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an easterly direction from England, and separated from it by the German Ocean, lies that part of the continent called by the general name of the Netherlandsa country of comparatively small extent, but exceedingly

populous, and possessing a large number of towns and cities. It derives the name of Netherlands from its consisting of a low tract of level ground on the shore of the German Ocean, and, from general appearances, is believed to have been formed of an alluvial deposit from the waters of the Rhine, the Meuse, the Scheldt, and other rivers. In the first stage of its formation, the land was for the greater part a species of swamp, but by dint of great perseverance, it has in the course of ages been drained and embanked, so as to exclude the ocean, and prevent the rivers and canals from overflowing their boundaries.

The industriously disposed people, a branch of the great German or Teutonic family, who have thus rendered their country habitable and productive, did not get leave to enjoy their conquests in peace. They had from an early period to defend themselves against warlike neighbours, who wished to appropriate their country, and in later times—the sixteenth century-after attaining great opulence by their skill in the arts and the general integrity of their character, they were exposed to a new calamity in the bigotry of their rulers. There now ensued a struggle for civil and religious liberty of great

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importance and interest; and to an account of its leading particulars we propose to devote the present paper.

Divided into a number of provinces, each governed by its own duke, count, or bishop, a succession of circumstances in the fifteenth century brought the whole of the Netherlands into the possession of the family of Burgundy. But in the year 1477, Charles, Duke of Burgundy, being killed in the battle of Nancy, the Netherlands were inherited by his daughter Mary, who, marrying Maximilian, son of Frederick III., emperor of Austria, died soon after, leaving an infant son, Philip. In 1494, this Philip, known by the name of Philip the Fair, assumed the government of the Netherlands. Shortly afterwards hé married Joanna, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, the joint sovereigns of Spain; and in 1506 he died, leaving a young son, Charles. In this manner, handed by family inheritance from one to another, the Netherlands became a possession of the crown of Spain, although hundreds of miles distant from the Spanish territory. Charles, in whom this possession centered, was, on the death of Maximilian in 1519, elected emperor of Germany, and, under the title of Charles V., became one of the most powerful monarchs in Europe. His sway extended over Spain, Germany, Naples, the Netherlands, and several other minor states in Europe, besides all the colonies and conquests of Spain in Asia, Africa, and America. One might expect that the Netherlands, forming as they did but a very insignificant portion of this immense empire, would suffer from being under the same government with so many other states : but Charles V. had been born in the Netherlands; he liked its people, and was acquainted with their character; and therefore, while he governed the rest of his dominions with a strict and sometimes a despotic hand, he respected almost lovingly the ancient laws and the strong libertyfeeling of his people of the Netherlands. The only exception of any consequence was his persecution of those who had embraced the doctrines of the Reformation. As emperor of Germany, he had conceived himself bound to adopt vigorous measures to suppress

the opinions promulgated by Luther; and when, in spite of his efforts, the heresy spread all round, and infected the Netherlands, he did his best for some time to root it out there also. The number of those who, in the Netherlands, suffered death for their religion during the reign of Charles V., is stated by the old historians at 50,000. Towards the end of his reign, however, he relaxed these severities.

In 1555, Charles V., worn out by the cares of his long reign, resigned his sovereignty, and retired to a monastery. His large empire was now divided into two. His brother Ferdinand was created emperor of Germany; and the rest of his dominions, including Spain and the Netherlands, were inherited by his son, Philip II.

Philip was born at Valladolid, in Spain, in the year 1521.

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