In 1584, on this day in Delft, William the Silent (pictured) survived the weakest of attempts on his life by that miserable excuse for an assassin Balthasar Gérard. The incredibly inept Frenchman failed to get even one of his three pistol shots on target.
William the Silent LivesAs the main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish, he would soon be recognized with an elevation to the traditional enobled title of Count of Holland. Still only fifty-one years old, he would live for a further decade, and the issue from his branch of the Orange-Nassau line would eventually pursue greater influence, perhaps even a kingship of a greater Holland that would draw other northern German Protestant state into a new European Great Power.
Gérard however would be tried, convicted, and gruesomely executed before the week was out. The magistrates decreed that the right hand of Gérard should be burned off with a red-hot iron, that his flesh should be torn from his bones with pincers in six different places, that he should be quartered and disembowelled alive, that his heart should be torn from his bosom and flung in his face, and that, finally, his head should be cut off.