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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

William of Orange

  • [William of Nassau, Prince of Orange; born April, 1533; enjoyed the favor of Charles V.; sent by Philip II. to the court of France, where he heard without betraying himself the purposes of the Spanish king in regard to religion, and thus gained the surname of “the Silent;” resisted for many years the attempt to introduce the Inquisition into the Low Countries, until he formed the republic of the Seven Provinces, of which he became stadtholder, 1579; assassinated 1584.]
  • Pro lege, rege, grege (for law, king, people).

  • His motto.
  • When Egmont bade adieu to William, who had escaped from what he considered the murderous intentions of Philip II., with the words, “Adieu, landless prince” (prince sans terre), Orange replied, “Adieu, headless count” (comte sans tête). He saw the dangerous position of Egmont, who thought he was safe because he had taken an oath to advance the Catholic faith; but William said to him, “I foresee that you will be the bridge over which the Spaniards will pass into our country to destroy it.” Egmont was beheaded in the market-place of Brussels. William, pater patriæ, fell by the bullet of Balthazar Gerard. His last words were: “My God, have mercy on my soul and on this poor people!”