Orange's Position in 1576
- Early in 1576, he appeared a spent force.
- He had established a relationship with the estates as stadholder and had altered his religious views to fit in with the changing religious balance of power in the north.
- He had successfully defended the rebel provinces against Philip's armies.
- However, there was little chance he could break through the line of garrisons which hemmed him in and go on the offensive.
- At Mook in 1574, Orange's last major engagement with the Spanish, he had been pitifully crushed.
- Guerrilla actions and successful war of defence did not amount to a final victory.
- Plight recognised abroad, Elizabeth regarded his chances of victory as slender so did not send any aid.
- 'Abandoned by the world'; 'defending ourselves even to the last man', recognised it himself.
- Contribution to the coup of 4th September 1576 unknown but he certainly took advantage of it and moved his troops south and sent commisioners to Ghent to conclude a treaty with the States-General.
- Still, influence remained limited as Aerschot and the COS were reluctant to give him power in the south that might diminish their own.
- States-General more important than COS but they also were reluctant to accept Orange's leadership.
- States-General ignored Orange and chose to come to terms with Don John and sign a truce with him- Perpetual Edict 1577.
- Pacification of Ghent did not give Orange more authority and influence; only removed the threat to Holland and Zealand and effectively recognised his regime there.
Aims of William of Orange
- Orange had been brought up Catholic although his parents were Protestants.
- Unlikely he was either a serious Catholic or a secret Lutheran/Calvinist.
- He was a politique: one for whom political expediency counted for more…