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Fourth Fragment :

Next in the list of grievances is the story of the >Pacification of Ghent (8 November 1576). In the Pacification the southern provinces and the Protestant provinces of Holland and Zeeland agreed upon the terms on which they would accept peace with Spain; the conditions included bringing an end to religious persecution; the departure of foreign soldiers and functionaries; and the confirmation of all privileges. Next is a passage on the misbehaviour of the new governor-general, Don Juan of Austria, who upon his arrival swore to uphold the Pacification of Ghent but hopes of a settlement were soon to be destroyed, according to the document, because of his deceit. It is alleged that his real intentions had always been to start the war again. For a short biographical note on Don Juan of Austria, click >here.



All this has given us more than enough legitimate reasons for abandoning the king of Spain and for asking another powerful and merciful prince to protect and defend these provinces. This is particularly clear because for more than twenty years during all these troubles and disorders >these provinces have been abandoned by their king and been treated not as subjects but as enemies, whom their lord sought to subdue by force of arms [...].

innocent child | Detail of an innocent child |

Nevertheless we have not ceased to attempt through humble letters and through the mediation of the >most important princes of Christendom to reconcile ourselves and to make peace with the king. Indeed, until quite recently we kept envoys in >Cologne, hoping that through the mediation of His Imperial Majesty and the Electors who took part in the negotiations we might obtain a firm peace guaranteeing some freedom granted in mercy [...].

The document concludes with the story of the ban of Philip II against William of Orange (March 1580). >>Then follow the reasons why the States General can no longer accept Philip II as their legal ruler. The final passages of the document include the actual decree that Philip II was no longer sovereign of the Netherlands. This act was the logical culmination of the Revolt which had now come to be a war of independence.
And within a few years it would also come to be a fight between a Calvinist regime (in the North) against areas reconciled or reconquered by Spain and ruled by Roman Catholics (in the South).