to the fields to hear him. His discourses, however, were much the same as they had been the year before, and he attacked the abuses of the Church quite as much as the Protestants did, though not so openly. Highly incensed, the clergy would gladly have put a stop to his preaching, but refrained for fear of the people.
On Saturday, the 10th August, a learned Doctor* from Louvain was present at the service. The sermon, as usual, was directed against the corrupt practices of the Church, Taking offence at the discourse, and without waiting for its termination, the Doctor mounted on a stool, and seizing an opportunity while the preacher was engaged in a prayer, asked leave from the people to refute the assertions of their pastor. Assent was given. The Doctor commenced the controversy by abruptly declaring that the preacher's doctrines were false and untrue. Begging the people to remain quiet, the minister enquired in Motley's account of this incident differs materially from that given here.
what respect his doctrine was false. In preaching against the Holy Father, the Pope, was the somewhat irrelevant reply. The minister retorted that he had not done so, but had only "preached against his abominable abuses, for that as yet he was not licensed to preach against the Pope, but what he 'should [do] hereafter, he did not know." But before the discussion proceeded very far the people broke in with a cry of Kill him, kill him." In vain the preacher entreated them for God's sake to keep still; in vain the Doctor prayed for pardon. An attack was made upon the latter, and pursued by men armed with knives and daggers, he fled to a house close by. Not a moment too soon did he reach this refuge. A man, who was standing at the door, caught him in his arms and thrust him in, his pursuers trying to stab him over the man's shoulders. Balked of their prey they refused to leave the house, threatening to burn it down, unless the Doctor was delivered to them. In the end one of the Magistrates came to his rescue, and took him off to the town prison, from which he was released the next day after a reprimand from the Prince. Clough, writing the next day referring to the Request presented by the Gueux to the Regent, says, "if she do not give "them answer the 23rd day, and such an answer as they "look for, which [it] is thought she will not, then it is doubtful that here will be a foul stir, for, as far as I can perceive, the Protestants do more than they were minded "to do, because they would see if the Papists would begin, "which if they do, I doubt they will all go to wreck, for if "there be once blood shed, then the stir will begin. God be "merciful unto them and to us all, for if they do once begin, "it will be a bloody time, for it is marvellous to see how the common people are bent against the Papists."
Two days later the Prince by agreement with the Magistrates published an ordinance restricting the preachings to the fields, and he peremptorily refused to accede to the request of a deputation from the merchants and some of the leading citizens that permission should be granted for the services to be held within the walls.*
The 18th August was the festival of the Ommergang, when an image of the Virgin was carried in procession through the streets. Though the attitude of the crowd was anything but friendly no disturbance occurred. Except a slight tumult in the Cathedral, the next day passed quietly too. Thinking *Motley. Neither the ordinance nor the deputation is referred to in these letters.
the danger now past, and the town safe, the Prince now left Antwerp in obedience to a summons from the Court.
Meanwhile the field preachings still went on, the congregations being as large as ever. Thomas Cotton writing on the 21st, speaks of the meetings held during the previous five or six days attended by over 10,000 persons.
On Tuesday, the 20th, those remarkable riotings known as the image breakings commenced. Most graphic descriptions are given in the letters of the English agents of these unparalleled events by which the treasures of art, accumulated during centuries, were destroyed in the course of a few days, but they are too lengthy to be quoted here.
On Thursday morning two of the Calvinist preachers entered the pulpits at the Cathedral, and exhorted the people to give up to the authorities all goods stolen from the churches during the image breakings, and one of them preached there in the afternoon.
On Saturday, the 24th,* formal permission was given to the preachers to hold their services in the town, and three churches were assigned to them. At one, the church of the Black Friars, they were refused admittance, and the doors were closed against them. The people wished to break them down, but were restrained by the minister, and they then went off to the new town, where they held their service. In the afternoon, the other two churches were also closed against them, and the whole of the assemblies met in the new town. Each of the preachers was accompanied by two of the Magistrates, who escorted them to and from the services. During the delivery of the sermons, two of the nobles of the Order of the Golden * This is taken from a letter dated the 25th written by Clough. His account is the fullest of the four referring to the proceedings on the 24th. He says that the three churches assigned to the Protestant preachers were St. George's, the Borough Church, and the Church of the Black Friars, and that all the three were closed in the afternoon.
An unsigned letter of the same date, entitled "Avis d'Anvers," says that a sermon was preached [apparently by a Lutheran] at St. George's Church in both the morning and afternoon, and that a Calvinist had preached "without leave at the Borough Church, and had great audience quietly, and that “in the forenoon and afternoon they [presumably the Calvinists] "had three sermons in the new town, two in Dutch and one in French." Fitzwilliams writing from London on the 29th, says, "the Calvinists had "three sermons within the town of Antwerp in churches on Bartholomew's "Day [the 24th August]; they were afterwards requested to preach no more in the churches, but [were] permitted to preach out of the churche[s] till other order were taken and a place appointed for [them] "to do it without danger. There is one preacher that serveth the "Lutherans' turn, and he [is] appointed to preach in a church within [the] "town.
Fleece brought a letter from the Court, which being read by one of the preachers, he gave thanks to God and desired the people to do the same, informing them of the contents of the letter. The preachers were requested not to seek by force to preach in any of the churches, but to agree amongst themselves upon places suitable for their meetings in the new town; no one, of any condition whatsoever, was to trouble them by word or deed; and free license was given to all men to attend their services. Loud was the thanksgiving of the people upon hearing the good news. A great number of well-to-do persons* had been present at this meeting, and now the services were authorised, it was thought that many, who before had concealed their religious convictions, would come forward and openly avow their sympathy with the doctrines of the Reformed Church. The next day, Sunday, as the people were going to the services in the new town, the priests opened their churches and endeavoured to attract them by commencing to preach. A few who stopped to listen were drawn into argument and began to interrupt and contradict. In the end so great a disturbance was raised that a riot seemed imminent, and the Lords were forced to send peremptory orders to the priests to stop their preaching, commanding them to close their churches or they would come and do so themselves, while the leaders of the people threatened that if such conduct were repeated they would "not leave one priest or friar alive in the country."
Gilpin, writing this Sunday, says that a Lutheran minister had a church assigned to him to preach in, but that the Calvinists, though permitted to hold their services within the town," must yet have patience, and be content to preach without "doors. They had preached two days within churches, but "now they stay at the contemplation of a letter sent by the "Prince of Orange and two more of the nobles." Perhaps the partiality shown by the authorities towards the Lutherans on this occasion may have had some effect in developing the animosity between the two Protestant sects which afterwards became so marked, and which so nearly resulted in bloodshed on the fatal day of Austruwell.
On Monday the Prince of Orange returned to Antwerp.
*The words of the letter are 66 many thousands of rich men."
This church was perhaps assigned to the Lutherans after the authorities had learned that the priests had closed the doors of all the three churches in which the Protestants had intended to hold services on the previous Saturday afternoon.
‡ This date is supplied from Motley.
He found the gates locked and watched by a large number of men, who would not permit any one to leave the town. The people were highly excited, a proclamation having appeared that the churches were to be repaired and reopened by the King's order for the celebration of mass.
On Tuesday a deputation went to the Magistrates, and demanded to know why the proclamation had been issued without the consent of the burgesses, with such vehemence that the Lords could only pacify them by asserting that they had no knowledge of its publication, and that they would write to the Court about it.
Gresham, writing on the 1st September, says that leave had been given to the Protestants to erect churches in the new town.
An agreement was now drawn up and published, that until the States General met both Catholics and Protestants should have licence to preach freely, each party undertaking not to interrupt the other's services, and places were appointed for the Protestant congregations. A church and a barn within the town belonging to St. Michael's Monastery were set apart for the Lutherans, while "certain void places, [also] within the "town," were assigned to the Calvinists.
On Tuesday the 17th, the priest, whose church was occupied by the Lutherans, having found an opportunity when there was no one present, entered the church with about a dozen companions. Fastening the doors, they pulled down the pulpit, and then overthrew the communion table and every other thing used by the Protestants in their services. The commotion, when this became known, was so great that it required the presence of the Prince himself to pacify the people and preserve the lives of the priest and his accomplices.
He had to interfere again on the following Thursday to protect the Grey Friars, who had been slandering the preachers. During the next week preparations were made for building five temples for the preachers-two for the Lutherans and three for the Calvinists. Four of these temples were to be entirely new erections. For the fifth, the great barn at St. Michael's was altered and "very handsomely trimmed for a preaching place." Clough, writing to Gresham, says, it is "three score feet broad and 166 feet long, and so shall all the temples be at the least, and some much bigger, with lofts "round about, so that the smallest shall receive at the least, "ten thousand persons." At 10 o'clock on Wednesday morning, the 25th September, after "a good and godly sermon,”