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Emden safe haven for 16th-century Dutch refugees
German town benefited greatly
Tags: Dutch Exploration
The sixteenth century saw fundamental changes taking place in Europe. The established political order, the alliance between church and state, was challenged intensely in many regions. This was especially the case in the Dutch provinces where Emperor Charles V just had consolidated his control over the remaining independent provinces (1). At the same time, the reform-minded attitude of many leaders in these provinces troubled the emperor and his servants, Cardinal Granville among them. They responded to this situation with heavy-handed measures by calling in the much-feared Inquisition. Nowhere else in his realm was the Inquisition policy of Emperor Charles V carried out as rigorously as in his Dutch territories. Between 1523 and 1566, Charles' edicts resulted in the execution of some 1,300 Dutchmen for their sympathy or support of what became popularly known as 'the new religion.' By 1546, Lutheranism in the Dutch provinces was virtually wiped out, while remnants of Calvinist and Anabaptist groups only met secretly in small gatherings. Some Lowlanders recanted their beliefs under threat of death, but many more quietly moved to a safe haven out of reach of zealous inquisitors. While German border states (2) were among the destinations of fleeing Dutchmen, English coastal towns (3) were especially popular havens to inhabitants of Flanders, Holland and Zeeland. However the German county of East Friesland, notably the town of Emden, was the most prominent refuge of them all.
At first, the new religion spread across Western Europe like brush fire. There were many contributing factors for this, which varied from region to region. In the prosperous Dutch provinces, people had been very responsive to the reform-minded teacher Groote (of Modern Devotion fame), and now Erasmus, the Humanist, was very influential. Luthers' writings made an impact as well initially, but were overtaken by Anabaptist and subsequent Calvinist teachings. Numerous colporteurs who peddled bibles, books and tracts that expounded (re-)discovered truths contributed to the spread of this new religion. Edicts failed to stop the spread of this literature, the sellers just became more circumspect. When some of the colporteurs were caught, the authorities became aware of the extent of the illegal trade and import of printed material. Being alarmed, they ordered even greater scrutiny of travellers (4).
Emperor infringed on rights
Charles V and his inquisitors (especially men like Sonnius, Tapper, Gruwel, Titelmans and Lindanus) initially seemed to succeed in suppressing 'the new religion' but in fact the oppressive policy had the opposite effect. The local authorities, such as the provincial estates, the city councils, as well as the Dutch nobility class viewed the Inquisition as an intrusion in their affairs and in direct conflict with their ancient rights and privileges(5). Even if these local authorities loathed the new religion and its followers, this intrusion and the arbitrary way of it all - for example, the emperor made himself the sole beneficiary of confiscated property of the condemned heretics - was even more objectionable to them. These feelings caused many a nobleman and burgomaster to look the other way when they noticed forbidden activity since they too could become victims if they protested. Printers especially feared for that type of scrutiny. They did everything in their power to avoid attracting unwanted attention to their work (6). Among the stream of refugees that headed for England was a number of printers, some of whom re-established their shops and went on to supply an abundance of material for sale across the Channel.
By 1554, the fortunes of these migrant Dutchmen worsened again when King Edward VI was succeeded by his sister Queen Mary, who promptly boarded up foreign Protestant churches. She let it be known that Dutch refugees were no longer welcome and urged them to look for another place to live. Led by the Polish-born nobleman and former priest Johannes a Lasco (Jan Laski), an entire Reformed congregation of 175 set sail for Denmark but eventually, after many disappointments on the way (they called on a number of ports where they were refused refuge) decided to disembark at their last choice of destination, the small, insignificant town of Emden where a Lasco, their leader, had laboured before, and where Count Enno of East Friesland welcomed them.
Printing press a major tool
East Friesland was not exactly the place the refugees liked to settle. This area of northwest Germany was considered poor as far as economic prospects were concerned. The surrounding moors and marshes were scarcely populated. Emden, with three to four thousand inhabitants, was its largest place but as a harbour town on the mouth of the Ems river it had no infrastructure to speak of. There were sand banks in the river and treacherous channels. It had no warehouses, and it was simply ill-equipped to handle freight. It is not surprising that Emden was never part of the prosperous Hanseatic League of Cities. The former Antwerp-merchants among the refugees were hardly jumping for joy to find themselves in such a backwater.
Until the arrival of a Lasco and his group, Emden did not even have a printing press. The town's first printing shop was established by Van den Berghe who had, in London, operated a successful business under the trade name of Nicolas Hill. In Emden, his first publication was Christlicke Ordinantien, which explained the church order used in London. While printed in the Dutch language, Van den Berghe was forced to use a Germanic typeface since he had not been able to take his own along from England. Next, he published material on such topics as the Lord's Supper, polemical (both contending with Roman Catholic and Anabaptist views) and dogmatic works, and a number of English Protestant books which were exported to England. Van den Berghe soon died but his work was continued by several other printing shops who competed fiercely with one another. With these and other publications, Emden was well on its way to become a major supplier of religious printed matter (7) and as such a major booster of Protestantism in the Dutch provinces under Spanish control. This development went hand in glove with the rise of Emden's Reformed Church which now acted as a magnet to a steady stream of refugees from the Inquisition, and which became the de facto sole mother church of all the Reformed churches in the home land (8).
Emden's Reformed Church was already established when Dutch refugees found a safe haven there. As early as 1519, Count Edzard, influenced by the reform-minded, Zwolle-born priest Georg Aportanus (Jurjen van der Deure) allowed Luther's printed work to be freely distributed. He also led the effort to establish a territorial Lutheran Church in East Friesland a few years later. The situation in Emden was complicated from the beginning, since many adherents of 'the old Church' stubbornly resisted change while others supported Aportanus who eventually became the leader of Emden's reformation. Both sides agreed to a truce with each having use of the Grosse Kirche. To Edzard's chagrin, Aportanus in his reform went far beyond his Count's lutheranism, and greatly influenced the contents of the 'Confession of the Ministers of East Friesland' in 1528.
The Reformation in Emden produced other upheavals. The arrival of Anabaptists who baptized 300 adults in the Grosse Kirche in 1529, caused another battle which resulted in Emden expelling turbulent Anabaptist preacher Melchior Hoffman and his followers, the following year. The Emden church entrenched its Reformed leanings further when it called Johan Oldeguil, a minister who opposed the Lutheran Luneburg church order. Emden also called ministers such as Cellius Faber de Bouma (Jelle Faber) and a Lasco.
Nevertheless, the town also continued to attract many Anabaptists in spite of Hoffman's expulsion. Among them were such leaders as Dirk Philips, David Joris and Menno Simons, the Frisian Baptist and Reformer, who was a moderate in the Anabaptist camp. Not surprisingly, a Lasco, who was already known for his polemical tracts, publicly challenged Simons to debate their differences. Simons fell for this idea.
Faber initiated regular ministers' meetings in which doctrinal, pastoral and theological issues were dealt with. Through this medium (called the coetus), Faber and his Emden colleagues greatly extended Reformed influence into the surrounding villages and settlements and beyond. By 1544, now over 450 years ago, Emden's church elected a Kirchenraat, the first known consistory - the body of elders who rule a church - which took (9) - without any town council representation - sole responsibility for its flock. The consistory consisted of Emden men as well as members from the Dutch refugee community (10).
With so many refugees scattered about, Emden's consistory spent endless hours supervising this foot-loose segment of its flock, meeting at the least every Monday afternoon. Those members who gave public offense also were required to publicly confess their sins which most often involved drunkenness. The consistory in later years also dealt with the issue of armed resistance against the Spanish authorities which did not meet approval at all. Another concern was church attendance: the local Anabaptist groups in Emden's suburbs had a certain attraction about them, causing some members to neglect their own worship services. The consistory also divided the responsibility for the widows and the poor among the refugees. Every sub-group, such as the Flemish, the Hollanders and the Frisians was expected to take care of their own from the general funds.
But Emden's consistory had much more on its plate. It literally shepherded most of the Dutch Reformed congregations-in-hiding; numerous are the references in its minutes regarding requests for advice on all sorts of matters, ranging from general Christian conduct to doctrinal issues (11). If such a 'church under the cross' in Spanish-held territory urgently requested a minister, Emden's consistory would try and arrange one of the many under its supervision to be sent for a given period, hoping that the man would not be betrayed and caught by the inquisitors. Through the coetus, many men were trained to become Minister of the Gospel which caused the oppressed churches after 1572 to look to Emden for supply.
Additionally, churches sent men to Emden to be trained for the ministry, and the consistory, over objections of churches-in-hiding, is known to have refused certain individuals ministerial credentials.
The fortunes of the Emden refugee community can be seen as a weather vane of the political and religious situation in the Dutch provinces. When provincial and local authorities finally forced Philip's sister and regent Margaretha of Parma to suspend the inquisition, numerous refugees returned home. Encouraged by regained freedom, Flemish and Dutch burghers in large numbers attended open air worship services, the so-called Hagepreken. Soon, consistories which had been labouring covertly demanded they get use of local churches. This development set the stage for what in Dutch history is known as the Beeldenstorm in 1566, when in numerous Flemish towns religious icons in Roman Catholic churches were destroyed by rioting bands of people. Within a short time, the same thing occurred notably in Brabant and Holland. This prompted Philip II - he ascended to the throne in 1556 - to send the Duke of Alva, upon whose arrival in the lowlands the ranks in Emden swelled.
The economic clout of Emden had grown considerably during the prelude to the 80 year religious war (1568-1648). Many of the refugees were enterprising merchants who continued to do business regardless where they lived (12). In just a few years time, Emden ranked high on the charts of, for example, the Baltic trade. Even after the normalization of English political climate in 1559 when Queen Mary's rule ended, hardly a dent was noted in Emden's position as a centre of trade. Blockades by the roving Sea Beggars(13), called Watergeuzen in Dutch, had more effect on Emden's trade however. At times banned from mooring at Emden, the 'beggars' blocked Emden's harbour and held cargo of captured ships at ransom after becoming a threat to East Friesland's security. Unwelcome in England as well, the 'beggars' eventually captured the Dutch harbour town of Brielle. Instead of ransacking it the liberation of Brielle became the lightning rod of wholesale resistance against Spanish rule.
Sixteenth century Europe saw fundamental changes in virtually every aspect of life. The Reformation had a drastic impact on the Low Countries where many political leaders took strong exception to their King's dictatorial and life-threatening decrees. In 1565-'66, the Dutch provinces enjoyed a short period of relative freedom, which ended with a spontaneous outburst of violence, an episode which became known as the Beeldenstorm. News of the impending arrival of the Duke of Alva, King Philip's new governor, was foreboding to the Lowlanders. The provinces were already suffering from increased taxation, and economic decline, and now the Inquisition would return with Alva's arrival. A large number of people fled abroad (14) while many other desperate men - the Sea Beggars - who had nothing to lose, took to the sea where these freebooters played havoc with the shipping trade.
The Sea Beggars (the Dutch call them Watergeuzen (15)), were an unruly and rough lot of men. It almost seems accidental that they earned themselves a place in Dutch history books as the lightning rod of liberation, since their reputation as a group was rather soiled. So much so, that eventually they were banned from all neighbouring foreign ports as well as from the North-German harbour of Emden where thousands of other Dutchmen found a safe haven.
Nonetheless, their April 1, 1572 capture of the Dutch harbour town of Den Briel (or Brielle) was nothing short of providential, and the turning point in the 80-year-struggle for freedom.
Notice to Lowlanders
The 1560's and '70's certainly belong to the most turbulent times in Dutch history. Until then, all attempts to restrain the Spanish king with his harsh and cruel policies had failed. Numerous protests, appeals and even a petition went unheard. Instead they were answered with an even stricter application of Royal decrees, many of which clearly violated long-established rights and privileges granted to the provinces, the cities and the nobility. The execution of two respected noblemen, both of Roman Catholic persuasion (16), served notice to Lowlanders that the King wanted more than just compliance in religious matters. The interests of his Dutch subjects were to be secondary to the aims of King Philip's empire building (17).
Prince William of Orange-Nassau, who served as Stadtholder of the Provinces Holland and Zeeland, sensed he himeself would not be safe from Alva's ruthless' rule (18). He decided to go into exile in Germany from where he worker tirelessly on the cause of freedom. Several armed incursions into Dutch territory - the one in Groningen in 1568 was led by William's brother Louis of Nassau - were defeated by superior and battle-experienced Spanish troops.
The cause of freedom looked very bleak in the late 1560's. Well-known are the stories of how Prince William attempted to raise money to finance another armed incursion by even pawning his own personal possessions. Less well-known is the fact that his agents called on Reformed refugee congregations in England and in Germany to raise funds, and to enlist men for an army (19). These agents, who represented 'the good cause' as we might call it in today's terms, nevertheless often faced a difficult and thankless task.
In the previous sections, the role of Emden's Reformed church in the context of Dutch Reformation was highlighted, but the town itself also earned a place of honour in Dutch history. On the other hand, King Philip and Alva both deeply resented Emden's hospitality to 'heretics and rebels,' and applied much diplomatic pressure - for instance at the German Diet of Speyer (1570), where all the independent kings, dukes, counts and barons met to discuss their common interests - on the East Frisian counts to stop harbouring their enemies <20). As the situation in the Lowlands deteriorated to open warfare, the East Frisian (Lutheran) counts became much more circumspect in their approach to this situation which, admittedly, could have prompted armed Spanish intervention. They tried to placate the Spanish with unconvincing assurances that they controlled the refugee situation. After that confrontation, East Friesland tried to remain neutral but the refugees remained. Gradually, the local German counts became more sympathetic to Spanish concerns but by that time Emden itself functioned much like a state within a state, ignoring or openly resisting its count's decrees.
An execution at Emden
From the foregoing it is obvious that Spanish spies as well as Prince William's agents were active in Emden. With intervals, the town was the home base to William's privateers who were commissioned by the prince to attack enemy shipping(21). As well, Sea Beggars made their home in Emden. Some of them operated under loose supervision by William's agents, others were solely out for personal gain. Efforts failed to bring the Beggars under William's control. Collectively, the Sea Beggars were not welcome in most ports, and were at times banned from Emden. In their tit-for-tat exchanges, ships owned by refugee merchants were not safe from the beggars privateering activities. At long last, it came to an armed conflict between Emden and the beggars, who even blockaded the town's harbour. Emden expelled William's agent Johan Basius that year.
That the Sea Beggars lacked friends, became painfully obvious to Emden's populace when a small Beggar fleet appeared at the mouth of the Ems with Dutch warships in pursuit. Commanded by Spanish loyalist Boschuyzen, the Dutch proceeded to corner, and capture ten Beggar-ships, while the count's new representative refused to come to their aid. When the battle was done, Emden's onlookers witnessed the cold-blooded execution of the Beggars, who had been taken prisoner. Needless to say, the townsmen felt revulsion at this sight but could do nothing about it.
Acts of civility and brutality
Early 1572, when Sea Beggar-ships had been banned from English ports - the last ones to do so - a fleet of them was cruising along the Dutch coast, on the lookout for prey. Weather forced them to seek shelter when they, on April 1, appeared in the harbour of Den Briel. In an amazing departure of their established practices, the Beggars agreed not to ransack the place if it would surrender peacefully. That Alva and his henchmen were feared more than the privateering Sea Beggars, soon became obvious as harbour town Vlissingen to the south, was next to declare itself supporting the Sea Beggars - and William of Orange, who initially was very apprehensive about this unexpected turn of events. The refugees were far less apprehensive: just eight days later 150 men from Emden reinforced Den Briel's defense, another 300 men followed a week later. London supplied 500 refugees, Norwich 125, while hundreds of others appeared from elsewhere.
Alva's attempt at recapturing Den Briel failed miserably, and with it his hold on Holland was broken for good. By the middle of May, Enkhuizen, a harbour town to the north, declared itself pro-Orange, followed by nearby Hoorn and Alkmaar. When Alva withdrew troops to deal with an emergency in the South, Delft and Rotterdam threw off the Spanish yoke. Still more refugees emerged from their hiding places, reinforcing these towns against a possible return by the enemy. Meanwhile, the Sea Beggars had not lost their appetite for vengeance and violence. When they captured the inland river town of Gorinchem, the Beggars made cruel sport with Roman-Catholic clergymen in a most barbaric way. They soiled the cause of freedom, and showed themselves to be cut of the same cloth as their tormentors.
Dutch fleet blockaded East-Frisian harbour
'Stadtholder' orders refugees to return home from Emden. The East-Frisian town of Emden played a largely unrecognized, but nevertheless very important role in sixteenth-century Dutch history. It literally served as a place of refuge for thousands of Dutchmen who fled from the much feared scrutiny of the Spanish Inquisition and Alva's Blood Council, and it was the location where the second synod (1571) of the Dutch Reformed refugee churches was held.
Intermittently, the Sea Beggars called it home as well. Unfortunately, the Beggars also turned their guns on Emden's merchant ships and even blockaded its harbour. For all its hospitality to Dutch refugees, Emden discovered that there were limits to one's gratitude.
As was reported earlier, the year 1572 was a remarkable one in Dutch history. The battle for freedom seemed hopeless with Alva's Blood Council still hauling away 'heretics,' and anyone suspected of harbouring sympathies for them. A massive exodus of refugees had been the result, causing serious upheavals in the economy. In addition embittered, privateering Sea Beggars caused havoc among coastal shipping and, by extension, food shortages in the Lowlands while thumbing their noses at Spanish authority.
Taste of freedom for harbour town
The turning point in this depressing political situation was the Sea Beggar's capture of the coastal harbour town of Den Briel on April 1. A few days later, the harbour city of Vlissingen followed into the camp of Orange. Alva failed to recapture Den Briel, and was forced to withdraw his troops from the town. This unexpected turn of events encouraged other towns and cities to follow suit, notably Enkhuizen, Hoorn, Alkmaar, Delft and Rotterdam (22).
With these defections, Spain's reputation as a world power again was challenged seriously (23). These towns pinned down Alva's army, causing him to devise ways to retake lost territory. With his king's approval, Alva decided to brutalize Dutch towns into submission by picking them off one by one. At first, this policy paid Alva dividends. In October 1572, Mechelen, now Belgian territory, surrendered unconditionally, and was promptly sacked by loot-hungry, poorly-paid Spanish troops. A month later, Alva gave the same treatment to the eastern Dutch town of Zutphen. With that action, all other towns in the area were back in Spanish hands. In December, the central Dutch town of Naarden fell to Alva, who reported to King Philip that; 'not a mother's son escaped,' Naarden's entire population had been massacred! (24) Next, Alva turned his attention to Haarlem which surrendered in July 1573, after months of resistance. The negotiated surrender proved to be worthless: Alva ordered the execution of Haarlem's garrison and a score of its citizen (25).
Diplomacy a great factor
The Dutch revolt is a fascinating history when one considers its true dimensions. However, there is far more to it than undisciplined Sea Beggars making some conquests with Alva making his rounds to restore 'order.' There is also an international, but less obvious aspect to the conflict which influenced the ongoing struggle greatly. As was reported earlier, King Philip solicited support for his cause at the gatherings of the German Diet where he put pressure on the East-Frisian counts to crack down on Emden's hospitality to Dutch refugees. Similarly, Prince William tried to gain support among German rulers. From these initial attempts the Dutch showed an adeptness at foreign diplomacy, using the often changing alliances to their best advantage. In 1571, Geldrop, a Brabander who served as rector of the Latin school at Duisburg advised Prince William that assistance from France would serve 'the cause' well. Help arrived, when in 1573, France's ambassador to Constantinople brokered peace between the Sultan of Turkey and the city of Venice, leaving Spain to shoulder the burden of continuing the costly Mediterranean conflict on its own. The effect of this situation took a while to be noticed in the Lowlands, but fighting on two fronts caused King Philip a severe financial headache which resulted in Spain's insolvency in 1575. Lowlanders were aware of Spain's problems, since Alva's troops were nearly always ready for mutiny. On paper Alva had 60,000 men under arms but by November 1576, the number had dwindled to 8,000 (26).
However, Spain was not the only one in dire need of funds. Warfare was costly to the Dutch authorities as well who faced the question how to restored order in the badly injured economy. Many refugees had returned home but numerous merchants were now using foreign ports as a base for their trade and shipping. Of course, chief beneficiary of this situation was East-Friesland's Emden, where the count proclaimed his neutrality in the conflict but at the same time was enjoying economic prosperity as a direct result of the conflict. The same could be said of many merchants who had fled to Emden but who were not returning now that their hometowns had thrown off Spanish rule. At this point Emden was more of a hindrance to the Dutch authorities, than a help now that it was so clearly profiting from their misery (27).
Emden's role reduced
Holland's provincial council concluded, that if its towns were to recover their trade, it was necessary to curb that of Emden. They were prepared to act decisively. As a first measure, Prince William ordered all the exiles from Holland and Zeeland home. A copy of this proclamation was sent to Emden's council. By April 1574, a new order was issued banning all trade with the Spanish-held provinces.A short time later, a Dutch fleet began enforcing the Prince's proclamation by patrolling Emden's harbour.
Prince William's orders proved to be very effective. In April alone, about three thousand people left Emden to return home. The town's own merchants discovered that the Dutch fleet took its orders very strict, playing havoc with its economy. Protests and appeals did not help. The blockade lasted through 1576, when the Pacification of Ghent removed its justification (28). Holland's towns recovered quickly and became very prosperous when new trade opportunities were discovered. Emden's economy had suffered, but by now its infrastructure was strong enough to withstand some heavy blows. However, it no longer sparkled with the vibrancy of the previous two decades. Eventually, Emdem's economic role was reduced to that of regional importance only.
Among the Reformed churches, Emden continued to provide leadership. As towns chose to side with Prince William, pastorless Reformed congregations would surface. Many of these churches literally begged Emden's consistory to send them pastors. In fact, many of the new Dutch pastors received their training in Emden. Additionally, much of the Reformed church polity, as it was formulated by successive synods, was first developed and practiced by refugee and East-Frisian Reformed churches. Decades later, at Dordrecht's synod of 1618-1619, Emden was represented by two ministers. Emden did not forget her turbulent years as a refugee town. In 1660, when a new doorway in the Reformed church was dedicated, a sign was added which read; 'God's kerck vervolgt, verdreven, heft God hyr trost gegeven' (29).
In recent years, there is a renewed interest in Emden with several books exploring its sixteenth century history. Emden deserve this attention. Indeed, this Northwestern German town was a very good neighbour to Dutch refugees during Holland's darkest hour.
Notes and references:
1) Charles annexed Tournai in 1521, Friesland in 1524, Drenthe and Overijssel in 1528, Utrecht and Groningen in 1536, and last but not least Gelderland in 1543.
2) Westphalia and Rhineland-Paltz come to mind here. Congregations were established at Aachen, Cleve, Cologne, Duisburg, Frankenthal, Frankfurt, Heidelburg, Wesel, and other places.
3) Colchester, King's Lyn (known for its reclamation works and polders), London, Maidstone, Norwich, Sandwich, Southampton, Thetford and Yarmouth.
4) The records of arrests provide interesting information on what these men offered for sale. The capture Jean Hacke led to a armed prison-break at Mesen in which fifty men participated. They spirited him across the Channel where the jail-breakers received a hero's welcome. However, elders at the local church condemned the action, and dismayed authorities in the Dutch provinces took even greater notice of travelers.
5) The Frisian estates forced Lindanus to stop in 1561, Groningen never allowed any inquisitor to work there, while Gelderland and Brabant obstructed their activities as much as possible.
6) Printers tried to obscure the origin of books and tracts by using a false name or by not printing one at all which made these highly profitable items an easy target for plagiarism. Antwerp printer Jacob van Liesvelt who printed the Van Liesvelt Bible was executed in 1545. However, Joos Lambrecht of Ghent escaped unscathed after having been examined by inquisitors.
7) Andrew Pettegree's book Emden and the Dutch Revolt, Exile and the Development of Reformed Protestantism, Clarendon, 1992, provides a bibliography of 240 known titles of which some went through many reprints.
8) The London-based Dutch Reformed church - when it was re-established in 1559 - advised some Dutch churches-in-hiding but in the crucial years had its own internal difficulties. One of the issues was resistance in general, but armed resistance and support for the Sea Beggars in particular.
9) By the early 17th century, Emden's town council had reversed this unique trend by asserting its influence over church matters. It is generally thought that a Lasco pushed the Emden church in this direction. He also formulated a church order, which evolved itself into the Church Order of Dordrecht (1618-1619).
10) Emden's dialect was understood by both Dutch and Flemish refugees, and presented no communication problems between the groups. Dutch-speaking refugees were added to the membership of Emden's Reformed Church but both French and English speakers had their own congregations.
11) London's Reformed church provided also such guidance, see also note 8.
12) Emden greatly benefited from their presence which is best illustrated by its monumental town hall, a copy of the one in Antwerp.
13) The term 'beggar' was coined by a councilor at the Spanish court in Brussels in 1565, when a delegation of Dutch noblemen presented a petition to Parma, requesting suspension of the Inquisition and laws against heretics. It is possible that this councilor was thinking of an English pamphlet, titled 'The Beggars' Summons' which appeared some years before when England experienced its version of the Beeldenstorm in reaction to a sermon by Reformer John Knox.
14) Immigration patterns show that the Rhineland refugee churches attracted people from the eastern Dutch provinces. The refugee congregations in England hosted mostly people from the coastal towns of Flanders, Zeeland and Holland while Emden received more people from northern Holland, Friesland and Groningen but as well harboured refugees from all other parts of the Lowlands. Antwerpen alone had 4,000 deserted homes. Estimates range from 30,000 to 60,000 refugees in 1567, but these numbers climbed as Alva's 'Blood Council' got into operation. Until its suspension in 1576, it pronounced the death penalty on more than 1,000 people, and banned many others from their hometowns.
15) See also footnote 13 in the previous issue. T.M. Lindsay in History of the Reformation explains that begging was quite common in Medieval times. Begging was an activity not limited to the poor; some monks also engaged in this practice. The Reformers were opposed to begging for any purpose. The Watergeuzen often belonged to the lower classes of nobility. Many others were the unemployable who sought to make their fortune pirating. They generally resisted any kind of authority.
16) The counts of Hoorn and Egmond sided with prince William of Orange-Nassau who, although raised at the royal court and also a practicing Roman Catholic at the time, must be seen as the one who spearheaded the opposition to Philip's dictatorial rule.
17) The Spanish kings Philip II, III and IV who fought the Dutch over the eighty year period, impoverished the Iberian peninsula, and increasingly depended on rich treasure fleets from Central America to finance their imperial policies. Their paternal ancestry originated in Flanders.
18) William's family belonged to the medieval nobility. They were counts of Nassau but had extensive holdings in the Lowlands. Although Lutheran, they sent William for his education to the imperial court of Charles V which was at Brussels. There, William received a Roman-Catholic education, and became Prince when he inherited the French principality of Orange from his childless cousin Rene. Later, after he finished his education, William was appointed Stadtholder of Holland and Zeeland.
19) Some of these agents are well-known in Dutch history. Those who called on Emden were: Hendrik van Brederode, Willem van Zuylen van Nijevelt, Philip Marnix van St. Allegonde, Dirk Sonoy, Renier Cant, Pieter Adriaensz. van der Werff - who became legendary as mayor during the Spanish seige of Leiden - and Jacob van Wesembeke. When Alva's troops defeated Louis of Nassau near Jemmingen, a short distance from Emden, he was distracted from attacking Emden by pressures elsewhere.
20) Emden's relationship with the Sea Beggars already had soured, and turned into open confrontation shortly after when the Count removed his local governor 'drost' Unico Manninga from his post. In June 1569, for example, the Beggars took a fleet of 100 grain ships hostage at Texel. This and other acts finally caused Amsterdam merchants to commit a larger part of their trade to an Emden home base. Especially during the winter of 1571, the Sea Beggars were the scourge of the Dutch shipping and fishing fleets, causing food shortages and poverty in many Dutch harbour towns, and beyond. Known in the English-speaking world as Flushing.
21) Dutch historians often point out that it was Spain which violated long-established rights and privileges. Local Dutch authorities acknowledged Prince William of Orange-Nassau as their legitimate leader, even though he was appointed by King Philip of Spain. Dutch authorities renounced their loyalty to him after Prince William was murdered in 1581. To the Dutch, the conflict is known as the Eighty Year (Religious) War (1568-1648).
22) By summer's end, among the towns only Amsterdam still had a Spanish garrison. It remained on the Spanish side till 1578.
23) The strength of Spanish garrisons in the area - which roughly encompasses today's Belgium and the Netherlands - has been estimated at 80,000 men by Geoffrey Parker, an English historian. Parker studied this conflict extensively, and researched Spanish archives. He published several books on this subject.
24) The massacre of Naarden put Dutch Roman-Catholics on notice that they would not be spared.
25) From then on, local Dutch leaders rather starved themselves then surrender to their foes.
26) Parker, in Spain and the Netherlands, quotes this information from an exchange of letters between two high-ranking Spanish officials. He especially attributes Spain's inability to retake Alkmaar (1573), Leiden (1574) and Zierikzee (1576) to mutiny among its troops.
27)For example, Emden's merchants were blamed for supplying goods that were shipped via German routes back into the Lowlands, strengthening Spanish troops that were besieging Haarlem.
28) Historians do not agree on the significance of the Pacification of Ghent. Dr. R.H. Bremmer in his book 'Reformatie en Rebellie,' Franeker, the Netherlands,'1984, summarizes it as follows:
a) peaceful religious co-existence (which banned persecution),
b) political restructuring (establishing the authority of the States-General),
c) restitution of confiscated property (which benefited William of Orange greatly). What followed from there on falls outside the perimeters of this series of articles on Emden.
29) Translated to English, the text reads: 'God's Church, persecuted and driven out, has here been given succor,' Emden and the Dutch Revolt, by Andrew Pettegree, New York, 1992.