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which make the great commander; and his friends claimed that, in military genius, he was second to no captain in Europe. This was, no doubt, an exaggeration of partial attachment, but it is certain that the Emperor Charles had an exalted opinion of his capacity for the field. His fortification of Philippeville and Charlemont, in the face of the enemy-his passage of the Meuse in Alva's sight-his unfortunate but well-ordered campaign against that general --his sublime plan of relief, projected and successfully directed at last from his sick-bed, for the besieged city of Leyden,-will always remain monuments of his practical military skill.
Of the soldier's great virtues — constancy in disaster, devotion to duty, hopefulness in defeat - no man possessed a larger share. He arrived through a series of reverses at a perfect victory. He planted a free commonwealth under the very battery of the Inquisition, in defiance of the most powerful empire existing. He was therefore a conqueror in the loftiest sense, for he conquered liberty and a national existence for a whole people. The contest was long, and he fell in the struggle ; but the victory was to the dead hero, not to the living monarch. It is to be remembered, too, that he always wrought with inferior instruments. His troops were usually mercenaries, who were but too apt to mutiny upon the eve of battle ; while he was opposed by the most formidable veterans of Europe, commanded successively by the first captains of the age. That, with no lieutenant of eminent valour or experience, save only his brother Louis, and with none at all after that chieftain's death, William of Orange should succeed in baffling the efforts of men whose names are among the most brilliant in the military annals of the world, is in itself sufficient evidence of his warlike ability. At the period of his death he had reduced the number of obedient provinces to two; only Artois and Hainault acknowledging Philip, while the other fifteen were in open revolt, the greater part having forsworn their sovereign. The supremacy of his political genius was entirely beyond question. He was the first statesman of the age. The quickness of his perception was only equalled by the caution which enabled him to mature the results of his observations, His knowledge of human nature was profound. He governed the passions and sentiments of a great nation as if they had been but the keys and chords of one vast instrument; and his hands rarely failed to evoke harmony even out of the wildest storms.
This power of dealing with his fellow-men he manifested in various ways in which it has been usually exhibited by statesmen. He possessed a ready eloquence — sometimes impassioned, oftener argumentative, always rational. His influence over his audience was unexampled in the annals of that country or age ; yet he never condescended to flatter the people. He never followed the nation, but always led her in the path of duty and of honour, and was much more prone to rebuke the vices than to pander to the passions of his hearers. He never failed to administer ample chastisement to parsimony, to jealousy, to insubordination, to intolerance, to infidelity, wherever it was due, nor feared to confront the States or the people in their most angry hours, and to tell them the truth to their faces. This commanding position he alone could stand upon, for his countrymen knew the generosity which had sacrificed his all for them, the selfdenial which had eluded, not sought, political advancement, whether from king or people, and the untiring devotion which had consecrated a whole life to toil and danger in the cause of their emancipation.
While, therefore, he was ever ready to rebuke, and always too honest to flatter, he at the same time possessed the eloquence which could convince or persuade. He knew how to reach both the mind and heart of his hearers. His orations, whether extemporaneous or prepared—his written messages to the States-General, to the provincial authorities, to the municipal bodies—his private correspondence with men of all ranks, from emperors and kings down to secretaries, and even children,-all show an easy flow of language, a fulness of thought, a power of expression rare in that age, a fund of historical allusion, a considerable power of imagination, a warmth of sentiment, a breadth of view, a directness of purpose, a range of qualities, in short, which would in themselves have stamped him as one of the master minds of his century, had there been no other monument to his memory than the remains of his spoken or written eloquence. The bulk of his performances in this department was prodigious. Not even Philip was more industrious in the Cabinet. Not even Granvelle held a more facile pen. He wrote and spoke equally well in French, German, or Flemish ; and he possessed, besides, Spanish, Italian, Latin. The weight of his correspondence alone, would have almost sufficed for the common industry of a lifetime ; and although many volumes of his speeches and letters have been published, there remain in the various archives of the Netherlands and Germany many documents from his hand which will probably never see the light. If the capacity for unremitted intellectual labour in an honourable cause be the measure of human greatness, few minds could be compared to the large composition of this man. The efforts made to destroy the Netherlands by the most laborious and painstaking of tyrants were counteracted by the industry of the most indefatigable of patriots.
Thus his eloquence, oral or written, gave him almost boundless power over his countrymen. He possessed, also, a rare perception of human character, together with an iron memory which never lost a face, a place, or an event, once seen or known. He read the minds, even the faces of men, like printed books. No man could overreach him, excepting only those to whom he gave his heart. He might be mistaken where he had confided, never where he had been distrustful or indifferent.
It is instructive to observe the wiles of the Machiavelian school employed by a master of the craft, to frustrate, not to advance, a knavish purpose. This character, in a great measure, marked his whole policy. He was profoundly skilled in the subuleties of Italian statesmanship, which he had learned as a youth at the imperial court, and which he employed in his manhood in the service, not of tyranny, but of liberty. He fought the Inquisition with its own weapons. He dealt with Philip on his own ground. He excavated the earth beneath the king's feet by a more subtle process than that practised by the most fraudulent monarch that ever governed the Spanish Empire ; and Philip, chain-mailed as he was in complicated wiles, was pierced to the quick by a keener policy than his own.
Ten years long the king placed daily his most secret letters in hands which regularly transmitted copies of the correspondence to the Prince of Orange, together with a key to the ciphers and every other illustration which might be required. Thus the secrets of the king were always as well known to Orange as to himself; and the Prince being as prompt as Philip was hesitating, the schemes could often be frustrated before their execution had been commenced. The crime of the unfortunate clerk John de Castillo, was discovered in the autumn of the year 1581, and he was torn to pieces by four horses. Perhaps his treason to the monarch whose bread he was eating, while he received a regular salary from the king's most determined foe, deserved even this horrible punishment, but casuists must determine how much guilt attaches to the Prince for his share in the transaction. This history is not the eulogy of Orange, although, in discussing his character, it is difficult to avoid the monotony of panegyric. Judged by a severe moral standard, it cannot be called virtuous or honourable to suborn treachery or any other crime, even to accomplish a lofty purpose ; yet the universal practice of mankind in all ages has tolerated the artifices of war, and no people has ever engaged in a holier or more mortal contest than did the Netherlands in their great struggle with Spain. Orange possessed the rare quality of caution, a characteristic by which he was distinguished from his youth. At fifteen he was the confidential counsellor, as at twenty-one he became the general-in-chief to the most politic, as well as the most warlike potentate of his age; and if he at times indulged in wiles which modern statesmanship, even while it practises, condemns, he ever held in his hand the clue of an honourable purpose to guide him through the tortuous labyrinth.
It is difficult to find any other characteristic deserving of grave censure, but his enemies have adopted a similar process. They have been able to find few flaws in his nature, and therefore have denounced it in gross. It is not that his character was here and there defective, but that the eternal jewel was false. The patriotism was counterfeit; the self-abnegation and the generosity were counterfeit. He was governed only by ambition, by a desire of personal advancement. They never attempted to deny his talents, his industry, his vast sacrifices of wealth and station ; but they ridiculed the idea that he could have been inspired by any but unworthy motives. God alone knows the heart of man.
He alone can unweave the tangled skein of human motives, and detect the hidden springs of human action; but as far as can be judged by a careful observation of undisputed facts, and by a diligent collation of public and private documents, it would seem that no man—not even Washington-has ever been inspired by a purer patriotism.
Whether originally of a timid temperament or not, he was certainly possessed of perfect courage at last. In siege and battle--in the deadly air of pestilential cities—in the long exhaustion of mind and body which comes from unduly protracted labour and anxiety-amid the countless conspiracies of assassins—he was daily exposed to death in every shape. Within two years, five different attempts against his life had been discovered. Rank and fortune were offered to any malefactor who would compass the murder. He had already been shot through the head, and almost mortally wounded.