the king sent the >duke of Alva
and a large army to these provinces to suppress their liberties.
The duke was notorious for his severity and cruelty, he was
one of the principal enemies of these countries and was accompanied
by advisers of the same nature and mentality.
||| Detail of Alba |
duke of Alva entered these countries without meeting any resistance
and was received by their poor inhabitants
>with great respect and honour. They expected only mercy
and clemency, for in his letters the king had often hypocritically
promised them this. [...] [T]he duke of Alva who was a foreigner
and not related to the king, declared immediately upon his arrival
that the king had appointed him commander-in-chief, and shortly
afterwards even governor-general of the country. This was contrary
to the privileges and ancient traditions. And making his intentions
quite clear he immediately put troops into the principal towns
and fortresses and built castles and fortifications in the most
important and powerful towns to keep them subdued. On behalf
of the king and in kindly terms he bade the highest nobles come
to him under the pretext of needing their advice and of wishing
to employ them in the service of the country. But those who
complied with his invitation were imprisoned and contrary to
the privileges removed from Brabant where they had been seized.
>He had them tried before him although he was not competent
to be their judge, and then, without completing their trial,
sentenced them to death and >had
them publicly and ignominously executed
[this link will take you to the pictorial material page
- please follow the instructions at the top]. Others, more
aware of the hypocrisy of the Spaniards, left the country but
were for this condemned by Alva to forfeit their life and possessions.
Thus the poor inhabitants, having lost their fortresses and
the princes who could defend their freedom, would be helpless
in the face of Spanish violence.