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and that many exiles for conscience' sake had already found refuge there. Gresham, in informing Cecil of this interview, says, “Sir, if this religion hath not good "success, I will assure you, the most of all this town will come "into England." He also says, that he is afraid to go about, as the Regent suspects that the money he is raising is intended for the Protestants of the Low Countries. As soon as he can complete his business he will leave Antwerp, "for," he says, "surely here will be much slaughter, for I am informed that there are above forty thousand Protestants in this town, who "will die rather than the word of God should so be put to silence." Another effort was now made to purchase a respite until the States met, by offering a large sum of money, but it failed like the first attempt. The preachings, which had become so general throughout the Netherlands, were said to be suppressed everywhere, except in the towns of Antwerp and Boisle-Duc, and in Holland.* To add to the general feeling of despondency the attitude of the Prince of Orange could not be understood by the people, and doubts were beginning to be
felt that he would abandon them.
On the 13th the battle of Austruwell took place in sight of the walls of Antwerp, ending in the utter defeat of the Protestant forces. The excitement, which prevailed in the town during the fight, and the state of affairs afterwards, when it required all the efforts of the Prince to prevent an attack being made by the Calvinists upon the combined forces of the Lutherans and the Catholics, are described very fully in these letters with most interesting details, but space will not permit of the passages relating to them being quoted here.
The ruin of Antwerp was now fast being completed. Clough, writing on the 29th March, says " it is marvellous to see how "the people pack away from hence, some for one place, "some for another, as well the Papists as the Protestants, for that "it is thought that howsoever it goeth, it can not go well here, "for that presently the wealthy and rich men on both sides, "who should be the stay of matters, make them away. Now "that the Regent hath made an end with Valenciennes, it is 'thought that she will forbid the preaching here, which, if she do, it is much to be doubted of business, and of all likelihood "the destruction of this town [is] at hand." The Lords in despair applied to the Regent for the confirmation of the agreement called the "Accord" which had been arranged by the Prince. She was said to have at first "made a jest of it," but Letter of Sir Francis Peyto, 11th March, 1567.
that afterwards her Council decided that the matter should have due consideration.
Most of the Prince's baggage had been sent away to Breda about two days before Clough wrote. The Prince intended to go himself on the 9th April,* but he deferred his departure at the earnest entreaty of the Magistrates.
It was reported that four or five hundred of the wealthier inhabitants of Antwerp had prepared to ride away with him. A great number of the better classes had already left the town and the exodus was going on day after day. On the 11th, the Prince would delay no longer, and set out for Breda on his way to Germany. Most of the preachers and a great number of Protestants, both Calvinists and Lutherans, left Antwerp at the same time.
The authorities now found it necessary to come to terms with the Court. A letter, dated the 13th April, states that the preachings had been forbidden, and the ministers banished,|| and that the Magistrates had sent to Brussels to inform the Regent that they would be glad to receive Her Highness in the town with any force she chose to bring. The leaders in the late troubles now took to flight, and so vast a multitudes of Protestants followed their example that it seemed Antwerp would soon become depopulated. Those who remained behind commenced to recant their opinions.
The town, however, speedily became tranquil. A letter written on the 21st says that on the previous day, which was Sunday, the people had returned to their ancient custom of going out to the fields "a fare buona ciera." Great preparations were being made for the reception of the Regent, who was daily expected. The monks of St. Michael's Monastery, where she intended to take up her quarters, commenced to replace the heads on the broken images in their church, and the altars in the Cathedral were repaired and refurnished. the 26th** over three thousand Walloon Troops entered the town and made arrangements for the entry of the Duchess, after which they retired to St. Michael's. The letter of the Italian
*Letter of Clough of this date. This date is supplied from Motley.
The remainder of this paper has been taken from the letters of Italian merchants resident at Antwerp.
** Italian advice of the 27th. John Worrall, however, writing on the 27th, says that they had entered Antwerp at 5 o'clock that morning.
merchant in which their arrival is announced, states that the Regent was looked for on the 28th, and that Antwerp might then say "Addio libertà." But whatever might be the feelings of the authorities and the better classes, the mass of the people were apparently little impressed by the great crisis through which the town had passed, and so little apprehension had they of what might be in store for them that their watchmen at the gates caused considerable difficulty before entrance could be obtained for the Regent's forces. As in the previous July thit their action was dictated rather by a jealousy of the employment of strange troops, than by any question of the suppression of religious liberty in the town. Worrall* in informing Gresham of the arrival of the Regent's Walloons says, "Yester'day here was great ado thereof, for the soldiers of the town "did greatly stomach their coming, foreseeing their own decay "and displacing out of wages, [and] thought themselves to be ill-used, they being burghers of the town and had served all "the winter to their great pains and damage, for that they being men of art or science had left their sciences to serve the town, "and now should be put out of wages, having charge of house and children they thought themselves much mis-used, so they threatened and made brags that these new soldiers should not "come in; they would rather die; as indeed they kept yesterday the gates and would not let any man of them pass." A very simple stratagem, however, sufficed to gain admission for the Walloons the next day, and once they were within the town the bellicose attitude of the burghers was soon abandoned and nothing more was heard of their vapourings.
The exact date of the entry of the Regent into Antwerp does not appear from these letters, but the 28th April named above is the date assigned to her arrival by Motley upon the authority of a letter printed in the "Correspondance de Guillaume le Taciturne.' From a letter dated the 5th May, it appears that the garrison had been increased by four companies of Walloons. making the total force at the Regent's disposal,-20 companies of Walloons and 4 of town soldiers, tal che ogniuno sta basso, e puotra essa Madama ordinare e 'far' cio che l' piacera." A letter dated the 10th says that the townspeople were to be deprived of their arms, and that three persons who had taken part in the late image-breakings had been hanged. But space will not permit of any account being given here of the measures of repression and punishment taken by the Regent, and it now only remains to record the fate of
*Letter of the 27th April.
the temples whose foundations had been laid with such enthusiasm reminding ore almost of the fervour of apostolic times. Apparently none of them were ever actually completed. The builders had been about to put the roof on one just before Christmas, and though they had been interrupted they were still at work upon them when Fitzwilliams wrote on the 13th February following. But there is no mention made of further operations upon them after the date of this letter, and probably when the rumour arose of the approaching departure of the Prince of Orange all work finally ceased. They are next spoken of in a letter written from Malines, dated the 13th April, which refers to a report current there that they were to be pulled down and the materials used for rebuilding the Convent of the Grey Friars. This Monastery had been partly destroyed by fire a few weeks before, "the 'beginning [whereof] was by their own negligence, and being "begun it lacked no help to set it forward."* But though the friars would no doubt have been delighted to have received so signal a token of the complete overthrow of their old enemies the rumour seems to have been without foundation. Italian advice of the 18th May says the temples of both the Calvinists and the Lutherans had been given to the Walloon soldiers, who had put them up for sale, stipulating that they should be demolished, and a later advice dated the 24th, says that they were then being bargained for and would soon be taken down.
Such was the end of a movement, which, so short a time before, had appeared likely to carry all before it. Reviewing the various incidents of the preachings, and having regard to the strength and determination exhibited by the Reformers on so many occasions, it is at first surprising to find them giving up their cause without a struggle. That there was good reason for this sudden collapse is shown by the flight of the Prince of Orange to Germany. But the question is too much involved in the general history of the country to attempt to discuss it in the limits of this paper, which only professes to be a narrative, founded exclusively upon Baron Kervyn's book, of the chief events in what is perhaps one of the most interesting chapters of the annals of Antwerp. Those who care to pursue the subject further, will find several additional letters and papers containing passages relating to the preachings printed in the earlier publications of the Commission, but the gist of most of them is given by Motley.
*Letter of Fitzwilliams dated 1st March.
In the discussion which followed, Mr. W. J. C. Moens F.S.A., described the paper as a most valuable contribution to the history of those events in the Netherlands which led up to the establishment of the Dutch Republic, and to the loss of Holland to the Kingdom of Spain, and said that it would be read with great interest in Antwerp where societies exist for the investigation and discussion of the early history of the town. He had considered the subject so important, that before coming to the meeting he had studied the chapters relating to it in the works of Brant, Strada, and other Flemish historians, and with the President's permission, he would read the following notes which he had taken :
NOTES UPON THE BEGINNING OF THE REFORMATION AT
It may be interesting to relate some of the events which led up to and followed the scenes depicted by Mr. Overend.
Among the books, which the faculty of Divines of the Brant's R. University of Louvain declared to be evil or dangerous, and I., 85. therefore prohibited by the placard (31st July, 1546, Charles V.), were Bibles. Jacob Liesvelt, who printed the Dutch Bible at Antwerp in 1542, was executed at Antwerp, because he said in the annotations of one of his Bibles (after another copy), that the salvation of mankind proceeds from Christ alone.'
The placard of 20th November, 1549, enacted that all the Brant, I, estates of heretics should be forfeited.
At Antwerp, in about 1550, the doctrine of the Reformation Brant, I., was privately taught by George Sylvanus and Gasper van der 89, 90. Heiden. The people objected to receive the Placards concerning the Inquisition. Through fear of the Inquisition the Merchants prepared to depart. All trade was at a stand; there was no buying or selling. Rents of houses fell. Handicrafts decayed. Workmen could get no pay. The Magistrates appealed against the Placards.
In 1556, King Philip II. renewed and confirmed by Placard, Brant, I., dated 20th August, the earlier ones of his father, Charles V., 107, 108. against heresy, and made them perpetual edicts. All Judges and other officers were required by the Placard to aid and assist the Inquisitors in the discharge of their office. The Magistrates of Antwerp remembering what happened in 1550, did not care to carry all this out, but refused to publish it, and asked to be heard first against it or discharged from their oath of office. The resistance of the city of Antwerp became thus openly known.