This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 discuss these impartially, but his attempt only brought down upon his head a flood of pained criticism from the heirs to both sides of the controversy,—no dead question in Holland. The old archivist, Groen van Prinsterer, fervent Calvinist as he was, declared that only an Arminian, such as an American Unitarian was, could be so antagonistic to the principles of the Reformation espoused by Maurice. (Perhaps Groen did not believe that Maurice had once declared that he did not know whether Predestination was green or blue!) Motley had become the ardent apologist of Barneveld and latitudinarian doctrine, the orthodox Hollanders felt, and a battle was started that raged for years. Groen devoted a whole book to the topic. At the same time, Dutch scholars paid warm tributes to the American's conscientious use of sources, though they might not accept his interpretation. No one accused him of neglecting what was obtainable. They only thought ‘He cannot understand.’ By that time the handsome American with his air of distinction was a well-known figure in The Hague. In 1871, the Queen of the Netherlands offered him a house in the Dutch capital, where he spent part of the years when he was working at John of Barneveld. The death of Mrs. Motley in 1874 was a blow from which her husband never recovered, although he tried to resume his work and complete the story of the Eighty Years War. The sub-title of the Barneveld volumes had been A View of the Primary Causes and Movements of the Thirty Years War. But Motley was never to take the public with him beyond that view. His own death came in 1877, and he was buried in England. What is the judgment of posterity upon the work into which Motley poured so much vigorous painstaking effort? This much can be said: he was first a brilliant searchlight, sweeping over an unknown field, and then an able draughtsman in describing the scene. Every new generation claims to have a light in its own hand which enables it to judge the past with greater accuracy than its predecessors. Scholars of today in Holland, Blok, Japikse, Colenbrander, all consider that the American failed to treat Netherland history on scientific lines. He did not understand Europe at large, he did not understand the Church. In his hands Philip II was treated too severely,
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.