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THE FLUSHING PEOPLE STARING AT DE RUYTER ON THE TOP
OF THE CHURCH TOWER.
CAPTURE OF NYBORG (from an old Dutch Engraving)
DE WITT AND DE RUYTER CONSULTING THE MAP OF LONDON
GREAT DUTCH ADMIRALS.
JACOB VAN HEEMSKERK.
THE other day I came across a curious map of Europe published in the year 1600. Every country in it is represented by a figure, which, although very absurd, denotes with great truth the then actual state of each nation. There is England as a chubby little fellow making mud-pies at the sea-side, and looking very happy and contented.
There is France as a school-boy cutting himself all over with a sharp knife. There is Italy, dressed as the Pope, with a high crown on his head, holding a chain in one hand and a crucifix in the other. There is also, in a small corner opposite England, a little dwarf with a beard, standing in a washing-tub full of water: in one hand he holds an axe, in the other a pistol, while he has a sword between his teeth. This little mannie is looking up to a tremendous giant, who stands with one foot
on Spain and the other on Belgium, and is trying all he can to press the little fellow down in his tub. The giant is the King of Spain, the little dwarf is the young republic of the Netherlands, and the two are having a desperate fight together, for the King is determined to kill the little man, and the little man is equally determined not to be killed. will say that when a giant fights with a dwarf the giant is certain to get the best of it; yet it was not so. The whole of Europe was looking on while this fight lasted, and the whole of Europe was astonished and delighted with the pluck of the little fellow, Again and again the giant King of Spain got hold of him, and nearly pressed him down or upset his tub: but every time he managed to jump aside, kicking and biting and hitting the giant so tremendously that he howled with pain.
For you must know that in those days there were in the Netherlands a number of men who loved their little watery country very dearly, and were determined to make it free, or die in the struggle. I could give you a long list of heroes who fought both on land and sea, most of whom died in some battle, and whose memory is dearly loved by every Dutch boy and girl. Their wonderful deeds are always read at school, and well do I remember, when our master described how they fought against this giant, that we were all as quiet as mice, and could have listened for hours. I propose to tell you something about a number of these men who fought at sea ; and if you do not say with
me, after having read my stories, that they were splendid fellows, it will be my fault and not theirs.
The first of these was Jacob van Heemskerk. He was born in the city of Amsterdam in the year 1567. His father was a man of very good family and considerable wealth, but I have not been able to find out whether he was engaged in business or was himself a soldier. His father's brother was a man of great note, being at different times counsellor, sheriff, and accountant-general of North Holland. Now many of the inhabitants of Amsterdam were Roman Catholics, and in those days the Catholics were intolerant and cruel, as you will no doubt know from the history of Queen Mary. Heemskerk's family belonged to the Protestant religion, and they were consequently exposed to no end of dangers, persecutions, and hardships. Nevertheless, young Jacob received from his father, who was a God-fearing man, an excellent education, as the history of his later years will show. It must not be imagined, however, that his schooldays were passed as quietly as they would be nowadays, or might have been had he been educated as an English lad in London under good Queen Bess.
With such things going on all over the country, it was not possible that some of the excitement of the rebellion, some of the hatred between Protestants and Catholics, between Dutchmen and Spaniards, should not penetrate into the schools; and I have read in more than one old book that the boys used to have most