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a promise had nothing to do with the conduct of affairs of state. He who could lie most adroitly was the best man. Granvelle fills his letters with innuendoes against Egmont and Orange, all the while protesting that he would not have a hair of their heads injured. It is he, according to Motley, who puts into Philip's mind the thoughts he is to think, almost in the words in which he is to utter them. Philip had his own strength, but he was slow to come to a conclusion. Granvelle knew how to clarify that muddy stream of ideas.
The preceding work shows the Dutch states in the beginning and progress of their struggle against the tyranny of Philip; the United Netherlands shows Holland as a rising hope of Protestantism, as a nation to be reckoned with in the diplomacy of Europe.
The Spanish king is still writing letters, still concocting schemes for conquest, still enmeshing friends and enemies alike in a web of falsehood. He is drawn off for the moment from his mission in the Netherlands to extend his conquests elsewhere. These proposed conquests have exactly one object—to enable the spirit of despotism to maintain the old mastery of mankind.' 'Countries and nations being regarded as private 'property to be inherited or bequeathed to a 'few favored individuals, . . . it had now become right and proper for the Spanish monarch to 'annex Scotland, England, and France to the very
'considerable possessions which were already his
A picturesque episode of the attempt upon England was the Armada. To this enterprise Motley gives one of his best and most thrilling chapters. Equally fascinating is the account of the attempt upon France, the battle of Ivry (when the white plume of Henry of Navarre carried the hopes of all liberal-minded men), and the terrible siege of Paris which almost immediately followed. Rarely 'have men at any epoch defended their fatherland ' against foreign oppression with more heroism 'than that which was manifested by the Parisians ' of 1590 in resisting religious toleration, and in 'obeying a foreign and priestly despotism.'
Perhaps there are not to be found in the historian's works more striking passages than those in which are described the last days of Philip the Second. To Philip's fortitude, in agony as poignant as any he had visited upon his miserable victims, the historian gives unstinted praise. The account, which rests upon documentary basis, presents an accumulation of horrors from which a Zola or a Flaubert might have learned a lesson. The king died with a clear conscience, having upon his soul the blood of uncounted numbers of human beings, and providing in his will that 'thirty thousand masses should be said for his soul.'
'It seems like mere railing to specify his crimes,' says Motley. "The horrible monotony of his career
stupefies the mind until it is ready to accept the principle of evil as the fundamental law of the 'land.' Motley's conclusion is that Philip the Second of Spain was Machiavelli's greatest pupil.
What remains of the book after Philip's death lacks neither literary interest nor historic value. But we have something akin to the feeling which comes over us when the chief character in a play dies before the last act; we question for a moment whether the interest will hold. That dominant and sinister personality leaves a void which the exploits of Prince Maurice hardly serve to fill. With these exploits, however, and a discussion of the causes leading to the Twelve Years' Truce, Motley concluded the History of the United Netherlands.
In the last of his three great works, John of Barneveld, Motley gave full expression to his generous partisanship of all that seemed to him to stand for the spirit of liberty. With a contempt for the subtleties of theological speculation, the historian was by instinct 'Remonstrant,' that is, anti-Calvinistic, and found in Barneveld one of his heroes. He has painted a wonderful picture of the old advocate's trial and death. Hounded daily by twenty-four judges, many of them his personal enemies, compelled to rely on his powerful memory in reviewing the events and explaining the acts of his forty-three years of public service, denied books, denied counsel, denied a knowledge in advance of the charges made against him, denied
access to the notes of his examination as it proceeded, denied everything suggested by the words 'law' and 'justice,' Barneveld came out of the ordeal so triumphantly that the announcement of his sentence might well have moved him to say: 'I am ready enough to die, but I cannot compre'hend why I am to die.'
In characterization of men, in searching analysis of causes and motives, in brilliant description, and in manly eloquence, Motley's John of Barneveld equals its predecessors, while the note of passion is if anything intensified by the bitter experiences through which the historian had so recently passed.
A fitting postlude to Motley's work as a whole may be found in the last sentence of the United Netherlands. It makes clear the motives other than scholarly and creative which led to the writing of these splendid narratives. Says the historian: If by his labors a generous love has been 'fostered for that blessing, without which every'thing that this earth can afford is worthless,— 'freedom of thought, of speech, and of life, his 'highest wish has been fulfilled.'