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History of the Revolt of the Netherlands — Volume 01
Of those important political events which make the sixteenth century to take rank among the brightest of the world's epochs, the foundation of the freedom of the Netherlands appears to me one of the most remarkable. If the glittering exploits of ambition and the pernicious lust of power claim our admiration, how much more so should an event in which oppressed humanity struggled for its noblest rights, where with the good cause unwonted powers were united, and the resources of resolute despair triumphed in unequal contest over the terrible arts of tyranny. Great and encouraging is the reflection that there is a resource left us against the arrogant usurpations of despotic power; that its best- contrived plans against the liberty of mankind may be frustrated; that resolute opposition can weaken even the outstretched arm of tyranny; and that heroic perseverance can eventually exhaust its fearful resources. Never did this truth affect me so sensibly as in tracing the history of that memorable rebellion which forever severed the United Netherlands from the Spanish Crown. Therefore I thought it not unworth the while to attempt to exhibit to the world this grand memorial of social union, in the hope that it may awaken in the breast of my reader a spirit-stirring consciousness of his own powers, and give a new and irrefragible example of what in a good cause men may both dare and venture, and what by union they may accomplish. It is not the extraordinary or heroic features of this event that induce me to describe it. The annals of the world record perhaps many similar enterprises, which may have been even bolder in the conception and more brilliant in the execution. Some states have fallen after a nobler struggle; others have risen with more exalted strides. Nor are we here to look for eminent heroes, colossal talents, or those marvellous exploits which the history of past times presents in such rich abundance. Those times are gone; such men are no more. In the soft lap of refinement we have suffered the energetic powers to become enervate which those ages called into action and rendered indispensable. With admiring awe we wonder at these gigantic images of the past as a feeble old man gazes on the athletic sports of youth. Not so, however, in the history before us. The people here presented to our notice were the most peaceful in our quarter of the globe, and less capable than their neighbors of that heroic spirit which stamps a lofty character even on the most insignificant actions. The pressure of circumstances with its peculiar influence surprised them and forced a transitory greatness upon them, which they never could have possessed and perhaps will never possess again. It is, indeed, exactly this want of heroic grandeur which renders this event peculiarly instructive; and while others aim at showing the superiority of genius over chance, I shall here paint a scene where necessity creates genius and accident makes heroes. ......Buy Now (To Read More)
Ebook Number: 6776
Author: Schiller, Friedrich
Release Date: Oct 1, 2004
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