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THE SIEGE. was so vigilantly conducted, that the wretched inhabitants could derive no provisions from without. In this dreadful dilemma, they drew lots to determine which should fall each day to afford sustenance to the rest with their bodies ; and it is said that the spirit of patriotism ran so high, that many of them anticipated this desperate alternative, and voluntarily slew themselves to furnish food to their brave fellow-citizens and soldiers. An extraordinary female patriot, of the name of Kenneva, headed the women, led them to the ramparts, where they assisted the nearly exhausted soldiery in working the cannon, and displayed that enthusiastic courage which great occasions will generally find lodged in that bosom which is the seat of every gentle, every tender feeling, and ought only to heave with the tenderest emotions. Many of them stabbed themselves, to assist in preserving the survivors, and expiring exclaimed, “ See, my poor va• liant friends, your provision for the rest of the day.” But notwithstanding these terrible sacrifices, and supplies of human flesh, many thousands of the garrison and burghers perished. The Spaniards, having been informed of their situation, agained summoned them to surrender, and allowed a truce of an hour for deliberation, during which a consultation was held, the unanimous determination of which was contained the following reply : • Tell your arrogant general, that we shall not want “ the means of life whilst a left arm remains upon any
ANECDOTE OF PETER ADRIAN.
“ of our shoulders, and with our right we shall continue “ to fight for our liberties to the last.” At length, broken down by their frightful situation, and hopeless of relief, after having exhibited prodigies of valor, and the sublimest acts of patriotism and resignation, the miserable survivors of this ghastly scene of desolation assembled round the house of Peter Adrian de Werf, the chief magistrate of the city, a man of great influence amongst the people, and implored him to sanction with his fiat the surrender of the place ; but this. noble being preferring, like Cato, to perish rather than see his country in the possession of a tyrant, thus addressed his emaciated brethren—" My brave comrades ! “cut this body in pieces; it it better that I should die for “ you, than by the enemy-my wounds disable me from “ further service. Take courage, let me receive death “ from your hands, and let my miserable frame furnish “a wretched meal for some of you.—Take me, and may “ Leyden be victorious, and her glory immortal!” Deeply impressed by such firmness and eloquence, his auditors turned their haggard countenances aside, and with the convulsive energy of expiring nature, rushed again to the rampart, and soon afterwards they were thrown into an agony of joy by the arrival of two carrier pigeons, to whose feet were tied stalks of corn and hemp, in which letters were concealed, announcing that relief was at hand..
ANECDOTE OF THE PRINCE OF ORANGE
The Dutch confederates, having no other mode of relieve ing the inhabitants of Leyden, broke down the dykes of the Maese and the Yssel, inundated the Spanish camp, and the beautiful country which surrounds Leyden, and enabled Louis Brissot, admiral of Zealand, to send many fatbottomed boats, well armed, to the succour of the besieged. This desperate ineasure compelled the Spanish general io evacuate his camp, and to retire with such of his army as did not perish by the waters, into their own country.
This siege, which commenced shortly after Easter, was raised the third of October, on which day a supply of provisions was brought to the famished inhabitants, who greedily devoured the food, amidst tears and convulsive inarticulate exclamations to heaven for their delivery, and many of them dropped down dead upon too rapidly satisfying their ravenous appetites. After this signal deliverance, the Prince of Orange, although suffering under severe illness, ordered himself to be carried in a litter to Leyden, to condole with and express his admiration of its heroic inhabitants : the interview, as well as many scenes which occurred during the siege, must have afforded a fine subject for the pencil. He gave them their option of being exempted for a certain period from taxts, or of having an university founded in their town; when, with noble and disinterested wisdom, they gave the preference to the