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NTWERP, the chief seaport of Belgium, St. Peter's, and St. Paul's, and others, with their
visitor, and still more for the student of history. tion, and especially the world-renowned cathe
Its unique situation and surroundings; its dral, with its sweet carillon of bells, its lofty spire magnificent wall and fortifications; its extensive —the highest but one in Europe, and equaled zoological gardens, unsurpassed by any in Eu- by none in grandeur, grace, and beauty, nor in rope ; its Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the re- the enchanting view afforded from its pinnacle ; sort of pupils from all parts of Europe and the quaint old Dutch and Spanish houses, with America ; its museum of paintings, containing their gable fronts and iron-grated windows; its the masterpieces of Matsys, Rubens, Vandyck, narrow, crooked streets, with an image of the and others of the Flemish school ; its old public Virgin at all the principal corners, and on all the buildings, remarkable alike as relics of antiquity public pumps in the open spaces at their crossand for the thrilling events that have occurred in ing, with the pendent lantern burning perpetually and around them; the grim old Steen, that hor- in silent homage to the patron goddess of the rid prison-house of the Inquisition, whose dark, city; the bi-weekly street markets in the middle damp, dismal walls have echoed the groans and of the thoroughfare, taking full possession of it witnessed the dying struggles of so many vic- for half of the day, at which all sorts of mertims; the Van Liere house, the palace of the an- chandise are exposed for sale, principally by wocient burgomaster whose name it bears, which men dressed in the unique costume of the olden Albert Dürer describes as the most splendid time, with their rude wooden shoes, their funny private house he had ever seen, and where old straw bonnets, and white lace caps with Charles V. had his residence in 1521—now used broad, flowing lappels dropping down to their as a military hospital; the old Hanseatic house, shoulders, underneath which are faintly seen iman immense rectangular edifice, built by the mense masses of gold and silver jewelry; the Hanse towns of Germany in 1568 as a factory numerous dog-carts of the butcher, the baker, for their once extensive commerce with this port, the milk-woman, each drawn by one large dog, now used for storing goods, for public offices, or in case of heavier loads by half a dozen or and three of its best rooms by the American more; the superb, elephantine horses of the draySeamen's Friend Society, and British and Foreign men, and the simple, awkward gear by which Sailors' Society, conjointly, for a chapel and read- they are attached to their ponderous trucks; the ing-room for sailors;* its many famous churches, capacious docks and entrepots for the accommoSt. Jacques's, where the remains of Rubens and dation of the shipping; the quays along the cityhis family are interred, St. Andrew's, St. Charles's, front, shaded by trees; the high embankments
along the river, throughout its whole course of * Since writing the above, we learn that this building sixty miles to its mouth, by which the meadows -now more than three hundred years old—is soon to be or polders, far below the surface-level of the tide, demolished to make way for modern improvements, and are protected from the overflow of its waters; that the American and English seamen who have, by the and the Scheldt itself, a river deep enough for liberality of the Belgian Government, had their quarters here for the last ten years free of charge, have recently the largest vessels, and broad enough for a whole removed to a new building provided expressly for them fleet at once, where float the flags of all nations by their friends.
-all these, and many other objects, will be inVOL. VII.-25
teresting to the curious visitor. But this old in the sixteenth century, besides many lesser city is chiefly interesting for its checkered his- furies that can not be mentioned, viz., the Iconotory and vicissitudes of fortune.
clastic fury at the hands of a fanatical mob goaded Perhaps there is no city in Christendom that to madness by persecution, in which the great has seen more changes, that has had more mas- cathedral and other churches were despoiled of ters, and has been the theatre of more stirring their pictures and images; the Spanish fury, at scenes, than the city of Antwerp.
the hands of the unpaid soldiery of Philip II.; From its position at the principal northern and the French fury by the followers of the doorway to the continent, and midway between treacherous Duke of Anjou. And, more than all, the contending forces of Eastern and Western it suffered all the horrors of the Spanish InquisiEurope, it has been more or less involved in all tion, which was here in operation through a long their conflicts, and has been the scene of frequent series of years. In short, it has passed through carnage, and the very object of strife in many the whole gamut of changes, from an insignifia bloody battle. Kings and emperors have led cant bourg to the highest pinnacle of commercial their advancing or retreating armies through its splendor, and down again to the position of a streets, and fought desperate battles within its poor provincial town, lying like a captive with gates, and encamped around its walls.
hands and feet bound for nearly two centuries ; Edward III., of England, spent a whole year and now again, released, it is seen coming forhere in mustering his forces, and in waging war ward to the front rank and claiming to be one of with France. Here the peerless Prince of Orange, the leading commercial cities of the continent. William of Nassau, the indomitable leader of the rebellion against Papal and Spanish tyranny- The early history of Antwerp is veiled in obwhich finally gave liberty to seven of the Nether- scurity and lost in fable. Tradition, ambitious land provinces, and should have given it to the of antiquity, carries us back to a remote age, whole seventeen-had his headquarters. It was long before the Christian era, and tells us of a here, with a price set on his head, and the bless- giant called Antigon, who had his castle on the ing of the Pope guaranteed to the murderer, that banks of the Scheldt, where the city now stands, the first attempt on his life was made, which and levied tribute upon all who sailed up the proved so nearly fatal, and which, after being river, and cut off the right hands of all who refour times repeated within two years, at last suc- fused payment. Hence the name of the city Handceeded in depriving the cause of civil and reli- werpen, and by contraction, Antwerp. There gious liberty of one of its noblest heroes and was another giant called Brabo, who conquered defenders.
him, and threw him into the river; from him the Here the Reformation, under Luther, num- national appellation Brabant is derived. These bered its first martyrs, Henry Voes and John fabulous traditions have their origin, no doubt, Esch; and after them comes a long catalogue in the early conflicts of the rude people inhabitof others, who were butchered in the streets, ing this region; and they are kept alive by the burned in the public squares, smothered in the occasional exhibition of monstrous images of slimy caves of the Steen, buried alive, drowned these giants, and other mythical monsters, drawn in the Scheldt inclosed in sacks or tied back to through the streets of the city on fête-days, to back, two or four or half a dozen in a bunch, the amazement of the superstitious and half-credwhose names, though not found in the pages of ulous crowd of beholders. history, are recorded on high among the heroes Coming down to the historic times of Julius of whom the world was not worthy. Here John Cæsar, we find the Menapians, a warlike tribe, Rogers, the famous English martyr, preached to whom he calls “the rudest and bravest of the his countrymen, though the honor of crowning Gauls," occupying this particular locality. They him belongs to his countrymen at home. It was long resisted his efforts to conquer them. But here also that William Tyndale defied the power after many bloody battles, in which he suffered of Henry VIII., and foiled the espionage of Wol- severely, they finally fell before the superior powsey, by printing his English Bible and smuggling er of his disciplined troops, and were incorporated it into England, and here he was treacherously into his universal empire, and followed its fortunes arrested and led to prison, from which he was for a few generations. brought out only to be burned at the stake, in At length this heterogeneous empire is overthe neighboring town of Vilvorde.
whelmed and broken up. Wild hordes of Goths The city has been frequently besieged, sev- and Huns and Vandals come rushing down from eral times bombarded, and more than once has their northern reservoirs, like waters that have it been sacked and burned, and its inhabitants burst their barriers, carrying desolation in their given over to outrage and slaughter.
path. The whole continent is thrown into disIt was swept by three great furies, so called, order. Fragmentary masses of men are seen
moving to and fro in every direction; the Fri- titulary rulers was the famous Godfrey de Bouilsians, the Saxons, the Sarmatians, the Slavo- lon, a leader in the first Crusade, and afterward nians, the Allemanians, the Franks, the Suevi, the King of Jerusalem. Quadi, Heruli, and other clans, led on by their We have come now to the midnight of the warrior chiefs, crossing each other's track, invad- dark ages. The Papacy is in the zenith of its ing each other's territory, eager for blood and power. The Pope sits on his throne in the Eterbooty; now engaging in fierce conflicts with nal City, as God's vicegerent on earth. He each other, now uniting their forces against a holds both the temporal and spiritual destiny of common enemy, and now mingling in inexpli- kings and people in his hands. His favor is cable confusion, till at last Charlemagne, in the life; his frown is death. Ignorance, superstition, beginning of the ninth century, rises out of the and blind devotion pervade all minds. The dark chaos to restore order, and reform the Empire of pall of spiritual death rests upon the whole of the West. Born in the immediate vicinity of Christendom—so called. There is only here and this city, and crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle, a few there a glimmering light, which but serves to leagues distant, where he had his northern capi- make the darkness visible. Some mighty contal, the influence of his master mind was here vulsion is needed to rouse the people from their especially felt.
lethargy, and move them to thought and action. At this period the bourg of Antwerp is seen This was found in that movement or series of boldly rising from the lagoons and marshes of movements, running through nearly two centhe Scheldt, and fortifying itself by embankments turies, which swept like a whirlwind over all Euand high walls against the incursions of the deso- rope, taking possession of every mind, and stirring lating flood of waters on the one side and of society to its lowest depths—called the Crusades. human foes on the other, while the inhabitants The Mohammedan Turks had taken possespeaceably and securely pursue their own affairs sion of the holy city of Jerusalem. The sepulchre within.
of our Lord was in their infidel hands. Christian Charlemagne dies, and again the empire is pilgrims were exposed to insult and outrage. broken into fragments, and is divided among his This is a shame that can not be endured. The contending successors, none of whom are wise sacred city and the tomb of our Lord must be enough or strong enough, in that rude age, to rescued from their power at all hazards. Peter organize a stable government.
the Hermit, commissioned by the Pope, like a Now comes the Norman invasion. The Scan- messenger from the other world, gaunt and pale dinavians overflow this whole region, and hold with austerity and fasting, his body covered with the inhabitants in terror for half a century. They sackcloth, his head and feet bare, with an earnest sail up the river and take forcible possession of heart and an eloquent tongue, and with fire in this fortified bourg. It is pillaged and burned. his eyes, holding aloft the cross, goes from kingAt length, after a most bloody conflict, they are dom to kingdom, from city to city, from hamlet driven off, and Antwerp is again built on a more to hamlet, entering palaces and hovels alike, acextensive scale, and is more strongly fortified. costing every one he meets, rallying the people, The process of disintegration goes on through- young and old, men, women, and children everyout all Central and Western Europe. There is where to the rescue. no commanding mind that is able to seize upon The Pope promises full absolution and plenary these fragmentary forces and unite and control indulgence to all who will engage in the enterthem.
prise. A wild frenzy seizes upon all minds; The feudal system springs up. The territory multitudes of both sexes and of all ages flock over which Charlemagne had held sway, and to the standard of the cross, as it is carried which had been divided among his successors, through the land, and in swelling crowds adis again divided and subdivided, like an immense vance toward the far-off Holy Land. But here is farm among the many heirs of its deceased pro- no place to describe these mad expeditions, and prietor, and falls under the government of nu- the deluded multitudes that engaged in them, merous chiefs, called dukes, earls, marquises, nor to tell of their wanderings, their sufferings, counts, etc. Each one of them is a liege lord in their conflicts, and of the few who lived to rehis own petty realm, while he in turn owes alle- turn. giance, more or less explicit, to some superior Among the chief leaders of the first Crusade sovereign. These estates become hereditary in was the Marquis of Antwerp, Godfrey de Bouilthe families of the nobles who hold them, while lon. His feudal city contributed, no doubt, her the people under them are but serfs or slaves, full quota of victims for this sacrifice; but how possessing only such immunities as they can ex- many, and how they fared, history gives us no tort from their rulers. Under this arrangement particular record. Antwerp becomes a marquisate. Among its early These fanatical movements, that so wonderfully stirred the popular mind, these wild expedi- gated. Manufacturers and traders from all the tions made without order or foresight; these suf- countries in Europe had their factories here. ferings and sacrifices, were not altogether in vain. “A great traffic was carried on in bills of exThe Crusades did much to change the whole face change. Antwerp, in short, became the bankof society, to infuse new ideas into the minds of ing-house of Europe. The capitalists, the Rothsmen, and to give a new direction to their thoughts childs of their day, whose dealings were with and efforts. A new era dawns. It begins to be sovereign princes, fixed their abode at Antwerp, light. The people begin to open their eyes and which was to the rest of Europe in the sixteenth ask to be fed with knowledge and truth. They century what London is in the nineteenth cenare no longer satisfied with fables. Their fetters tury—the great heart of commercial circulation” gall them as never before. They come to see (Prescott). that they have individual rights as well as their “ It was difficult to find a child of sufficient lords, and they demand them. Conflicts ensue. age who could not read, write, and speak at least Concessions are made. Old customs and prerog- two languages. The sons of the wealthier citizens atives are abolished. New privileges are granted. completed their education at Louvain, Douay, The voice of the people begins to be heard in the Paris
, or Padua" (Motley). Returning from government that is over them. Free charters abroad, they brought with them the new religious are demanded by many of the commercial cities— ideas that were beginning to prevail at these centhe chief centers of intelligence and free thought. ters of learning. Among the merchants from Among them Antwerp is one of the first to rec- abroad, the disciples of Huss of Bohemia, Wycognize her rights and to claim them. She gets lif of England, and of the Waldenses and Huwhat she claims; and is soon seen coming to the guenots of France and Southern Europe, were front as one of the most free, flourishing com- here to be found in considerable numbers. mercial cities in Europe, or indeed in the world The preaching of Luther and of Zwingli was at that time.
beginning to excite attention.
The same corMovable types and the printing-press are ruptions against which they were protesting had now invented. Learning begins to revive. Books here already awakened opposition. The people are multiplied, and the people learn to read them. had become too much enlightened and too inThe new passage to the Indies, by the way of telligent to endure them. They demanded a the Cape of Good Hope, is found out. A new purer priesthood and a more spiritual religion. continent is discovered. The whole current of The teachings of the Bible could no longer be trade is changed. The old cities of Venice, withheld entirely from the knowledge of the peoVerona, Genoa, Nuremberg, and other commer- ple. They were eager for further instruction. cial centers, have reached the height of their Evangelical truth had already taken possession prosperity. They now begin to decline. But of many hearts, and the Reformation had fairly Antwerp rises on the full tide of prosperity. The begun. sister cities of Ghent and Bruges go down before Seven centuries had now elapsed since Charlethe superior advantages of her position. As they magne held the scepter of the Western Empire. decline, “ Antwerp, with her deep, convenient The scattered fragments of his vast empire are river, stretches her arms to the ocean and catches now to be united, in great part, under the relentthe golden prize as it falls from her sister cities' less despotism of Charles V., sometimes called grasp,” and comes to be the acknowledged lead- Charlemagne II. ing commercial city of the world; the mart for During this long interval, Antwerp, with the the exchange of the products of all nations. “No adjacent provinces lying midway between the city except Paris surpasses it in population, none eastern and western Franks, passes from one approaches it in commercial splendor" (Motley). party to the other, and from one royal house to Twenty-five hundred vessels from all parts of the another, till it falls, in 1384, to the Dukes of Burworld, laden with merchandise, receiving or dis- gundy. Another century, and Mary, who is the charging their cargoes, or waiting for their turn, sole heir of this rich inheritance, marries Maxiare often seen in the river at the same time. milian, of the house of Austria, and Philip, their Four or five hundred come in and go out at son, uniting the two houses of Burgundy and every tide. Two thousand wagons loaded with Austria in himself, marries Jeannie, the daughter goods, and all sorts of wares, besides many peas- of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, and Charles ant-carts and pleasure-carriages, pass through V. is born of this union in 1500, and by inheriher gates every day.
tance comes to be King of Spain, Sicily, and JeruAt her stately Exchange, said to have been salem, Duke of Milan and Burgundy, including the most magnificent in the world, and the model the seventeen Netherland provinces, dominator of the noblest that have since been built in other in Asia, Africa, and the newly discovered terricountries, five thousand merchants daily congre- tories in America; and, at the age of nineteen years, is elected Emperor of Germany and King Nothing remained but to close her harbor, of Rome; so while yet in his minority he be- which was soon done, and she fell to the condicomes the autocrat of nearly half the world. tion of a poor provincial town; and for two cen
Born, reared, and crowned in the immediate turies she continued to exist only to serve as a vicinity of Antwerp, it might have been supposed bone of contention or as a football between the that Charles would have been proud of the glory contending nations of Europe. of this queen city of his mighty realm, and have A French writer says of Antwerp during this cherished its prosperity. But its free spirit was period: “Ten thousand houses are vacant; the intolerable to his bigoted soul, and he set him- grass grows in her streets; the country is inself, with all the resources he could command, fested by wolves; the fields are uncultivated. to the work of crushing out the liberties of the Only monks, mendicants, and robbers traverse people, and extinguishing the light of evangelical her highways that were once so full of life. Metruth that had already begun to shine; and he morial crosses, planted along the public roads, did his work so thoroughly that, when he and everywhere bear silent testimony to the numerous his son Philip, his successor - both the most assassinations that are committed. In a word, servile and willing vassals of the Pope—had fin- the dark ages have returned. Ignorance, bruished their long and cruel reigns, the glory of tality, and desolation reign on every side." Antwerp had departed : her trade had been Meanwhile the seven provinces at the north, ruined; her merchants despoiled of their wealth; now included under the general name of Holtheir storehouses were closed and vacant; their land, having shared in all the earlier persecutions magnificent bourse, so recently alive with the of their sister provinces, under the wise leadcommercial business of all nations, was almost a ership of the indomitable William of Nassau, solitude; her manufacturers and artisans had Aed Prince of Orange, and his successors, partly from to England * and other lands, where they were the greater security of their position, and partly, encouraged to resume the labors they could no perhaps, because of their greater pluck and longer pursue at home: these were among her power of endurance, had succeeded in shaking most worthy and enterprising citizens. Others off the Spanish yoke, and securing to themselves were put to death, under every form of cruel civil and religious freedom. They became at torture.
once an asylum for exiles from Antwerp and After nearly a century of holy discipline, im- other parts of this poor afflicted country—and, posed upon two or three successive generations indeed, from other lands, as our Pilgrim Fathers of sufferers, with the aid of the Inquisition, the could testify. The industrious citizens of Antmoiety, disheartened, weakened, demoralized by werp, fleeing thither in large numbers, took their suffering, and the loss of their leaders, gave up business with them, and, as the trade of this city the contest, and became the submissive and silent fell off, Amsterdam and Rotterdam profited by subjects of their “Most Catholic" oppressors. her misfortunes, and soon in their turn became As sometimes a victim of torture, weary of use- great centers of a world-wide commerce. The less resistance, and weakened by pain and loss Dutch Republic rose rapidly into prosperity, and of blood, when all hope is gone, recants his al- soon came to be known and recognized as the leged errors, and professes submission and con- most flourishing maritime nation in the world. formity to the behests of the persecuting power The remaining ten Netherland provinces, that holds him fast in her clutches, so Antwerp, hereafter known as Belgium, now shorn of their despoiled of her wealth, her liberties destroyed, strength and beauty and greatly depopulated, her trade gone, exhausted by long-continued were given by Philip II., at his decease in 1698, persecution, betrayed by her sworn protectors, to his daughter and her cardinal husband, to and deluded by false promises, submitted at last whom a dispensation to marry had been granted, to the chains that were riveted upon her limbs, and they jointly reign as Albert and Isabella yielded the principle of religious freedom, which over Antwerp and the poor remnants of this she had so long and so nobly striven to maintain, once prosperous country till their death, when, and humbly promised to return to the bosom of in default of heirs, the inheritance reverts once the mother Church, and to receive, entertain, tol- more to the crown of Spain. erate, and practice no other religion but that of During the century that followed, the French, the Holy Catholic Church. No one can say that who had always coveted this domain, made sevher promise has not been well kept ; for to this eral attempts to gain possession, which were sucday it remains one of the most devoted Catholic cessful only in part. cities in all Christendom.
In the very beginning of the next century-in * According to Prescott, the number who fled to
1700—Louis XIV. of France claimed it as the London, Sandwich, Norfolk, and other English towns, rightful heritage of his grandson, the Duke of was thirty thousand.
Anjou, and occupied and ruled it in his name,