Relationship between politics and religion in the dutch revolt

Dutch Revolt - Wikipedia

relationship between politics and religion in the dutch revolt

The causes of the Dutch Revolt and the ensuing Eighty Years War, considered to have started Meanwhile, a parallel religious revolt was seen as a direct threat to the (Roman Catholic) Spanish throne, .. Gelderen, M. van (), The Political Thought of the Dutch Revolt , Cambridge University Press, ISBN. One such great event is the Revolt of the Freedoms-political, religious, economic. the Dutch Revolt is seen as an anticipation of the French Revolu- ticular on the difference between the Dutch Revolt and the Wars of Religion in France. The Revolt of the Spanish Netherlands led to the collapse of Spain as a major into religious or political movements or anything that hinted at dissent. . Rather than cultivate a relationship with the southern magnates, Don.

Through the stipulated incorporation of important abbeys into the Episcopal mensa, the fi rst Estate of Brabant would count three bishops, one of which was the archbishop of Malines again Granvelle. There were even suggestions that Orange be appointed as a ruwaerd of Brabant as eventually happened in with Berghes as his lieutenant. However, resistance to bishopric reform quickly became coupled with opposition to the harsh Habsburg heresy policy.

Helmut Koenigsberger stated the opportunism with which the nobility seized on the religious issue to gain more power, as at that stage the grandees did not convert to the Reformation and their position as nobles as such was not at stake Yet most nobles perceived a personal and material threat in any increase in the persecution of heresy.

The Revolt of the Spanish Netherlands - History Learning Site

In the fi rst Spanish autos de fe of important noblemen were convicted, losing their titles and properties All noble households included gentry tempted by the Reformation. Nonetheless specifi cally in their tasks as provincial governors, nobles encountered increasing problems in maintaining public order. In border regions close to France, Calvinists clearly provoked royal policy with public sermons and the singing of Psalms from onwards.

Moreover, bringing convicted heretics to trial seemed to cause even more public disorder than order. Therefore, Montigny and Berghes dispensed with public executions and proposed that on the basis of the growing number of Protestants it was impossible to do justice according to existing laws. Within their territories of hault justice, nobles experimented with degrees of toleration.

Beemon argued that this opposition was fed by the fear of a possible introduction of the Spanish Inquisition, rather than of existing religious persecution However, the conviction in by the Louvain inquisitors of a member of the household of the noble Maximilian of Melun, denounced by his mother-in-law, showed that inquisition was a real threat, even for the privileged nobility protected by law Particularly before the end of the Council of Trent in DecemberDutch nobles looked for a via media.

The Marquis of Berghes was in favour of a national Council to settle differences in belief. He regularly expressed the idea that faith did not justify the spilling of blood or the possible loss of innocent souls Moreover, Orange and Egmont contacted humanists like Cassander and Balduinus who had participated in the drafts of moderate positions in France In other Habsburg territories, opposition towards anti-heresy measures had succeeded.

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In Naples, the city government had opposed inquisition inand turmoil in prevented new plans in that direction. The Count left Brussels in January and returned at the end of May; at the Royal Court from February to April he was treated with respect, receiving honours and fi nancial rewards For biographers and othersthe mission usually offers an ideal occasion in which to comment on the character and diplomatic skills of the Dutch grandee: Egmont then appears as a somewhat vain nobleman, with high military but low political abilities, looking for personal favours rather than le bien public This view has recently been supported by Liesbeth Geevers, who also carried out archival research on the same period Both scholars point to the fact that the King had already tried to make Egmont travel to Court inin the hope of dividing the League against Granvelle.

Without the consent of Orange and Horn, Egmont had then written to the King that he would be honoured to travel on royal orders However, he returned to Brussels with substantial funding which the Governor General had asked for in order to lessen government debt towards cities and soldiers. It is uncertain whether the nobles really wanted the King to come, as this would reduce their recently acquired infl uence. Therefore, they had discussed the possibility of executing heretics secretly so as to cause less disorder.

Philip II had framed the permitted consultation in terms of the execution of the Council of Trent, the instruction of lay people, the education of children and the reform of the clergy, but he also conceded that the punishment of heretics could be discussed there. Based on the account of the Jesuit Famiano Strada, Henry Kamen claimed incorrectly that this consultation was a deliberation of Spanish theologians on the liberty of conscience This decision was tied up with strategic and religious considerations and the role of the nobility.

It is uncertain whether the Count hinted at a States-General, as Orange would probably have wanted him to. Sincewhen he considered military intervention in the fi rst French civil war, Philip II had sustained that any concessions to reformers would in the end lead to freedom of conscience or worship SOEN more stringent policy towards Calvinism.

Three installed bishops, three Louvain professors a law professor and two theologians, one of whom was an electbishop and three magistrates were selected. The nine men attended the Council of State on 31 May and 1, 5 and 6 June, signing the fi nal summary on 8 June In his meticulous annotation of the Latin original of this account of the meeting Philip II expressed his satisfaction with the format and the composition in which the consultation was held The discussion gives a very tangible illustration of the point made by Judith Pollmann on Catholic leadership in the Netherlands 56bis.

Surprisingly, the perceived need for a crisis policy was countered by a penitential interpretation of the problems of the Catholic faith: If only the government would display more zeal for the reformed Catholic faith the will to persecute heresy would follow, as people were scared to carry out executions.

Reform measures in the Tridentine spirit were necessary, though most evil arose because designated bishops were unable to take possession of their Sees.

All installed bishops were prepared to take the lead in Reform, but they expected royal help. In the end, the account argued that since antiquity, fear had been found necessary to support religion, and that past and recent experience had shown that concessions to Protestants led to greater evil.

It is exactly within this context that Hippolytus Persijn declared that for his part, the death sentence could be abolished Woltjer repeatedly showed with this example the general acceptance of moderate views, even by those such as Persijn who before had zealously pursued heretics The grandees of the Council of State refused to give their approbation to the account of the meeting, claiming that the King had not asked for it Brederode could see that this consultation would not bring about much alleviation of the situation 64 as indeed on the streets there was already a virulent anticlericalism The question of mercy and the mitigation of capital punishment became immediately very urgent when the King pressed for the execution of eight repentant Anabaptists, even though he had shown mercy towards two of their companions Provincial governors such as Egmont, Orange and Montigny threatened to resign and returned to their properties, while Berghes concretely offered to withdraw.

Over the summer Calvinist sympathisers and Louis of Nassau had agreed upon openly defying Habsburg religious policy. The letters of the Segovia Woods enabled them to immediately rally support.

Van Nierop demonstrated that the nobles of Holland were really split on the issue The Compromise of the nobles showed foremost that a possible military escalation of discontent was possible, as had occurred in the Holy Roman Empire in the fi rst half of the century and in France in the preceding years. Louis of Nassau indeed rallied support in the Empire with military means if eventually necessary for the cause of the protestant church in the Low Countries.

The persistent rumour that Erik of Braunschweig had already recruited soldiers to introduce the Spanish Inquisition helped to increase a favourable attitude towards military resistance.

On the one hand, Egmont and Orange, who did not formally join but still sent gentry of their household to meetings of the Compromise, tried to appease too radical stances within the Confederacy. On the other hand, Egmont and Meghen advised the Governor General to opt for concessions instead of military repression. This was the beginning of a very substantial school of thought throughout the Dutch Revolt: The acknowledgement that the Council of State and the Privy Council were discussing concessions led to wild assumptions: The Privy Council was indeed working on a juridical inquiry on the legal base of the inquisition in Brabant and other provinces.

Further, even jurists tried to moderate the heresy law, on the basis of Roman and Canon Law. However, jurists had more problems with applying a pardon, a royal privilege, to the Confederacy.

In order to fi nd an adequate response to the Compromise, especially as it was clear the nobles would come to Brussels, Margaret of Parma summoned an exceptional crisis meeting to Brussels, including all members of the Council of State and the Privy Council, all Knights of the Golden Fleece and the provincial governors.

The suppression of the function of inquisitors met with the broad approval of the assembled nobles, as it had done before, but now the proposition had to be supported with thorough argument in order to convince the King. Unlike the junta inthe crisis meeting now seemed convinced of the necessity for a new law on heresy. The most innovative clause of this Moderation, already drafted in the name of Philip II, stipulated that obstinate heretics were to be banished, with the extraordinary possibility that their goods could be administered by a person of their choice.

This clause met the criticisms of executions, confi scations and possible economic ruin at one and the same time. Only dogmatiseurs, Anabaptists and obstinate relapsed heretics deserved capital punishment, by decapitation rather than the stake.

Causes of the Dutch Revolt

Innocents and gens simples thus received mercy, presented as the Christian duty of the King. However, magistrates had to support public order and the Catholic faith, risking the death penalty if they failed to do so.

Whoever was caught in Bible readings or teachings, without the required academic qualifi cation, was liable to correction by the judges. The Council of State read the proposal and compared it to existing laws. The actual march on Brussels of the Compromise and their Petition did not much alter the discussion; yet because of this preliminary work, the Governor General could respond quickly to the Petition.

In the meantime, the Governor General promised to send delegates to the King, and Montigny and Berghes were nominated probably in order to neutralize their infl uence over their territories. The Petition had explicitly asked that remedies for the religious problem be brought to a States-General, thereby perhaps advocating a central role for this representative body.

Koenigsberger claimed that Margaret of Parma simply rejected the suggestion, while Philip II advised her to pretend to be waiting for his consent However, the scholar did not see that peacemaking actually took the suggestion into account although it failed by July At the plenary crisis meeting, after the Petition, Assonleville proposed perhaps on a hint from the Governor General or the nobles a moderate solution between the convocation of a States-General and immediate publication.

The King could publish this Moderation, already dispensing with all required advice, or bring this point to a States-General. This project had considerable disadvantages, the foremost being that the reaction of the King would possibly be negative and that it would not satisfy those tending to Protestantism.

The possible recruitment of Catholic noblemen for the royal cause, in order to prevent further disorder, seemed to outweigh the disadvantages of the plan. Margaret stressed to the provincial governors that although technically the convocation was not necessary, it aimed at support for the new heresy law, necessary to defy the mobilisation of the Compromise Even Granvelle — although still arguing for a visit to the country by the king — decided that the tactic was worth a try.

He recommended that the King accept the Moderation, because the nobles had explicitly promised to accept the Catholic faith and the authority of the King afterwards However, the King wrote ojo watch out! This compromise solution of the Moderation caused concern within reformed circles, which countered it with a very effective pun, calling the Moderation a Moorderatie a murdering.

One Advertissement recognised that the government was trying to spread division among the Confederated nobility The Four Members of Flanders argued that the preliminary convocation of the States-General was necessary. The States of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelre and Overijssel had received no instruction by the outbreak of iconoclasm Under the guidance of Egmont, the Artois Estate accepted the plan readily 88as did Hainaut under the direction of Aerschot as substitute to Berghes away on a missionNamur under Berlaymont, and Lille-Douai-Orchies under Maximilien Vilain, lord of Rassenghien.

The loyalists felt that the Moderation had had favourable effects 89and that the immediate acceptance of the Estate of Artois had considerably diminished the chances that a States-General would decide upon freedom of conscience or 17 V. However, acceptance was lukewarm in the already troublesome Tournai and Valenciennes areas.

The Revolt of the Spanish Netherlands

Also the Four Members of Flanders and the Estates of Brabant expressed many doubts on the reasoning and format of the Moderation and its approval by provincial Estates. It was somehow a paradox that the Catholic nobility had to be convinced into a moderation of the anti-heresy law, though it seemed to work. Berlaymont stated that neither the nobility nor the clergy of Namur was infected by heresy and all wanted to defend the Catholic case It seemed as if the provincial governors had received a chance to use their provincial clientele Members of the Compromise seemed to have been isolated during the meeting of these provincial Estates In Artois, a petition of three Gueulx for a States-General was countered with the question of where were other states to be found in Artois?

On the question of which religion Louvreval wanted to follow, he answered Catholic while advocating the right to read prohibited books.

relationship between politics and religion in the dutch revolt

Often, petty nobility offered accommodation on their property, and sometimes even military protection. Margaret of Parma and the Privy Council reacted in the beginning of July by newly prohibiting banned people from return but without much effect.

Therefore, she sent Assonleville to the Prince of Orange and the Count of Horn to fi nd out what concrete means they suggested to stop reformed preaching and the return of banned Protestants. Both pleaded for a States-General, a religious settlement and that greater power be given to the provincial governor. Assonleville thought their suggestions were too radical, but the grand seigneurs threatened yet again to withdraw from their duties.

The Governor General could only hope that Montigny and Berghes, who had fi nally started negotiating at the Spanish Court, would get a clear-cut answer from the King. If the Governor General thought that the States-General aimed at freedom of conscience, she seemed inclined to consider pardon for Compromise members, in return for their unconditional loyalty to the Crown.

She allowed both Orange and Egmont to negotiate a pardon with the leaders of the Compromise, to which end Brederode and Culemborg visited the two grandees in Duffel close to Antwerp.

But before the rise of cultural memory studies in the s and s, scholars long assumed that more generally, too, it was not expedient in the new political situation of the reconciled Habsburg Netherlands to remember the civil war that was the Revolt and to use references to the conflict in support of political arguments.

Vermaseren has pointed out that Habsburg authorities and Southern elites never succeeded in bringing an official government-endorsed history of the conflict on the market, despite their evident desire and attempts to do so. More recently, however, scholars with a much broader source repertoire have uncovered the strong ties between religion, politics and memory. Luc Duerloo argued that the Archdukes Albert and Isabella in the first decades of the seventeenth century developed a type of piety that sacralised their dynastic power in the Low Countries.

He has shown that their practices of piety were in many ways also practices of memory.

relationship between politics and religion in the dutch revolt

She observes that accounts of intercessions by the Holy Virgin during the Revolt reminded the population of the verity of Catholicism and the mistaken belief of Protestants on the other side of the border with the North. When openly discussing the conflict, they generally used euphemisms, and emphasised the iniquity of heretics characterised as evil foreignersthe innocence of the native South Netherlandish population, the providential support for the Habsburg cause, and — consequently — the ultimate triumph of Catholicism.

Unlike Northern accounts of the Revolt, their narratives did not require elaborate chronologies of events. Other historians have shown that this attitude contributed to the divergence of North and South Netherlandish identities as well as the irreconcilability of rebel and loyalist interpretations of the past in peace negotiations. This, too, has been an understudied topic in historical research due to the influential assumption that the Southern Netherlands were only a plaything of foreign powers and did not develop a sense of national awareness that needed a national history to prop it up.

But political references to the conflict increasingly resembled the outspoken memory practices in the Dutch Republic. On the basis of three cases, this article asks how and why this shift occurred.

The first case examines the conflicting political usage of war memories by Habsburg government authorities and Count Henry van den Bergh during the conspiracy of nobles against the regime in The sources mostly consist of propagandistic literature published by and on behalf of key political figures during the three crises.

I have measured these sources against anonymous pamphlet literature, correspondence, and handwritten chronicles. Yet both states had serious political problems too. The Republic remained a confederation of independent states barely held together by the cultivation of a common enemy. And in the Southern Netherlands, support for the Habsburgs was not self-evident. The reign of the Archdukes Albert and Isabella — proved very successful compared to the early stages of the Revolt in the late sixteenth century.

Government anxiety was not limited to the Habsburg Netherlands. On December 21, the Spanish inquisitor-general Cardinal Antonio Zapata y Cisneros mentioned in a meeting of the Spanish Council of State the power vacuum of following the death of Governor General Luis de Requesens, as a reminder of the revolutionary potential of a discontent population. Appointed maestro de campo general in the Army of Flanders inas a temporary replacement for Ambrogio Spinola, senior government officials held Van den Bergh responsible for the loss of Den Bosch in and accused him of treachery.

Himself dissatisfied with the Habsburg administration in the South, he defected to the Dutch enemy. They agreed that Frederick Henry would substitute his already existing plans to march on Antwerp for a campaign along the Meuse River. Van den Bergh, who was then stadholder of Upper Guelders, would feign ignorance of these plans.

In the meantime, enemies of the Habsburgs as well as domestic political dissidents such as Van den Bergh used memories of the sixteenth-century Revolt to incite popular opposition against the regime in the Habsburg Netherlands. Inthe States General hoped that Southern elites would do so again.

His assumption that people would understand references to the Revolt is not surprising.