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which the genius of the Frank, the Roman, and the Romanized Celt, were so intimately blended. As long as the father of the country lived, such a union was possible. His power of managing men was so unquestionable, that there was always a hope, even in the darkest hour; for men felt implicit reliance, as well on his intellectual resources as on his integrity. This power of dealing with his fellow-men he manifested in the 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 fatter the people. He never followed the nation, but always led her in the path of duty and of honor; 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 self-denial which had eluded rather than 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 the heart of his hear
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 fullness 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 labor in an honorable 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. He was deceived by Renneberg, by his brother-in-law Van den Berg, by the Duke of Anjou. Had it been possible for his brother Louis or his brother John to have proved false, he might have been deceived by them.
He was never outwitted by Philip or Granvelle or Don John or Alexander of Parma. Anna of Saxony was false to him, and entered into correspondence with the royal governors and with the King of Spain : Charlotte of Bourbon, or Louisa de Coligny, might have done the same, had it been possible for their natures also to descend to such depths of guile.
As for the Aerschots, the Havrés, the Chimays, he was never influenced either by their blandishments or their plots. willing to use them when their interests made them friendly, or to crush them when their intrigues against his policy rendered them dangerous. The adroitness with which he converted their schemes in behalf of Matthias, of Don John, of Anjou, into so many additional weapons for his own cause, can never be too often studied. 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 subtleties 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 practiced 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 froin 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 can not be called virtuous or honorable 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 counselor, 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 practices, condemns, he ever held in his hand the clew of an honorable 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 simpler process. They have been able to find a 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; lie 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 idlea 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
not even Washington — has ever been inspired by a purer patriotism. At any rate, the charge of ambition and self
seeking can only be answered by a reference to the whole picture which these volumes have attempted to portray. The words, the deeds, of the man, are there. As much as possible, his inmost soul is revealed in his confidential letters; and he who looks in a right spirit will hardly fail to find what he desires.
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 labor 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. Under such circumstances, even a brave man might have seen a pitfall at every step, a dagger in every hand, and poison in every cup. On the contrary, he was ever cheerful, and hardly took more precaution than usual. “God, in his mercy,” said he with unaffected simplicity, “will maintain my innocence and my honor during my life, and in future ages. As to my fortune and my life, I have dedicated both, long since, to his service. He will do therewith what pleases him for his glory and my salvation.” Thus his suspicions were not even excited by the ominous face of Gérard when he first presented himself at the dining-room door. The prince laughed off his wife's prophetic apprehension at the sight of his murderer, and was as cheerful as usual to the last.
He possessed, too, that which to the heathen philosopher seemed the greatest good, — the sound mind in the sound body. His physical frame was after death found so perfect, that a long life might have been in store for him, notwithstanding all which he had endured. The desperate illness of 1574, the frightful gunshot wound inflicted by Jaureguy in 1582, had left no traces. The physicians pronounced that his body presented an aspect of perfect health. His temperament was cheerful
. At table, the pleasures of which, in moderation, were his only relaxation, he was always animated and merry; and this jocoseness was partly natural, partly intentional. In the darkest hours of his country's tril, he aifected a serenity which he was far from feeling; so that his apparent gayety at momentous epochs was even censured by duards, who could not comprehend its philosophy, nor applaud the flippancy of William the Silent.
He went through life bearing the load of a people's sorrows upon his shoulders with a smiling face. Their name was the last word upon his lips, save the simple affirmative with which the soldier, who had been battling for the right all his lifetime, com
mended his soul, in dying, “to his great Captain, Christ.” The people were grateful and affectionate; for they trusted the character of their “Father William :” and not all the clouds which calumny could collect ever dimmed to their eyes the radiance of that lofty mind to which they were accustomed, in the darkest calamities, to look for light. As long as he lived, he was the guiding-star of a whole brave nation; and, when he died, the little children cried in the streets.
BORN JAN. 6, 1811, MASSACHUSETTS.
Orator, statesman, and philanthropist. Every question of law, politics, or morals, that this distinguished scholar touches upon, is treated in an eloquent and exhaus
His essays, speeches, and orations are now publishing in several volumes.
FINGER-POINT FROM PLYMOUTII ROCK. Mr. President, You bid me speak for the Senate of the United States. But I can not forget that there is another voice here, of classical eloquence, which might more fitly render this service. As one of the humblest members of that body, and associated with the public councils for a brief period only, I should prefer that my distinguished colleague [Mr. Everett], whose fame is linked with a long political life, should speak for it. And there is yet another here [Mr. Hale), who, though not at this moment a member of the Senate, has throughout an active and brilliant career, marked by a rare combination of ability, eloquence, and good humor, so identified himself with it in the public mind, that he might well speak for it always; and, when he speaks, all are pleased to listen. But, sir, you have ordered it otherwise.
From the tears and trials at Delft Haven, from the deck of " The Mayflower,” from the landing at Plymouth Rock, to the Senate of the United States, is a mighty contrast, covering whole spaces of history, — hardly less than from the wolf that suckled Romulus and Remus to that Roman Senate, which, on curule chairs, swayed Italy and the world. From these obscure beginnings of poverty and weakness, which you now piously commemorate, and on which all our minds naturaily rest to-day, you bid us leap to that marble capitol, where thirty-one powerful republics, bound in indissoluble union, a plural unit, are gathered together in legislative body, constituting a part of one government, which, stretching from