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The Rise of the Dutch Republic — Complete (1555-66)
written by "Motley, John Lothrop, 1814-1877"
...ell be doubted whether any nocturnal attempt would have been likely to escape the vigilance of Egmont. With regard to his delay at Dunkerk, it was asserted that he had been instructed to await in that place the junction with the Due de Guise, which had been previously arranged. But for the criminal and, then, inexplicable languor which characterized that commander's movements, after the capture of Thionville, the honor of France might still have been saved. Whatever might have been the faults of De Thermes or of Guise, there could be little doubt as to the merit of Egmont. Thus within eleven months of the battle of Saint Quentin, had the Dutch hero gained another victory so decisive as to settle the fate of the war, and to elevate his sovereign to a position from which he might dictate the terms of a triumphant peace. The opening scenes of Philip's reign were rendered as brilliant as the proudest days of the Emperor's career, while the provinces were enraptured with the prospect of early peace. To whom, then, was the sacred debt of national and royal gratitude due but to Lamoral of Egmont? His countrymen gladly recognized the claim. He became the idol of the army; the familiar hero of ballad and story; the mirror of chivalry, and the god of popular worship. Throughout the Netherlands he was hailed as the right hand of the fatherland, the saviour of Flanders from devastation and outrage, the protector of the nation, the pillar of the throne. The victor gained many friends by his victory, and one enemy. The bitterness of that foe was likely, in the future, to outweigh all the plaudits of his friends. The Duke of Alva had strongly advised against giving battle to De Thermes. He depreciated the triumph after it had been gained, by reflections upon the consequences which would have flowed, had a defeat been suffered instead. He even held this language to Egmont himself after his return to Brussels. The conqueror, flushed with his glor...

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