« PředchozíPokračovat »
maid, Grotius occupied the place of the books in the trunk; he was safely conveyed from the castle, not without imminent peril of being drilled through the body, in consequence of the porters who carried him down stairs, suspecting that the trunk held a more learned treasure, than that which it was said to contain.
Grotius took refuge in France, which he quitted in consequence of the illiberal conduct of the Cardinal de Richlieu towards him, and accepted of an invitation from that singular princess Christina, queen of Sweden, who was greatly attached to him, and made him her ambassador at Paris, where the Cardinal gave him much trouble, in consequence of his not yielding precedence to him. When Grotius had breathed his last, his countrymen felt contrition for their oppression, and struck a medal in honour of him, on which he is styled, “ The Oracle of Delft, the Phenix of his Country."
“ This common body,
Anth. and Cleop. Act I. Sc. 4.
The lines of Horace may be well applied to this great man ;
Urit enim fulgore suo, qui praergravat artes
I shall conclude these interesting anecdotes of Grotius, by giving his excellent sentiments on the education of boys, as he imparted them to Isaac Vossius, which in my humble opinion ought to be considered as a treasure to every parent; “ Many persons,” says he, “ make use of tutors for the education of their children, which hardly ever succeeds as it was intended. I have never approved of that method of education, for I know that young persons learn only when they are together, and that their application is languid where there is no emulation. I am as little of a friend to schools, where the master scarce knows the names of his scholars; where the number is so great that he cannot distribute his attention upon each of them, whose composition requires a particular attention. For these reasons I wish that a medium of the two me
thods were taken, that a master took only ten or twelve boys, who should live in the same house, and be of the same classes, by which means the master himself would not be overloaded with cares." Grotius also recommends the student to begin with those histories which are nearest to his own time.
The fate of Barneveldt is related with great spirit by Voltaires who says, But human affairs are ever checquered with good and evil. Mankind are so apt to deviate from their principles, that this republic (Holland) had nearly destroyed the liberty for which she had so bravely fought, and persecution boiled in the blood of a people, whose happiness and laws were founded on toleration. Two calvanistical doctors did what so many doctors have done in so many other places. Gomar and Arminius disputed most furiously at Leyden, about what neither of them understood. This produced dissensions in the United Provinces.
The dispute was in many respects similar to those of the Thomists and Scotists, or of the Jansenists and Molinists, concerning predestination, grace, liberty, and other obscure and frivolous articles, where they know not how to define the very subject on which they dispute. The leisure they enjoyed during the truce, unluckily gave those ignorant people an opportunity to fill their heads with theological disputes, till at length, out of a scholastic controversy, there arose two parties in the state. Maurice, Prince of Orange, headed the Gomarists, and the pensionary Barneveldt supported the Arminians.
Du Maurier says, that he had been told by the ambassador his father, that Maurice having proposed to the pensionary Barneveldt, to concur in giving him the supreme power, this zealous republican showed him the danger and injustice of the proposal, and from that time Barneveldt's ruin was resolved upon. This however is certain, that the Stadtholder endeavoured to increase his authority by means of the Gomarists, and Barneveldt to check it by means of the Arminians: -that several towns levied soldiers who were called Expectants, because they expected orders from the magistrate, but would take none from the Stadtholder: that there were insurrections in some cities, and that Prince Maurice vigorously persecuted the opposite party. At length he convened a calvinistical council at Dordrecht, composed of all the reformed churches in Europe, except that of France, the deputies from which were not permitted by the King of France to attend.
The fathers of this synod who had exclaimed so loudly against the fathers of various councils, and against their authority, condemned the Arminians, just as they themselves had been condemned by the council of Trent. Above a hundred Arminian ministers were banished from the United Provinces. Prince Maurice chose twenty-six commissioners from the nobility and the magistrates, to try the grand pensionary Barneveldt, the celebrated Grotius, and some others of the Arminian party. They had been kept six months in confinement, previous to their trial.
One of the chief motives of the revolt of the Seven Provinces, and of the house of Orange, against Spain, was the Duke of Alva's severity, in suffering the accused to languish for a long period in confinement, without bringing them to trial, and in appointing commissioners to condeinn them. The same grievances which had caused such complaints under the Spanish monarchy, were revived in the bosom of liberty. Barneveldt was beheaded at the Hague, more unjustly than Count Egmont, and Count Horn at Brussels. He was an old man of seventy, who had served the Republic forty years in the cabinet, with as much success as Maurice and his brothers had served her in the field. The sentence imported, “ That he had done all he could to vex the Church of God.”
A charming anecdote is related of the admirable conduct of the widow of Barneveldt. After he had perished on the scaffold, his sons, René and William, entered into a conspiracy to revenge his death, in which they were discovered. William fled, but René was taken and condemned to die. His mother solicited his pardon of Prince Maurice, who replied, “ It appears strange
do that for your son, which you refused to do for your husband;" to which she nobly replied, I did not ask pardon for my husband, because he was innocent; I ask it for my son, because he is guilty."
The view from the steeple of this church is esteemed the most beautiful in Holland, and is remarkable fine and extensive; but the beauty of the scenery is principally at a distance, as the land immediately surrounding the town is boggy, dotted with piles of white turf. The chimes of this church, or as they are called, the Carillons, are very numerous, consisting of four or five hundred bells, which are celebrated for the sweetness of their tones. This species of music is entirely of Dutch origin, and in Holland and the countries that formerly belonged to her, it can only be heard in great perfection. The French and Italians have never imitated the Dutch in this taste; we have made the attempt in some of our churches, but in such a miserably bungling manner, that the nerves of even a Dutch skipper would scarcely be able to endure it.
These carillons are played upon by means of a kind of keys communicating with the bells, as those of the piano forte and organ do with strings and pipes, by a person called the Carilloneur, who is regularly instructed in the science, the labor of the practical part of which is very severe, he being almost always obliged to perform in his shirt with his collar unbuttoned, and generally forced by exertion into a profuse perspiration, some of the keys requiring a two pound weight to depress them: after the performance, the Carilloneur is frequently obliged immediately to go to bed: by pedals communicating with the great bells, he is enabled with his feet to play the base to several sprightly and even difficult airs, which he performs with both his hands upon the upper species of keys, which are projecting sticks, wide enough asunder to be struck with violence and celerity by either of the two hands edgeways, without the danger of hitting the adjoining Keys. The player uses a thick leather covering for the little finger of each hand, to prevent the excessive pain which the violence of the stroke, necessary to produce sufficient sound, requires: these musicians are very dextrous, and will play pieces in three parts, producing the first and second treble with the two hands on the upper set of keys, and the base as before described. By this invention a whole town is entertained in every quarter of it; that spirit of industry which pervades the kingdom, no doubt originally sugges. ted this sudorific mode of amusing a large population, without making it necessary for them to quit their avocations one moment to enjoy them. They have often sounded to my ear, at a distance, like the sounds of a very sweet hand-organ; but the want of something to stop the vibration of each bell, to prevent the notes of one passage from running into another, is a desideratum which would render this sort of music still more highly delightful. Holland is the only country I have been in, where the sound of bells was gratifying. The dismal tone of our own on solemn occasions, and the horrible indiscriminate clashing of the bells of the Greek church in Russia, are, at least to my ear, intolerable nuisances. I afterwards learnt that the carillons at Amsterdam have three octaves, with all the semi-tones complete on the manual, and two octaves in the pedáls; each key for the natural sound projects near a foot, and those for the flats and sharps, which are played several inches higher, only half as much. The British army was equally surprise ed and gratified, by hearing upon the carillons of the principal church at Alkmaar, their favorite air of “ God save the king" played in a masterly manner, when they entered that town.
In this church is a superb monument raised to the memory of William the First, the great Prince of Orange, in the east end of the church, which is semicircular, and a range of semicircular pillars support the roof: within these pillars is a large space railed off, and paved with black and white marble, under which is the family vault of the House of Orange; in the centre is the monument, a sarcophagus on which is placed a marble figure of the above prince, in his robes after death: at his feet is a dog, the expression of whose countenance is very much admired; above is a marble canopy supported by four buttresses of white marble, and twenty columns of black and gold in fine style: the epitaph, in small obscure characters, is inscribed upon a tablet held up by two boys in bronze, and at each corner of the tomb stands a bronze figure, the first representing Liberty with a cap, inscribed with aurea libertas; the second is Fortitude, the third Religion, and the fourth Justice, not blind, but ardently gazing upon the balance in her hand. Under an arch at the head of the tomb is a brozen statue of the same prince, and at the other end a figure of Fame just taking wing. The other internal parts of this edifice are adorned