Marnix, Philippe Van, De Ste Aldegonde
Marnix, Philippe Van, De Ste. Aldegonde, occupies a distinguished place in the history of the Netherlands during the Reformation period. He was born at Brussels in 1538, of parents thoroughly identified with the interests of their country, and was carefully educated at home, and later at Geneva under Calvin and Beza. After returning to his home in 1560, he spent six years in retirement, but became known, notwithstanding his seclusion, as a careful observer of events, and respected as a patriot and a man of honor. His devotion to the cause of the Reformation, whose influence he steadily endeavored to extend, could not remain concealed; nor could his learning, his keen understanding, and his power as a writer escape recognition. He was soon in intimate relations with the leaders of the nation, and the rapid progress of events forced him into prominence. He is universally held to be the author of the so-called compromise (about 1565-66) by which the nobles and others pledged themselves to resist, by all lawful means, the introduction of the Inquisition. The league soon attained such proportions that it dared to present (April 5, 1566) a petition to the regent for the suppression of the institution. Soon after, when Protestant field-preaching was introduced, he placed himself at the head of the movement, and insisted that the Protestants should be permitted to worship in Antwerp itself. On the 19th of August an iconoclastic mob destroyed the many works of art that adorned the churches, etc., of Antwerp, and the regent, in alarm, permitted Protestant worship in specified places; and under this sanction the first synod of the Walloon churches assembled in Antwerp Oct. 26, 1566. Marnix presided, and by his influence contributed to the adoption of the reformed confession, by which event the Calvinists acquired a pre- eminence that still continues. The government now adopted more energetic measures to restrain the Protestants, by placing garrisons in important towns, and even besieging such as refused to admit them. This was the case at Valenciennes; and Marnix, while seeking to aid the beleaguered city, was defeated, his brother killed, himself banished, and his property confiscated. During his exile he was influential in converting William of Orange and Nassau to the Protestant faith, and formed a connection with him that was only dissolved by death. In the mean time, however, Marnix had entered the service of the Palatine Frederick III, and fixed his residence at Heidelberg, where he was largely engaged in theological investigations; but, with the consent of the elector, he was often employed in the affairs of his own country, under the direction of the prince of Orange, being present at the defeat of Louis of Nassau at Jemmingen in July, 1568, etc. He attended the synod of the exiled clergy at Wesel in November, 1568, and his influence is seen in the constitution of the Church then adopted. A second important synod was held at Emden, Oct. 4 to 14, 1571, at which Marnix was also present, and which selected him to write a history of recent events in the Netherlands; but the needs of his country prevented the execution of this task. In July, 1572, he was sent by the prince of Orange to confer with the delegates of Holland, who were assembled at Dort, and succeeded in inducing them to pledge their readiness to make every sacrifice to throw off the Spanish yoke. Thenceforward his activity was incessant. He was taken prisoner by the Spaniards in November, 1573, but his life was spared, as the prince of Orange had threatened to retaliate. and Requesens, successor to the duke of Alba, employed him in an attempt to negotiate a peace, which was defeated by the sagacity of Orange. A similar office, undertaken after his exchange on the order of the prince of Orange, likewise failed, as did his mission to induce queen Elizabeth of England to accept the sovereignty of the Netherlands. He assisted in the negotiations that resulted in the "Pacification of Ghent" in November, 1576, and in the formation of the second union between the provinces at Brussels in December, 1577. In May, 1578, he represented the Netherlands at the Diet of Worms, and prevailed on the German states to remain neutral in the contest with Spain. In the mean time religious intolerance had led to grioss outrages among his countrymen, and the bitter feeling between the parties threatened ruin to the union that had been secured with so much effort. An attempt to reconcile these differences, in which he was engaged on his return, failed, and several of the Roman Catholic provinces withdrew, and placed themselves and their religion under Spanish protection. An alliance with France was now thought of, and Marnix exerted his influence successfully to induce the states-general to offer the crown to Francis, duke of Anjou-Alenon. This prince reached Antwerp on Feb. 19, 1572; but an attempt to seize Antwerp and other important towns led to his expulsion from the land before he had reigned a year, and both Orange and Marnix were suspected of connivance with the French. In consequence, Marnix retired from public life; but the progress of the Spaniards, under the duke of Parma, induced William of Orange to recall him, and he was appointed to the office of first burgomaster of Antwerp, in order that he might direct its defense. He entered on its duties Nov. 15, 1583, and a few days later the siege began. It was continued until Aug. 17, 1585, when the city honorably capitulated. With this event his political career was ended, and he retired to his estates, devoting himself' mainly to theological studies. In 1596, having been appointed by the states-general to translate the Bible into Dutch, he removed to Leyden, in order to avail himself of its library, and of the assistance of his friends Scaliger, Lipsius, Jeunius, and others. He only lived, however, to complete the book of Genesis. He died Dec. 15, 1598. "He was." says Motley, "a man of most rare and versatile genius- scholar, theologian, diplomatist, swordsman, orator, pamphleteer; he had genius for all things, and was eminent in all." The theological works of Van Marnix were chiefly of a polemical character. The principal one, The Bee- hive, is a satire after the manner of Von Huttsen, and written in the style of Rabelais. It was probably intended to promote a reconciliation between the Romish an thee Protestant provinces of his country. Another able contribution is his Tableau des differences de la religion (1669, and often). A complete edition of his works, in 8 vols., was published at Brussels, 1857-60, under the title (Euvres de Philippians de Marnix de Ste. Aldegonde; vol. iv contains a brief memoir, and a notice bibliographique. His life has been frequently written; among others, Th. Juste has treated it in connection with his studies of the Netherlands (1858). Motley's Rise of the Dutch Republic, and Hist. of the United Netherlands, vol. 1, chap. 3, are valuable aids to the study of this career. See also Prins, Leven van P. v. Marznix (1782); Dresselhuis, F. v. Marnix
(1832); Broes, F. v. Marnix (1838-40, 2 vols. 8vo); Herzog, Real- Encyklop. 20:96 sq.; Edgar Quinet, in the Revue des deux Mondes, 1854.