"Therefore, brethren," continued the orator, "whatever may come, war or peace, on water or on land, we have the handle in our own hands, and we will not let it be wrenched out. We have won our freedom, we can protect it."
The cry of "Hurrah for Hooft! Hurrah for the States General!" here interrupted the orator, for on the balcony of the Town Hall appeared old Drost Hooft, and with him the town councillors, as many as the balcony would hold. Attentive silence reigned while Drost thanked them and began:
"Brother citizens, a slight accident has prevented me from sooner imparting the news which must fill the heart of every one with joy and thankfulness. Yesterday the thirty years of the horrors of war, and the seven years' peace conference at last came to an end. Honorable and favorable conditions for the United Provinces are in the treaty, to which all the powers of Europe have sworn. Above all, Spain, with the approval of all Europe, has acknowledged the perfect independence of our Republic. It is merely a point of honor, nothing more, for we have not waited for them to present us with our freedom; we have won it with the help of God and our own good swords. Our rightful conquests in Brabant, Flanders and Limburg, the right to close the Scheid at will, and other privileges remain to us. Rejoice and thank God, for it is he